A/N: Mine, Mine, all Mine. Yea right, and if you believe that, I got this bridge for sale.
Hermione arrived with a 'pop' right outside the Hogwarts' gates. With a bright smile she began to drag her trunk and Crookshanks' basket towards the gate. It was September 1st and the start of the new school year.
She looked up at the castle and saw that the renovations were coming along with remarkable speed. Just months ago the castle had lain in almost ruin, and now with the help of Professor Flitwick, the tiny charms professor, there were only a few minor repairs to attend to. She vividly remembered the last time she was here.
The memories of that day came rushing back. Faces of her fallen friends flashed before her. Among them the faces of some whom she held dear to her heart: Fred Weasley, Remus Lupin, and Nymphadora Tonks, and there were so many more that were friends and acquaintances. There were even a few she didn't know, but she still remembered how their faces looked in death.
She glanced towards the lake, where there was now a small graveyard for those who had fallen there. There were about fifty grave markers that surrounded the marble tomb of Professor Dumbledore. It was decided that all those who fell here during the battle should remain here forever. It was somewhat comforting to her to know that her classmates and friends from the Order were now being watched over in death by the greatest wizard to ever live. The feelings only grew stronger when she remembered those dreadful few minutes that she thought one of her best friends had been killed.
With a shiver, she realized his grave could have been among those in the cemetery. But Harry Potter was still alive. He had defeated Voldemort. Now the whole of the wizarding world was trying to regain a sense of normalcy, and that is just what Hermione was planning to do.
She had returned to finish her incomplete seventh year. The Ministry and the Hogwarts governors had agreed to allow any student in their seventh year to use their last posted grade in each subject for their N.E.W.T. level. Many of her classmates had done just that, including Harry and Ronald Weasley, her other best friend and, finally, her boyfriend.
Harry told her that he would just be too busy helping Kingsley Shacklebolt and Arthur Weasley reform the Ministry. She also knew that, once they were finished at the Ministry, Harry wanted to attend to the schooling that was required for an Auror. Ron, who was never very studious, had already taken to helping his brother George in his joke shop. She knew that at one time Ron had wanted to become an Auror too, but that the death of George's twin Fred had put those dreams on hold for him. He was determined to help George through his grief and to make sure that Fred's dream for the joke shop didn't fail.
However, Hermione wanted to have a complete education so she returned. And besides, she wasn't exactly happy with her grades and knew she could improve them. With a sigh, she continued on to the school. Just a few feet inside the gate, Hermione heard someone calling her name. She turned to look and was surprised to see Neville Longbottom running towards her.
"Hello, Neville. Are you here to finish your N.E.W.T.s?" asked Hermione.
"Yea, Gran wants me to," he said in a tired voice.
"Neville, does she still believe you can't live up to your parents? Because after last year…" she began but, Neville cut her off.
"No, no, Hermione. I know she is proud of me. She tells anyone who will listen how proud she is of me and how I pulled the Gryffindor's sword from the Sorting Hat just like Harry Potter did once before. But she wants me to complete my schooling. She feels that education is important and I shouldn't take the easy way out. She is still Gran, after all." He laughed. "And after seeing her take on Death Eaters last year, I am not about to argue," he said with a smile.
Hermione laughed too. She knew that Neville was one of the big heroes from the Battle at Hogwarts. He had destroyed the last Horocrux, killing Voldemort's snake Nagini with the sword he pulled from the sorting hat. She also knew how much that meant to him.
"Here, let me help you with your trunk" he continued.
"Did you already unpack?" She asked.
"No, our dorms are not ready yet. Professor Flitwick and Professor Carmichael, the new Transfiguration teacher, are working on them now. I got here early this morning. I wanted to help Professor Sprout get the greenhouses in order. She just finished getting Greenhouse Two rebuilt yesterday. There was a lot to be done in preparation for the start of school, and she sent me letter asking for my help and I agreed," he said proudly. Hermione knew that his favorite subject was Herbology.
"Are there any others from Gryffindor here yet?" Hermione asked
"No, I asked Professor McGonagall, who was returning to finish. She said that there were only going to be about thirteen from our class coming back to finish."
"Wow," she exclaimed "so few! Why are they setting up a dorm for us? Are we not staying in Gryffindor Tower?"
"No, they set up a special dorm for us all to stay together. Something about with all we have been through, being able to live together and help each other with our studies will help us heal." Hermione just nodded. Most everyone in their year stayed to fight the final battle.
"I suppose that is why they wanted us all here earlier than the other students," Neville continued "to let us know what is expected of us." Their letters had asked them to arrive early so they could discuss the accommodations and classes being offered especially for them.
They reached the front steps and went through the giant oak doors leading into the entrance hall. Hermione saw Neville's trunk along the wall which lead to the dungeons and placed her stuff next to it. It was almost lunch time, so they went into the Great Hall to await the rest of their class, who should all be there soon.
They did not have to wait long. Within fifteen minutes, the one smaller table that was set up in the great hall was staring to fill. The first to arrive were Padma and Parvati Patil, the twins. Padma was in Ravenclaw and Parvati is in Gryffindor. They both greeted Hermione and Neville and started discussing their summers. Next were Susan Bones and Hannah Abbott both of Hufflepuff. Hannah had returned last year after leaving in their sixth year due to her mother's death at the hands of Death Eaters.
A large group of Ravenclaws came in next and Hermione recognized most of them. There was Terry Boot, Mandy Brocklehurst, Michael Corner, Anthony Goldstein, and a girl Hermione thought was named Daphne Greengrass from Slytherin. Lavender Brown from Gryffindor came in next and sat down next to her best friend Parvati. She started to tell everyone how she wasn't going to come back, but changed her mind at the last minute because she couldn't think of anything better to do. "Besides," she said "at least I get to hang out with my friends for a few more months this way." Everyone laughed.
Ernie Macmillan from Hufflepuff strolled in as they were all laughing and starting greeting everyone in his normal pompous manner. They were all chatting happily that they barely noticed the next and last person to join their group. He sat down quietly at the end of the table. Hermione looked up as he sat down and could barely believe her eyes. The very last person she expected to see….Draco Malfoy.
A/N: thanks to my Betas, (lilywillow, coley21, and sempra)