The distribution of this story is
personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited
the consent of the author.
Disclaimer: I wish I could go into the
about JK Rowling and the various publishers, but I don’t remember
all so I will just say that the Harry Potter universe belongs to
is willing to duke it out for the privilege. Olivia Goldsmith’s book
First Wives Club inspired Seamus’ "three beautiful women
comment, while Hermione’s necklace and brooch are graduation
Technical Notes: Is it just me, or does this
smack strongly of Arabella and B Bennett’s "Dare"? I read
for the nth time after starting this story and the
hit me full in the face. **blush** I adore their story, but it did
consciously serve as the basis for this one. So let’s just say it
indirectly inspired by "Dare," OK? :D
"…It is an honor and a privilege to be
here before you today," Hermione Granger mumbled to herself
she held her mother’s necklace up to herself. Tiny diamonds, strung
three simple gold chains, winked and glittered against her
robes like stars.
"Very nice, dear," the girls’ dormitory
told her; but whether it meant her valedictory speech or her
Hermione wasn’t quite sure.
"I wish you would be more specific,"
muttered as she put down the necklace and held up a heavy
brooch that had once belonged to her grandmother. "I stand
before you not only as the top student of the year…"
She put down the brooch and held up the necklace
One hour to the graduation ceremony. Would she need an entire
to decide between the necklace and the brooch? "…but I stand
with you as a fellow survivor of one of the darkest times of
"Brava. Very dramatic," said a female
Hermione’s fellow Gryffindor seventh years, Lavender Brown and
Patil, stood together at the door. Like her, they were dressed in
black robes edged with scarlet piping, with high-necked white
and long black skirts worn underneath. However, unlike her, they
already fully accessorized.
The two girls joined her in front of the mirror.
don’t you all look lovely!" the mirror trilled.
Hermione rolled her eyes. You had to look like
or Parvati to get a rise out of this mirror. The one in her
Girl quarters was much kinder. Sadly, it was also much smaller,
was why she had gone to the seventh year dormitory to get ready.
Parvati inspected the jewelry on the dresser.
vote for the brooch."
"You do?" Hermione asked, looking
at it. The brooch was an old-fashioned piece with a heavy, ornate
It was lovely, but a bit too large and over-the-top for her taste.
"Oh, yes." Parvati pinned the brooch to
center of Hermione’s high collar. "With clothes this simple,
you really need is one major piece to set it off."
"And the brooch is nothing if not major,"
finished for her.
"Exactly," Lavender said with a
"Besides," the other girl said as she
tawny brown tendrils to curl at Hermione’s ears, "the
styles suit you best."
"Really?" Hermione asked. The curls at
ears softened the simple bun she wore at the nape of her neck.
"Really. There." Parvati gave Hermione’s
one final pat. "Now you don’t look so much like Professor
"I do not look like Professor
Hermione said as her classmates burst into gales of laughter. The
look she gave them only made them giggle harder.
"If y-you’re going t-to become Apprentice
P-Professor here at Hogwarts," Lavender sputtered, "you
as w-well look the p-part, right?" After the death of
Dumbledore had again been offered the post of Minister of Magic.
time, he was seriously considering accepting the job. While nothing
certain, Hogwarts was offering to train Hermione to take over as
Professor if and when Professor McGonagall took over as
After a seeming eternity, Parvati gave one final
and wiped away a tear. "I’m sorry. We were just ribbing
"So are you going to teach here at
Lavender asked once she had regained her composure.
"I don’t know. Several offices at the Ministry
Magic have also said they were interested in taking me on,"
admitted quietly, not wanting to boast. "Then I’m also thinking
undergoing Auror training, or working at the Daily Prophet,
going into advanced studies…"
"Naturally," Lavender noted with a
"I’m rather confused about my future right
Hermione confessed. "It’s so aggravating!"
"At least we have a future to be confused
Parvati pointed out.
"Every new day is a gift," her friend
"Especially after what we went through these past three
Voldemort’s return had endangered the lives of everyone in the
world. Hogwarts, as the center of the Light side, found itself in
thick of the Dark Wars that followed. Quite a few of the students —
those who had chosen to fight and the unfortunate innocents who
to be in the wrong place at the wrong time — had not survived.
"Just think about it, Hermione," Parvati
"We’re alive. And so many possibilities are open to us.
at all the possibilities that are open to you." She
and squeezed Hermione’s hand. "We’re so proud of you,
How little this Parvati resembled the carefree
freak she had once known, Hermione thought as she watched Lavender
an arm around the other girl. Leading Muggle-born students to safety
Unforgivable Curses flew thick and fast all around you did that to a
The Dark Wars had forced them all to grow up a bit too soon.
"Just think, one day we’ll be able to tell
at the garden club that Hermione Granger, the greatest witch of all
used to shush us every night while we were at school because she had
do her homework," Lavender said.
"Garden club?" Hermione asked,
her nose. Maybe she didn’t have to change her opinion about her
"Hermione!" The other girl swatted
arm. "I was only joking. Do you think that, after all that’s
I’d be happy with a garden club?" She smiled proudly.
and I are joining some of the others. We’re going to Slovenia for a
"The Dark Wars destroyed so many lives all
the world," Parvati said. "We want to help rebuild
"That’s wonderful!" Hermione said, and
meant it. "Now I’m proud of you."
"Can you imagine what everyone at the garden
will say when we tell them that the greatest witch of all time said
was proud of us?" Lavender joked, but her violet eyes were
with happy tears. Hermione felt her own eyes begin to sting.
"Shut up, Lavender," Parvati ordered in a
voice as she blinked rapidly. "You’re going to make me ruin my
Hermione looked at her friend for a moment, then
to laugh. Soon, the other girls’ giggles joined hers.
They were still giggling when the door opened
"There’s nothing like the sight of three beautiful women
a male voice said. Seamus Finnigan, along with the rest of the
seventh year boys, stood crowded in the doorway.
Parvati scowled at them while she restored her
with a few casual gestures. "Haven’t you heard of knocking,
Finnigan? What if we were dressing when you barged in
"That would have been interesting," Dean
said with a naughty grin.
"Let’s not go there," Neville Longbottom
firmly in what they all called his "professor voice." He
also been offered an apprenticeship at Hogwarts in preparation for
Sprout’s retirement as Herbology teacher.
"Yes, sir, Professor Longbottom,"
said with a click of his heels and a crisp salute.
Hermione traded grins with Harry Potter, one of her
friends. "You look very nice, Hermione," he told her, then
the boy standing beside him. "Doesn’t Hermione look nice,
"Oh—er—of course she does," lanky,
Ron Weasley said, staring fixedly at Hermione. He stood in the
of the group, taller than all the rest, even Dean. "Very
"Thank you," Hermione murmured. She felt
cheeks turning pink. Even with one hand shoved in his pocket, he
so dashing (and since when did she, Hermione Granger, ever use such
word?) and grown-up in his graduation robes, crisp white shirt, and
house tie. "You—you look very nice, too," she said
"You’re just saying that," Harry
putting a coy hand to his hair, which — for once — was perfectly
(They had gone to Hogsmeade last weekend and Harry bought an
bottle of Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion, plus one "just in
Everyone laughed — everyone, that is, except Ron, who had yet to
Caught in the intense blue of his gaze, Hermione felt the pink in
cheeks develop into a full-fledged blush.
"Well," Lavender said into the pause that
"I think I’ll go down to the Great Hall and look for my
"Good idea," Seamus agreed. "I want
see how me Dad likes Hogwarts so far."
"We’ll go with you," Dean and Parvati
"See you later." Harry gave Ron an
grin and a clap on the shoulder before turning and following
Ron remained standing woodenly in the doorway. His
was out of his pocket now. It was clenched around something.
heart began to pound.
Before she left, Parvati gave her a secret sort of
"Something tells me," she whispered, rolling her eyes
in Ron’s direction, "that you’re about to get the