Hermione Granger was looking forward to some much needed down time after this crazy school year. It seemed like every year was crazy and draining. But this year between Umbridge, seeing Voldemort in person and the death of Sirius, this year was draining beyond comparison.
She sighed and rested her head against the window of the carriage. There was distant chatter from Harry, Ron, Ginny and Neville, but she wasn't fully paying attention to anything they were saying. Her mind kept drifting to the conversation she had with Malfoy last night. They had sat in the closet for over an hour talking and sharing funny stories. She had never seen an actual smile on his face, but last night he laughed and smiled. But she knew better than to hope that this was some turning point. One night does not make them friends.
"What book did you manage to get Pince to lend you over the summer, Hermione?"
Ginny's voice pulled her out of her thoughts. Fuck.
"I didn't get one."
Everyone in the carriage stopped talking to look her.
"What? You were gone for over an hour last night? How did you not find a book?" Harry said, looking shocked.
"I didn't. Ok?" She snapped
"Whoa, 'Mione. Calm down." Ron said
She sighed. "I am sorry. This year has been..."
"Rough." Neville said quietly.
Everyone was quiet. It had been a very rough year.
"Well. If it makes anyone feel any better. I don't think Umbridge is coming back next year!"
Everyone in the carriage laughed, hard.
By the time Hermione had figured out what books she wanted to take with her onto the train, Ron and Harry had disappeared to find a compartment. She handed her trunk off to the man and rushed onto the train.
She dogged people left and right, looking into each compartment, looking for her friends. After looking what left like the 20th compartment, she turned her body and ran right into another body, all her books falling out of her hands.
"I am so..."
"Watch it, Granger!" Her sneered at her, pushing pass on his way back to his compartment.
Hermione rolled her eyes before gathering up the books that fell to the floor. One step forward, a million steps back. Dust bunnies are looking good right about now.
She turned her head to see him giving her sideways glance before moving into the compartment. She pulled herself up and moved down the train. Finally finding Ron, Harry and Ginny, she pulled open the door and rushed inside. Falling into the seat next to Ginny.
"I never know why you bring books with you on the train. You never read them." Ron said, stuffing his face with a chocolate frog.
"Because, Ronald. I might get bored of your nasty habit of talking with your mouth open!"
Ginny laughed and Harry hide a smile. Ron rolled his eyes.
"What crawled up your arse?"
"Nothing...I just ran into Malfoy in the hallway."
"Ugh. I am sorry." Harry said.
Hermione nodded before starting out the window and watched Hogwarts fade away. He was becoming a very confusing human being. At least before she knew he hated her and would never talk to her. But after last night, she wasn't so sure anymore.
Hermione dropped into her bed 6 hours later. After picking her from Kings Cross, her parents took her out to dinner to celebrate her homecoming. Hermione could never bring herself to tell her parents what bad things going on in the Wizarding World. She knew they would panic and force her not to return. So she kept it to the good things.
She stared at her ceiling, thinking about everything that had happened over the past year. Her mind kept wondering back to yesterday night. Get a grip Granger! It was an one time thing. This doesn't make you guys friends. She rubbed her hands over her face.
There was a noise at her window. She slowly got up and heading to the window to see a large black owl standing on the window ledge, looking at her. She had never seen the owl before. Maybe the Weasley got a new one?
She opened the window for the bird, who flew in and dropped a letter onto her bed, then flew back to the window to sit on the ledge. Hermione looked at the bird then back to the letter. She slowly picked it up to see it was addressed to...no one? Huh. She slowly opened the letter:
I know you are probably wondering why I am writing to you. And honestly, I don't know myself. In fact I have been sitting here for over an hour trying figure out why I am feeling the need to contact to you. I mean I don't even know where you live, mud muggle London, right?
Okay, to be honest, I am sitting in the broom closet on the second floor, it is right next to our library (keep your knickers on) and the damn dust bunnies are staring at me. It seems like the broom closets are my new favorite place to hang out. Don't tell anyone. Would hate to find my closet on the third floor occupied when we get back to school.
Fuck this is going no where. I am sure I won't even send this.
P.S. Be nice to my bird, she is very special to me. And for some reason really likes apples. Don't laugh. I know you are laughing. Stop it.
P.S.S. Her name is Stella.
Hermione laughed. She was shocked to see that he had written her. More surprised he actually sent it. She could tell he had a battle with himself over sending it. It was covered in ink smudges, not to mention all the crossing out.
She looked over to the owl sitting on her window ledge. Stella was a beautiful owl. Hermione could tell she was a black barn owl, which she found odd that Draco Malfoy would have something as common as a barn owl. But it was hard to argue when Stella looked at you with her golden eyes contracting against her black feathers.
She stood up slowly so not to spook the bird and went down stairs to the kitchen. When she returned to her room, Stella hadn't moved. Hermione slowly cut up the apple she grabbed and placed some pieces in front of the bird, who starting eating right away. She sat back down at her desk and pulled a piece of parchment out.
I was shocked to see that you have a barn owl. But once I looked her over, I can see why you picked her. She is beautiful. Don't worry, she is coming back to you with a belly fully of apples. Which yes, I am laughing at!
I promise to keep your closet a secret! But I am wondering why you are hanging out in one instead of just sitting in your library. I mean sure the books are lonely!
If it makes you feel any better, I am just as lost as you are as to why you are writing me and why I am writing back. But here we are.
I hope the dust bunnies are being nice.
She finished the letter and quickly passed it off to the bird before she lost her nerve. Stella hooted at her and took off into the night. She looked around the dark room before standing back up and moved around starting to get ready for bed. She left for the bathroom to clean her face and brush her teeth. She walked back into the room to see Stella sitting back on her window ledge. The letter she was carrying, sitting on her bed. Hermione shook her head and picked the letter back up.
You are so funny. Ha. Ha. Ha. Thank you for feeding Stella. She is a great bird, even if she is a barn owl!
Why am I not surprised that you would get all hot over my library. I am sure they are lonely, you are welcome to come over and keep them company. Eh...that might not be a good idea.
Good to hear we are both just as confused. To be honest, last night...was nice. It was nice. To laugh, to not worry about anything to do with the outside world. So...thanks Granger.
She stared at the letter for a while. Not sure how to respond. Had Malfoy, Draco Pureblood Malfoy, just said thank you to her? She wasn't quite sure how to process any of it. So, she quickly wrote a response, handed it to Stella, who hooted and took off again.
She pulled the covers down in her bed and crawled, thinking about everything that had happened in the past 24 hours. Well. This will an interesting summer.
Stella flew through the open window to Draco's room. She dropped the letter on the bed and flew to her perch, nestling her head into her wings. Draco reached for it and opened, slightly scared of what Granger had to say.
You are welcome.
And so it starts! Mwhaha. ;)
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Chapter Four Preview:
"Malfoy?!" She rushed to open her window to the boy who was sitting on his broomstick, outside her window...in Muggle London.
"So...This is Muggle London, eh?"
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