New story - not a totally unique idea but I will, as always, try and put a new spin on it...read and enjoy!
Hermione stood by the large, black iron gates of her former school and gazed at the imposing building in the distance. It was so familiar to her, like a old friend and she felt a calm wash over her. Remembering her instructions, she put down her case, withdrew her wand from her robe and tapped it three times before swirling it above her head.
A red beam shot into the sky above her and then it seemed to break into a million pieces that came falling down over her head until all she could see was red and she shut her eyes tightly as the brightness hurt her eyes. When she opened them again she was standing in Professor McGonagall's office.
"It's another one," said one of the portraits.
"Indeed it is," a familiar voice said and Hermione's gaze was immediately drawn to the wall. Albus Dumbledore's wrinkled face and kind eyes stared back at her. "Good Evening, Miss Granger."
Hermione felt a contraction in her stomach at seeing and hearing her old headmaster's voice and knowing that she could never really hear them properly again. It had been several years now since that fateful night on the tower but she still felt pain at his loss. She pinned a smile on her face and nodded at the portrait.
"Good Evening, Professor Dumbledore."
The door swung open and she turned to see Professor McGonagall enter her office. She didn't look a day different to when Hermione had left.
"Miss Granger, how lovely to see you."
"You too, Professor McGonagall."
Professor McGonagall stepped closer and surprised Hermione by gathering her into a hug. It was most unusual for this very clever, vest astute professor to show such a sign of affection. She stepped away and moved round her desk, indicating that Hermione should take a seat.
"The others are all here so we can all gather tomorrow morning to discuss what we have planned over the next few days," Professor McGonagall explained. "The students are very excited by the prospect of meeting some very famous ex-students. We hope that your prestigious careers will inspire them."
"We have some lectures planned for students from all years and then the older students will be able to chose whom they wish to spend some further time with, dependant on their best subjects and interests."
"I'm really looking forward to it," Hermione said. "How many of us are there?"
"Fourteen visitors along with Professor Longbottom, so fifteen altogether. We have chosen ex-students with a wide range of careers," Professor McGonagall handed Hermione a list. "This is everyone who's offered to give up their time for the programme - most of them have agreed to the full two weeks as well, which is wonderful."
Hermione looked down at the piece of paper she had been given.
HOGWARTS CAREER ADVICE PROGRAMME
It is our pleasure to welcome back some of our most outstanding former students to pass on their experience to you.
For two weeks, we shall have some very special visitors who will be able to give you some invaluable advice about choosing your future career and what that career may involve.
We hope to make this an annual event and as you are all aware we have built a new classroom and studio to use for this.
Mr Harry Potter and Miss Hermione Granger (Gryffindor)
- Joint Owners of Lightning Broomsticks Ltd.
Mr Ron Weasley (Gryffindor)
- Deputy Head of the Dept. of Magical Games and Sports at the Ministry of Magic.
Mr Draco Malfoy (Slytherin)
- Head Auror in the Dept. of Magical Law enforcement at the Ministry of Magic.
Mr Neville Longbottom (Gryffindor)
- Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Herbology Professor.
Miss Luna Lovegood (Ravenclaw)
- Renowned Magizoologist
Miss Ginevra Weasley (Gryffindor)
- Seeker for Holyhead Harpies and the England Quidditch Team.
Mr Blaise Zabini (Slytherin)
- Joint Head of Committee of Experimental Charms at the Ministry of Magic.
Miss Cho Chang (Ravenclaw)
- Healer at St. Mungo's Hopsital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.
Mr Lee Jordan (Gryffindor)
- Celebrity Sport Commentator.
Miss Padma Patil and Miss Parvati Patil (Ravenclaw/Gryffindor)
- Joint Owners of Charms Beauty and Style.
Mr Ernie MacMillan (Hufflepuff)
- Arithmancer extraordinaire and author of bestselling book 'The Numeracy of Numbers.'
Daphne Greengrass (Slytherin)
- Owl Post Office Overseer for the Hogsmeade area.
WEEK ONE - General Lectures for all students.
Opening Ceremony of the Career Programme Studio.
WEEK TWO - Specific Lectures for older students.
Celebratory Dinner and Dance.
(details of lectures and informal meeting opportunities will be advised at a later date.)
"Wow! What a list!" Hermione said after a few minutes. She looked up at the professor. "I'm sorry I couldn't get here yesterday. I thought it was more important that at least one of us was here so Harry came ahead of me."
"Oh, it's not a problem," Professor McGonagall smiled. "Harry is coming to fetch you and you have the evening free to relax and get yourself settled in." The professor put her head to one side and gave a little twist of her mouth. "It's a long time since I've said Harry is coming to fetch you Hermione! It makes me feel quite nostalgic."
There was a knock at the door and Professor McGonagall instructed her visitor to enter. Harry walked in, grinning at Hermione who stared at him for a moment.
"Professor," Harry nodded his head at Professor McGonagall. "Hey, Hermione." He noticed her staring and looked down at himself. "What's the matter? Why are you staring at me?"
"It's just very strange seeing Harry Potter, all grown up, standing in Professor Dumbledore's office..." Hermione glanced over at Professor McGonagall. "Sorry - I mean it was his office when Harry stood there last time."
"Of course and I agree," Professor McGonagall nodded. "It gives one a very strange feeling of déjà vu!"
"He's here then? We guessed he would be," Hermione said as she followed Harry along the familiar corridors of the school. It was after curfew so the students were all in their common rooms so the school was deserted.
"He's here and don't we all know about it!" Harry said. "Of course he thinks he's the only one who's actually had a worthwhile career - protecting and saving us all!"
"I have to find a spell that will let me control my temper or I'll most likely hex him before the fortnight it out!" Hermione sighed. "Actually, I'm surprised he agreed to give up two whole weeks of his precious time to help at the school he hated so much."
"It's a chance to boast about himself, isn't it?" Harry said. "And as an added bonus he can rub our noses in what he considers to be our far less important careers."
Hermione stopped walking. "Bloody hell! I should probably go home right now or I might end up in Azkaban!"
Harry chuckled at her and grabbed her arm. "We're all adults now, I'm sure we can handle him." They had reached the sixth floor and Harry lead Hermione down a narrow corridor off the larger main one.
"Where are we going Harry? I don't recognize this at all?"
"Even you can't possibly know every corridor and room in Hogwarts, Hermione!" Harry teased her. "This is the East Wing, directly under Gryffindor Common Room - they've allocated us a whole wing on this floor."
"Who am I sharing with?"
"You're not - we all have our own rooms."
"My goodness! We must be important!" Hermione joked.
Harry had stopped and was facing a large painting on the wall. The lady in the portrait was unfamiliar to Hermione but she knew her name - Iris Pivis. She was a former pupil at Hogwarts who had created the spell that made Golden Snitches fly. She missed the word Harry used to enter the door but he was walking through so she followed him.
The room behind it was large with several doors and corridors leading off it and a mezzanine floor off to one side. It had large windows with an amazing view over the valley behind Hogwarts and it was full of comfy looking chairs, tables and other mismatched furniture. It was also empty and Hermione realized that it was now actually quite late and most people would probably have gone to bed.
"I'll make you a drink - you can have a guided tour tomorrow," Harry said and he wondered off down one of the corridors. Hermione walked around the large room picking up the odd thing here and there before making her way over to the window and looking out. Despite the darkness, the view was still stunning and she stared into the distance, trying to make out anything familiar.
"These rooms are out of bounds for students," a voice said making Hermione jump out of her skin. She turned quickly and found herself facing a tall, slim and strikingly blonde wizard who was staring right back at her.
"Well, I'd know that sarcastic, sneering voice anywhere," Hermione said. "Takes me right back to our school days together, Malfoy."
She saw Draco's face change as he realized who she was and he looked her up and down blatantly. "Of course! The Brightest Witch of our time was arriving late - I'd forgotten," Draco's voice had a smooth, deep tone that Hermione didn't remember from school. He was still tall and pale but his shoulders were broad. "I was so glad when I found out you were coming." His voice was dripping with sarcasm.
"The feeling is entirely mutual," Hermione retaliated, equally sarcastic.
"I suppose you deserve and invitation - after all you were always the brightest of Potter's bunch of hangers on, " Draco's eyes surveyed her face. "But it's a shame you didn't live up to your potential, isn't it?"
"My potential?" Hermione felt her temper rising already and she'd only been in his presence for a few minutes.
"Mmm, I would have expected much more." Draco sounded like a school report and Hermione glared at him.
"No-one cares what you expect, Malfoy," she said. "I see you still think you have the right to judge everyone else? What a pity you didn't learn to turn your criticizing eyes onto yourself every now and again!"
"Never mind all that - my point is Broomsticks!" Draco said the word as if it was enough to explain everything.
"Broomsticks," he repeated. He waved his elegant hand at her. "I'll give you that it's a clever name - Lightning Brooms - very apt."
"Wow! Thanks ever so much!" Hermione shook her head. "Your approval of our business name was first and foremost when Harry and I chose it, of course."
"What I mean, Granger is why are you involved with Broomsticks when they scare the hell out of you?" Draco shrugged his shoulders. "Bit of a lowly job, if you ask me. I'm sure your long list of qualifications must come in handy whilst sanding down a few sticks of wood."
Hermione stared at the man in front of her with venom. What a lowlife he really was and had always been. He wasn't worth her anger or even her interest and she decided to rise above his obvious goading.
"Think what you like," she said. "You may not have changed since school but I have and I refuse to be dragged down to your level." She turned her back on him and gazed back out at the view, this time unseeingly. She waited for his response but after a few moments of silence she dared a glance around and found him gone.
Lovely first meeting as always - let me know what you think. x