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Chapter 28 : Chapter 28: NEWT Results And Another Job Offer
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Thanks for putting up with all of my long delays with my updates and for sticking with the story. Here's Chapter 28- I hope you all enjoy it...
Hermione sat anxiously, eyeing the envelope on the table uneasily. She couldn’t do it. She was partially tempted to bite her nails, a nervous habit from her childhood that had ended long before Hogwarts. Yet somehow as the apprehension set in she was unable to fight the old urge, barely keeping her hands occupied by drumming her fingers on the edge of the table.
“If you aren’t opening yours, we aren’t opening ours,” Harry said firmly. He, Ron and Ginny stood side by side clutching the letters with the Hogwarts seal clearly seen.
“Why don’t we just take the twins theirs and all open together?” Ginny suggested and Harry and Ron agreed automatically. Hermione was reluctant but nodded slowly, knowing that at some point she would have to acknowledge her NEWT results.
“Where do you lot think you’re going?” Molly asked as the group pulled on shoes.
“To the joke shop, Mum,” Ron told her. “We want to open them with Fred and George.”
“Well, I don’t know where you think you’re going without me. My children aren’t opening their results without me!”
“Come on then,” Ginny said and with a loud crack the group disapparated.
“Bloody hell!” Fred exclaimed knocking over a cauldron as he jumped in surprise. Testing out a new product in the back room of the shop, he hadn’t been expecting to see his family apparate in.
“Fred! Fred are you okay?” a worried yell rang from the front of the shop as George appeared, wand drawn and eyes wild.
“I’m fine,” he huffed. “Just got half scared to death is all.”
“Sorry we didn’t want to apparate into the front,” Harry explained. “Didn’t know how busy you’d be.”
“Well, what’s with the family visit? We’ve got costumers you know,” George said. “Alright, love?” he added, grinning at Hermione. He noted that she seemed nervous and looked quizzically at her.
“I’m good thanks, George,” she smiled doing her best to conceal the anxiety building within her. “How’s your day going?”
“It’s better now that you’re here,” he murmured to her as he wrapped his arms around her. She grinned up at him, it was a cliché thing to say but she still appreciated it.
“We’ve got the NEWT results,” Ginny told the twins.
“Have you opened them?” George asked quickly.
“No,” the group responded before Ron continued. “We were waiting for you.”
“Alright, well just come out front then,” George said ushering them into the shop. “We can’t stand back here and leave the shop unattended.”
“You’re the one that came running in yelling ‘Fred! Fred!’” Ginny pointed out.
“He screamed like a girl and knocked stuff over,” George retorted. “Somebody could have been killing him.”
“I don’t scream like a girl,” Fred said gruffly and the group laughed.
“Of course not,” George grinned. The shop wasn’t unbearably busy but there was a buzz of chatter and voices were raised within the group to ensure they could be heard.
The twins were handed their envelopes and grinned somewhat nervously at each other. “Ready?” Fred asked.
“Ready,” George confirmed followed by Ron, Harry, Ginny and a reluctant Hermione. There was silence between them, Molly watching apprehensively as eyes scanned sheets of parchment. Fred and George read their results in synchronisation and then snatched each other’s letters holding them together and compared them. They were exactly the same down to the curve of each ‘l’ and the dots of each ‘i’.
“Yes!” the twins erupted. “We did it! Ha!”
“How’s that for not qualified to use the advanced magic incorporated in some of our products!”
“Well?” Molly urged and then shoved their letters into her hands allowing her to read them. A grin erupted on the elder witch’s face. “My boys! The two who said they were never going to finish their NEWTs! You did it. I’m so proud of you both,” she gushed and hugged them both.
“Well?” Hermione urged. “What were they?”
“One Acceptable and the rest are exceeds expectations!” George cried and Hermione hugged him tightly.
“Well done,” she smiled up at him and he was about to ask about her own grades when Ron distracted him.
“Bloody hell...” Ron muttered in his typical fashion staring at the parchment in shock. “All Acceptable and one Exceeds Expectations...no Poor or Dreadful...” Ron was positively gaping at the letter before repeating his first sentiment cheerfully, “bloody hell.”
“Oh well done, Ron,” Molly beamed and hugged her youngest son.
Harry grinned and congratulated Ron who then asked Harry about his own results. “One Acceptable and all the rest are exceeds expectations!”
“That’s great, Harry,” Ron smiled and everyone chimed in their congratulations for both him and Ron.
“Two Outstanding and the rest are Exceeds Expectations,” Ginny said and was greeted with a round of ‘well done’ and several hugs.
“And then there was one...” Fred said dramatically turning to Hermione who was just pulling away from a congratulatory hug with Ginny.
Hermione was proud of the group as a whole, they had all passed each exam and she had been so worried about her own results that the sudden relief brought a smile to her face that was becoming painful. “Outstanding,” she breathed. “Every single one.”
“That’s my girl!” George exclaimed with pride and hugged her, sweeping her off the ground and spinning her before pressing a passionate kiss to her lips. Hermione grinned.
“We all knew you could do it, Granger,” Fred grinned hugging her and ruffling her hair.
“Hermione those results are beyond amazing,” Harry had said and all the congratulations she was offered followed the same pattern.
There was a buzz within the group, each member immensely proud of their attainment. “We should go out tonight. I think this is cause for a celebration.”
“Definitely,” Fred agreed. “But then tomorrow we need to start getting the house in shape. You do realise I’ve got under two weeks until my wedding?”
“God that sounds so weird,” Ron said. “Fred is getting married in two weeks. What happened to when you get married there wouldn’t be any of this ‘nonsense’?”
“Oh I didn’t want it but then, you know, Mum- and bam! Massive wedding, hundreds of guests and all this fancy food!” Fred cried and there was exasperation in his voice that suggested it wasn’t his first time complaining.
“All of our friends and family want to celebrate with you,” Molly said.
“Who said I want them celebrating with me? They probably think I’m George anyway,” Fred muttered and Molly simply rolled her eyes and told the group she was heading back to the Burrow.
Harry and Ginny decided to head back with her whilst Ron and Hermione hung around the shop. “You guys need any help?” Ron asked the twins.
“No we’re good you run along, kid,” George grinned ruffling his younger brother’s hair affectionately.
“Oh shut it,” Ron said but smiled. Over the last few months they had become a lot closer. After Ron had been so accepting of George and Hermione’s relationship in spite of the feelings he still had for her, George had realised how much Ron had grown up and how much Ron really cared for his friends and family. Not only did that earn him George’s respect but also a higher degree of friendship within their sibling bond.
“I’m going to Flourish and Blotts, alright?” Hermione informed them.
“What if I say it’s not alright?” George asked standing behind her and wrapping his arms around her small waist.
“I’d say tough because you don’t own me,” Hermione smirked and leant back into him.
“And what if I were to say you’re my girlfriend and so I do own you?”
“I’d say you’re a chauvinistic pig and inform you that a woman is not a possession and if you dare treat her like one she has every right to strangle you in your sleep whilst you’re most vulnerable,” Hermione said slowly which proved to make her voice seem all the more threatening. She smiled as she heard George chuckle behind her.
“Well, in that case I guess you’re allowed to go,” he grinned as she turned to face him.
“Allowed? I don’t remember needing your permission, George Weasley,” she told him.
“That’s my Hermione,” he smiled and pressed his lips to the top of her head. “Be careful and don’t talk to strangers!” he called.
“Hilarious,” she shot back dryly.
“I’ll come with you,” Ron said following her to the door.
“Ron Weasley in a book store? Is he feeling alright?” Fred chimed in. Ron simply rolled his eyes and held the door open for Hermione before following her out.
“So what book do you want?” Ron asked as they entered the shop.
“Not entirely sure, to be honest,” Hermione admitted. “I just haven’t read a good book in a while. I figured that there’s no better place to look than here.”
Ron looked distastefully at the selection of books surrounding them. Regardless of his success in his NEWTs there was very few things in both the Wizarding and Muggle worlds that could possess him to read a book for pleasure. Hermione walked the aisles and he followed watching her amusedly as she trailed her long fingers along the spines of books, hesitating as she considered one before moving on.
“Ron!” she scolded loudly as he knocked over a pile of books. Ron looked sheepishly about the quiet store before he took out his wand and charmed them back into place.
“Sorry,” he muttered and she smiled and shook her head at him. “As if I didn’t make a loud enough noise already you want to scream at me too,” he scoffed.
“I wouldn’t have to if you weren’t so unnaturally clumsy,” Hermione replied playfully.
“When I knock you into a stack of books we’ll see who’s clumsy,” Ron retorted, grinning as he jokingly pushed her. Hermione stumbled slightly but was able to steady herself before knocking into a nearby shelf. She chuckled to herself and turned back around, mock glaring at one of her longest lasting friends.
“Hermione? Ron?” a vaguely familiar voice called and then around one of the book shelves appeared a more familiar face. Hermione wondered at once how the voice had identified them just by the sound of their conversation.
“Anthony,” Hermione greeted politely as she extended a hand from him to shake. He either hadn’t noticed it or simply ignored it as he hugged her. Hermione’s eyes widened in shock at his level of friendliness, they had never been particularly close. Nevertheless she kindly returned the gesture and smiled at him.
“You alright?” Ron nodded at him and shook his hand suddenly wary of him. He didn’t recall Anthony Goldstein and Hermione being such good friends either.
“How have you been? I heard you went back to Hogwarts?” he asked them.
“Yeah we decided to go back and complete our last year,” Ron said and Hermione nodded.
“What are the two of you up to now, then? Are you working?” Anthony asked.
“Not yet,” Hermione said. “I’m looking though.”
“Well, if you’re interested, I think there might be a couple of openings where I’m working,” he said.
“Oh really? Where do you work?” Hermione asked curiously.
“I don’t know if you remember Michael Corner?” Anthony asked.
Ron gave a grunt. “He was a slimy little git,” he mumbled to himself.
“He’s a good friend of mine,” Goldstein continued pointedly but Ron showed no signs of embarrassment.
“You’ll have to forgive Ron,” Hermione said. “Michael dated his sister for a while and in Ron’s book that’s an immediate no. It’s nothing personal about Michael.”
“Anyway his parents funded a charity of sorts a while ago and after school I joined them. It’s called ‘Choose to Change’ I don’t know if you would have heard of it.”
“Choose to Change,” Hermione repeated and then her eyes widened in realisation. “Choose to Change ‘the charity that helps charities to make a change.’”
“That’s the one,” Anthony grinned. “It really is amazing. They help out thousands of different charities whether it’s helping with fundraising or charity events, talking to those in power to get them to make a change or talking to those who are suffering to help them and to understand how we can help them. It’s completely non-profit as soon as the employees are paid the money goes straight to the other charities. There is an official house-elf charity by the way, if I remember correctly that’s the sort of thing you were into.”
“Wow. That sounds brilliant,” Hermione admitted slightly blown away by the mere thought. “It sounds like an amazing opportunity...”
“You know what, I’ll ask around for you and I’ll send you an owl with what I find and if it’s something you’re interested in we’ll have you go through the interview process. Of course once someone says ‘Hermione Granger’ you will pretty much have the job,” Anthony said, smiling.
“That’s really nice of you Anthony, I’d really appreciate that. Thank you but please no special treatment,” Hermione said.
“It’s not like they would say no even if they didn’t know who you are. Hermione Granger, ‘brightest witch of her age’, your qualifications pretty much speak for you,” he said.
“Thanks,” Hermione smiled politely and this time she hugged him out of gratitude. He returned it happily and Ron stepped forward and shook his hand once more.
“Well, I’ll be in touch soon then,” Anthony said. “See you.”
Hermione and Ron called a ‘goodbye’ after him before turning back to the shelves of books. After selecting four the two left the bookshop Ron carrying her bag for her.
“Why do books weigh so much?” he groaned.
“Mm you haven’t played Quidditch in a while, have you? I think you’re getting weak,” Hermione smirked.
“Why is it you love to pick fights with me?” Ron laughed as they re-entered the joke store.
“Because you’re always willing to fight back,” Hermione grinned and shoved him lightly.
“Typical,” he huffed and smiled at her. He was thankful that they had regained the closeness and playfulness they had always had in their friendship. There had been a time when he genuinely believed things between them had gone too far off course to ever go back to normal but somehow here they were. And it was as if nothing had changed. Except this time he knew there could never be anything more than friendship between them and he had accepted it. He still had bad days. He still questioned what had gone wrong. And then he realised that maybe things had gone right because he was happy and so was Hermione which undeniably they hadn’t been when they were together. He did still love her but it wasn’t as painful anymore and he was definitely getting over her. Maybe the romantic love had gone and all that was left was friendship? When it came to Hermione it was hard to tell. He had gone so many years feeling a mixture of friendship and love for her that distinguishing between which he now felt was hard.
“More books, Granger?” Fred asked in disapproval.
“Well, when I said I was going to Flourish and Blotts what did you expect me to be buying?” Hermione asked with a roll of her eyes.
“Hmm, good point bookworm,” Fred grinned.
“You’ll never guess who we bumped into,” Hermione said.
“No we probably won’t. We don’t know many people, aside from yourself, that willingly spend time in a bookshop,” George informed her jokingly.
“Fine, if you’re not going to guess, I’ll just tell you,” Hermione said exasperatedly. “It was Anthony Goldstein.”
“Goldstein? Ravenclaw kid? Blond hair?” George asked.
“That’s the one,” Hermione smiled. “He works for Choose to Change, he said he’d look for any openings and try and get me in. How great is that?”
“It sounds amazing ‘Mione,” George said after she explained more about what the charity did. “See, I told you not to worry about finding work.”
“I suppose you did,” Hermione smiled. “I guess you’re a pretty smart cookie after all, right Georgie?”
George gave a slightly growl at the nickname but grinned at her nevertheless. “Goldstein’s a decent guy then?” George asked curiously.
Hermione shrugged, “He’s nice enough. We were never really friends to be honest.”
“Well it’s nice of him to try and help you out,” George said and Hermione nodded her agreement stepping away to talk to a customer who was seconds away from setting a firework off in the store.
“Hey George?” Ron called shifting uneasily and rubbing the back of his neck.
“What’s up, Ron?” George asked as he looked up from sorting out money and noticed his brother’s discomfort.
“It’s probably nothing but if you ask me Goldstein was pretty friendly with Hermione. Just thought you should know, Hermione probably didn’t even realise but just be careful with him. He and Hermione were never close, she said it herself, but when he saw her he went in for a hug straight away,” Ron told him quietly.
George’s eyebrows furrowed in thought and he nodded, “Thanks for letting me know, Ron. I’ll keep an eye on things, see if I notice anything.”
“No worries. Like I said, it’s probably nothing,” Ron shrugged but inside he was quite certain. Anthony had been eager to bring up vacancies at his own workplace the second Hermione mentioned she was looking for work. Ron wasn’t a generally distrusting person but there was definitely something in the way that Anthony had acted that had caused him to be suspicious of him.
I'm going to be honest, this chapter wasn't exactly entertaining and nothing too eventful happened in it so I am sorry that it wasn't particularly interesting. Nevertheless this chapter was necessary as it will set up a lot for future chapters so please just be patient with me, this is all going somewhere I promise!
As usual I'd love to hear from you all so please review. Thanks so much for reading. Jenna :)
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