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Mental Match

By Zalini

Drama / Romance

Chapter 1: School Project

Summary:

Hermione returns to Hogwarts to teach and assist in a special school project four years after the second Wizard war. She meets a unique person and discovers that other prejudice exist among the normal wizard world. Can she overcome her own prejudices and make a match out of it? A multi chapter AU love story.

Mental Match

Chapter 1 - School Project

Hermione Granger opened her eyes to the morning light and instantly knew that she was late for her first day of the school term. Sitting up with a start and looking at the clock next to her bed, she swore to herself before jumping out of her bed and rushing into the adjoining bathroom. She registered her infrequent silent swear and put it down to the less than wonderful weekend that she had come through at her parents' house. Standing under the hot shower she hoped to herself that the day would get better even though deep down she suspected otherwise. She was late already for her first appointment with the renowned Professor Sherrard with whom she had been assigned to assist and coordinate the special task of completing the repair to her beloved Hogwarts.

It was four long years after the second Wizard War and the hasty and somewhat haphazard repairs undertaken by scores of wizards and witches to the badly destroyed school during the three months right after the glorious victory was beginning to show. The school had opened for the new year after the war and Hermione for one was afforded the chance to complete her seventh year and sit her N.E.W.T.s. However, after the third year it had become apparent that some serious work would have to be done to permanently fix the hurried repairs. The school buildings has begun to slowly show various signs of failure as some of the magical charms began to weaken and fail. Parts of walls and roofs would suddenly come tumbling down endangering the students and cracks and gaps of varying degrees would appear overnight causing alarm to all especially the headmistress who clamoured for something to be done.

The services of Professor Alexander Sherrard had finally been procured to commence proper magical restoration of the school. However the project had been delayed in starting due to frustrating bureaucratic paper work in the Ministry resulting in the school term starting in the midst of the project. Sherrard was a world famous wizard specializing in the restoration of ancient magical buildings and had consented to work on the project with his assistants. He had been seriously injured during the war and had not been able to assist with the repairs then but had made room in his busy schedule to work on one of the most ancient and magical buildings in the wizard world.

Hermione was naturally apprehensive as she dressed hurriedly in the room assigned to her as a teacher and special assistant to Professor Minerva McGonagall. She would be just 23 years old in a few weeks and she knew the large responsibility and trust that the Headmistress had placed in her. It was not only her first day as the new Transfiguration Teacher to the first and second year students but her first day on the special school project. She had settled in a week before the term began and had accomplished a lot with the Headmistress going over class schedules, student matters and teacher assignments. She was ready for her new lease on life as a member of the staff of Hogwarts. She sighed aloud as she glanced at her hair which had suddenly decided to be in an uncontrollable mood this morning. Looking at her watch on her small wrist, she made a quick decision to forego any serious attempt to further tame her bushy worry and hurried out the door.

She knew that the weekend would end bad when she reluctantly agreed to spend it with her muggle parents. It always ended that way it seemed lately. It was mainly her guilt at not seeing them as often as she should that had led her to convince herself that things would be different this time. She was truly glad that her parents has settled back down after their memories and their life had been restored but recently it was getting most uncomfortable dealing with her parents. They had invited her to go out to dinner with them to celebrate her upcoming birthday so she relented and resolved to spend her last weekend at her first home before school began.

All was well until the dinner meal ended at the fancy restaurant her parents had picked. Then it started over dessert.

"So, have you met any nice boys lately?" her mother began. "I can't believe you were working three years at your Magic Ministry and didn't meet a proper boy. And how is Harry by the way? Is he still single?"

Hermione inwardly scowled and deliberately took another bite out of her caramel flan to keep her mouth in check. Her Mom kept waiting for a reply.

"No Mom, I haven't met anyone. I told you my work at the Ministry kept me busy and now I am starting school as a teacher I certainly do not intent to waste my time looking for any proper boys." she quipped sharply.

"And before you go down that road again about Harry, yes he is still single and no we are not romantically involved and will never be. He happens to be my best friend who I went through the war with and that's all. I wish you would leave it alone Mom." she stated strongly hoping her Mom would let off.

"I didn't say anything like that Hermione. What about that boy you dated in your seventh year? What's his name...Dickinson...yes. Didn't you say he was also teaching at your school? Have you seen him recently?" her Mom looked hopeful as she inquired innocently. She really was subtle as a hammer Hermione had to give her

"Yes he is there but I haven't had the time to socialize Mom. I have to prepare for the school year and before you forget I broke it off with him for a reason." she replied tiredly.

In truth she had met and spoken to Dickinson during the week. He was teaching Astronomy and had been scheduled to take over some of Professor Binns classes in the History of Magic. He was still the polite proper upright boy...or man she met in her last year. He seemed to have all the traits she felt was needed in someone she could date and for a while she had been together with him but he had a jealous and controlling streak that finally got to her. For some reason she had also become bored with him and she could never fathom why, as he seemed to possess all the other attributes that she always gathered were attractive to her. Her father's voice broke her out of her thoughts.

"Leave her alone dear. You know how it get her. Let's just enjoy our meal and talk about other things shall we?" he said sounding a bit annoyed with her mom.

"So what is this special project you are up to? and do you think that teaching is what you really want after spending three years working at the Ministry?" he asked genuinely.

Hermione was more than happy to steer away from her personal life. Bless her father.

"Well I actually haven't taught a class as yet so I have to get back to you on that dad but I am sure I will enjoy it. To what degree I cannot say but I hope it will be satisfying. As for the school project, I will be helping a really gifted wizard who has been hired by the Ministry to properly fix the school buildings which are becoming a bit...let's say...undone. He specializes in reconstruction and protection charms for ancient magical buildings. He actually taught Charms years ago in Hoqwarts before leaving on a separate career. It will be an honour to work with him." she rambled on gratefully.

"Well I am sure with you there the reconstruction will be completed to the proper standard this time." her father said proudly. "Do you think you will miss your work?" he asked.

"I needed a change dad and I am grateful to Professor McGonagall to offer me this position at this time." Hermione deliberately kept her answer short.

She has worked tirelessly in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures for almost two years before becoming frustrated in her efforts to change centuries of accepted laws and attitudes. She had done some good but her failures sapped her energy and she finally transferred to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement to try and change things from the top. She had however ended up on various cases dealing with all types of terrible and horrible crimes and she soon lost her taste for it. She was able to see Harry a lot more during the last year as he was now a full Auror working in her department.

She had also met Scott Anson there that year. He was another Auror working with Harry and they had also dated seriously for a while. He was handsome, charming and serious about his job and she was lonely and in need of some support. However, he also suffered from that male turn off... Jealousy and control...which had actually caused her to end it after a nasty fist fight between a jealous Scott and Harry.

She knew and had come to actually accept the fact that everyone expected her to have a relationship other than friendship with Harry. They had hooked up in first year and were virtually inseparable throughout their school years with the two experiencing all their encounters with the dark wizard together. They had eventually joined with the DA to finally defeat him but it was always the two of them at the front. To be truthful she had at first expected it too. It would have been natural and...eventual. Harry was after all the chosen one and he was the best person she had ever met...but it never happened. Towards the end of her second year, she realised that her strong feeling for Harry only took on the meaning of brotherly love and strangely enough it seemed to be reciprocated with him.

She often wondered if she could ever find someone as good as Harry who she could be attracted to in a ...different way. It did not seem likely and she accepted the fact that her two brief stints at dating would constitute her love life for a while. She was serious about her new job and she had not lied to her parents that she would have no time for socializing.

"Well I hope you enjoy your year at school. You always did. And I hope you have a wonderful day on your birthday Hermione." she was again roused by her father's voice.

"Thank you Mom and Dad for the dinner and for everything else." she gushed happily.

Her moment of happiness lasted all of two seconds as her Mom continued.

"Oh and Hermione we have invited some of our friends over tomorrow for dinner and we really want you to be there to meet them please. We won't be seeing you for a while and it would mean a lot to us if we could spend it together with some friends ok " she said sweetly.

Hermione knew at once where this was leading but was trapped. Needless to say she had suffered through a tiresome dinner party with her Mom playing matchmaker with not one but two muggle men who she had apparently handpicked to show her off to. It was not that they were unattractive or unpleasant but she always felt somewhat disconnected on an emotional level with muggle men since leaving on the train at age eleven to go to a magical school where she would spend the next seven years in the company of wizards and witches.

Mrs. Granger never figured that out however and by the end of the night she was physically and mentally exhausted and pleaded an early school day to excuse herself back to her quiet room at Hoqwarts. No wonder she had slept late and no wonder she was in such a foul mood.


Hermione walked quickly through the corridors trying to lighten her mood when she suddenly ran into a safety tape barrier strung across the end of the corridor blocking her path to her office. Startled somewhat, she looked around and saw that the tape extended along another adjoining corridor which led out to the courtyard. She knew her day would only get worse and her head clouded over quickly again.

She easily ducked under the barrier tape and proceed along the next corridor where she could make out two men talking to each other with their wands held at their sides. She was so caught up in her anger that she did not even stop to consider if they were dangerous.

"Who is responsible for this may I ask!" she literally shouted at the first man she approached. They appeared to be in their mid forties and wore hardhats like the kind she saw on muggle construction sites. The man sputtered a bit but she carried on before a word could register.

"Who gave you the authority to block off the corridors! I would like to know now!" she tried to contain herself but still sounded shrill.

The two men now looked a bit scared and instead of saying anything that might set her off again, they both pointed with their wands to the open courtyard behind them.

Hermione glanced over their shoulders and noticed a third man also wearing a hardhat hunched over a makeshift table looking down at some parchments spread all over in disarray. She marched past the two men before her and quickly crossed over into the courtyard and approached the man at the table.

"Who gave you the authority to block off these corridors!" she asked again as her voice echoed over the courtyard.

"You will be disrupting classes today and that is unacceptable! I do not know what you were thinking but you will have to rethink this in a hurry!" she raised her voice this time.

She was about to shout another question at him when the man slowly took off his hat revealing a copper red set of unruly long hair. He passed his fingers of one hand through them as he looked up and stared directly at her.

Hermione Granger looked into the deepest blue set of eyes she had ever know to exist and all coherent thought flew out of her head.

xxx

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