Chances Chapter 1

Hermione pulled her reading glasses off her nose. To her annoyance she found she needed them as she entered her thirties. She squinted at the small writing in front of her and shook her head.

Neville was working on this third book: Tentaculas of the Congo, and had begged her to be the first reader. His writing hadnít improved over the years, but for some reason had gotten quite a bit smaller.

She looked at the clock on the wall and sighed. It was a half-hour until dinner. The first years would be arriving any moment, now. She walked across the room she occupied in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and looked out her window.

The torches flickered out over the water of the lake, the reflection pooling out around the boats. It seemed like there were more boats than ever this year. Minerva had been thrilled.

The Final Battle had happened a year after the attack on Hermione. Thankfully, her birth had been easy and she had been well enough to participate. She was there when Harry and Voldemort fell. The Potter line was legend now.

It seemed as if more and more children flooded the halls of Hogwarts every year. More and more Muggleborne children were admitted each year; curiously, all generally from the area the Final Battle had taken place. Dumbledore had a theory that the residual magic in the area caused recessive magic users to blossom. Filch had gone to see for himself and, to the delight of the Hogwarts students, was never heard from again. Rumor said he had settled down with a nice hag in Lancashire and they were breeding nifflers together.

Hermione let her focus draw back and she examined her reflection. A few stray silver hairs intertwined in her hair, but not many. Her hair was still curly, but she had gotten a handle on its unruliness. A few freckles dotted her face here and there and her eyes were beginning to get small crinkles at their corners. She had aged fairly well.

This was another time when she had thought of the boy she had given up.

His defiant squall had broken her heart, but she had known it was the right thing. The Deatheaters were on the rise. Her parents were dead. It had been hard to find employment out of school and they probably would have starved, she had known that. It probably was for the best.

Then there were times like this: the boats moving over the lake, Ronís eldest receiving his first training broom, Ginnys little ones learning to hex each other, that made her heart ache with longing just to know.

Many Wizarding families had perished in the years after Hermione had given birth. Some had fled to Europe. There was no telling where he was, or even if he was anymore. She had called him Stanley, but she wondered what his name had become.

She shook her head. It was a waste of energy.

It was time to get ready to meet the new students.