Chapter 3 : Chapter 3
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All thoughts of Malfoy, crying first years and Luna's nonsense about auras were pushed to the back of Hermione's mind as soon as she got her first glimpse of Hogwarts. She sat up in her seat to try and get a better view of the magnificent castle, it's high towers and the soft glow coming from the windows, it was beautiful. Hermione visibly relaxed, finally feeling like she was home. Despite now having to spend a great deal of time with Malfoy, she knew the year would be a good one.
As the carriage, pulled by the school thestrals (which, thanks to the war, most students could see) drew closer to Hogwarts, Hermione could see that it had been fully restored. The walls, windows and doors that had been blown apart during the final battle were back to their original state, in fact, it looked as though no war had ever taken place.
Sitting at the Gryffindor table next to Ginny, Hermione's eyes, and the eyes of everyone else in the room, were on the sorting hat. The first years were huddled together, looking scared and confused. Suddenly, the rip near the hats brim opened wide and the hat began it's song:
Welcome back to Hogwarts,
It's the start of a new year.
The war is done, the Dark Lord gone,
And change is in the air.
Let us not make enemies,
But seek friendship instead
Leave all fighting in the past
The time for war is dead.
Yet still I must separate,
These bright and fresh young minds.
So sit just here and put me on,
Let us see what this hat finds.
Will you go to Gryffindor?
Where the brave of heart belong.
Or will I call out Ravenclaw,
Whose intellect is strong?
You could be a true Hufflepuff,
A trusty and kind friend.
Or will it be to Slytherin,
Their ambition knows no end.
For a hat, I'm awfully wise,
I don't sit on the fence.
I know which house you belong to,
So let the sorting commence!
Hermione clapped along with her peers. She had particularly enjoyed the hat's song this year, especially the part about the war being over. Of course there had been the usual stuff about how they all should be making friends, presumably aimed at the Gryffindor and Slytherin tables. Hermione chuckled quietly to herself at the thought of being friends with Pansy Parkinson, fat chance of that ever happening!
Her thoughts were interrupted when Professor Mcgonagall stood up to address the students.
"Good evening, and welcome to another year at Hogwarts. I cannot express how pleased I am to see you all here. The last year was an extremely difficult one for us. We will never forget those who were lost, but believe me when I say time will help us all. I hope that we can all move on together in what I know will be a better wizarding world. Second years and above will notice that the castle has now been restored to its former glory, with one new addition. The returning seventh years will have their own dormitories rather than sharing with others in their houses. You will each have your own bedroom, bathroom and a shared common room area." This announcement was met with many whooping and cheering noises from the seventh members. Hermione was pleased, but managed to control her excitement better than her peers.
Mcgonagall continued, "I am also thrilled to announce that your Head boy and girl this year will be returning students Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger," there was a round of applause throughout the room, "if the two of you could stay behind at the end, I need to speak to you about passwords for your dormitory. Finally, you may have noticed several empty spaces at the staff table, due to myself taking over as Headmistress, the most unfortunate death of Professor Burbage, and, once again, the need for a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher." Mcgonagall turned as a door behind the staff table opened and 2 men walked out. "It is my pleasure to introduce Professor Wilkins, who will be taking over Potions, Professor Charles, our new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher and..."
"DAD?!?!" A yell from Ginny made Hermione jump. A third man, Mr Weasley, had just stepped out of the same doorway as the two new Professors.
"Yes, thank you Miss Weasley. Your new Muggle Studies teacher will be Professor Weasley." A round of applause and a lot of cheering broke out at this. Arthur Weasley gave an excited wave, his face as red as his hair with embarrassment.
"Now, let's eat!" McGonagall finished and sat in her chair.
Ginny was fuming. "Professor?! Professor Weasley?! My dad, muggle studies?!"
"Ginny, calm down," Hermione said firmly, "and please try to talk in full sentences. You sound like Ron first thing in the morning."
"I just...it's going to be mortifying! My dad the teacher. Urgh. I love coming to Hogwarts because I get away from home. Now more than ever I need to be away. Things are so depressing at home, after Fred...I mean, it's not that I don't think about him every day, but I'd rather think of happy memories, that's what Fred would want. Mum just cries all of the time, and Dad treads on eggshells, he hardly speaks anymore in fear of setting mum off." She sighed. "Dad being here can not be a good thing."
"You never know," Hermione said, "he might surprise you. Maybe this is just what he needs!"
Ginny shook her head, she looked deep in thought and Hermione decided not to continue the conversation, nothing she said would change Ginny's mind. Food, however, could distract it, and thankfully the plates in front of them magically filled at that moment. Dinner looked and smelled every bit as mouth watering as Hermione remembered. She began to fill her plate with all of her favourite foods and smiled to herself, she really was home.
After the dessert plates had magically been cleared, Professor Mcgonagall made a few more announcements, mainly reminders of Filch's banned items and not going into the Forbidden Forest. The new prefects led the first years out and in different directions to their dormitories. The returning seventh years waited in the entrance hall for Hermione and Draco so that they could be shown where their new sleeping quarters were.
Hermione approached the staff table, Malfoy followed dragging his feet. McGonagall looked up from her Evening Prophet paper and smiled.
"Ah yes, Miss Granger, Mr Malfoy. Firstly, congratulations on your Headship positions. I want you to know I chose you both personally and expect nothing but the best from both of you. First things first, your new dormitories are situated at the bottom of the North Tower. You will find a large painting of the Hogwarts founders, your password is 'unity'. Once inside you will find names on all of the doors to the bedrooms, bathrooms are through the door inside your rooms. You will find as Head Boy and Girl that you have a few extra...privileges, use them wisely." Hermione and Malfoy looked confused but the Headmistress said no more on the subject. "Finally, I would like you to work with the prefects to organise a Christmas ball. Goodness knows we could use a party this year!" She smiled kindly. "That will be all I think."
Hermione and Malfoy turned to leave without a word or even a glance at each other.
"Actually," Professor McGonagall's voice made them stop and turn back, "just one more thing...do try to be civil to each other please. You are adults now, you need to behave that way." She looked at them sternly. They both nodded and left the Great Hall.
After meeting the other seventh years in the Entrance Hall, the group made their way to the north tower and their new dorms. Hermione gave the password and the large picture swung open, revealing the common room.
It was beautiful. The room was spacious with high ceilings. There was a seating area with a range of comfy chairs, sofas and even bean bags, placed right in front of the biggest fireplace Hermione had ever seen. House elves had already been and lit the fire so the room was warm and had a cosy feel to it. A banner hung in each of the four corners showing each houses colours and emblem. On the left hand side a staircase led up to a long corridor with bedrooms on either side. Hermione said goodnight to the others and opened the door bearing her name.
A double four poster bed dominated the room, red and gold silk bedding covered it. The curtains that hung around it were also the Gryfindor colours and were a heavy material that Hermione could tell kept the sun out in the morning. Her trunk was already waiting for her at to foot of the bed. A door to one side led to the bathroom, complete with huge egg shaped bath, freestanding shower, toilet and basin. The red and gold theme continued in there on the tiles and fluffy bath towels. Hermione adored her new room, it was perfect.
She went back into her bedroom and sat on the bed, noticing a piece of parchment on her pillow. It was a note from Professor Mcgonagall:
I hope you approve of your new dormitory. As Head Girl you also have your own house elf, Minnie. Should you need anything, simply call for her and she will assist you.
Please keep me informed with any plans for the Christmas ball.
Professor M McGonagall
Hermione put the note on her bedside table and quickly dressed for bed, it had been a long day and her new bed was calling for her. She crawled under the duvet and fell asleep almost instantly.
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