When Hermione returned to Hogwarts after Voldemort’s defeat, she’d felt strangely lonely without Harry and Ron. Aurors had been scarce, and the Death Eaters needed to be rounded up as quickly as possible. Suddenly, the Magical Law Enforcement Office was willing to take all the help they could get. Dutiful as ever, the duo had jumped at the chance and had both gained full Auror status by the end of Summer. So while they followed their paths of bravery and recklessness, Hermione chose to stick with what she loved best-books and cleverness.
She had been certain that Hogwarts would not be the same without her best friends by her side. However, when the notorious blood purist and ex-Death Eater, Draco Malfoy, had been unnervingly polite and friendly to her, she struck up a quick and easy friendship with him. She was surprised to find that the boy could actually smile and laugh like a normal person.
That had lasted all of one week. In her mind, she often referred to it as the ′Week of Insanity.′
He’d approached her in the Library after the first day of the term and given her a scroll with a list of things he wanted to apologise to her for.
The parchment had been over three feet long, and while the first few things on the list were actually worth apologising for, like ′for calling you a M*dbl**d,′ (yes, he’d actually used the asterisks) and ‘for standing by and doing nothing when my favourite aunt tortured you,’ the later ones were quite humorous, like ‘for being devilishly handsome,’ ‘for being so sexy,’ and ‘for making you want me.’
She’d asked him about it in the Library the next day, and he’d blushed a deep red.
‘You read the whole thing?’ he’d asked, scratching the back of his head self-consciously. ’I just wanted to make the list seem long. Didn’t think you’d actually sit and read it all.′
They’d worked on Snape’s first Potions essay of the term together. When Malfoy’s turned out to be a few inches too short, he had whispered to her to ‘Learn from the Master,’ and scrawled neatly into the extra space -
‘Professor Snape is a Sex God, with an amazing body and seductively black hair. All Slytherin boys secretly admire his devilishly handsome style. I want to be just like him someday. He’s got swagger.’
This effectively covered the remainder of the page. Satisfied, Malfoy had rolled up the parchment and smirked at Hermione’s incredulous expression.
‘He’ll fail you for that!’ She’d exclaimed.
He’d merely winked and sauntered off.
Two days later, he’d passed her his graded essay after Potions class, smugness radiating off him in waves. While her essay, which she’d meticulously researched, and was a whole six inches longer than required, had received only an ‘E,’ Malfoy had a large ‘O’ and a ‘Well written, keep up the good work!’ on his. She’d muttered indignantly about the unfairness of it all the way to the Great Hall, with him chuckling softly by her side.
‘Even Professor Slughorn wasn’t this biased!’ she’d exclaimed, only to have him eye her with a raised brow mockingly in response, his lips curved into an amused smile. Not a smirk-a real, honest-to-god smile. She’d blinked at his face in shock for at least a minute afterward, her mind going blank.
Thankfully, he hadn’t appeared to have noticed.
’It’s Voldemort, not The Dark Lord,′ she’d chided him, cutting him off halfway through a discussion of the War.
‘What?’ he’d asked, trying to cover up his flinch, eyes wide.
‘It’s the name he chose for himself, isn’t it?’ she’d shrugged back. ‘Makes sense to use it.’
‘Only you, Granger,’ he’d declared, shaking his head. ’I would’ve loved to see the look on the Dark Lo-Voldemort’s face if you’d told him that.′
Hermione had just grinned at him approvingly. ‘I guess we’ll never know.’
The weekend passed with no sign of him. It was as if he’d disappeared from the castle altogether.
On Monday, she’d found him sitting at his usual table in the Library and sat down across from him with a smile. He’d sneered at her and stalked away, muttering under his breath about ‘Mudblood filth.’ Angry, she’d followed him behind the shelves, only to have him point his wand at her neck and tell her in no uncertain terms to ‘stay the fuck away from him and all the other Slytherins’ and to ‘stop tainting her superiors with her unholy company.’
She’d been shocked at his sudden hostility, and more than a little hurt, but she’d avoided him like the plague since then. Her job was made easier by the fact that he seemed to be avoiding her, too.
She simply couldn’t understand the way the Slytherin boy’s mind worked.
Eventually, she’d concluded that he may have been pranking her, or been pranked himself. Hell, maybe it was a dare to get along with the know-it-all Mudblood bitch for a week. Knowing Malfoy, the latter was probably the most likely explanation.
So she’d pushed that week to the corner of her mind and fallen back into the old pattern-ignoring most of the snide comments, and retaliating whenever the opportunity presented itself. Life was back to normal, but she’d never felt more alone.