I had rated this M, but after careful consideration, I've decided the rating will be T.
This particular fluffy plotline was inspired by a fanfic I delightfully stumbled upon. I have a oneshot with Harry, Ron, and Hermione attending the University of Advanced Witchcraft and Wizardry and Draco is already working at his company. It's called "Meanwhile" and will be out soon. Meanwhile is taken in a very different direction but still happy and cute! Hahah. I'm really into the young adult/post war plotlines right now, hence the two university stories. But Reluctant is still my baby, my top priority, and my favorite! Hahah.
A special shout out to my beta Anna! Having her look over my work eliminated all the doubts I had about this chapter. Thanks Anna! :)
Here I go!
Albus Dumbledore, once headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, was a beloved professor and friend. Hated by many, loved by so much more. Unsurprisingly, four years after his death, the man known for his twinkling blue eyes still received at least twenty visitors a day (not including the students). Hogwarts students were in no way distracted or irritated by the frequent visitations to the White Tomb beside the lake. His eternal presence-- his tomb, his influence-- connected those who currently attended Hogwarts to those who simply visited, their past affiliation with Dumbledore never questioned (nor were reasons behind visits). Thus no one was seen as a stranger… just people-- visitors, professors, students. On random days, parents visited-- not their children but the sleeping father of the Wizarding Community, thankful he was finally resting. Even defeated Death Eaters left hideouts, risking capture, just to say goodbye.
A gala was suggested by Aberforth Dumbledore (brother of the deceased) for the second death anniversary of Albus Dumbledore. Aberforth violently refused to plan the event but pledged to fund the expenses. The debate of hosting the celebration in the Great Hall was ongoing but many argued the White Tomb should be visible throughout the event. Realizing the tomb's location beside the lake, a ship was immediately acquisitioned. Naturally, many attended (all very impressed with the unique venue); they came with donations for the following Commemoration Gala.
For a third year, the Commemoration Gala was held in memory of Albus Dumbledore. Located divinely floating on the Lake of Hogwarts was a grand ship charmed to accommodate hundreds of people. Inside were mingling witches and wizards, clad in magnificent dress robes or gowns. Round tables, dressed in royal blue tablecloths, were equipped with gold plates, goblets, and flatware. Ten seats surrounded each exquisite table. The house-elves from Hogwarts catered the event (therefore the food magically appeared on the plates)-- his favorite dishes were served. Soft, classical music was played by a string quartet; the dance floor littered with couples. The rooms on the second floor were designated to showcase his achievements and interesting gadgets from his lifetime.
The Remembrance Presentation (lasting three hours) on life of Albus Dumbledore finished; dinner soon to be served.
Smiling brilliantly, Harry Potter-- donned in handsome black and white dress robes-- surveyed his tablemates. His girlfriend of three years, Ginevra Weasley, modeled a stunning black and white gown (matching him, of course!) with a plunging neckline. The gorgeous redhead was conversing with Neville Longbottom and Lavender Brown. Parvati and Padma Patil, Dean Thomas, Luna Lovegood, and Seamus Finnigan were all eagerly (and loudly) informing the table of the changes in their lives. Ronald Weasley (clad in deep maroon dress robes) carried on his usual banter with Hermione Granger. Her dark hair was rolled into an extravagant bun-- the white gown clung to her body, delicate thin straps and a wide ruched neckline accentuated her elegant shoulders. The gown skimmed the floor just slightly.
"What have you got planned come September, Harry?" He heard Seamus question.
"Ron and I are off to the Auror Academy in Germany."
This reply launched a lengthy discussion of student life at the academy--
Their experience from the war qualified the two young men for automatic admission into the academy, but they decided to enjoy themselves before returning to school. The war heroes obtained glorious fame, which financed their three year hiatus-- but Ron and Harry, both twenty-one, were ready to continue their education.
Dean then grinned at Hermione.
"You won't be joining the blokes in Germany?"
"And completely disregard the three years I've spent interning at St. Mungo's?" She replied laughing.
Admission into the prestigious Healer program at the University of Advanced Witchcraft and Wizardry required a stable (and successful) three year internship with a magical hospital. In those three years, Hermione earned the title of Nurturer (equivalent to Muggle nurses).
"She's been accepted into the Healer program over at UAWW." Ginny boasted, knowing her best friend was entirely too modest to boast for herself.
At the mention of the esteemed university, Lavender joined the conversation. "I heard the campus is lovely! Is it really walking distance from Diagon Alley?"
Hermione fiddled with her fork, distracting herself from smiling too much. "It's quite a walk, but yes. Diagon Alley was actually created for the students of the university. Follow the cobbled pathway, and eventually you'll be led to the gates of the University of Advanced Witchcraft and Wizardry."
Some would be content with the lifestyle her Nurturer's salary financed, but Hermione couldn't be satisfied until she knew her career was earned through two years at a university. Most wizards and witches bypassed furthering their education, (after graduation) securing jobs through internships or other means. Though in no way did she feel some sort of superiority towards those who chose to forgo studying at a university. Seeing the University of Advanced Witchcraft and Wizardry during her first visit to Diagon Alley as a Hogwarts first year, Hermione (even without knowing she would become Head Girl and Hogwarts Valedictorian) aspired to one day follow the cobbled pathway to the gates of UAWW as an Illyrian (the university mascot).
Hermione didn't expect to miss Ron and Harry too terribly. After the war, Arthur and Molly Weasley left the Burrow for a beautiful three bedroom residence. Following some slight renovations, the nineteen year olds moved into the Burrow. The best mates had spent a total of nine years living together-- seven years as Gryffs and two years at the Burrow. The lack of university restrictions on off-campus excursions and Apparition made prospective hangouts very effortless and very possible. Knowing she would be frequently seeing Ron, Harry, and other friends during the weekends and even during the week, Hermione didn't dread separating from friends too much.
Her heels clicked against the wooden floor of the grand balcony of the ship, a breeze playfully ruffled her gown. The balcony gave a stunning view of the White Tomb, lit softly by floating candles. Since the first gala, Hermione always reserved an hour to simply admire the tomb from the balcony. It was nearly one in the morning, the gala near its end-- the crowds surrounding Dumbledore's tomb the entire day finally left.
Releasing her curls from the intricate bun, Hermione noticed a lone figure, dressed in black robes, approaching the White Tomb. The appearance of a visitor so late in evening didn't alarm her; it was known even in death Dumbledore welcomed all visitors at all times. Platinum blond hair was a striking contrast against the dark robes. The figure's back faced Hermione-- she noticed broad, masculine shoulders. He knelt before the tomb-- he constantly shook his head and even gestured with his hands a few times, it seemed he was carrying on a one-sided conversation with Dumbledore. Sometime passed when Hermione realized his shoulders shaking just a bit-- was he laughing… or crying… or was he simply shaking? Dumbledore's visitor abruptly stood. Then he turned to face the ship--
Draco Lucius Malfoy.
The hair… the pale complexion… the stance… all unmistakable. Hermione stumbled into the shadows, concealing herself from the piercing gaze of her former schoolmate. Convinced he could not see her, she fixed her fascinated eyes on him. After the war, the Malfoy family removed their presence in wizarding society. Three years nearly erased Hermione's memory of the smirking Slytherin…
She felt the ship lurch into the motion, embarking on the short journey to land--
Malfoy's eyes widened considerably, noticing the ship slowly nearing the shore.
Hermione watched him hastily lay something at the base of the tomb-- between a large bouquet of roses and a basket of Dumbledore's favorite sweets-- then Malfoy was gone.
… Fifty minutes later, crowds of witches and wizards continued to exit the ship. Hermione and her friends were sitting lakeside, recounting stories of their years together at Hogwarts. Harry was leant against a tree, Ginny's head laid on his lap. Ron was seated in between the Patil sisters while Seamus, Neville, and Dean shared a bottle of Firewhiskey. Lavender and Luna had their gowns gathered on their laps, their feet dipped into the cool lake water.
Nearby, at the White Tomb, was Hermione… enthralled by the beautiful bouquet of deep emerald Fairy Clematis, an extremely rare flower; to obtain a bundle was nearly impossible. Fairies devoted one hundred years to cultivate just one perfect Fairy Clematis flower. The gorgeous bouquet eclipsed the beauty of the large bouquet of roses and the thoughtfulness of the basket of sweets. The offering was simple yet tremendously elegant… and the brilliant emerald coloring very Slytherin.
Hermione gave a strangled gasp, honestly surprised by what Malfoy had offered to Dumbledore. He sincerely came to visit the former headmaster.
She rejoined her friends, absolutely certain (and quite thankful) her questions concerning the enigma that was Draco Malfoy would forever remain unanswered.
Too quickly did the days of June disappear, the pages of July and August were torn off calendars; September came.
September sixth-- Ron and Harry moved into their flat two blocks from the Auror Academy. The University of Advanced Witchcraft and Wizardry opened the dormitories to students the fifth, though classes started the ninth. Initially, Hermione planned to settle into her dorm a day before classes began… but the prospect of remaining at the Burrow alone forced her to reschedule her departure to the sixth.
Upon her request, Hermione was assigned to the Marluxia dormitories. Marluxia was very well known for its suites, which the other two girls' dormitories (Xigbar and Gilgamesh) lacked. Marluxia suites (designed for four suitemates) were not at all luxurious but had a two bedrooms (both equipped with private bathrooms) and a spacious sitting room.
In Hermione's bedroom (a decently sized white room) were two shabby four poster beds, two bookshelves, two desks built into the walls, and a door to the coveted private bathroom. Dark wooden floors and one large window enhanced the room only slightly. The bookshelves doubled as doors, concealing closets. Hermione's bed was framed by her desk and bookshelf (which easily slid open to reveal her closet); diagonal from her area, was her roommate's portion of the room.
Her roommate was already dressing her mattress when Hermione first entered the bedroom. Throughout the summer, they corresponded with one another (using owls, of course); not yet friends but already acquaintances before their face-to-face meeting.
Harlette "Harley" Winthrop (twenty and Hermione's roommate) was a butterscotch blonde, standing at 5'6-- cute, but not particularly gorgeous. Salutatorian of the Institute of Magic in Wales, she planned to become a Potions Mistress, majoring in Potions Mastery. She volunteered to journey to the university earlier than scheduled, not liking the idea of Hermione being alone in an empty suite (convinced the other two suitemates would move in the seventh or eighth, like most students). When Hermione declined the considerate offer, the girl reasoned she and Hermione could spend the three days developing their friendship.
A day of unpacking exhausted the roommates, they fell asleep at nine that evening--
--The girls woke early the next day, eager to explore the campus.
Hermione joined her roommate at the large bathroom mirror to style her damp hair.
"Har-" Hermione paused uncertainly, momentarily forgetting the name the girl preferred to be called.
"-ley." The girl finished, smiling. "Harley, not Harlette." This declaration was made by Harley at least ten times a day.
"You've corrected me nearly twenty times already, Harley. I've already developed the habit of calling you Harlette…" Hermione explained, casting a drying spell on her hair. "I'll put great emphasis on the -lette, I promise!"
Harley openly rolled her eyes, continuing to apply her makeup. "It's my fault for failing to correct you in the letters you sent me. I didn't hear you saying my name, the reason why I was never compelled to correct you, I suppose… my given name is horrid… Sorry, Hermione, you'll need to adjust to calling me Harley. All summer you called me Harlette, now it's time for a change!"
"I think Harlette is a lovely name!"
"Harlette spawned a tragically unoriginal nickname for me! For seven years I was known as Harlot Wintrollop!" She glared at Hermione's giggling mirror image.
"Harlot is very unoriginal, I agree--" Hermione managed to say through her laughter. "But Wintrollop…" The brunette fell victim to another uncontrollable fit of giggles.
"I am neither a trollop or a harlot! I've been seeing Talon for three years now!" She paused thoughtfully. "If we hurry, we may be able to catch him at Quidditch tryouts."
(…after thirty minutes…)
After a quick breakfast at the university canteen, Hermione grudgingly followed Harley to Illyrian Stadium, the university's Quidditch pitch. The two ladies were both dressed in casual robes (Hermione's pastel green while Harley wore violet) and carrying purses.
"Of all the places to begin our tour..." Hermione muttered unenthusiastically.
The campus, gloriously massive, required at least half a day for decent exploration-- the Quidditch stadium was not on Hermione's tour itinerary!
"Oh shut up. Talon is my boyfriend, you're my roommate. You've got to be friends with him, Hermione. He'll be at our dorm frequently." Seeing Hermione preparing to retort, Harley continued. "I'm doing the introduction now because once classes begin it'll be impossible for us three to be free all at once. And yes, I have considered having lunch or dinner today or tomorrow but he's got Quidditch tryouts, if he's not here, he's at some secluded hill practicing. This stadium is the only place I know I'll find him."
Sometime during Harley's rant, the pair had entered the oval pitch. Illyrian Stadium was recently remodeled to appear as the World Cup stadium but much smaller in size. While the World Cup arena seated 100,000 people, Illyrian Stadium only accommodated 5,500 (but like the stadium it replicated, the stands fully encircled the pitch).
Two young men, equipped with their brooms, were heading for the exit (which doubled as an entrance)--
"Excuse me--" Harley gave a nervous wave, successfully catching their attention.
"Hi…" A wizard of about twenty-three replied, ceasing his journey to the exit; his friend stood beside him.
"Have the tryouts ended for the day already?"
"We finished about fifteen minutes ago." The friend answered.
"And you two are the last to leave?"
The tweny-three year old looked towards the stands, squinting as the sun met his lovely blue eyes. "I believe the bloke up there will be that last to leave. I didn't catch his name but I saw him fly up to the stands."
Harley smiled. "Thank you. I'm Harley Winthrop." She offered her hand to the young man across her.
"Garrett Perrigo." He shook Harley's hand before eyeing the pretty girl beside her, almost forgetting to introduce his friend. "Oh!" Garrett tore his eyes from Hermione, his friend roughly nudged him. "This is Fitz Atherton."
"Fitz and Garrett, my roommate, Hermione Granger."
"Nice to meet you." Smiling, Hermione shook their hands-- noticing Garrett held her hand noticeably longer than Fitz had.
After a few minutes of small talk, the foursome said their goodbyes. Hermione and Harley then found themselves weaving through the (high) empty stands, in search of the person Garrett claimed he saw fly up to the stands.
"Sending him an owl would have required less effort." Hermione muttered, realizing her roommate had spotted a lone figure, sprawled out on the floor of the 35th level. The brunette willed herself to climb two levels, finding Harley crouched beside a sleeping (topless) male-- a book partially covering his chest. A broom, a Titan 0824 (an expensive broom), and a book bag rested beside him, seeming to join him in his slumber. His face was slightly obstructed by the shadow of the level above.
"All that effort--" Harley stood up. "He isn't Talon!" She resentfully pointed at the sleeping wizard.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "The girl claims she's no harlot or trollop yet she can tell he's not her boyfriend without sending his face a glance?" She remarked playfully.
"SHUT--" Harley began but quickly clamped her hand over her mouth, not wanting to wake him. "Shut up!" She hissed, motioning to the book on his chest. "He's got an Ancient Empires book."
The brunette shrugged in response, overly capable of understanding but made no attempt to.
Harley resisted the urge to growl loudly. "Judging from that book, he's an Empire Management major. Talon's major is Wandcraft."
Only sending the book a brief glance, (knowing he was asleep) Hermione decided to shamelessly study a superior specimen… the young man's attractively sculpted upper-body. Earlier she had resisted, thinking he was Harley's boyfriend. The book's placement on his chest did not conceal the rippling muscles of his abdomen or his chiseled arms. Blushing, she abruptly looked away, unfamiliar to such behavior (never one to gawk so blatantly)!
Harley-- the ever loyal girlfriend-- only allowed herself to eye his forearms, knowing if her eyes wandered, she'd feel very deserving of her nickname of seven years.
"Well… he's not a Death Eater." The blonde squeaked uncomfortably.
Hermione couldn't help but laugh loudly at the weak remark.
…Unfortunately, they didn't notice his eyes fluttering at the disturbance of their voices. Nor did they notice a smirk gracing his lips…
"Fancy seeing you here, Granger."
What'd you think? REVIEW, please! I'm in love with the plot for this story so please review so I know people are actually reading! Thanks!