After the war had ended, Hermione Granger had been unable to go back home to her family. She had obliviated them. They were now Wendell and Monica Wilkins, who lived in Australia and had no daughter. It was the hardest thing she had ever had to do, but it was for their safety. At the time, England had not been safe for Muggles, and they needed to be protected from Voldemort and his followers.
And so, straight after she had finished her schooling, she was alone and forced to fend for herself. She continued her education with hopes of entering into a program that would help her to land a good job at the Ministry, but her schooling was expensive. She needed to find a way to pay for her education, and therefore was forced to find herself a temporary job to help her to pay her bills and her way through school.
While wandering through the streets of Diagon Alley, she stumbled into a tiny, newly opened café with a sign that stated, "Employees Wanted." Without any hesitation, she entered the shop and applied for a job only to be hired on the spot. The owner, a little old man named Jacob Krawley, had been quite impressed by her marks at Hogwarts, as well as the sparkling smile she had worn as she had told him she was seeking employment.
The next day, she returned to the café in the appropriate attire that Mr. Krawley had described – a pair of jeans with a plain colored oxford and a tan apron. She had thought that it was odd to be wearing Muggle clothing in a Wizarding shop, but she had always found casual attire to be much more comfortable, and so she had thought nothing of it.
She settled into her routine easily with the help of her boss. The elderly man was quite patient with teaching Hermione the most effective ways of brewing espresso and tea quickly and efficiently, with and without the use of magic. He had explained that, though brewing magically was much quicker, without magic gave the drinks a better taste. She smiled at him when he told her this, and the pair of them developed a rather good rapport. She quite liked working for the old man.
A few weeks after she started, Mr. Krawley had left her alone to manage the café for a few hours, as he had some errands that he had to run for the store and for his wife. With a smile, Hermione had assured him that running the store alone for a few hours would be absolutely no trouble at all. As soon as her employer had left, however, the brunette encountered her first potential problem since she had begun there, and it was in the form of an old schoolmate – Pansy Parkinson.
Dressed in her nicest robes, Pansy entered the café alone. The two girls had not seen each other since they had finished at Hogwarts, and Hermione could not say that she was entirely broken up about that fact. The other girl had been nothing but a bully and had done nothing but give Hermione a difficult time throughout the course of their schooling.
But there was something different about Pansy now, and it was something that Hermione couldn't quite put her finger on. She still looked the same and dressed the same, but there was a different air about her. She was obviously less inclined to start a fight, as they had been in the same room for nearly five minutes and had not once commented on the fact that Hermione was a muggleborn witch. It became obvious to Hermione that she had jumped the gun. Pansy had no intention of causing a problem.
Hermione cleared her throat loudly. Several more minutes had gone by, and she had begun to wonder if Pansy was planning to order anything from the café. "Can I get you something?" she asked gently.
Pansy jumped in surprise, almost as though she had not realized that someone else was in the room with her. She smiled slightly. "Oh right. Just, erm, one mug of tea, please. That'll be all for me."
The brunette smiled and fixed her tea the Muggle way. Pansy did not seem to be in any hurry, and there was truth to what Mr. Krawley had said about it tasting better that way. In just a few moments, her tea was prepared. "Any cream or sugar?" Hermione asked.
"Please, and a wedge of lemon, also."
With a smile, Hermione fixed Pansy's drink. She placed a saucer beneath the cup and offered it to her one-time rival, who accepted it graciously.
She watched as Pansy took a seat at one of the small tables and felt the urge to stare. There was something that had changed so much, but she just could not decide what it was. She tried to keep herself busy by restocking her mugs and ingredients, but a voice interrupted her.
"Hermione," Pansy said, just loudly enough for the other girl to hear. "Would you care to join me?"
"Of course," she replied without hesitation.
Quickly, she fixed her own mug of tea before sitting down at the table opposite of Pansy. Neither girl said much; each only sipped at her tea. They made some polite conversation, but mostly they just enjoyed the other's company.
They were sitting together for nearly an hour before Mr. Krawley returned to the café. He nodded at Pansy, and Hermione could only assume that they knew each other from her frequenting his establishment. Hermione took that as her cue to return to work and stood from the table.
A few moments later, Pansy walked up to the counter. "How much do I owe you for the tea?" she asked.
Hermione smiled. "Nothing. It's on me."
Both girls exchanged polite smiles before Pansy exited the shop and Hermione went back to work. The brunette girl was unsure of what had changed Pansy, exactly, but it was obvious that something had. Admittedly, she knew very little about what Pansy and her family had gone through after the war had ended. She was also unsure if the encounter that they just had meant that the two were friends now, but it didn't matter much. All Hermione knew was that the war had changed the Slytherin girl, and she would not have been opposed to the two of them getting to know each other better.