Platform 9 ¾ was as crowded as ever. Even more so, considering some students from my year decided to come back to Hogwarts to repeat (and in some cases start) their seventh year. For the first time ever, I stood alone with my trunk. Lucius was in Azkaban where he belonged and mother was ill. I looked around and tried to find a familiar face. Most of my Slytherin buddies, I knew, would not be here. Some of them had been sent to Azkaban and some had decided they’d had their fill of Hogwarts. I was glad; I needed as few distractions as possible. This year was going to be different. I no longer had my future carved into stone by my father and his buddies. I could finally be Draco.
I decided to go back to school because the alternative was far too awful. I would sit and wait. And be watched, constantly spied on to watch for any Death Eater tendencies. I’d narrowly escaped Azkaban. I managed to skate by with the truth: I was too scared to say no. Even with the use of Veritiserum on both me and my mother, we were still being watched. My mother could not even grieve properly for the death of her sister and imprisonment of her husband. They hadn’t been much, but they’d been all she had. Of course, there was Andromeda, but I don't think mother has the audacity to contact her. Then there was me. I had to make something of myself, free the family name. I still didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I just wanted to be more than what I used to be. I wanted to be more than what everyone expected, even mother.
Over the summer, I had taken to writing to various Heads in the Ministry of Magic, wondering if I would ever be permitted to work under them. Many of them were hesitant to even write back. One wizard was polite as he could be while telling me there was no fucking way I could work for him. One woman claimed she would love to have me working under her, once I cleared my name, of course. The Ministry was ridiculously suspicious of everyone these's days. Even with Kinglsey Shacklebolt as the new Minister, people were somehow afraid that Voldemort would appear and we would be back to where we were.
I didn't ever want to work in father's business. None of them. Many of them involved a lot of illegal activity and I wasn't looking forward to having to clean that mess up after I graduated (which was when I got access to the business). The little boy deep in my heart longs to be an Auror. I didn't have the courage to write to the Head Auror and ask if I would ver be permitted to work under him, I was too positive of his answer. I could always teach Potions. This would mean I'd have to kick Granger's ass in Slughorn's classes. With NEWTs and all, this was going to be a hard enough year without any added bullshit. But I'm Draco Malfoy, so bullshit follow me everywhere.
Just as I thought this, I saw a tall red headed figure marching angrily in my direction. ‘Is this a test?’ I thought to myself. If there was anyone who could piss me off while I’m in a perfectly good mood, it was Weaselbee. Surprisingly, he just stormed past me, mumbling an apology when his arm brushed against me. I didn’t see Potter or know-it-all Granger. But I did see his sister, obviously the looks of the family. She stopped her brisk walk towards her idiot brother when she saw me. I smiled as she shook her head and stomped after her brother.
Several seconds passed before I saw Potter. He was holding hands with a very hot looking brunette. I guess he’d officially freed up Weasley’s sister. I smirked when he walked past me. The girl looked me dead in the eye, as if trying to figure out who I was. They disappeared into the thick crowd and I decided I’d had enough people watching for today. I loaded my trunk onto the train and made my way to the Head compartment. I had been in total shock when I got the letter stating I could repeat seventh year. I was even more shocked when I received another letter congratulating me for being the new Head Boy. Apparently, dear old Snape had made that his last request.
I looked out of the window as the crowd became mostly parents and siblings. I noticed Weaselbee was arguing with the beautiful brunette from earlier. She slapped him and I could hear clearly through the glass, “You are a complete arse Ronald Weasley!"
Those words rang a bell, as did the voice. There is no way that could be Granger, I thought, as she stomped away with Potter and Ginny Weasley.
Now that I knew it had been her, I thought back to when I'd seen her. She'd both lost and gained weight. Her face was thinner and her waist a bit smaller. She had somehow developed some curves. Her hair was nowhere near as bushy as it had always been and she seemed to have finally gotten those blasted buck-teeth fixed. She was still short as hell, almost a foot shorter than my six feet two inches.
I was shocked when the train pulled away, leaving the tall, lanky red head behind us.The door of my compartment opened quietly and I kept staring out of the window, too far in my own thoughts to completely notice. The Golden Trio had broken up? It wasn’t as if Weaselbee actually did anything. He was the comedian of the group, the one who lighted the sexual tension between Granger and Potter. If it hadn’t been for him, they’d have hooked up years ago. When I heard Granger was actually dating Weasley I nearly gagged. Even that know-it-all could do better. I was suddenly aware of sniffling. I looked up to see the very girl who’d just been on my mind.
Hermione Granger sat with her arms wrapped around her knees, staring out of the window. She must not have seen me. I opened and closed my mouth for a few seconds. Even though I’d turned over a new leaf, I still wasn’t great at making conversation. Especially because she was crying.
“Are you the new Head Girl?” I asked stupidly, just trying to stop the tears. I think I may have stunned them out of her because when her head snapped up, her eyes were dry. In fact, had her face not been red and blotchy, I wouldn’t have known she’d been crying at all. She held my gaze for several seconds. Then she looked away. I sighed heavily. I knew things would be like this.
“Look I know I was an arse, but I’ve changed my ways.” She stood up almost before I’d finished my sentence.
“You don’t just change from a Death Eater to a normal person! You don't suddenly develop feelings, or compassion, or a heart” She nearly shouted. Those words stung, but I kept my poker face.
“You have to trust me—”
“How could anyone trust you? You were the first one to change sides when Voldemort asked!” I winced at the memory.
“You don’t understand.” I mumbled. I was beginning to regret coming back after all.
“Oh? Well please enlighten me,” She challenged, taking her seat and folding her arms and legs. I felt like I was being yelled at by McGonagall.
“You don’t just say no to Lord Voldemort, especially if your parents are Death Eaters. He’d have killed me right on the spot. Or worse, he’d have killed my mother. So, I apologize that I’m not as brave as you perfect little Gryfinndors.”
I didn’t raise my voice, but she flinched nonetheless. She opened her mouth to say something and then shook her head and left. “I can’t believe I thought she was hot,” I muttered as the door shut behind her. At least I got one of the worst out of the way first. She hated me more than anyone.
Except maybe Weaselbee.