Hermione Granger sat straight in her compartment as she drowned herself in the adventures of Frodon, Gandalf, Aragorn and all of Tolkien's characters.
She had boarded the Hogwarts' Express as she had done for the past six years; the train was now bringing her to Hogwarts ballet's school, one of the most famous ballet school. Students graduating from there were always sought after and usually found place in the best companies over the world. Hermione looked out of the window, staring at the country side.
She had been dancing since she was five year- old. And entering Hogwart had always been her greatest dream. And now, here she was, entering her last year at the school. She sighed. She was a good dancer she knew that, even if she didn't show it she had one of the best technique of the whole school, there wasn't a step she couldn't do with a little practice, but she wasn't that popular. She was nothing like Cho Chang, Lavender Brown or Parvati Patil. Her technique might have been irreproachable, but was to shy to show off or to display her talents and chose to remain in the shadows, far from the teachers view. Her appearance didn't help either. Like all the girl here, she had the fitness required for a ballerina, but she wasn't eye-catching: plain brown eyes and brown hair, always kept in a tight bun, thin glasses, casual clothes of neutral or dark colors. Nothing fashionable. Well, she will probably be picked as a member of a corps de ballet and she would dance. That had always been her true love, dancing. She felt like she was flying each time she put on her shoes and started to twirl.
Another important event of the year was the arrival of Harry Potter at the school. He would enter the graduating class, and this despite the high level of it. He was the only son of Lily and James Potter, two ballet stars. They had found the Phoenix's Stars, the most reputed ballet troupe of the moment. Young Harry was a prodigy of ballet. He had been dancing since he had been old enough to learn the basic steps and had participated to several of his parents' show. Hermione had seen all of his ballets. Who hadn't?
And he was coming to Hogwart! He was going to be in the same class as her. Maybe he would talk to her?
Hermione shook her head and brought her attention back to her book. As if he would notice her. No, girls like Cho, Patil were noticed by dancing stars, not wallflowers like herself. She could always dream…But then he had to be an arrogant snob. Imagine, being a star with every girls after you, everything you could want… And he wasn't unattractive either : a slender and toned body, due to dancing, unruly black hair and deep green eyes who were his most noticeable traits. And above all, a cat-like grace in everything he did.
Shaking her head to get rid of her thoughts she returned to the adventure of Aragorn and co who were now trying to decide what to do of the One ring. She barely read a few pages when the door of her compartment opened and two girls and two boys entered. Looking up, she smiled. These four were the rare people she could see as friends.
First, Ginny Weasley, a year younger than herself but in the graduating class nonetheless, a slender body beautifully curved, thick copper locks, a smiling face and an easy going personality. She was quite popular at Hogwarts, first because of her skills and also because she was dating Draco Malfoy one of the masculine stars of the school. Their relationship had surprised everybody at the school. There had always been a big feud between their two family, nobody really knew why, but it had been going for quite few decades and when both of them had been seen together, it had been the subject of Hogwarts' gossips for a few weeks. Their family had tried to step in and pulled them apart, but in the end they had won. The fact that Draco was an only child and the only heir of Malfoy's family had been a factor of this as he had threatened to cut all of his ties with his family if they were to stop him. Finally the Weasleys and Malfoys had seemed to renounce but many thought that in their mind, the relationship would end after some time…
Said Draco was currently having his arm around his girlfriend's waist. Tall, with silver blond hair and gray eyes, a toned body, Nothing bad could be said about his appearance, besides his habit of gelling his hair, something Ginny was trying to cure him of. His character was another story… Let's just say that his sarcasm was legendary at the school…
The second boy was a bit taller and more gangly. His features were more sharp but his trademark was his brilliant red hair and freckles. Ron Weasley was a likeable character, quite famous for his temper too, not the best of the dancers but not someone to dismiss either. He was the youngest brother of Ginny and currently going out with Susan Bones.
The fourth girl was average-height with silk brown hair. Padma Patil was the twin of Parvati Patil, one of the female star, but as loud, arrogant and bold as Parvati was, as quiet and gentle Padma was. But those who thought her to be weak, learned their lesson quickly, she was not to be messed with.
"Hi Hermione! What are you doing?" asked Ron, slumping near her., as Drao and Ginny sat on the other side and Padma chose to seat near the red-haired boy.
"Reading Ron, you know this activity which implied a book and above all a brain."
"Thank you, I'm taking lessons."
"So, how was your summer," she asked, knowing well that reading was now out of question.
The four of them launched themselves in a description of their holidays. Apparently, Ron and Ginny had gone to Romania where one of their brothers was working. Draco had gone to France for a month, then to a summer dancing camp for another month. Padma had followed her parents as they went on a cruise in the Mediterranean Sea.
They spent the rest of the ride talking about their summer, everyone having funny anecdote to tell the others. Finally they arrived and stepped out of the train. As usual several minibuses were waiting for them. The five youth got into one and settled in the middle.
"So have you heard about Harry Potter?" asked Ginny, leaning forwards.
"Who hasn't?" drawled Draco not very pleased to see his girlfriend that excited about another boy.
Smiling Ginny put her head on his shoulder, thus bringing back a smile on his face.
"I heard he was coming to Hogwarts this year. His parents want him to have his diploma, so he can enter their company as a full member," said Padma. "I wonder if he is as good as he is said to be."
"I think he is," cut Hermione, "Did you watch his performances? It's amazing!"
"I have to agree with Mione here, he really deserve his nickname of Magic dancer…"
Draco nodded, somewhat reluctantly. Hermione could understand it… Up to now, he had always been the gifted dancer, the star, with Cedric Diggory and Oliver Wood. With Harry Potter's arrival, he knew he wouldn't be able to compete with the natural talent of him.
They chatted for the remaining part of the trip and got out of their minibuses to contemplate Hogwarts ballet school again.
Hermione never grew tired of it. The school had been set up in an old castle which had been modified to allowed ballet's lessons. There was a lake close with a running path around it, a garden, a gym and a swimming pool.
Taking her luggage out of the minibuses, Hermione entered the hall and went straight for the lift, eager to go back to her room. Every students in their last year had their own room, whereas younger students had to sleep in dorms. Her four friends chose to remain in the Hall talking with other people, introducing themselves to the new ones. But that was the difference between them and Hermione and the reason why they were popular and she wasn't. Social wasn't an adjective which fitted her. She didn't make the first step. People had to come to her as she was too shy to go to them first. But it didn't bother her. She had dancing and four great friends, even if they weren't exactly in the same circles… She had only ten minutes before the welcoming feast so she had to hurry up.
She went out of the lift as it stopped on the fourth floor where she was staying. But in her hurry she didn't see someone coming and bumped into him. Her luggage fell on the floor, one of her suitcase spreading its contents.
"Oh! Sorry!" Hermione apologized while starting to gather everything. "I didn't see you coming."
"No problem… But shouldn't you be in the hall?"
"I was just going to drop this in my room…," answered Hermione, not looking up, still trying to force one of her numerous books into the suitcase.
"Let me help you."
"Thanks!" This time Hermione looked up to thank her helper, end nearly fell on the floor from the shock. "H-Harry Potter?"
Indeed, here he was, standing before her in all his glory.
"Yes," he said, flashing her a smile, "and you are?"
"Hermione Granger," answered the girl, gathering back her wits. She looked at her watch and sew that she only had five minutes left. The fear of being late made her forget that it was Harry Potter standing before, moreover, why should she try to please him? Sure she'd like to be friend with him as he didn't seem to be that arrogant, but she couldn't fool herself: there was no way he was going to befriend her after he learn the Hogwarts' hierarchy. But now, Harry Potter or not, she couldn't be late for the feast and she was intimidated… She couldn't stay here more… Afterall he must think of her as a clumsy one, I mean, bumping into him… Embarrassment crept to her cheeks and she could feel herself getting red in the face.
"Well, happy to have meet you, but I have to bring this to my room, so see you at the feast."
With that she took her luggage and walked away as fast as she could, so that she didn't make a fool of herself more than she already had, leaving a bewildered Harry behind. Shrugging he resumed his walk to the hall.
Hermione managed to slip in the Hall unnoticed and saw that Ginny had saved her a seat. She smiled gratefully at her friend as she sat among the last ones.
"Where were you?" whispered the red-head.
"In my room."
Before Ginny could say more, Headmaster Dumbledore stood up.
"Welcome to another year in this fine school. I must emphasize again the dedication we expect from our students. You were seen worthy enough to enter Hogwarts and we hope that you'll meet our expectations. This school was created the opportunity to young people to live their love of ballet and dedicate their life to it. I'd like also t welcome every first year and ask the older ones to help them through their first weeks as they must remember their first steps in this school. A new addition to our graduation class is also to be announced. Harry Potter will join the graduating students. But enough with an old man's rambling and enjoy this feast!"
Cheers erupted in the room as the Headmaster sat back in his chair.
Hermione waited for her turn to go to the self. It went in years order, so she was in the last group. Tonight but on breakfast and lunch the seventh year were the first because of their heavy timetable. She listened to the talks around her, occasionally putting in a few words. In the corner of her eyes she could see Harry Potter being surrounding by a flock of girls. She was nearly pitying him…
All in all the dinner past quickly and soon it was bed time. Hermione went to bed early, smiling in her sleep, tomorrow she would dance…
Her alarm clock woke her up at five in the morning as usual. After a quick shower she put on a a pair of trousers and tank top, put her hair in a ponytail, grabbed a small towel, an apple she had kept from dinner and a bottle of water, then went out to the lake. Running in the morning had become her routine. She would wake her at five go running for an hour, then go back to the school, took another shower, changed and go to breakfast. Contrary to some of the ballerina here she didn't starve herself to keep a good figure. Her parents, both dentists, had taught her that having an healthy way of life was better than all the diets possible. She ate her apple on her way to the lake, then but her things on a bench before falling in a good jog. She was half way through her first round of the lake when she heard someone calling her name. Startled, as she usually was the only one up at this hour, besides the people working in the school, that's it. Keeping jogging, she turned and saw a mop of black hair running towards her.
Harry Potter! What was he doing here? What could she do? Why did he have to be here?… But before she could panic completely, he had caught up with her and was running at her left side.
"Hi! Hermione it is? I'm sorry, but I've been introduced to so many people…"
"N-No, you're right," stuttered Hermione, mentally smacking herself. Why did she have to stutter!
"Good! So you like running?"
"Yes, or I wouldn't be here today…," replied the young girl, before stopping. "I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to snap at you…"
Harry's laugh interrupted her.
"No need to apologize for that! Emily snaps a lot at me, I'm used to it!"
Harry blushed slightly.
"My girlfriend," he mumbled.
"Yes, we've been together for about five months now…"
"Is she a ballerina?"
Harry muffled a laugh.
"Good God now! She's in an acting school… She wants to become an actress…"
Hermione was torn: on one side she was disappointed that he was taken… as if he would have been interested in you!, she berated herself. On the other side, it was kind of a relief.
There was a small silence as they kept on jogging.
"Do you come here each morning?" finally asked the dark-haired dancer.
"Yes, I like to be here early, it' so quiet, so peaceful… And it keeps me in shape."
"I was thinking that I would be the only one crazy enough to run this early…," said Harry, in a derisive tone.
"Well, when words will go out that you run here in the mornings, there will be far more people, just to be with the' Great Harry Potter'," joked Hermione, before putting her hand other her mouth. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to… What I mean is that… OH! Sorry, sometimes, my mouth goes faster than my thoughts."
"Stop apologizing for nothing, besides, you're right… That's why I'd like to keep this habit quiet… I don't want some crazy hormone-driven girls to follow me everywhere."
"OK, moreover I want to able to run here…"
"So is it a deal?"
"It is," nodded Hermione.
"Okay, how long have you been dancing?"
"Since I was five!"
They started to talk. At first, Hermione was hesitant, but time passed, the easygoing manners of Harry made her more comfortable. He was talking to her as she was an old friend… The hour passed in a blur. Harry was telling her a funny thing his godfather had done to his father just before a performance.
"And as he opened his wardrobe, he saw nothing but pink bunnies outfits. Sure his clothes were hidden in an other wardrobe… But my father threw a tantrum, he completely panicked!"
Hermione snickered, picturing James Potter the ballet star in a pink bunny outfit.
They walked back to their bench, as Hermione saw Harry had put his stuff near hers. They stretched for a bit before heading back to the castle.
"I had a great time, see you in class!" said Harry.
"Don't forget breakfast, in half an hour!"
With that, they parted.
Twenty minutes later, Hermione entered the Hall and went straight to the self, taking what she needed before going to seat at the end of one of the table, none of her friends being here yet. A few minutes, a yawning red-head sat next to her.
"You went running again?"
"Listening to you, people would think it's dark, horrible habit of mine…"
"Let me state it again. People who get up at five to go running and sweating just for fun should be sent straight to the closest psychiatric hospital…"
They ate silently as the three others arrived. Hermione noticed that Harry wasn't here yet and looked at the doors as they opened to let a group of girls entered. A flash of black hair caught her attention as she realized that it was Harry who was caught between them. the dancer seemed to look for any mean of escape and relief wash through his eyes as he spotted her. He went to the self quickly in an attempt to get rid of his stalkers and took his breakfast before nearly running to Hermione and her friends, sitting at the only place left, in front of Hermione.
"Thank God for this place."
"That bad?" chimed Padma, shyly.
"These are human leeches!!"
The four friends looked at each others, before laughing, as Harry pouted.
"Thank you for your support, but I don't think we've been introduced. I'm…"
"Harry Potter. I think everybody with half a brain registered this," cut Draco, earning himself a whack from Ginny.
"Now, be nice. I'm Ginny Weasley by the way. This git over here," she waved at Draco who tried to look offended at her comment, "is Draco Malfoy and my boyfriend. This my brother Ron, Padma Patil, and Hermione Granger."
"We met earlier."
"I bumped into him yesterday evening," said Hermione, her cheeks burning with embarrassment.
Soon it was time for their first lesson: they had first an hour of classical teaching, then an hour of fitness with Mme Hooch, Technical lessons with Mme McGonagall. In the afternoon, they had Expression with Mr Flitwick, after they worked on Choregraphy with Mr Lupin, Mr Black and Mme Sinistra, sometimes, Mr Dumbledore came too. Half an hour of relaxation, with Mme Trelawney then some classical teaching: maths, sciences, literature, history, geography… These were assured by Professor Vector, Snape and Sprout.
All in all it was a busy schedule and most of them would work alone in the evenings to try to improve.
This day, they had Maths in the morning, with Vector and Hermione breezed through it. Academically, she was brilliant, or so she was told. Then came the fitness hour. As usual, Hermione took her place in the back. Ginny and Draco went to the front where Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil were already getting ready. Padma chose to place herself in the middle, followed by Harry. The hour went fast. Most of the exercises were easy for Hermione, as she prided herself with staying perfectly fit. On the opposite hand, most girls loathed this hour, as it means, most of the time, sweating. Mme Hooch finally released them. They all headed to McGonagall's class. They refreshed a bit and everyone got ready: the girls into their pale pink tights and black leotard, the boys into their black tights and sleeveless shirt. Hermione took her bag and reverently unwrapped her points. With slow movements, after protecting her toes, she carefully laced the points, with the use coming from the habits. Then she got out of the changing room and went in the room. In fact there were two rooms: The first one was where the bars were, the seconds was empty.
Mme McGonagall was already there and saluted Hermione as the girl went to one of the corner, where she started to stretch to regain the feelings. A few minutes later, everyone was here. They started slowly before entering in the usual routine. Hermione smiled. She was dancing, she was where she had to be…