Chapter 1 : Prologue: Graduation
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The day was beautiful. It was a warm spring day and summer was just around the corner. Hermione, Ron and Harry sat beside the lake, basking in their last days as students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. So much had happened in the past year – so much that they’d all like to forget. There had been that thing with Harry. He’d been having a very hard year this year, with the pressure of exams and everything – there was also the thing with Voldemort – ever growing in power and ready to strike. Half way through the year – Harry had simply disappeared. It was so unexpected – no one had noticed until Hermione had said something. Ron had been too busy stuffing his face to realise that the seat of his best mate was empty. Hermione had known immediately where he’d gone. He’d gone after Voldemort. She alerted Dumbledore straight away and he’d rushed to the rescue. Only – it hadn’t been that simple. Harry remained missing-in-action for three months. Hermione didn’t remember much from that time – only the pain and worry that she suffered.
They were all sitting in the Great Hall for dinner when all of a sudden, Harry just ‘appeared’ with a bang in the middle of the Gryffindor table – apparently dead. The Hall had gone into hysterics and even Dumbledore was too panicked to try and calm them as he rushed Harry to the hospital wing. Harry had been close to death – but the wonderful work of Madame Pomfrey had brought him back to full life. To this day – only Dumbledore knew of what had happened to Harry during those months and why he’d gone away. It had hurt Hermione and annoyed Ron why he wouldn’t tell them – but in the end they had understood that he couldn’t tell them – it was simply too hard.
Another person who might have known about what had happened to Harry though – was Ginny Weasley. Some time at the start of the year, Harry had finally gotten the nerve to ask her out again (after the sixth year fiasco). She had accepted happily and these days they were rarely seen apart. Ron was a little disgruntled by this but he understood that it was the way that things were meant to be – oh, and he trusted Harry . . . relatively.
Ron had also had the nerve to ask Hermione out during their seventh year. It had been hard for Hermione to turn him down – after all, he was her best friend, but sometimes – best friends just aren’t meant to be like that! He took it personally at first but after a few days he soon saw things her way.
Another interesting development had been that some time after Harry had come back from his little escapade – the Ministry of Magic had managed to ‘accidentally’ catch a group of Death Eaters. This was indeed a very important group of Death Eaters – some of them known to be on the inner ring with Voldemort. One of them was none other than Lucius Malfoy. The ministry had wasted no time with them. They didn’t even bother to try and get information from them. The four of them were sentenced to death by beheading. Since there were no Dementors left these days that took orders from anyone other than Voldemort – beheading was the only option for the Ministry. Mr Malfoy was executed on February 29th. Draco Malfoy had inherited all his fortune and nothing had been said of it since.
The seventh years had finished their N.E.W.T.S. last week and were glad that they were finished! Hermione had been paranoid about them ever since. With exams behind them – the only topic left to talk about was what would happen next . . .
“I guess that we’ll have to all get jobs, hey? We’ll, ‘cept you Gin . . .” said Ron as his glazed over eyes stared into the distance across the lake.
“Ron! I thought you said that you knew what you were going to do next year? You said that you knew! How could you be so irresponsible as to leave it until the last minute-” Hermione reprimanded but was quickly cut off.
“I DO KNOW! I just have to get dad to get me that interview with Mr Bagman at the Department of Games and Sports!” he said forcefully and she just kept quite. Harry and Ginny were totally oblivious to the conversation at hand as they were too wrapped up in each other. They whispered gently to each other and pecked each other on the lips. Ron and Hermione knew better than to pay attention! Harry and Ginny seemed to snap out of their embrace and addressed the other two.
“We’re going to go for a walk, ok?” stated Harry and Ron and Hermione just nodded their agreement. The loving couple got up and made their way around the lake until they were out of sight. Hermione and Ron sat together in silence just staring into the lake. It was too soon that they heard approaching footsteps. They didn’t even need to turn around to know who it was as the all too familiar drawl of Draco Malfoy met their ears.
“You love birds living up your final day of luxury until its back to sleeping on the floor, eh?” he said and Crabbe and Goyle scoffed beside him at his lame attempt at an insult. Hermione immediately jumped to her feet – ready for the attack with Ron jumping up beside her.
“What’s wrong Malfoy, no defenceless first years around to torment so you decided to try your luck once again against someone like me, who’s out of your league?” Hermione spat at him only six feet away.
“Ha! The Mudblood actually thinks she’s better than me! No, I wouldn’t want to get any closer to you just in case you brush up against my robes and I’d be forced to burn yet another set!” he said with his usual smirk on his face, stepping back just a little to help his point.
“Shut up Malfoy, go back to the castle and powder your nose.” she sneered at him and then turned her back on him and sat back down beside the lake. Ron hesitated for a moment before doing the same thing.
“How dare you turn your back to me you ungrateful little Mudblood” raged Malfoy. After all – no one – especially a Mudblood like her turned their back on him! With this in mind he pulled out his wand and crossed the small distance between them. He grabbed her by the back of her clothes at the collar and hoisted her off the ground. He spun her around so that she was facing him and pointed his wand directly at her eye. “Now I’ll make you respect me the way you should!” he hissed at her. Hermione heard the scuffle as Crabbe and Goyle restrained Ron – knocking his wand out of reach.
“Let her go Malfoy or so help me . . . I’ll . . .” Ron growled, struggling against his human restraints.
“You’ll what Weasel? Faint?” he laughed. Draco turned his attention back to the Mudblood in front of him and was rather confused to find a different look on her face. It was one of amusement! “What’s so funny Granger?” he asked of her and she just continued to smile. All of a sudden – she leaned forward and grabbed him by the scruff of his clothed like he had her and pulled him close so that there wasn’t an inch between them.
“You can do whatever you like right now Malfoy but you’ll never earn an ounce of my respect that way.” she sneered. She quickly whipped out her wand and pointed it straight at his heart. “Now get your filthy friends here and bugger off!” she spat at him. He kept her gaze for a moment longer – not quite sure what to make of her threats. Sure, she had threatened him before – but this was different. She was more certain when she said these things – she was surer of herself. Draco decided not to push things and released her.
“Come on, Crabe, Goyle, let the Weasel King go, I have better things to do then stick around with these losers!” he stated. He turned on his heel and marched back up to the castle as if he owned the place. Hermione and Ron looked at each other quickly. Harry and Ginny then returned from their ‘walk’.
“I just saw Malfoy leave, what did he want?” Harry asked with obvious loathing lacing his words. Hermione was about to answer when Ron quickly jumped in before her.
“Hermione – what did you say to him? Whatever it was sure made him take off fast!” Ron asked her, gazing at her in wonderment and happiness. She couldn’t help but snicker at his comment.
“I just told him that I’d never respect him – no matter what . . .” she replied and they all laughed at how Malfoy must have reacted to this little comment. They made their way back up to the castle for their final night at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Authors Note: Well, there it is – the first chapter in the story. Trust me, ok, don’t judge too harshly on this chapter – it will get much more interesting soon!!!
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