I woke with a start. I was back in my dormitory and I breathed a sigh of relief. I turned the lights on with my wand and looked at the clock. It was 6:30am. I got out of bed and emptied some clothes out of my trunk. I grabbed some underwear, and laid my uniform out on my bed. I quickly showered and got dressed. Once I was done I brushed my teeth and left to wait for Neville in the common room. I sat there for ten minutes when he finally turned up at 7.28am. Two minutes before breakfast. We hurried down to the Great Hall, where Luna had reserved seats for us at what used to be the Hufflepuff house table. I was hungry and I ate quite a lot whilst we discussed our timetables, which had just been given to us. Most of our lessons were together, except those that we weren't all doing. Before Lunch we had Herbology, free, free and Potions. After lunch we had Defence Against The Dark Arts and Charms, overall not a bad day. We were just finishing our breakfast when the owls arrived with mail. I had a letter dropped into my lap. I opened it eagerly, hoping it was Ron, Harry or Ginny. I was slightly disappointed to see my mother's handwriting on the page. As much as I loved her, I missed Ron and wanted to speak to him. It had barely been a day and I was already wanting to go home. I read the letter.
We are missing you already! Good luck with your first day of lessons! Send our love to Luna and Neville, how are they? How are you settling back in? Are you sleeping okay? I know it's probably too early to be asking those questions, I just worry about you Hermione. I know you will find it difficult to go back, despite the fact that you will never admit that. We love you darling. Have a good first day!
Lots of Love, Mother.
I folded the letter and put it in my pocket, I would write a reply later. Neville and Luna had gotten letters too. Once they had both read and pocketed them we all stood and left the Great Hall, to collect our books for Herbology. We were ready to leave by 8.43am so we decided to take the long route to the greenhouses. Luna was telling us about a story her father had been working on for 'The Quibbler' when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. It was a tuft of blonde hair. I whipped my head around quickly, but saw nothing. I ignored it and carried on walking, my mind is probably playing tricks on me. I carried on listening to Luna. Eventually we made it to the greenhouses two minutes early. We waited outside until nearly the whole class had assembled and we were called in by Professor Sprout. Luna, Neville and I took three seats at the back of the room. The lesson went slowly and I couldn't concentrate, I was constantly fidgeting and Luna noticed this.
"Are you okay, Hermione?" She whispered as Professor Sprout explained the uses of fluxweed.
"Yeah, I'm fine, just bored," I whispered back.
"Hermione you're never bored," Neville chimed in, then quickly turning his attention back to the lesson.
"It's true Hermione, it's been apparent ever since we came back to school that something is bothering you," Luna whispered.
"Luna! Quiet please!" Professor Sprout called from the front of the classroom. Luna turned back to her books, as did I, although I still wasn't concentrating on them. I was glad when the lesson was over as I now had two frees in a row.
"Can we go back to the common room? I want to get my Herbology homework done while I have lots of time," Neville asked. Herbology was the only subject Neville had ever really excelled in. Luna and I nodded, and we all started walking to the castle. "I'm not looking forward to potions," Neville muttered. Neville was never looking forward to Potions, especially with Slughorn teaching. He was a nice enough man, but he had no time for those who weren't gifted and talented. When we finally arrived at the common room it was completely empty. I sat on the sofa and started writing a letter to my parents.
Dear Mum and Dad,
My first day is going okay so far, I have just had Herbology and I now have two frees. After that I have Potions and after lunch I have Charms and Defence against the Dark Arts. I'm settling in just fine. They've given Luna, Neville and I dormitories all to ourselves! Apparently it was a reward for last summer. Also, the three of us have been put into nearly all our classes together thank goodness! Hope all is well with you both.
Love From, Hermione.
I put the letter in my bag and started writing another one, this time to Ron.
I hope all is well. I am already missing you a lot and it's weird being back. Luna, Neville and I have nearly all of our lessons together and we've been given a dormitory each as a reward for last summer! They're trying to mix the houses up more, probably to alleviate the hatred towards Slytherin that's floating around at the moment. How are things with you? Send Harry and Ginny and the rest of your family my love! Missing you all.
Love From, Hermione.
When writing this letter to Ron I wasn't sure what to say. I wrote and rewrote the letter until I finally chose not to tell him of my sleepless night.
"Hermione? Luna and I have to go to Care of Magical creatures now," Neville told me. I waved as they left for their next lesson. I had another free to go until Potions so I decided to write one final letter to Harry.
How is everyone? How is Ron? I know I've only been gone a day but I already feel like I've been gone an eternity! I barely slept last night and I swear my mind was playing tricks on me earlier. I cannot wait to come home for Christmas, being without you guys is so weird! Send Ginny my love, tell her Luna and I are both missing her greatly! Hope all is well. Please write back soon otherwise I might just go crazy.
Love From, Hermione.
I put the three letters in my bag and walked to the bell tower, where I attached the letters to Harry and Ron to the leg of Tonks, my new owl. I attached the one to my parents to the leg of Falen, Luna's owl. Neville, Luna and I had agreed in the summer, when we decided we were coming back, that we would all get new owls. We knew this year would be harder than any other so we agreed to share the owls if we needed multiple letters sending. I slowly walked down the stairs from the bell tower and went back to the common room to collect my Potions books. I shoved them into my bag and left slowly, knowing I had plenty of time to get there. I walked to the dungeons looking at the talking and moving paintings. These were one of my favourite parts of Hogwarts. I reached the dungeons and was approaching the Slytherin common room when someone left it. He looked straight at me and ran. It was Draco. I ran after him.
"Draco! What are you doing here?" I called after him. I pulled my wand out. "Impedimenta!" I shouted. He tripped forward onto his face and I caught up with him. "What are you doing here?" I muttered, gasping for air.
"I was speaking to McGonagall," he told me. He got up and looked at his feet.
"What? Why would she- After everything you- Why would she want to talk to you?" I stuttered.
"Leave it Granger!" He shouted. He started walking away.
"No! After everything you took part in last year the least I deserve is for you to talk to me!" I jumped in front of him.
"Hermione..." he started.
"Calling me by my real name now?" I asked sarcastically.
"I'm sorry..." he muttered.
"You're sorry? You stood by and watched as your Aunt tortured me! You let Fred die! You are part of the reason Teddy is an orphan and you still dare to show your face here again!" I shrieked. Malfoy pushed past me, not replying to me. I let him go, I didn't want to see his face. I breathed heavily taking in what had just happened. It was then that I chose not to go to Potions and instead made my way to McGonagall's office. I was coming up the stairs from the dungeons when I saw Luna and Neville on their way to Potions.
"Hermione, where are you going?" Luna asked.
"Draco's here, I need to talk to McGonagall," I replied.
"What? Hermione, you don't need to worry. Please just come to Potions with us. Don't let him distract you from your studies, he's taken enough from you already," Neville pleaded. I was too angry to even care about what he was saying.
"After everything he's done how can you say that I don't need to worry?" I half-shouted. "He got off! He should be in Azkaban!"
"Miss Granger, is there a problem?" Professor Slughorn was coming down the stairs, presumably on his way to a lesson. He wasn't teaching us this year which I would be eternally grateful for.
"Yes, Professor. Actually there is." I stated, pulling myself together slightly. "I would like to know what the hell Draco Malfoy is doing here?" I rarely used bad language but these were exceptional circumstances. Slughorn looked at his feet. "You obviously know what's going on so would you care to explain?" I insisted.
"He's been...getting some lessons...so he can pass his NEWTs," Professor Slughorn muttered, staring at the floor.
"Are you kidding me?" I asked. He said nothing. "He is a murderer!" I started walking to the common room. No one tried to follow me or convince me to go to my lesson. Before I knew it tears were falling down my face.