A/N: A bit of background for you. They've started in seventh year, but Draco didn't get the dark mark last year and fix the vanishing cabinet, so Dumbledore is still alive. Hermione wasn't upset about Ron and Lavender. The Golden Trio haven't been sent off to find the horcruxes, as the Order are doing that. Lupin is the DADA teacher. Harry's going out with Ginny.
As I ran through the wall and out onto platform 9 ¾ and looked up at the shining Hogwarts Express, and I somehow knew that this year was going to be different. I stood on my tiptoes to look around for my three best friends to tell them my good news. There's no point in trying to look for Harry: loads of people have black hair. Look for Ron and Ginny. And sure enough, I found two bright red heads walking in the sea of browns, blonds and blacks. I rushed over to them, taking my trunk and Crookshanks with me.
'Hey, guys!' I took them all in at once. Ron looked as scruffy as ever in baggy jeans and a Chudely Cannons t-shirt; Harry, being his mirror image, wearing only a more muggle t-shirt and a jacket, and was clutching Ginny's hand like she was his trophy. Ginny was looking gorgeous in a green strappy top and denim shorts, and engulfed me in a hug as soon as she saw me.
'And who the hell are you, may I ask?' I looked over at Ron after me and Ginny had finished hugging.
'Honestly, Ronald, it's me, Hermione.' Have I really changed that much? I mean, I knew my hair was more curly than bushy this year, but I surely didn't look that different. Did I? I laughed and pulled Ron and Harry into a hug at the same time. 'Hey, do any of you lot know who the head boy is? I'm meant to sit in the Heads compartment with him, but I'd think I'd like to know who he is first.'
'Sorry, Hermione. I don't know. But we both made prefect!'
'Really? That's brilliant you too. I need to go now, McGonagall said she was coming to have a word with me and the head boy before we arrive at Hogwarts.'
'Oh okay, well I need to go and find Lavender anyway, and Harry needs to find Neville and ask him about that essay on Herbology that we needed to do.' I laughed. Well, we were back to normal then.
'Are you and Lavender still together then?'
'Yep. Are you still with Krum?' I shook my head, not wanting to talk about him, so I changed the subject.
'I really need to get to the Heads compartment. I'll see you at the feast, guys.' We all smiled and I got onto the train, finding the correct compartment straight away. I remembered walking past it on the train just before I met Harry and Ron for the first time in my first year. I so badly wanted to be Head Girl, and now I am. I opened the door and levitated my trunk up to the shelf and put Crookshanks down on the seat next to me. Someone just please tell me who the Head Boy is! I had been sat there for a few minutes, with the only activity being a first year that had no idea what they were doing, so I told him to go and find a compartment with some other first years in and just start talking so he could make some new friends.
I looked up from stroking Crookshanks to see Draco Malfoy enter the compartment. Oh, brilliant. I get to spend a year living with him. He levitated his trunk up next to mine and sat opposite me, looking at me up and down strangely. 'Who are you? I know every girl in the school, and I have no idea who you are.'
I pulled a Malfoy smirk at him. I wasn't the only one who had changed. He was wearing muggle clothing: baggy jeans, a tight white t-shirt and converse trainers. And his hair was no longer slicked back, just hanging naturally loose. The muscles on his arms were covered in scars, and I wanted to reach out to see if he was okay. No. Yes, you're right. This is Draco Malfoy we're talking about. After everything he's done to me and my friends, he does NOT deserve any of my sympathy.
'Clue: I punched you in the third year.' Malfoy cocked his head to one side and then his mouth formed a little 'o' in realization.
'I would never have guessed for a second that it was you, mudblood. You look… different. Then again, who else would be head girl in our year?' I hate Malfoy so much. It's our last year; surely he could find it in his heart somewhere to stop calling me mudblood? Good point. Malfoy stopping calling me names is about as likely as Snape not taking away points from Gryffindor this year. Besides, Malfoy doesn't even have a heart.
'Well, I was hoping that any boy in our year would have got head boy, as long as it wasn't you. You probably got your Dad to pay for your position anyway.' Yeah, that's right, Malfoy. I developed an attitude over summer.
'Hilarious, Granger. Actually, my Father had nothing to do with this. I earned this position, mudblood.'
I smirked at him again. 'Oh please, Malfoy. Get some new insults. You've been playing the mudblood card since second year: I'm rather bored of it now. Neville could come up with better insults than you.' Malfoy opened his mouth to retort back, but Professor McGonagall walked in before he could.
'Ah, Mr Malfoy, Miss Granger. I see you're getting on well.' Well, apparently she hasn't been listening in our conversation. 'Now, as Head boy and girl, you will have more duties than the prefects, but they are fairly similar. You will patrol all of the school on Tuesday and Thursday nights starting from eight o'clock, and you have an extended curfew of one o'clock in the morning. You also have access to the Restricted Section in the library, and you also get your own bedroom, common room and bathroom.' Yes! Access to the Restricted Section! 'However, we would like to promote house unity, and we know that all of the houses- particularly Gryffindor and Slytherin- are not on good terms with each other. We would like you to act civil towards each other. Also, this year we are having a winter ball. It will be down to you two to organise it, and it will be held on the night of the nineteenth of December; the last night before people go home for Christmas. Again, to promote house unity, you will go together.'
'What?' We both shouted. Theirs is no way I'm dancing with ferret boy over there.
'It is decided. At the end of the welcome feast, come up to the Head table in the Great Hall and Dumbledore will show you to your quarters. Enjoy the rest of the journey.' McGonagall left us staring at the position which she was stood in.
'Does she mean we just have to walk in with each other? I don't want to dance with you, Granger.'
'No, we have to dance. I went to the winter ball last year with Ron. The head boy and girl lead the first dance, but after that, I don't think it matters.' Malfoy sighed and leaned back in his seat.
'Great.' I looked up at him to see a look of worry in his eyes.
'If you're really that worried about what your friends will think of you, just tell them that you have to as you're Head boy.'
'It's not that I'm worried about.'
'Well, what is it then? I'm not that bad at dancing.' Malfoy opened his mouth to speak but shook his head and looked out of the window. Well, clearly, he's not going to tell you anytime soon. I pulled a book out of bag and began to read, occasionally glancing up at him to find that he was briefly staring at me.
'When we get to the station, I'll get the first years to Hagrid and you can get the second years to go up to the carriages as they won't have done it before.'
'Wow, ten minutes without calling me mudblood. Is this a new record for you?'
'Well, I worked out if we're to be civil to each other, I should probably stop calling you that.' I nodded and walked out of the compartment to go and put my robes on. When I came back, I found Malfoy sat in my seat, playing with Crookshanks.
'What are you doing?'
'Playing with your cat apparently. What's it called?'
'Crookshanks.' I sat down in his seat and stared strangely at him to find that he had changed into his robes while I had been gone, and he was sort of… smiling, as Crookshanks playfully bit his hands. 'Do you have a pet?'
'I have an owl, but it she kind of sits and does nothing other than carry mail.' I smiled and the train pulled to a stop. 'Shall I put him in his basket?' I nodded and Malfoy did, leaving it on his chair. 'Come on. I'll see you at the head table after the feast then?'
'Yeah. Bye, Malfoy.' I began to help Hagrid round up the first years and I watched Malfoy out of the corner of my eye as he pointed all of the second years to where the carriages were. As the last first years were climbing in the boats, Malfoy got in a carriage and went up to the castle. You may be being civil to each other, but why would he wait for you? Luckily, Hagrid invited me into one of the boats with him, and I quickly walked into the Great Hall before the sorting ceremony took place, sitting in between Ginny and Neville.
'How was Malfoy?' Harry whispered across the table at me. 'Did he hurt you?'
'No. He's quite tolerable actually, and Crookshanks seems to like him.' Harry narrowed his eyes slightly and the first years walked in, looking up and marvelling at the ceiling.
'… bewitched to look like the sky outside. I read it in Hogwarts: A History…' A first year girl walked past the Gryffindor table, boasting about her knowledge top the people around her.
'And mini Hermione has just walked past.'
'Shut up, Ginny.' The first years were sorted into the houses following an announcement that Lupin would once again be the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher and the feast began, Ron and Harry stuffing their faces as per usual. I talked with Lavender, Pavarti and Ginny about their summers as the lads around us discussed the Quidditch try-outs this year. When the feast ended I went up to the Head table, to find Malfoy already waiting there. He smiled a little at me and I felt something inside of me flip. I smiled back and looked away, finding myself blushing slightly.
'Ah, Mr Malfoy, Miss Granger. Please follow me.' We followed Professor McGonagall up to the fifth floor, the same floor as the Gryffindor common room, and she left us standing at a portrait of a boy of our age dressed in Hogwarts uniform, telling us that we could choose the password.
'What about Crookshanks?' Malfoy suggested.
'No, that's too obvious. What's your owl called?'
'How about Crookinx? It'll be hard for anyone to guess.'
'Okay, Crookinx it is then.'
The portrait opened and we entered the common room to find a fire crackling away with two arm chairs opposite it, and a loveseat set further back. There was a desk underneath the window and a bookcase opposite it. There were two sets of stairs, each with a door at the top and in between the foot of them was a small table and a several chairs, all of which was either in a red, gold, green or silver colour. I ran up the right staircase and opened the door, to find my bedroom. 'The other one's yours, Malfoy.' I heard him faintly clamber up the left set of stairs as I marvelled at my bedroom for the year.
There was a double four poster bed in the middle with red and gold sheets. Opposite the foot of the bed was vanity and a mirror and next to it was a door, presumably leading to the bathroom. Off to one side of my bed was a wardrobe, and the other side had a bookcase, just waiting to be filled with all of my books. Next to the bookcase was a basket and food and water dishes for Crookshanks, which he was already asleep in. I turned to look at my two windows, which turned out to be two doors leading out onto a little balcony with a bench on it. I leaned against the hand railing and looked out onto the grounds of Hogwarts, seeing Hagrid's hut, the stone circle and the path leading up to the owlery.
There was a knock on my door, but I was too engrossed in the scenery to go and answer it. 'Granger?' They knocked louder, but I carried on looking outside. 'Oi, Granger!' Malfoy sounded worried about me. Come of it, Hermione. Why would he be worried about you? I ignored him and carried on staring at the school grounds, seeing Hagrid take Fluffy on a walk. 'Hermione?' Malfoy came in my room and turned around to see him approach me. 'Third time lucky. What are you doing?'
'Just looking. Is your room like mine?'
'Yeah, a bit. Go and have a look if you want.' I smiled and bounded across the common room into Malfoy's room to see that it was almost exactly the same as mine, except all of the room was green and silver, and the vanity was desk. Next to the door to the balcony was sat an owl, cuter than Hedwig, on a perch. It was Malfoy's lovely Barn owl, Sphinx. I stroked the side of her face when I realised that Draco had called me Hermione before. Oh, so it's Draco now, is it? I carried on stroking her when she hopped up on to my shoulder and nestled into my curly hair. I laughed and went back over to the balcony in my room to find Crookshanks curled around Draco's leg.
'I see likes you more than me.' I laughed and Draco stroked Sphinx.
'You called me Hermione before.' Draco paused for a brief second before resuming.
'Is that a problem?'
'No, it's not a problem, Draco.'
'I just thought that if we were being civil… you just called me Draco.'
'Do you prefer Malfoy?' Draco stopped stroking and scowled slightly.
'No, I don't want to be a Malfoy anymore. Draco is fine.' I opened my mouth to ask what he meant, but I could tell that he didn't want to talk about it. We stayed out on the balcony, just staring at the beautiful surroundings, for what seemed like hours. Eventually, Draco took Sphinx off my shoulder and said he was going to bed. I picked up Crookshanks and watched him leave. Just as he got to the door, he turned around. 'Thank you.'
'What for?' Draco smiled and left, closing the door behind him. I smiled to myself and put Crookshanks in his basket and got in bed. I'll ask him tomorrow.