Struggling Through New Beginnings (Mature)

By: HarryGinny4eva

Author's Introduction: Hello. Some of you may have already read this story in the T section, so no it's NOT the sequel. I had several readers, who couldn't get on adult ffnet, ask me to post the M version here as well, and I decided to do so for them. For those interested, I am working feverishly on the sequel. Also, there are no other changes, I just put a few chapters together, so it looks shorter to those who have read it. For any new readers, please note:

1) As always, many thanks to J.K. Rowling for her wonderful literary works. They are hers and hers alone. I have only borrowed her characters for a while and built my own little fantasy around them. There is no pay involved for me in doing it.

2) I have not stayed true to the later books in many cases. There will be SPOILERS from the last books, but I have changed some events to suit the story and my own sense of depression. Yes, I miss Dumbledore terribly, don't think Snape should have died, and hate that after all he did, Percy lived and not Fred. I have fixed those things. And, if I just ruined things for you, I am very, very sorry.

3) I thank all of you who give this story a chance.

Thank you all again!


Chapter 1

This, while a love story about Draco and Hermione, is, at least in part, the story of Pansy Parkinson. Not much is known about her, as no one has ever bothered to ask her opinion on anything other than robe colors. Everything about her life has been expected; her schooling, her beliefs, her house, her friends, her choices, her love life, her future. It has always been expected that she would be the person she was, with the people that were chosen for her, and end up as her parents had so carefully planned. But, with the death of the Dark Lord, the changing of her own loyalties, the return to school for her 7th year, and her upcoming 18th birthday and subsequent engagement to Draco Malfoy, Pansy decides to set some expectations of her own.

This is a story of longing, desire, friendship, and ultimately, of love. Just not with the expected.


Pansy Parkinson sat back in her seat and glanced around the Great Hall; her brain humming with all the thoughts in her head. There were, of course, the obvious changes, but so much had happened in the past year that practically everything looked new to her. Before the war she had never noticed the beautiful stones that made up the floor or the workmanship it must have taken to get them 'just so.' She hadn't taken the time to think on the amount of work the house elves did to make her life what it had become. It had never occurred to her that something as simple as smaller tables and sitting with new people could make a meal feel so differently. With a heavy sigh she took a sip of her water and slumped in her seat, her head on her fist.

To those around her, her dark blue eyes appeared bored, her impish features haughty. Her dark, almost black hair, had grown out and was now pulled back into a ponytail, and each flick of her head sent it sliding across her narrow back. The only thing about her that people saw as different was that she no longer held her small body so stiffly. She looked to them to be bored, but relaxed; something most had never seen. And, many wondered about the presence of the girl who had tried to hand Harry over to Voldemort.

"Cogle, Barkley," Professor McGonagall called out.

"Looks like a Hufflepuff to me," she murmured to herself as she watched the new Headmistress place the Sorting Hat on the child's head.

"Hey!" a voice snarled behind her.

Pansy turned in her seat to see Megan Jones, a 7th year Hufflepuff glaring at her.

With a sigh and a quick look of regret, Pansy muttered, "Sorry," and turned back to watch the rest of the sorting. She missed the looks of wonder and interest thrown her way from the rest of the table at her apology. None thought her capable of it and several wondered what was wrong with her.

"Hufflepuff!" the hat shouted. Albus Dumbledore nodded at the child and he ran to join a table where a chair glowed brightly for him. Megan sucked her teeth at Pansy's being right, and Pansy simply smiled to herself and took another sip of her water.

The reappearance of Professor Dumbledore had shocked almost everyone in the room. Most of the students and teachers present had attended his funeral and mourned his loss; had feared the future of Hogwarts without him to lead it. The entire student body still awaited an explanation. Pansy found herself smiling up at him, his presence providing her with a comfort she had never acknowledged before then. Next to him sat a pale, frail-looking Severus Snape; another shock for the room of students and teachers. Pansy made eye contact with her Head of House and smiled in greeting as he nodded a bit at her.

As the students continued to be sorted, Pansy got lost in her memories of her re-entry into the newly restored Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.


The only students allowed back into the school that year where those who had shown no loyalty to the Dark Lord, or who had, during the war, changed their loyalties and could prove it. Others, like herself, were allowed back only after extensive rehabilitation with Ministry professionals. There had been many interviews for the children and their parents with Ministry and school officials, some involving Veritaserum, to decide who would be accepted and who would have to find other means of schooling. The returning 6th and 7th year classes were noticeably smaller, but the other years seem to have doubled, as parents removed students from Durmstrang Academy and begged their entry into Hogwarts. The past year's 6th year students were now in their 7th year, but had to share it with the returning students from Harry Potter's class.

The train ride on the Hogwart's Express should have given all of them some idea that things were not going to go as they had in the past. There had been no separate small compartments, but instead each train car had been a complete compartment resembling the London Underground cars, but longer and a fair bit wider. The students had at first tried to find their peers and sit in the cars by house, but soon realized each car only allowed a certain number from each house and once you entered the car you couldn't leave again. The new, huge class of first year students were forced into one car at the front of the train, regardless of their high numbers.

Pansy, after saying a subdued goodbye to her parents, had entered the train through her normal door, hoping to find some place to sit alone before having to face her supposed friends and classmates for the first time since that fateful day. Instead, she found herself in the same train car as Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Neville Longbottom. She noticed the changes to the train car and immediately started to back out, only to be stopped by some invisible force that wouldn't let her retreat. In a mild panic she had glanced around for anyone from her house and found Millicent Bulstrode, Theodore Nott, and Blaise Zabini huddled at the far end of the car.

Pansy heaved a sigh of relief, mixed with a touch of dread. Theo always made her feel stupid and insignificant with his bookish appearance, sharp green eyes, and cutting words and tone. Millicent was simply mean; not just to those from other houses, but to everyone. Her acid-tipped tongue could wound with words even more than her dark eyes could cut people down. Blaise was Draco's closest mate and, as such, the only one who provided her with a modicum of comfort. She grinned at his lazy smile and wondered for the millionth time why her parents hadn't promised her as a child to the gorgeous, nice, smart, olive-skinned boy. They would have made a good team, if not a love match, because at least they had a friendship; something she and Draco didn't really have. No. All she shared with the boy-turned-man she was betrothed to was a polite relationship, a sad, painful history, and the knowledge that one day they would share a home.

Pansy shook herself and with another quick glance around and saw more Gryffindors; Natalie MacDonald and Euan Abercrombie were whispering and holding hands; and Andrew Kirke and Dean Thomas playing Exploding Snaps near them. With her mind quickly calculating, she counted the thirty-odd mix of students from the four houses, and wondered how many more of each the car would allow. There were already 7 Hufflepuffs, 10 Gryffindors, 9 Ravenclaws and 10 Slytherins, including herself.

Her question was answered immediately. Pansy turned at a sound behind her and watched as three younger Gryffindors were barred entry to the car, just as she had been stopped from leaving it.

"Oi! Pansy!" she heard yelled across the car in Millicent's strong, low voice. It never ceased to amaze Pansy that the attractive, blonde girl could be so hard.

She straightened away from the door and turned to walk to her fellow Slytherins. She kept her back straight and her chin high against the hisses of conversation she heard erupt around her. She knew most of the people she would face this year would hate her for what she had done. No one would know that it was abject fear, not solidarity, which had caused her to call out Harry's whereabouts to Voldemort, because no one ever asked her. She would have gladly explained it had anyone cared to listen.

Unable to stop herself, she glanced once more at the Gryffindor section and her eyes met Ron Weasley's. He blinked once in recognition and went back to his discussion with Hermione and Neville, never noticing the falter to her step.

"Hey, Pans," Blaise smiled at her. "Last one in, huh?"

"I guess so," Pansy answered as she continued to glance nervously around the car. "Any idea what's up with all this?"

Millicent shrugged as she bit her nail, "Dunno. I'm guessing this is some stupid trick to get us all talking or some such shite. Ten from each house from what I can tell."

"Or, what you were told by me," Theo snorted.

"Oh, belt up, Nott!" Millicent answered with a push to his shoulder that knocked him off the seat and onto the floor.

His face reddened in anger and embarrassment as the students closest to them laughed and pointed.

"Damn, Millie, you're such a guy!" he stated as he stood and brushed himself off. "It's really no wonder no one will date you."

His remark caused a titter of laughter from the same students, which was quickly quelled when Millicent turned her stare on them.

"Anyway," Blaise said to stop the impending argument, "Pans, did you see Draco out there?"

She shook her head, "No. He wasn't on the platform when I came through."

"Must be in another car," Millicent nodded.

"Way to state the obvious, Millie," Theo snorted, then leaned away from her swinging fist.

Blaise rolled his eyes and looked around the now full rail car. When his eyes fell on Pansy once again he asked, "Have you seen him since the funeral?"

Pansy had been looking around, trying to not look at the opposite corner of the car, and was taken by surprise at the question, "Who?"

"Draco Malfoy. Your fiancé," Theo answered as if she were a three year old.

"Oh, no," she shook her head. "He hasn't written back and I…I thought it best to leave him alone for a while."

Millicent nodded, "Probably for the best. Draco's got a mean temper and losing his dad after everything else is bound to have made him a right ass."

Pansy nodded absently and pulled a book out of her bag. The others, sensing she didn't want to talk, went back to discussing the strange set up of the train cars. Pansy was relieved to have gotten them to ignore her for a while and angled her head down as if she was reading. In truth, she was staring across the car, wondering what conversations were taking place over there.


"I just don't get it," Neville sighed with an uneasy glance around the car. He had grown taller, stronger, more comfortable in his own skin, but his innate shyness made situations like these barely tolerable for him. "Why set it up this way?"

"No idea," Hermione shook her head at him. She looked around the car and noted the consistent separation of the houses, "If this is Professor McGonagall's way of promoting inter-house unity, I would say she's failing miserably."

Ron nodded at Hermione before he answered and reached out to touch a ringlet of the soft, brown hair that fell across her shoulder. What had been an uncontrollable bush as a child, has lengthened and become a mass of curls. She still had no idea what to do with it and like today, simply pulled it back with clips, so that it wasn't in her face, letting the curls lay naturally around her shoulders and down to her back. When her brown eyes glanced at him and then moved quickly away, he lowered his hand.

He sighed, "That's the truth. They might as well have kept the train the way it was. The only thing that's different this way is we have no privacy."

Hermione avoided his eyes when he said this as she knew why he wanted privacy; time alone for the two of them. She was suddenly very happy about the new train setup. They both acknowledged that things were not quite right between them and hadn't been for the last few months. But, the loss of Percy had been a real blow to the family, and after the war, and his death, neither wanted to rock the boat with more change. Harry and Ginny had finally gotten back together and seemed content, but neither Ron nor Hermione felt settled. Ron's reaction was to get more physical in hopes of forcing a spark to form between them. Hermione's was the opposite; she simply wanted to pull away from the man who was her best friend and first real boyfriend.

Ron had grown and changed into a nice-looking man with a good, strong build. His soft hazel eyes could melt the stoniest heart, and a rich laugh from his full lips never failed to make her smile. But, she knew things were over for them romantically; they had simply missed their window of opportunity. They loved each other, but were no longer in love. And, as loathe as she was for more change, she knew she wouldn't be able to take much more before she exploded. There was no fault or blame, but she knew if she didn't handle it correctly, words could be said that couldn't be taken back and then they could also lose their friendship. As much as she wished he'd stop groping her, was just as much as she wanted to hold onto him as a friend.

Rather than answer, she smiled distractedly and turned to look around the car once more. She listened with half an ear as Neville and Ron got into another discussion on what they thought would happen in the upcoming year. She noticed all of the Ravenclaws sitting on the floor in a circle not far away in deep discussion. She didn't recognize most of the younger students, but smiled and nodded at Terry Boot and Anthony Goldstein. Looking past them she saw the Slytherins. They were spread out across the back of the car in small groups and appeared to be as disgruntled by the changes as she felt. Just as she was about to turn her head to check out the Hufflepuffs, Pansy Parkinson caught her attention.

Hermione felt the familiar anger bubble and ebb as she looked at the young woman across from her. Because of her, Harry could have been killed. Taking a deep breath she forced the anger away. Harry had said many times that summer that things had happened the way they were supposed to happen. The only blame for it was to be laid solidly at Voldemort's feet. If Harry could forgive, then so could she. With a small shake she refocused on Pansy and tried to figure out what had called her attention to her in the first place.

Hermione finally realized it wasn't what Pansy was doing, so much as what she wasn't doing. She wasn't reading the book she held in her lap, even though she turned pages every once in a while for effect. She was staring at someone through her bangs. Hermione followed the line of her eye and blinked in shock. Pansy was looking at Ron. And, her face wasn't twisted in its normal Slytherin sneer, but instead, held a relaxed, tiny smile. Hermione blinked again as her mind finally processed what she was seeing. Pansy Parkinson was looking at Ron Weasley almost…wistfully!


The noise level was deafening in the next two separate cars. They were made up of mostly second, third and fourth year students who were excited to get back to school. Most had been kept far away from the war and its tragedies, but were relieved all the same to finally be free. They immediately shook off the past and set about trying to make new friends from the other houses.

The Slytherins started relaxing slowly as they were the most uncomfortable with the new changes. But, with no one to tell them to do otherwise, they were soon drawn into the frivolity and found themselves having uninhibited fun with people they had never thought to speak to before. The Ravenclaws among them assumed the reason for the changes and everyone simply accepted their views as fact. Peter Summers, a fourth year Hufflepuff in the third car, finally counted his house and mentioned that he thought there should be ten of each house per car, but no one counted the rest to see if their car was full, as they became too engrossed in getting to know one another.

Just about that time two former adversaries boarded the train at the same time, but from opposite ends. Neither realized or cared that they were among the last to board, and neither expected the scenes that met their eyes from the cars they passed. Had they tried any of the doors they would have known that they were barred from most of the cars. But, they continued past them, uncaring, as they sought out their friends.

Ginny Weasley's hand was firmly in Harry Potter's as they strolled down the corridor. Neither spoke; they had done too much of that over the past few months. The quiet hum of the train and the people around them, added to the fact that they could finally be together, free from fear, was enough to make them smile softly at each other every once in a while, as they looked for Ron and Hermione. Ginny noted the lines of apprehension form around his striking green eyes, and when he wasn't looking at her a slight frown on his taut face. He was almost a foot taller than her and used his strong, lean body to shield and protect her as they walked along. She felt the sudden tension radiating from him and wondered at its source.


Draco walked along the train alone; eyes darting, but back straight, chin high, and his face impassive. He made no eye contact with those around him as he didn't want to see the looks of fear, hatred, or worse, pity from his fellow students. He was painfully aware that they all knew the truth of his failed attempt on Dumbledore, his very last minute switch of loyalties during the war, his admissions of fear on the stand, the death of his father, and the house imprisonment of his mother and himself. The story of the fall of the Malfoys had been front page news for months before, during and after their trials. The Daily Prophet had found great enjoyment in its boost of sales as it detailed each moment of their misery, from their initial arrest all the way to the loss of most of their possessions, the Manor and finally Lucius' life. Rita Skeeter, once his ally, became his and his mother's own personal torturer as she spied on them and reported her findings back to the paper with glee.

Draco and Narcissa were moved into a much smaller house near the edge of muggle London and placed under house arrest. They could only leave the house in the company of Ministry Aurors, and even then only to shop for their basic needs once or twice a month. They were without house elves, friends, or their freedom. That summer they fell into a basic routine.

- Get up in the morning to shower and dress
- Share a quiet, simple breakfast, made by whoever got up first
- Meet with their assigned St. Mungo's Rehabilitation Specialists for one hour to discuss their wrongdoings, change of beliefs, and plans for a different future
- Spend a half hour in quiet reflection
- Come together once again for an even quieter lunch
- Retire to their rooms to read or listen to music, while studiously avoiding newspapers, radios, and owls for an hour
- Meet with their individual Ministry Life Coaches for the next four hours to learn all the things they had avoided most of their lives, including: cooking, cleaning, muggle history, muggle lifestyles and cultures, modern muggle technology, and for Draco, all that was necessary to prepare him to complete his N.E.W.T.S and 7th year work, since he'd missed much of his sixth year studies due to his failed attempt to kill Dumbledore
- Dinner was another subdued affair, but made a bit lighter by their shared stories of what they had learned that day
- The last of their time together for the day was spent cleaning and planning what they would do or buy on their upcoming shopping trip
- Both then retired to their rooms for the evening; Narcissa to her lonely bed, a glass of wine to wash away the taste of the sleeping drought, and a book; Draco to his studies and restless night's sleep

With a beleaguered sigh Draco shook himself out of his thoughts and lengthened his strides. This was his final year; final chance. This was the end of one part of his life and the beginning of another. And, these were his final few months of freedom before he was to be married to Pansy and begin his life as a respectable wizard, husband, and at some point, father. He closed his eyes for a moment against the sinking, hopeless feeling in his gut and when they opened they landed on Harry and Ginny only a little way down the corridor from him. The knot twisted in his stomach even more as their eyes met.

They arrived at the same time at the car where Pansy, Blaise, Hermione and Ron sat. As they neared one another both men carefully cleared their expressions.

Draco was more than a little apprehensive about seeing Harry face-to-face for the first time since the day his family had been dragged out of the Great Hall. They had seen one another from afar briefly at the trials of his father, mother, and himself. Draco's main discomfort stemmed from the fact that it was Harry's words that had freed both himself and his mother, while those same words and impassioned pleas had condemned his father to death. He knew things could have turned out very differently, if not for Harry, but he also felt a bit of resentment that no one had at least acknowledged his father's change in the end. Just as his father had finally openly shown love and approval for Draco, their time had ended. He was stuck in a place of loss, grief, relief, fear and hope.

"Malfoy," Harry muttered as their eyes met.

"Potter," Draco nodded. His eyes flicked down to Ginny's, but she looked away and he was saved from having to speak to her.

With their greeting out of the way, all three turned to the door and peered into the car. Harry immediately saw Ron and Hermione at the far end and reached out to open the door. His hand hovered near the handle, but he couldn't seem to actually grab it.

"Harry, what's wrong?" Ginny asked.

"Dunno," he mumbled and reached out again, only to feel an invisible force pushing his hand back away from the door.

Draco sighed and shook his head with only a slight smirk at Harry's inability to do something as simple as open a door after having saved the entire Wizarding World. He stepped forward and reached for the handle himself, only to feel the same resistance Harry had faced. The smirk moved from his face to Ginny's.

"If Harry can't open it, you most assuredly can't, Malfoy!"

Draco opened his mouth to retort, but was cut off by Harry's tired voice, "Gin, let's not start, okay?"

Ginny nodded once and looked away from both men. Then with a lift of her chin she asked, "So, what do we do?"

"Maybe we can get their attention," Harry said as he started to wave at Ron and Hermione.

"Or, we could try magic," Draco laughed at them only a little snidely.

They both glanced back at him, but he ignored them as he closed his eyes and focused on Pansy and Blaise. They stepped back and both of their hands went to their wands as they felt the magic flow from him.

Hello? Hello? Pansy. Blaise! Draco thought to them.


Hello, Pansy.

Oh. (pause) Hello. (pause) How are you? Where are you?

Well, I'm out here in the corridor with…

Draco? Was that you?

Hello, Blaise.

Where the devil are you?

I'm out in the corridor with…

Draco? Who are you with?

Sorry, Pansy. Blaise answered, too, and I…

Draco? You still there?

Sorry, Blaise, but Pansy asked…

He opened his eyes with a small gasp as he felt both connections snap close. He saw Harry and Ginny staring at him, wands at the ready and stepped back a bit from them as Pansy and Blaise appeared in the window of the door.

"Um, I was just contacting them," he said as he pointed to the door.

Harry glanced back, saw the two Slytherins staring out at them and lowered his wand. He also reached out to lower Ginny's arm.

"Well, Malfoy, why are they just standing there? Tell them to let us in," Harry said tiredly.

Draco mimed opening the door and watched in confusion as both shook their heads. He then felt the tapping in his head and opened his mind to Pansy.

Draco, can you hear me?

Yes. Why aren't you guys opening the door?

It's some kind of McGonagall get-to-know-each-other thing, Draco. I'm sorry, but it seems only ten from each house are allowed in each car. If I had known I would have waited for you.

It's fine. I will sit elsewhere.

Draco? Are you (pause) I mean, will you be okay?

Yes. Thank you. I'll be fine, Pansy. I will speak to you again when we get to Hogwarts.

Oh. Okay. Bye, I guess.

He nodded at the two of them and stepped back to see Harry and Ginny staring at him once again; this time in question, not accusation.

"Well?" Ginny demanded with one hand on her hip.

Draco almost smiled at her demeanor, but forced a frown instead. She was a little woman; barely reaching his or Potter's shoulders, but her tone, stance and fierceness reminded him of an Amazon. He inwardly wondered who really controlled their relationship.

Before he could answer though, he saw another head of red hair out of the corner of his eye and looked back at the door. Blaise and Pansy still stood near the door watching them, but they were now joined by Ron and Hermione, the latter of which was writing in the air with a charmed quill.

He knew Hermione Granger was gifted in charms and shook his head at her ingenuity, as the words appeared in bold black as easily as if she were writing on a blackboard. To cover his admiration of her skill, he scowled at her friends, "You may want her explanation over mine."

Harry and Ginny turned to the door, saw Ron and Hermione, and stepped closer to read Hermione's explanation.

Draco decided this would be the best time for him to disappear, when they were no longer focused on him, and turned to go find another car. He glanced back one more time at the door to nod to his friends and stopped in shock.

Both Blaise and Pansy were looking at the other two in the door with them. But, while Blaise's face held mild admiration for what he was seeing, mixed with a stronger contempt for the person doing it, Pansy's was completely different. She wasn't watching Hermione or the words that appeared and disappeared into thin air. She was flushed and her breathing appeared to be very shallow as she stared past Hermione to Ron Weasley.


A few minutes earlier Hermione had received yet another surprise from Pansy's corner of the train car. Once she had taken notice of Pansy's staring at Ron, she had looked to Ron to see if he had noticed. He hadn't, but her soft hair brushing his arm reminded him of her presence and he reached out and took her hand, even though he never stopped talking to Neville. Hermione's eyes had flown back to Pansy just in time to see the other girl's shoulders slump and her eyes fall to the book in her hands.

Before Hermione could process the surprise of it all, she saw a look of irritation cross Pansy's face as her back straightened and she shut her eyes. Before Hermione could wonder at the source of Pansy's feelings, she saw Blaise glance around quickly and then appear to zone out as his eyes lost focus. Within seconds both were standing and moving to the door of the train car. Hermione felt her breath hitch in her chest as she saw the man on the other side of the door. There stood the man whose family had come to the right side of the fight far too late. His light coloring made him appear almost ghostly in the darkened corridor and she couldn't help feeling slightly sorry for him after all she'd heard, read and experienced over the summer. She knew what he had gone through, and felt for anyone who would have suffered as he had. But, the reason for her hitched breath was not the man in the door himself, so much as the sudden realization that he was the cause of Pansy's irritation.

"I thought they were in love," she mumbled to herself.

Ron turned at the sound of her voice, "What? Who's in love?"

Hermione hadn't meant to say it out loud and stuttered, "Oh, nothing. I was…"

She was saved from answering as Ron got distracted by the sight of Blaise and Pansy at the door with Draco on the other side.

"Wonder what they have up their sleeves?" he muttered as his hand went to his wand.

Neville stiffened next to them and drew his wand slowly out of his pocket, "Nothing good, I bet."

Hermione shook her head at their continued paranoia and finally saw past Malfoy to Ginny's red hair.

"Hey, Harry and Ginny are out there, too," she said as she got up.

Ron hurriedly followed and they crowded the door.

"How do we tell them they can't get in?" he wondered aloud.

Blaise laughed under his breath at them, and Ron turned his head to tell the other man where he could stick his laugh. Hermione stopped him with a hand on his arm and pulled her quill from her hip bag. She risked a glance at Pansy and noticed that this time she appeared to be trying to NOT look at Ron. Hermione, giggled to herself, whispered a quick incantation and began to write her explanation of what they thought was happening for Harry and Ginny.


Pansy could barely breathe. She had heard them approach from behind, and smelled the hint of aftershave that Ron wore. When he had asked his question, his low voice had rippled over her and she had had to stop herself from turning to smile up at him. She quickly remembered to keep her face blank and took a deep breath to control her sudden trembling, but it had the opposite affect, as his cologne once again washed over her. As Hermione started writing in thin air, Pansy decided that small shallow breaths worked better, even if they did leave her a bit light-headed. Turning her head slightly she saw him and for a moment forgot to breathe all together.

It's wrong. He's a Weasley. He thinks you're scum for what you did. He's one of the 'Saviors of the Wizarding World.' He's a Gryffindor. He's dating his dream girl. I'm engaged. Draco would kill me if he knew how much I fancy Ro…Weasley.

That thought brought her back to her senses and she glanced back to the door to see Draco watching her from the other side. She didn't know how she looked to him, but she quickly rearranged her features to paste on a sneer at Ron and Hermione, for affect, and then with a nod at Draco stepped away from the door.


Draco almost called her back to the door, but instead decided to continue on to find a place to stay for the remainder of the trip and think. With one last nod at Blaise he backed away and turned back down the corridor. At each car he stopped and tried the doors, only to find them shut tight against him. By the time he finally reached a car door that would let him in he was so frustrated he ripped the door open with a bang, scaring the youngsters inside into a startled silence. His gaze swept the room of what looked like second, third and fourth years and fell on the robes of several Slytherins who wouldn't meet his eyes with their own. He wasn't sure if they were ashamed at having been caught having fun with others not from their own house, or were just scared of being seen like that by him. He also noted the looks of fear and revulsion on the faces of the boys and girls from the other houses, but he didn't care. He just wanted to sit by himself and think on that past few minutes.

"Back to what you were doing," he barked as he swept into the car past them and threw his bags into the overhead compartment near some empty seats in the rear of the car. With a heavy sigh he sat down near the window, crossed his arms, allowed the sneer to remain and turned his head to stare out of the window. It was a few long quiet moments before some nervous chatter started to again fill the quiet of the car.

With some of the stares finally off of him, he looked out on the platform and had a talk with himself.

She was looking at Weasley! Really looking. Like 'interested' looking. What the hell? When did this happen? How? Just because he's a damn hero now? He's still a red-headed, stupid, hot head ass. And, what? Was I not supposed to notice? This sucks. It's not as if we have a deep meaningful relationship or anything, hell I can't bloody well stand her half of the time. But, as we do have to marry it would be good of her to at least pretend some loyalty and show some sense and decorum. I will not go through the remainder of my life with her in lust with that freak. Next thing she'll be expounding on her newfound respect for the damn Freak-Who-Lived-Again.

The opening of the door startled him out of his thoughts and he turned his head.

"Oh, that's just bloody perfect!" he sighed to himself and turned back to the window. Another silence had stricken the children as Harry Potter himself stepped into the train car.