Clever Mischief

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November 12, 2005 to September 21, 2006. Unfinished series.

Clever Mischief, Chapter 1: The Scent of Old Books
Date: Thursday, August 18, 2005
Location: Hogwarts Library
Character: Hermione
Rating: Any Age

The scent of old books was comforting. They smelled of old parchment, worn and aged by history, a true testament to the lives they’d touched and years they’d aided hundreds of students. Hermione loved feeling worn parchment beneath her fingertips, turning pages she knew had been turned many times before her. It was an echo of what once was that she always enjoyed.

However, she knew there was nothing quite like opening a parcel and finding new books. Fresh off the presses, the pages white and the words crisp. She was the first person to ever read them, the spines unbroken and untouched. Any student who read them after would be following in her footsteps. She was the first one down the path of learning that the books had created to aid.

She had always loved books. From an early age, she’d found delight in school texts while her classmates treated the books as if they were worth nothing. They’d toss them around, drop them on the dirty ground, tear the pages. Hermione had always treated them well, knowing they were full of knowledge and that knowledge was important. While others thought she was crazy or just plain foolish to appreciate words written on paper, she didn’t care and had delighted in devouring every one she’d gotten her hands upon.

That love of books should have told her years ago what she should do with her life. She’d never considered it, though. There had been dreams of being a solicitor when she was a child or perhaps a doctor like her parents, though she’d wanted to help children instead of working with teeth.

When she’d gone to Hogwarts, she’d imagined a career at the Ministry making big changes and helping those in need gain acceptance or possibly work at St. Mungos. She’d even considered being a teacher for a short time before realizing that she liked far too many subjects to actually choose just on for a focus and apprenticeship. Then there had been the war and thoughts of possibly becoming an Auror had been at the forefront of her mind.

It wasn’t until the war was over that she’d given thought to an actual future. She’d hoped they’d win, had had full confidence in Harry, but she’d known that every day could be her last so it seemed a waste of time to focus on a future that might not even exist when she needed to research to help Harry. By the time Voldemort was dead, she knew she wanted nothing to do with being an Auror or a Mediwitch, having enough of both those things during the fighting that had occurred for well over a year after she’d left Hogwarts to help Harry find the last of the Horcruxes.

She’d missed her last year at Hogwarts and been unable to take her NEWTs, which had been a huge blow for her. It had limited her possibilities greatly and she’d really had no idea what she could do, though she’d thought of nothing else during those weeks she’d been in St. Mungos to recover from injuries she’d obtained during the final days of the war.

There had been no big final battle and Voldemort’s end had actually been rather anticlimactic considering all the battles they’d had to fight during the years leading up to his demise, but she’d suffered from several curses that had finally taken their toll and resulted in three weeks of observation at Mungos, which had given her far too much time to think.

Minerva was the one who had changed her life. Hermione had been eighteen without any idea what do with a life that she could suddenly actually make plans for when her former Head of House had visited her to make an offer. Madam Pince had been a casualty of war, as had many friends and acquaintances by the time it was all over, and that left a reopening Hogwarts without a librarian. The position wouldn’t require NEWTs and Minerva had been willing to give her a chance. She’d accepted and was now about to begin her seventh year as the librarian at Hogwarts.

Of course, she’d worked at night and on weekends to complete her studies and taken her NEWTs the following year, but she’d remained in a position she’d grown to love. Hermione lived at Hogwarts, visited Hogsmeade most weekends, and lived a quiet life that suited her well enough. She met Harry and Ron for lunch at least once a month and had several friends amongst the staff of Hogwarts. It was a nice life and she really had no complaints over all.

Today she had received her shipment of new books for the approaching school term. It was only a few weeks before the students arrived and the school was becoming active as preparations were made for the new school year. She’d received an owl just the other day from Neville, who was returning once again to teach Herbology, and she knew Kingsley would be back for another year as the Defense professor, making it his third year at the school. Hermione had taken a month during summer to leave the school, spending a week with her parents, a week with Harry and Pansy, one with Ron and Luna, and one with Ginny, returning just a few weeks ago, herself.

She finished emptying her box of texts before she sat down and began the process of preparing them for student use. She’d seen the list of students, their largest class yet since the school reopened, and was as excited about a new school year as she’d been while a student herself.

Rosmerta had even given her great gossip when she’d gone into Hogsmeade earlier in the week. She’d said several new businesses would be opening in town, which was wonderful news. Hogsmeade had suffered a large loss during an attack by Death Eaters and many businesses had never reopened. She was pleased, as were they all, to see the town beginning to rebuild and flourish once again. She was particularly excited about the rumor of a new ice cream store and possibly a bookstore.

Hermione sat back in her chair and looked around her library. In a few weeks, the empty tables would be full of students studying and researching. She could practically hear the whispers and excited chatter of students who had begun to use the library as a meeting place for study groups or simply just interacting with those in other houses, something that made her bite her tongue to stop from scolding them if they did happen to get a little loud at times.

As she sat there looking at her library, she realized that she felt even more excited about being back at Hogwarts than any other year. It was just something in the air, she guessed, a feeling of anticipation that had her eager for change and a new school term to begin. Hermione smiled as she went back to work. She just knew this was going to be a great year.