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Chapter 4 : Getting Ready...
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During the last week, when it seemed that the castle would be completed on time, professor McGonagall sent out letters to all the students inviting them back to Hogwarts to continue their education.
She also sent letters to the previous year's 7th year students, offering them the opportunity to come back and take their N.E.W.T's if they wanted to, however it was not compulsory and the many of the Wizarding companies and the ministry itself were willing to take it easy on the ones that did not go back when they began to look for jobs.
Although Hermione was already at Hogwarts she received a letter at breakfast, including a piece of parchment with the list of school supplies and books she would need. She decided to go and speak to professor McGonagall straight away to accept the offer.
"Oh I am so glad that you have agreed" the professor said immediately, "I was hoping you would because there is something I would like you to do if you feel so inclined"
"What is it professor?" Hermione couldn't stand the thought of some kind of mission. A nice studious year at Hogwarts was all she wanted.
"I understand that you have been through so much in service to the school and our world, but if you would like to undertake the role then I would like to give you the position of Head Girl"
Hermione breathed a sigh of relief. She had a horrible flash of some mission that the order hadn't completed yet. "I would be honoured professor" Hermione accepted the position and shook the older witches hand before returning to her breakfast.
She decided to go to Diagon Alley that afternoon, as long as she could finish whatever was to be given to her that morning, and collect her books, ingredients and other supplies for the coming year. Then a quick stop at the Burrow to pick up her beaded bag and to see Molly while she was sure Ron would be at Auror training.
Her luck was in this particular morning, as it appeared she would not be needed in the castle for long. In fact every single magical person in the vicinity was required in Gryffindor tower to aid with putting the roof on.
She had been involved in the same thing when the finishing touches were being put on Ravenclaw tower, however they had not needed as many witches and wizards as that part of the castle had not been as badly damaged and it was only a small section of roof that needed to be raised and placed.
She made her way out on to the lawn by the front door of the castle. There were ten builders standing around a large pointed roof. It was impossible to see the other side of the structure from where any person was standing and so much care needed to be taken when it was time to actually move the object.
Once everyone was assembled on the lawn, the Master Builder, a Mr. Murphy stood and gave them each their instructions, "each of you has been placed around the structure in such a way that you will be able to concentrate all your magic on the spot you were shown. When I say you will cast Wingardium Leviosa but you must only concentrate on your area. If you lose concentration you could seriously injure yourself, this is going to take much of your magical energy"
There were a few murmurs in the group, Lavender looked very nervous, much to Hermione's delight. They each got into position around their allocated point of the roof and pointed their wands at the heavy structure.
"Now remember what I said, concentrate. This will be the heaviest object any of you have ever tried to lift and I don't want anyone getting hurt" Mr. Murphy called to everyone. "Right, Now!" he called.
There was a collective call of 'Wingardium Leviosa' and after a moment the roof began to move upwards. Hermione immediately began to feel sweat collect on her brow. She now understood what Murphy had meant by it would take a lot of magical energy and all of her concentration.
When it was halfway up the building Hermione thought they wouldn't make it. She could feel the magic in her depleting very quickly. Her eyes zoned in on her allocated spot and she gritted her teeth, willing all of her power into her wand hand.
After what felt like hours but was really only minutes the roof was in position and hovering over the round tower. Hermione was straining to keep her arm up; she was ready to collapse at any moment.
"Right, it's in position, I went you all to start pulling the charm back very slowly, do not rush or it will fall" Murphy called to everyone. Hermione carefully began to pull the power back from her fingertips. Her wand was vibrating with the energy she had forced into it.
Slowly the roof dropped down into position and Hermione saw ten blue charms shot at the spots where the roof and the building connected. Hermione felt herself drop to the floor when her charm was finally released. She was thoroughly embarrassed until she looked around and saw that almost everyone else looked just as exhausted as she felt.
She looked across the field to where Draco was standing. He looked about ready to drop too Professor McGonagall began walking around with Madam Pomfrey handing out chocolate and to those who had really struggled, some pepper up potion.
"Well done everyone, you all did very well. That is the biggest roof I have ever moved and I know that it was difficult" Murphy called, taking a bite of his own chocolate.
Hermione was a little annoyed that they had used such a dangerous method with people who were not trained builders, but the roof was up and the building crew were already making their way up through the castle to secure the structure from inside the tower.
Hermione felt better almost as soon as she swallowed the chocolate, but still she could feel that her magic was close to exhausted and really hoped that this was it for the day because she wasn't sure she could do anything else. She was even considering asking professor McGonagall if she could floo to Diagon Alley from her office so she wouldn't have to apparate.
After a few moments rest Hermione got up and made her way back into the castle. She went to her room, a small room that Professor McGonagall agreed to give her after a brief conversation about the goings on with Lavender.
The professor had agreed to keep the matter private and away from the rest of the staff and had given Hermione a room that would normally be used by a visitor to the school. It was small, with room for a single bed, a small wardrobe and a desk.
She freshened up and changed out of her dust covered work robes and into some muggle jeans and a t-shirt. After checking that her reflection did not show a girl who had used most of her magical energy in one go she left and went to find Professor McGonagall.
She found the older witch, as she was about to enter her office.
"Professor would you mind if I used your fireplace to floo to Diagon Alley? I think this morning's work took a little too much magic, I don't want to risk apparating and getting splinched" Hermione asked. The professor did not hesitate at all and allowed Hermione access to her fireplace. "I will apparate back later this afternoon, I just feel it would be unwise now" she assured the headmistress.
"Of course Hermione, I understand, it was rather gruelling wasn't it" the Professor agreed, handing her a small bag with floo powder inside.
Hermione soon found herself spinning around the floo network, desperately trying to keep the chocolate she had consumed down until she found the right grate and climbed out in the Leaky Cauldron.
Tom the old barkeeper instantly recognized her and began to offer refreshments on the house, causing others to notice her too. Soon enough there was a flash of a camera bulb as a photographer from the Daily Prophet got his picture of the day.
Hermione immediately wished she had robes with a hood instead of her muggle clothes on and got out of the pub as quickly as she could. She made her way through the Alley as quickly as possible and into Gringotts to withdraw some funds from her account.
The goblin at the door bowed her in until he realised who it was, he then shot a dirty look and let go of the door. Hermione slipped through door before it hit her in the face and straightened her top before walking down to an empty cashier.
The goblins quite clearly had not forgotten her little trip there with Harry and Ron not so long ago. She presented her key to the Goblin at the desk, and after gaining another look of contempt Hermione was given access to her account.
Gringotts was still under construction after the Dragon had destroyed a lot of the building in its attempt to break out of its captivity so Hermione simply requested the amount she thought she would need to buy her purchases and have some left over for the year.
Shortly after walking away with Hermione's request the goblin returned with a moneybag and Hermione left the building.
She stopped at Madam Malkin's and got some new school robes then onto the Apothecary to get her potions ingredients. She then visited the Stationary Store and Flourish and Blott's.
Hermione considered going for some lunch but after the difficulty getting out of the pub decided against it, she really couldn't stand the thought of the Prophet's press hounding her as she tried to eat. She decided to just apparate straight to the Burrow.
She shrunk her purchases and put them all into one bag then turned on the spot and apparated to the Burrow.
She landed just outside the wards that were still in place and began to walk towards the house. The wards recognized her and allowed her in without trouble and soon found herself engulfed in Mrs. Weasleys embrace, the older witch had seen her walking up the path.
"Oh Hermione it is so wonderful to see you. You shouldn't have waited so long to come and see me" Mrs. Weasley admonished, pulling Hermione to her again.
"I'm sorry Molly. The castle needed every single pair of hands to be ready in time" Hermione replied.
"Yes, Ginny received her letter this morning. Harry and Ron too but they are quite happy doing their Auror training" Mrs Weasley said, as she put the kettle on the stove to boil. "Hermione are they not feeding you at that school? Look at you!"
"Oh Molly I'm fine, I think maybe today everyone just overused their magic a little" Hermione explained.
"Well I will not allow you to leave this house until you have had a proper meal and some rest"
Hermione didn't bother to argue, she knew there was no point and no one could cook like Molly Weasley.
After a plate of Steak pie and mash potatoes, Hermione felt extremely full and very sleepy. "That was marvellous Molly, thank you" Hermione said patting her stomach.
"You're very welcome my dear, it's nice to have you back. Will you not consider staying the night?" Molly asked, hopeful.
Hermione could not stand the thought of being anywhere near Ron, she plastered a smile on her face and answered "I would love to Molly but the need every pair of hands right up until next week when the students come back"
"Okay dear" Mrs. Weasley conceded defeat and cleared away their lunch dishes.
The witches sat in the cosy living room and talked about the works at the castle and how the rest of the Weasley family were. Mrs. Weasley informed Hermione that Ginny had gone to see Luna Lovegood for the day.
It was nice for Hermione to sit and talk with Mrs. Weasley, it made her realise how much she missed her own mother and how wonderful it was to have someone else to fill that role until she could work out how to bring her parents home.
Time ran away from them and as the clock struck five, Ron and Harry walked through the door. Immediately Harry engulfed his best friend in a hug and asked how she was.
"Why are you not happy to see Ron? What is going on here?" Mrs. Weasley enquired as soon as she saw the cold way in which Hermione looked at her youngest son and the sheepish look he gave her back.
"You didn't tell her?" Hermione snappishly asked.
Harry slowly backed out of the room, trying to get out of the line of fire.
"Tell me what? Ronald what is going on?" Mrs. Weasley had her hands on her hips; she was formidable for a small witch.
"I think this is my cue to leave" Hermione said, quickly leaving the room and summoning her beaded bag from Ginny's room. She had just walked out of the back door when she heard Mrs. Weasley shriek.
Hermione took a deep breath and apparated back to Hogwarts.
She went to her room and deposited her purchases and her bag then went down to the Great Hall for dinner. She sat on her own as most of the people who had come to help rebuild the school had gone home, including her fellow Gryffindors, who wanted a few days with their loved ones before returning to school.
She filled her plate with some of the roasted chicken and vegetables that the house elves had sent up and began to eat. She sat and thought about her afternoon at the Burrow for a while and how much she was going to miss having time there.
She had eaten about a quarter of her food when she heard the large doors open and saw Draco enter and sit at the Slytherin table alone.
There were only a handful of people in the room and none of them paid him any attention. Hermione made a decision and got up from her seat. She picked up her plate and walked over to the Slytherin table and sat opposite him.
"Do you mind?" she asked.
Draco shook his head and they sat together and finished their meals, both silent but grateful not to be alone.
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