Pen Pals:

Disclaimer: None of this belongs to me and I am not making any $$$ off of it. This world belongs to the talented JKR, I am just playing with it.

Note: This story is AU to HBP mostly due to the fact that this plot line has been sitting in my notebook since before the book came out. Also, I happen to like the Snape/Hermione aspect and that doesn't really work without him being a good guy. I have the basic story idea in my head, but none of the meat has been written yet. I have a 10 month old baby so I do not have much time to write and will update as often as I can. Also, I do not have a beta, and do not plan on using one. I will spell check as best I can… but please no flames for spelling, punctuation or grammar errors because if I spend my limited time hunting for them you will never get a story update.

Prologue:

Sixth and seventh year were tough on the 'Golden Trio' as many called Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The first stumbling block to the trio's seemingly perfect harmony was the fiasco at the ministry and the revelation of the prophesy. Harry was unable to forgive himself for leading his friends into danger and for the death of his godfather. When he returned for 6th year he was more reserved and spent most of his time researching ways to kill Voldemort. Without Harry acting as a buffer between them Ron and Hermione fought even more. Ron, in all his glorious wisdom, believed the reason they fought so much is because of romantic tension and so the two of them tried dating. When their relationship spectacularly failed after their first kiss left Ron feeling like he had just kissed Ginny and had Hermione rolling around in laughter on the floor, they became even more distant. It wasn't that they thought less of each other or even that they grew apart, their relationship was just different. They were the silent support the other two needed and they still loved each other and were best friends, but they were not as close anymore.

Harry and Ron's relationship cooled even more in 7th year when Harry was named both Quidditch captain and Head Boy and Ron's jealousy nature got the better of him. Harry spent the first half of the year absorbing anything he could find trying to find a way to destroy the monster that was plaguing his nightmares. Dumbledore had discovered, however late, that Occlumency would not work on the connection Harry had to Voldemort due to the nature of the curse scar. Harry was addicted to dreamless sleep potion and headache reducers as he used them daily to be able to function. Things came to a head in the war effort when during a February Hogsmeade visit Harry and Tonks, his Order escort at the time, were kidnapped by the death eaters.

It seemed the power that Voldemort didn't know really was love and that Harry had been harboring some very strong feelings for the young Auror who he believed he would never have a chance with. When Voldemort threatened to kill Tonks, Harry flung curse after curse at the snake like man. The two brother wands connected again, keeping the death eaters out and Tonks lying unconscious between the two powerful wizards. Harry became frustrated and sad that nothing he ever did would be enough to purge the evil in front of him and started thinking about all the people and good things the vile man had ruined and a white beam of pure magic shot out of his chest and killed Voldemort instantly.

As soon as the battle began Snape alerted the Order of the death eaters' location and they arrived just in time to see Harry defeat the greatest dark wizard of the age. They rounded the Death Eaters who were at the meeting up without too much of a fight as they were still in shock that their master was defeated by a school boy. The only two who gave any protest were Bellatrix Lestrange, who was ultimately killed by Neville Longbottom in their ensuing duel and Lucius Malfoy who knew he didn't have enough money to buy himself out of prison again.

Harry was given an Order or Merlin 1st Class for his war efforts and expected to go back to school like a good little savior and be all happy and content. Instead he turned the ministry on its ear by accusing Fudge of being a Voldemort supporter, pressed charges against Umbridge for her antics during his 5th year, and then called an emergency meeting of the Wizengamot. He had discovered during his research that as head of both the Potter and Black families, since Sirius left him everything, he held two seats on the court and it only took the recommendation of two of the 6 original families to call a full session.

During his upheaval he cleared Sirius' name, had every ministry member checked for the dark mark, called for a vote of 'No Confidence' in Fudge and was able to get Severus Snape recognized for all his service to the cause and his coveted prize of an Order of Merlin, although only 2nd class since he had been a Death Eater at one point during his youth. When Harry finally returned to school a month after the battle he was a different person. He was a man where all his friends were still boys, he was unconcerned with petty school yard gossip or rivalries, and the only reason he even returned was to take his NEWTs.

Harry's return to the school marked the unofficial end to the "Golden Trio" as Ron was completely unable to hide his jealousy and Harry no longer had the patience or desire to coddle his 'best friend.' Harry and Hermione grew closer during their quiet study hours, especially as she was the only girl in the whole school who wasn't trying to throw herself at the 'Savior of the World'. Harry and Tonks wrote letters to each other the rest of the year and Hermione was once again the only one who seemed to understand and accept how important Tonks was in Harry's life. The final blow to the trio came during the 'Celebration Ball' a month before the end of the year when Molly Weasley quite unsubtly asked Harry when he was going to get together with Ginny as she had decided they should be married. When Harry told her that he had no intentions of marrying let alone dating Ginny as he was more than happy with Tonks Ron go upset and told Harry the only reason Harry wanted Tonks was because she could change herself into anyone he wanted and that Ginny 'deserved' to be his wife since she had loved him so long and for how much the Weasley family had done for Harry over the years. Harry promptly showed the gathered crowd that he really was the powerful wizard that was capable of destroying the darkest wizard of the age. He told Ron in no uncertain terms that if he had ever suspected that the Weasley's affection was some sort of down payment on a marriage contract that he never would have set foot in their presence. Molly, never realizing what a precarious situation it was, tried to ease the tension by telling Harry that he really would be better off with Ginny as she was able to cook and tend to a home and that Tonks was just 'way to old for you dear.'

The papers speculated for weeks what Harry would have done if Bill and Charlie and not instantly pulled their mother and brother away from Harry and the twins pulled Harry and Tonks outside to cool off. The only picture of the whole spectacle was taken well afterwards of Hermione trying, unsuccessfully, to console Ginny on her loss with Arthur Weasley in the background; shoulders slumped and head in his hands. Ron then made things worse than ever the next day at breakfast when he told Harry he was no longer welcome to sit at the Gryffindor table. Harry just nodded curtly and headed over to join the Slytherins for breakfast. Hermione was the only one aware that he had been befriending Slytherin house for years and had more friends in the house of Snakes than in the other three combined. The uproar in the castle when the only response to Harry's approach of their table was Draco Malfoy scooting over to give him room was tremendous. The only detention Hermione earned since 1 year was when she put Ron in a full body bind, stunned Ginny and then charmed her voice to be heard by all that they were a bunch of immature idiots and they were lucky Harry decided to save their hides as she would have let them rot if they treated her like they did him.

Graduation was an interesting affair as after Hermione's spectacular dressing down the houses started making friends. Hermione graduated top of their class with Harry not far behind and received a full ride scholarship to her choice of magical universities. Her parents were proud of her but they were ready to get back to a normal life and she had decided to move out and just carry all her belongings with her to university. She loved her parents but they had never understood magic and once they realized it was not something she would 'grow out of' they grew apart. Harry moved in with Remus after graduation and was planning on taking his seats on the Wizengamot. He did give himself a graduation present though. It turned out that #4 Privet Drive belonged to him and that he owned controlling interest in Grunnings Drill Company where his uncle worked. So for Graduation he placed muggle repelling charms on #4 and had Vernon Dursley tossed out of the Grunnings building. It seemed his mother had been worried about her sister as Vernon was unable to support them when they were first married and had his father buy the company and stipulate that Vernon must always have a job and that it had to pay well, they then purchased #4 Privet Drive and had it seem as if it was a gift from Lily's parents when they died. Harry's favorite part of everything was watching his uncle turn purple when he realized that it was Harry who had done everything. Of course watching the look of horror on Dudley's face when he was told he would have to get a job was good too.