Disclaimer: I own nothing Harry Potter related.
I had to re-post this first chapter, because I needed to make a correction. This is 10 years after the war, not five.
Back At Hogwarts
"Do you ever stop reading Granger?" Draco Malfoy asked, looking over at her from the chess game he was playing with Harry.
"It's been known to happen," Hermione replied, not bothering to look up from her book. Draco rolled his eyes and Harry chuckled. A slight smile tugged at Hermione's mouth, but it was safely hidden behind the book.
Harry and Hermione had managed to form a truce with Draco Malfoy after the war. It hadn't been easy, but they were finally able to look beyond their past hatred. They weren't really close, but they tolerated each other well. And so, they found themselves in the teachers' lounge at Hogwarts, relaxing a bit before the students would arrive at the school.
"God, you're awful Potter," Draco commented, watching as his queen crushed Harry's bishop. "Are you putting up a fight at all?"
Harry glared at him but paused in his retort when the door to the staff room, swung open.
The new Muggle Studies professor stepped in and smiled hesitantly at the trio. She was a pretty American witch with wavy, light brown hair and bright blue eyes. She was small, but she was stunning. "Hello," she said quietly, her eyes scanning the room a bit nervously.
"Hello," the other three chorused politely.
"I'm Hermione Granger," Hermione said helpfully. "I'll be teaching transfiguration this year."
"Draco Malfoy," Draco supplied, rising and stepping forward to shake her hand. "I'm teaching charms."
Harry stepped forward to shake the witch's hand as well. "I'm Harry Potter, the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor."
"Nice to meet all of you," the witch said with a smile. "I'm Caroline Freeman. I'm taking over Muggle Studies."
"It's so strange to listen to your accent," Harry commented.
Caroline blushed slightly. "I can imagine that it would be," she giggled. She was from South Carolina, and though her accent wasn't strong at all in comparison to other South Carolinians, she sounded quite strange among her British colleagues. "I've heard so much about all of you."
Draco glanced uncomfortably at Harry, unsure of what Caroline may have heard about him. Caroline noticed the look and smiled slightly. Quite a bit of what she'd heard of Draco had been less than flattering. In the end, he had felt remorse for his deeds and that was what really mattered. Everyone deserved a second chance. In an effort to ease his discomfort she asked "Is Professor Snape always like that?"
"Like what? A git?" Harry supplied with a smirk.
Caroline frowned. "A... a what?" she asked, sitting down next to Hermione.
Hermione rolled her eyes at Harry. "Professor Snape is quite stern and very grouchy," she told Caroline. "He's had a hard life."
"Yes, I've read about him," Caroline nodded. "It must've been awful to work as a spy for so long."
"The war was hard on him," Draco agreed. "He managed to survive the bite from You-know-who's snake but he was sent to Azkaban soon after he recovered. Still can't imagine how he survived," he added, shaking his head.
"It took us a while before we could get him out of there," Harry added, shaking his head. "I provided loads of evidence, but the ministry dragged it's feet in clearing him of all charges. I guess we can't really blame him for being such a bastard sometimes."
"I don't know," Hermione said thoughtfully. "He seems a little different lately. A little more laid back."
"I'd noticed that as well," Draco agreed.
"Maybe he just needs some friends," Caroline suggested. "He's obviously not all bad."
Hermione and Harry looked at each other and shrugged. The thought of being on friendly terms with Severus Snape was very strange. Then again, they were currently spending time with Draco Malfoy, of all people.
At that moment, the door opened again. Professor Snape stood in the doorway with a bored expression. "The carriages are arriving," he said smoothly, his eyes sweeping over the four new teachers. "The headmistress wishes for all of the staff to be in the Great Hall."
The others quickly stood and moved toward the door, walking down the hallway with the deputy headmaster. Harry grinned when Draco moved to walk next to Caroline. He caught Hermione's eye and she smirked.
Once all of the first years had been sorted, Professor McGonagall rose from her seat to address the students. She introduced the new staff members one at a time, pausing to allow the students to applaud. When she got to Harry and Hermione, many of the students burst into excited chatter. They fell silent immediately when Snape stood up and swept his forbidding glare over the hall. Draco snorted and rolled his eyes while Hermione blushed and Harry squirmed uncomfortably in his seat. He really hoped that the students wouldn't behave so ridiculously in class.
The feast was as amazing, as usual. The newly sorted first years gazed all around as they ate, in awe of their surroundings. When everyone had finished, McGonagall dismissed the students and then invited the teachers to stay for some tea before turning in. The students flooded through the doors, many of them shooting curious looks over their shoulders at Harry and Hermione. "Honestly," Hermione muttered, rolling her eyes, "the war was ten years ago. When is everyone going to stop acting so strangely.I have no doubt that by the end of the day tomorrow, Harry will have had a dozen requests for autographs."
"Well, you are war heroes," Caroline said, accepting a cup of tea from a house-elf. "And Harry was famous anyway."
"Don't remind me," Harry grumbled.
Caroline looked at him in confusion. "Harry's never really liked all of the attention," Hermione explained, resting her hand on Harry's shoulder.
Caroline nodded. "That's understandable," she said gently. "Who wants to be famous for surviving the curse that killed his parents? I'm sure you didn't enjoy people watching you all of the time. I remember reading about you in the paper a few times and wondering why they couldn't just leave you alone once the war was over. I mean, do people really have nothing better to do than talk about what you like to eat, your favorite Quidditch team and whether or not you'll marry Ginevra Weasley. Really, who cares? Not that it's not important," she added quickly. "But, it shouldn't matter to anyone else. You're not a mascot."
"Well spoken," said Professor McGonagall, approaching them. "Professor Freeman, I'm so glad to have you here with us and already making friends. I believe that your sisters have arrived," she added, gesturing toward the entrance to the Great Hall.
Caroline waved to the two young women that had just walked in, accompanied by Mr. Filch."These are my sisters," Caroline told her new friends, gesturing to the two witches as they stopped at her side. "This is Samantha and Jenna."
Samantha was tan and lean with dark eyes and high cheek bones. She looked as if she could be Caroline's polar opposite but just as striking. Jenna looked quite a bit like Caroline, except for the fact that she was taller, and not quite as fine boned. Her eyes were green instead of blue.
"In case you were wondering, Sam takes after our dad," Caroline said with a grin.
"That explains it," Hermione said nodding. "My goodness you look like one of those American Indians," she told Sam with a smile.
"We're nearly half Cherokee," Sam responded. "Not that you can tell looking at these too." She nodded her head at her fair-skinned sisters.
"Are you teaching here as well?" Harry asked in confusion.
"Good lord, no," Jenna said, wrinkling her nose. "Caroline's the crazy one that wanted to teach. Sam and I decided to come to Englad to be close to her. Professor McGonagall said that we could come visit her after the feast, and as often as we like during the term." She offered Professor McGonagall a grateful smile.
"How nice," Hermione said. "Where are you staying?"
"We found a nice little apartment near Hogsmeade," Sam replied.
The headmistress rested her hand on Caroline's shoulder and said "These young ladies are quite talented. When I went to visit with them, I could hear lovely music coming from inside the apartment. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the marvelous sound was coming from these three."
"What do you play?" Draco asked curiously, directing his question at Caroline.
"I play the piano mostly and a bit of guitar," Caroline replied shyly. "Sam plays the guitar. Jenna plays the violin. All three of us sing."
"Quite well," McGonagall added. "You three must play for us some time. I do enjoy music."
The sisters exchanged grins. "Do any of you play?" Jenna asked the others politely.
"I play the piano," Hermione responded. "Harry learned to play the drums on his cousin's drumset."
"Is that so?" Jenna asked, her eyebrows raised in interest. She glanced at Draco. "How about you?" Draco gave a non-committal shrug, making the others eye him curiously.
"What type of music do you play?" Hermione asked curiously.
"Lots of different kinds," Sam told her, grinning at the way Draco was eyeing Caroline. "We try not to limit ourselves to one style."
"We can say that we don't do well with rap and hard rock," Jenna said with a little sigh. Caroline and Samantha chuckled.
"My goodness," McGonagall said. "I had no idea that I had hired so many talented professors. I really must hear all of you-" She was cut off when Professor Snape approached the group looking irritable, as always. "Any news Severus?" she asked, frowning slightly.
"None at all," Snape responded darkly. "The aurors can find no trace of him. But, I feel that it is safe to assume that his fate was not a pleasant one."
Harry and Hermione looked at each other in alarm. McGonagall sighed and turned to the others. "I invited Professor Freeman's sisters to join us for a reason," she said slowly. "We need your help. All of you."
"What's going on?" Hermione asked anxiously.
"I'm sure you've heard of the recent vampire attacks," McGonagall began, waiting to see them all nod. "Well, apparently there has been a massive uprising. Many of the Death Eaters that remained at large became vampires along with several other dark wizards. They are attempting to take over the wizarding world and eliminate those that would stand in their way. However, we do have a source on the inside of the vampire community."
The others, except for Draco, looked over at Snape. "Why do you assume it is me?" he snapped.
McGonagall snorted in amusement. "There have been rumors," she commented. At his glare she sobered a bit. "No, Severus is not the vampire. It is Lucius Malfoy."
The others gasped and shot startled looks at Draco. He sighed and ran one hand through his hair. "My father was bitten by one of the death eaters. He does not wish to take part in their plans. So, he has been passing information to the Order of the Phoenix," he explained.
"Or what's left of it," McGonagall said dryly. "Many of the Order died in the war, so we are at an obvious disadvantage." She swept her gaze over the group hopefully.
"You want us to fight?" Harry asked in a resigned tone. He had really hoped that that particular part of his life was over. It was the very reason that he had decided to teach rather than becoming an auror. "Is that why you hired us?"
"Not at all," McGonagall hastily assured him. "I hired all of you because you are highly qualified and capable. I could have asked for your help without hiring you."
"That's true," Hermione said with a nod and a tiny sigh. "But we've never been up against vampires. And these are vampires that are also wizards. They must be very powerful."
"They are," McGonagall agreed. "And that is why you will receive special training."
"From who?" Caroline asked.
"Me," Snape replied stiffly.
"Great," Harry muttered. "What sort of training?"
"Training in combat," McGongall replied. "You need to what your up against and to be prepared for anything."
"When do we start?" Samantha asked eagerly.
"Soon," McGonagall responded. "I will be sure to inform you of the date, time and location. I need to contact a few more people and set up a place for you to work. Also, Severus is attempting to create a potion to cure vampirism, or at least suppress some of the more inconvenient urges. It is the least we can do for Lucius and others who do not wish to be vampires."
"That sounds really difficult," Jenna commented doubtfully.
"Severus assures me that it is," McGonagall agreed, glancing briefly at Snape. "There may be times when he will require a second set of hands while working on this potion."
Harry glanced at Hermione, but was a little surprised when Jenna said "Caroline's really good at potions." Sam nodded in agreement.
Snape looked at Caroline with interest but she quickly shook her head. "No, I'm not that good," she denided hastily. "I always got good grades, but I had to work really hard. I certainly shouldn't be anyone's first choice as a potions assistant."
"That leaves us with Granger," Draco said with a smirk in Hermione's direction.
Snape rolled his eyes in aggravation. He had thought for one brief shining moment that he had escaped working with know-it-all Granger. With a quiet sigh of resignation he met Hermione's eyes. "Well, what say you Professor Granger?" he asked smoothly.
Hermione straightened her shoulders with determination. "I would be happy to help," she replied calmly. She could feel Harry's pitying gaze upon her, but refused to look at him. She was an adult now and she refused to be intimidated by Professor Snape.
"Thank you dear," McGonagall said gratefully. "I'll let you two handle the arrangements in that area."
"How kind of you," Snape muttered sardonically. He turned and stalked away, leaving the Great Hall. McGonagall nodded to the others and moved away to talk to Professor Sinistra and Professor Vector.
Jenna turned to look at her sisters. "I could listen to that man's voice all night," she said quietly.
"Who?" Draco asked blankly.
Jenna smirked. "Professor Snape," she replied. "I'd listen to that man read a phone book."
Draco looked puzzled while Hermione and Harry chuckled. "That's more than a little disturbing," Harry shuddered through his laughter.
"Something tells me that you don't really get along with him," Sam commented with a grin.
"Could it have been all of the looks of disgust?" Harry suggested, smirking.
"Or all the cringing?" Hermione added.
"I wasn't cringing," Harry objected.
"You were cringing," Caroline said matter-of-factly. She grinned when Harry glared at her.
Before Harry could retort a voice called his name. He turned to see Neville Longbottom jogging up to them. "Hiya Harry," Neville said smiling broadly.
"Hi Neville," Harry said. "What are you doing here?"
"Didn't they tell you? I'm going to be Professor Sprout's apprentice this year," Neville replied proudly. "She's retiring next year and I'll be taking over. Apparently Snape didn't know either. He looked very surprised to see me and started grumbling about McGonagall hiring buffoons behind his back."
Draco chuckled. "Professor Snape is going to have an interesting year," he said smirking. "Nearly half of his colleagues are ex-students. One of those former students is Longbottom. He has to train everyone in combat and he's got to brew a potion with Granger. I almost feel sorry for him."
"I don't," Harry grumbled, making the others chuckle.
"He's training everyone in combat?" Neville asked with a perplexed expression. "Whatever for?"
Hermione sighed and set about explaining the situation to Neville. Harry looked on with a thoughtful expression. He'd just gotten back to Hogwarts and it had already begun. He'd be heading back into battle at some point in the future. He looked over as Hermione introduced Neville to the Freeman sisters. Perhaps everything would be less difficult this time around since he probably no longer a direct target. There were no prophecies about him and a clan of vampires. Even if there were, he wouldn't want to hear them. He'd had enough of that for one lifetime.