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Maybe It Was Fate
Author's note: My first Dramione fanfic. They are my OTP and after reading every single story I could find online, I was inspired to write my own.
Hermione had that feeling in her gut that this was going to be a good year as the Hogwarts Express steamed into Hogsmead station. Now that the threat of Voldemort was out of the way, she could become a normal teenager again. She'd enjoyed her summer with the boys and Ginny, staying at the Burrow for a few weeks, after coming back from Australia. She'd gotten both her parents back in one piece and nothing could stand between them anymore. Her family was whole once again. Some though weren't as lucky. Mrs. Weasley was still having a hard time coming to terms with Fred's passing and George was a living wreck. And a workaholic. Ginny was keeping him together, she was his light in the dark. Only the littlest Weasley could talk to him without upsetting him. Harry was grief stricken about Remus and Tonks. He'd barely let little Teddy out of his sight. Not that Ginny minded, she'd told the older girl it was good practice.
As the train came to a stop, she gathered her trunk and Crookshanks' cage. Her new Head Girl badge was pinned to her school robes giving her a sensation of maturity, responsibility and maybe even a little power. When she'd received it with her book list, she'd been ecstatic. This was what she'd been working for all these years. Last year, when Ron and she had made up their minds to accompany Harry on his trip to hunt Horcruxes, she'd been ready to give up her education only halfheartedly. As much as she loved her friends, the possibility of never getting to pass her N.E.W.Ts had stuck in her throat. Of course, if they hadn't succeeded, she'd be dead anyway because of her blood status. So what good would the tests have done ? Now, with the promise of a long life ahead, she could study, get a job, have her own flat... And maybe even a family one day. Only months ago, nobody had been willing to project ahead, scared of what the future had in store for them. Now they could breath a bit and make the most of life.
Once on the platform she looked around for her friends. She'd been required to stay in the Prefect compartment, giving orders and planning patrols. Now, Hermione couldn't find the gang which worried her a bit. After what they had all lived through, the girl had a new found need to know everyone was safe at all times and keeping in touch twice as much. Only to Ron and Harry's annoyance. Also, she was quite angry at the Head Boy, who had not shown. She wondered who had gotten the job. Maybe a Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff.
Not many of Hermione's classmates had come back to finish their seventh year, almost no Slytherins, and only a few Hufflepuffs. Mostly her friends from Gryffindors and Ravenclaws, who wouldn't let pass a chance to study some more. Hermione had begged Harry and Ron to come back with her when they'd gotten their letters from Headmistress McGonagall. Both had already been offered job opportunities in the Auror department, nothing was holding them back. Except Hermione.
All of a sudden, she spotted a full head of red hair by the carriages. It wasn't a shock that most students could now see the Thestrals. It was a little difficult to bear when a small, scared second year saw them, they almost frightened him as much as they frightened her... So young and already marked with death... She headed towards her friends, who had saved her a spot. As they made their way to the Castle, the girl's thoughts drifted to the battle that had taken place in the very location she was returning to. Most of the damage had been taken care of over the summer holiday, some fissures could be seen in the walls, maybe unrepairable ? Or had they been left so no one would ever forget ? By the size of them, they'd most likely been made with sheer, brut force that only giants possessed. A large memorial had been built by the lake, a marble wall, with the names of the fallen. Flowers lay at the feet of the site.
Soon, Hermione found herself in a pair of strong arms. She looked around and came face to face with Ronald. He handed her a tissue, while wiping tears with the back of his hand from the girl's face, ones she hadn't known she'd shed.
“It's ok to cry,” he said, “mum told me it's part of heeling.”
“Thanks Ron. It just seems unfair that we get to move on and they never will, they died so young, leaving behind those they loved.”
Harry's green eyes narrowed, making him look a thousand years old, like he'd carried the weight of the world on his shoulders and only now realized it. “It's hard to deal with, but I promise you Hermione, the people who died know they'll never be forgotten. I admit, it was nice to see my mum and dad, and Sirius again, but they don't belong in our world. As much as we'd like to have them back, once you cross over, it's forever.”
He was right of course. The carriage finally came to a stop. They all got off and left their luggage and pets by the entrance. The small group of DA's left made their way to the Great Hall and took a seat near the back of Gryffindor's table. Luna had joined her fellow Ravenclaws much to Neville's disappointment. As students started to fill in, the noise grew, to a point where Hermione could no longer hear the boys' conversation. Instead she watched the different house students. One particularly caught her eye. His blond hair was longer, he was paler too but she recognized him. How could she not ? It was at his manor that Bellatrix had tortured her... Malfoy. He was back. Maybe the year wouldn't be that perfect after all. Hermione was still staring when his gray eyes met her chocolate brown ones. Hastily, she turned away, instead focussing on the first years walking up to the head table. She remembered perfectly the first time she'd walked through the doors of the Great Hall, talking about how the ceiling was enchanted to look like the night sky. She chuckled, but when Harry threw her an asking look she just shook her head in laughter. A new professor was telling the young students about the sorting and four houses. She wasn't yet middle aged, maybe thirty at most, with longish black hair and a kind, reassuring smile. The hall went quiet as the sorting hat started it's new song. Everyone, even the teachers, were intrigued as to what it would say.
“The time again has come
For a sorting ceremony.
The young, the innocent, wherever they are from
I would put them together but unfortunately,
Only four choices are offered to one.
These have proven faithful,
They have caused wars,
To spilt students in houses, is to throw
Salt on healing wounds.
To divide, is to plan for future clans,
Whom shall each oppose, and fight for the upper hand.
But, 'tis my role, so put me on and show me,
Where you belong.
Gryffindor for the Brave,
Hufflepuff for the Trusting.
Ravenclaw for the Bright,
Slytherin for the Cunning.
Remember just this,
My warning to those who seek refuge.
They shall find it not in their house,
But in their hearts, which is home.”
Hermione was confused, clapping out of habit, but internally mulling over the wise hat's song. There was always a second meaning, always an hidden statement. A voice brought her back, that of the young professor. “When I call your name, step forward and place the hat over your head. Than join your house table.” She paused, and read out, “Al Vezira, Marwin.” A small boy with curly brown hair sat on the stool and put on the hat. A few seconds later it called out, “RAVENCLAW !” The table clapped at the first recruit, welcoming him.
At that point, Ron exclaimed, “Bloody hell, doesn't one of them have a brave bone in their puny bodies ?”
A moment passed, the poor boy sat, his knuckles turning white, he was grabbing hold of the stool so hard.
Ron was the first on his feet, shouting like a mad man, probably not helping the boy's nerves. Hermione pulled him back down just as fast. The red head smiled that goofy smile of his saying calmly, “He's a Fred, no other place for him but Gryffindor.” And that was that.
Once the sorting was done, they dug into the food. Merlin's beard, Hermione had forgotten how delicious the food at the Hogwarts' welcome fest was ! After a second serving of desert, the petite girl was stuffed and probably wouldn't be able to take another bite even if she wanted. The Headmistress made her speech, welcoming back every single student, hoping this year the houses would mingle more, telling the O.W.L and N.E.W.T levels to work extra hard and finally introducing the new heads. Hermione blushed when Gryffindor erupted into cheers at the sound of her name. That was until the head boy's name was called.
“And, serving as Head Boy, Mister Draco Malfoy.” Across the Hall, he smirked at Hermione and Oh, Dear Merlin, he did a slight, mocking bow only she saw. He infuriated her ! What had he done to deserve this honorable position ? Sure, he'd been second after her in each class, but he was also a troublemaker. A bully. A Death Eater. A jerk. A Pureblood who'd made her life living hell. And to think she would have to share a dorm with him all year ! Never !
When the pupils were dismissed, Ron and Harry stayed back, asking if she wanted them to keep her company.
“I can take care of myself, thanks.” She told them, so they shrugged and headed off to bed.
“Nice to see you again Hermione,” said Minerva. She was pleased her old Transfiguration professor was on a first name basis.
“My pleasure, Minerva. Did you have a nice summer ?”
“Lots to do, so little time.” She answered.
When Malfoy joined them, they stopped their cheery conversation and the Headmistress showed them to the Heads' Common Room on the fourth floor. The painting guarding the door was a handsome knight on a pure white horse.
“Who goes there ? Reveal yourselves !” He shouted, brandishing a bronze sword.
“Sire Henry, these are the new Heads.” introduced Minerva, while motioning back and forth between Hermione and Draco, who were standing as far from each other as possible. The elderly woman then turned to them. “Your password is 'Deluminator'. Each month a new one will appear on your board. I would like to meet you tomorrow evening after your classes to set up a meeting with the Prefects concerning patrols and other business. Good evening to you both.” And with that she turned and headed back to her quarters.
"Deluminator.” Hermione told Henry, the knight. The portrait swung open and she went in.
“Wow !” said Malfoy. The girl agreed, the room was amazing. The walls were half red and gold, and half green and silver. The Gryffindor and Slytherin banners both hung, one on each side of a large fireplace. Around the room, wood furniture and brown leather couches and two love seats were scattered. The floor was carpeted, Hermione immediately kicked off her shoes and sunk into the mushiness... It was heaven. A large bookcase sat on the right side filled with spell books, as well as biographies of famous witches and wizards. There were also some muggle fiction novels and the classics. In the left corner was a stand for a broom, with a seat to use, probably to sit when you polished the flying contraption. A door on the other side of the room attracted the Head Girl's attention. She barely noticed Malfoy. She was in such a good mood even he couldn't ruin the moment. She twisted the knob, behind the door was a corridor with two doors on each side and a huge window at the end of it, with a ledge to sit on if one wanted to just relax and look at the view. It was too dark to see outside but Hermione guessed the view looked out on the Forbidden Forest and to the left, the Quidditch pitch. She turned around and saw that on the left side, the first door read “Draco Malfoy” and on the right “Hermione Granger”. She entered her room and was stunned by the size of it. It was twice as big as the dorm she'd shared two years ago with her fellow sixth year girls. A huge bed with red sheets and a warm brown knitted blanket that reminded her of Mrs. Weasley. A wardrobe to hang her clothes, something she'd never had at school since she'd always kept them in her trunk. A mirror as tall as her was fixed to the wall. Her floor was in polished wood and to the right was a window with a magnificent view of the mountains. Her whole room reminded her of the Gryffindor Common Room with reds and golds. Warm colors, exactly what made her feel safe. She was home. To her left was a door the probably connected to her own private bathroom, yep, she had guessed correctly and was delighted to see she had both a bath and a shower. Another door was in the washing room, she opened it and was back in the corridor. Malfoy probably had the same layout as she did. Hence the two doors with his name in front of hers. She went back to her Common Room, where she saw Malfoy sitting on the couch, in front of a warm fire, Crookshanks on his lap. Traitor, she thought. She walked around to face the Slytherin and stated she was heading to bed, grabbing her cat off his lap, earning herself a deep scratch on her arm. He snickered making her blood boil.
This was not going to end well. She stalked back to her private room with what dignity she had left, holding her cat a little tighter than necessary. After washing up and tying back her bushy hair, she pulled out the book she'd been reading on the train from her pocket and cast an Engorgio spell to put it back to it's original size. It was Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Hermione read until she couldn't keep her eyes open for more than a few seconds and fell into a deep sleep, warm and cozy in her new bed. This was definitely going to be an interesting living arrangement.
Hermione was not an early riser. She wished she had been born with the gift of waking up smoothly at the break of dawn without the need of an alarm clock spell. It was somewhat difficult to get back into the school hour rhythm. Having forgotten to set her alarm the night before, the girl barely had time to get dressed, much less have time to spare to eat the quick breakfast she'd fantasized about. She ran towards the Great Hall, half skipping since in her rush she had mixed up her shoes, putting the left on the right and vice versa. All those resolutions she'd made over the summer... To not wake up at the last minute, so she could actually tame her ridiculously wild hair or maybe even be able to work on her appearance, disappeared into fine air. Ginny had made good use of their many Muggle shopping sprees in London over the holidays. The Muggleborn witch had introduced the red head to nonmagical makeup. It really was her own fault, she should have known better. So voila ! Our dear Hermione had been talked into wearing lip gloss and eye kohl. This morning though was not going as planned. It had gotten worse when she'd spotted a perfectly groomed Malfoy as she'd rushed out of their Common Room. Huffing and puffing, she entered the Hall (when had it moved so far across the Castle ?) where she spotted her friends finishing what seemed like a lovely breakfast. She grabbed a piece of toast as she walked up to them and sat, already exhausted from her unplanned jog. While Professor Flitwick handed out the new time tables, she told the gang about her living arrangements. They oohed and aahed at all the right places but she could tell they weren't really into her vivid descriptions. The boys were too busy swallowing extra large amounts of food and Ginny was occupied gazing, no, more like staring holes, straight at Harry's scull with disgust.
“Harry !” she exclaimed, “ I can expect this sort of mouth stuffing from my brother but coming from you – she shuddered - it's gross.”
Hermione stifled back a laugh as Flitwick handed her her schedule for the year. She'd signed up for Defense Against the Dark Arts, Potions, Transfiguration, Charms, Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, Herbology, History of Magic and Astronomy. The boys both had the same classes as her, except they'd decided to stop Astronomy and had never taken either Arithmancy or Ancient Runes. They noticed, as well, that they weren't signed up for History of Magic, the subject they had failed on their O.W.L.s along with Divination. That made a total of 9 N.E.W.T.s for Hermione and only 5 for Harry and Ronald.
“This wasn't necessary, we had jobs lined up for us as Aurors for the M.O.M.” said an annoyed Ron. Harry shared the same opinion but the trio had made the unbreakable vow to stick together. If that meant an extra year of schooling to please Hermione, so it was. They were bound no matter what.
“Suck it up Ronald Weasley, you owe me this much. So be a gentleman and don't ruin my last year !” she added, “Anyways, the jobs will still be there. The Minister himself said they'd save the spots for you two.”
Kingsley had promised the pair that they would not lose their chance if they returned for their seventh year. They deserved a break, as he had put it. It was true, most students had been forced to grow up faster than expected and deal with terrible horrors far too brutal at such a young age. Hermione sometimes wondered what her life would have been like if she'd never gotten her acceptance letter when she was eleven. Or if her parents had refused to send her here to study magic. If they'd said no, had she not been born a witch, would she have been happier ? Gone to Muggle school, met different friends, studied “normal” subjects. She wouldn't have battled the worlds darkest wizards, fought a war, become famous as a member of the Golden Trio or been considered the brightest witch of her age. The Minister had asked Hermione if she was interested in a Ministry job as well and if so he'd make arrangements to make sure she would be able to obtain it without applying. The girl had refused. She wasn't sure yet what she wanted to do after Hogwarts but it didn't involve working behind a desk. She had bad memories of the place. Sirius had died there after all. Their adventure during fifth year still gave her nightmares. It had been a time of war, yes. Things had changed since, of course they had. Even so, she wasn't a hundred percent certain she believed in the Ministry. She thought electing Kingsley Shacklebolt as Minister for Magic had been a brilliant idea. He was a good man and could make the smart decisions to push the country forwards in the right direction and move on from the dark times Britain had newly left behind without forgetting about them. It was just that at the moment, for now at least, Hermione had been through a lot. So much had changed since last September. Death of loved ones, the end of Voldemort's reign of terror, Harry's enlightenment about being the last Horcrux, explaining his shared connection to the mad man. Her step forwards in a maybe permanent relationship with Ron. The foundations were all set, however he had pulled back progressively. Slowly he had gone from sweet to distant. He never seemed to have enough time for her in his O' so busy life. She had since then left “them” on a sort of break. She missed him but not as much as she thought she would. It hadn't turned out to be the end of the world. If it didn't work out in the end, contrary to what she had imagined before, she would not die of a broken hearth. On the other hand, Harry and Ginny had only grown closer over the months. It was a bittersweet feeling for her. She was happy for them but at the same time wondered why it couldn't have been her and Ron instead.
Harry pointed out that it was time for the daily mail delivery. His gaze suddenly turned sorrowful as he thought of his poor owl Hedwig. He hadn't bought another pet, he instead used Pig. It seemed like Harry imagined he'd be cheating on her if he did.
A handsome barn owl, pure brown, eye color and all soared towards the group and seated itself on Ginny's plate. It was Clifter, George's owl. He lifted his leg, on which was tied a letter addressed to the the little Weasley. She untied the envelope and managed not to smear her half finished beans over it while removing it from the creature's leg. Ginny's head bent forwards, hiding her freckled face behind her beautiful, long locks. She tore open the envelope and pore over the fast scribbled words. Her face turned ashen, a teardrop slid down her rosy cheek and fell on the letter. Ron immediately grabbed the note that had caused his sister to cry in a matter of seconds. Harry read over his mate's shoulder. Hermione noticed the sudden anger that flashed in his eyes.
“What is it ? What's wrong ?” she worried. Had something happened to George ? She reached over the table for the letter, Ron reluctantly handed it over. The words were scrawled in untidy handwriting,
Mum was attacked – her aggressor is unknown. She refused to go to St Mungo's, she's at home. She was hit with the Cruciatus curse in Diagon Alley. Dad's going crazy. He's alerted Kingsley. Don't leave Hogwarts ! It's the safest place. McGonagall was warned. We think we're being specifically targeted, she'll keep an eye on you and Ron. Don't let anyone else know – except Harry and Hermione. Be careful !
Hermione couldn't believe it as her own eyes filled with tears and her lips trembled. Who would want to hurt Molly ? Who could hurt her ? She was the sweetest woman, someone who wouldn't hurt a fly, maybe to protect her children but otherwise, never. After the war, everyone had settled into a false sense of security. Of course, there were still Death Eaters out there. From one day to the next, the world didn't become a perfect place, without a trace of evil. But still. When it happened to a person with whom you were close, it hurt so much. It opened up wounds Hermione had thought healed. What was all the hard work for, what had every single thing they had done, had sacrificed worth if they couldn't even keep their families safe ? She was suddenly filled with such rage, the same she had only moments ago seen fill Harry. It was unforgivable, after all the Weasley's had been through, just as they were getting over Fred's premature death, they were once again targets. Hermione looked up at the Head Table, as if she could sense the girl's gaze, Minerva met her glance. A silent message passed between them, we'll keep them safe. It was their job.
As she made her way to her first class, Ancient Runes, the unthinkable happened. Hermione's sturdy book bag, that had been a faithful and loyal helper since her fourth year, broke ! All of her textbooks, copybooks, quills, ink, wand, you name it crashed to the floor. She let out a frustrated grown. “So, I can get through a war relatively unharmed but not to class without an accident ? “ she asked herself. Muttering about how she'd now be late, which was not the good example to set as Head Girl, she missed the fact that a certain blond was helping her pick up her stuff, until her hand brushed his and shock waves pulsated up and down her body, from head to toes. She shot daggers at the ferret.
“Malfoy ! What in the world do you think you're doing ?”
“Helping, Granger ?” he asked innocently.
“Why would you help me ?” she answered with indignation.
“Because no one else seems too. If it's such a big deal, I'll let you be.”
Hermione didn't know what to say to that. She cast a spell to repair her broken ink bottles, Malfoy having already fixed up her bag. Instead she stacked up her affairs and stuffed them inside. As she moved on, to her classroom, Hermione already knew she'd be late. Annoyed she turned back to face Malfoy, who'd been following her.
“Leave me alone !”
“I would, trust me. But I have Ancient Runes as well, so move it before Professor Babbling has a fit.” Malfoy looked down at her, with his famous sneer.
He annoyed her to such a point ! Bloody Merlin, she was seriously thinking of punching him in the face a second time, maybe after all those years he'd forgotten what a good fist she had.
She hurried to find room 6A. As she'd guessed, they were the last two. The girl apologized and quickly took a seat at the back, to not attract anymore attention after her tardiness.
As Professor Babbling babbled on and on about the importance of runes in the wizarding world, Hermione was painfully aware that not only had Malfoy chosen to sit next to her but also his leg brushed against hers. Was he conscious about their closeness ? It slowly drove her insane as the hour dragged on. She kept shifting herself further away but he kept angling himself, like a magnet, back to Hermione's knee. By the time class was wrapped up, the girl was almost pressed cheek to wall, helplessly trying to get away. As soon as they were dismissed she ran out the door and escaped to the Gryffindor Common Room. She had a spare hour and was not willing the risk of heading to the library. Over the years, she had noticed Malfoy also had a habit of working there, at the furthest table in the back, near the restricted section. Not that she cared...
By five o'clock, Hermione was wired on nerves, she couldn't hide from Malfoy anymore. They had both been summoned to Minerva's office for their first Head meeting. As she made her way down the third floor corridor and stopped in front of the Gargoyle, it brought back old memories of their sixth year and Harry's many trips to see the past Headmaster. Ron and she had always waited up, worried sick most of the time, trying to guess what was going on during those many hours Dumbledore and he had spent together. Harry always came back looking older, shaken but also enlightened. He shared all news with them but acted sometimes as if he wished to keep some information to himself. All of a sudden, she realized that she didn't have the password.
“Chocolate Frogs ?” she tried, but nothing happened.
“Dumbledore ?” guessing maybe Minerva would want to pay tribute.
“It's 'Pensieve', Granger.”
Hermione whipped around and stared at Malfoy walking with ease towards her, even though they were late – again ! At the sound of the password, the marble Gargoyle moved to reveal a winding staircase. The Heads made their way up and entered upon knocking.
“Ah, you made it.” a slightly annoyed Headmistress said.
Hermione bowed her head a fraction of an inch, “Excuse us.”
“Never mind, sit. We have lots to sort out.”
We executed her orders immediately. If we had learnt one thing since our first year, it was that you did not wait to be told twice by McGonagall. She was not one to be kept waiting.
“Here are some notes of the topics you will need to deal with with the Prefects.” she told them while passing over a short list.
“School dance ? Really ?” My head shot up at Malfoy's question.
“Give me that !” I reached for the piece of parchment, “Please.” I added for the sake of Minerva's quizzical brow. My eyes scanned over the paper and low and behold, there, item 12 out of 20, was written “Winter Fest Annual Dance.”
“Yes, as new Headmistress, I would like to start another Hogwarts tradition. The Yule ball that took place in your fourth year was a great success. Each December, the school will host a dance for students fifth year and up.”
“That's a fantastic idea !” exclaimed Hermione.
“That's rubbish.” mumbled Malfoy.
“No matter,” scolded Minerva, “You will need to attend with a date of your choice and to open the Fest, the Heads will share the first dance.”
If the elder woman didn't have their attention before, now they were all ears. Outraged ears, but ears none the less.
“I can't be seen with the mud- with her. It will ruin my reputation !”
“With all due respect mum, I have no wish to dance with Draco.”
“The feeling's mutual, Granger.”
“Enough !” erupted McGonagall, “You will, under the obligation of Heads, and for this school, dance one bloody dance together and proceed with your evening's as desired.”
When the two were dismissed, they made their way silently to their Common Room. Finally, Malfoy grabbed her shoulders and spun her around to look into her eyes.
“Listen Granger, I don't want this anymore than you do. But we'll have to suck it up alright ? We need to plan for this stupid ball, the dance is nothing but a minor detail. So, partners ?” He offered his hand.
Already Hermione didn't know what to say by his improvised speech, so she was even more stunned by his gesture of maybe not friendship but at least a truce. Uncertainly, she extended her own hand and shook. A bizarre tingle was felt by both, as if they now shared a connection. Hermione quickly turned around, a slight blush making its way up, and muttered, “Deluminator.”
Once Henry's portrait swung open, the girl rushed to her room without a second glance back. She missed Malfoy's “Goodnight.”