Hermione had that feeling in her gut that this was going to be a good year as the Hogwarts Express steamed into Hogsmead station. Now that the threat of Voldemort was out of the way, she could become a normal teenager again. She'd enjoyed her summer with the boys and Ginny, staying at the Burrow for a few weeks, after coming back from Australia. She'd gotten both her parents back in one piece and nothing could stand between them anymore. Her family was whole once again. Some though weren't as lucky. Mrs. Weasley was still having a hard time coming to terms with Fred's passing and George was a living wreck. And a workaholic. Ginny was keeping him together, she was his light in the dark. Only the littlest Weasley could talk to him without upsetting him. Harry was grief stricken about Remus and Tonks. He'd barely let little Teddy out of his sight. Not that Ginny minded, she'd told the older girl it was good practice.
As the train came to a stop, she gathered her trunk and Crookshanks' cage. Her new Head Girl badge was pinned to her school robes giving her a sensation of maturity, responsibility and maybe even a little power. When she'd received it with her book list, she'd been ecstatic. This was what she'd been working for all these years. Last year, when Ron and she had made up their minds to accompany Harry on his trip to hunt Horcruxes, she'd been ready to give up her education only halfheartedly. As much as she loved her friends, the possibility of never getting to pass her N.E.W.Ts had stuck in her throat. Of course, if they hadn't succeeded, she'd be dead anyway because of her blood status. So what good would the tests have done ? Now, with the promise of a long life ahead, she could study, get a job, have her own flat... And maybe even a family one day. Only months ago, nobody had been willing to project ahead, scared of what the future had in store for them. Now they could breath a bit and make the most of life.
Once on the platform she looked around for her friends. She'd been required to stay in the Prefect compartment, giving orders and planning patrols. Now, Hermione couldn't find the gang which worried her a bit. After what they had all lived through, the girl had a new found need to know everyone was safe at all times and keeping in touch twice as much. Only to Ron and Harry's annoyance. Also, she was quite angry at the Head Boy, who had not shown. She wondered who had gotten the job. Maybe a Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff.
Not many of Hermione's classmates had come back to finish their seventh year, almost no Slytherins, and only a few Hufflepuffs. Mostly her friends from Gryffindors and Ravenclaws, who wouldn't let pass a chance to study some more. Hermione had begged Harry and Ron to come back with her when they'd gotten their letters from Headmistress McGonagall. Both had already been offered job opportunities in the Auror department, nothing was holding them back. Except Hermione.
All of a sudden, she spotted a full head of red hair by the carriages. It wasn't a shock that most students could now see the Thestrals. It was a little difficult to bear when a small, scared second year saw them, they almost frightened him as much as they frightened her... So young and already marked with death... She headed towards her friends, who had saved her a spot. As they made their way to the Castle, the girl's thoughts drifted to the battle that had taken place in the very location she was returning to. Most of the damage had been taken care of over the summer holiday, some fissures could be seen in the walls, maybe unrepairable ? Or had they been left so no one would ever forget ? By the size of them, they'd most likely been made with sheer, brut force that only giants possessed. A large memorial had been built by the lake, a marble wall, with the names of the fallen. Flowers lay at the feet of the site.
Soon, Hermione found herself in a pair of strong arms. She looked around and came face to face with Ronald. He handed her a tissue, while wiping tears with the back of his hand from the girl's face, ones she hadn't known she'd shed.
“It's ok to cry,” he said, “mum told me it's part of heeling.”
“Thanks Ron. It just seems unfair that we get to move on and they never will, they died so young, leaving behind those they loved.”
Harry's green eyes narrowed, making him look a thousand years old, like he'd carried the weight of the world on his shoulders and only now realized it. “It's hard to deal with, but I promise you Hermione, the people who died know they'll never be forgotten. I admit, it was nice to see my mum and dad, and Sirius again, but they don't belong in our world. As much as we'd like to have them back, once you cross over, it's forever.”
He was right of course. The carriage finally came to a stop. They all got off and left their luggage and pets by the entrance. The small group of DA's left made their way to the Great Hall and took a seat near the back of Gryffindor's table. Luna had joined her fellow Ravenclaws much to Neville's disappointment. As students started to fill in, the noise grew, to a point where Hermione could no longer hear the boys' conversation. Instead she watched the different house students. One particularly caught her eye. His blond hair was longer, he was paler too but she recognized him. How could she not ? It was at his manor that Bellatrix had tortured her... Malfoy. He was back. Maybe the year wouldn't be that perfect after all. Hermione was still staring when his gray eyes met her chocolate brown ones. Hastily, she turned away, instead focussing on the first years walking up to the head table. She remembered perfectly the first time she'd walked through the doors of the Great Hall, talking about how the ceiling was enchanted to look like the night sky. She chuckled, but when Harry threw her an asking look she just shook her head in laughter. A new professor was telling the young students about the sorting and four houses. She wasn't yet middle aged, maybe thirty at most, with longish black hair and a kind, reassuring smile. The hall went quiet as the sorting hat started it's new song. Everyone, even the teachers, were intrigued as to what it would say.
“The time again has come
For a sorting ceremony.
The young, the innocent, wherever they are from
I would put them together but unfortunately,
Only four choices are offered to one.
These have proven faithful,
They have caused wars,
To spilt students in houses, is to throw
Salt on healing wounds.
To divide, is to plan for future clans,
Whom shall each oppose, and fight for the upper hand.
But, 'tis my role, so put me on and show me,
Where you belong.
Gryffindor for the Brave,
Hufflepuff for the Trusting.
Ravenclaw for the Bright,
Slytherin for the Cunning.
Remember just this,
My warning to those who seek refuge.
They shall find it not in their house,
But in their hearts, which is home.”
Hermione was confused, clapping out of habit, but internally mulling over the wise hat's song. There was always a second meaning, always an hidden statement. A voice brought her back, that of the young professor. “When I call your name, step forward and place the hat over your head. Than join your house table.” She paused, and read out, “Al Vezira, Marwin.” A small boy with curly brown hair sat on the stool and put on the hat. A few seconds later it called out, “RAVENCLAW !” The table clapped at the first recruit, welcoming him.
At that point, Ron exclaimed, “Bloody hell, doesn't one of them have a brave bone in their puny bodies ?”
A moment passed, the poor boy sat, his knuckles turning white, he was grabbing hold of the stool so hard.
Ron was the first on his feet, shouting like a mad man, probably not helping the boy's nerves. Hermione pulled him back down just as fast. The red head smiled that goofy smile of his saying calmly, “He's a Fred, no other place for him but Gryffindor.” And that was that.
Once the sorting was done, they dug into the food. Merlin's beard, Hermione had forgotten how delicious the food at the Hogwarts' welcome fest was ! After a second serving of desert, the petite girl was stuffed and probably wouldn't be able to take another bite even if she wanted. The Headmistress made her speech, welcoming back every single student, hoping this year the houses would mingle more, telling the O.W.L and N.E.W.T levels to work extra hard and finally introducing the new heads. Hermione blushed when Gryffindor erupted into cheers at the sound of her name. That was until the head boy's name was called.
“And, serving as Head Boy, Mister Draco Malfoy.” Across the Hall, he smirked at Hermione and Oh, Dear Merlin, he did a slight, mocking bow only she saw. He infuriated her ! What had he done to deserve this honorable position ? Sure, he'd been second after her in each class, but he was also a troublemaker. A bully. A Death Eater. A jerk. A Pureblood who'd made her life living hell. And to think she would have to share a dorm with him all year ! Never !
When the pupils were dismissed, Ron and Harry stayed back, asking if she wanted them to keep her company.
“I can take care of myself, thanks.” She told them, so they shrugged and headed off to bed.
“Nice to see you again Hermione,” said Minerva. She was pleased her old Transfiguration professor was on a first name basis.
“My pleasure, Minerva. Did you have a nice summer ?”
“Lots to do, so little time.” She answered.
When Malfoy joined them, they stopped their cheery conversation and the Headmistress showed them to the Heads' Common Room on the fourth floor. The painting guarding the door was a handsome knight on a pure white horse.
“Who goes there ? Reveal yourselves !” He shouted, brandishing a bronze sword.
“Sire Henry, these are the new Heads.” introduced Minerva, while motioning back and forth between Hermione and Draco, who were standing as far from each other as possible. The elderly woman then turned to them. “Your password is 'Deluminator'. Each month a new one will appear on your board. I would like to meet you tomorrow evening after your classes to set up a meeting with the Prefects concerning patrols and other business. Good evening to you both.” And with that she turned and headed back to her quarters.
"Deluminator.” Hermione told Henry, the knight. The portrait swung open and she went in.
“Wow !” said Malfoy. The girl agreed, the room was amazing. The walls were half red and gold, and half green and silver. The Gryffindor and Slytherin banners both hung, one on each side of a large fireplace. Around the room, wood furniture and brown leather couches and two love seats were scattered. The floor was carpeted, Hermione immediately kicked off her shoes and sunk into the mushiness... It was heaven. A large bookcase sat on the right side filled with spell books, as well as biographies of famous witches and wizards. There were also some muggle fiction novels and the classics. In the left corner was a stand for a broom, with a seat to use, probably to sit when you polished the flying contraption. A door on the other side of the room attracted the Head Girl's attention. She barely noticed Malfoy. She was in such a good mood even he couldn't ruin the moment. She twisted the knob, behind the door was a corridor with two doors on each side and a huge window at the end of it, with a ledge to sit on if one wanted to just relax and look at the view. It was too dark to see outside but Hermione guessed the view looked out on the Forbidden Forest and to the left, the Quidditch pitch. She turned around and saw that on the left side, the first door read “Draco Malfoy” and on the right “Hermione Granger”. She entered her room and was stunned by the size of it. It was twice as big as the dorm she'd shared two years ago with her fellow sixth year girls. A huge bed with red sheets and a warm brown knitted blanket that reminded her of Mrs. Weasley. A wardrobe to hang her clothes, something she'd never had at school since she'd always kept them in her trunk. A mirror as tall as her was fixed to the wall. Her floor was in polished wood and to the right was a window with a magnificent view of the mountains. Her whole room reminded her of the Gryffindor Common Room with reds and golds. Warm colors, exactly what made her feel safe. She was home. To her left was a door the probably connected to her own private bathroom, yep, she had guessed correctly and was delighted to see she had both a bath and a shower. Another door was in the washing room, she opened it and was back in the corridor. Malfoy probably had the same layout as she did. Hence the two doors with his name in front of hers. She went back to her Common Room, where she saw Malfoy sitting on the couch, in front of a warm fire, Crookshanks on his lap. Traitor, she thought. She walked around to face the Slytherin and stated she was heading to bed, grabbing her cat off his lap, earning herself a deep scratch on her arm. He snickered making her blood boil.
This was not going to end well. She stalked back to her private room with what dignity she had left, holding her cat a little tighter than necessary. After washing up and tying back her bushy hair, she pulled out the book she'd been reading on the train from her pocket and cast an Engorgio spell to put it back to it's original size. It was Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Hermione read until she couldn't keep her eyes open for more than a few seconds and fell into a deep sleep, warm and cozy in her new bed. This was definitely going to be an interesting living arrangement.
Author's note : Well, this is the first chapter of my first HP fanfiction. Please review, I would appreciate it :)
Disclaimer : Obviously, (sadly) I don't own anything. Only the first years.
- Blue Jay
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