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Chapter 2 : At War
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Hermione woke up the next day fully refreshed. The rooms created by Hogwarts were warm and inviting, she guessed they were all designed especially for the person who would be using them. Hermione’s for example was highlighted with shades of purple and green and hanging on the walls were pictures of her friends – both present and deceased – her room also housed her own private bathroom.
Hermione didn’t hold much in store for fashion. She had an idea of what suited her and what didn’t but she never put the effort in like she had for the yule ball for it had been much too time consuming. Besides wearing a school uniform wasn’t much of a fashion statement and Hermione thought she pulled it off quite well.
‘There you are slow poke!’ said Lavender from the middle of the common room where she was lounging on a chair.
‘What?’ replied Hermione.
‘She thought you’d be up at the crack of dawn’ said Luna.
‘Well you always were before’ said Lavender.
‘That’s because I was always trying to save Harry’s life from something. Generally I’m not a morning person’ said Hermione.
‘Nice bit of magic you sued on Weasley last night Granger’ said Adrian making Hermione jump.
‘Thanks Pucey’ replied Hermione.
‘Actually it’s Adrian’ smirked Adrian.
‘Then I’m Hermione’ replied Hermione.
Lavender rolled her eyes, ‘Yes, well. Adrian’s been giving me fashion advice’ said Lavender her eyes twinkling.
‘No’ said Hermione.
Lavender pouted, ‘But you don’t know what I was going to say’.
‘Still a no’ replied Hermione.
‘What?’ asked Hermione.
‘Oh he didn’t believe me when I said you were stubborn’ said Lavender.
‘I could have told you that’ said a new voice, ‘try to free the house elves anyone’.
‘I didn’t know the Slytherins knew about that’ mumbled Hermione.
‘We aren’t all one person love’ said Blaise Zabini – ever the flirt.
Hermione rolled her eyes.
‘Where is antler boy? By the way great hex!’ said Blaise.
Luna laughed loudly, ‘hospital wing, Dean said he’d be there for a week. Madame Pomfrey said they had to wait for the antlers to stop growing before they could be removed’ she said.
It bought a new round of laughter to everyone – looks like Slytherins and Gryffindor’s could get along.
‘So you aren’t interested in Weasley aye Hermione?!’ said Adrian.
‘No she’s not’ replied Lavender.
Hermione settled quite well into her first day of lessons. It was still an odd feeling not panicking about Harry’s safely of being fearful of oncoming danger. However, as Hermione saw it, it was a chance to do all the things she’d missed out on during the past seven years and actually act like a teenager.
It was funny how easy it was to slip into conversation with the Slytherin’s. Granted there were no annoyances from people like Pansy Parkinson or Crabbe and Goyle – who hadn’t returned to Hogwarts – and Malfoy was being unusually quiet, but Hermione found herself with an odd sense of guilt and shame for jumping on the bandwagon and as Blaise had said earlier, categorising all of Slytherin by one person. She supposed with the presence of Voldemort and the arrogant unpleasantness of the Malfoy’s not to mention the Lestrange’s, it was easy to judge the house of Slytherin to be the same as those noteworthy people.
Hermione knew it wasn’t a judgement fair to over half the people belonging to the house of Slytherin but Hermione hadn’t had a chance to think of them in this light after all the years of danger. The feeling of shame she felt was enough to make her stomach feel unsettled but she decided that rather than continue with this train of thought – that had made her slowdown in the middle of a busy corridor – she’d better hurry up before she was later for class.
Forty minutes later Hermione left the Transfiguration classroom feeling creeped out and wishing she didn’t need transfiguration to become a healer. Turns out Professor Shepard was a bit of a ‘fan’ or the Golden Trio, having followed their efforts during the war and while they were on the run. Hermione had gotten used to the press and autograph hunters in them months following the end of the war – it was one of the reasons she didn’t go out much – but she didn’t think she’d come across one of those ‘fans’ at Hogwarts and especially didn’t think a fan would be her own teacher.
So it was a slow lesson, which started with Professor Shepard gushing over how amazing Hermione was, asking for her autograph, and then asking some personal questions, then getting Hermione to answer every question about transfiguration that he threw at her – all the while completely ignoring the rest of the class.
Less than halfway through the class Hermione was beyond uncomfortable and was incredibly thankful when Malfoy snarkily interrupted and asked Professor Shepard if he was going to flirt inappropriately with Hermione for the rest of the hour of if he was actually going to teach the class transfiguration. To which Professor Shepard both blushed profusely and glared t Malfoy before walking back to the front of the class to begin teaching.
Needless to say, Hermione was glad when the lesson ended.
‘Ooo looks like someone has an admirer’ said Lavender.
‘Shut up’ said Hermione, ‘that was beyond creepy’.
‘Yeah made Ron looks like a fluffy bunny’ added Luna.
‘As long as he starts to teach and not harass Hermione ten I don’t care’ said Adrian.
‘He better teach or I’ll complain’ muttered Draco.
‘Same’ muttered Hermione surprising herself by agreeing with Malfoy.
Hermione tried to distance herself from Malfoy it was unnerving to agree on something but she was walking in a big group; Slytherin’s, Gryffindor’s and a Ravenclaw and as fate would have it she found herself walking closely with Malfoy and with no visible escape.
Sure Hermione knew there were probably a boat load of girls wishing to be this close to Draco Malfoy but Hermione’s brain was at war. One the one hand there was the schoolyard bully, the psycho sympathiser, pureblood arrogant jerk who tried to kill Dumbledore, fought mostly on the wrong side and had called her a Mudblood since she was twelve. But on the other side – and she couldn’t stress how small this side was – she couldn’t deny how attractive he was. It was like her brain took all the negatives and made them positives. It was blind stupidity for her to be crushing on someone like Malfoy. Once you tell yourself something is bad and off limits the more you want it. The more she argued with herself, the more hopelessly angry she became. Luckily no one was leaning on her for conversation, so she was left to her musings without appearing idiotic or gormless. She came to the conclusion that it was just human error, despite all the bad things against him she couldn’t help wishing for something more. Perhaps that was just her need for helping people shining through or perhaps she was holding onto a small piece of hope.
‘Are you alright?’
She blinked once, twice, absorbing his question, ‘fine thanks’.
The corners of his mouth turned up in a would be smile, ‘Don’t let your brain overthink Granger, we wouldn’t want to lose you’.
Hermione starred at him open mouthed, was he attempting a joke or actually giving her a backhanded comment that he cared for her?
‘Looks like we leave you here girls’ said Blaise.
‘Bye Granger’ added Malfoy as the boys walked off. Speech completely evading her, Hermione managed a slightly pathetic wave in the boy’s direction before they disappeared from sight.
After her rather peculiar morning, Hermione struggled to make sense of the rest of her day. In true Hermione fashion, she ended up in the library, immersing herself in facts that she had yet to learn, spells she hadn’t heard of and literary stories she had yet to read. When she had finally had her fill and the sky beyond the library windows had begun to darken, she felt better at peace with herself. The feeling of self combusting with emotion had passed and as she left the library she felt relatively normal.
‘You really should stop wandering off’ came Luna’s voice from Hermione’s bed making her jump.
‘You know you really shouldn’t sneak into other people’s rooms’ replied Hermione.
‘Hmph, it wasn’t sneaking when I knew the code’ said Luna.
Hermione sighed, ‘Anything you wanted?’
‘Worried about you I guess’ she replied.
‘I think you’re at war with yourself. You shouldn’t be, no one would think anything less of you’.
‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’ said Hermione.
‘Malfoy’ replied Luna.
‘There is nothing there except for years of anger and confusion’ said Hermione.
Hermione sighed annoyed, ‘whatever good you and Lavender think you are doing stops now. There is nothing and never will be anything between Malfoy and I, I wouldn’t even want there to be’.
‘Whatever you say Hermione, sweet dreams’ said Luna as she left Hermione’s room.
Hermione stared after her, confusion written on her face and all peacefulness gone.
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