Chapter Two – The Beginning of the End
Beta’d by dramione 12. Don’t we all love her <3
Dedicated to Michelle =)
Chapter Two – The Beginning of the End
Beta’d by dramione 12. Don’t we all love her <3
Dedicated to Michelle =)
Author’s Note: So I got this chapter out fairly fast =) The little plot bunnies for this story attacked my brain all last night to the point I had no freedom so I was forced to write this double time! That means I wrote one and a half chapters today, so I wrote over 3000 words! Go me =) I hope you guys enjoy this, and if you know of someone who betas or you do, please let me know! I have a topic set up over at the HPFF forums also, so yes =) I would like to thank Michelle for helping me and also Hong for helping me decide how to end this chapter. I love you guys both to no end.
Disclaimer: I still own nothing but my semi-original plot. Stupid clichés XD
Jumping out of the car as soon as it was parked, Hermione quickly pulled her trunk out and placed it on the trolley her father had brought her. Looking at the empty cage in the back of the car, Hermione placed it on top of her suitcase. Over the summer, Crookshanks had gotten himself run over by a car, never being used to muggle appliances. She had plans to buy a new cat, but after talking to her parents more, they decided that it would be more useful if she were to buy an owl the next time she was in Hogsmeade.
The family of three quickly walked across the parking lot, almost running by the time they reached King’s Cross Station. Walking down the familiar pathway that led to Platform 9 ¾, Hermione looked around her, still not wanting to admit that it would be the last time she would be coming through here with the intent of going to school. Aggravated at her thoughts, Hermione shook them out of her head as her family neared the wall that was needed. Her father looked around them briefly before motioning for Hermione to go through. Seconds later, her parents followed her through the wall, and the family walked farther onto the platform.
Nodding her head at the people she knew, Hermione crossed her eye brows as she saw neither Harry nor Ronald. She knew that neither had wanted to come to school that year, they’d felt it was more important to focus on the struggle in front of them. She felt that it was important to finish her schooling though, and had opted to return to school, no matter the choice of her two best friends. She had heard nothing from them all summer, even though she had sent a letter every week. Telling herself that she would see them at school though, she hadn’t fretted over it too much, but now that they were absent from the platform, she was beginning to feel the onset of worry.
Scanning the platform one last time, Hermione saw Ginny boarding the train and decided she would interrogate her friend when she got on the train herself. Placing her back towards the train though, she was about to talk to her parents when she saw Draco Malfoy walk through the barrier. Wrinkling her nose, she hoped with all she had that he had not received the position of Head Boy, though deep down she had to admit that it was very likely that he had, being one of the only other students who could even rival her own intelligence. His blond head was as arrogant as ever though, and as Hermione caught him raising an eyebrow at her staring, she shot him a death glare before turning back to her parents.
“Mum, I promise everything will be okay. I can’t just skip this year. It would be more dangerous for me at home.” She replied, answering the question her mother had been asking her just as she had turned her attention to her parents. Smiling to reassure her parents, she hugged them one last time before she boarded the train, Hermione exchanged words with them, promising that she would write at least a letter a week to let them know how she was doing and how the war effort was going. On the way to the train depot, she had finally told her parents more of what was going on, and how the Order might decide it was better to relocate her parents so they wouldn’t be targeted. In the mean time, she would tell what she could to help them, but she didn’t dare tell too much in fear of the letter being intercepted.
As the train whistle blew one last time behind her, Hermione waved briefly at her parents before she ran across the platform and jumped in between the doors that were already being closed. Dusting off her uniform slightly, Hermione grabbed one end of her trunk and began to drag it down the aisle, looking into the compartments in an attempt to find one that was empty or contained her friends. Almost at the end of the train, she was becoming desperate when she heard someone yell at her from behind. Turning around, Hermione smiled as she saw Ginny walking towards her.
“Hey, come join me. I have to tell you some information.” Ginny smiled lightly, but Hermione still caught the dark bags that were under her crystal blue eyes. Watching as the red head picked up one end of her trunk; the two backtracked down the path Hermione had already taken before turning into a compartment that also had Neville and Luna in it. Smiling at her two other friends, Hermione quickly put her trunk up above their heads before she sat down on the seat next to Ginny. Placing her bag at her feet, the brown headed girl checked her watch before looking at her friend. “As you can obviously tell…Harry and Ron aren’t coming to school this year. They left one week after school got out and…” Here Ginny trailed off, looking at the other two in the cabin as they motioned for her to continue. “We haven’t heard from them since the middle of July though.”
For several long moments, Hermione stared straight ahead outside of the window as the countryside blurred past. The reason for her friend having the bags under her eyes was painfully apparent now, and Hermione couldn’t decide if she should be angry or worried. Angry because the Weasley family had thought it was not important enough to tell her that her two best friends had disappeared. Worried for the obvious reason; her two best friends were missing and hadn’t been heard from for a month and a half and were out there…alone. She had told them she’d rather finish her schooling, she’d be their inside man to help them along.
And now they were gone.
Feeling Ginny grasp her arm, Hermione looked up confused as to why her friend looked so frantic. “Promise me Hermione that you won’t do anything rash. That’s the only reason mum didn’t want to tell you that they were missing. She was afraid you would uproot yourself and go out there on your own and get yourself lost or killed. They have to be alright though, mum’s clock doesn’t show Ron as dead yet. Just…lost,” Ginny pleaded with Hermione a few more minutes before Hermione finally lifted her hand.
“I promise I won’t do anything rash. I have my own duties now – I made Head Girl….” Trailing off, Hermione smiled and accepted her friends praise with a calm outlook. Inside, her brain was on turmoil over where her friends could be. After a while, everyone became quite and stared off to think about whatever they wanted to think about. When Hermione did look at her watch, she saw that it was 1:53. Time had passed quickly while she was thinking, and she had seven to get to the correct compartment for her Head’s meeting.
Standing up and grabbing her bag, Hermione muttered to her friends where she was going before exiting the compartment and making her way down the hallway. Her cloak clutched tightly in her hand, Hermione fought the tears that were beginning to be shed as she practically ran down the hallway, nodding briefly at people who tried to talk to her. After what seemed like ten miles of the aisle, Hermione came to a stop outside the door to the Heads’ compartment. Leaning her head against the glass, she breathed in deeply a couple of times in an attempt to gain control of her feelings. Looking down at her watch, Hermione saw it was 1:58. Two minutes to go.
Standing up straight and releasing her death hold on her cloak slightly, Hermione promptly opened the door to the compartment and walked in, closing it behind her. Turning to see who the Head Boy was, Hermione refused to let her disgust show as she saw who she was to live with for the next school year.
Looking at his clock one last time, Draco muttered under his breath as he saw it was already 1:58. He’d quite enjoyed all the free time to himself he’d had. As soon as he had boarded the train, he had made a beeline for the compartment in order to avoid the goons he was forced to converse with, though Blaise was the only one who didn’t make him want to blow his brains out with his wand. So for the last three hours, he had holed himself up in the Heads’ compartment, socializing with no one. The only interaction he’d had with any student had been the glare he’d received from the Granger girl after he caught her staring at him.
Looking up as the door to the small room opened, Draco sat still, cursing whatever God had decided to curse him that day. The girl who had entered the room was none other than the same Granger girl who he had caught staring at him earlier. Waiting for her to turn around from shutting the door, Draco leaned back against the seat and crossed his arms across his chest, his eyebrows raised. He had to give the muggle born girl some credit – he knew how much she was despising this very moment, coming face to face with her roommate for the next year, but not one ounce of that disgust and frustration showed on her face.
In truth, the girl actually looked quite tired, in the figurative sense. Confused as to that fact, Draco refused to dwell on the fact and waited for Hermione to sit down across from him. Eventually the brown haired girl did so, and the two sat there for quite some time staring at each other. As they did so, Draco quickly took quick inventory of the girl. As much as he hated to admit it, the girl had become more attractive over the years. That once bushy head of hair, that he would have sworn was a live, had sleeked down into soft curls that framed her face just so. The once sickly skin had gained some color, reminding him of how he still glowed in the dark. Her chocolate eyes bored into his own slate eyes so intensely, that if Draco had been anyone else, he would have looked away after a few seconds.
But he did not. And for the next five minutes or so, the two continued to have the glaring contest, until the compartment door opened once again. Immediately, both of the students snapped their eyes to see who the intruder was, and upon seeing it was Professor Dumbledore, Draco leaned back on his seat with a smirk. The time had come, once again, for him to listen to yet another speech from the Headmaster that only resided in his memories as a drone of words. Peeking over at the Gryffindor girl across from him, Draco snorted softly as he noticed her rapt attention to the old loon.
As both of them turned their attention towards him, Draco raised his hand up apologetically. “I am apologetic for that. I was reminded of a scene much less serious than this that was very amusing. Continue.” Flapping his hand, Draco smiled slightly at the older man, knowing that neither of them would believe his excuse, but would continue onward without a second thought.
Much as he knew they would, the conversation continued and Draco decided it wouldn’t kill him to at least attempt and hear what the man was saying. “As I was saying before, this coming year will bring new challenges to the school. Our ties will be tested once again to see if the wizarding world will be able to survive the inevitable battle that is coming. As our two Heads, I request that you guys work harder than ever in ensuring house unity in our school. I know it will be hard, Gryffindors,” Dumbledore nodded at Hermione, “and Slytherins,” and here he nodded at Draco, who sniffed, “will never want to put aside their pride and long rivalry to get along for the better of our school. If students continue to fight much like they have the last year or so, I do have a plan that will be put in place in order to force a sort of peace.”
Coughing into his hand, Dumbledore smiled at Hermione, who was in rapt attention yet again of the Professor, while Draco leaned against the wall, barely paying attention. “The idea would be to take people from each house and force them to live together, much like you two will be this year as Heads. As I said before, this would only be last resort, and it would require some powerful magic in order to arrange the castle to do so. I am going to give you two the mission of discovering a way to do it with as little magic as possible, because I would like you two to make the announcement when the time comes and set up the plan and get it rolling. It would show the students that such a plan is indeed possible, and that it won’t result in half of the school dying.”
Draco watched across the small compartment as Hermione nodded in time with the Professor, having no idea of the stare she was receiving. Turning his own head to look at the Professor, Draco gave some sort of nod that acknowledged he had heard at least half of the conversation the Professor had tried to include them in. “May I inquire what our dorm password will be and where it will be located?” Draco drawled, thinking about the nap he would love to take upon reaching the castle.
“The entrance is the portrait of the first Head Boy and Head Girl of Hogwarts; I’m assuming you both know where that is?” Pausing as he looked at each student for a nod, Dumbledore continued on. “The password this year is rapport. Share the password with no one.” Standing up from the position he’d taken beside Hermione, Dumbledore nodded to the two students before disappearing with a pop.
Reaching his hand up to scratch his nose, Draco watched Hermione across from him. He wasn’t sure if they were supposed to be working together now on the project, but he really had no desire to stay in the same room with the girl across from him. About to stand up and leave the room, Hermione’s voice interrupted his process and caused him to stay where he was. “Did you have a pleasant summer vacation?” Attempting to hold back the sarcastic bark, Draco stared at the girl across him for several moments before he gained his power to speak.
“Oh yes. The summer was filled with invigorating conversations with the house elves as I ate my meals alone and rarely saw any of my family.” His voice laced with poisonous sarcasm, Draco smirked at the girl in front of him. What did she expect, a summer full of family picnics in the garden out back where his father told him over and over how proud he was of his son?
Watching as the mud-blood began to blush slightly, Draco stood up from his seat and grabbed his school bag and was about to leave the compartment when he turned back around to Hermione. “I noticed your partners in crime seemed to be missing. Finally grow old of hanging with someone as dirty as you?” Watching as Hermione’s face turned a dangerous red, Draco chortled as her temper grew to dangerous heights. It had been so long since he had been able to pick on someone, and how he had missed it.
“Unlike you ferret, they have more important things to take care of than picking on someone.” Hermione also rose from her seat, his height dwarfing her to the point of amusement. Attempting to choke back a laugh, Draco looked down at the Gryffindor girl.
“"The mission that they have embarked on will not be successful, and they are stupid to believe that. If they carry a normal life forgot this then they would have a far better chance. Those two together can only end disastrously.” Draco snarled at the girl below him, and was waiting for her rebuke when the train slammed to a stop and the two were thrown to the seat. Untangling himself, Draco quickly snarled at the girl again before rushing from the room, cursing his folly at getting so caught up in the argument to forget his assignment.
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