Hermione stared at the ceiling of the leaky cauldron. She had rented a room, not knowing what else to do honestly. After Hogwarts she had planned on going to the ministry to start work but after the war between Voldemort and Harry, the ministry was trying to fix itself, fixing all the cracks and leaks. She almost went to the Weasley's but, after Fred's death, even Ron hadn't been seen in a few weeks. She felt bad for him, horrible even, but she felt worse for Harry. He felt so bad, even if Voldemort was evil, Harry still felt horrible for killing somebody. She looked at her arm for about the millionth time, Mudblood, She sighed to her self and sat up. She looked at her arm for a while longer until a knock at the door interrupted her thoughts. She pulled her silver sleeve down to cover the scar on her arm.
"Come in!" She shouted. Harry walked in with Ron behind him. She shot out of her bed and hugged the boys.
"How are you 'Mione?" Ron asked.
"The better question is, how is your family?" Hermione asked. He looked at the ground and then back up at her.
"They still need more time. Ginny only left the house long enough to see Harry today. It was the only time id seen her smile since... Well since the battle." Ron said. Harry looked around the room a bit. Harry and Ron sat on the bed.
"So," She started. "why are you guys here?" They looked at each other then at her.
"We were trying to decide what we were going to do with the rest of our lives the other day." Harry started.
"And we thought that... Maybe..." Ron continued.
"For goodness sake Ron!" Hermione shouted, getting a bit too anxious. She missed her friends and was a bit overly happy to see them for the first time in a while. Harry she had seen a few times since the war but Ron, she really missed Ron.
"We thought we could continue our last year of Hogwarts. Maybe after that the ministry will be open again." Harry finished for Ron. Hermione stared at the two for a moment.
"The battle interrupted our last year, and, we don't have anything else to do." Ron stumbled around his words. Hermione smiled at the thought of curling up in the library with a good book. She smiled at the thought of eating at the great Gryffindor table again. She smiled at the thought of sitting in the common room or in the dorm. Then she lost her smile at the fact that Hogwarts was destroyed. Books burning, blood staining the stairs, so many people hurt or worse. Tonks, Remus, Fred, they all gave their lives, along with so many more. She tried not to cry.
"How?" She whispered. "Hogwarts is destroyed." She looked between her friends.
"Haven't you seen the news 'Mione?" Ron asked. "They've worked their bloody butts off re-building it!" Ron looked at Hermione and then at Harry, who nodded. Hermione felt herself smile, even if it was just for Harry and Ron's sake.
"You guys better not be lying!" She yelled. She walked over to the bed. Harry shook his head.
"Its there Hermione, Hogwarts is back." Harry said. She leaped forward and landed on both boys, knocking them over. The three laughed and tried to sit up. There was a knock on the open door. Hermione was still facing the wrong way. The door was out of her viewing range.
"Harry brought someone." Ron blurted out. He sounded more annoyed than ever. Hermione finally found her way and looked at the door. Draco Malfoy stood there. The Malfoys had abandoned their 'dark lord' and ran back into hiding. It didn't take long for the ministry to find them, Lucius was sent to Azkaban right away but Draco and his mother had a fair trial. Harry had told the judge about what Draco and his mother had done to help them along the way. Draco never did anything truly wrong, he was just in the wrong family. His mother had lied for Harry, she only wanted to keep her son safe. Lucius seemed to care for Draco but not enough to keep him away from Voldemort. Hermione shot a glare at Harry.
"He's technically innocent Hermione!" Harry whispered. "He was forced to be a death eater." Hermione returned her gaze to the man in the doorway.
"Hello Malfoy." Hermione said. She stood up and nodded slightly.
"Granger." He simply said. She looked at Ron and tried to talk to him silently. Of all the things magic could do, why not telepathy? He shrugged, not knowing what she was trying to say. She looked back at the Malfoy standing in her doorway. His silvery-blue eyes stared at the top of the doorframe and his white-silver hair was combed but stray hairs stood on end while others spiked sideways and all around. He wore dark jeans and a grey T-shirt. Hermione turned her gaze to Harry and she tried to talk to him silently since Ron was too much of git to understand anything. Harry looked back at her with a look that said, does he really look evil to you? she looked at him and almost rolled her eyes. She looked at Draco and turned back to Harry, he looks evil enough to me! she tilted her head a bit to emphasize her motion. Ron seemed to get bored of the silence and interrupted Hermione and Harry's eye conversation.
"So are we just going to sit around all day?" Ron asked. Everyone looked at him. He raised his hands in defence. "Bloody hell, I didn't want death glares from everyone! I'm just bored!" He yelled. Harry laughed a bit and soon Hermione joined in. Draco stood silently in the doorway and watched the trio. Ron looked at Harry and Hermione laugh, a bit confused himself.
"Those weren't death glares Ron!" Hermione said.
"Mine was." Draco mumbled. Hermione looked at Harry again, evil much? she asked. He looked at her and tilted his head a bit, dramatic much? she gave him the real death glare. Did he just call her dramatic? She wasn't dramatic! She just took things very seriously! More seriously than him apparently.
"Is that a death glare?" Ron asked, his voice a bit frightened. The sound of both the boys in front of her swallowing hard filled her ears. She wanted to laugh just at how frightened they were of her. At the same time it hurt that her friends were frightened of her. She looked between the two boys and her gaze softened, maybe a bit too much because Harry looked up.
"You OK?" He asked. Hermione nodded so fast her head hurt.
"Yeah I'm fine." She said after she rubbed the back of her head a bit. She turned around and went for the door. She forgot the Draco was there and rammed into him.
"Watch it Mudb-Granger!" He told her. She looked at him, she couldn't move her gaze if she tried, he corrected himself? Why not just call her the Mudblood she knew she was? Had he actually changed? She didn't care, right? He was the one- and still the one to call her names every time he looked at her, he was the one that made fun of her every chance he got. He just had the chance, why didn't he take it? Why would he call her Granger when he could've called her Mudblood? She tried to push the thoughts and questions out of her head but more kept flooding in. He raised a brow and looked at her impatiently as she stood there silently. She snapped back into reality and shoved past him.
"Hermione!?" Ron yelled from inside the room. She ignored him and ran down the stairs and walked out onto the streets. She looked around at all the witches and wizards running around and talking about the coming new year. Snow fell slowly from the sky and landed on her hair. She couldn't help but smile at the nice cool and welcoming air. She turned and started walking, hoping to get lost in the crowd where nobody could find her. She started to walk around and try not to shove through the crowd but to maneuver around them without bumping into them. She succeeded for a while until...
"Are you Hermione Granger?" Somebody asked and suddenly everyone was on her.
"The Hermione Granger?" Somebody else asked.
"Your Harry Potters friend right?"
"You helped with the battle against you know who!"
"Can you tell us more?" So many questions flooded at her at once she could barley hear them all. She had landed in these situations multiple times but never this bad. She pointed somewhere across the street and shouted.
"Is that Harry Potter!?" She said as loud as she could. She hated using Harry's name to get people away from her but she had already tried everything, spells, other famous wizards, everything. People turned and ran to see if he was getting away. She sighed and looked back at the Leaky Cauldron, Ron and Harry were in the doorway and were struggling against crowds of people. She used this to her advantages. She didn't want to talk to anyone. She walked into the nearest place with a fire and used floo powder to get herself to Hogwarts. She didn't have long before Harry, Ron and maybe even the Malfoy caught up with her. She didn't want to just be the girl who helped the hero Harry Potter save the day. She shook her head and went the the headmistresses office. She couldn't not talk to anyone forever.
"Miss Granger?" McGonagall asked. Hermione nodded.
"Harry and Ron told me that Hogwarts was rebuilt and that classes were starting again." She said a bit quickly.
"Yes, the school is re-opening, and we are starting to re-gather our students. I can add you to the list, but there is a catch." McGonagall looked at her desk and wrote a name on a piece of paper. Then she tried not to look up at Hermione by scribbling on another piece of paper.
"What's the catch?" Hermione asked slowly.
"Everyone has to go through the sorting hat again." McGonagall said softly. Hermione looked at the picture of Dumbledore behind her desk on the wall and waved. The man in a picture waved back. She looked back down at the professor.
"Why?" She tried to ask calmly but the annoyance in her voice was clear.
"Because people have changed." McGonagall said simply.
"Is there a chance that we'll all end up in the same houses?"
"Yes, as long as the hat believes you still deserve to be in that house."
"What if I get Slytherin?" Hermione asked, almost of reflex. She couldn't imagine the horror of being a Slytherin. Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, anything but Slytherin. She closed her eyes and waited for the headmistresses answer.
"It is possible my dear, but, if you do, Slytherin will have received a great witch." McGonagall said, she seemed just as upset as Hermione on the matter.
"I'm sorry, I cant be here right now." Hermione said, she used the floo powder to get back. Harry and Ron were nowhere in sight. She walked quickly back to the Leaky Cauldron and climbed the stars to her room. She looked in the doorway and her friends were gone, so was the Malfoy. She walked inside the room with her wand in hand, it had become normal that she drew her wand before entering rooms without crowds, she hated herself for it, it just reminded her over and over that the war had changed her. More than she cared to admit. She pushed thoughts out of her head as she walked into the room. She put her wand away after she made sure the room was clear. Still empty. She lifted her sleeve and stared at the scar. What would she do as a Slytherin? How would she ever make it? All the Slytherins were bound to make fun of her.
"I win." A voice said from behind her. She jumped and turned around, how had she missed him? He was standing in the corner of the room. She was too surprised and confused to hear what he said.
"What?" She asked, he smirked in the usual, what she would call evil smirk.
"I won, Weasley and Potter made me stay here so if you came back I could flare them or something. I found you before they did." He said it as if was a bad thing but the way he smirked, just, confused her.
"I found you." She corrected.
"No you didn't, you couldn't see me." He said coolly. Hermione tilted her head to the side.
"How did you do that?" She asked. Nobody knew spells she didn't, she wouldn't allow it!
"A simple spell we learned in third year." He said. She sighed. How did she not remember that!? It was so simple! Wait, he was paying attention during classes? She always thought he was chatting with his friends nonstop.
"Why didn't you call me Mudblood?" It was the first thing that popped in her head and she didn't think at all before saying it. Now she regretted it. She regretted coming back to her room, for going to Hogwarts, for everything that popped into her head at the moment but she pushed those thoughts away and focused on the here and now.
"I'm trying not to be thrown in Azkaban with my father." He said, a hint of sarcasm in his voice, but his eyes, they never showed emotion but when it came to his parents, his eyes showed fear, pain, so much regret. She played the part and rolled her eyes and sat on the bed.
"The truth Draco." She ordered. He stood up straighter.
"Oh, my first name, I'm honored Granger." He said and took a small bow. She rolled her eyes again, this time for real, with him tended to get dizzy with how many times she rolled her eyes.
"Draco!" She yelled.
"Fine! I am trying to prove that I am a good person and calling you Mudblood isn't going to help me!" He stumbled around his words and questioned himself. Hermione had never seen a Malfoy stumble on words before, at least not that she could remember. She didn't say anything. He wanted to prove himself? "Granger." He addressed her. He walked out of the room and left her sitting there.