Hermione was walking back from Hagrid's hut towards the entrance to the castle. She wanted to say goodbye to one of her favourite Professors since they were going home for the summer, and Harry and Ron had already done so earlier that day, when she was busy packing. She used to get upset when they left her out but the past three years have passed and she gained more confidence with forming friendships. But this time she wanted to leave the two boys to themselves. Harry was probably going to be separated from them both for the entire summer and Ron's jealousy was peaking after they explained to him what he missed when he's been bound to the bed in the hospital wing. The two boys were probably somewhere on the other side of the castle grounds, trying out Harry's new broom Sirius sent him.
Hermione stopped and turned around to look at the view below. It was the last day of school today, and tomorrow they would all be returning home. It has been a long year, and very much like the previous years it was just as eventful. Hermione smiled to herself at the thought. Who knew what the next year would bring?
She didn't know what to think about her future. In the magical world, she was known as Hermione Granger, but she couldn't keep it up after graduation. Hermione Granger was a muggle born student at Hogwarts, the smartest witch of her age, and a friend of Harry Potter. But Hermione Greenfell had a family, old family with strong ties to the muggle world, and that came with responsibilities and expectations.
The Greenfell family were descendants of Morgana Pendragon, King Arthur's sister and the darkest witch in history. But due to the curse placed upon them, the inheritance of magical ability was very rare. Hermione was the only one to develop a full magical gift in over a century. The rest of the family inherited other, druidic talents, but they weren't enough to send them to Hogwarts, yet they were too much to explain to the wizarding community without raising suspicions. In an effort to keep their family matters a secret, they sheltered themselves and kept to the muggle identity they grew into. They were very tightly acquainted with the British elite of Lords whom they were in business with for generations. Having been born into one of the oldest and richest families of Britain, Hermione always knew she would probably have an arranged marriage, and it had never been a problem.
Not until now.
Marrying muggles became a tradition for the Greenfell family. It was safer as there was no risk of them going to the Ministry of Magic and betraying them. Wizards had a certain view of Druids, and one of them was that they were extinct. If it was revealed that there are few druids alive, that alone would stir panic, if their ancestry was to come to light, they would definitely become a danger to the Ministry. Even greater then Voldemort. Druids were feared. In the olden days, most clans used their powers for healing and kept to themselves, but some clans preferred to deepen their knowledge and abilities, growing in strength and power, there was no magic they were unfamiliar with. One of their traits was the marital ceremony in which the bride and the groom would gain each other's gifts, that's how they became even more powerful.
This meant that marrying a Druid was more than a regular wedding. An unbreakable bond was created and could not be broken even by death. Muggles had no magical power to share hence they only gained some, but wizards already had their own kind of magic, and if Hermione was to marry a wizard, who practices light magic, they could be too weak to resist the druidic practices which are much darker, and their entire personality could start to change.
So with that problem in mind, was there a place for her in the wizarding world after graduating Hogwarts?
She could of course never marry but then it would mean their family survival depended on one other person who in her grandfather's opinion could hardly be trusted with the family's good name and business.
Sitting on the hill, Hermione played with grass as she thought about what her cousin could be doing in that moment. She didn't have to think very hard. Niklaus was probably merry drunk and high, dancing around the manor half dressed, or gambling with the dead in the nearby graveyard.
Klaus inherited one of the most troublesome talents in the family. He could communicate with the dead, he was like a shrine with a strong connection to the other side. When he and Hermione were sent to the muggle boarding school, Klaus struggled a lot, the teachers suggested sending him to a mental health institute. He ended up being pulled from the system and switched to home schooling, He was much better being taught by his parents until he barely turned 13 when both his parents passed away in a car accident along with Hermione's father.
It was winter and the roads were covered with ice, a truck slid on ice and hit their parent's car pushing them off the road they fell off a hill straight into a lake where they drowned. It was a tragic accident, even Druids couldn't come out of alive. Hermione was only 7 when it happened but she remembers how they all grieved. Everything became so much colder ever since the accident. Everyone kept to their part of the manor and only met for meals.
Hermione's mother after marrying her father, developed an affinity for magical creatures. She spent all her days stuck in the east wing or the conservatory exploring the magical properties of the Greenfell house elves and various exotic and rare magical beasts she managed to get a hold of, most likely in the black market. Her husband's sudden death had an impact on Lydia's health. She was stuck in bed for months, suffering from high temperatures, heart ache and coughed with blood. The bond could not be broken even by death, but the loss of the other half was extremely painful, especially for the muggle half. It was often that one partner would die earlier than the other one, and the one who was left had to go through an ordeal and pain but after all the centuries of druid-muggle marriages, the family had their own methods of treatment. This however left Hermione's mum quite changed.
Great aunt Amelia was a seer just like Morgana, she was in her old age somewhat stable in controlling her visions but as a young girl she once nearly burnt an entire half of the West wing in her vivid nightmares. She was a scary woman and very strict with Hermione, not Klaus though since she has proclaimed him a lost cause.
From Hermione, she expected impeccable manners, restraint and self-control. She made it her mission to educate Hermione in the arts of being a lady and an heiress. With 'her father gone and her mother half crazy' Great aunt Amelia had no one to stop her.
No one apart from Hermione's grandfather Claudius, who dabbled in alchemy and collected dark magic books and dark artefacts. Hermione often wondered just where did he stuff all those objects since they already owned an impressive collection of such objects that were collected over the years by their ancestors. He was a real collector, the more dangerous, older and darker the object, the more value he saw in it. The rest of the Greenfell family was scattered around the globe, some lived in New York, others in France. Cousins, uncles and aunts Hermione met only a couple of times during the family gatherings. It was customary for the head of the family to keep the family ties warm, and Claudius as the eldest held all the authority over the entire family.
Hermione reached around her neck and took out the time tuner from behind her shirt. She was looking at it and playing with its shiny exterior. Past, present and future seemed a bit different to her now. It was the end of her third year at Hogwarts, the time has gone past so quickly. It felt like it was just yesterday that she entered the halls of Hogwarts for the first time.
Her first year was illuminating to say at least. Coming to terms with the divide between wizards. One didn't make the other a rule but it was a reoccurring theme that the pureblood meant rich and most likely were convicted of practicing the dark arts, whist the half-bloods or blood traitors as they called them were leaning more towards the light, or the magic that was, allowed. It all seemed very black and white to Hermione, especially after encountering Draco Malfoy, the poster child for privilege and blood supremacy, and her very own enemy.
Before Hogwarts, Hermione was aware there was a divide between wizards and druids, but she had no idea there was a divide between wizards. Part of it was to do with money but most of it was to do with your magical heritage and your family, and at the top of the conflict was the magic itself. The wizards who preferred the dark magic were usually the ones who believed the magic should be exclusive for wizards and that muggles are beneath them, whereas the other side believed that wizards and muggles are equal and the other side is evil as they use dark magic, spells and curses that are banned.
After being exposed to the entire world of wizards, she began to think how her family fit on the spectrum. Hermione began to see how her family members, no matter how muggle in their establishment, their druidic nature was stronger. It consumed them.
Posing as a muggle born witch, being placed in the Gryffindor house, she made many friends and began to share their opinions. It made her want to be a part of the light side, the opposite of what she saw her family as. Despite her love for them, Hermione was determined to break away from her family's ways and stay in the wizarding world.
"Said your goodbyes to the big oaf?" Irritating voice came from behind her. "If I didn't know you were a mudblood, I would suspect you and him are related, just look at that nest on your head, there is no telling you two apart" He sat down next to her.
"What is it Malfoy?" She asked calmly. "Came back for more?" She asked with a smile, playing with her fist. Draco subconsciously touched where she hit him before.
"Don't be so smug Granger, you're lucky I decided not to tell my father about this" He sneered but Hermione just smiled.
"At least one good came out of it!"
"And what's that?"
"You got yourself a nice face implant, I must say, it was about time you did something about that atrocious mess. Do tell, how much 'my father' pay for such drastic make over?"
"Why? Hoping to fix that bouncing lair of yours?" Draco replied with a smirk. "Don't bother, no magical cure has yet been invented that could help you"
"Honestly" She rolled her eyes at him. "You should thank me for breaking your nose. How many mirrors did you break in your life? Your reflection must have been a lot for any reflective surface to withstand. It must have been painful living like that"
"Not nearly as painful as seeing and hearing you every day, you filthy muggle mistake" He sneered.
"Yes, I suppose the pain was so great that you had to come and seek me out, I'm sure you're not here only to enjoy my company, so what do you want?" She asked again in the same calm manner. Malfoy has been her faithful enemy for the past three years, and she liked to think they have established some sort of communication ritual.
"Just to say that I get very emotional when you're not around. That emotion is called happiness, so after you return to the muggles, do stay there and never come back." He said with a fake smile and Hermione couldn't help rolling her eyes at him.
"Get lost you annoying twit" She exclaimed. A very small part of her now accepted, and somewhat enjoyed the arguments with the vile and arrogant, but quick-witted Slytherin.
"Or what Granger? You gonna kidnap my house elves and set them free?" The rate at which he threw these comebacks at her equalled hers, and that made him worth her time. And she knew he found her just as refreshing and entertaining. If he knew she had her own house elves, he would never let her hear the end of it. In truth they were quite different to the regular house elves, and they were treated much better too.
"Say what you will but we both know you came to find me because you will miss me. After all, it must be lonely not having anyone to bicker with in that huge empty manor of yours" She looked at his face for a reaction, and while Draco Malfoy would never let his mask slip in front of anyone, least of all his enemy. She began to notice for some time now that he began to relax around her in a way he never allowed himself to relax around others.
She knew she hit the jackpot, Hermione had a first-hand experience of the terrible loneliness one felt when wandering the cold corridors of a large house such as the Malfoy Manor. She has never seen it herself, but had no doubt it wasn't far off from her own family house. She looked to the side when no snide remark came after few moments but was reassured seeing the annoyance grace Draco's features.
"Sorry to add to the big disappointment that your life is but I will only miss my friends" He shot back casually, closing his eyes and turning towards the sun to bathe in its warmth.
"Are you saying we're not friends? What a relief"
"We've known each other for 3 years, Granger. For most of that time, our relationship could be categorised as a stable mutual hatred." He looked vexed, it was one of his masks he put on. He had a few, one for every occasion and Hermione knew all of them. Bad luck that his voice sounded too relaxed and it gave away his real feelings he tried to hide.
Draco got up to his feet and looked around, seeing as there was no one around he pulled her up gently and started to walk towards the lake, taking her with him.
It was quite amusing. He was willing to openly walk with her, as long as there was no one around to witness it. Usually he would only walk alongside her to openly insult or compete with her. It was quite a common occurrence and no one questioned it. At first other Gryffindors tried to defend her, and then other Slytherins would get involved too and it would often get messy, but with time both sides got bored of detentions and when the Gryffindors noticed Hermione was handling Malfoy perfectly fine on her own, they began to ignore it.
Things would of course change if Harry and Ron were around. Then it was the golden trio against Malfoy and his gang consisting of Pansy, Theo and Blaise. Then the fights between them got nasty. Hermione had no doubt Harry and Ron would think she has gone insane if they saw her calmly chatting to Malfoy on a sunny day, but it couldn't be helped. In their second year, they were paired together in potions and something just clicked. They fought all the time but worked together well. And with time they struck some sort of a truce, and under the 'enemies' façade, they became friends allies.
Somehow, both lost deep in their thoughts, they found themselves standing on the platform that went out into the lake. Hermione wished she could one day tell Draco that her family isn't so different in their ways of upbringing to his family, and that she was just as lonely as he was.
Draco on the other hand wished Hermione was a pureblood, then they could have a chance of becoming friends. Real friends, out in the open, without their differences, the blood, the houses, the families. While he grew to enjoy their 'frenemy' relationship, he wondered what it could be like if things were different. He could no longer deny Granger was too intelligent, too pretty and way too smart and too well-mannered for a mudblood.
He started to suspect her blood status was different to the one she claimed to have, maybe not a pureblood but a half blood wouldn't be too preposterous. But the logic of that reasoning alone made him dismiss it. After all, what benefit would that get her? Unless she had something to hide and wa… SPLASH
Draco was cruelly shaken out of his trail of thoughts, losing them in a flash of a moment. He was too surprised to even remember to look angry. That wench Granger splashed him with water and he was caught unaware.
He watched as her wet hands shook violently as she was laughing loudly. He quickly scanned the surroundings for any prying eyes, and when he detected none, he smirked and bent down to scoop as much water in his hands as he could and he threw it at her face.
Although she was clearly surprised she didn't stop laughing. Draco would be grateful until his dying day for nobody being around that day because it turned into a battle and even his strict Malfoy upbringing couldn't prevent him from laughing. That damned wench Granger! It was all her fault.
Hermione was surprised Malfoy's reaction was so… reasonable. She expected him to explode with anger and hex her, but he smirked and threw the water back at her. Furthermore, as they were exchanging water bombs, both now thoughtfully soaked, they both were having blasting fun. She was so grateful her great aunt Amelia couldn't see her right now. She could only imagine what her reaction would be, if she was caught doing something so undignified. If anything, the thought made her laugh more.
Laughing the hardest she had in years, she lost her balance trying to reach the water and as she got up, she slipped and fell back. She could hear Malfoy shouting her name, and seeing the blurry colours of his form as everything went black.