Chapter 14 : Chapter 14
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A single tear rolled down her cheek, she quickly hid her head as someone sat down a little way off in the bar. Aberforth walked over to his customer, “What can I get you?” he asked.
“Get me a firewhisky,” the customer replied. Aberforth looked at the customer oddly before grunting and just filling a dirty glass with something and handing it to him. The person was wearing a long black cloak; they turned their hooded head and looked over at Hermione. With their glass in one hand they made their way over to her.
Hermione tried to look away from the cloaked figure because she couldn’t be bothered with talking to someone, she was too hurt. “You’re an idiot,” said the figure. “A huge idiot.”
Hermione was shocked and angered by this sudden rude attack from this person she didn’t even know, “You don’t even know me!” she snapped angrily.
“Yes I do,” laughed the figure. The person lifted up their hands and pushed back their cloak. Underneath the cloak was Neville. Hermione looked at him shocked. “Neville!” she exclaimed.
“I work up at Hogwarts now. Hagrid found me and told me what you told him,” Neville explained. “Seriously Hermione, do you not want to be happy?”
“Of course I want to be happy!” she retorted.
“Then why are running away from someone who makes you happy?”
“Malfoy does not make me happy. He makes me extremely angry.”
“Hermione, don’t be stupid. You are clever, extremely so, and since you have left Hogwarts you have been exceptionally stupid. Life is passing you by Hermione, and you are keeping hold so very tight so you don’t have to go along with it,” Neville told her. “I miss the Hogwarts days as much as you do. All of us do, Harry, Ron, Ginny and Luna. But we know that we have to carry on with life otherwise everything will hurt too much. We all let go a long time ago. And, we found happiness and love. You have found love, but you won’t let yourself have it because to have it you have to let go.”
Hermione looked at Neville; it was so very strange to see him so much more confident and grown up. Everything he said he said with such truth and sincerity, Hermione just cried and shook her head, “I can’t let go.”
“Yes you can!” Neville told her. “Look at everything you have achieved and everything you have gone through. You don’t have to live alone; you have someone who cares greatly for you. Malfoy. Don’t be afraid Hermione. Stop being scared of getting hurt or hurting him. Because none of that might happen. You’ll only know if you let go.”
“You don’t understand,” she cried. “If I let go then I am accepting. I don’t want to.”
Neville smiled understandingly and put a hand delicately on her arm, “Hermione, just be grateful that your parents are safe. They might be dead but think they aren’t suffering a fate worse than death. They wouldn’t want you like this anyway; they would want their daughter to be living her life, because you can live your life to the fullest for them.”
“Neville,” Hermione began to protest, but he shook his head at her. He got up off his seat and pulled Hermione off hers. “Hermione, you need closure, and I think the only way you can do that, is to say goodbye. But the truth is, I don’t think it is your parents you need to say goodbye to. It’s Hogwarts that you need to say goodbye to. You won’t allow yourself to love Malfoy because you haven’t let Hogwarts go. So you are coming with me. Plus I think someone will be able to talk to you better and help you.”
Hermione looked at him curiously, and allowed herself to be pulled out of the Hogs head. Neville escorted Hermione up to the Hogwarts castle. She remembered the route well, it looked exactly the same as did Hogwarts. After the war, Hogwarts had repaired itself, no one had helped; the building merely did it by itself. Everyone had been amazed and surprised, although if you really thought about it, it wasn’t really overall that surprising. After all Hogwarts was capable of anything.
Hermione looking worryingly at Neville, “I shouldn’t be going into the grounds. It’s against the rules. Only guests that are formally invited by the head teacher are allowed. No outsiders.”
“Well it’s not the first time you have broken the rules,” Neville told her. Hermione smiled and nodded knowingly, as she thought back to all her rule breaking moments. They were completely Ron and Harry’s faults. They had been a bad influence on her, but she wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Neville had led Hermione into the grounds had just like that year when she took her N.E.W.T.s she saw ghosts everywhere. But they weren’t ghosts of the dead they were the ghosts of what had passed. It felt like someone had thrust their hand into her chest and was squeezing her heart. All these students in the corridors, she knew they couldn’t wait to grow up; she couldn’t blame them but she so wished to grow down. Be a student again. She was so better put together back then, now she was just a mess. She constantly thought she was making progress and then suddenly she was back at square one. It was strange, Hermione knew that is she had never left everyone for those three years, then none of this would have happened.
Many of the students greeted Neville respectfully when he walked past them and Hermione couldn’t help but notice that it was mainly girls who were doing so, which they then went and burst into fits of giggles. “So what do you teach?” Hermione asked,
“Herbology,” grinned Neville,
Hermione was led all the way to the golden gargoyle which led to the headmistresses’ office. “Tartan,” Neville said loudly and clearly. At once the gargoyle moved to reveal the staircase, which both then walked up. Hermione found it odd to be going up the staircase, it seemed wrong.
The door to the office was already open and at their desk was Professor McGonagal, the office looked very similar to when Dumbledore had been headmaster, but it was a lot tidier and obviously had some of Professor McGonagal’s own touches. When the two walked in all the headteachers in their portraits turned and looked at them. “Hermione,” exclaimed Professor McGonagal, “This is a surprise I didn’t expect to see you here, and Neville, I thought you were keeping an eye on the students in Hogsmede?”
“I was, but needs must,” he stammered and a pink tinge fell across his cheeks, “I’m getting back to them, I just thought I’d bring Hermione here. She needs someone to talk to. I think she might actually listen to you, she listens to what everyone else is saying but she isn’t really hearing us. I’ll go back now.”
Neville quickly gave Hermione’s hand a squeeze before quickly darting off. Hermione watched the grown man leave, slightly yearning for the boy looking for his toad. She sighed sadly, reminiscing and feeling nostaligic once more. “Care to sit,” gestured McGonagal, before she lifted her wand and closed the door behind Hermione. She walked over to the seat before the Professor and sat down.
Professor McGonagal, looked through her spectacles sadly, and then smiled. “I shan’t pry Hermione, into your personal details but I can tell by the look on your face what the main problems is. I’ve seen it many times before. This place is hard to let go. It gets under your skin, begins to seep into your blood. Then the things that have happened to you specifically, it is hard to settle down. You miss this place, but you most miss the adventures, you find t hard to see all your friends living their lives when you still feel so trapped in the past. Am I close?”
“Very Professor,” she nodded shyly,
“My dear, I do not know how to help you. I fear you can only help yourself, but even now as I look at you I think you have already tried but you always take one step forward then two steps back. Now I shan’t deny that you miss this place and you miss the adventure, and when undeniably you were so very happy because life was easier, which is strange to think as your life was not easy. But I think the main thing is that you are scared. You are scared to let it go.”
“I just, I can’t move on,” sighed Hermione, “I want to, I want to live my life, but magic it has ruined everything, I’ve ruined everything. I hurt everyone, because of my actions. I feel like I have lost everyone. I went away for three years and I come back and it is as if I don’t know anyone, I just feel as if I am floating.”
“It is never easy,” came a voice that was not McGonagal’s, Hermione turned to see the portrait of Professor Snape, “Life is hard, we shall not pretend otherwise and pamper those who succumb to it. You must find that one thing, that give you purpose and drive. Something that makes you happy. You are obviously not happy with your life and what you are doing, because you have no purpose. You are floating, because you will not land.”
“How do I land?” begged Hermione,
“You find a purpose,” Snape replied,
“Professor Snape is right,” agreed Professor Dumbledore’s portrait, “I believe Miss Granger, that you are trying to be someone who you are not...Helena Grabstein.” Hermione blushed at the mention of her writing persona, “I, I guess yes, that is true,”
“I doubt also that you want to be an auror,” said Professor McGonagal, “You are a smart girl who loves to learn but you also like to help others. Perhaps the thing that is causing you most pain is in fact your calling.”
“This place?” she questioned, “Teaching?”
“Maybe,” nodded Professor McGonagal, “You are unhappy because you do things that you do not enjoy. So why not be in a place, with people, doing something you enjoy.”
“I don’t know, it seems counterproductive,”
“On the contrary,” interrupted Snape, “I found it to be very helpful,”
“Um...what job vacancies do you have,” Hermione asked after a long pause in order to think about what was being said. But being here in Hogwarts the place which she loved more than anything she actually felt like she was home and where she belonged, although she was sad she also happy. Here she could help here and she could be happy, but she also not hurt people. She wouldn’t be writing Rita Skeeter-esk articles and breaking up marriages. She’d be using magic for good purposes and so she would not be harming others and making herself despise magic. Also she would be bound by a contract and would have to stay giving her finally some stability.
Professor McGonagal had sat up straighter in her desk and had shared some looks with Dumbledore which had gone unobserved by Hermione, but if she had have seen them she would have seen the concern in their eyes but also pride. “Miss Granger we currently have one teaching position currently open, that of charm,”
“Really? What happened to Professor Flitwick?”
“He decided to retire, he said though if I cannot fill the post, which I have been trying to fill since before the school broke up at summer and it is now December. I have been teaching it myself, but with my other duties it hasn’t been the most ideal of situations,” admitted Professor McGonagal,
“I believe from my O.W.Ls and N.E.W.T.s you will see I have good grades in charms, and have constantly been reading the books that are supplied on charms, well on most subjects really. I like to be up to date. So please consider me for the position,”
“You would like the job,”
“Yes!” smiled Hermione, “this is the first thing I have been sure about since I’ve come back to the wizarding world. I’d love to work here, I love this place.”
“Well, Miss Granger, if that is the case when can you start?”
OOC: Blimey, I am so sorry for the horrifically long wait for this chapter. Far too many months. I'll be honnest I was having issues writing and then I forgot all about it. As soon as I remembered and re-read the story I felt I had to continue. Sorry that it is such a short chapter and you had to wait so long. But I'll try and bring it back. Don't forget all comments are welcome.
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