Worlds Apart –answer to the_cutter82's challenge on WIKTT. Hermione has returned to Hogwarts as the new Muggle Studies Professor. She organises a trip to London for her 7th year students. One minor thingy: I didn't set it in the very first week of term, although the story does start there; the actual trip takes place the first weekend of October. I couldn't really work out how she'd go with so little preparation, and I liked to work the development of the idea into the story itself.
I do not know London but I found a number of wonderful websites to help me. The Strand hotel really exists, and it even pretty much looks like I describe it. I liked their size, their location, and the great pics on their website so I could give the story a realistic setting. Kudos to their webmaster and I'm sure that it usually is a much more safe and quiet place to stay than on the weekend I've described here..;) I also tried to look up the other places in the story but real Londoners will no doubt still find errors. Sorry about that!
Category: Romance (obviously), humor (should also be obvious with this plot :P) and also some angst, 'cause I don't believe in those stories where S + H fall into each others arms the moment they see each other and never have a single care afterwards… believably putting them together in their first weekend is a major challenge as it is!
Rating: R, for chapter 6. (that's here on Fanfiction.net. NC-17 version is going to be posted elsewhere, probably on Whispers) The rest is pretty safe, PG or PG-13 for some language.
Pairing: SS/HG only. I don't disapprove of slash but I don't know enough about it to write belie7vably; Sirius and Remus are just good friends J
Disclaimer: I don't own them. J.K. Rowling does. I only play with them!
1. The idea.
Hermione watched the 7th years students as they rushed out of the room, eager to get to lunch. She sighed. This was their last year, and while they knew quite a lot of things about the Muggles, she still seriously doubted they would be able to handle themselves in the Muggle world.
It wasn't that their previous teacher was bad. Professor Tate had taught them everything that was in the curriculum. But it had been all theory. Technology didn't work at Hogwarts so even small appliances had only been shown, not demonstrated. Hermione recalled the first time she had used a mixer, splattering pancake batter all over the kitchen, and a toaster, burning the toast to a crisp. Of course, she had been much, much younger then, but she suspected many of these almost adult students would make the same mistakes if they ever had to use these objects. Kinda-sorta knowing how something worked just wasn't enough.
She had also discovered the students didn't really understand larger Muggle equipment, which could be more dangerous. Nathan Plunge had just told how he'd tried to drive a Muggle car during the summer, after all, late last year they had covered how it worked. He'd received a good grade for the test, so he'd figured he would try it out. Renting a vehicle with a driver's licence he'd conjured, he had driven into London. Going exactly the speed limit, he had almost hit a number of objects, people everywhere had honked their horns at him –it wasn't his fault they were going so slow, was it? He knew the speed limit was higher than that, and the fact that there were so many cars on the road should not be a problem if everyone had just kept moving fast enough! Thank Merlin he'd been smart enough to turn around and return the car after five minutes and ten near-misses. But it was a good illustration of how the students knew the theory of the Muggle world but lacked any actual experience.
And how could she give them that experience? Stories like Mr. Plunge's helped, of course. She wished she could show them a few videos of Muggles going about their business, or some Muggle movies, but of course a television and VCR didn't work at Hogwarts either. Or, well, could they take a field trip? She knew she could show them more in one weekend than she'd be able to tell using just words in the entire semester. There were students who'd never even actually used a light switch, or used a working telephone. A field trip would be a great learning experience!
Quite taken with the idea, Hermione went to lunch, determined to work out the idea and present it to the rest of the staff.
Albus listened intently to Hermione. Before she was finished, she already knew the idea would have his approval, the Headmaster's eyes twinkled and he smiled as she presented her idea.
"Of course, you realise this is quite a responsibility you are taking," he said as she finished speaking. "Taking eighteen teenage wizards and witches into the Muggle world. There are a lot of things that can cause the Muggles to notice you and your little group."
"I realise that," Hermione replied. "But at least I'll be there to step in when things go wrong. If they go out on their own, they'll make more mistakes and no one will be there to help them out. That can easily cause as many or more incidents."
"It'll be hard to keep an eye on eighteen students," Albus remarked.
"I had intended to ask Sirius and Remus to come along, if they want to of course," Hermione replied.
"Sirius and Remus? Are you sure that's wise?"
Sirius would with great regularity pull pranks on the rest of the staff and while Remus tried hard to pretend he thought it silly and childish, too, he was a lousy liar and the entire staff knew he enjoyed his school friend's jokes.
"They may still like a prank or two, but they're serious enough in front of the students," Hermione argued.
"Well, if you can get them to agree, I will see about getting approval from the School Board. Their permission is required for any field trip into the Muggle world," Albus said.
"Thank you, Albus," Hermione replied. She left the Headmaster's office in good spirits.
Sirius and Remus agreed immediately to come. Neither knew much about the Muggle world, but they'd both been in Muggle London once or twice.
Hermione started to make preparations, quite confident in the Headmaster's ability to get permission for the trip, although she was not about to tell the students until she was sure the trip would take place. She requested and received information on London hotels, and picked a tentative date, the first weekend of October. Hopefully it wouldn't be as cold and dreary yet as it would be later in winter. It'd give her only a few weeks to prepare her class, depending on when the Headmaster would get the Board's permission, but she would manage.
Just a week after she had first spoken to Albus, he stopped her after lunch.
"Ah, Hermione. You'll be pleased to hear I received an owl from the school board this morning, they have granted permission for your proposed trip. As a matter of fact they think it is a great idea…"
"But?" Hermione asked, as the Headmaster trailed off.
"There seems to be a rule that requires at least one teacher for every five students. I admit I'd forgotten about that one; we haven't had any field trips in a very long time."
Hermione frowned. That wasn't the worst obstacle, but she wasn't immediately sure who she would ask.
"I'll ask some of the other Professors, perhaps Filius will come," she said. "Oh, unless you would like to?"
"No, thank you," the Headmaster laughed. "I'm a little too old to chaperone a bunch of rowdy teenagers."
Hermione nodded. She hadn't really expected him to say yes, he'd stand out in the Muggle world no matter what he wore. But she was sure she'd find someone, after all it would be a change from routine for them, too.
Several hours later, she was getting worried. Filius argued he, too, would stand out too much. Minerva was too busy. Anita Sprout couldn't leave her plants unattended for two days without a lot of extra work. Everyone had some valid reason not to go, and the only one she hadn't asked yet was Snape. Even now that they were colleagues, and she was on first-name basis with the rest of the staff, she never really thought of him as Severus. He was still as harsh and distant as ever, although he didn't pick on her as much as he did when she was still a student, and the honour of being Snape's most hated colleague went to Sirius. Who would be coming for sure. Perhaps she'd better try Irma again and offer to help clean up any mess the students made in the library over the weekend? No, that wouldn't work, the librarian had been apologetic but also quite determined.
Sighing, she walked down to the dungeons and knocked on Snape's office door.
Professor Snape was grading papers when she entered. He glance up briefly, then went back to reading.
"What do you want?" He didn't bother looking at her as he spoke, instead marking a passage on the parchment he had in front of him.
"I have been planning a field trip with my 7th year class," Hermione started.
"I heard something like that. I think it's a recipe for disaster, taking a group of teenagers into the Muggle world. But if you want me to excuse them from their Friday afternoon class, you can forget it." He finished the paper he had worked on, put it aside and picked up the next, still not bothering to look up.
Oh, that was promising. Not that she'd expected he'd like the idea, of course.
"That wasn't what I wanted to ask you. We'll be leaving after class is over, and we'll be returning Sunday after lunch," Hermione said.
"Then what is it you want?" Snape asked. Then finally he stopped reading, put down his quill and looked at her. "This better not be what I think it will be, 'cause I won't, and nothing you say will make me."
She hadn't even had the chance to ask, what good would it do to argue? Still, she really, really wanted to go through with this.
"It's only a weekend. And I've planned several activities that might be of interest, have you ever been to the British Museum?" Hermione tried. She knew next to nothing about him, but she guessed he would be interested in culture. If he had any interests apart from potions and subtracting points from Gryffindors.
"No, I have not. Nor am I interested in visiting the place, or any other, with a large group of rowdy students."
"It would do you good to get out of the castle for a change, Severus."
Hermione jumped, she had not heard the Headmaster walk up behind her.
Snape held up his hands. "Oh, no, I do not want to get involved in this."
"When was the last time you have gone beyond Hogwarts and Hogsmeade? You spent all summer down here in the dungeons," Albus remarked.
"Exactly. I like it that way," Snape replied, but Hermione thought he didn't sound as sure of himself as he had when it had just been her. It was hard to refuse when the Headmaster suggested something!
"It will be a great opportunity for the students. I would regret it if this trip could not take place," Albus continued.
"I would suggest you and Professor Granger find someone else, but I suspect she's already tried that. I hardly expect I'm the first choice for this assignment."
Hermione nodded. She was polite enough but there really was no use in denying the facts. Albus just stood there, looking at Snape.
"When is this excursion to take place?" Snape snapped.
"I had planned it for the first weekend of October," Hermione replied.
Snape sighed. "Fine, then. I'll do it." Without another word, he picked up his quill and continued marking the papers.
Hermione smiled. "Thank you," she said sincerely. With a quick smile at the Headmaster, she left. He had agreed, she wasn't going to wait around so he could try to back out of it. She would send a note with the details.
Her students all loved the idea of going to London and the next few weeks her classes were hectic. Clothes were transformed into Muggle clothing; jeans, T-shirts, sweaters and coats. Trunks were transformed into suitcases and backpacks. She handed everyone a list of what to take and, more importantly, what not to take. Leaving the wands home was not an option, of course, for while Voldemort had been defeated several years ago, soon after her own graduation, he had gathered a much larger following this time around and some small groups of Death Eaters still held out. No wizard or witch would go out without a wand, nowadays. But she handed out pens, pencils and notebooks, telling them to leave parchment, quills and inks at the school. She allowed no one to take their wizard clothing, nor any wizard candy or snacks. And definitely, most definitely, no items from Zonko's or Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.
She'd sent a list of items to take and the itinerary to Snape, and he had acknowledged receiving it, but did not otherwise speak to her. Of course, he'd glowered when he'd learned Sirius and Remus would also be coming, but he'd not tried to back out. Hermione figured she had Albus to thank for that –or the Gods.
Sirius and Remus had helped her pick out places to go and seemed to be looking forward to the trip as much as the students, enthusiastically discussing the plans, picking out clothing, digging up an old Muggle camera and some horrible Hawaiian shirts she vetoed.
Finally, everyone was packed and they all gathered in the Great Hall. She checked everyone's clothing and luggage and found very little amiss. She also glanced at her colleagues. Sirius wore a sports jacket and looked just like a slightly older version of the students. Remus, as always, looked a bit shabby, in jeans, sweater and a rather old coat. Snape… He was dressed in all black, Hermione didn't think she'd ever seen him wear any other colour. Slacks, black jacket, black overcoat, and carrying a matching, black suitcase. All of his clothing was perfectly Muggle, and not even terribly out of style, no Muggle would suspect he was a wizard. It was just that whatever he was wearing, he looked very much like... Snape. She sighed.
Satisfied everything was in order, she started handing out Floo powder. They'd Floo to the Leaky Cauldron, briefly stop at Gringott's for everyone to exchange their money, and then head into Muggle London itself.
Since there are eighteen students and it may be a little confusing, here's a list:
Nathan Plunge, Hufflepuff, roommate of Ramon Moss, Gryffindor.
Poul Steward, Gryffindor, roommate of Arty Chandelier, Gryffindor.
Leroy Jones, Hufflepuff, roommate of Carter Andelsson, Hufflepuff.
Ricardo Bianco, Ravenclaw, roommate of Ian High, Ravenclaw.
Gina Buttercup, Gryffindor, roommate of Lila MacGregor, Gryffindor.
Marian Terrence, Hufflepuff, roommate of Iris Castello, Gryffindor.
Yolanda Tollens, Hufflepuff, roommate of Xandra Rain, Hufflepuff.
Katrin Jameson, Ravenclaw, roommate of Mary Addinson, Ravenclaw.
Alicia Ladonna, Slytherin, roommate of Sirena Glenfield, Slytherin.
Hope this helps! (and yes, for those who didn't get it, that's roommates in the hotel, not at Hogwarts!)