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Chapter One: Back to Normal?

After breakfast that morning, Draco had told Hermione to get dressed because he was going to take her out for the day. Hermione was up in their bedroom getting ready when she heard a tapping on the window. She went over and opened the window to let the large tawny owl flutter through and watched it land on her bedpost. She went over and patted the owl’s head, untying the letter from it’s leg. Conjuring a small bowl with water for the owl, she flipped the letter over and noticed a familiar seal and quickly tore it open. Hermione gasped excitedly when she read the contents.

Dear Miss Granger~

I hope that this letter finds you doing well. It has come to my attention just this morning that Professor Slughorn has decided to go back into retirement after the war is over, which could be any time for all we know. We, Professor Slughorn and myself, have decided that it was time to start training a replacement for him just in case. After careful consideration of his past students, Prof. Slughorn has decided that you would make a great candidate for a Potions Mistress. He said that you were one of the best potions students he could ever remember having in his classroom and Hogwarts would be honored to have you as one of our staff.

We do realize that you have recently become engaged to Mr. Malfoy and have even more recently moved into a new home. With this in mind, we have decided to change the normal circumstances a bit and allow Mr. Malfoy to accompany you to Hogwarts during the school year.

Please send the owl back with a response as soon as possible so that we can begin preparations for your arrival…if you choose to accept the offer. I look forward to seeing my brightest pupil return to the school.

Minerva McGonagall
Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Hermione stared at the parchment in her hands for a moment, letting the words sink in. After a moment, her thin lips began forming a wide smile. Jotting a quick reply to McGonagall to let her know that she needed to discuss it with Draco first, she tied it quickly to the owl waiting impatiently on her bedpost and dashed out the door and down the stairs to tell Draco of the good news.

She finally found him sitting in his study, reading a book while waiting for her. He looked up shocked when he heard her burst into the room.

“ ‘Mione, sweetheart, I thought you were getting dressed!?” He asked pointedly, gazing at her skimpy nightgown that still hung over her body.

“Oh my god, I totally forgot! I kind of got side tracked when this came for me.” She smiled excitedly and thrust the parchment into her fiancé’s hand.

Draco looked at her curiously and started reading the letter she just thrust into his hands. His facial features contorted from concentration to wide-eyed as he read over the words from their former Headmistress. He glanced up at Hermione’s beaming face, back down to the parchment and up a few more times before finally opening his mouth to speak.

“You’ve got to be kidding me right, ‘Mione?” Draco asked.

“What do you mean? It’s wonderful! I cant believe they asked me!” Hermione exclaimed, placing her hands on her hips in the normal Miss-Know-It-All fashion that everyone knew too well.

“You cant possibly be considering this!” Draco exclaimed back to her, a small tinge of anger and resentment filling his voice unconsciously. “We were stuck there for the last seven years, Hermione! What happened to ‘relax for bit’?”

“What do you mean I cant possibly be considering it?” Hermione shot back, her tone rising slightly at the audacity of her fiancé to say such things. “Of course I’m considering it Draco! Do you know how much of an honor it is??”

“And what about ‘us’ ‘Mione? Have you even stopped to think about that? We’re just starting our lives together…FINALLY able to be together without anyone watching our every move and now you just want to up and go back to the same place we’ve been for the last SEVEN YEARS??!!” Draco yelled back at her, jumping up from his chair.

“Is that all you think about? Yourself? In case you didn’t notice, she offered for you to accompany me! We would be going together!” Hermione yelled, her temper flaring.

“And what if I don’t want to go back there again! You just going to leave me here to start your own life? There are way too many memories in that bloody castle for me, and many of them I don’t care to relive again any time soon!” Draco was getting furious at this point.

How could she want to go back to that blasted castle already? How could she even fathom that I’d want to go back? Draco thought angrily to himself.

His last comments found himself in a place where he’d only really been one other time and really had no desire to ever be again in his entire life---staring down the shaft of Hermione’s wand which was now pointed directly at him.

“Bloody hell, Malfoy! Everything in this world is not about YOU!! What about ME?? HUH?? What about what I want? Have you stopped to think about that? Of course not because you’re too busy being the self-conceited prat you’ve always been!” Hermione screamed at him, waving her wand dangerously around in front of Draco, her anger overwhelming her, turned on her heel and stormed from the room…her head still fuming.

Draco just stood there watching her storm from the room, his own head still spinning from there fight. He threw his arms up in frustration and started pacing the room, trying desperately to calm his nerves before going after her to talk things out. That was the first fight they’d had in a very long time and he did not like it, not one little bit. He just couldn’t fathom how she could seem so overjoyed about the prospect of returning to that hell-hole that they’d been locked up in for the past seven years not even three full months since they’d finally been released from it. How could she want to just up and leave him for nine long months after they’d worked so hard to finally be able to be together, with no one telling them how to act or what they were and were not ‘supposed’ to be doing?

Finally settling his emotions down to a reasonable level, he walked steadily from the study and headed towards the staircase to their room. He was just about to the stairs when he heard a slamming door and the sound of angry footsteps pounding down the stairs towards him. Looking up, he saw Hermione thundering down the stairs in a snug pair of muggle jeans and a tight fitting, blue midriff top. She obviously looked like she was still pissed off and if he didn’t move quickly, he’d end up being trampled on so he moved to the side just as she passed him hurriedly.

“ ‘Mione, where are you going? We need to talk about this!” He hollered slightly at her retreating form as it stormed past him, not even looking in his direction as she headed towards the front door. Rushing after her, he caught her arm just before she was able to step across the threshold of their house.

“Let. Go. Of. Me. Malfoy. I am in no mood to talk to the likes of a selfish prat such as yourself at the moment.” Hermione snarled at him, yanking her arm from his grip and rushing through the gaping front door.

Grabbing her arm once again, slightly harder this time, he spun her back around and was immediately connected with her hand as she slapped him, hard, right across the face. He loosened his grip involuntarily but before he could recover, she was down the front steps and Apparating away with a loud, deafening, POP. He stood there in the front entry for what felt like an hour (but was really a couple minutes) staring at the spot where she had just stood. Bowing his head in defeat, he turned and silently closed the door, his mind racing with thoughts that he didn’t want to even think about.

Gods, what in the bloody hell just happened? He thought to himself as he made his way through the lower level and up the stairs towards their bedroom.

Draco considered simply trying to send a telepathic message to her to apologize but he thought it might be wiser if he let her cool off first. Staggering wearily, as arguing with her always wore him out, he entered their room and instinctively fell on the bed, his eyes closing in a defeated sleep, hoping that she would be there when he awoke.

An hour later, Hermione arrived back at their new home. She had taken a long walk around muggle London, putting her thoughts in order. She decided that regardless of whether or not she was truly going to take the position offered, she couldn’t be with someone who wasn’t fully supportive of her. So, setting her resolve, she apparated back to the house and softly made her way up to their bedroom and packed up a few things that she would need. She watched him sleeping peacefully on their bed as she laid a note down on the bedside table and walked from the house. Hermione had decided that she was going to get a room in Hogsmeade for a few days while she decided what to do.

Back at their home, Draco awoke slowly from his nap. He listened quietly for a moment, hoping to hear Hermione moving around somewhere in the house. Hearing nothing, he sighed to himself and swung his legs over the edge of the bed. Just before he stood up, a rolled letter on his bedside table caught his eye. He reached over and picked up the letter just as a sparkling silver trinket fell from it. Standing up and kneeling down, he picked it up and gasped at what it was….Hermione’s engagement ring. His heart leapt into his throat as he slowly dropped to the floor and read the letter.

My Dearest Draco~

I’m sorry to just leave like this but I could stand to fight with you again. I havent decided whether or not I am going to take the job but after this morning I realized it doesn’t matter. The fight we had this morning made me realize that I can not be with someone, no matter how much I may love them, if they arent fully supportive of me and respect my wants and desires. It broke my heart when you seemed to not care what I wanted and you weren’t even happy for me. All you could think about was how it would effect you and I just cant live like that.

I will always love you Draco, you are everything to me. I am staying at the inn in Hogsmeade for a few days. If you desire to speak with me for any reason, you know where I’ll be.

All my love always~

Draco felt his heart breaking as he read over her words again. He hadn’t realized what he was doing that morning and never in a million years did he want her to feel that he didn’t love and support her. Suddenly he jumped to his feet. Putting the ring in his pocket as he dashed down the stairs and out the front door, he apparated quickly to Hogsmeade. There was no way in hell he was letting her go that easily.

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