I have risen back from the dead and decided to rewrite this series (or at least what I have already written). This fic began three years ago(?) and needless to say, my writing back then was not worth reading. In all honesty, I was only reminded of this fic because of reviews or readers PM-ing me to continue despite my giving up on it.
Either way, I present to you the rewritten version, or at least my attempt in rewriting it (because in all honesty, I don't remember what I was going for). Thank you for your support and patience.
(here goes nothing)
[ REVISED ]
The seemingly endless war had come to an end, but what followed next was not to be taken lightly. Hermione Granger often found herself bolting up in the night, wand raised, heart beating rapidly in fear for her life, only to remember that all the horrors were over. In an attempt at self-improvement and finding solace, she chances upon individuals she would never think to rely on. She has always been decisive and aware of what's best for her, and yet, in such a situation, what was she supposed to do?
The war had ended. As surreal as it was, it had been two weeks since the defeat of the very personification of evil itself. Many funerals were already held, injured fighters undergoing healing. The Great Hall was in the midst of reparations - much like the rest of the castle. The portraits hung back up to their original place.
Hermione Granger, a broken girl from the horrors of war stared out into the woods from the broken astronomy tower.
The stone bridge was still under construction, and the wooden one is halfway near to completing. Of course, Seamus and Cho took the responsibility to lead a group of students to fix that, they couldn't live with the guilt. Neville and a dozen Herbology experts were taking care of the harmed plantation on and around the campus grounds. Ginny, Oliver, Angelina and Katie were fixing up the Quidditch Pitch. Dean, Colin, Parvti, Lee Jordan and the rest of the Gryffindors were fixing our common room and the towers of Hogwarts, the Ravenclaws fixing the staircases and the classrooms along with the Slytherins who split into two groups, with one group helping with classrooms and the other helping to rebuild their common room. The Hufflepuffs were rebuilding the clock tower and the courtyard since they were blown into bits.
Hermione was no optimist, but she acknowledged that one good thing that came out this god-forsaken war was unity. The childish feuds the houses had between one another vanished during the course of the war.
Everything was finally at peace.
Faint laughter from the fifth years below the tower drew her attention to them. A couple of boys raced each other to clean up the dust from the area, grey wisps tainted wrapped around their bodies, eventually reaching to the top of the tower, where Hermione stood. Soon, the boys were gone, and silence became her only companion. It was hard to find silence now. Between meetings with the Ministry, helping rebuild Hogwarts, mourning for lost friends and finding the pillow soaked with unexplainable tears. There was little time for herself, and even less with Ron and Harry, but there was enough time to think certain things through.
Hermione knew - she had probably always known, but it wasn't until very very recently where she finally cleared up and identified her feelings towards Ron. She loved him without doubt, and she would be willing to sacrifice many things for his happiness. But her emotions stemmed from the fact that she saw Ron as more of a brother than a lover. She's sure Ron felt the same way. She knows what it feels like to be looked at with romantic intentions - she would never forget the way Viktor would look at her - but it wasn't present in Ron's eyes. A part of her was thankful - their short-lived romantic relationship would not have lasted long anyway, she couldn't see it progress anywhere.
"I thought I'd find you here."
Ginny, after all she's been through, after her first-hand experiences with dark magic since her first year at Hogwarts, leaned against the railing with a charmingly, endearingly smug and proud look on her face.
"No need to be so proud, Ginny." She greeted with a weak smile, "how's the pitch?"
"It's coming along…process has been made…" the redhead said with a sigh. "How's the common room?" She asks, taking a seat.
"It's coming along. Making a few changes to the design of the place. Still feels like home."
A comfortable silence fell between the two girls. A silence both had been lacking.
"Malfoy came today." Ginny said, voice void of emotion. Hermione tried her best not to flinch. "He wanted to help repair Hogwarts. Much like us, he pretty much grew up here."
Hermione forced down the urge to gag. "I'm surprised he felt remorse, given how easily he helped set Hogwarts on fire."
"He apologised, sincerely. Which is something I never thought I'd see." Ginny said with a soft laugh. "Not alive, at least. I thought the only way to see him that was was if I miraculously became a ghost and haunted him for the rest of his boring criminal life. Seems like we never get what we want."
"I did send a bat-bogey hex at him though." Ginny continues.
"In that case," the elder said between nonstop giggles, "I get to give him a good punch in the face."
"I can't believe the two of you are here gossiping as we rebuild the place." Both heads whip backward to face Ron and Harry. "Thanks for leaving the work to us, Gin." Ron says jokingly.
Ginny smirks "useless without us?"
"Not surprised" Hermione adds, noting the sarcastic horror on the boys' faces.
"Ginny I thought you loved me" Harry says, moving closer to the girls. Rob follows suit, albeit a little more awkward. He nods at Hermione as a greeting, who nods back before patting the space beside her inviting him to take a seat.
"So Malfoy-" Hermione starts, sparking collective groans from the rest.
"I thought I'd never get to see him again until we were older" Harry complains. "Guess life has better plans for us"
"I doubt that he'll help much" commented Ron. "He's a good wizard, but he could never beat Hermione."
"Why thank you, Ron. Your flattery is well appreciated" Hermione jokes. Ron lets out a soft exhale. This is nice, Hermione thinks, it's familiar and how things should be. They stare out from the astronomy tower, enjoying each other's company (and for Hermione and Ron, desperately trying to ignore how unnecessarily romantic their best friends were acting right beside them.)
After a while, Ginny stands pulling Harry up with her "I'm starving. What's for lunch?"
"You didn't do a thing this entire morning, Ginevra!"
"No one has to know, Ronald!"
On the way down to the Great Hall, Seamus and Neville joined the group, mostly for Neville to complain how Seamus had accidentally caught on fire (again). "He's been catching fire ever since he set foot in the place, it's not news to us" Ron reminds.
"Ron, you don't understand, we weren't even dealing with anything remotely flammable." Neville continues.
The seemingly unending laughter stops when a blond approaches them. He looks even skinnier than the last time Hermione saw him, cheekbones more prominent in the worst ways, stance more hunched over and tired than she remembered, and his eyes that used to glisten with some sort of happy emotion we're now sad, almost hollow.
But she did not forget the atrocities she had faced because of him. She did not forget the years of torment, although childish and forgivable, she would not forgive unless he earned her forgiveness. She did not forget the pitied look in his eyes when she was tortured on the cold bloodstained floors of Malfoy Manor.
She will never forget the way she earned that scar on her arm. Before her brain even registered her actions, her body reacted to the pure fury and pain from her memories. Ron cried for her to get back, but did not bother to stop her. It would be pointless. She deserved to be angry. And Malfoy deserved to feel her rage.
She charges forward, wand raised, eyes burning with a conflicting hatred for something.
"You foul, loathsome, evil little-!" coward, craven, inconvenience, sad excuse such a great wielder of magic.
The corner of his lips tug up ever so slightly. "Finish that sentence, Miss Granger." He says. "Please."
The unfamiliar softness in his eyes unsettles Hermione. How easy it was to pin the blame on Draco. The weeping nights, the insecurity, the burning pain still tingling on her arm, it'd be so easy to just blame Draco Malfoy for it all. But that wouldn't fix anything. It'd only make her bitter and waste her time. She has better things to do than dwell on the past.
"'Cockroach'" she begins, "would be considered a compliment for the other words I had in mind."
"Hermione Granger" he says, almost fondly. "You haven't changed in the slightest."