*disclaimer* I don't own Harry Potter characters :D Just use them for my own entertainment

A/N: So, I have decided to actually be a responsible author and write the first 12 chapters on this new huge multi-chapter monstrosity :D I also have this story completely plotted out from beginning to end as to not got myself trapped in writers block! Yay me lol

Chapter One: Slytherin!

Oh you may not think I'm pretty,

But don't judge on what you see,

I'll eat myself if you can find

A smarter hat than me.

You can keep your bowlers black,

Your top hats sleek and tall,

For I'm the Hogwarts Sorting Hat

And I can cap them all.

There's nothing hidden in your head

The Sorting Hat can't see,

So try me on and I will tell you

Where you ought to be.

You might belong in Gryffindor,

Where dwell the brave at heart,

Their daring, nerve, and chivalry

Set Gryffindors apart;

You might belong in Hufflepuff,

Where they are just and loyal,

Those patient Hufflepuffs are true

And unafraid of toil;

Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,

if you've a ready mind,

Where those of wit and learning,

Will always find their kind;

Or perhaps in Slytherin

You'll make your real friends,

Those cunning folks use any means

To achieve their ends.

So put me on! Don't be afraid!

And don't get in a flap!

You're in safe hands (though I have none)

For I'm a Thinking Cap!

September 1st, 1991

A small girl of eleven, almost twelve, stood on the platform of the Hogwarts Express…the train that was going to take her to her destiny. A newly discovered magical destiny, more accurately. Hermione Granger was the most brilliant girl in her school and it came as no surprise to her parents when she mysteriously received a letter to Hogwarts, a school for very special children. Magical children were all well and good, but to Hermione, it was almost as if not having magical parents was somehow even more amazing. As if the universe chose her to be something even more than her whole family.

A final whistle blew loudly, shaking the tiny brunette from her place and she raced along to board the dark red engine. She had chosen her clothes wisely, knowing that first impressions were always the most important, and smoothed down her navy dress before entering a nearby compartment. Inside was a young blonde boy, who slightly jumped when she entered, but masked his pointed face into indifference immediately. "Hello, may I sit here? Most of the compartments I've passed so far are full," she asked in a polite tone, noticing the boy eyeing her. "That depends, what is your name? I'm Malfoy. Draco Malfoy," the boy sniffed haughtily, obviously full of self-importance. However, Hermione took note of the way he introduced himself by his family name first and decided it must be the wizard's way of introducing one's self. She stuck out her dainty pale hand for him to shake. "I'm Granger... Hermione Granger. I will be going into my first year, and yourself?"

Malfoy considered her hand for a moment, taking note of the expensive looking platinum bracelet her mother had given her as a present that morning, and finally decided to shake her hand. "Granger…. any relation to Hector Dagworth-Granger?" he asked curiously, taking his hand back and allowing her to place her trunk inside. Hermione blinked once and made a quick decision before answering in the affirmative. She reasoned to herself that she very well could be, albeit very distantly, and just because she didn't know didn't make it less true. Apparently that was the correct answer, as Draco's face lit up. "His work with love potions is revolutionary! My godfather is a member of his 'Most Extraordinary Society of Potioneers'. He always tells me I have a natural talent," he said rather smugly. "Well it must be so if a member told you," she agreed, making a note that this Granger was talented in potions, and so, she should research this further.

"What house do you expect to be in? Slytherin is, of course, the only decent house to be sorted into, but Ravenclaw has its virtues, I suppose," the pale boy drawled, adjusting his impeccable black robes. Hermione paused to remember the benefits of each house, according to her copy of Hogwarts: A History. Slytherin was known for producing more dark wizards than any other House, however, it also produced the most Ministers of Magic. Ravenclaw was the genius House, only the most studious were accepted there. "I suppose Ravenclaw, I happen to enjoy reading very much," she smiled. Draco noted how pearly and straight her teeth were, a pleasing attribute in his opinion. He shrugged. "Pity, I don't think I would have minded your company in Slytherin."

She giggled prettily. "Confident, are you?" Draco nodded, smirking. "All Malfoys are Slytherins, as far back as the school dates. Even if I was a bleeding heart Hufflepuff on the inside, I would still be sorted into Slytherin by name alone!" he boasted. She was impressed that his family dated all the way back a thousand years. She could barely remember her grandmother's maiden name. The door slammed open all of a sudden, startling the occupants. A freckled red headed boy stuck his head in, sneering slightly when he caught sight of Draco. "Have you seen a toad come through here? My friend is missing it," he asked, looking more at Hermione then the other boy. Draco raised one delicate silvery brow. "A toad…how common. No, we haven't seen one. Now leave us, your hand-me-downs are stinking up our air," he scoffed, watching the boy's face turn as red as his hair.

Hermione frowned slightly at her companion's' rudeness but didn't want to alienate the only friend she'd made so far. "Oy! Just who do you think you are?" the boy yelled, making her wince. Draco snorted. "Red hair, hand-me-down clothing, and more children than they can afford? Must be a Weasley," he declared, sizing the boy up. Struggling for words, the boy whipped out his wand and shoved it in Draco's face. Hermione took note of the sad state of the little wand, whose core hair was sticking out of the tip. "Wow, even a hand-me-down wand? I don't think I've ever seen something so pathetic," the blonde jeered, not threatened in the slightest.

Before things could escalate, Hermione's lips parted to speak, but was stopped when another boy appeared next to the ginger and assessed the situation. This boy also had on rather large clothing, and his glasses were taped in the middle, much too small for his face. However, she recognized the lightning bolt scar on his forehead immediately and drew a breath. This was Harry Potter, the most famous wizard of their time. She had read that he was the only wizard ever to have survived the Killing Curse, as an infant no less, and he vanquished He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. "What's going on Ron? Neville found his toad already," Harry asked the boy, eyeing the drawn wand. "This roach was insulting my family!" Ron sputtered out, not putting his arm down.

Draco pushed aside the wand in his face and stood up to meet the new boy. "Draco Malfoy. It's a pleasure to meet you, Harry Potter," he held out his hand smoothly, completely ignoring Ron. Harry's mouth turned down slightly. "I don't really want to shake your hand, Malfoy. Ron is my friend and that seems to make me not yours," Harry's green eyes narrowing at the blonde. Draco put his hand back down to his side and the curly haired girl noticed his fists clench. "Perhaps you should take your friend back with you to your compartment," Hermione suggested softly. Harry and Ron both looked at her, eyeing her prim demeanor. Harry nodded to her and gently pushed Ron out of the doorway and down the train's corridor.

Draco sat back down, visibly relaxing. "My father told me to make friends with that scar headed prat. After seeing the man is much less than the legend, I guess he won't be too disappointed," he all but pouted. Hermione hid her grin. 'Sour grapes much?' They chatted amiably for a few more minutes before another student entered the compartment, a rather tanned skin boy with dark hair and hazel eyes. Draco visibly warmed. "Zabini! Where have you been? You missed the entertainment earlier," he shook the boy's hand. Zabini smiled slightly before catching Hermione's eye. "Zabini, this is Granger. Hermione, this is Blaise Zabini. We grew up together in Wiltshire," Draco introduced the two before making room for Blaise next to him. Hermione took note that the boy was rather quiet, only speaking when asked a question, but seemed friendly enough.

One by one, a few more entered the compartment, including an unfortunate looking brunette by the name of Pansy Parkinson, who only deigned to turn up her little pug nose at Hermione. Theodore Nott was a tall looking studious boy with smart-looking glasses perched on his aristocratic nose. Hermione noted she might have a study partnership in the future with him, as he seemed to enjoy reading as much as she did. Gregory Goyle seemed nice enough, if not dull, along with the boy next to him, Crabbe. Finally, voices down the corridor alerted them to change into their school robes as they were approaching Hogwarts.

Hermione felt her heart start to beat faster as she slipped an arm into the voluminous black sleeves of her outer school robe. The Hogwarts crest displayed proudly on her chest but she knew it was charmed to change to her House crest after her sorting. As the train finally pulled to a stop, it was a mad rush to exit the train, except for their compartment, which waited patiently for the hall to clear before exiting. "First years! First years come this way! Follow me!" A booming deep voice permeated the night as the largest man Hermione had ever seen stood in front of the sign that indicated the entrance to a lake. They all made their way to the cluster of other small children and Hermione noted Harry Potter was in the back with his ginger friend and another black haired boy. They were all shooting them glares.

"Listen up First Years! My name is Hagrid and I'm the groundskeeper of Hogwarts. Since it is your first time here, we will be taking boats across the Black Lake. Follow me down this path," the giant man lumbered, turning his back to lead the way with his lantern. They shuffled along and she got into a small boat with Draco, Blaise, and Pansy. Wordlessly, they all stared in awe as the boats drew closer to the school, which was a magnificent castle that stood out like a beautiful beacon in the dark. They were still in awe as Hagrid led them through the front doors and to a stern looking older witch in a large black hat.

"Good evening students, I am Deputy Headmistress McGonagall. I am the professor of Transfiguration and Head of House for Gryffindor. You will all line up alphabetically by last name, starting with Abbott, Hannah," Professor McGonagall ordered, smiling as they all scrambled to their places. Hermione noted she was next to Goyle and smiled slightly at him. "Are you nervous?" she asked. Greg smirked slightly and shook his head. "Nah, my family was all in Slytherin, and that's where I'm going too," he said confidently. The little witch frowned slightly. It bothered her that everyone seemed to know what House they were going to based on their family's history. She was left in the dark, seeing as her parents weren't magical. One by one their names were called and they sat on a small stool in front of the whole school as a dirty old hat was placed on their head. Hannah Abbot smiled brightly when the hat shouted 'HUFFLEPUFF!' and bounced off to a table filled with yellow and black robes.

Soon, it was her turn, and she gracefully went up the steps to sit on the stool. Professor McGonagall placed the hat on her head and was quite startled by the voice in her head. "Well well well, what do we have here? A studious little thing if I've ever seen one, and I've seen them all. Rowena Ravenclaw would be proud to call you one of her own…. but…there's something else here...while you are very clever, you are more of the cunning sort I see. Ambitious! Very ambitious…. a thirst for those to know how special you really are. You are one who will use your knowledge for power, instead of knowledge for knowledge's sake. Hmm….but a muggleborn...unusual, very unusual indeed…" the hat seemed to be taking a bit longer than the previous students and Hermione was getting rather nervous. "Just do it already!" she urged, knowing where this was going. The hat sniffed at her. "Hmmm, alright then, if you insist, it must be…SLYTHERIN!" it shouted, as Hermione smiled and went to her new House of green and silver. She missed the look of concern on Professor McGonagall's face and the frown on the dark looking professor at the edge of the Head table.

Hermione nodded to Greg, who had been sorted just before her into Slytherin, as he predicted, and sat next to him. She turned to watch the rest of the sorting, smiling softly to Draco and Theodore as they joined them and giving a much smaller nod to Pansy, who ignored her. Suddenly, Harry Potter was seated on the seat and she would swear the whole Hall held its collective breath. She noted the hat took its time with him, as it did with her, and was only slightly disappointed when Potter was claimed for Gryffindor. She noted his two friends he had been standing with were also sorted to Gryffindor. Soon enough, after Headmaster Dumbledore said a rather confusing speech, food magically appeared in front of them. She tried her best to not look too surprised or excited, since no one else at her table was. She assumed the majority of the school was all children from magical families and she had come to realize that not being from a magical family was quickly becoming a disadvantage to her.

After the meal, a fifth year boy and girl stood up and announced the first years were to follow them to their dormitories. She stood up and made her way near the front of their small group, and followed the blonde prefect girl to the common room. It was a rather beautiful space, in greens with lots of wood and stone accents. Their House banner was proudly displayed over the ornate fireplace, and she realized when she looked out the windows that they weren't just in the dungeons of the castle, but underwater! The common room had an almost murky green light filtering through it as the water rippled slightly.

The girls followed the female prefect, Flaviola, up the stairway to a door labeled 'First Year Girls'. Upon entering, there were five large canopied green beds that each had their trunk placed in front. Hermione found hers near the bathroom door, and smirked slightly to note that Pansy was on the opposite side of the room. Next to her was a rather large brunette girl, who introduced herself as Millicent Bulstrode. Beside Millicent was the sweet looking, auburn haired Tracey Davis, and next to Pansy was a blonde beauty by the name of Daphne Greengrass.

Even though she was dead tired from the wholly exciting day, Hermione found herself being summoned by none other than her new Head of House, Professor Snape. The other girls shot her a quick look of curiosity but didn't ask any questions as the girl left and exited their dorm, down to the Professor's office where he was waiting for her. The frizzy girl tried not to look as nervous as she felt, knowing magical or not, it was never a good sign to be called to a professor's office the first day. Snape eyed her with the blackest eyes she'd ever seen on another human being, before tilting his impossibly large nose up slightly to sneer at her.

"Miss Granger…the first muggleborn student I've ever seen sorted into Slytherin. Were you aware of this when the Sorting Hat foolishly placed you into my House?" he asked in a deeply hypnotic voice, silky words that stung her. She gulped slightly and shook her head. "No, sir. The Sorting Hat said I was very unusual, and originally thought to place me in Ravenclaw," she explained, not moving from the spot by the door since he had not invited her to sit. As if reading her mind, he jabbed a long pale finger to the seat in front of his desk.

"You might as well sit, you will be here longer than either of us wishes."

Hermione slid wordlessly into the stiff-backed chair and looked at the desk in front of her. Snape sighed. "Ravenclaw would have been the safer choice for you, Miss Granger. Slytherin House does not take kindly to those of less than pure blood. I would advise you to keep your muggle heritage to yourself, for your own good. These are the scions of very old families, Miss Granger, and it would only harm you to stand out. Appear too eager and they will smell blood. Now, it is a credit to you that the Hat thought to put you in Ravenclaw and I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you are a clever girl. Learn from your housemates the proper ways of Slytherin House and be as cunning and ambitious as the rest of us, so there will be no question that you belong," he sneered down at her, noting that she seemed to give nothing away on her actual feelings. Good.

Hermione took in all that her Head was telling and stored it away for future use. She thought back to how the others of her House seemed very blasé about their surroundings and took their places as students of magic for granted…because they could. It was a given that they would be a Hogwarts student from birth, as were their parents, and their children would be as well. She was only here by a single change in her DNA that allowed her the ability to use a wand. She was an accident, not chosen. She stomped out her feelings of disappointment and promised herself that she would do all she could to make the most of her abilities to prove, if only to herself, that she was just as good of a witch as any other.

"I understand, Professor. I have a question, if I may ask?" she didn't meet his eyes and kept them on the plain desk. Snape raised a brow. "Go on." Hermione finally gazed up to him. "Does Hector Dagworth-Granger have any relatives?" she asked sweetly. Lips turning up ever so slightly at the corner, Snape nodded. "Why, dare I ask, are you interested in a Potion Master's relations?" he drawled, already seeing where the line of questioning was going. "A boy on the train asked, Draco Malfoy, if I was related to him. I said yes immediately, seeing as my ability to sit in his compartment was on the line. Is it possible for me to be related, even distantly? I would hate to be found out a liar," she asked, watching as the older wizard's face creased slightly at the question. "You sat with Draco Malfoy on the Express? His family is one of the oldest and most pureblooded lines in the country. Are you telling me he let you sit with him and converse?" he asked, slightly surprised. The fluff of brown hair in front of him nodded.

"Hmm, perhaps you will do just fine in Slytherin, Miss Granger. To fool a Malfoy into thinking you're one of them is no easy feat, especially for a slip of a girl such as yourself," he murmured, considering her closer now. "To answer your question, yes, it is possible to be related to Dagworth-Granger. There are a few squibs in every pureblood family that manage to live in the muggle world and procreate. The magical gene is greatly diminished but not gone as they intermarry with muggles. It would not be out of the realm of possibility that your father is an offspring of such a squib. All muggleborn children are related to a squib of a pureblood family down the line somewhere," he explained. Hermione nodded and vowed to do further research.

Snape finally dismissed her and she exited quickly to her dormitory, where thankfully, the other girls didn't start grilling her on her meeting with Snape. Preparing herself for bed, she realized the next seven years would either make or break her status in the wizarding world. If she slipped and couldn't 'belong', as Professor Snape said, then she would always be on the outside looking in as far as wizarding society went. Closing her eyes with renewed determination, Hermione vowed to be the best witch she could, and never let anyone know she came from 'lesser' stock.