Chapter 1 : Temper Tantrum
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Hermione Granger couldn’t say she was the same girl she was seven years ago. Though her looks had barely changed her personality had grown and matured. Looking around platform 9 and three quarters now was a different experience – there was no fear in the eyes of people. Unfortunately so few had returned to education, it had taken a year to restore Hogwarts and to get it in some kind of order. The Ministry was still partially corrupt but that wouldn’t change. Hermione had – like others, been offered the opportunity to take her N.E.W.Ts off the bat but she’d declined, preferring to head back to Hogwarts and gather some sense of normalcy in her life. There weren’t many returning, a handful from each house, as was such McGonagall had decided to grant the returning seventh years with their own living space – a common room with separate bedrooms.
Harry was not returning with Hermione, he’d gone MIA since the end of the war, retreating to a place of quiet and comfort. Hermione wasn’t too worried as she’d received untraceable letters from Harry letting her know of his welfare. Ron on the other hand would be returning, which made Hermione shudder. Despite the many ‘no Ronald’ and rejections she’d dealt out, Ron was completely oblivious to the fact that she didn’t want him and found his advances creepy.
Hermione had decided to become a healer, she did after all have an unnatural need to help people. There were only half a dozen people talking the same classes required for a career in healing. The only people worth mentioning are the ones she knew: Adrian Pucey, Blaize Zabini and Draco Malfoy from Slytherin, Luna Lovegood from Ravenclaw, and Lavender Brown from Gryffindor. The others, mostly Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws were people Hermione didn’t know. Knowing that old habits die hard, Hermione knew that having the same classes as Malfoy was tempting fate. She wanted to believe that the ‘M’ word wouldn’t be uttered but she wasn’t that naïve.
On a sadder note, Hermione’s parents were no longer among the living – it wasn’t common knowledge and it wasn’t a terrifying situation. Hermione’s parents had been ill for some time, - not everyone is able to live full long lives – but Hermione and her parents had been aware of the decrease of health. Though the passing of her parents had affected her terribly, she hadn’t lost her muchness or drop off the face of the planet in a wirl of depression (i.e. she was still our Hermione). She had however come to realise that her parents were much wealthier than she’d ever realised and indeed the dentist practice was just a front for their other franchises (it wasn’t something Hermione really felt she wanted to seek the answer too), in short, Hermione was now incredibly rich.
Back to the present, Hermione realised she’d been standing on the platform staring into space for quite some time and probably looked like an idiot. She hurried onto the train and searched for a place to sit. Her search did not take long as she neared a compartment that contained two familiar people.
The two girls sitting in the compartment were know as ‘double trouble’ or the ‘two L’s’. Their friendship was one of the most confusing to emerge from the war but in the face of danger one learns to put everything else aside and focus on what is important. Luna, Lavender and Hermione discovered that their kindness for others bought them closer during the harsh times of the war and set the ground work for the beginning of their friendship.
‘We were about to send out the search party’ mused Luna.
‘Sorry, got caught up in thinking’ said Hermione.
‘About the past?’ asked Lavender.
‘More about how I’ve changed because of the situations I’ve faced’ replied Hermione.
‘Parents?’ asked Lavender.
‘Yes and no’ said Hermione not really wanting to continue the conversation.
‘Hush now, you’re making dear Hermione uncomfortable’ said Luna.
Lavender laughed and rolled her eyes, ‘I heard Ron’s returning’..
Hermione groaned, ‘Don’t remind me’.
‘If ever there was a time in my life to think ‘what the hell are you doing – stop before you make a fool of yourself’ it would have been my brief romance with Ron. I mean what the hell was I doing? I must have been mad, I called him Won-Won for goodness sake!! I blame the whole incident on teenage emotions’ huffed Lavender with a pout.
Hermione couldn’t contain it anymore, one glance at Luna and she was gone, laughing uncontrollably at Lavender’s rant.
Lavender groaned, ‘You too are no help, you’re supposed to give me sympathy’.
‘Sorry’ gasped Hermione between laughs.
‘Hmph’ said Lavender before taking on an evil glint in her eye, ‘So possible guys this year?’
Now it was Hermione’s turn to groan, she still wasn’t used to all the boy talk and gossip – but she was learning.
‘Well’ said Luna, ‘There is Seamus and Dean from Gryffindor, I think Terry’s back but I’m not sure, then there is Malfoy, Zabini, Pucey and Nott from Slytherin’.
‘Funny how we refer to the Slytherins by their last names’ said Hermione.
‘Speaking of Slytherins are you finally going to confront Malfoy?’ asked Lavender.
‘Confront him about what?’ asked Hermione.
‘About how you think he’d sexy and how you want to wrap your arms around him’.
‘I do not’ shouted Hermione outraged.
‘Hermione, we shared a dorm for years and you talk in your sleep’ giggled Lavender.
Hermione huffed, ‘I’ll admit he’s attractive but you can’t hold me responsible for my actions while I’m asleep, besides he’s a total jerk and mean’.
‘The war is over Hermione’ said Lavender.
‘Old prejudices are hard to break’ replied Hermione.
‘Whose? Yours or theirs?’ questioned Luna.
Hermione scowled, ‘What about your love lives?’ asked Hermione, changing the topic before her cheeks flushed red.
‘Change the subject all you want Granger’ said Lavender.
‘Stop it you two’ said Luna.
‘She started it’ said Hermione outraged.
‘Well I’m finishing it’ declared Luna.
The three entered into a comfortable silence, each comfortable enough without the need to continually chat. The silence expanded for some time, the girls changed into their uniforms and waited for their journey to end. The silence was unfortunately broken by the arrival of one ginger haired man – personally Hermione would have preferred an awkward conversation with one Cormac McLaggen to a conversation with the red haired man before her – and that was saying something!
‘Urm Mione…’ he began in what Hermione felt was a truly pitiful noise.
‘What Ronal?’ she asked.
‘Can I speak to you in private?’ he asked.
‘No’ she replied.
So Ron tried a different tactic, ‘Seamus and Dean were looking for you tow’ he said pointing to Lavender and Luna, ‘Perhaps you should go look for them’ he said rather forcefully.
‘If they want us, they can come find us’ said Luna.
‘Yeah we aren’t moving’ added Lavender.
Ron huffed annoyed, ‘But I really need to talk to you Mione’ said Ron pouting.
‘Well I don’t want to talk to you. I suggest you move, you’re blocking the hallway’ said Hermione.
Whether Ron was going to explode or not, nobody cared, it was just unfortunate that at that precise moment the train jerked sending Ron backwards onto the floor. The girls didn’t even try to stop their laughter – the whole thing was hilarious.
Hermione never got tired of seeing Hogwarts appear from behind the Scottish mountains, she never tired of seeing the mermaids in the lake, the thestrals (that she now saw) pulling the carriages or the smoke coming from Hagrid’s hut. Seeing the Great Hall all done up made her smile, welcoming new students was special, the ghosts made her laugh and she could never get tired of the sorting hat’s speech.
There were new teachers to welcome this year, and other than Professor McGonagall and a few others, not many faces were recognisable. Hermione – quite unlike her usual attentiveness only paid attention to the new teachers who would be teaching her. They went like this: Professor Alan Smart, American teaching Potions, Professor Amelia Jones, English, teaching Herbology, Professor Lucy Fray, English teaching Charms, Professor Patrick Shepard, Australian teaching Transfiguration (and holding strategy/defence workshops), Professor Roger Clark, American, teaching Ancient Runes and finally Professor Elizabeth Smith and Professor Mark Hawksworth, English, teaching Healer training on Friday afternoons.
Once all the introductions and notices were read out, the sorting was over and everyone was seated, the feast began. Chatting happily with Lavender and Luna, Hermione felt quite impressed with McGonagall’s idea to do away with house tables and allow students to sit where they wanted on a multitude of circular tables, the only exception to the round tables being the staff table and the long rectangle table that all the newly sorted first years sat at.
Hermione managed to successfully avoid both the topic about and actively avoid bumping into the three Slytherins. Though Lavender didn’t bring up the topic again Hermione felt that the smirk on her friends face meant she could hear the thoughts travelling around Hermione’s head no matter how much she tried to ignore them. However like most things in life the more you try to avoid or ignore the more they knock at the door. As it was, Hermione, Luna and Lavender heard the shouting before they even entered the common room (which was hidden behind a painting of a most unfortunately ugly girl) and couldn’t help by think they’d returned for their first year and not their seventh.
It was it seemed a battle of wills, on one side you had Ronald, Seamus and Dean while on the other you had Draco, Blaize and Adrian, while all the other students stood off to the sides trying not to get involved. It was the famous Weasley temper that was coming forth shouting obscenities, making empty threats and assumptions. Dean and Seamus simply seemed to be silent backup, not really looking like they wanted to be there.
‘I can’t believe McGonagall let back scum like you!’ shouted Ron.
‘As opposed to students that barely passed their exams’ muttered Blaize.
‘How dare you! I’m brighter than you lot put together! I took down Voldemort!’
‘Really? Pretending to be Potter now? Or are you saying that all the eye witnesses of Voldemort’s demise were wrong?’ asked Adrian sarcastically.
Ron’s face turned red as he struggled to find a response. Poor Ronald, he wasn’t a bad person really, he just battled terribly with his jealousy to have whatever everyone else had. He had a terrible temper and was used to getting his own way (thanks to Molly coddling him all the time).
‘Wait till Hermione see you’ve returned’ said Ron.
‘Granger wouldn’t care either way’ drawled Draco.
‘What not calling her Mudblood anymore’ taunted Ron (while everyone else gasped at his callous use of the world – to Hermione’s displeasure.
‘I do not judge you for the sins of your past, I ask you not to do the same to me’ replied Draco coolly.
‘Hermione’s mind anyway, she wouldn’t look twice at a Slytherin’ said Ron.
Hermione had had enough and apparently Lavender couldn’t keep her giggle silent, thus alerting the rest of the room to their presence. The Slytherins bore no emotion on their faces whereas Ron’s face went bright re.
‘Poor Ronald’ sang Luna stepping further into the room.
Hermione pinched her nose between her finger and thumb and sighed heavily.
‘Ronald Weasley our friendship is in serious threat of disintegrating altogether. I am not ‘yours’ Ronald, nor will I ever be, so please stop asking me. I don’t find you the least bit attractive and you are ruining our friendship, you are literally driving me insane!!’ she shouted.
‘But Hermione!’ said Ron angry and red faced.
‘No buts Ronald! Anteoculatia!’ she said not sparing a glance at Ron as she left the room with Luna and Lavender on her heels.
‘Well this is awkward’ said Adrian looking at the antlers that now grew from Ron’s head.