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Understanding your Allegiance

By Mary Wickenden

Return to Hogwarts

Hermione was really looking forward to her last year at Hogwarts.

No one had been able to persuade Harry to return with her but Molly had put her foot down when it came to Ron. She wasn't going to have another son 'throw away' their education, and Ron had grudgingly told Harry he was going to keep an eye on Ginny, much to the younger girls chagrin.

Hermione had been relieved; as much as she had wanted to help Harry with the Horcrux hunt she also wanted to finish her education, and he had plenty of help from the order as it was. Plus this year the students were doing projects on any subject they liked, and she wasn't about to miss that.

She knew, as did the other members of the D.A, that the projects were so that if teachers had to rush off to fight in the war the students would have something to do. To her, it meant challenge. Pushing her own boundaries….

Looking out of the train window she smirked to herself, being head girl had been a pretty powerful lure too. But she wasn't about to tell anyone that.

"Hey Gin, have you heard from Harry recently?" Asked Neville. Hermione frowned, it had become common knowledge that Harry hadn't been writing to Ron or herself, only to Ginny and it pissed her off. She hadn't expected Harry to be totally supportive of returning to school, but he was being outright sulky about it.

"He's doing alright, he's properly settled in Godrics Hollow now, that disillusionment charm Hermione did is holding. Makes it look proper deserted, even if you manage to break the wards and wander around it!".

Hermione grinned again, and stifled the urge to roll her eyes. It wasn't just a disillusionment charm, she had adapted it herself, but she didn't expect her friends to understand the subtle differences between the two charms.

"He's still being a bit weird though, wondering if he's sleeping in his room or his parents room and stuff."

"Not much you can say to that though" added Ron, "I mean, he could be sleeping right where you-know-who did you-know-what to his parents."

"Ron!" Interjected Hermione suddenly, "That is incredibly insensitive."

"I love it when your so sweet to me Mione."

Hermione huffed and returned her gaze to the countryside whizzing past, the laughter of the others ringing in her ears. She loved Ron, or at least she was pretty sure she did, but it was difficult. She wasn't the most romantic person ever, and Ron seemed to think physical contact would be restricted to French kisses until she confessed some sort of undying love and started simpering around like Fleur did with Bill. Frustration was high on her list of irritations.

Plastering a smile onto her face, she turned back to her friends.

~

Being at Hogwarts without Harry was stranger than Hermione had anticipated. The table in the great hall was missing a familiar face, there was no one to start a conversation when she glazed over in thought, or Ron was stuffing his face. Ginny had to try instead.

"So Hermione, how are the Head Girls quarters?"

Hermione's eyes cleared as she was bought back from her reverie. "Its really nice! I mean it's a bit lonely, I'm used to have Lavenders inane chatter as a kind of white noise but I'm getting used to that. It's a bit of a pain Draco's head boy, but he stays in his room mostly, I've barely seen him in our common room."

Ron looked up sharply from his eggs and bacon, going a slightly red colour. "What's with the first name? Your not friends with that death eater Malfoy are you?"

"No Ron, its some kind of enchantment, he has to call me Hermione too. Its probably killing him not being able to call me Mudblood."

"You could do your project on it Mione, whether a Slytherin and Gryffindor can get along during a war. You'd be the case study."

Hermione was tempted as she watched Ron's face go scarlet with indignation at the thought of her being friends with a Slytherin.

"I don't think so somehow, its not exactly a proper subject is it?"

Ron disengaged immediately from the conversation and went back to his breakfast.

"Good, because I couldn't face you if I knew you were friends with that git. Only Snape could possibly be worse."

Hermione bristled at that. "Well if your affections are so dependant on my behaviour, I might just go make friends with Snape to see what will happen."

Leaving Ron spluttering and Ginny bemused Hermione swept off to the library. It was her favourite place after the room of requirement (which could become an even better library), but it was closer to the dungeons where their next lesson was.

Sitting at the desk she had come to think of us her own, Hermione took a few deep breaths. I do love Ron she thought, and boys do mature slower than girls. He'll get there.

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