A huge thanks to my wonderful beta, J Forias, for being extremely helpful and extremely patient.
Hermione sat next to a table staring at the blank parchment in front of her. Actually, Hermione had been sitting
was more accurate, because she'd been doing that for the last 15 minutes. When she started nearing 25 minutes, Ron decided it was time to put an end to it.
"Mmmm," she answered absent-mindedly.
"Is everything alright?"
"Yes," she answered, and then a second later: "well, no".
Ron sighed quietly then got off the armchair and sat on the floor next to Hermione. "What is it?" he asked, holding her hand.
"Well, that letter we got from Rosie… It's been bothering me all morning".
"Bothering you? What's so bothering about that letter?" Ron asked, surprised.
Hermione opened her mouth to explain, but then decided against it. Instead, she took another parchment that was lying on the table, written in a neat and round handwriting, and handed it to Ron. "Please, just read it again," she said, responding to Ron's questioning look. He sighed again but took the letter.
Dear Mum and Dad,
My first week in Hogwarts has been just wonderful! I'm sorry it took me so long to write, but so much has happened since we got off the train...
At first, when we just got off, Albus and I were terrified, because everyone we knew left us- James, Victoire… EVERYONE! Al was really worried, because he said that Uncle George had told him that you're only accepted to the school if you manage to get to the castle on your own after getting off the train. I told him that was rubbish (sorry, Mum), and that he shouldn't believe anything any of his uncles tell him (sorry, Dad).
But then we heard a loud voice yelling for the first year students and we didn't even need his "Alright Rose? Albus?" to recognize Hagrid...
Then, when we waited in line to wear the sorting hat (I didn't believe your fighting-a-mountain-troll story for a second, Dad...)-
At that point Ron stopped reading and looked up at Hermione, who was tapping on the table impatiently, waiting for him to finish.
"Is it what I told her about the mountain troll? Is that what bothered you?"
"No, no, keep reading," Hermione brushed him off, but then suddenly looked at him seriously and said: "though that was pretty stupid of you, scaring her off like that".
"She says she didn't believe it for a second!" Ron protested, pointing at the letter in his hands.
"Yes, she says so, but I'm sure that- oh, but it doesn't matter, just keep reading, Ron!"
Ron looked at her, trying to decide whether or not this was worth a little fight- even now, he still had fun annoying her. But the expression on Hermione's face was so miserable that Ron decided he should just keep reading.
Then, when we waited in line to wear the sorting hat (I didn't believe your fighting-a-mountain-troll story for a second, Dad…), Albus was obviously sorted before I was. He barely managed to place the hat on his head, and it already shouted "GRYFFINDOR!" and everybody at the Gryffindor table cheered, and Al went to sit next to his brother. When my name was called, I went forward and put the sorting hat on my head, and then it started talking to me. Well, more to itself than to me… It said: "I definitely see Ravenclaw material in here… Very clever indeed…" but I got panicked because I remembered what you said at King's Cross, Dad- how you'll disinherit us if we weren't sorted into Gryffindor-
Ron stopped again. This had to be it.
"Is it about what I said to the kids when we were at King's Cross?" he asked nervously.
"No, it isn't," Hermione answered, "But you really should pay attention to what you tell them, Ron; they shouldn't go around being constantly afraid of disappointing their parents."
Ron barely listened to her, after the "no". He was simply relieved it wasn't that, and didn't even wait for Hermione's invitation to keep reading.
"I definitely see Ravenclaw material in here… Very clever indeed…" but I got panicked because I remembered what you said at King's Cross, dad- how you'll disinherit us if we weren't sorted into Gryffindor, and the hat probably sensed it because it said: "Well, no doubt there's bravery in here too… If you wish to go to Gryffindor, I believe we can arrange it." Then it shouted "GRYFFINDOR!" just like it did with Al, and I went to sit with him and James.
By the way, Dad, that blond boy you pointed at when we were at King's Cross- he's in Gryffindor too. His name's Scorpius Malfoy and he's actually rather nice. He's very shy, and he doesn't know anybody here, so Al and I decided that since we do, we might as well help him out a bit. I'm sure you're proud of us, Mum, even if Dad isn't. Just kidding… I know you're proud too, Dad.
After the feast, our Prefects escorted us to Gryffindor Tower. I was a bit angry at James for not taking them seriously, because after all they are the highest authority after our professors- well, not exactly… The Head Boy and Head Girl are the highest authority after the Professors, and one of them is also a Gryffindor. I'm sure you were Head Girl, Mum.
The rest of the week was so hectic, and I've learned so much! There were so many things I didn't know even though I came prepared (thanks for the tip, Mum, reading my text books during the holiday really did prove itself useful!).
Well, I guess that's it for now. Write me back!
Ron raised his head from the letter to find Hermione looking at him. He realized she was expecting an answer, but truth be told he couldn't find anything bothering in the letter. Well, sure, there's this whole Rose being friends with a Malfoy, and Rose listening to her mother way
too much… But Ron hardly thought that was what bothered Hermione so much.
He looked her in the eyes and said: "Sorry, I have no idea what you're talking about".
Hermione sighed disappointedly and grabbed the letter from Ron's hand. He saw her skimming over it, probably trying to find the exact point, and wondered why on earth she couldn't do it to begin with.
"Here", she said, and started reading: "The Head Boy and Head Girl are the highest authority after the Professors… I'm sure you were Head Girl, Mum."
She lowered the letter and looked at him expectantly. "Well?"
"Well… what?" Ron asked, utterly confused.
"I wasn't Head Girl." She said, and then turned her head away from Ron. Ron stared at her, finding it hard to decide whether he was more amazed or amused.
"Hermione, you can't be serious. You weren't Head Girl because you were too busy fighting a dark wizard and his followers!"
Hermione turned her head back, and Ron was shocked to find that her eyes were red-rimmed.
"That doesn't change the fact that I wasn't Head Girl. If I don't tell her that I'd be lying, and if I do tell her she'll be disappointed. So what am I supposed to write?"
Ron was no longer amused. He cupped her face in his hands and said "Hermione, you're taking this all wrong. You weren't Head Girl, that's true. But you would be, if there hadn't been a war, and if you could attend Hogwarts for your seventh year like a normal student."
"You don't know that", Hermione said quietly, and the sadness in her voice startled Ron.
"Yes, I do", he said. "I do, because I know you." He let go of her face, and then got up and started pacing the room. "You are- and always have been- a clever, responsible and willing to help person, not to mention first in your bloody class. Now, I know I haven't read 'Hogwarts: A History', but I'm pretty sure that's what Hogwarts requires of its head girls and boys!" He stopped pacing, and faced Hermione, grinning. "But if you're still so unsure, we could always ask McGonagall if they were going to make you head girl…" And before Hermione could realize what he was doing, he snatched the blank parchment still lying on the table, and the quill lying next to it. Then, to her utter shock, he started writing, saying the words aloud as he did so: "Dear Professor McGonagall, Hermione and I would like to know-" He didn't get to finish the sentence, though, because Hermione then gasped and shouted "RON!"
He stopped writing and looked at her innocently. "What? I thought you wanted to know."
"NO, thank you," she answered, taking the quill and parchment away from Ron. "I think you may be right," she added, blushing a little.
"Of course I'm right. I'm always right."
Hermione laughed at that, but then became serious and looked up at Ron. "I think we should tell her, Ron. About our part in the war," she added, when she saw Ron's confused look.
"How much do you want to tell her?" Ron asked, becoming serious as well.
"Just that we did more then simply trying to live. That we actually fought."
"Are you sure?" Ron asked, looking straight into Hermione's eyes.
"Well, if I'm going to tell her that I would be Head Girl if I attended Hogwarts for my seventh year, she should know why I didn't, don't you think?"
Rose was starting to wonder if she was ever going to get a letter back from her parents, when an owl tapped on the common room window. She hurried over there, took the letter from the owl's leg, and started reading.
There were 2 parchments in there: one, in her father's handwriting, told her how much her parents were proud of her and happy for her. The other was in her mother's handwriting:
Your letter to us got me thinking, or at least one specific part of it: You wrote that you were sure I'd been Head Girl. The truth is, I wasn't.
Your father and I already told you, Rosie, about the war that took place while we went to Hogwarts. However, we didn't tell you about our part in it: we realized the wizarding world needed our help, and so we decided- along with Uncle Harry- to skip our seventh year in Hogwarts in order to fight.
As you know, Head Boys and Girls are students in their seventh year, and because of my decision I never got a chance to be Head Girl.
I hope you're not too disappointed.
After reading the letter three times, Rose hugged it and closed her eyes.
Her mother was never Head Girl. She was much better.