Disclaimer: I don’t own the wonderful world of Harry Potter or any of it’s characters, credit to my lord and saviour JK Rowling for that! The story line in this fic though, that’s mine.
After the fall of the Dark Lord, the Magical World had once again become vibrant. The streets of Diagon Alley which had been stripped of it’s energy during the War had become littered with colour and noise once more. There wasn’t a single shop left vacant. Bright signs and notices caught the eyes of the passerbyes. One sign in particular caught the eye of a very special young witch.
Hermione Granger stood rooted to the spot, eyes wide at the site before her, ‘53% off all books in store now.’ She felt warmth in her fingertips. Her senses longed to hold an old musty book. And just as she took a step forward, a step forward to relieve her urge, a redheaded figure fell in front of her.
Ron Weasley had looked over at Hermione, had gotten nervous, and had somehow managed to knot together his gangly set of legs, causing him to fall in slump before Hermione, crushing her foot in the process.
Hermione snarled, “ouch Ron that was my foot!”
“Sorry sorry,” the redhead scrambled for words.
Ever since their kiss in the chamber last year, there had been an unsettled aura between the pair. Both were undecided on their feelings for each other. Something Harry Potter, the boy who lived, was most dismal about. He wanted his best friends back. He wanted them to talk without there being an awkward sense between them.
“Come on you two,” Harry growled at the hopeless pair, “let’s go buy all our school books.”
At that Hermione snapped out of her trance and nodded, a small smile had begun playing on her lips. Having missed their last school year, fighting wars and what not, Professor Mcgonagall, the new headmistress of Hogwarts, had allowed all the previous 7th years to return to Hogwarts and complete their final year properly. It was not compulsory, but Hermione knew that many of her fellow witches and wizards would be returning.
Hermione linked arms with Harry and a very skeptical Ron who was still dusting himself off, and the trio walked into Flourish and Blotts, Diagon Alley’s most finest book shop. Yet they never expected to meet a platinum blonde haired boy among the rows of books.
“Malfoy!” Ron spluttered aggressively.
The blonde boy spun around, clutching a handful of magical school books. The site before the trio shocked them. They hadn’t seen Draco Malfoy since the war, but of course they knew the reason why. Ever since the defeat of Voldemort, the Malfoy family had been lying very low. However this did not stop the arrest of Draco’s parents. His father, Lucius Malfoy was sentenced to life in Azkaban as recompense for his crimes. His mother, Narcissa Malfoy was sentenced to 6 months in Azkaban with the promise of community service work after her release. Rumour has it that the Minister for Magic struck a bargain with Narcissa; if she divulged information on the remaining Death Eaters who were still in hiding, her sentence would be minimal, or so writes the poison-pen journalist, Rita Skeeter. And lastly their son, Draco, was let off as their was no clear evidence that he had committed the crimes that were plastered to his name.
Standing next to Draco was a dark skinned male, known as Blaise Zabini. Blaise is now the only friend of Draco’s, as his once staunch pals; Gregory Goyle and Vincent Crabbe, had both been killed in the war. And much to the delight of Draco, Pansy Parkinson, the crazy girl in Slytherin who had always begged for his attention had been sentenced to to 8 years in Azkaban after it was confirmed that she had used the Cruciatus Curse. Blaise was all he had left.
Draco looked down at his shoes when he noticed who had called his name. He hadn’t said a lot to anyone after the war, he only spoke to Blaise, and even then, he kept talking to a minimum. Blaise stepped up for his friend and politely smiled at the trio, not saying a word himself. However this caused a disapproving look from Ron who had begun to go red in the face. Harry gripped on to the bottom of his friends shirt to prevent him lunging forward and starting a brawl in the middle of the book store.
Harry began whispering something to Ron, which the others including Hermione could not hear. Unsure of what to do, Hermione’s eyes left Blaise and drifted over to meet the figure that had gotten Ron so worked up. She examined Draco, starting with the books in his hands, which obviously meant that he would be returning to re-sit his final year at Hogwarts. Perhaps the site of this was the reason behind Ron’s sudden anger or maybe seeing Draco had reminded Ron of his brother Fred who had fallen at the hands of the Death Eaters. Either way, Hermione and Harry needed to remove Ron from the store, otherwise they would be removing Draco’s pummeled body instead.
Harry began pulling Ron back, retreating to the door they had just entered through. Hermione began retreating also, but stopped dead in her tracks when a loud eruption of swear words and threats began pouring from Ron’s mouth. Ron was shouting at the top of his lungs, throwing curse word, after curse word at the blonde boy. With one last yank Harry was able to pull an erupting Ron from the store and push him out on to the cobbled street.
Hermione’s shoulders relaxed when Ron was outside and a large breath she didn’t realize she had been holding finally escaped her mouth. She drew her sweaty palm up to her forehead and retrieved an escaped curl that had managed to break free from her pony tail. Hermione looked up apprehensively at the two boys who were both staring aimlessly towards the ground.
Hermione couldn’t help but feel a twinge of guilt for the boys, especially for Draco who had been the target of Ron’s words... No, she takes that back. Why should she feel guilty or bad for Draco, he deserved everything he got. He may have been cleared of all charges but he was still just as guilty as his parents.
At this thought, Draco looked up at Hermione who was still battling with her inner thoughts. She too looked once again in their direction and caught the eyes of Draco. His face looked like it had been carved out of marble. His features were stiff and Hermione could make out the strain in his jaw as he tensed. Finally Draco dropped his gaze and walked away, proceeding to bury himself further into the shop, disappearing into the endless rows of books. Hermione watched as Blaise bowed his head in her direction, not allowing his eyes to meet hers, and stalked off in the direction Draco had headed. She was left standing alone.
Out on the street, Ron’s temper was ceasing. Yet in his anger he had managed to push over a basket of discounted cleansweep 7 broomsticks and a cage full of brown tawny owls which escaped their cage and flew off into the crisp autumn sky. The shopkeeper was most unhappy.
Hermione emerged from the bookstore carrying three sets of the required school books for their NEWT level classes. She went over to Ron who was leaned up against a lamp post. Ron was watching Harry apologize greatly to the shopkeeper and saw Harry even hand him money as compensation for the escape of his owls. The man finally threw up his hands in distress one last time and stormed back into his shop.
As the trio walked down the path, none of them spoke a word. All was quiet between them. The loud murmuring of excited students collecting their supplies for their return to Hogwarts, filled their ear drums. This in some way lightened the mood between the friends. Harry gestured towards an ice-cream cart which was situated next to Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. The three of them purchased an ice-cream each and went and sat on a waist-high wall where they watched the world move around them.
Ron, to Harry and Hermione’s surprise was the first to speak, “do you think we can still make the quidditch team this year Harry?”
Hermione smiled, of course their conversation was brought to quidditch, but if it was going to calm Ron, she didn’t mind one bit. However, any mention of quidditch was a signal for her to take her leave from the conversation, so she propped up one of her new school books and began reading.
“Harry James Potter!” “Ronald Bilius Weasley!” Hermione’s shouts filled the entire Borrow. “You two better be wide awake and have everything all ready to go by the time I come up there!”
“If it’s not mum, it’s Ginny and if it’s not Ginny, it’s bloody Hermione!” Ron groaned, as he proceeded to pull his blankets over his face in hope to block out Hermione’s shouts.
Harry snickered to himself, but felt his stomach flip at the mention of Ginny. Like Ron and Hermione, both Ginny and Harry had been confused about their feelings for one another after the War, but at least they didn’t make it obvious like the other two, they still acted normal and friendly when they were with each other.
Just as the thought of Ginny was crossing Harry’s mind, the door to Ron’s room crashed open, revealing the women of the house; Hermione, Ginny and Mrs Weasley.
Hermione made her way over to the redheaded boy who was cowering under his blankets and began hitting what she assumed was his head with a lumpy pillow, “will you get up!” Hermione shrieked, “we have less than an hour to be at the station, do you really want to miss the train!”
Ginny saw that Ron and Harry were making no effort to get up, so smiling maliciously she strided over to the only window of the room, which was now shared by both Harry and Ron, and pulled back the orange curtains. The light streamed into the room, blinding a very abhorrent Ron who dove deeper under the covers.
This time Mrs Weasley spoke up, “breakfast is on the table boys, and you two would do good to get up now, unless you want to go off to Hogwarts unfed.”
At this Ron shot up, pushed past a hot faced Hermione, scowled at a grinning Ginny, and tumbled out the door and traipsed down the stairs. The others, shaking their heads, followed him down.
How they made the train on time after such a full on morning completely astonished them. They had left the Borrow at 10:55, which left five minutes to make it to London and board the Hogwarts Express. However as they were all of age, and had their apparition licences, it only took a second to transport themselves to King’s Cross station.
Molly, Arthur and George, who had decided to tag along and see them off, all said their final goodbyes to Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny. Mrs Weasley made her final explicit note for them to stay out of trouble and they clambered on board. The door shut behind the four and they turned and faced the group they had just left behind on the platform. All three were waving cheerfully to them, which they all returned, and the Hogwarts Express left Platform nine and three-quarters at 11:00.
“Come on this way,” Harry led them down the carriage in search of an empty compartment.
On the way to find a compartment, many of the younger students stopped and stared at the four of them, in their eyes they were the heroes who had defeated the Dark Lord and made the Magical World a better place. The title of, ‘hero,’ will be stuck to their names forever.
As they made their way further through the carriage, they started to see all the older students they had grown up with. Everyone greeted them, smiling and waving at the four of them. And it wasn’t until the reached the compartments of the returning students did the real party start.
Hermione had been right in thinking that every previous 7th year would mostly likely return, well, the ones that had survived the War. Including a round-faced boy known as Neville Longbottom, both the Patil twins; Parvati and Padma. Sandy haired, Seamus Finnigan had also returned, along with his best friend Dean Thomas. Romilda Vane stood next to the Patil twins. Hufflepuff, Susan Bones, was holding hands with Ravenclaw, Terry Boot. Cormac McLaggen could be seen over the heads of the other students. Hannah Abbot and Cho Chang had also returned. Luna Lovegood, who was in Ginny’s year was also sitting among the returners.
Their friends, swarmed the four of them, and it wasn’t until the arrival of two boys in particular that the carriage of returning students finally calmed down and became dead silent.
Draco and Blaise were returning to Hogwarts as the only returning Slytherins. Most likely because many had died in the War or had been chucked in Azkaban. They had arrived together at King’s Cross as Draco had been staying with Blaise over the summer as he would be all alone at his manor. The boys had planned to keep their heads down and not draw attention to themselves, for obvious reasons. But walking in on a compartment full of the returning students was definitely not a way of lying low.
Blaise took it upon himself to move himself and Draco through the mass of students down to an empty compartment as Draco had sort of froze under the stare of their peers.
“Well if it isn’t the snake of Hogwarts,” someone shouted.
“Why would he come back?” another murmured.
Angry whispers filled the compartment, targeting the blonde boy who was being practically dragged down the train but a hot faced Blaise. But Blaise froze when he realized who he would have to pass to get to the empty compartment.
There stood the Golden Trio.
“Excuse me,” Blaise stuttered nervously to the trio.
“And where do you think you’re going, who the hell would have even invited you two, especially him,” Ron gestured towards Draco, “back to Hogwarts,”
Harry decided this time, he would not make Ron stand down, so he backed behind Ron slightly, which Hermione had noticed, coward! She would not just stand there and back away like Harry, she needed to say something.
“Everyone is entitled to an education Ron,” Hermione managed to squeak.
This statement caused everyone’s mouths to fall open. Including the two boys that were in the spotlight. Draco looked up at her, wondering why on earth the muggle born would defend him. Him, Draco Malfoy, the boy who had made her life hell for six years and went round telling everyone she was a dirty great mudblood.
Hermione was staring at her shoes, mentally face palming herself for speaking, ‘damn it Hermione why do you always have to speak out of term,’ she argued with herself.
“HERMIONE, HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN WHO HE IS AND WHAT HE’S DONE?” Ron roared, “WHY SHOULD THE FERRET BE ENTITLED TO A BLOODY EDUCATION, LET ALONE ONE AT HOGWARTS, WHICH HE HIMSELF HELPED TO DESTROY?”
“I’m not defending him Ron,” whoop there goes Draco’s thought of her defending him.
“It bloody sounds like it,” Ron had begun to calm down a little.
“I was just merely suggesting-” Hermione was cut short by Harry, who had finally decided to step in.
“Ron, just let them pass, we are almost at Hogwarts,” Harry gestured to the dark clouds on the horizon that symbolized their soon arrival.
Ron glared at Draco. He must have agreed with Harry however, and decided to leave it, because next minute Draco had been shoved into a compartment door after Ron had roughly pushed past him, making for an empty compartment at the end of the train. Harry followed suit, gesturing at Ginny and Hermione to come also. Ginny grabbed Hermione’s arm and pursued down to the compartment the others had entered in. Neville, Dean, Seamus and Luna also went down to the compartment and joined their fellow friends.
Blaise finally become unstuck from his stiff position and signaled Draco to follow him to another compartment.
Draco hated it. He hated being treated like something nasty that was stuck under Weasley’s shoe, he hated having to have Blaise back him up because he was unable to handle things for himself. He just hated it. The all mighty Draco Malfoy falling to Weasley’s remarks. Pitiful. Draco hadn’t realised that while he was battling with his thoughts, the train had stopped and they had arrived at Hogsmeade station.
Thestral carriages were waiting for their arrival which now, most students could see, having witnessed their friends die during the War. The carriages took them on a winding path which curved right up to Hogwarts, which Draco was certain, would be the death of him.
I hope you all enjoyed the first chapter of my fic. Please let me know what you thought of it! Favourite, review, and all that jazz.
I'm merely an amatuer writer, so positive critisism is always helpful!
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