Returning to Hogwarts

BY : TheSlytherinPhoenix
Category: Harry Potter > Het - Male/Female > Harry/Hermione
Dragon prints: 36045

          It had been years, five years to be exact, since she had been here. Five years since Voldemort was defeated. The time had gone by so quickly, she felt like she had blinked and it was all gone. The years at the Ministry of Magic, the time spent with Ronald; though that had not gone as planned either, in truth Hermione had felt so very lost after the war ended- after everything was normal again. She had gone on to finish her seventh year, even though few others had, she was very dedicated to her education and had somehow managed to fit a years worth of schooling into the months that had been left in the school year at Hogwarts after the final battle, she had even helped in repairing the school when she wasn’t buried in her books. Ron had thought she was mental for returning to school, but knowing what she did now she was quite pleased that she had done it. If she hadn’t she would not be walking through the doors she had once watched seal out so many before. 
          McGonagall had pulled her aside once she had completed her schooling and told her that she was always welcome at Hogwarts, and if she ever needed a job that one would always be there for her. After her fall out with the Ministry, a mere disagreement about choice topics mainly being the classification of magical creatures such as house elves, centaurs, giants and other magical beings to be treated as equally with rights as Witches and Wizards were, had ended badly she chose to leave their employment. She had spent a great deal of time on getting them their rights only to have them torn away by a new Minister of a rather Purer blood status; she had hated him more than Bellatrix Lestrange that day and that said something for her. It was her sign to leave, and now she was here. The only place that felt like home after the loss of her job, the man she thought she would marry but never did, and the crushing weight of being too late in finding her parents after the war; they had died in a car crash in Australia not long after she had made sure they were relocated without the memory of her. 
          When she had sent an owl to Minerva, expressing what had happened, and had been met by an apparating woman appearing in her living room that was so familiar to her that she had embraced her as an old friend and mentor combined. It had been a lovely evening that ended with her being granted a position at Hogwarts. Hermione Granger was now the head of the Library, her sanctuary no matter the location, and was also given privileges to stand in for teachers if they needed a day to handle personal matters. Minerva had warned her she might have to teach a few Defense Against the Dark Arts classes if they could not find a suitable Professor for the subject. Now she was here, and life would somehow be normal again. A small ache throbbed in her chest, a moment of nostalgia as she could almost hear Harry’s laughter, Ronald’s whining, Luna’s carefree voice going on about nargles, even Neville’s mumbling about a new exotic plant he learned about filled her soul with warmth and longing. She had lost touch with almost everyone after her and Ron had decided they were better friends and she realized her never got over Lavendar Brown, though she still received owls from Luna-who married Neville- and Harry.
          The halls were quiet, the bustle of students having not yet filled the old school. Of course Hermione had arrived a few days early, having always been one to make sure she had a plan and everything was in order. She wanted to be settled in, get reacquainted with the library and halls, and her mind shivered at the changing stairs she would have to watch carefully; she truly hated those things. In the letters and talks with McGonagall she had been told where to find her room and had been excited to find out it was actually hidden in the library itself. Among all the paintings, shelves of books, hidden corners with tapestries and more was a single painting that led to her room. She had been told to go through the restricted section, turn right and then make a left, she found the painting exactly there and what was there gave her chills. It was a painting of herself, quietly sorting books in the restricted section. After the initial shock of it wore off the painted her spoke. “Choose your password.”
          Hermione thought for a moment, so many things skipped around her mind. She wanted to make it something that no one would guess or would think she would ever use. She was famous for many reasons which meant if she used something predictable anyone could come in. She stood there, being watched by herself, and pondered this and when nothing came to her that seemed right she started to look at the books around her to try and still her mind so the right password would find it’s way to her lips. “Nargles.” Her portrait frowned at her, looking as if she was going to correct the real her but she held a hand up to stop her painted mouth from speaking. “That is why it is the perfect password.” The portrait frowned for a moment longer before smiling and nodding in agreement. The painting swung open and she stepped through, all of her belongings already having been taken to her room by house elves, which she had made sure to ask if they were compensated and treated fairly, she even went as far as to ask them to only do basic cleaning because she could clean up after herself. 
          The room was spacious and looked like a common room in one of the house dormitories. Though hers was slightly smaller it had a long couch that was dark gray with red and blue pillows scattered on it, a low coffee table that stretched the length of the couch but had a stained glass center. When she ventured closer to it she saw that it was a moon that matched the cycle of the actual moon; she assumed it was a spell to make it change along with it, the stained glass was stunning and she knew it would be something she enjoyed reading near. The fireplace had a roaring fire already and the rugs thrown about the floor varied in shades of all the houses in Hogwarts and a stair case led up to her room where she had a four poster bed with her house colors for the sheets and quilts. The deep scarlet of the  comforter made the golden sheets all the more vibrant and made her smile with the memories she had from her years here. Her trunk was tucked in the closet, her clothes already put away as well as her personal books and items placed about the end tables, drawers, and shelves. A smaller fireplace lit the room with a dull glow and she almost fell into bed, but went back down the stairs before the urge could consume her. 
          She spent the next two days wandering the library, making sure she knew the sections, drawing herself a small map to have in her pocket until she had it all memorized, as well as making sure to catalog the entire restricted section since she couldn’t find a log for it anywhere and she was not going to have anyone getting ideas such as Harry had when he used his father’s cloak to attempt and steal a book from this very place; that took an entire evening, even with magic. She had also gone over the Defense Against the Dark Arts first few lessons since as far as she had heard they hadn’t found a professor for it yet and classes started the following morning. A few hours later she was nibbling the sandwiches she had gone into the kitchen to make herself; she had refused when the house elves offered to bring her something for dinner as she finished the final lesson plan for Seventh years first day back. That would be the first class she got, since the younger years started off in different classes according to their schedules this year. It made sense to her since this would be their final year before going out into the wizarding community and it was prudent to guarantee they were prepared for anything even though the great wizarding war had been won the promise of peace could always be broken and McGonagall knew that so she made sure to change the way the classes had all been taught. This made Hermione happy and hopeful that the Professor they would need to find would be successful as so many others had failed to be, though she did hope they found someone quickly because she wanted to focus on helping the students with everything, not just one subject- even if she knew that particular topic very well. 
          The morning of the students arrival seemed to make the castle come alive in a way that called back nostalgia; everything seemed to have a glow, as if it had been dormant and waiting for life to be pushed back into it by the souls who would inhabit the place. She made a mental note to research some of the magic used in the construction of the castle itself because she couldn’t stop the feeling that the more people arrived the more energetic the castle itself became. It felt like home to her, every bit of it- even the cursed staircases that started moving that morning. When she had asked Professor Slughorn about it over breakfast he had told her that during the students school year the stairs had to change for classes, but during the time where only teachers remained they settled themselves in the proper places for the normal routines of the staff. It was absolutely brilliant! It was sometime between then and lunch that Professor McGonagall asked her to come join her for tea, now Hermione knew this meant the older woman wanted to talk and politely agreed to accompany her. They reached the hidden staircase that led to the head masters office, lounge and bedroom, Minerva spoke to the statue clearly “Dileas” Hermione smiled at the Gaelic word for loyalty, remembering when Umbridge had claimed Minerva didn’t have any. McGonagall stepped forward as the spiral staircase began to spin up from the ground where the statue had been, “Whenever someone says the password, if the statue finds their intentions to be anything but it doesn’t allow passage.” The older woman seemed rather child like in her moment of glee at her brilliance, “We have taken great measures to increase the security for our students since the final battle.” 
          “It truly is magnificent Head Mistress.” Hermione was asked, once again, to call her Minerva since she wasn’t a student anymore. “Minerva. Thank you for the tea, what is it you wished to speak with me about?” the younger woman smiled, her brown unruly hair pulled back and into a messy bun that let lose a few stray curls. 
          “Astute as ever Hermione.” She watched the young woman blush ever so slightly at the compliment. “We managed to find a Professor for The Dark Arts, but he will not be able to arrive until tomorrow evening. I will need you to step in for first lessons with the students tomorrow. You will be instructing the seventh years in the morning, sixth years just before lunch, followed by the fifth and fourth year students towards the end of the day. Hopefully the first years get to meet their Professor on their first lessons, but if he is delayed you might have to do the other years lessons the following day. He has promised to send an owl if he is delayed further.” There was a knock on the door before Hermione could ask who the professor was since the Headmistress had avoided saying their name, Filch came in a moment after knocking with his arms full of scrolls as his beloved cat leisurely walked beside him. 
          With her library still not being exactly as she wanted it she decided to excuse herself after assuring Minerva she would fill in for the first lessons. When she got to the library she cringed, though if she were being honest it was already loads better than it had been upon her arrival. House elves were already scattered around the large room doing the small list of things she had given Minerva after her initial inspection of the place. 
          Evening fell, children began to come in by the years they were in so that the seventh years were near the end of the table closest to the doors while the soon to be sorted first years waited in a trembling silence. She remembered her sorting and smiled as one by one they were placed in one of the four houses, and she admitted to only herself that she clapped slightly more for every Gryffindor. After the sorting hat was taken away McGonagall went over the rules and what was to be expected for both returning and new students, she also made a brief introduction of the entire staff seated at the long table at the head of the hall so that way the newcomers would at least know who they were meeting in each class. When her own name had been presented as the new Librarian and On Call teacher the great hall lowered a few octaves in noise as students moved to see her, making her blush, though seventh and sixth year students had been present during the battle the classes were obviously missing a portion of their students and she assumed it was due to the battle itself they had all fought in. 
          The feast ended and the students all made their ways to their common rooms, the shouts of prefects directing first years lingered in the hallways. A soft giggle left Hermione’s lips, she had perhaps taken one too many glasses of wine at dinner as she chatted with Hagrid happily. She tripped over her foot, scolding it somewhat under her breath, as she reached her painting. She giggled once more when she saw the disapproving glare she was giving herself, “So that is what the boys saw all the time when they didn’t do their studies.” She hiccuped and shook her head with laughter, “Nargles” she let out in a slight sing songy voice, seeing her painting roll its eyes as it swung open. This would have been a perfect night, if it weren’t for the nightmares. She had been blissfully floating in darkness in her sleep when cackling laughter made her peaceful slumber turn to a mixture of cold sweat and sleeping tears. Bellatrix was on her, she was screaming, the world was narrowed down to that moment only this time no one came for her- no Ron, no Dobby, no Harry. She was a bloody mess on the floor by the time the black haired witch was done with her and it was as she screamed “Filthy Mudblood!” with a dagger being plunged at her face that she had rolled out of her bed all wound up in her blankets. Tears stained her cheeks, fresh ones rolling down, as she fought to breathe and remember she wasn’t in the Malfoy Mansion and Bellatrix was still dead and decide she wasn’t going back to sleep. 
          Due to being up before the sun she was ready for her first day standing in as the Dark Arts Professor. She could hear the students filing in one by one and taking seats, she had decided to wear something that seemed friendly and fitting for her. She wanted to be approachable-unlike so many of the previous professors for the subject. A long skirt flowed down to the floor, and though it was a basic black the over sized scarlet red sweater seemed to make the dark of it come alive like a shadow, the sleeves were pushed up to just below her elbows while the neck of it dipped low to show the grey shirt beneath it. She looked casual, and almost like a muggle would if they were walking through a coffee shop or bookstore; it fit her actual job as Librarian but as a Defense and Dark Arts Professor she looked harmless. Her hair had been pulled back loosely into a thick braid stretched down to just below her ribs while a few stray strands fell around her face, she didn’t wear any makeup though the soft click of heels could be heard below her skirt- years of wearing them at the Ministry made it habit. She heard a few whispers as she took note that it was the Slytherin and Ravenclaw class settling at their tables; she was pleased to see McGonagall had switched the house schedules since the rivalry between Gryffindor and Slytherin was too old to put aside. “Who can produce a Patronus Charm?” She hadn’t raised her voice very loudly,  having always believed that a truly powerful or respected person could speak softly and people will still hear them, she was proved right when five of the sixteen seventh year students lifted their hands into the air. “A Fortifying Spell?” Some hands went up while others went down, “Memory Charm?- you must be able to erase the memory of a Muggle if needed, or an enemy.” The whole class lifted their hands, she nodded softly, “An Undetectable Extension Charm?” Only three that time, “Can anyone perform an Episky- healing yourself is vital of you are unable to get to medical attention.” Everyone once again lifted their hands into the air. She had been taking note of each student with a raised hand on a piece of parchment when she spoke again, “Finally, does anyone know how to do a Caterwauling Charm?” She remembered this particular charm from when Harry and herself had apparated into Hogsmead, the high pitched shriek that had been going off near them had almost been their undoing and she imagined if it had been the other way around it would have been a useful charm to know when setting up their camp boundaries. No one knew this spell in the class. 
          “It is my intention to aid you in learning the spells no one normally teaches. To show you how to be prepared even when you feel like everything is falling apart. I wish to teach you things I wish that I would have learned. Now repeat after me, no wands please. ‘Murmurationis Impedimentum’.” She paused, listening to their pronunciations. “This translates to screaming obstacle or screaming barrier. It is a rather shrill and ear shattering shriek that goes off when an intruder crosses the boundaries you set, usually done with the Fortifying Spell ‘Cave Inimicum’.” The seventh year students had N.E.W.T. exams at the end of the year, and she wanted to make sure they would all go through with high marks. After demonstrating the movement and casting a simple charm to have the chalk draw the movements and write the incantation on the board she had them practicing wand movements silently and that was how she found out Harry Potter was the new Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor because the entire class was suddenly clamping their hands to their ears as if their lives depended on it. Even Hermione had to admit that in such a small room the noise was the closest thing she could ever think to compare a fully grown mandrake root too, her hands were not enough help but her brain was faster because she silence the alarm as her eyes locked with Harry’s. He was disheveled as always, nothing seemed to be on him at the correct angle from his tie to his shoe laces and his hair was unruly as every but the smile was guilty and he was standing there with his whole class gawking at him. “As you can see class, when someone crosses the line without permission it is surely going to be noticed- even if it is just your Professor.” This got a small laugh from the older kids before they were focusing on their work again and the look in Harry’s eyes was grateful but Hermione was still bushing slightly but couldn’t figure out when she had even started. She made her way towards her oldest friend, noticing how he had grown taller as she got closer to him and when she had to actually look up at him when she was in arms reach she bit her lip. “Well. Back to the Library for me then, class is all yours Professor Potter.” 
          It took all Hermione had in herself to walk casually and not let out a shaking breath. She hadn’t seen Harry in so long, she had forgotten what it was like to be close to him after she realized she felt for him more than she should. The library was student free and she was grateful, her steps quickened as she made her twists and turns to her painting “Nargles.” She whispered to the painted her that rolled it’s eyes as the painting swung open to allow her inside. When it closed behind her she started to pace in every bit of space she could walk through, Harry was here and she was caught off guard. Had Minerva warned her who was coming, she would have had time to prepare herself but instead she had been caught off her guard and had very obviously made a fool of herself because she could STILL feel the heat in her cheeks. The POP of a house elf apparting in her room tore a squeal from her lips and she spun around, hand covering her mouth. “Don’t do that!” she was on the verge of screaming the words but managed not to, thankfully, since the elf looked ashamed of itself. 
          “Apologies Miss Granger. I will use the painting from now on.” Her voice was tiny, like a mouse. “A letter for you miss.” She handed it to her before scurrying away and out of the painting doorway. 
          She recognized Harry’s handwriting instantly and her heart started to race. Inside was a small piece of parchment that looked as if it had been torn from a scroll in a hurry, “I think you teach it better than me. Thanks for covering in case I didn’t make it in time. Tea later?” the blush was worse now. 

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