Hermione Jane Granger pushed her 11-year old daughter’s trolley towards the barrier in King’s Cross Station that would lead onto Platform 9 and ¾. Her dark wavy hair bounced lightly on her shoulders and she was smiling. It was her daughter’s first year at Hogwarts and she was so excited for her. Of course there had been no doubt in Hermione’s mind that her child would be magical, considering who her mother was, and the fact that her father was Pureblood. But she was still ecstatic when Alice had got her letter. The two of them went through the barrier, and before them was the scarlet steam engine known as the Hogwarts Express. Hermione heard her daughter gasp, and smiled wider. She had had the same reaction her first time on Platform 9 and ¾.
Alice Granger’s eyes sparkled with excitement. Her mother had been so delighted when she got her Hogwarts letter that she had taken her right then to go shopping for all of her school supplies. Alice had spent the remainder of the summer reading through Hogwarts: A History, along with her various other textbooks. She could hardly wait to get started on her magical learning. Suddenly she felt her mother’s grip on her hand tighten and she looked up to see her frowning at something in the distance. She followed her mother’s gaze and saw a black haired man with round glasses holding the hand of a red haired lady and talking to a red haired little girl with a smile on his face.
Hermione unconsciously drew Alice closer to her and let go of the trolley, reaching for her wand. She pulled it out and turned to Alice. “Now Alice, I’m going to cast that spell on your eyes, okay?” Alice nodded. She was used to this when she had to go out in public with other wizards and witches. The spell darkened her eye colour so that it matched her mother’s. “Alright, it should stay on for about a week, but after that you’ll have to do it on your own, okay? And you’re going to have to remember to do it everyday, because your spell won’t be as strong as mine.”
“Okay mum.” Alice said nodding again. “Mum?” She asked quietly.
“Yes dear?” Hermione answered lovingly.
“Who is that man over there?” She indicated where Hermione had been looking just a moment ago. “You seemed upset to see him.” Alice was very perceptive and sometimes it startled Hermione how much she saw.
Hermione knelt down to Alice’s level and sighed quietly. “That, honey, is one of Mummy’s old friends. He’s going to be one of your Professors at Hogwarts. So you be sure to be a good girl and be nice to him, alright?”
“Okay mum. I’ll be good, like always.” Alice smiled.
“That’s my girl. Okay, you should be all set. All that’s left to do now is get your stuff on the train. You want me to help?” Alice nodded, and Hermione stood up and took her hand again, pushing the trolley with the other. Once they got all of her things safely stowed away Hermione knelt down again and said, “Okay honey, you’re all ready to go. You have a good year, and don’t forget to write me lots. Make lots of friends, but keep up with your studies. I’ll see you at Christmas okay?”
“Okay mum.” Alice suddenly threw her arms around her mother’s neck and Hermione wrapped her own arms around the little girl. “I love you mum. I’m going to miss you.”
“I’m going to miss you too honey. What am I going to do with all my free time, and all that quiet at home?” Both Hermione and Alice laughed softly. “But I just know that you’ll have loads of fun at Hogwarts. I know I did. I love you honey.” Hermione gave her daughter a squeeze.
“I love you too mum.” Alice said. Hermione stood up and kissed Alice’s cheek. She tousled her dark hair playfully, and then turned to leave the compartment. She got off the train and stepped back onto the platform, turning to wave as the train blew its horn signaling for all students to get on.
Just then Harry walked past Hermione on his way to board the train. He stopped and did a double take. “Hermione?” He asked quietly.
“Harry…” Hermione replied.
“What are you doing here?” He asked, surprised. Just then Ginny walked up and laced her hand into his.
“Harry, shouldn’t you be getting on the train, love?” Ginny smiled. “You don’t want to be late. That would set a bad example for the students if the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher showed up to the start of term feast late.” Harry looked at Ginny briefly, but in the split second that he tore his eyes from Hermione to look at Ginny, Hermione Disapperated. When he looked back she was gone. His shock was evident on his face because Ginny frowned. “What’s wrong Harry? You look like you’ve just seen a ghost.” Then she looked round for the first time. “Who were you talking to just before I walked up anyway?”
Harry shook his head. “Hermione…I think…” He said, still puzzled by her sudden disappearance. “But you’re right, I should get going. Bye love.” He pecked Ginny on the lips and turned to his young daughter. “Goodbye to you too Sianna, I love you as well. I’ll see you both at Christmas.” Harry kissed her on the forehead and then headed for the train again. Ginny and Sianna waved until the train rounded the bend and was out of sight.
“Mum, why can’t I go to Hogwarts with Daddy?” Sianna whined. Ginny smiled and brushed her daughter’s hair out of her face.
“You can’t go because you’re not old enough to go yet. But you get to go next year.” Ginny’s smiled widened as Sianna pouted.
*(On the train; Professor’s compartment)
Harry sat on one of the comfortable benches in the Professor’s compartment of the Hogwarts Express, staring out the window, trying to figure out why Hermione had disappeared like she had today, and why she had even been on Platform 9 and ¾ anyway. ‘She must have a child going to Hogwarts this year. Funny, I never heard anything about her getting married or having a child. I’ll have to keep an eye out for anyone who looks like they might be Hermione’s child.’ Then his thoughts began to wander back almost 12 years ago, to why he, Ron and Ginny had stopped talking to Hermione.
“Hermione, you’ve got to be joking!” Harry shouted. What Hermione had just told him and the others was beyond his belief.
“I’m not joking Harry. And I would very much appreciate it if you could lower your voice.” Hermione said calmly.
“He doesn’t have to lower his bloody voice if he doesn’t want to!” Ginny exploded. “I think he has every right to yell at you right now! You just told us something utterly absurd and you’re sitting there expecting us to react calmly! Well, that’s pretty damn hard when what you just told us is so bloody insane!”
“Ginny’s right, Hermione. Have you completely lost your mind?” Harry hated yelling at one of his best friends but he thought that this was warranted considering she had just told him that she was dating, and in love with, his worst enemy, after Voldemort of course.
“No I have not lost my mind. My intelligence is perfectly fine, thank you very much.” Hermione snapped back. “I know how you feel about him Harry, but he’s changed.”
“I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that for one second Hermione.” Harry shook his head in frustration. “I can’t believe that you’re serious. Hermione, it’s Malfoy for crying out loud!”
Hermione sighed and turned to the only other person in the room. “Ron?”
Ron did not lift his eyes from the floor when he spoke. “I can’t even look at you Hermione. After all he’s done to you, to all of us, and you say you’re in love with him. It makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about it.” He stood and spoke quietly again. “It’s disgusting. I know I’m hurting you, and I’m sorry for that, but I can’t look at you without feeling queasy, and I most certainly can’t be friends with someone who associates with the likes of Malfoy. Goodbye Hermione.” He strode from the room then, the other two following his lead. Harry was the only one to look back and he saw Hermione still sitting in the chair, with tears streaming down her face.
Harry sighed as he continued to stare out the window. ‘I just hope to Merlin that she didn’t marry Malfoy.’ As if on cue the compartment door slid open, revealing none other than the infamous Draco Malfoy. He nodded at Harry, and Harry nodded back. “Malfoy.” He said curtly.
“Potter.” Draco replied.
Most of the train ride was spent in not quite comfortable silence, but it was better than the seething hatred that they had possessed towards each other during their time at school. Draco was the one to break the silence. “So Potter, back for another year? You’ve got to hold the record for number of years teaching Defense. How many is this now?” He asked conversationally.
Harry was surprised that Malfoy was speaking to him so calmly. “Umm…this will be my sixth year teaching Defense.”
Draco nodded. “Yeah, definitely a record.” He gave Harry a small smile, which was returned hesitantly.
“Yeah…so, you’re teaching Potions this year?” Harry asked. Shocked as he was, he was not going to ruin his chance to put his past with Malfoy behind them by starting an argument.
Draco nodded again. “Yeah, first year though. Should be interesting. I thought I saw a few of our old classmates with their own kids here.” Harry nodded in agreement, and Draco continued. “I saw your little girl too. She’s quite pretty. Looks like she’s got her mother’s hair, and your eyes.”
Harry was surprised that Draco had noticed so much. “Yeah…” He stuttered. “She’s got Ginny’s temper too though, unfortunately.” Harry smiled.
“Ahh…yes. I seem to remember being on the receiving end of one of Ginny Weasley’s famous Bat Bogey hex’s. Not my most pleasant memory from school.” Both men chuckled lightly.
“Yeah, she did have a knack for that hex.” Harry agreed. “Listen Malfoy, I just want to say good luck this year, and I hope that maybe we can put our past behind us and start over.”
Draco gave a small smile. “Thank-you Potter, and I was hoping the same thing. The least we can do is be civil to each other this year. Considering you’re Head of Gryffindor, and I’m Head of Slytherin it would set a good example for the students.” Harry agreed and just then the train began to slow. “Well, shall we go and make sure everyone gets off the train and to their proper places?” Draco asked.
“Absolutely.” Harry said. Both men stood and left the compartment, helping students that were having trouble with their trunks, directing the first years to Hagrid, and making sure that everyone else got into the carriages.
Harry noticed one girl struggling with her luggage so he went to help her. Her dark hair was long and wavy and her eyes were the deepest chocolate brown imaginable. His first thought was of Hermione’s eyes. ‘Could this be her daughter?’ He thought, while looking at her face, which seemed to be shaped very similarly to Hermione’s as well. “Do you need a hand there?” He asked gently.
“Yes please.” The girl replied timidly. “My mum helped me when I got on the train. But it all seems so heavy now.”
‘Merlin,’ thought Harry. ‘She even sounds and talks like Hermione. This has to be her daughter.’ Harry smiled warmly and took the trunk from her. “Here, let me get that, and you can carry your owl. How does that sound?”
“You’re welcome. Now, what’s your name?” Harry asked.
“Alice.” She answered, liking this Professor more and more by the second. “Alice Granger.”
Harry’s breath caught in his throat. ‘She is Hermione’s daughter. But she said Alice Granger, which would mean Hermione isn’t married. That’s odd.’ “Well Alice, welcome to Hogwarts, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it here.”
Alice nodded her agreement. “Thank-you again.” Alice said as she place her owl on top her trunk when Harry set it down under the roof of the little station. Then she ran to catch up with the other first years that she had met on the train, who were standing next to Hagrid, who as always towered over everyone.
“Hi there Harry!” Hagrid called. “Oops, I mean, Professor Potter.” Hagrid grinned.
Harry grinned back. “Hi Hagrid. See you at the feast.” He waved and Hagrid waved back, then he turned and strode up to the front of the line of carriages waiting to go up to the castle and got into the very first one, which was reserved for teachers. As soon as he was seated and the door was closed the carriage was off, as Draco was already seated on the bench opposite him.
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