Hisses and Jeers and Taunts followed Draco wherever he went on his first day back at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His fellow Slytherins were disgusted with him for renouncing the Dark Lord when he was needed the most. Even Pansy, his former girlfriend, had spat in his face when he tried to talk to her about what happened.

Gritting his teeth, he pushed open the doors to the Great Hall, and slowly walked towards the Slytherin table. As he approached, loud Boos serenaded him, and Pansy shouted "You're not welcome here, you filthy traitor!"

Draco stopped dead in the middle of the Hall. All around him, the other tables had taken up the Slytherins' call. It echoed around him, encasing him in a bubble of self-doubt. Maybe he was wrong to change sides. This was his family, for Merlin's sake!

He opened his mouth wordlessly, spinning around as people spat and laughed at him. Draco had no way out, no way in. He could feel a red-hot blush creeping its way up his normally perfect, pale skin, and could feel tears pooling inside of his blue eyes. Draco looked down, swallowing hard.

"Oh look!" Pansy screeched, clapping her hands with the rest of the hall. "The wittle baby is about to cry!"

"THAT'S ENOUGH!" a furious voice screamed over the loud teasing inside the Hall. "What is WRONG with you people?"

Draco turned, and felt his jaw drop open. Of all the people he thought would defend him, Hermione Granger was not one that he thought of.

But, there she stood, her bushy flyaway hair around her pretty, pale face, and her hands on her hips as she glared at the now-shameful people around the hall.

Hermione raised an eyebrow at him as the Hall went dead silent.

"You can come and sit with me, Draco." It was the first time he had ever heard her say his first name, and he could feel a soothing warmth swoop through the pit of his stomach, an alien feeling. "I won't let them hurt you."

Draco felt a single tear of thanks slip out of the corner of his eye as she extended her hand towards him, a gesture of forgiveness and friendship. All of a sudden, the Gryffindor table started to applaud, and then the Ravenclaws, and finally, the Hufflepuffs. The Slytherins sat there dumbfounded, not expecting the show of kindness that the houses could give off.

Draco carefully took Hermione's offered hand, and together, to loud cheers and whistles, they walked hand-in hand towards the Gryffindor table, and to Draco's new life.