Disclaimer: I don't own anything, really.


The Time Of Our Lives

Chapter 5


"I want to give my O.W.L's again, professor." Hermione spoke up as soon as she entered Dumbledore's office. The Headmaster looked up from his copy of the Daily Prophet and peered at Hermione over his half moon spectacles, his piercing blue eyes narrowing ever so slightly.

Over the course of the next few days, Hermione met up with Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall once more in order to discuss her O.W.L's. While Dumbledore insisted that it wasn't necessary for her to appear for the exams, she wouldn't budge. Hermione was downright paranoid as far as her examination results were concerned and since she had never gotten around to knowing her actual O.W.L result from her own timeline, she wanted to take the exams again and determine where she stood.

After a somewhat lengthy discussion, Dumbledore finally relented and Hermione got busy with revision, appearing far more enthusiastic than any student had a right to be as far as exams were concerned. As she pored over her books, she found out that strangely, the course material from 1976 was more or less the same as the course material from 1996. By the time the week was over, she was done with most of her exams and was severely exhausted.

Her last exam was Defense against the Dark Arts. Stifling a yawn behind her hand, she patted down on her disheveled hair as she made her way to the classroom she had been assigned to. Since she was the only one giving the examination, a singular table had been placed in the middle of the room and a bored looking professor Parkinson was on invigilation duty, to Hermione's surprise.

"Barely on time." Professor Melania Parkinson, her new DADA teacher drawled as she glanced down at her silver pocket watch and arched an eyebrow at Hermione. "You know, at Durmstrang we deduct marks for such…tardiness."

Bewildered, Hermione checked her own wrist watch and saw that she was right on time. A minute early, in fact.

"I…um…" She shook her head as she took her seat, "You taught at Durmstrang, professor?" Hermione couldn't help but ask, feeling curious.

"Indeed." Professor Parkinson sighed, glancing around the room with a dreary expression. The woman was dressed formidably as usual but not without grace. Her high necked emerald green robe was form fitting and fell down to her ankles in perfect ripples. She had a long, swan like neck which was the envy many female students and she was rather good looking. She wore her long black curls in a high bun and never went without her signature red lipstick which reminded Hermione of the colour of wine.

Or blood, she thought with a slight shudder, instantly scolding herself for getting distracted.

With a flourish of her wand, the teacher levitated the question paper on to her table.

"I rather miss teaching at Durmstrang, you know." She continued, as if speaking to herself. She hadn't glanced at Hermione once since she had entered the room. "Better discipline, the correct environment to hone talent and…" her deep green eyes finally flickered to Hermione as she pursed her lips. "Selective enrollment."

Hermione understood at once what she was implying. No muggleborns.

"Don't tell Albus I said that, though. I rather need this job." She mused, casting her sorrowful eyes down to her lap. Hermione cleared her throat, "Of course." she responded a bit coldly.

"You're a smart girl, Hermione," Hermione jumped when she took her name. She didn't even know Professor Parkinson knew who she was. They had run into each other just one time after all, when she had gone to Dumbledore's office.

Melania Parkinson held her gaze for a moment, "I don't think I need to repeat the examination hall rules for you once again, do you, my love?" the change in her tone was abrupt and rather unnerving. It almost felt like she was going to say something else but changed her mind at the last moment.

"No, professor." Hermione affirmed, feeling somewhat uneasy.

"Well, you have two hours." Even before Professor Parkinson had finished speaking, Hermione had turned the question paper over and was already scanning the first question, relieved to put an end to their rather uncomfortable conversation.

What are the distinguishing characteristics of a werewolf?

Hermione smirked slightly as she dipped her quill into the ink. Piece of cake.

OoOoOoOoOoOo

After the examination was over, Hermione fretted over not being able to cram in a couple more lines to her already foot long answer about the restrictions surrounding the use of the three Unforgivable Curses. Melania Parkinson had shot her an incredulous glance after she had let out a disappointed whimper when her paper had been summoned.

"Get some rest; you look like you can use it." The teacher advised as she left the room. With a sigh, Hermione collected her stationary and placed it neatly in her satchel. She could really use a good night's sleep but her growling stomach said otherwise. She groaned when she saw that dinner was still an half an hour away. To pass the remaining time, she decided to head to the library to conduct some research of her own.

More often than not, Hermione found herself devising ways of sneaking into the restricted section of the library. She had thought about going to Professor Dumbledore himself to get herself a pass from him but the idea didn't agree with her.

If only I had Harry's invisibility cloak.

She stopped dead in her tracks as that thought crossed her mind. Harry's invisibility cloak had belonged to his father before it had landed with Dumbledore. And Harry's said father was making a fool out of himself as-

"Wormtail, look!" James shouted as he, Peter Pettigrew and Remus Lupin came into view as she turned a corner. Hermione stopped and looked at James with her arms crossed across her chest as he balanced his wand on his forehead.

"Three whole minutes!" Peter cheered while Remus hung back and shoved his hands into his pockets, appearing weary of his friend's nonsensical game.

"Really? How old are you? Five?" Hermione scoffed as she moved past the boys and headed towards the library. James scowled at her as he lost focus which resulted in his wand ending up on the floor. Hermione's gaze shifted to Remus as she walked past him and her step faltered slightly as she caught him looking at her as well. The last time she had seen him, he had been weak and hospitalized. Internally, she sighed in relief when she saw that he looked much better. His soft green eyes crinkled up slightly as he gave her a hesitant smile, which Hermione returned after a moment before leaving the gang behind.

Young or old, the kindness which reflected from Remus' soft gaze remained constant across time.

Finally, she reached the library and slumped down on the nearest table to catch her breath. She was almost as exhausted as she had been during her third year when she had decided to take extra classes with the help of the time turner assigned to her by the Ministry of Magic. She rested her head on top of the table, finding relief as the cool, polished wood caressed her cheek. She forgot about her research momentarily as she dozed off a few moments after closing her eyes.

She was jarred awake as a gang of Slytherins entered the library. They paid no mind to her as they claimed a table at the right wing, chattering rather loudly amongst themselves. Hermione frowned as she lifted her head to tell them off. This is a library, for Merlin's sake!

However, she paused with her mouth slightly open as she caught sight of a third year boy who was lounging on the table instead of the chair like a normal person should. He seemed somewhat familiar to Hermione but she couldn't place her finger on where she had seen him before. He had short, ink black hair and startling grey eyes, which rested beneath full brows.

"Did you see the look on McDonald's face? Oh Merlin," A sixth year Slytherin cackled, holding his stomach as an exaggeration of his glee.

"Avery, quiet." A nervous, blonde haired girl caste a suspicious glance around the room. "Someone will hear us and will know it was you."

"Like I'm scared." The cackling sixth year, apparently named Avery responded haughtily. "Anyway, it wasn't just me alone, was it?" He leaned over and clapped the grey eyed boy hard on the shoulder. He hid his wince well as he gave Avery a tight smile in return. "Reg here set the whole thing up."

Something tickled Hermione's calf beneath the table but she ignored it, inching to the right to catch the conversation. She knew that eavesdropping was a bad thing but she was too curious.

"She had it coming," Reg, the grey eyed boy, shrugged with an air of nonchalance but Hermione knew better. "Filthy blood traitor. As if I would ever be her friend!"

The blonde haired girl mimed vomiting and everyone laughed. From her desk, the librarian Madam Pince threw them a dirty glance, which went ignored.

When Hermione had been young, she didn't have many friends. She spent most of her time reading books and watching people instead of interacting with them. That habit had stuck with her and she grew up observing the people around her, watching them closely. Understanding them.

And right now, she could tell that even though this person named Reg had a bitter tongue, he did not mean half of what he said. As much as he tried to fit in with the gang of older Slytherins, he couldn't.

Hermione snapped out of her reverie as the word 'mudblood' caught her attention. Bristling up, she pushed back her chair to confront the bunch of buffoons but sat back down stunned as something grabbed her ankle beneath the table. Yelping slightly, she peered down and her eyes grew wide as she caught sight of Sirius Black cowering beneath the table, holding her ankle in place with one hand and making a shushing motion with the other.

"What are you-?" Hermione hissed, dropping her voice as some eyes shifted to her.

Sirius sighed, raking his fingers through his hair as Hermione wrenched her leg away from his grasp, her cheeks colouring slightly due the absurd position they were in.

"Don't make a noise, I'll explain everything later. I swear." Sirius tried explaining in a desperate tone but Hermione interrupted him.

"You were here the whole time? Why didn't you say anything?"

"Do we really have to play twenty questions right now?" Sirius shot back.

Hermione just stared at him incredulously, fidgeting with the hem of her skirt to cover as much of her legs as she could. Sirius was directly beneath her, for Merlin's sake! She couldn't even begin to explain how improper the whole thing was.

"Get out of here!"

"I can't!"

"I will-" Hermione shut up instantly as Madam Pince leaned over her shoulder, glaring at her with her hawk like eyes. "Is there a problem?"

"I…was just wondering if I can take this book back to my dorm?" She diverted hastily, pulling her chair in to block Sirius from her view right beneath her table. Her calf brushed against his thigh and she gritted her teeth as she tried to maintain a neutral expression.

Madam Pince narrowed her eyes ever so slightly, "Well, yes. This is a library. That's what you do here." She responded dryly. "As long as you follow the proper procedure."

"Right. You see, I am a transfer student for Beauxbatons and over there-" She never got a chance to finish her sentence as the librarian lost interest in her and went over to the gang of Slytherins to snap at them instead.

She let out a shaky breath and peered under the table, "Very slowly, get out of there and take a seat beside me. Do it!" She kicked Sirius with a foot to prompt him into action and he yelped lightly before springing up from beneath the table. He flopped down on a stool beside her when no one was looking and rubbed his shoulder as he cast Hermione a look of utter disdain.

"Were you by any chance spying on me?" Hermione asked him venomously, slamming her book shut.

"What?" Sirius appeared taken aback, "Why would I spy on you?"

"Oh really now?" Hermione hissed, "I can't account for your weak memory, Black but I remember each and every word you said to me in the common room rather vividly!"

"That was a joke! Merlin's pants." Sirius swore, "You may be the hot-shot of the week but I am not interested in you at all, Clearwater."

"Hot-Shot of the we-" Hermione clamped her mouth shut, feeling annoyed. Hogwarts didn't get many transfer students from the neighbouring schools and clearly, her presence was creating a stir amongst the student body. She had been subjected to stares and even pointing throughout the week but she had chosen to ignore it as best as she could.

"Alright," she nodded, "Then explain why in the name of Godric were you lurking beneath my table like a-a creep!"

Sirius dragged a hand over his face, appearing like the very image of exasperation. "It's not my fault that you chose the one table underneath which I was…I was…"

"You were what?" I swear to God, if you don't finish that sentence within the next ten seconds…

"Hey Regulus, say hi to your scum-loving brother!"

Both Hermione and Sirius turned to glance at the gang of Slytherins as they closed in on them from behind. Sirius immediately bristled up in his seat.

"He is not my brother." Regulus spat, crossing his arms across his chest as he met Sirius' steely gaze.

"I'd correct you but I am on the verge of getting disowned anyway," Sirius shrugged, trying to appear casual. "Bummer."

"Serves you right, filth lover." The blonde haired girl snorted, placing a hand on Regulus' shoulder. "Let's go."

"Got yourself a girlfriend Reggie?" Sirius asked, crossing his hands behind his neck as he stretched out on his chair.

"Not your business anymore, Black." Avery muttered in a sing song voice.

"Shut it," Regulus snarled, "You got yourself a girlfriend?" His eyes shifted to Hermione as a sneer crossed his face. "Let me guess, a mudblood?"

"Sirius, no!" Hermione spoke a second too late. Sirius had already leapt out of his chair and had slammed Regulus against the nearest bookshelf.

"I warned you not to use that word in front of me!" Sirius roared, tightening his hold around Regulus' collar.

Thankfully, before any actual harm could be done, Madam Pince broke up the fight and threw everyone out of the library with a strict warning.

"And stay out!" She hissed, slamming the door on their faces.

"Black...Sirius... come on." Hermione shouldered her bag and tugged at his arm. Avery was leering at him dangerously a few meters away and the blonde haired girl was attending to Regulus, who appeared shaken. "Don't be an idiot."

For a moment, it looked like Sirius would yank his hand out of Hermione's grasp but to her surprise, he relented, letting her drag him away.

"Does Beauxbatons allow Mudbloods in? Aren't the French like, supposed to be sophisticated and all?" The girl whispered in Regulus' ear. Irritated, he brushed her off. "Not now, Stacy."

"We won't forget, scum lover!" Avery called out from behind them.

"Ignore them." Hermione stressed.

"Don't worry Avery," Sirius responded darkly, not paying any attention to her. "Neither would I."

OoOoOoOoOoOoOo

"What was that?" Hermione asked Sirius as soon as they were out of sight.

"He called you a Mudblood!" Sirius exclaimed loudly, "Are you deaf?"

"I've been called worse, it doesn't matter." Hermione replied truthfully as Draco Malfoy's pale, pointed face flashed in her mind. "You could have gotten yourself into some serious trouble."

Instead of saying anything, Sirius' frown melted away as he gave her a lazy grin.

"What? Oh no, don't even start that." Hermione sighed as Sirius let out a low chuckle.

"You can't expect to use words like 'serious' in front of me and-"

"Okay, okay I get it." Hermione rolled her eyes. "But really, you need to stop being so impulsive."

"You hardly even know me." Sirius frowned.

"I know enough."

A short silence followed as they walked side by side, heading straight for the Great Hall.

"He- Regulus- he is your brother, isn't he?" Hermione asked him softly.

Sirius simply shrugged.

"You were spying on him." Hermione connected the dots.

"Now, spying is a big wor- okay, yeah. I was." He admitted, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly. "I worry about him sometimes. He's not-" He stopped speaking, his dense grey eyes flitting to look down at Hermione as if realizing that he had said too much."Nevermind."

She chose not to push him even though she was burning with curiosity.

"Hey Hermione?"

"Yes?" She looked up at him, a bit startled.

"You're still holding my hand." His eyes shifted down to their conjoined hands. Immediately, she let him go as if burned. A low, bark like chuckle escaped Sirius' mouth as he flicked his head to push a stray fringe back.

"You look like you're going to drop dead any second, by the way. You're giving Prongs-er, James- a run for his money going by the state of your hair. Hey-hey, are you okay?"

Hermione didn't get a chance to reply as she swayed dangerously. Had it not been for Sirius' grip around her elbow, she would have tumbled head first down the stairs.

"Clearwater? Er-Hermione?"

"I-I am okay." She took a deep breath as everything came back into focus. Her stomach rumbled loudly as if on cue and Sirius' frown morphed into an amused expression.

"Don't." Hermione warned him, wrenching her arm out of his grip. "I haven't eaten anything all day."

"Don't tell me you're on a diet or something. You're already skinny."

"I am not dieting! I am against-!" She spluttered. "And for your kind information, I am not skinny either! What even brought forth such an atrocious-?"

"Go eat something before your stomach digests itself, Clearwater." To her utter horror, Sirius mussed up her hair as he walked past her, leaving her in a state of dishevelment worse than before.

OoOoOoOoOo

On Sunday morning, Hermione was one of the first people out of bed. She took a long, hot shower and was in the process of towel drying her hair in her temporary, empty dorm when an owl swooped through the open window. Hermione let out a scream as she dropped her towel on the floor and snatched the envelope out of the owl's beak.

With trembling fingers, she broke the Hogwarts seal and unfolded the piece of paper which held her O.W.L results.


ORDINARY WIZARDING LEVEL RESULTS

Pass Grades:

Outstanding (O)

Exceeds Expectations (O)

Acceptable (A)

Fail Grades:

Poor (P)

Dreadful (D)

Troll (T)

HERMIONE JEAN GRANGER HAS ACHIEVED:

Ancient Runes: O

Arthimancy: O

Astronomy: O

Care of Magical Creatures: O

Defence Against the Dark Arts: O

Herbology: O

Potions: O

Transfiguration: O


Slowly, Hermione exhaled; surprised that she had been holding her breath the whole time. She had managed to achieve an 'Outstanding' in each and every single examination despite the limited time she had for revision.

"Er…hello?"

Hermione looked up from the parchment and saw a girl with flaming hair standing at the doorway to her dorm. Her eyes widened when she realized who it was. She had passed the girl many times in the corridors but they had never spoken to each other until now. She had bright, emerald green eyes which reminded her so much of Harry and there was something about the way she carried herself that brought forth memories of her good friend and confidante, Ginny. Also, the red hair helped.

At that moment she realised just how terribly she missed her friends.

"Hey," Hermione responded breathily, snapping her mouth shut quickly as she realized that she was openly gaping at Lily Evans. Harry Potter's mother.

"I thought I heard someone scream and just wanted to check if everything was okay…" She trailed off.

"Oh um, its nothing." Hermione chuckled nervously, "I just got my O.W.L result, that's all."

"Oh yes, you're the transfer student from Beauxbatons, right?" Lily's eyes flashed with realisation. "News travels fast." She added almost sheepishly as Hermione looked momentarily startled.

Does everyone know who I am? This is not helping. Hermione wasn't particularly enjoying the scrutiny she was being placed under by the student body. Her initial plan had been to blend in and not attract attention. One wrong step and she could end up changing the future in drastic ways. What if I already am simply by being where I am not supposed to be?

"Oh, how silly of me! I am Lily Evans." The red head extended her hand with a soft smile on her face. Eagerly, Hermione took it, inviting her into her room.

"Hermione Gr-Clearwater." She caught herself just on time.

"Merlin's Beard!" Lily gasped as her eyes strayed to Hermione's O.W.L result which was lying atop the bed. "You scored an 'Outstanding' in every single subject!"

Hermione blushed, hastily folding up her result and stuffing it back into the envelope.

"You're the first person in our year to do that." Lily continued, oblivious to Hermione's embarrassment. "You even beat me." She added seriously.

"Oh…um…"

"Come on, lighten up!" Lily laughed and Hermione heaved a sigh of relief when she realized that she was only joking. "I lagged behind in Herbology. It's not my cup of tea, to be honest."

"Merlin Lily, it's a Sunday morning, tone down your yammering!" An irritated female voice floated down from the hallway.

"Ah, that would be our lovely Miss McKinnon." Lily rolled her eyes at Hermione.

"You're a morning person like me, I assume." Hermione replied, to which Lily nodded.

"Always have been," she confirmed. "Alice-my friend and dorm mate- used to think way back in our first year that I was suffering from some sort of sleeping disorder!" Lily laughed and Hermione joined in, warming up to the red headed girl by the moment.

"Can you tell me where dorm 312 is? Now that I am officially a part of Hogwarts, I'm supposed to move into a more permanent dorm." Hermione explained to Lily as she collected her belongings and placed them neatly in her trunk. With a flick of her wand, she folded her clothes and levitated from her closet to her trunk.

"312, you say?" Lily grinned. "Why, Hermione, that would be my dorm. Neat, by the way. I can never fold clothes like you do." She nodded towards Hermione's trunk, looking impressed.

Hermione's heart leapt. Sharing a dorm with Harry's mother?

"I can teach you!" She responded enthusiastically. "It's all about how you move your wrist, really. It's a simple spell theoretically but of course, applying it practically is different. That's why I always stress that actually using the spells we spend hours memorizing is important."

Lily looked even more impressed at Hermione's little monologue and watched keenly as she demonstrated the correct wrist movement.

"Now you try."

"Now? Oh, okay." She muttered the spell under her breath and copied the wrist movement Hermione had displayed moments before precisely, giving a small cheer as the towel which Hermione had dropped folded itself neatly.

"You, my friend, are going to be immensely useful." Lily grinned, beckoning to Hermione. "Come on, I'll show you our dorm and introduce you to the others. We can move your stuff in after breakfast."

Friend. She called me a friend.

Brimming with emotion, Hermione followed Lily out of her temporary dorm and down to hallway till they reached dorm 312 and Lily flung the door open. "Girls, get up already!"

"Merlin, Lils!" A woman with short, spiky hair pulled a pillow over her face as the curtains sprang back at a flick from Lily's wand, letting sunlight stream in. "This is physically painful to my eyes!"

"Oh don't be dramatic, Alice." Lily rolled her eyes at Hermione. "I want you all to meet someone."

"Not interested." Another voice spoke up from beneath the blankets.

"Marlene, don't be rude!" Lily snapped.

"I'll be whatever I want when you decide to wake up me at an ungodly hour on a Sunday morning." The voice added sleepily.

"It's…um…fine, really." Hermione tried but Lily cut her off.

"Marls, come on, don't you wanna meet out new dorm mate?"

"What?" Finally, the girl Lily was referring to as Marlene emerged from beneath her blankets and sat up on her bed. Alice too was in the process of shuffling to the bathroom. Hermione noticed that the corner most bed was empty but a trunk was visible beneath the bed.

"Oh, so the French chick has been assigned to our dorm? Cheers." Marlene said dryly. She had long, blonde hair and her eyes were a startling shade of blue.

"I am not actually French." Hermione corrected her from behind Lily even as the red head shot her an apologetic look.

"Well girls, this is Hermione Clearwater. Hermione, that's Alice over there and this is Marlene." Lily pointed to each girl as she introduced them. "As you can see, Marlene loves being sarcastic. I wouldn't take it personally."

"Love you too, Lils." Marlene snorted, stepping out of her bed. She threw her head back and collected her long, blonde tresses in order to make a bun on top of her head. Hermione simply gawked at her, amazed at the way Marlene carried herself. She looked like she had stepped out of a muggle fashion magazine even at seven in the morning.

"Well, I guess it was nice meeting you Miss Not-French," Marlene nodded at Hermione as she joined Alice in the bathroom to brush her teeth.

"I guess." Hermione frowned, stepping out of her way to let her pass.

"Alright!" Lily clapped her hands, diverting Hermione's attention. "We have another dorm mate you haven't met yet. Her name is Mary McDonald and-" Lily's face fell slightly.

"McDonald? I've heard that name before." Hermione mused.

"Oh?" Lily arched an eyebrow.

"Oh, yes! Some Slytherins were talking about her in the library the other day…" Hermione trailed off, "Is something the matter?" She asked, even though she already knew the answer.

"Mary was the victim of an attack a few days back. She is currently in the Hospital Wing." Lily explained tersely. Hermione gasped.

"Will she be okay?"

"Oh, yes, definitely. She was pushed down the stairs and has a fractured leg and several cuts but Madam Pomfrey-the matron- has assured us that she will be fine in a week or so."

"Someone actually pushed her down the stairs?" Hermione's eyebrows threatened to disappear into her hairline. "That's-that's…"

"Horrible, I know." Lily sighed, sinking down on her bed.

"It was her own damn fault." Marlene quipped in, striding back to her bed and flopping down on top of the covers.

"Marls!" Alice admonished her, emerging from the bathroom after Marlene. "Don't say that!"

"The truth is harsh, eh?" Marlene chuckled humourlessly. Lily and Alice exchanged an exasperated glance. Hermione shifted her balance uncomfortably from one foot to another. "Maybe I should…er…come back later-"

"No, no you're good." Alice assured her with a smile. "You're out dorm mate now, might as well join in on the gossip and drama."

"I mean, I know Mary can be a bit naïve sometimes but getting all chummy with those idiotic snakes and not expecting any repercussions is way out there, even for her." Marlene continued, ignoring Alice and Hermione.

"I had friends in Slytherin too, Marls." Lily pitched in, a bit hurt.

"And we all saw how that one ended. Did you enjoy being called a 'mudblood' in front of half the student body by stupid Snivellus?" Marlene shot back.

"Marlene!" Alice warned her. "Don't start that now. Lily-" she turned to her friend but she had already left the room.

Hermione decided to go after Lily. It was better than standing around listening to Marlene's hostile ramblings. "I'll go check on her." She said quickly and exited the room, following Lily to the common room.

"Are you okay?" Hermione asked her softly, hanging back slightly. She had never been good with having female friends. Back in her own timeline, her only friends were Ron, Harry and Ginny. Ginny was not like the other girls and that had helped their friendship grow over the years. Hermione barely suppressed a shudder as she thought about her old roommates. Parvati and Lavender didn't interact with her much but whenever they did, it didn't end well. They had nothing in common and all they were interested in was gossip and boys.

The mere thought of it made Hermione cringe.

"I am so sorry, Hermione. Marlene can be a bit…difficult at times." Lily sighed, patting the seat beside her on the sofa.

"You don't have to apologise on her behalf." Hermione assured her as she sat down. "I don't understand, however. What's her problem?"

"She has always been like that, I am afraid. It gets easier once you actually get to know her but she can get a bit hard to handle at times. She is a really nice person, though." Lily added quickly. "And one of my closest friends despite everything."

That's a bit hard to imagine. "I see. I think she doesn't like me very much, though." Hermione shrugged.

"No, no it's not like that." Lily assured her hastily. "It's just…" she played with a strand of her hair as she talked, "It's our friend, Mary. Ever since she was attacked, Marlene has been on the edge. We all have been, really."

Before Hermione could respond however, James Potter stumbled down the stairs from the boy's dormitories and stretched like a cat, groaning as he did so. His glasses were slightly askew and his hair was sticking out in all directions.

"Oh Merlin..." Lily muttered under her breath as James caught sight of them and bounded up to them like an excited puppy.

"Alright, Evans?" He flopped down on the armchair adjacent from Lily and crossed his legs regally on the table. After receiving a glare from Lily however, he uncrossed his legs and sat up straight. "Oh hey, Hermione."

"Good morning, James." Hermione smiled at him.

"You two know each other?" Lily asked, as if reconsidering her recently instated friendship with Hermione.

"You can say that, I suppose." Hermione responded, feeling thoroughly amused by the tension between James and Lily.

"Hey Evans, guess what?" James began happily.

"I don't want to."

"Come on!"

"No! Leave me alone, Potter."

"I balanced my wand on top of my head for three and a half minutes yesterday." James boasted proudly, puffing out his chest.

"And that information is supposed to make me swoon and fall in love with you?" Lily questioned him haltingly, as if questioning his sanity.

"It was three minutes and barely fifteen seconds, Evans. Bloke is lying through his teeth." Peter called out from behind them. The common room was slowly beginning to fill with people as the morning progressed.

"Oi!" James protested. "I was merely quoting a well rounded estimate!"

"I…am out of here. I will see you later, Hermione." After shooting James a look of disdain, she stomped across the length of the common room and exited through the portrait hole.

"What did I do?" James whined to anyone who would listen.

"You might want to work on your…er…flirting techniques, James." Hermione pointed out as she picked up someone's copy of Advanced Potion Making from the side table and riffled through it.

"Isn't three minutes impressive, Hermione?" James asked her, the very image of sadness.

"It is!" Peter assured him, sitting down beside James. Hermione shifted on her seat uncomfortably and tried not to look at Peter Pettigrew, who was still very much a traitor in her mind.

"It's not that," Hermione shook her head, wondering if James was actually being serious. "To actually get a girl to like you, you have to be a bit…let's see…mature."

"I can be mature." James deadpanned.

"Then prove it to her." Hermione encouraged him.

"Right. Thanks, Hermione!" He beamed at her and Hermione felt her heart melt further. It was almost like dealing with Harry and the thought brought some comfort to her.

Hermione went back to reading Advanced Potion Making, trying to catch up with the sixth year's course material. Since the session had already started, she was lagging behind a little. However, she couldn't concentrate for long as Sirius barged in through the portrait hole, holding his broom against his shoulder.

"What's up, suckers?" He asked, flopping down on the floor beside Hermione's legs, leaning his head on the sofa cushion just beside her knee. Scandalized, she scooted over to the other end of the sofa and threw him a dirty look.

"Wormy, am I going blind or something? I think I need to change my glasses." James quipped in.

"I think I need new eyes altogether." Peter mumbled, rubbing his eyes for effect.

"What? Oh come on," Sirius rolled his eyes. "I am very much capable of getting up early on a Sunday morning. Anything for Quidditch."

Hermione noticed that Sirius' clothes were damp and his hair was windswept. She snorted slightly.

"Problem?" Sirius asked her as he lolled his head to the side to look at her and quirked a dark eyebrow.

"If only you showed half as much enthusiasm for other, actually productive stuff as you do for something as insignificant and not to mention, highly dangerous and idiotic like Quiddit-"

She couldn't even finish her sentence due to the uproar that followed.

"What?" James slumped back in his armchair, looking aghast.

"You've got to be kidding me. Take that back!" Peter protested.

"I think I just died a little inside." Sirius responded numbly. "You don't like Quidditch? Moony!" Sirius jumped up to greet his friend as he came downstairs, freshly showered and dressed. "She-she doesn't like Quidditch!"

"Oh for God's sake!" Hermione rolled her eyes. "Yes, I don't! My happiness does not depend upon an illogical sport like-"

"I'd stop right there if I were you." James advised her as Sirius threw her a murderous look.

"Don't worry; I'm not big on Quidditch either." Remus Lupin shrugged as he glanced down at the seat beside Hermione. "Can I-?"

"Yes, of course. Logical minded people are always welcome." Hermione turned her nose up haughtily and for the first time, Remus cracked a grin.

"Uh-oh. New mission: Keep Moony and Clearwater apart." Sirius muttered under his breath, glancing nervously between Hermione and Remus.

"Ignore him. I do." Remus muttered to Hermione. Peter was still trying to cheer James up after Hermione's recent Quidditch bashing and Sirius was alternating glares between Hermione and Remus.

"Oh trust me," Hermione smirked, feeling for the first time that she actually might fit in. "I plan to."


This chapter was longer than the previous ones. Things are finally falling into place for Hermione and she is settling down and meeting all sorts of new people.

Oh, by the way, I really want to know everyone's thoughts on 'Cursed Child'. What did you think? I personally don't know how to feel about it, to be honest. Is it just me or did the whole thing seem very OOC?

Another thing! As far as characterization goes, I personally imagine James Potter as Aaron Taylor Johnson, Sirius Black as Ben Barnes and Remus Lupin as Andrew Garfield. I still haven't picked an actor for Peter Pettigrew though...

Also, if it makes it easier to imagine, I see Karen Gillan as Lily and Natalie Dormer as Marlene. Of course, you are free to imagine whoever you think suits the roles best!

R&R por favor!