***Disclaimer: You know the drill. I own nothing, just came up with the storyline (halfway...)***

I'm going to miss home… My flowers, the sunshine in my window, everything…. It was to be Hermione's last year at Hogwarts, but after that she wouldn't be going home. She'd be going to mediwitch training in France just after graduation, and then living in the wizarding world permanently after that. Not that she didn't want to go home—she did, but it would just be too hard to jump back and forth between the wizarding and muggle worlds all the time. She would be content with just the occasional visits to the cinema.

Her parents were still in Australia. After the war she'd tried to find their memories and restore them, but the charm she had used proved to be stronger than she intended. There was no way to recover their memories, and they seemed happy in their new life, so she decided to leave them be and just check now and then to be sure they were safe. It was heartbreaking, but she was glad they were safe and that was what mattered.

She'd taken possession of her childhood home and belongings and elected to sell the house during the school year. Harry had agreed to let her store her things at Grimmauld Place until she returned from France and bought her own house. Out of all of her friends, only Harry knew what had happened with her parents, and upon Hermione's request had agreed to keep it secret from everyone else. He didn't approve at first, but when she explained he agreed that she'd done her best and she should just move forward.

She'd taken that summer to pack all of her things and prepare them for storage or travel. She had sold most of her parents old clothing and furniture, only keeping a few trinkets and photos to remember them by. Of her own possessions, she'd packed away most of her books to be stored at Harry's home, and had sorted her closet into 'keep' and 'donate' piles. The 'donate' pile was quite a bit larger than what she would keep—she planned to buy more wizard clothing once she graduated, seeing as she'd be living in the wizarding world.

She'd gotten her Hogwarts letter a bit earlier that year and was pleased to learn that she'd been chosen as Head Girl. Her joy had been quickly stifled, though, when she learned that Malfoy had been chosen as Head Boy. He was intelligent, she couldn't deny that, but the thought of being in close quarters with him for the majority of her time was not an appealing thought. Over the next few weeks she had argued internally with herself on how best to deal with it, and she finally came to the conclusion that there had been enough animosity between the two of them to last a lifetime. She would be civil, and perhaps even kind, and he could do with that what he would. She would not be instigating anything, no matter how horrible he was.

And so that led her to where she was now, waiting behind a line of first years to board the Hogwarts Express. She knew the Heads had their own compartment, so she wasn't worried about finding a seat. What she WAS worried about, though, was what Malfoy would say when they were on the train. She knew how much he hated her, and even if she had resolved to be kind, that didn't mean he would be any less vicious.

I don't even know how to react when he insults me. Do I ignore it? Smile and respond? I can't very well insult back like I used to… Oh Merlin, help me. She thought as she made her way to the door of the train. Just be kind… Like Cinderella and Belle. Like all of the Disney princesses. Have courage, and be kind.

She boarded and made her way down to the Head compartment. She was relieved to find that Malfoy wasn't there yet, and she would have a few minutes to settle in and collect her thoughts. Stowing her luggage overhead, she settled down into a seat by the window, looking out at the crowded station and the rest of the students as they piled onto the train. She sighed and leaned back, resting her head against the wall. This is my last year ever on the train… I want to enjoy the time I've got. She had already changed into her robes, so there wasn't much left do between now and arriving at the castle. I left behind all my beautiful flowers and herbs… Perhaps I could try conjuring some. We did learn it last year, after all.

She pulled out her spell book and wand. She had practiced very little this summer, which was quite unlike her, but she'd been busy preparing her home to sell. She figured it was a valid enough excuse. Taking a deep breath, she waved her wand and softly said, "hexo osteospermum florae." She smiled gently as half a dozen purple daisies appeared hovering in front of her.

She repeated the spell once more and took the twelve flowers gently in her hands. As a child, purple daisies had always grown in her front yard, and she used to pick them and braid them into flower crowns. Separating three and setting the rest beside her, she decided to make one for herself. Even if I can't wear it outside of this compartment, it's nice to be able to do things like I used to. She smiled as she gently began to braid.

Draco frowned as he shuffled towards the train. He had been undecided about coming back to school this year, but when he received his letter and was notified that he'd been chosen as Head Boy, he decided that it couldn't hurt. Even though he already had a job set up and plenty of money for the future, he wanted to at least know that he'd graduated.

The one thing that had upset him was that Granger had been made Head Girl. It wasn't like he didn't expect it. Everyone knew she was first in their class and was almost guaranteed the position. He just didn't fancy having a know-it-all mudblood constantly showing him up, or reminding him of his Death Eater heritage, or just being an all-around pain in the arse.

Merlin knows she's always used that against me. He thought bitterly. Just because my father forced me into being a Death Eater, she thinks it's a reason to condemn me for the rest of my life. Reaching the door, he quickly made his way to the Heads compartment, ignoring the glares and whispered comments from various students he passed. If they wanted to be stuck up pricks, he didn't care. He just wanted to be left alone this year, and he wasn't afraid to use force to achieve it if necessary.

He had almost reached the door when he heard a loudly whispered comment, almost definitely intended for him to hear.

"I'm surprised they would let a Death Eater into the school." It was a short, rather lanky looking second year from Ravenclaw. "His kind shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the rest of us."

He whipped around and glared at the student, his wand trained on the boys chest.

"I suggest you keep your mouth shut around the Head Boy." He sneered, narrowing his eyes. "I won't hesitate to take house points for that comment, or any further comments on the subject. Get to your compartment. NOW." At his icy glare, the boy lowered his head and stalked back to his friends, though not without shooting a glare full of hatred over his shoulder. Draco didn't look away until the boy had closed his compartment door behind him. Sighing, he turned back to the Heads compartment. He was not looking forward to a year of this. Or a year of dealing with the mudblood… He thought as he opened the door, prepared to hurl a barrage of insults at the Head Girl. What he wasn't prepared for, though, was seeing Granger smiling at a braid of flowers in her hands as she deftly twisted them into a long chain.

He stared. Since when does Granger play with flowers? He wondered, still shocked by the sight. He'd never taken Granger to be the flower type. Any other time he'd seen her, she'd either been writing a ridiculously long essay, had her nose stuck in a large book, or been with Weaselbee and Scarhead. Come to think of it, he'd actually never seen her outdoors, except when walking between classes.

He opened the door further and stepped inside. At the noise Hermione looked up and met his gaze, her eyes widening a bit in surprise. Her smile faltered ever so slightly, but she seemed to recover quickly and simply nodded at Draco before returning her attention to her flowers.

Draco was stunned. Not a single word. Is she ignoring me? Taunting me? Whatever it is, I won't stand for it! He smirked down at her as he stowed his luggage overhead.

"What's the matter, Mudblood? Weaselbee and Scarhead ignoring you, so you're comforting yourself with flowers?" He sat down across from her and folded his arms in front of him. "You know, it's rather pathetic that you have to buy yourself flowers just because your little buddies won't."

At this, Hermione sighed and set the flowers chain down in her lap. When she looked up at him, Draco was unnerved by the rather blank look she gave him.

"If you must know, Malfoy, nobody gives me flowers. I conjured these myself. They're just like the ones that used to grow in my garden at home, and I used to make flower crowns with them as a child. You weren't here yet, and I was rather bored, so I decided to make one for myself." Her voice was surprising soft as she spoke, nothing like the loud, overbearing voice she used in classes or when she normally spoke to him. It was almost unnerving for Draco, and for the first time in his life, he was at a loss for words. Hermione seemed to sense this and, after a moment's silence, picked up her flowers and continued to braid.

Draco took the hint and turned away.

Hermione sighed internally. Trust Malfoy to be back to our same old routine the minute he steps foot into the compartment. She picked up the last flower and quickly braided it in. Looping the chain in a circle, she wove the ends in to complete it, holding it out in front of her to admire her handiwork. It's just like I remember…

Her smile faded a bit. She had always made these with her mum… And now it would never happen again. She gently shook her head. Enough of that, Hermione. Mum's safe. She's happy, and you need to let yourself be happy too. Smiling again, she gently set the flower crown on her head. She felt like a little girl again, and, dare she say, happy. She reached into her bag and pulled out some old photos of her house. They were of her backyard and garden, where she used to grow all sorts of flowers and herbs. She smiled as she flipped through them, silently mouthing the names of each plant and when she had planted them.

Her thoughts were interrupted by Malfoy. She realized that he'd been watching her as she did all this, and silently wondered if he thought she was crazy now. Not that he didn't think so before…

His comment is what snapped her back into reality. "You know, the flowers don't make you any better looking. If anything you look even worse, though I don't see how that's possible." His face broke into a sneer as she set the photos down.

She frowned at him but bit back a retort. Have courage and be kind… She took a deep breath. "Duly noted, Malfoy." She'd been determined not to let him get to her, but his comment struck a sore spot. She didn't think she was super pretty, but she at least thought she could be considered cute. She'd grown a little slimmer during the summer, and her hair had calmed down into pretty brown waves that reached her waist. She had a very petite figure and only stood about five feet three inches tall. She knew she'd never be very pretty, but she liked how she looked. Malfoy's comment, however, made her doubt herself just a little.

She frowned again and concentrated her gaze on the floor. They were almost to Hogwarts, and they'd be getting off the train soon. She reached up and removed the flowers, holding them in her hands for a moment as she looked at them. I'll have to get rid of them soon, anyways. She waved her wand and they vanished. Turning away from Draco, she settled back into her seat and looked out the window. The sun was setting, and the fields that whizzed by were cast in shades of orange and gold. Sighing, she leaned her head against the glass and let her eyes go unfocused as the sun slipped lower.

It's just one more year…