Chapter 1:

How does it happen that despite how well you know a person, you don't know nearly half as much as you'd like? That despite how much you've been through with someone, all it takes is a few ill-chosen words to completely destroy a relationship? I wonder if this has anything to do with just being ignorant…or do people deliberately shatter bonds? I suppose this all depends on the fragility of the situation at hand.

What would happen if we could tell from beforehand that the storm was coming? That, a minute, an hour, maybe even a day before the storm unleashed, we would know. What would happen then? What if someone could tell what would happen just before it happened? What then?

Even then, could relationships be saved?

Hermione watched the fields whirring by; the fields, the trees, the grass, all mixing into a blur of green, obscured by the speed of the train hurtling toward its destination. The sun was out, the sky was blue…Hermione inhaled the sweetness of the clean country air as a cool breeze played with her sleek brown hair and black robes.

So nice…Hermione thought to herself.

The bright sunlight glimmered off the silver badge pinned to her robes, illuminating the black, spidery lettering for the world to see. Head Girl.

Hermione closed her eyes in remembrance of that special moment, that summer, at her house.

It had been different. Just that morning, Hermione had known that special things would happen that day. And they had! For not a moment too soon did that tawny owl flutter in through the window and drop a parcel onto her bed. Hermione smiled to herself as she delicately picked off the waxy seal and opened the parchment envelope. To her surprise, a silvery badge fell out. Picking it up with trembling fingers, she had let out a tiny scream. She had finally made it – to the top! She'd become Head Girl!

The sweet taste of victory still had not dissolved at the moment that Hermione paused, between two compartments of the train, just watching the fields go by, enjoying the lull of the scarlet engine chugging merrily as it pulled everyone to the great Hogwarts castle. Hermione closed her eyes. This was perfect. The world was bathed in a blanket of perfection. The least Hermione could do was enjoy it to the very last drop.

Suddenly, unbidden, a thought struck Hermione.

…you wouldn't be out here if you had a friend…

Hermione brushed it off. It wasn't as though she had no one. It was just that Harry wasn't a Prefect, and though she'd tried to keep him company, he'd preferred to be alone. And Ron – though he was a Prefect, it got rather on her nerves after half an hour of no entertainment but him and Padma Patil snogging silently in the corner. Hermione, never one to intrude on others' happiness, simply got up and left diplomatically. After three consecutive hours of walking listlessly through random compartments, and getting to know people, and talking with old friends she'd had no time elsewhere to spend, she'd finally made to the head of the train: The Head Boy and Head Girl's compartment.

Hermione's curiosity had been aroused at who this particular boy might be. She was positive that it wasn't Harry and it wasn't Ron. Nor was it any other Gryffindor. She'd met with all five Gryffindor boys on her rounds around the train. So, Hermione reasoned, it was someone from another House: either a Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin.

Hermione had paused outside the Heads' compartment, mesmerized by the beauty unfolding all around her, that she had completely forgotten her pondering about the Head Boy.

Suddenly, as though in painful reminder, the train lurched forward abruptly and then jerked back. It all happened in the blink of an eye; yet it was enough, as Hermione lost her footing. The ground came up to meet with her eyes and Hermione's nerves were tingling, every reflex poised for the moment of impact…

It never came.

Instead, heart pumping adrenaline to every corner of her body, she found herself (the horror of it all!) in someone's arms. Someone's hands had a firm hold on her shoulders, and she could feel his eyes staring at her head.

Her face turned red. Somehow, this wasn't really the impression she would have liked to make with the new Head Boy.

Her shoulders were killing her. Why was his grip so hard?! What was he trying to do?!

Then she remembered that she was still in his arms.

Oh God, Hermione thought. Why me?

She slowly straightened herself up, blood rushing to her face.

"I – I'm sorry," she began. "I didn't mean to – "

Then her eyes registered on the boy in front of her. Her eyes met a pair of cold silver ones. Her hands flew to her mouth.

"Oh no," Hermione said, horrified. "Not you."

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