Potions had become one of her favorite lessons since she met the Malfoys. While she realized that Draco had been given the task to get close to her and gain her trust, they had grown to be very close friends. She now even looked back fondly at the things her friends did in preparation of introducing her to Bella. She settled into a station next to her blonde friend. Draco had practically had to rip Crabbe and Goyle away from her. The conversation about quidditch clearly endeared her to them. She watched the new old potion’s professor move about the room. While he might be quite proficient, she missed having Draco’s godfather in his place.
“Ah, here are my Slytherin students. With that blonde hair, you must be Mister Malfoy. I am pleased to meet you. Tell me, my boy, are you as good at potions as your father?”
“It is one of my better subjects, sir,” he answered carefully.
“Very good. And you must be Madame Black, if what I read in the Prophet is correct.”
“I am,” she answered quietly.
“Your wife was one of my favorites. She is quite the talented witch, but then again from what I have heard your skill rivals hers.”
“I aspire to be at her level. I am quite honored by the association, sir.”
“As we all are,” he said before wandering away towards the Gryffindors.
“Is he one of ours,” she asked Draco quietly.
“Not entirely. From what I understand he is on the fence. I wonder if he can be won over.”
“Well we are quite the charming pair, Malfoy. Shall I mention it when I write my wife?”
“Not a bad idea. It might balance out everything else you have to tell her.”
“True she is going to be furious.”
“You are planning on writing my mum about the constant company aren’t you?”
“I haven’t decided. I was considering thanking her.”
“First of all you are a liar. I know you hate it. And you are a suck up. But she will love it.”
Playfully she hit his shoulder. Their banter was interrupted by Slughorn gathering the class around the demo station.
“We will be working on a number of advanced potions this year. Like this one. Tell me, who can identify what this is?” He was met by “first day silence.” “Madame Black?”
Hermione stepped up to the steaming cauldron cautiously and breathed in. “This is amortentia, the most powerful love potion in the world. It's rumored to smell differently to each person according to what attracts them. For example, I smell pine, spices…” She trailed off, stepping away from the cauldron quickly. She smelled her wife. She fought back tears, grateful when the lesson went on around her. Annoyingly the Potter boy appeared to be far more accomplished at potions than she had remembered. He had made a perfect potion on the first day, earning himself a vial of liquid luck. It was not something she was particularly glad he had in his possession. His luck had the potential to put her friends and family in serious danger. Her hand twitched against her wand. She wondered if she would be able to keep up her practice of her dueling spells. She couldn’t use the vast majority in her repertoire, because they were far too advanced for the class she would be in. Though Severus’ reaction might be hilarious, it was in direct contradiction to her orders for the year.
When class finally ended, she walked with her new “friends” back to the dungeon. She had time before dinner. She knew most of her housemates would be relaxing in the common room until then. With a simple disillusionment spell on the parchment she would be able to write her lover without prying eyes. She had already concluded that it would be in her best interest to blend in with the Slytherins, not to mention it would be a great deal less lonely. She had been writing this letter in her head all day, and was thankful that the words came easily.
My Darling Bella,
There are no words to express how much I miss you. I would list out specifically what I miss, but I fear neither of us have time at the present time. The first day of classes was fine. The subject material this year is so rudimentary I worry I will be bored. Severus is doing what he can, but I don’t even have access to advanced books like I do at home with you. Though, I find you far more compelling than even the best book.
Did Cissy manage to mention to you that she has an entourage of Slytherins following me around? I’ve decided to learn to adjust to it in an effort not to stand out. I suppose after what I am about to tell you that you won’t be upset that they are. The first night just before the feast I was detained by a certain elderly wizard. Aside from refusing to call me by my married name, he wanted me to consider betraying my family. It was in plain sight of much of the student body, though none of them would have know what was going on. I am not entirely sure how to navigate this situation. I know that Severus will be bringing it up at the next meeting. I will take no action until you give me instructions. And of course, I will tell you if anything else happens.
Draco and I did, however, stumble across something interesting today. It seems that a certain Gryffindor is rather intent on winning over the potion’s professor. While we are not sure exactly why, his behavior was fairly over the top about it. And considering the professor’s students over the years, it is entirely possible there is more to the story. If it pleases our Lord, perhaps there might be something in this arena that I might be able to help with this year. Oh, and Slughorn spoke mostly highly of you. Seems you weren’t such a terror after all.
It is odd knowing how long it will be until I get to see you. Will you be able to be at the first Hogsmeade weekend? If you can't, I will understand. But Merlin, I miss you. Please be safe and know that I love you.
She quietly stared at the ink until it dried. She carefully schooled her facial expressions to keep from crying. Being away from her wife made her an emotional mess. She missed the connection and unconditional understanding. She hoped it would get better after an adjustment period. She sighed quietly, moving a clean piece of parchment on top.
It seems I ought to thank you for protecting me even when we are miles apart. I am adjusting to the constant company. For the most part my housemates are kind and interesting people. I will learn to trust and enjoy them. I know you arranged this both for my protection and to force me into social interaction within our circle. I am truly grateful. I know there will come a time that I am expected to lead and these friendships will be important.
Having our family scattered is far more difficult that I would have ever imagined. I acclimated so quickly to the love and fun of being connected to you all. I look forward to when this is all over and we can all come home. I think of you and Lucius often. Stay safe.
Quietly she rose to her feet in an attempt not to draw attention to herself. She walked into her room where she proceeded to seal the letters physically and then magically. She put particularly strong wards on them. Few would be able to open them, much less read them. And anyone attempting who was not her soul mate ran a high risk of their magic destroying them instead of revealing them. Satisfied with her work, she straightened her tie in preparation for dinner. Writing her lover calmed her more than she expected and after the meal she had an evening of homework. She looked forward to the distraction if nothing else. A knock at her door signaled that it was time to go. Her group of friends waited with smirks, which she found inviting in ways she could not explain.