The Many Lessons of Hermione Granger
Disclaimer: Not Mine – JK's
Summary: Several years after the Battle at Hogwarts, Hermione's life had settled into a rut. All that changes when a handsome, young Quidditch player teaches her to throw out the rulebook – A Hermione/George Story
Author's Note: Story takes place several years after the Hogwarts Battle. Almost everything is cannon. I've disregarded the epilogue [Obviously]. Also, a key, key difference is that I am writing as though Fred never died. In my last story I kept him dead and that was no fun. Anything else that doesn't match the rest of the books is mere oversight/mistake on my part. This is my third(!) Hermione/George story – I wanted to write another one from Hermione's perspective. I find her perspective the most enjoyable to write from. Would love it if you checked out my other two! Thanks to everyone one who is reading! – SJ
Warning! FLUFF! – Might as well admit it up front; it's all I write.
Author's Note: Thanks for Reading! Not mine – JK's
In the second smallest room, on the ninth lowest floor in the Ministry of Magic building, a young woman sighed, set down her well-worn feather quill and leaned back in her stiff, wooden chair. She ran a disgruntled hand through her bushy, brown hair and wished for a window in her room so that she could look out of her stuffy office and into the dreary, blustery English afternoon.
"Grainer?" A broad, mustached man stuck his balding, blonde head through her slightly ajar door. "Have you finished your most recent revision?"
"Er, yes I have, Minister Fitzcharles," Hermione Granger maintained her most professional tone, fighting the urge to correct her superior on the pronunciation of her surname. "It's right here."
"Excellent Grainier," Raymond Fitzcharles, Minster of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, wandered into Hermione's small, sparse office. As per usual, the flamboyant Minister was wearing a perfectly colour-coded outfit: an eggplant purple, three-piece suit with a daffodil yellow bowtie and a delicate silver watch chain.
"You look very smart today, Minister," Hermione said in her most sincere tone. She recalled what she had written on her ever-present notepad during the first week after she had transferred from the Department of the Care and Control of Magical Creatures to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement: 'Always compliment Minster Fitzcharles on his fashion.' She knew that if she was to pull her small, wire-coiled notepad out of her beaded bag she would find that edict written, in her cramped but precise cursive, on one of the first pages.
"Thank you...err…Harriet…. May I have your document?" The older man brushed off her compliment, but Hermione could tell by the way his hardly visible blonde mustache quivered, that, even though he hadn't bothered to learn her first name either, he had appreciated her remark. Fitzcharles stood a bit taller as he accepted the stack of parchment from Hermione. "Well, this looks to be in order. Thank you. I'll have the next piece of legislation couriered to you momentarily."
"Lovely, thank you, Minister Fitzcharles." Hermione replied politely. She didn't know why she was thanking her superior for supplying her more work, but assumed that it was the proper thing to do. After Fitzcharles bustled out of her office, Hermione leaned further back in her chair and crossed her arms in front of her chest, grateful for the moment of rest. Her job wasn't particularly demanding – she was only responsible for editing prospective legislation before it was enacted. Essentially, her task was simply insuring that all commas were in the correct spots, all place names were spelt correctly, and that the drafters had used the proper wordings of 'there,' 'affects,' and 'whose.'
In the two and three quarter years since she had transferred to Magical Law Enforcement, Hermione had hoped that her job would have become more important. It was difficult for her to accept that her role had yet to change, but knew that it was part of life. 'Remember that you always have to pay your dues.' The reminder that she had written in her notebook only five weeks prior ran through her head; a mantra she often found herself repeating while hunched over dog-eared pieces of parchment, scouring the type for mistakes.
Sooner than she appreciated, a bulky scroll of rolled-up parchment fluttered into her office on enchanted, golden wings. Hermione reached up and expertly caught the hovering, scroll. Carefully unsealing the roll, Hermione flattened the parchment on her desk in front of her.
"An Amendment to the Act for the Proper use of "Electronic" Muggle Artifacts," was written in sprawling, inky cursive across the title page. Hermione sighed with a shrug; the area of law was one in which she had little to no interest. A quick leaf through of the ninety-six pages of parchment and Hermione soon realized that the large document was just as dull as it was technical. Also, the many, many sections and subsections were riddled with spelling and grammar errors. She rolled her eyes at an obvious mistake in the first sentence of the preamble to the Act, resigning herself in the knowledge that she would likely be working on this particular piece of legislation for several weeks. Dipping her familiar, worn feather quill in the dark scarlet ink that she used for editing, Hermione started to slowly read the first page, making notes on the page were necessary.
When her work day had come to an end, Hermione had only worked her way through the first few pages of the document. She glanced over the editing that she had done; the pieces of parchment were covered in red marks, corrections, and cross-outs. "Well, I'll look forward to getting back to you on Monday," She mentally said to the proposed legislation. Finding a file folder in one of her desk drawers, Hermione put the parchment away, knowing that it would be waiting for her at the start of the following week. Standing up from her stiff chair, Hermione stretched her arms high above her and moved her head from side to side, ineffectively trying to work the ever-present strain out of her neck. Content that her neck was as relaxed as she'd ever get it, Hermione grabbed her tan trench coat off its rack. Pulling it over her shoulder, she tied its belt snuggly around her waist and wrapped her heavy, purple scarf several times around her neck. She wished that she had remembered to bring a pair of mittens or a knitted hat; London was experiencing an uncharacteristically cold spell, even for mid-December.
"Hermione, are you heading home?" A friendly voice entered the office. Hermione glanced up and saw the woman who occupied the adjacent office, Holly Landry, standing at the doorway. Holly's attire suggested that she did not share Hermione's qualms about the chilly weather. The tall blonde woman was dressed in a shiny, black mini-skirt and a brightly coloured, sequin-covered top. A tiny, delicate stud decorated one side of her nose and long, feathery earrings hung from her ears. Hermione never understood how her coworker always managed to wear such flashy outfits without ever receiving any reprimanding for her clothing choices. Although her pixie-cut, blonde hair was no longer streaked with striking pink, Holly still never failed to wear something that looked better suited to a club scene or dance hall than an office setting. Then again, no one ever told Hermione that she had to wear modest outfits like the simple blue blouse and charcoal grey slacks that she had opted for that particular day. Likely, Hermione considered, no one cared enough about their department to implement a dress code.
"Ah, yah, I guess so" – Hermione replied to her co-worker's question – "I don't think I'm going to put in any overtime today."
"No, Mione….I mean, are you going home or are you coming out with Klara and me?" Holly replied with a wide smile that displayed most of her perfect teeth. The mischievous look on her face told Hermione that her coworker was unlikely to easily accept 'no' as an answer.
"Er, I thought I might stay in tonight, Hol…This week has been pretty mental," Hermione said quietly, knowing that her answer would not appease her fun-loving colleague. A brief vision of her half-finished novel and a cup of hot cocoa ran through Hermione's mind. She thought off how enjoyable it would be to spend the evening at her flat, in flannel pants, reading her book, but understood that Holly would not find such an excuse compelling.
"Oh come on Mione…If I know you, you'll just stay in and read and be lame," Holly replied, either reading Hermione's mind or simply knowing her habits. "Klara and I would love for you to join us. We're just going to the Leaky Caldron for drinks and girl talk. It would not be the same without you…" Holly adopted a tone that was intentionally winey, but she spoke so good-naturedly that Hermione found she was, as per usual, won over by the older woman's pleas.
"I don't know," Hermione returned hesitantly, wavering on her earlier decision of declining Holly's offer. Holly had an excellent ability to talk her into accompanying her on nights out. The blonde's undeniable love of merriment was always infectious.
"Hermione, we'll have fun…I promise."
"Er….fine…You promise it will be low key?" Hermione faltered, completely unsurprised that she had agreed to Holly's invitation. She knew she could only handle a relaxing night, however. Not long ago, one morning after a night of too much fun with her coworkers, Hermione had shakily left a memo in her notepad in messy writing: "Remember, you can't keep up with Holly and Klara." Holly and Klara were both known for being rather rambunctious and fond of late nights, alcohol, and dancing. Hermione had learned the hard way on several occasions that attempting to maintain their pace led to regrettable days after.
"Of course. I wouldn't lie to you," Holly grinned affably and Hermione remembered why she was immediately fond of the other woman upon meeting her on her first day of work in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. "Hey Klara," Holly turned and yelled down the building's corridor. Soon, the two women were joined in Hermione's office by a third. Klara Suzuki was technically both Hermione and Holly's superior, but she always treated the younger two women as peers. Even though she was in her very late twenties, the petite woman – with her perfectly clear completion and long, pin-straight, jet-black hair – could have passed for ten years younger.
"What is it?" Klara asked. The more conservative of Hermione's two office neighbors, Klara looked sophisticated as always. She was dressed in a simple, structured grey dress with a smart, ivory cardigan. A strand of perfectly round peals hung around her narrow neck and she wore matching jewels in her ears. Her beloved, towering, bright pink heels were the only aspect of her attire that exhibited her outgoing nature.
"I'm convincing Hermione to come out with us tonight," Holly told her with a smile.
"Oh Hermione, you're definitely coming tonight," Klara grinned. Even though she voiced her comment as a demand, it was spoken with such obviously friendliness that Hermione was convinced.
"Alright you two" – Hermione admitted – "I'll join you at the Caldron. But, I'm not staying out late, and I'm not going to end up on some dance floor with some bloke…"
"Brilliant!" – Holly declared with a smile – "Go home and change and meet us there at six."
"Change?" Hermione questioned glancing down at her outfit thinking that what she was wearing was more than acceptable.
"Yah, you're not showing up wearing pants and flats. Go find something cute that shows some leg. Can't wait to see you there!" Holly's forwardness never came across as offensive even though Hermione would not have appreciated someone else telling her the exact same things. Holly could be a trifle abrasive at times, but she was also kind and welcoming. Hermione had yet to regret forming a friendship with the other woman and didn't plan on starting to anytime soon.
"Well….fine…I'll see you in a bit," Hermione replied. She smiled slightly, feeling surprisingly excited about the prospect of a night out with her two friends rather than staying in with a book and a hot drink, as was so often her tendency.
The Leaky Caldron was quite crowded when Hermione wandered into the tavern at exactly six o'clock. She wasn't shocked; the recently renovated Diagon Alley establishment was a popular after work hangout for many of London's young witches and wizards.
"Hermione! Hermione! Over here," Hermione perked up at the sound of her name being yelled from across the tavern. She glanced in the direction of the voice and saw Holly waving vigorously. She and Klara had managed to secure a booth that was privately tucked into a corner of the Leaky Caldron.
"Hey you two," Hermione said with a smile, removing her trench coat and scarf and hanging them on the provided hooks.
"You look awesome," Holly exclaimed, whistling in appreciation at Hermione's wardrobe change. Hermione had stopped in at her flat before arriving at the Leaky Caldron to find a new outfit. After rummaging through her closet, Hermione had settled on a simple, but flattering, dark, royal blue dress. Its cap sleeves and square neckline suited her perfectly and the bell-shaped skirt and the way the dress tied in the back accentuated her slender waist. Wanting to combat the ever bushiness of her hair, Hermione had taken several minutes to charm her hair straight, letting it fall silkily over her shoulders. A beige pair of pumps completed the look. The heels weren't sensible for the icy London streets, but Hermione had decided to choose fashion over practicality for a change.
"Here, sit down," Klara offered, sliding along the bench to make room around the small, circular table for Hermione. Hermione collapsed onto the slick, brown leather of the bench, gratefully slumping against the back of the booth. It had been a long week.
"Can I get you girls anything?" A rather fatigued looking server asked them several moments after Hermione had sat down.
"Double vodka soda," Holly hastily requested.
"Glass of white, please," Klara added with a kind grin.
"Er…I'll just have a cup of tea," Hermione murmured shyly. She knew that her friends would expect her to partake in drinking alcoholic beverages with them, but, since she needed her evening to be relaxing, thought better of it.
"Come on, Mione," Holly replied with mock exasperation while she played with her dangly, feather earring. "It's Friday. Live a little."
"Er….just a cup of Earl Grey…" Hermione reiterated to the server, pretending not to notice Holly's over-exaggerated eye roll. "I can be fun without drinking," She commented pointedly, directing her declaration towards Holly.
"Ok, but you know I'm going to hold you to that," Holly remarked with an impish grin.
"Oh, I believe you, Holly," Hermione chuckled, knowing that her coworker meant what she said.
Their server soon came back to the table with the young women's requested beverages. Hermione added a splash of cream and a drop of honey to her tea before taking a grateful sip. It had been a hard week for the young Ministry employee and the tea's caffeine was extremely welcomed. The revisions that Minister Fitzcharles had collected earlier that day had put Hermione on a tight deadline. She had spend most of the week spending late nights in her cramped office in order to complete the necessary edits on time.
As Hermione nursed her tea, she listened to her two friends as they animatedly chatted about their plans for the upcoming holiday break. Hermione did interject every now and then to ask Klara about her prospective plans – a trip to Greece with her boyfriend – but she was mostly content to let the other two do the majority of the talking. It wasn't that she was necessarily shy. Hermione always considered herself as rather adventurous; she had never had problems rising to the occasion to face trolls, spiders, Dark Wizards, giants, or difficult term papers. However, she was significantly more socially reserved when compared to her two outgoing companions. Moreover, the tea was delicious and the Leaky Caldron was warm from being filled with so many people, and so Hermione was happy to lounge against the bench of the booth, finally finding a moment to relax.
"What are you up to over Christmas?" Holly turned her attention from Klara to Hermione as their server returned with refills of their beverages.
"Oh, er, ah" – Hermione stammered. She hadn't expected to be engaged thus and Holly's question had caught her off guard. Also, with the overabundance of duties at work, Hermione had yet to formulate holiday arrangements. "I actually haven't thought of it yet." She murmured, self-conscious as to the fact that she didn't have exciting plans to divulge. "I guess I'll just get together with family or friends." She added hastily. Family, Hermione knew, was out of the question. A trip to Australia to visit her parents was regrettably out of her budget. She figured that she might be able to tag along to the Burrow to spend Christmas, once again, with the Weasleys and her good friend, Harry Potter. While she wasn't as close to the large, wizard family as she had been as a teenager – when she had spent large portions of her summer and winter holidays with the family – she knew that Mrs. Weasley, Ginny, and the rest of the family would welcome her wholeheartedly nevertheless.
"That's nice," Holly replied.
"Yah, what are your plans?" Hermione asked, hoping her two companions hadn't picked up on her hesitations which she was sure must have been particularly noteworthy.
"Oh, probably lots of sleeping. Maybe some skiing. Visiting with the parents, of course…" Holly started listing off some of her winter arrangements until she paused, her concentration obviously drawn elsewhere. "Well….what have we here?" The blonde drawled, her eyes rapt on the doorway of the Leaky Caldron.
"What is it?" Klara asked eagerly. Their seating pattern prevented both Klara and Hermione from seeing the front door; only Holly was facing the entrance.
"Looks like Christmas has come early girls" – Holly smiled – "It seems as if a team of Quidditch boys have decided to grace us with their presence."
"Oh no," Klara sighed and pointedly raised her eyebrows in Hermione's direction. Hermione had to smile; Holly's fondness for men who played Quidditch was a running joke throughout their office, as all those who worked with the trio were aware that the young woman had a tendency to drop all inhibitions around the athletes. Holly herself willingly admitted as such. In fact, most of the ribbing she received on the matter was self originating. "Are we going to have to leave now before you misbehave?" Klara asked her friend in feigned concern. Their blonde companion pouted her bottom lip and widely opened her eyes to portray an innocent expression. She shook her head, but Hermione could easily spot the impish gleam in Holly's grey eyes and the smile attempting to break on her mouth.
"I'll be good…I promise," Holly grinned while Klara shrugged noncommittally and shook her head.
"I'm sure of that," Klara laughed disbelievingly while Hermione joined in with a couple giggles of her own. She had been witness to Holly's behaviour around Quidditch players before and it always was, if anything, amusing.
"So, where are these blokes?" Hermione asked, pretending to be interested.
"Right behind you, you can't miss them," replied Holly.
"Hmm…" Hermione slid closer to the edge of the bench so that she could look over her shoulder and see the entirety of the establishment. The Leaky Caldron was hardly vast and so, even in the dim lighting in the pub, the Quidditch squad was obvious. The team had claimed the tavern's largest table in the very centre of the establishment. Also, all of the players were noticeably larger than most of the tavern's patrons and all were clad in their bright red jerseys. Hermione immediately realized why Holly was so excited regarding their entrance; all seemed, on first glance, to be particularly attractive.
"Oh Merlin" – Holly gasped – "I think that one is Oliver Wood." The blonde was overcome by a string of giggles. "I used to be so in love with him!" She exclaimed. Hermione mentally factored graduation years and realized that Holly would have been around the same age as the former Gryffindor keeper. Holly had been a Hufflepuff several years above Hermione. While their tenures at Hogwarts had overlapped, the two young women hadn't known each other during their school years.
"Really?" Hermione commented. She hadn't taken a long enough look to see if she had personally recognized any of the Quidditch players. Although she had hardly ever spoken with Oliver Wood at Hogwarts, she definitely would have been able to pick him out of a crowd. Straining her neck to get a better look at the team, Hermione carefully scanned the young men trying to note the familiar face. From her vantage point in the booth, Hermione scrutinized the first few, hoping that they wouldn't notice her stares from her spot at the back of the tavern. The first of the Quidditch players were not men Hermione knew. She continued looking over the players, taking a quick intake of air when her eyes stopped on one in particular. He was tall, handsome, and there was something undeniably recognizable about his face. Also, his hair would have prevented him from going anywhere undetected; the conspicuous, bright red was unlikely to go unnoticed.
Author's Note: Thanks for reading! Please follow or leave a review if you would like to make my day awesome! [note: I know there's something lame about begging for comments and I apologize for doing so and won't do it again, but, trust me, receiving comments and suggestions make the writing experience sooooooo much better and definitely leads to faster updates! – Would love to hear any suggestions or requests!] Also, I know I've introduced several new characters to this story which I know lots of people don't really like, but don't worry, most of the story will be about familiar characters – Hermione just needed some work mates.