disclamer: don't own anything you recognise...that would be j.k and w.b

pairings : hermione/ron harry?


The rain fell heavily large puddles forming in the grass; the air was heavy so heavy that no one would feel like smiling even if there was something to smile about.

They all thought they had seen the last of this, four years on from the end of the war this pain was supposed to stop.

However, just because Voldemort had fallen didn't mean that all of his Death Eaters had fallen along side him, some sat it their dank cells in Azkaban, incapable of rational thought. Others however went in to hiding, only to avenge their master's demise.

This was what brought them here today; this is what brought this band of people to a small graveyard that already held more friends than enemies within its sacred walls.

Now all who had loved her were mourning the youngest of the Weasley's life.

A small mound covered with bright flowers lay freshly filled, surrounded by mourners who had hoped that this day would never come, that the family that had been hit the worst would not have to face this again, saying goodbye to a loved one that was nothing more than a defender for all that was good in the world.

Buried along side two of her brothers and her father before her, Ginny Weasley was interned in this very graveyard that I stand in a year ago to the day.

Beside me, Neville lays a small wreath upon the grave. I feel like I'm intruding on his grief, I knew Ginny for such a short time before … well before she was killed.

Yet she was the closest thing to a friend that I had ever had, I never grew up in the wizarding world, at least not the one that everyone else had done. Until my mother moved in to the flat above Fred and George's I had never met many wizards of my own age. I never went to Hogwarts my mother choosing to home school me saying it was safer for me this way.

I put one arm around Neville comforting a friend in need, a friend that I found when I needed one.

"Elzbeth, we should go." he said looking up. I follow the line of his gaze and see three very familiar figures heading in our direction.

Three faces I have seen from the front of the daily prophet many a time, but they aren't my friends.

There the hero's of the war, Neville was there he told me all about how the three of them had gone after Voldemort; the wizarding world had them to thank.

The red head that reminds me so much of Ginny looks up and at me a Neville.

He jerks his head in a greeting.

Words don't need to pass. Neville and Ron go far back; these are Neville's friend, Ginny's extended family. I feel awkward I should leave.

I kiss Neville on the cheek.

"I'll see you back at the shop." I say silently in to his ear.

I turn to look at him from the gate.

Neville hugs the girl. Hermione sobs on to his shoulder, Ron stands with a hand upon his baby sisters' grave.

Harry however is watching me. I bow my head as I walk from the graveyard, the small town of Ottery St Catchpole dances in the late July sun.

There hero's I'm nothing, nothing but an intruder on a unconventional family's grief.

I shake the snow from my outer robes as I knock on the large doors of Hogwarts castle.

It's every bit as dramatic as my mother always told me it was, it had rose out of the distance like a fairytale dwelling, my imagination had ran riot on the short walk up here from the village.

The caretaker and his cat show me up to the Headmistresses office; it circles my ankles menacingly as we stand outside a large stone griffin.

"Miss Miller to see you Headmistress." the wizened old caretaker looks at me with a look of distain.

"Elzbeth how lovely to see you again please do come in."

Minerva McGonagall is an old friend of my mum's they were in the original order of the phoenix together, it never fails to amaze me how she can command respect from something as simple as one look.

I shake her hand as I follow her up the steps.

I remember this room, my mother brought me here when I was young, very young, but I remember the faces that hung in the portraits, sentinels to the headmistress and the school that they used to run with grace and elegance.

"It never fails to amaze me how much you look like your mother." Minerva says offering me a seat beside the large fire; I accept gratefully as the snow has chilled me to the bone, the view on the walk was amazing the weather however was not.

"I understand you want me to stand in for a teacher?" I say accepting the cup of tea that has been offered in my direction.

"Just like your mother straight to the point I see." the older witch sinks in to the other chair . "Your mother assures me you have an unnatural talent in the potions department. I believe you passed with exceeds expectations in your newts did you not?"

"That's right." I smile to myself, that was the first time I travelled to London , the first time I met Neville and his Gran, he sat his newts the same year as I did, although I'm a year younger he had been in the hospital when the newts had been taken the year before.

"I'm sure you're aware of Professor Slughorn; I believe that he though highly of your mother."

"A little too highly, but he always did have favourites."

Minerva smiled over her cup of tea.

"Well he's decided to take indefinite leave, which leaves me in quite a predicament…we're dealing with the problem at the moment quiet amicably but…"

"It's not a solution to everyone's tastes I understand, Minerva if you think I'm up to the job I will start as soon as you need me."

The witch smiled at me from under the tight greying bun that she had perched upon her head.

"As soon as you can…"

"Then I should owl my mother and get her to send some things for me…"

"That can be arranged."

The witch rose to her feet and scrawled a note on a piece of parchment. She lit the fire and threw the parchment upon the flickering blue flames.

"Hopefully that will reach your mother and not the delightful young men your mother works for."

I smile; it was something in the way she described Fred and George Weasley as delightful that done it.

I follow her down the stairs and in to the ancient halls of Hogwarts.

She informs me of all the important points of the castle. The great hall the staff room, the kitchen.

I wonder if there's anywhere I can sneak a cigarette before realising I don't smoke, it just seamed like something that I should do, hide from a teacher with a cigarette, it's one of the rights of passage that I never got to go through.

We cross the entrance hall, four large hourglasses sparkle in red, blue, yellow and green, my eyes are drawn to the red, my mother was in Gryffindor, I never was told what house my father was in, she met him at Hogwarts though, she says I have his hair, dark as apposed to her wavy auburn locks. She never complains when I ask questions about him, she's just selective about the answers some times. I don't even know his name.

Minerva leads me of to a corridor to the right of the great hall; I feel the slabs sloping slightly.

"This will be your quarters." she said indicating to a tapestry, she pulled it aside to show me a dark maple wood door, she tapped the small black sign stuck to the door, it changed from 'Professor Slughorn' to 'Professor Miller' within an instant.

"Professor Miller, that sounds strange."

Minerva smiles at me as she pushes the door open; it looks like the inside of a tent.

"Horace did have extraordinarily lavish tastes." she said shaking her head. "It is yours to do with what you please."

I look around at the garish upholstery.

"Give me an hour you won't know the place." I say smiling.

"This whole corridor will be your responsibility, your store cupboards are the next two doors along, your classrooms are on the other side of the corridor and the Slytherin common room is at the end of the corridor."

I look up at her from a dusty throw I was examining…


"If after a short time with us you feel that you are up to the job…"

"What? I don't understand?"

"Unfortunately, Horace asides from being the last man on the planet that liked to collect the little dolls that cover toilet rolls (I cast a look at the bathroom door what was I going to find in there?) Was also the last member of Slytherin house on the teaching staff, I'm not for one second saying you belong in Slytherin."

I shrug as far as I know I could be. I was never sorted.

"You want me to look after the Slytherin kids." I ask her.

"Something like that yes."

I look around the room.

"I'll think about it." I say quietly.

Minerva nods and leaves the room.

I throw myself down on the sofa, and then promptly get back up.

I pull my wand out of my pocket and point it at the couch; it turns in to a large leather number with black and white throw cushions. I sit myself back down on the sofa that clashes horrendously with everything else in the room.

I clean a mark off the end of my wand, twelve and a half inches ash and a dragon heartstring, I adore my wand, and I don't know what I would do without it.

After an hour by now entirely black white and red room looks nothing like the jumble sale that it did when I first walked in.

My things were delivered by a house elf wearing a maroon sweater and carrying my owl lightning. She had hooted dolefully as I let her out of her cage, she sat now atop a hat stand so ugly that I had to keep it.

After writing a brief note to Neville, curiosity gets the better of me.

I contemplate putting back on my robes which look so much more the part than my jeans and chequered shirt but then I figure I'm just going for a nose about right?

The corridor is dark and dank, obviously were underground, I tap my wand against the ingredients room door.

There are more potion ingredients that you could ever want, I wonder how much this stuff costs, I spot a bag of unicorn hair tied up on a high shelf that stuffs like gold dust but I guess there must be unicorns in the forest. Mum said there was.

I lock the door again behind me and walk over to the first classroom. I stick my head around the door, this is obviously the advanced classroom, and complicated potions are chalked up on the board.

I instinctively walk over and cross out a mistake.

I'm sure the headmistress doesn't want the school reduced to a pile of rubble.

I inspect some potions setting. The vials sitting on the teacher's desk.

Minor mistakes have been made that under a good teacher wouldn't happen, but then again according to the Prophet Slughorn wasn't ever that good of a teacher.

I leave the room and look in the next, it's empty bar a few turned over desks.

I leave and open the next door.

"It's polite to knock before you enter." comes a voice from the front of an almost too quite class.

"Sorry, I'm just looking around." I say looking at the person who had spoken. I have seen her before, although she looks a lot different with her curly hair tied back and in robes. She looks at me, a look of recognition on her face.

"Professor Miller I presume?" she asks.

I nod, walking in to the room instead of just being a head in a doorway. A murmur ripples around the class; I don't exactly look like your normal professor. My black hair is flaked with colours and I look so different to the woman standing at the front of the class.

"Class this is your new Potions teacher."

I walk to the front of the class; I watch the faces as they look away from me as I pass.

"Can I?" I ask pointing to the class in general. She nods and takes a seat at the desk.

"Right, are you lot first years?"

A small girl in the front row nods.

"Ok hand up who feels like all that you've learnt since you got here has gone over your head?" I look around no one raises there hand. "It's ok your not in trouble I just need to know what I have to go to work on."

A small boy in blue trimmed robes raises his hand.

"Ten points to Ravenclaw for being so honest." I say smiling as I walk through the desks.

Soon hands are shooting up all around me,. I look at Hermione who is watching me with intrigue.

"Right in that case." I twitch my wand and the books and cauldrons disappear to the far side of the room. "We need to get to know one another." I look around at the Ravenclaw's and Hufflepuff's in my class.

"First off, I insist you call me Beth, Miss Miller, Miss and Professor Miller is all my mother and that's alright for her, but I have name and I'll use it, secondly. If you have any questions ask me, thirdly, if I accidentally blow something up it stays between us alright?"

A blond girl nods at me.

"Right first things first everyone stand up."

The entire class do as there told.

I send the desks the same way as the cauldrons and books.

"Were going back to basics. I say picking up a cauldron and placing it in the middle of the floor." the class edge around it.

"Who wants to see what happens when you don't follow instructions."

After I've successful learnt every name in my class and reduced the cauldron to a molten mess on the classroom floor the bell goes and my class file out.

Hermione however stays behind.

"Interesting lesson."

"Well it worked for me."

Hermione looked at me she seamed to size me up.

"Your Neville's girlfriend aren't you, I saw you in the summer."

"I'm not Neville's girlfriend no, but I am his friend and I did see you in the summer yes, you of course need no introduction." I shake her outstretched hand.

"Whatever you read it was probably a lie."

"Ginny spoke highly of you."

Hermione nods quietly.

"Come on I'll introduce you to the rest of the staff."

I follow her out of the classroom obliterating the evidence of exploded cauldrons from my wake.