Though it seemed that it would never arrive, the last day of term finally did on the coldest day of the year. The students of Hogwarts School awoke to find their dorm windows half covered by freshly fallen snow. Delighted Gryffindors rushed out to the grounds after breakfast to collect the icy snow into their hands, seeking out targets to pelt until surrender.
But not all the students were enjoying the white surroundings of the winter wonderland.
Up high in the Gryffindor Tower in the girl's dormitory sat Hermione. A large pile of clothing was before her, waiting to be stuffed into her now small-looking suitcase.
It seemed she couldn't decide what to bring home and what to leave. Each shirt was important to her - she had to look good because Draco would be living with her.
This seemed too good to be true. Almost a fairy tale to her. Before she had been fighting non-stop with Draco. Now it seemed that they were meant for each other. This she didn't want to believe because she didn't think that she'd find her soul mate at Hogwarts. But, it definitely seemed that way at the moment as she was packing her things.
Finally, she'd be able to get home and not be alone. She was an only child and it got really boring over the summer and winter holidays to be lonely with only her parents to talk to. Of course, she had other friends, who didn't know about her wizard school and education, but they were like her - away all year until breaks. They didn't really have much to talk about when she got the chance to see them. They had more in common when they were younger.
But now that was changing. She was not only going home with someone who was her own age and who could talk to her, but someone she cared about very much.
It wasn't long before the students of Hogwarts School were packed and ready to leave on the departing Hogwarts Express, shoveled out of the snow that surrounded it. Happy conversations about Christmas and presents was in abundance as Harry and Ron made their way down the steps of the castle and out towards the carriages that would take them to Hogsmeade Station.
Harry was glad that he could talk to Ron again. It was amazing that he'd decided that Harry could stay with him for the holidays. That was an entire week of vacation that the two of them could have - like they used to. Harry planned on having fun, which was something he hadn't had in quite a long time.
Ron grinned at him as they found a carriage.
"Well, here we go." he said, stepping into the carriage. Harry followed. "Back to the Burrow for fun and presents."
"Not many for me, I don't think." Harry muttered as they closed the door and the carriage started off.
"I don't think I'll be getting any presents from anyone. Unless your mum decides she's going to knit me a sweater again. She usually does…though I don't deserve it."
Ron gave him a shove on the shoulder with a smile. "Of course you deserve it! Harry, you've been through so much this past year that I admire you for it."
"Really?" This was hard to believe.
"Seriously. I know we had our rows in the past, but that's in the past, Harry."
That was the way that Harry wanted it. In the past. He didn't want to remember getting jealous of Ron or the Quidditch Match or anything. Especially not Hermione and the notes and all that. He just wanted to start off anew. And when he returned after the holidays, things would be better. People would have forgotten everything that happened with he and Hermione and he'd be accepted again.
The trip to the station was shorter than Harry had remembered it, but it was nice to know that they were that much closer to home.
Getting out, they spotted many of their friends doing the same. Neville was getting out of his own carriage with Ginny, preparing to return to his grandmother who took care of him. Ginny smiled as he tripped on a snow bank not far from their carriage and helped him regain his balance.
"They're a nice couple," Harry remarked as the train pulled into the station. Ron turned to him with a grin.
"Ssh. Nobody knows yet."
"Oh," Harry replied with a grin. "Sorry. They're just friends then."
"Yeah," Ron muttered as he watched another carriage pull up behind Neville's. Hermione and Draco stepped out of it. "Just friends."
Hermione seemed very happy. Draco took her by the hand and she led them over to Ginny and Neville. They started in eager conversation. Hermione appeared to be poking fun at the situation. Neville blushed.
"Let's go over and talk to them," Harry started. This shocked Ron.
"Wha - after all you've been through -"
"Come on, Ron."
He did follow reluctantly, and they met up with the group. Surprisingly, Hermione acted as if nothing had happened.
"So, you two spending Christmas at the Burrow then?"
"Yeah. How can we not? There's so much to do there. Much better than at the Dursley's, I'll tell you that."
The group chuckled. Then a silence came over them before Harry started again.
"Um…Hermione. Can I talk to you alone for a second."
Hermione glanced at Draco and then nodded. "Sure."
They walked over to a tree not far from the station's main building where Harry turned to her and started.
"Hermione, I feel really bad about what's happened this year."
Hermione seemed a little uncomfortable.
"Look - Harry, don't worry about it. I think it was something we both learned from and let's leave it at that."
"So, are we still friends then?"
Hermione smiled and gave him a hug. He smelled the scent of her hair and couldn't help but smile back.
"Yeah. We're still friends. I don't know what I'd do without you, Harry. You make life exciting, you know that?"
"Thanks, Hermione. I was really worried that you hated me or something."
"No - I couldn't do that!"
They shared another laugh before the silence took over. Harry glanced over at the group and noticed that Draco seemed quite happy talking with them.
"So…you and Draco are happy then?"
"Yeah…that's the strange thing. I used to hate him, but now I can't get enough of him. He's charming in a way. You know the feeling?"
"Oh yeah. I know the feeling. Really well."
The sound of the train whistle broke through the cold of the air and urged them onwards towards the train. It would be departing shortly.
It seemed that everything was perfect then. All the troubles that the friends had been through were sifted out of the year and they could start again. Draco was a friend with all of them, and it was like a miracle had happened. None of them would have predicted it. Harry least of all.
It was strange how one enemy had turned towards them, wishing friendship. How unknowing they had been! The prejudices that had once clouded their vision didn't allow them to see that the boy who had struggled to pick fights with them had been through the same troubles that they had.
Harry appreciated this most of all. He'd made a new friend this year. One that was unexpected.
Steam billowed up out of the Hogwarts Express as they all boarded it. The train was going to take them home. But not only that: It was going to take them into a new beginning. A new chapter in their lives that none of them could foresee.
Great things were happening, and the new alliance between Harry and Draco would prove to be one of the most important things of all.
End of The New Alliance
The New Alliance was begun on May 17th, 2004 and was completed March 1st, 2005.
Thank-you to all. It has been quite a ride.