Chapter 7 : Going Back to Hogwarts
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Back to wizards and witches, and magical beasts,
To goblins and ghosts and to magical feasts.
It’s all that I love, and it's all that I need.
HOGWARTS, HOGWARTS, I think I'm going back--- -A Very Potter Musical
Beep-Beep-Beep. Beep-Beep-Beep. Bee- Hermione slammed her fist down onto the alarm clock which immediately stopped beeping. It was the morning of the seventh. She turned her head to see the clock and saw that it read 8:00am. She had to go. Hermione quickly crawled out of her bed and changed into the casual clothes she had hung on the doorknob of her bedroom door last night. Her suitcase was already packed and so she hurried to the kitchen and made herself some cereal before going into the washroom and washing her face, brushing her teeth and combing her hair. It was odd not having Crookshanks with her but she had sent him over to Luna’s house when Ginny took James over to be babysat for the duration of the reunion, for he would have gotten lonely if he was by himself all day at her flat with someone only coming once a day to feed him. Once Hermione was done she shoved all her bathroom supplies into her suitcase and lugged it up to the front door the moment she heard the doorbell sound. She opened the door, Malfoy standing just outside of it.
“Big suitcase,” He said, looking down at the large, red thing. It was big, but it had only just fit all her necessities for the next week, and so it wasn’t too big at all, although it was dreadfully heavy. For a moment she half expected him to take it for her but no such luck. “Come on, Granger, we don’t want to miss the train.”
“We’re not going to miss the train. The last time I heard of anyone doing that was Harry and Ron in our second year,” Hermione said thoughtfully. She couldn’t help but smile at the memory. Her twelve year old self had been so panicked, believing them to be expelled.
“Yeah and what did they do? Take a flying car? Thing is I don’t have one of those so we’d be stuck in London. So hurry it up!” Draco had already began down the hallway of her flat building and Hermione lifted the suitcase over the doorframe and then set it down on the floor of the hallway and wheeled it along after him. She flicked her wand in the direction of her door and it slammed closed and locked itself. She then pointed it at her suitcase so it flew along behind her. He was still far ahead and she jogged to catch up. “I thought you’d dress up a bit more,” He told her. “Pansy gave you three dresses and you chose jeans and a...” He looked over his shoulder at her attire. “And a blue jumper with some ordinary sneakers.”
“We’re only going to be traveling; I thought it would make sense to wear something practical.” She replied in annoyance. Malfoy rolled his eyes but did not care enough to answer her.
The two descended the building quickly using the stairs; Hermione’s flat building had some sort of spell on it which only allowed apparation and disapparation to occur on the lobby so that the hallways did not become entrances and exists as well. By the time they reached the lobby Malfoy had already taken out his wand and cast a revealing spell, a small trunk and a leather briefcase appearing by the main doorway. He flicked his wand again and his luggage was hovering behind him. Hermione met his gaze and saw him give her a curt nod which she returned; he then stepped forward slightly and placed his hand upon her shoulder as he did when they were about to apparate. Sure enough in mere seconds they stood inside Kings Cross Station just behind a stone pillar. Hermione and Malfoy both undid the floating spell on their luggage, letting their bags hit the floor. Malfoy picked up the small trunk, laying the briefcase on top of it and Hermione grabbed a hold of her suitcase by the handle and wheeled it from behind the pillar. Soon enough they were caught in the hordes of muggles moving every which way and running frantically so as not to miss their train. Hermione took the lead this time, moving through the frantic crowd until sure enough they reached platform 9 ¾, Draco hot on her heels.
A line of wizards stood in front of them, running through the brick wall one after the other and Hermione could feel a pit build in her chest when she realized that she knew everyone before her as they were her classmates. She recognised Terry Boot, Ernie Macmillan and a few others who ran through the wall before them. She wanted to call to them but she knew there would be plenty of time for socialising when they were there, and having Malfoy by her side when re-meeting her old schoolmates probably wouldn’t be a good idea. When it came to Hermione’s turn to go through the wall she actually found herself surprisingly nervous and had to force herself into a run, flinching the second she normally would have hit the wall. It still felt wrong running at a false solid brick wall, but no matter she soon found herself surrounded by old classmates with an ancient steam train to her left. She could feel a smile tug at the corners of her lips - It was so good to be back. Everything was familiar to her here, the smells, the sounds and the view because not one thing had changed. Well, most things hadn’t. She realized now that instead of being surrounded by twelve year olds waving goodbye to their parents or seventeen year olds boarding with friends she was now with a group of twenty five year olds, some of them saying goodbye to spouses and children. It was weird seeing everyone grown up but at the same time it was extremely fulfilling because it meant that who was left after the war had finally moved on and made lives for themselves, that now they were happy. Hermione could feel her eyes prickle just at the memory of their seventeen year old selves killing and getting killed. It was a nightmare that would haunt her forever, although it was far less reoccurring than it had been.
“Are you ready to board?” She could feel him behind her and she nodded yes. His hand grazed her waist as he pointed her to the left before making his way through the crowd, Hermione right behind him. As she passed her fellow Hogwarts graduates she would smile warmly at them but she noticed that not all of them smiled back because they were too busy giving her scrupulous glances which she soon discovered were because of Malfoy, so eventually she gave up eye contact with her peers altogether. Hermione and Draco boarded the train together, and he immediately rested his hand on the small of her back and led her down a few compartments to the first empty one. He opened the door for her and Hermione smiled at him in thank you before walking in and sitting down on the right, him taking a seat opposite her on the left after they had both put their luggage above the seats.
“They were looking at us oddly,” Hermione told him after they were seated. She was referring to the glances given to her from her childhood friends.
“Yes, I noticed that, too. Well, I’m sure they’ll get over it soon enough. I guess they just find it odd.”
“I even find this whole thing odd, us being a couple and all. They must think it’s the strangest thing, and for some a very horrible thing to happen since I find it strange and rather horrible and I even know there is a point to it while they do not.” Draco stared unblinkingly at her and Hermione frowned. “Oh, wait! That’s right. I don’t know what the purpose to this is.”
“Granger, are you serious? We’re bringing this back up again?” Malfoy groaned as he leaned his head back against the seating in dismay, wondering why she couldn’t just let things lay.
Hermione breathed out in a huff. “Yes, we are bringing this back up again. You need to tell me things. You need trust me if we’re going to get through this smoothly. Because at this point in time I could just tell people the thing was a joke because as far as I know this is whole facade is because you couldn’t think up a better excuse all those days ago back in your office!” Hermione finished, pressing her lips together firmly.
“Fine! Fine!” Malfoy threw his hands into the air in annoyance. “Ruben Carter is a dangerous man. Something is going on, Granger-“
“Well, I know that.” She muttered.
Malfoy raised his eyebrows angrily. “If you want to know let me explain!” She didn’t answer so he continued. “Something is going on that is bigger than the both of us. It has to do with… Well, Voldemort. Some of his ex-followers want him back.” Hermione stared at him with her lips parted in shock.
“Are you serious? They want him back? Who would even- Wait, are you one of…”
He caught onto what she implying and answered, “No, I don’t want him back! I never wanted him in charge in the first place!”
“Well, they can’t get him back. He’s dead. There’s no more horocruxes and the Ministry is in good control of the population again. Kingsley is a good, strong Minister and the people are at last happy with each other and the government.” Hermione told him, sounding completely convinced.
Malfoy only shrugged. “Anyway, Carter happens to be one of those people. And you’re right the reason we are engaged is because that was the only thing I could think up at the last minute but I’ve decided that it is most helpful. Most of the ex-followers only want Voldemort because they had a purpose with him around and so if they see one of their own, myself, an official in a government building and engaged to Hermione Granger they may finally accept that they can move on after the war, that they can find a place here without Voldemort, as cheesy as it sounds.”
Hermione narrowed her eyes. “So are you saying we don’t actually have to be engaged? It’s just something to help ex Death Eaters feel better about themselves?”
Draco sighed. “Granger, this isn’t all for nothing. You don’t seem to believe me but I do not want to be your fiancé! Just please believe me there is more to this, okay? It’s just not safe for me to tell you and I don’t know enough myself to give out such information. So just stay out of it.” His steely grey eyes bore into hers for just a moment before Hermione averted her eyes, a blush creeping onto her cheeks from his intense gaze.
“Okay,” She answered meekly. It was embarrassing how flustered she got from eye contact alone. She didn’t know why she felt so uncomfortable under his gaze but she decided it was because it was him, it was simply because he was Draco Malfoy, the man who called her mudblood all those years ago, and nothing more. Her mind was also whirring with the new information he had given her although she made sure not to let him know what she was thinking. It was better for him to think she was putting a blind eye to the situation since she couldn’t trust him, not completely.
People want Voldemorts back. After his explanation she understood the motives as to why they would want such a man back so that part was not unclear, but still this whole thing was truly bigger than she had originally expected although she did not show it. Former Death Eaters had been shunned by society for years now because of the choices they had made but still bringing him back seemed a tad over the top. But thankfully, as far she knew, there was no possible way to bring the dark lord back so things would be okay at least for now. Hermione decided she couldn’t dwell on this too much during her stay at Hogwarts because she knew that if she did she would spend her entire time in the library researching and that was something she had promised herself she would not do. Although for now it was all that occupied her mind and she wished she could just sit down in a compartment by herself and think, but she got a better idea that didn’t involve her leaving the compartment but still gave her an escape.
Hermione stood up and put her back to Draco, reaching up and grabbing her suitcase firmly before pulling it down and setting it on her seat. She undid the two clasps and grabbed a book off the top of the different things she had packed. Quickly Hermione closed her suitcase back up and put it away. She then sat down and cracked open the book in her hand which was actually a splendid guide on household ghosts. Malfoy then in turn took out some papers from his briefcase and began looking through them one by one. They mutually decided they were not going to talk any longer.
The train car was the exact same as it had been the last time Hermione was on it. Cloth seats, wood flooring, a rickety window which clicked as the train car moved over the tracks, and a glass sliding door which made the entrance of each compartment. The only difference she could see was that instead of two noisy boys with dark and red hair sitting opposite her surrounded in candy and chocolate it was now a blond man with an organized set of papers. Hermione couldn’t help but let her eyes inch above the pages in her book and stare at him for a while. He looked the exact same as he did at Hogwarts except this time he had a firmer jaw, the skin on the lower half of his face looked like it was shaven and his hair was more tidy, like it was in their sixth year. He looked so much like the boy she had known back at school but at the same time he looked so different. Even his posture was different; it was now straight as a wash board instead of lazy and careless like it had been. His eyes then, as she watched him, lit up as if he had remembered something and he reached into his briefcase and pulled out an envelope. He used his finger to cut open the top and slid the letter out – it was on paper, not parchment. Malfoy’s eyes scanned the letter hastily and then he paused for a moment before continuing. Hermione watched as he cursed under his breath and shoved the letter back into his case. He stood and Hermione’s eyes shot downwards, pretending she was thoroughly engrossed in her guide of household ghosts. She could see him in her peripheral vision as he grabbed his trunk and his briefcase before sliding open the door and hurrying outside of the compartment, his hair falling slightly into his face and his eyes trained on the ground in front of him as he darted out of her view and down the hallway. Hermione let out a breath she did not know that she was holding and peered out the door in hopes that she could see where he went, but he was already gone.
They had taken the carriages to Hogwarts, and at first Hermione was excited as she saw them rolling towards the group of “ex-students” but then she saw the creatures that drove the carriages and it was at that moment that she realized everyone could now see them, the Thestrals. The large, winged horses that pulled that carriages, their skin black and their eyes a ghostly white that Harry had once described to her and Ron but until now she had never seen, although she had ridden one. It was now that Hermione peered at her classmates faces which were a mixture of surprise, horror, confusion, and for Harry and Theodore, the only two that had seen them before, peacefulness as if the Thestrals were old friends. Hermione had had an urge to reach out her hand and touch one of the beasts, but their demon-like qualities kept her away and she got into a carriage with the others although no one said a word.
They walked from where the carriages dropped them off to where they could see McGonagall in the middle of the field waving at them. It wasn’t a very long walk and everyone made their bags hover behind them so it was no struggle to reach the elderly lady. The group of twenty five year olds made a circle around her and as soon as they had let their bags drop to the ground McGonagall put her wand to her neck to amplify her voice, and spoke.
“Welcome back to Hogwarts, everyone,” Headmistress McGonagall began. Her hair was tied in a tight, grey bun at the nape of her neck. Her black, classic witches’ hat sat slightly off center on her head, and she wore a set of emerald green and black robes that Hermione remembered from when she was a child. This place held so many memories for all the returning students, even in the littlest things. “As I told you all in your letter this is Hogwarts first ever reunion and I am both pleased and honoured to have you all back. Something is planned for everyday this week that you are with us, and with some tweaking and some illusions I have formed separate places for all of you to sleep instead of in your houses rooms, because there really aren’t enough… Anyway,” McGonagall cleared her throat and the people around her shifted uncomfortably, they all knew she had been about to say that there weren’t enough of them left to fill up the houses dorm rooms, but no one said anything and their old teacher continued on.
“I’ll have the elves lead you to your separate rooms. They’ve also been very excited to see each and every one of you.” She smiled a small, prim smile. “Now I won’t spend too much time talking. The elves will show you to your rooms and then in an hour I’ll be meeting you in the Great Hall for lunch and at that time I will explain to you what we are doing for the next few days.” The young adults all nodded and murmured that that sounded like a fine idea.
Hermione could feel Malfoy’s shoulder brush her arm as the headmistress clapped her hands together a single time, a small group of elves appearing at the sound. The twenty five year olds were, in pairs or alone, assigned an elf to take them to their room. Draco slid his arm around Hermione’s waist as they followed their elf, which told them that her name was Essie, off of the field with their bags hovering behind them as they walked. Hermione had gotten used to his touch on her waist and it no longer surprised nor irritated her like it had the first time in his office. Malfoy and Essie made light conversation as they tread over the grass but Hermione didn’t take part in it, instead she took in the familiar sights and smells of her old school; the cool wind, the distant lapping of water from the lake, and the towering castle before her which was made of a dark, grey brick. Everything held such lovely familiarity.
Once they were inside the castle they only had to take two flights of stairs before they reached the portrait that that Essie told them the password to and then ushered them inside of. Hermione swore that it used to be a classroom but when the portrait swung open and she walked inside she saw that it was a small room with a fireplace that resembled a common room but to which house she didn’t know as it had no set colouring. It had two adjoining doors on either side of the room identical to one another.
“The door to the left is for Mr. Malfoy,” Essie squeaked in what seemed to be a rather light, feminine voice for an elf. “And the door to the right is for Ms. Granger.”
Draco raised his eyebrows and exchanged glances with Hermione. McGonagall apparently did not expect them to sleep with one another and both Malfoy and Hermione couldn’t help but let the relief flood them. Neither of them had even thought of that until they arrived at the passageway to their rooms, which was a painting of an African setting with a giraffe that walked back and forth from its waterhole to a tree with large, green leaves that it ate from. The giraffe seemed quite content in its painting and all one needed to say was “Conundrums” for it to swing open.
Hermione took out her wand and flicked it at her suitcase which made it thump unceremoniously on the floor. Essie jumped a little at the abrupt noise, but quickly straightened her small back and curtsied at the pair.
“If you need anything at all just clap your hands and one of us will come.” Essie curtsied again. “Essie thanks you for letting her help you get acquainted with your room.” Hermione smiled warmly at the elf and she smiled back before disappearing with a snap of her fingers.
“I’m going to go and put my things away,” Hermione told Malfoy, picking up her suitcase by the handle and wheeling it up to where the door to her bedroom was situated.
“I’m going to do the same,” He told her in reply, taking up his own baggage and carrying it to his door. Hermione did not bother answering him and instead opened the door and made her way up the short spiral staircase that was on the other side of it. At the top of the stone staircase was her bedroom decked out in a rich, vibrant red. A smile tugged at the corner of Hermione’s lips as she ran up to the king size four-poster bed that had gold sheets, a white duvet and two red blankets over top. The pillowcases were gold as well and the drapery that hung from the four-posters was a mixture of red and gold. The actual wood in her room was a dark oak colour and the flooring and furniture was also made of the stuff. Hermione buried her face in the soft fabric which lay on her bed and grinned against the cotton material. This was probably going to be the best, most extravagant vacation she was ever going to go on and she wasn’t going to let anything spoil it.
As soon as Hermione’s things were put away in her room she made her way down to the common room which stood empty. She went to Malfoys door and knocked three times, but there was no reply. She wanted to open the door but knew that that wasn’t the smartest plan so instead she turned to a nearby portrait of a middle aged woman reading a book. “Is Malfoy in there?” She asked. The woman looked up from what she was reading and shook her head at Hermione.
“No, he left when you were still in your room, dear.” The woman told her. “He seemed to be in quite the rush, too! He went that way.” The painting pointed towards the only exit in the entire common room, the passageway.
Hermione thanked the painting and walked towards the passage, wondering what reason he had to leave – and in a rush, too. As Hermione neared the passageway it swung open for her exit. She had decided she might as well go down to the Great Hall and catch up with her old schoolmates - wondering after Malfoy wouldn’t help her in the slightest, it would only work her up.
Okay, that might have honestly been my least favourite chapter out of all the ones I have planned (which is all thirty seven). I am so, so sorry about how dull and informative it was. The good stuff is coming, though. (; I hope you continue reading as I realize so far it hasn't been the most eventful fanfic but things are a coming! As I'm sure you realize because I have mentioned it six times before this: I love recieving reviews, be them positive or negative feedback. Positive feedback inspires me to write more and the constructive critisism helps me as an author.
Thank you for reading this far into the Reunion! It really does mean a lot to me.
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