Hermione sat at her desk idly flicking through the Charms text book before her, as she tried to remember the plan for her first lesson. Her classroom was Professor Flitwick’s old one, and she had yet to personalise it to her liking, or even her office for that matter. She hadn’t even been in her office yet. She’d only just arrived and hadn’t been able to settle in yet. But she didn’t really have any personal items to settle in with. Hermione had thought about returning to her cottage to receive some of her belongings but the prospect of Draco still being there, scared her enough to stop herself from going.
And so now she waited for her first class to arrive. She was about to meet her first class, who were some third years, she was teaching both the Slytherins and Gryffindors today, and knew only too well from her time at Hogwarts that having the two houses together wouldn’t be the easiest. She knew from Professor McGonagal, a lot of the stigmatisms from her days are school were gone, but there was still this underlying hatred between the other houses and Slytherins, and this hatred wasn’t as vocal before teachers, but it was rather more brutal since the war.
Hermione wished to help this and perhaps help to prevent it so she had already planned to stop all that sort of nonsense. She could hear the rush of footsteps as breakfast had obviously just finished; Hermione had thought about attending but she wanted to make herself comfortable first. The door to her class room opened and as the first few students began to walk in with their feet dragging unhappily along the floor. Though when they noticed that they had a new teachers they stopped for a second. They stared. Already trying to tell whether or not Hermione was going to be strick or a push over. “Come in, please take your seats,” ordered Hermione, keeping her voice neutral yet authoritative.
Soon Hermione’s classroom was filled with curious students all interested to see who their new professor was and what they were going to be like. Hermione got up from her desk and walked around to the front of it, she lifted her wand up from her desk and waved it in the air, causing a piece of chalk to fly to the blackboard in her room, “Hello, I am your new Charms Professor, I am Professor Granger,” as she said her name, the chalk wrote it neatly on the blackboard. “Now before we begin our lesson, I shall give you the opportunity to ask any questions.” Hermione’s brown eyes surveyed the room, waiting for someone to speak up.
“Aren’t you a pick young to be our professor. It’s just I want to be taught by someone who actually knows what they are doing. Not some woman who thinks she’s a not-it-all” spoke a Slytherin. Hermione found the source of the voice, and tried to remember the student’s name; she’d been given a couple of days ago a list of her pupils names and their pictures, she focused primarily on the students she would have in her first day. So she knew she knew who this boy was. “Ah, Mr Largan isn’t it?” (the boy nodded in response, and slightly shocked that Hermione knew his name) “Rest assured that I would not have gotten this job if I had not been qualified. I got an O in both my O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s in charms. My age does not affect my intellect, and if you do not think I am experience enough, then believe me when I say I have had plenty experience in the field in regards to charms.” Hermione smiled sweetly before saying, “Any other questions?”
“How come you have only begun teaching us now, rather than at the start of the year?” asked a Gryffindor girl,
“I didn’t realise I wanted the job until recently,”
“Aren’t you that Hermione Granger?” said a quiet voice at the back of the room. Hermione walked down the aisle of student until she reached the Slytherin girl at the back of the room who had spoken. As soon as the girl had asked all the students were suddenly very erect in their seats, and all very awake and eager to listen to Hermione. “Miss Haliday, you have an observant eye, because yet I am that Hermione Granger. Though I do wish you all to refer to me as Professor Granger, or Miss Granger please. I think though now, you will all probably have lots more questions. But question time is over it is time for you to learn. Today we are going to start cheering charms,” announced Hermione as she walked back to her desk, knowing fully well that she had her class’ attention and that they had now decided to respect her, rather than try and test her as a new teacher.
The rest of her lesson went smoothly, with Hermione awarding her first house points for both houses. Her students were working extremely hard and Hermione had the faint notion that they were trying to impress her. Though as their first attempts at cheering charms Hermione hadn’t been really impressed, they were what she expected them to be. But she was beginning to recognise some faces, and put personalities as well as stereotypes to faces. When she dismissed her class, without homework because she thought she’d give it a week before she started giving homework, the class left extremely noisily and all chatting about their lesson with “the Hermione granger” she knew some of her next class were already waiting outside and when the third years left she heard a couple tell the next class who she was.
Her next class was the other half of the third years; Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws. She gave them the option to ask questions, and with the knowledge of who she was already they asked her questions about her experiences, some she answered with detail and others she answered briefly. But like her previous class she only answered three questions. This lesson went just as smoothly as her first, but this time she was impressed by a student who had managed to perform a cheering charm on the first try, and have it well executed as well. The student was not a Ravenclaw though, but rather a shy Hufflepuff boy.
By the end of the day, the news that Hermione Granger was the new charms Professor had spread like wildfire and that was all the students could talk about. Whenever Hermione walked past any they would either whisper excitedly amongst themselves, or some of the braver students would come up to her and ask her questions, usually with the “did you really,” at the beginning. At dinner time as Hermione sat at the staff table next to Neville and looked upon all the students she noticed many of them glancing at her and looking away. She didn’t mind though, she was too busy focusing on how surreal it was for her to be sitting at this table; she still felt like she belonged down there with the students. “Weird isn’t it?” stated Neville as he observed Hermione’s expression,
“Really weird, who would have ever thought that it’d be you and I up here Neville?” she laughed,
“How are you feeling?”
“Amazing. I’m so happy to be here, I thought it’d be hard, too many ghosts, but I love this. I love teaching. Though it has only been one day. Still, thank you.”
“It’s nothing I am glad to see you happy. When are you planning on returning home so you can get belongings for your office and classroom and to set up a direct link between the fireplace in your office and at your home.”
“I’m not sure I’m ready to go home yet,” admitted Hermione. “I’ll do it Friday so I have the whole weekend to sort myself out.”
“There’s a quidditch game Saturday, so make sure you are here for that, Hufflepuffs verses Slytherins.”
The week whizzed by for Hermione. She had settled in so well and felt as if she had been teaching for years. Naturally though she did have a few mishaps in lessons, where she had issues with students and forgetting how to explain the charms to the students as they came so easily to her now. She had a rough knowledge on what some of her students were like, and which ones were the trouble makers and would cause problems for her. She worked out which ones found charms easy and the ones that found it hard. Many of their names were still lost on her, and she found it hard sometimes to be assertive in the class. But it was only her first week and she had already taken to it like a duck to water.
Hermione had already decided her favourite year was the first years, they were so eager and interested to learn as everything seemed so very new to them, but also they didn’t really know anything about Hermione. For some reason that made it easier for her to teach them, because they didn’t have any of this expectations from her, and weren’t constantly bombarding her with questions that were of no relevance to charms. She’d asked Neville if he got any of this, he said he hadn’t when he first start because no one really knew of him, but when somebody had worked it out, it was very much like that for him to. But he said it died down after he refused to answer any of their questions and would only talk about plants. He said he had benefitted through from a newfound respect from them, which he hadn’t gotten before.
Friday evening was a quiet one for Hermione, she hadn’t set any homework so she did not have anything to mark and she had no duties to tend to as Professor McGonagal said she wouldn’t get anything like that definitely for the first two weeks. Hermione had set off to the library and had collected some books before bringing them back to her office to sit down and read; but she couldn’t focus. Her office was so empty, even with the beautiful potted plant that Neville had given her. It was just empty and it didn’t feel like it belonged to her. Also she was tired of sleeping in her chair, it was uncomfortable, she wanted a bed.
So late that Friday evening she went back to the headmistresses study and organised transportation to her cottage via floo and then set off. As soon as she landed in the fireplace of her own home she could hear singing alongside the hiss of something cooking. She thought it rather late to be cooking, but was more concerned with the fact that Draco was still in her cottage. She thought about heading back to Hogwarts, but she knew she couldn’t be cowardly. Her cowardice had been a horrible habit she had gotten into and being back at Hogwarts and revived her bravery again.
She stepped out of the fireplace cautiously and called out “Hello?” There was crash of something and the singing stopped to be replaced with a loud shout of “Fuck!” Hermione looked around her livingroom and was happy to see that everything was still in place and that was all clean. Though it did have some little changes, just little things, that were specific to Draco. Like piles of paper with work on them, as work was all he seemed to do. As well as his favourite green mug sitting on the coffee table.
Draco appeared around the arch separating the living room and kitchen, his eyes looked upon Hermione disbelievingly. A small blush fell upon his white cheeks, his blonde hair still handsomely ruffled and messy. He wore an apron which to Hermione made him seem younger. He looked at Hermione with slight fear in his eyes.
He looked at the clothes Hermione was wearing, it was a long cream dress with a black belt, which she had had to wear for her whole week of teaching. She bought it just before she had started in order to have something professional to wear. Her hair was done up elegantly, in a professional updo, she knew that she looked a lot more put together than she had for years. Draco noticed she’d lost that sort of nervous twitch of her eyes as if she was constantly worried that someone would jump out at her. In fact he observed that her whole demeanour seemed a lot more calm and collected. She seemed happy. It had been two weeks since she had stormed out of her own home, in some crazy frenzy. Draco hadn’t know what had truly caused it, but he knew she wasn’t stable. She hadn’t been stable for a long time, but here she was after two weeks looking happy, stable and well, so much better than he had seen her in a long time. She looked free, as if she wasn’t being harassed by the bad thoughts any more.
Draco had to use his will power not to run up to her and embrace her, he had been so worried. It was strange, she didn’t seem like Hermione as she stood there silently, she seemed like a completely different person. Or was it just that she wasn’t the Hermione that he had gotten to know, she seemed like that insufferable know-it-all from Hogwarts again. But she wasn’t completely that girl either; Draco knew that this was the person that she would have been if she hadn’t have left the wizarding world for three years. This was Hermione Granger.
“Good to see you have made yourself at home,” she said as she walked further into the living room and craned her head to look into the kitchen. “How’s Astoria?”
“She’s okay,” he said slowly.
“How are you, everything been alright since that article?” Hermione asked. Draco couldn’t believe it, it was as if nothing had ever happened between them. As if these past four years had never happened and that they were actually friends. It was surreal. “I’ve been alright. Naturally my parents weren’t happy, mother was understanding, father still hasn’t forgiven me. Hermione where have you been?”
“Hogwarts,” came her honest answer. “I work there now. I’m the new charms professor, seriously Malfoy it is the best decision I have ever made. It is where I am meant to be. I’m happy.”
“I can see that. Everyone has been really worried they don’t know where you are,”
“They do,” she stated blandly, “I’ve written to them all, don’t know where you got that idea from.”
“By everyone I meant me,”
“Still think a lot of yourself then,” grinned Hermione. “Don’t you want to check on your cooking?”
“I was just brewing some tea, would you like some?”
“Lovely thank you,” nodded Hermione. She took a seat down in her favourite armchair and waited for her tea. She found it strange how she could look around her home and have it not feel as if any of it belonged to her.
When Draco returned with her tea he picked up his own green mug and swaggered off and filled it with tea before returning once more. He sat opposite Hermione on the sofa. “I’m sorry,” Hermione said, “for what I said, I was rude and horrible.”
“Yeah, you were,” Draco agreed with that familiar smirk on his face, “You look beautiful by the way.”
“I was thinking earlier about that first day working at your office. I was happy then, and I felt like I was more myself, by bantering with you. I realised that out of everyone being with you it made me feel like myself again because really nothing had really changed between us. Everyone else seemed like they were moving on with their lives, but you were still that same childish person with me. We were childish together. We fought like we always did, but then there were those moments when we got along and we were moving forward in our lives together. Both at the same speed, which was what it should have been like with everyone else. But I had left and they had grown up, without me, and I hadn’t grown up at all. I was frozen. Then I met you again, and I began to thaw out. All those heated discussions, arguments, they were what thawed me. We were the same. You allowed me to grow, but then without you I began to freeze again. And now at Hogwarts, I am truly happy and I am actually moving forward in my life because I’ve accepted who I am, and that I need you in my life and I can’t just run away. So I came back.”
“So you were thinking about me?”
“Of course I did. I just want you to know honestly why that happened with you two weeks ago, I think you deserve to know. The truth was I was scared. Scared of hurting you, I’ve hurt everyone else around me and I couldn’t bear to do it again. I did it in order to help you, by making you hate me, so you would be safe.”
“Granger, frankly I will always hate you. I always have and I always will, but you know something. I also will always love you. This is me Draco Malfoy without being cocky, rude, egotistical, saying honestly that by some weird twist of fate I fell in love with that bushy haired know-it-all that I used to bully, that once had teeth that were far too big. And I don’t regret that I have. Because Granger, you also thawed me out.”
Hermione put her cup down on her coffee table and sighed and cocked her head to look at Draco, “It’s never work between us though, Malfoy,”
“You don’t know that Granger, don’t knock it till you try it,” he winked,
“I told you, it won’t work. You can stay here as long as you want, but I’m moving back in and I have to set up a link between here and my office. But I know that we both need eachother, and I think we can work out as friends at least. Nothing more, nothing less. I need you in my life.” Hermione got up off her chair and took her wand out from behind her ear and walked to the fireplace before muttering some incantations underneath her breath.
Draco walked over to her spun her around and stuck his hand out towards her, “Hello I am Draco Malfoy, I own a large business that makes me very rich, I am a pureblood Slytherin, I am constantly disappointing my family, I used to have a drinking problem, I have just broken up with my finance because I didn’t love her, and I would very much like to crash on your sofa until all that dies down and I can go house hunting. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” he greeted her.
Hermione raised an eyebrow at him, “I know that,” she told him,
“No you don’t, we’ve only just met. We know nothing about each other, never even went to the same school, what’s your name?” he said.
“Hermione Granger,” she laughed as she shook his hand.
“Can I say Miss Granger,”
“Please call me Hermione,” she giggled,
“Well, Hermione, you look beautiful. I know you think me irresistible but please I am just your lodger so keep your hands to yourself. Especially if you get drunk, you seem like the flirty drunk. But can I ask if I can take you out for a meal, so we can get to know each other?”
“I’d love that,” nodded Hermione, before turning back to the fireplace and finishing her incantations.
The rest of the night was spent with Hermione having a long relaxing bath and then getting in her pyjamas which she’d sorely missed, then her and Draco sitting down in front of the telly. At first it was slightly awkward between the two of them but soon they were back to friendly bickering between the two of them, both of them enjoying each other’s company, but making sure their bickering didn’t get too heated and so it would result in an argument. Draco stayed clear of talking about his feelings for Hermione and in turn Hermione was Hermione.
Hermione went and fetched Draco a duvet and a pillow and transfigured the sofa into a bed for him. Then went to bed herself. In her room she could clearly tell that Draco had been staying in there. He had clothes hung up next to hers in the wardrobe, and even had his dressing gown hung over the side of her bed. She also noticed a book on her bedside table which he had obviously been reading. As she cuddled up in her blankets she noticed that they smelt different she put her nose down to her duvet and inhaled. It was a spicy sort of smell, that was quite subtle but oddly pleasant.
Hermione looked over at the book Draco was reading, it was one of her own, one of her favourites in fact Hogwarts: A History Hermione smiled at the irony in that and then settled down to sleep, not before setting her alarm though.
In the morning Hermione was awoken by Draco’s singing, it was strange to hear him singing because in the morning he was usually hangover. “Is this a side effect of not having a hangover?” she asked when she was downstairs washed and dressed.
“Is what a side effect?” he asked completely oblivious,
“The singing,” she pointed out.
“I do it to call the birds, so I can then steal their eggs and fry them,” he gestured towards the eggs frying in the pan. Hermione shook her head disapprovingly before pouring herself a bowl of cereal and taking it to her armchair, where she sat and ate.
“You working today?” he asked as he sat down on the now returned sofa with his eggs and bacon.
“I work at Hogwarts,” was Hermione’s reply. “Can you maybe wear something more in the mornings?”
“Come on,” he winked as he looked down at his bear torso, “This is a beautiful sight to wake up to in the mornings. You should be lucky to get to see this sight, many women would kill to get a chance to see this.”
“I’m not one of those women,”
“Only because you can see it. Now I was wondering when can I take you out for that meal?”
“You were serious about that? I thought it was just a you know, thing to explain that we are starting afresh,”
“I want to celebrate that you have a new job. So next Saturday?”
"That’s a yes then,” he smiled.
“I’ve got to go to work, there’s a quidditch match and then I can finally sort out my office.”
“Do you need any help?” he asked.
“No thank you, plus you won’t be allowed into the school, guests of the headmistress, teachers and students only,” answered Hermione, as she put her bowl in the sink. “You can clean that,” she told him, “and can you stock up the fridge, I’ll pay you back when I get back tonight. Have a good day.”
Hermione stepped into the fireplace and sent out a few sparks of her wand and disappeared in a yellow flash. She’d set up transportation between her home and office, but only she could use this link; as it required her wand, and no floo powder.
OOC: Hope you all are enjoying the story. Please do review because it really hekps me out to see how people are finding the story, so I know what I should keep to and what I should improve. Thank you so much for reading this far.