Chapter 1 : Train back to Hogwarts
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She sighed as the scarlet steam engine whistled and removed her sunglasses, tucking them in her pocket. Seconds after this she heard a familiar voice call “Hermione!” and looked around with a small smile to see a small wave of red heads coming towards her Harry, Ginny and Ron in lead.
“Hey guys” she greeted them softly. She had something to tell her friends, though she was struggling in how to do it.
“’Hey’, all we get is a ‘hey’?” Ginny frowned “you haven’t written to us all summer, we haven’t seen nor heard from you! All we get is a ‘hey’?!”
“Im sorry, I had a bit of a bad summer…” Hermione sighed, putting her head down.
Harry gave his best friend a one armed hug and smiled “Im sure you have good reason Mi, but you could at least let us know you’re not dead instead of having Neville mention he spotted you in Diagon Alley getting books last week.”
Ron leaned down and kissed her on the lips, a small smile on his face that didn’t quite reach his eyes. Inside Hermione shivered. She had to tell them what she had learned over summer, and soon. But not now, she was head girl, and as head girl she had to help get the first years on the train. She followed her friend on the train, getting stares from the other Eighth years that suddenly recognised her, and left her trunk and Owl in the compartment with them before scurrying off to help the first years.
She returned a few moments after the train pulled out of the station, Neville, Luna, and Lavender had also joined them. she sat catching up with her friends for half an hour – tactfully avoiding any questions about her summer – before she stood with a sigh.
“Where you going ‘Mione?” Harry asked, finally moving from his cuddling corner with Ginny.
“I have to go prepare for the prefects meeting in the heads compartment.” she explained with a smile, picking up her owl cage.
“Have fun” Ron said, his smile once again not reaching his eyes when he looked at her.
Hermione dragged her trunk down the small corridor, amused by the frightened yet excited expressions of the first years, until she found the heads compartment and the head boy.
When Headmistress McGonagall had Owled Hermione to be head girl, she had accepted gratefully. McGonagall had taken it upon herself to warn the new Head Girl as to who she was making head boy, so Hermione wasn’t shocked to see the pale blonde hair of Draco Malfoy when she entered the compartment. Apparently neither was he, as he stood upon her entrance. What neither was prepared for the sudden magical pull they felt and the scents of sandalwood soap and Vanilla. They both froze for a moment, nostrils flaring, and watched each other. Hermione was the first to move, putting her trunk in the luggage rack. “Hello Malfoy” she said in a voice she hadn’t meant to sound so soft.
“Granger” he said in greeting with a nod, sitting back down.
“Should we get on with the prefect schedules?”
“I suppose we must. We should include the scheduled dances for this year too, or did McGonagall not tell you? To boost student’s moral she’s suggested a Halloween dance and a Yule ball.”
“I can see the girls having a field day with those.”
“Your meaning Parvati aren’t you?”
“And Lavender yes.”
It took an hour to get together the prefect schedules, and hour in which Hermione found that she got on with Malfoy easily. Though she already knew this – she had been his potions partners ever since fifth year, no doubt Snape would find it amusing that they would have to spend most afternoons together in the dungeons. That probably would have been around the time Hermione developed a very tiny crush on the blonde Slytherin – though with everything else going on at the time she had never really let the crush escalate into anything more than a thought.
After the hour she mid Malfoy goodbye, intending to see her friend for a few minutes before the prefect meeting, and walked down the corridor. She had just paused outside of the compartment when she heard voices coming from inside.
“…tell her!” a girl was saying softly.
“I will, I promise I will. I just don’t want to get her too upset” another voice, she recognised this one as Ron and listened closer.
“Ron, if you don’t tell her I will!”
“Look, I am going to tell her I promise. Have I ever broken a promise I made to you?” Ron’s voice took on a soft teasing tone.
“No you haven’t, but you have to tell her soon Ron. Im not going to be your other woman.”
“Hermione?” Ginny asked from her left where she had just exited the girl’s bathroom, but Hermione didn’t hear her. On the other side of the compartment door she knew that Ron and his other girl had just frozen. The compartment door was slid open and Ron looked down at her, horror in his eyes when he met hers.
“Hermione….” He said in horror, but Hermione had already turned on her heel and stalked up the corridor. She didn’t know if she was upset enough to cry or angry enough to punch a wall but she knew she was feeling both emotions at once. He had been cheating on her? Had Harry and Ginny known? Why didn’t they say!?
“You ok?” a voice asked and Hermione looked up. she hadn’t even noticed that she had returned to the heads compartment, never mind her shock that it was Malfoy looking at her with concern.
“Complete and utterly fine” she laughed bitterly.
“Now that’s a lie Granger. Good girls don’t lie.”
“Guess im not a good girl then. “she sighed “if you really want to know, I just found out Ron was seeing another girl – I think it was Lavender but I didn’t look. There you go – laugh, make some scathing comment.”
There was silence before he said sounding rather awkward “Im not going to make a comment or laugh. Men do not cheat on ladies.”
Hermione watched him with raised eyebrows. “Are you serious in saying that Draco Malfoy is passing up the opportunity to make fun of me?”
His mouth twitched into a small smile. “Granger, im not going to kick you when you’re down. Im changing – I can’t really promise I’ll never call you a name again, but I can promise that I’ll try not to. Now come on, the prefects are here.” He passed through the double doors leading to the prefects meeting compartment.
This year there were twice as many prefects, eight from the seventh year and eight from the Eighth year, meaning four from each house. Ron was sitting with his head down and Lavender looked quite smug. Ginny had a look that could kill and wouldn’t stop glaring at Lavender and Ron. Everyone else was also aware of the tension in between the Gryffindor’s.
“What’s up in the house of Chivalry?” Blaise asked loudly from where he had been sitting with Pansy, whom he had been dating since the battle.
“Leave it Blaise.” Malfoy said standing at the head of the table, his blonde hair hiding his silver eyes.
“Come on Blaise, gossip travels like wildfire in Hogwarts – quite likely you’ll know by tomorrow.” Hermione smiled kindly, sitting in the seat beside Blaise. Most people gasped with open mouths and Ginny and Ron’s heads whirled to her so fast she heard them click. Hermione had used a Slytherin’s first name.
“Too right ‘Mione” Blaise replied, the grin on his face stretching at the reaction they received from prefects.
Truth of this unlikely friendship was that over the summer Hermione and Blaise had bumped into each other almost nightly at the Leaky Cauldron. Having no one else to talk to, they ended up chatting with each other, house prejudice forgotten. Even Pansy was doing her best to get to know the Granger girl, though she was being rather timid.
“Alright we’ll get straight down to business. I hope you’ve all had an enjoyable summer and will be happy to return to Hogwarts this year. Now there have been a few changes to the prefects, since there are more of us patrols won’t be as frequent for most of us, but we have other assignments for this year too. First the organisation of Hogsmead trips for the younger students, since eighth years are allowed in the village at any time, as well as the Halloween dance and Yule ball that McGonagall thought would be a good idea to boost students moral this year, which im sure we’ll all be excited for when the time comes!” Hermione stopped her speech when she heard a soft laugh behind her and turned to glare at Malfoy. “It appears I have forgotten that Malfoy should be taking part in this introduction too, how about you take it from here head boy?”
“No problem, head girl” Malfoy smirked standing up straight.
“HE’S Head boy!?” Ron growled from across the table, there were a few murmurs of agreement.
“You got a problem with that Weasley?” Blaise asked defensively. “Unlike you Draco is actually top in his classes, with the exception of Hermione of course.”
“Look, if anyone has a problem with Malfoy being the head boy you can take it up with McGonagall, me or Malfoy all right?” Hermione asked from her chair, sending a steady glare around the room. No one dared oppose her – though that was probably the charm.
“Anyway, prefect rota’s are going to be as follows – Group one is - Astoria and Ronald, Blaise and Ginny, Zacharias and Luna, Padma and Ernie, Group two is - Lavender and Pansy, Michael and Derrick., Justin and Marcus and finally Terry and Leanne. Group one will patrol on Mondays, Wednesday’s and Fridays and Group two will do Tuesday, Thursday and Sundays. Hermione and I will of course be out patrolling every night – so really you guys get it easier.” Malfoy smiled, it had been his and Hermione’s idea to stick the Gryffindor’s with the Slytherin’s and from the horror on their faces they had noticed too. “Meeting dismissed.”
The prefects stood and exited, though Hermione saw Harry enter and when everyone had finally left it was just her, Ginny, Harry, Ron and Malfoy.
Ron started first “Look, Hermione, and Im really sorry you had to find out that way but…”
“Save it!” Hermione snapped sounding more vicious than she had meant. She could feel the suppressant charm she placed on herself lifting. “I don’t want to hear your apologise Ron. And you two!” she turned onto Harry and Ginny “Why did you not tell me?”
“W-we didn’t know, really we didn’t Hermione….” Ginny whimpered.
“Honest Hermione, you know we would have told you if we knew!” Harry tried.
“Why’d you do it?” Hermione turned her attention back to Ron.
“Hermione you have to understand… im a man, I have needs. You disappeared for a whole summer, didn’t even write! You weren’t there when I needed someone….”
Hermione was silent for a moment. When asked about it later, Harry would swear the temperature dropped as Hermione spoke in a whisper “You had needs…?” she shook her head and turned around yelled “ARGH!” and left the room, too worried that if she remained she might end up cursing Ron.