I was left to my own devices
Many days fell away with nothing to show
And the walls kept tumbling down in the city that we loved
Grey clouds rolled over the hills, bringing darkness from above
But if you close your eyes
Does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?
How am I going to be an optimist about this?
"Professor I am begging you to reconsider," Hermione pleaded with McGonagall later that night in her office. Professor McGonagall started sternly at Hermione over the rim of her glasses. Draco Malfoy was also present, dressed in his teaching robes. He looked a lot better than the last time Hermione saw him, he was less skinny and a little colour had returned to his cheeks. His hair was slicked back in its usual style and his signature smirk was present on his lips. He seemed to be enjoying this. Hermione's mouth fell open in shock when McGonagall announced that Malfoy would be taking over Slytherin House and that he was going to be teaching DADA. She did not think it was wise to let an ex Death Eater/convict teach children.
"There is nothing to reconsider Professor Granger, Professor Malfoy was by far the best choice for the position," McGonagall said as she looked between the two of them. She had seen many years here at Hogwarts and she had seen numerous professors come and go, especially Dark Arts professors. Even after Voldemort's death people were afraid to take on the position, the war had left deep wounds on people and on Hogwarts. She knew that if she didn't act soon that Slytherin House would cease to exist and DADA would become a taboo subject. "I don't have to explain to you the importance of teaching children Defence Against the Dark Arts, do I?"
Hermione sighed, she of all people knew how important that subject was, without it they probably would have lost the war. If it wasn't for Harry who taught them she didn't know where she would be. She had no doubt that Malfoy knew his stuff, but maybe he knew a little too much. "Professor..." Hermione shot Malfoy a look, unsure of how to phrase her response. Malfoy just smirked at her, giving her a knowing look before turning to McGonagall.
"I think what Professor Granger is trying to say is; should an ex Death Eater be allowed to teach children? And should he be allowed to go near the Dark Arts?" His voice had changed too, the familiar drawl was back and he spoke with a little more feeling now. There was actually something behind his words other than pain.
Hermione blinked, shocked that he would put it so bluntly. "I wasn't going to say it in so many words, but that's the gist of it," she said, turning back to McGonagall. She could feel Malfoy's icy gaze on her back and she tried to shake it off. "Surely the parents must have concerns?"
"I will deal with the parents if and when there are concerns. Professor Malfoy has more than proven himself to me and last time I checked I was the Headmistress," McGonagall said, indicating that the conversation was over. She looked between the two of them again, she might be old but she wasn't oblivious to the tension between them. She knew they had a rough past, both of them emerged with scars from the war and both of them were trying to heal. Hermione wasn't giving Draco enough room to make up for what he did in the past, even though his intensions were good, the outcome was still bad. Hermione didn't understand Draco's choices and McGonagall feared that she never will, but it was time to let go and grow up. People change and she sincerely hoped that both of these young people before her would change for the better.
"Professor Granger, I urge you to give Professor Malfoy a chance. He has paid his debts these last ten years, give him a chance."
"Professor I…" Hermione trailed off, struggling to find the right words again.
"Professor Granger is afraid that I'll revert back to my old ways," Malfoy spoke up again, this time moving to stand next to Hermione. Hermione tensed, her breath catching in her throat. Could he read her mind now? She turned to face him, finding his dark grey eyes staring at her. "I can assure you Granger, that I am not about to return to my old ways." Malfoy lifted up the sleeve of his left arm, showing her the place where his Dark Mark had once been. Now there was a scar much like hers, cutting deep into his skin, branding him. 'Traitor.'
Hermione blinked, it felt like he had just punched her in the stomach. How was it possible? Where did he get it and who gave it to him? What had he done that branded him a traitor? Before she could ask him about it he pulled his sleeve back down. Hermione's gaze met his again and she swallowed as she saw the ghosts dancing behind his grey eyes, haunting them both.
"Now if you'll excuse me, I have classes to prepare for." And with that he left, leaving a stunned Malfoy behind. Hermione sank into one of the chairs on the other end of McGonagall's desk, running a hand through her curls.
"Professor, I'm not sure I can work with him being here."
"That is utter nonsense and you know it Hermione Granger."
Hermione's fingers lightly traced her scar, remembering how Malfoy just stood there, watching. McGonagall caught her rubbing her arm and she sighed.
"Since when do you let that mark defy you? You may be muggle-born child, but you are a witch, the brightest one of your time, might I add. You once wore your status proudly, you shoved it into every Pureblood's face when they tried to take you on because you knew you were just as good as they were. I know you've been through a lot, but you have to learn from the past and become stronger, not weaker."
Hermione looked up at the old woman sitting opposite her.
"How did you know about the mark?" She told very few people, only Ron and Harry knew about it. McGonagall gave her a warm smile, sitting back in her chair.
"An old woman has her tricks. You are not the first one to be marked like that. Lily Potter had the same one, back then the Death Eaters were branding people left and right." Hermione was receiving shock after shock tonight, not only did she find out that Malfoy had the same mark, but Harry's mother as well. Lily Potter was one of the bravest women she had ever known, if Lily could do it, why couldn't she?
"Thank you Professor."
"Don't thank me, promise me you'll give Malfoy a chance?"
Hermione nodded slowly, she would be brave again, and she would try to give him a chance.
Hemione was not having the best night. After her talk with McGonagall she had to make sure the new first years had settled into their dorms and she had to brief the new Gryffindor prefects on their duties. It had turned into a very long night and she wanted nothing more but to fall into her cosy bed and close her eyes. She didn't even want to think about the Draco Malfoy situation. Hermione pushed open the door to her office, which was adjecent the Charms classroom. The Professors each had a small bedroom at the back of their office, Hermione's was nice and cozy and a little bigger because she was Head of Gryffinor. It had it's own little living room, decorated in gold and red,and it's own bathroom. Her office was dark except for the four beams of moonlight that shone through the windws. The last beam of moonlight sone directly on her desk and Hermione caught view of a dark figure standing there. Her wand slid out of her robe, but before she could even utter the words 'stupify' the figure turned, revealing his familiar platinum bonde hair.
"Malfoy," Hermione breathed a sigh of relief, lowering her wand. It took a moment for that fact that he was waiting in her dark office to sink in and she slowly lifted her wand again. "What do you want?"
Malfoy eyed her warily, pulling his wand out and whispering 'lumos.' The bright ball of light settled in the middle of the room, illuminating the office. "Easy with that wand Granger." He slipped his wand back into his pocket, indicating that he wasn't going to use it on her. Hermione slowly lowered her wand, not moving an inch. She wanted as much space as possible beween them.
"What do you want?" She asked him again. He smirked, clearly enjoying her discomfort. He picked up the black feather that was laying on her desk, examining it with great interest.
"I came to talk," he simply said, turning the feather over in his hands.
"As far as I'm concerned we have nothing to talk about," Hermione said, keeping her wand by her side. She promised to give him a chance, but she didn't promise that she would trust him.
"You know that's not true, Hermione." The way he said her name made her blood run cold. There was a sinister undertone in his smooth drawl that made her skin crawl. He saw the raction he was getting and he pushed off the desk, crossing the room and coming to a stop right in front of Hermione. Her eyes darted toward the door, looking for an escape route, but he blocke her path. She looked up at him, her brown eyes staring into his haunted grey ones. It took her a few seconds t get her voice back.
"What do we have to talk about, Draco?" She was surprised that she sounded so calm when she was panicking inside. He was so close she could smell his minty aftershave. It smelled good.
"A lot of things, Hermione," he smirked, runnig the tip of the feather over her cheek. Hermione's breath caught in her throat and she shivered at the touch of the feather. He leaned closer to her, his lips by her ear. She was petrified, she couldn't move. He mind yelled at her body to rwact, but she couldn't. He had some kind of power over her and she wasn't strong enough to oversome it. "All in due time," he whispered in her ear before he was gone, leaving Hermione alone in her office.
When she finally got her breath back she was furious. How dare he come into her office like that and put on that kind of show? What game was he playing? Hermione pushed her hair out of her face, making her way into her room and shutting the door behind her, locking it just as a precaution. She had no idea what Draco Malfoy had planned for her, but she was not about to get herself into that position again. She would lock her office from now on and she would make sure she was never alone in a room with him. She was not about to give him the satisfaction of having some sort of hold over her, she was stronger than that.
Draco Malfoy was seriously underestimating Hermione Granger.