Warning: This story deals with the delicate themes of self- harm and eating disorders. It may trigger.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Harry Potter series; this is not being written for profit.
After the war, Hogwarts was changed. What was once an all- accommodating castle was fractured, the echoes of death still fresh in its walls. The castle changed itself, went into a lockdown to protect its students. No new dwellings could be created and unused parts were sealed off. In this attempt to prevent future atrocities new dwellings couldn't be created for the students wanting to re-sit their seventh years. It was because of this that Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy found themselves in such close proximity for their final year of education. It's funny how war can change things, and how survivors can find themselves longing for the comfort given in the black and white morality that fighting gives. Feelings that made so much sense during make no sense afterwards. Re-building one's life is infinitely harder than trying to hold on during its destruction.
Draco had seen Hermione Granger since the last battle, she had even testified at his trial, but seeing her on the first of September was a shock. Her strength seemed to have dissipated, leaving a lost- looking girl with a haunted expression behind. The once- brilliant witch seemed to become the epitome of the idea of 'survivor's guilt'. As she moved her belongings into the house they were to share in Hogsmeade she seemed to shuffle around, focusing on the task at hand and not stopping to look around. She excused herself from the dinner Daphne had prepared and went straight to bed, only saying what was absolutely vital and avoiding their conversations. As Draco lay in bed that night, unwilling to sleep he couldn't help but picture that thin, old- looking face and wonder if the war had truly broken her. He frowned at the strangeness of these thoughts, he had spent most of the past seven years hating her, hating her brilliance, her strength and the fact that she always seemed to be better than him, yet there he was, feeling sorry for her. Was it guilt that made him feel this way? Did he feel he could relate to her, a saint-like figure? As he slipped in to his all- too familiar bad dreams these thoughts troubled him, and that broken girl made a cameo in said dreams, cursing him for not saving her, along with all the others.
Hermione woke up from a fitful sleep when someone slammed the bathroom door. She jumped and instinctively drew out her wand before remembering where she was. Sitting up in bed she turned on the light and rolled up her sleeves. The familiar marks calmed her and she stroked the jagged edge of a newer cut, the action soothing her nerves. Her head ached with the thought of a new school term, of finally getting back to normal. Of the stares she knew she would have to endure now she had completely re-entered the wizarding world. She thought about her new roommates, she had shared classes with all of them but only had real knowledge of Draco. This annoyed her that she could have got through school without knowing most of her classmates. That she was going to need to be careful around them, learn their routines and try to avoid them without seeming like she was actually avoiding them. It was all she could do not to pack up her belongings and go home, back to her routine. Her stomach rumbled and she lay back down, wrapping her arms around her body, maybe sleep would help.
Author's Note: This is being written as a re-do of 'Just to watch you fade', most of the plot is changed but some scenes will be similar. I would love feedback and yes, the following chapters will be much longer. (Questions are lovely, as they will help me with planning.)