Disclaimer: OK, I don't own Harry Potter people. I don't. I know I'm the best writer EVER (DEFINITELY kidding) but if you think that I actually wrote the books or own the characters, then you must be dum D-U-M dum! (Kidding, I know how to spell dumb.) The music lyrics "birthday party cheesecake jelly bean boom." Are from the song "It's the End of the World as We know It (And I Feel Fine)" by Meander.
Summary/Author's Note: Hermione stays home throughout the summer and goes through some changes. Ron starts trying to come on to her (Unsuccessfully) and Harry starts to try to puzzle out why he is always so happy whenever he's around Hermione, but not Ron. There is a DEFINITE HG/HP pairing in this fanfic. It's still a work in progress, and is not even close to complete. PLEASE READ AND REVIEW! I don't want to be one of those authors who don't ever find out how they actually write because no one ever reads their stories and tells them what they can improve on and what they're good at truthfully. But please, though I am desperate for reviews, don't use them to be cruel, use constructive criticism, please. I have a very tender ego when it comes to these type of things. OK, I think that's it. Oh! Before I forget, if you don't like HG/HP pairing then don't read it! Pairings: HG/HP, RW/LL, DM/GW, DT/PvP, NLB/PdP, SF/LB, MB/VC, BZ/PnPk! I'm a pairing fanatic, I can't help it. In this story, Blaise is a boy in this fic, because some people make him/her a girl, so I just wanted to clear that up! FYI! Also, Please let me know if I misspelled any of the names because sometimes my computer edits the story by itself and I don't notice. Also, all names of new students being sorted came from my own head. If they are actually somebody's name, that is completely unintentional. Let me know how you like my fic! This is the first one I've ever posted online, so all feedback is much appreciated!
Hermione frowned at the mirror. She tugged on her skirt once more, but it seemed determined to remain at least six and a half inches above her knees. She flipped her brunette hair out of her eyes, but the tamed mane still covered half of her forehead. Finally, she grabbed her train case, volleyball, and her duffle bag, and walked out the door to her car. She slipped into the driver's seat and revved the engine, preparing for a new year at her boarding school.
To say that Hermione had changed over the summer would be a massive understatement. Her hair had lost its trademark untamable frizz and bushiness, little by little, soon becoming the sleek and shining hair that she had always wanted. She had taken up volleyball while visiting her cousin in the United States, playing for hours at a time at the beach, so her arms no longer resembled sticks anymore. Also, Hermione had started running one mile a day to get into shape for football and volleyball. Her skin had bronzed from the hours on the beach and field, and her hair had also lightened several shades.
Now, she was driving to the train station to go back to Hogwarts. To take her car back home, her parents had taken the bus to London and were going to pick up her car at the station. They had promised repeatedly that they would take care of it. There was no reason for a eighteen-year-old to be worried. And yet, as she drove through downtown London towards the station, she couldn't help but start growing apprehensive at how her friends would react to her new look.
She knew what Ron would do, of course. He would practically drool all over her and stare at her body when he thought she wasn't looking. Surprisingly, Hermione was worried about how Harry would react to her. Over the summer, she had realized that she liked Harry in a definitely non-best-friend-not-platonic-way. Whenever she was examining her hair, or she was messing with her subtle makeup, she always thought about him. Whenever she did anything, she was reminded of him.
Finally, burdened with these thoughts, Hermione arrived at the station. She picked up her volleyball, tucked her knee pads, football, and cleats into her duffle bag, and shut the trunk and locked the car. Her mother and father were waiting for her at the entrance to the station.
"Have a good time, sweetie." Her mother said into her ear as they hugged goodbye. Hermione smiled reassuringly and then faced the station. Heaving a sigh, she walked to the assigned platform. She then reached into her bag and pulled out her Head Girl badge, and pinned it to her jean skirt, a habit she had picked up from one of her volleyball friends. Then, she boarded the train.
Looking into each compartment as she passed, Hermione finally found an empty one that would serve her and her friends nicely. After lugging her bags in and piling them onto one of the racks, Hermione proceeded to walk back onto the platform to find Harry and Ron.
She was stepping off the train, when one of her Wallabies caught on one of the door hinges. She fell as if in slow motion, the ground was coming closer and closer, when suddenly, she felt arms reach out and catch her. She landed softly in a man's arms. Once spotting his ebony hair and sparkling green eyes, Hermione's breath caught in her chest as she recognized him. "Hey Harry." She said breathlessly as a blush rose to her cheeks. He smiled, and then set her down gently on the ground.
"Hey." He said and flashed another smile. But behind the sparkling façade, Hermione saw a tinge of sadness. Then, he gave her an once-over to make sure that she was alright. "You look different." He said, the sadness gone from his eyes.
"Oh, yeah, I took up some new stuff this summer." She said as she tried to calm her heart rate without him noticing.
"Like what?" He asked, looking genuinely interested.
"Stupid curiosity," Hermione thought darkly as she tried to form the words in her head into coherent sentences. "Volleyball, football, um, clothes I guess would count, and running."
"Volleyball? Football?" Harry asked in surprise.
"Yeah. I didn't have much time to read this summer."
"You didn't read? Okay, who are you, and where's the real 'Mione?" He asked jokingly.
"Ha ha." She replied sarcastically and punched him lightly on the arm. As she playfully punched him, Hermione caught a look at her watch.
"Oh! I gotta go, Harry! I promised Dumbledore and McGonagall that I would have a meeting with them about my Head Student duties before we got to the school, and now is as good a time as any. I'll be back in the compartment later!" she called as she rushed toward the front of the train after quickly hugging him. She had almost reached the far end of the train when she turned back. "I put my stuff in the last compartment!" she shouted. Harry gave her a thumbs up and she smiled and continued running away. Harry stood watching her, and then turned when someone called his name.
"Go Harry! Hittin' on the chicks! Glad to see you're getting over the break-up with Ginny, man!" Ron said, giving Harry a friendly clap on the back.
"Ron, that was 'Mione." Harry said as if her were talking to a three-year-old.
"Oh… Man, she got hot!" He imitated a spanking motion, and Harry just shook his head.
"Are you saying she wasn't pretty before?" Harry asked, feeling insulted for Hermione.
"Well, Harry, we both know that she wasn't exactly the most sought after girl in Hogwarts. She was a total bookworm. Let's face it. She wasn't pretty. I guess that someone finally got through to her."
"What is your problem, Ron? You always seem to say the wrong think at the wrong time." Harry ground out angrily. Then, he walked away toward the compartment. Ron hesitated, and then followed.
"So, I guess this means that you think I don't have a chance with her?" He called as he tried to catch up with his friend.
Hermione walked out of the meeting about an hour and forty-five minutes later. "That was a long meeting." She thought. "'Course, Ernie was always kind of anal about all of our responsibilities as students before this." Suddenly, a pair of hands reached out of a compartment and grabbed her by the shoulders. She struggled mightily, but her captor managed to pull her into the compartment. Just when she remembered to scream, a smooth hand clapped over her mouth.
"You look good, mudblood." A voice said into her ear that made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. She caught a more than detectable hint of firewhiskey and rolled her eyes. Stupid boys.
"Malfoy." She said spitefully into his hand.
"So you recognize me? I almost didn't recognize you now that you are actually dressed as a girl." Hermione bit back the sharp retort she wanted to say to him. "Not talkative are we?" He asked, his gray eyes flashing. She didn't bother to point out that she couldn't talk when his hand was over her mouth anyway. "Let's see if we can fix that." Then, he put his arms around her waist and yanked her towards him.
"Malfoy, get off!" Hermione said angrily as Draco grabbed her. All that she received for her anger was a self-satisfied smirk. With the little room she had, Hermione mustered all of her strength and punched his face as hard as she could. When she did, she felt the smooth reaction of soft cartilage breaking under her knuckles. Malfoy doubled over in pain, giving her the chance to get away. As she ran toward the door, Malfoy shouted, "Stop her!" and Goyle the man-mountain blocked her way menacingly.
Meanwhile, Harry had left the compartment to look for Hermione. He had become worried when she was gone for more than two hours, which was much longer than the expected meeting time. He became especially worried when Ernie McMillan, the Head Boy, got back five minutes after he first started wondering where she was. Harry knew how anal he was about the meetings, so it was easy to deduce that he would be the last one to leave. He was walking down the corridor in search of Hermione, when he heard Malfoy's shout. Running towards the sound, he found the locked compartment. Through the translucent glass, he saw Goyle blocking Hermione's way. He also saw Malfoy's bloody nose and Crabbe behind Hermione, about to grab her while Goyle distracted her.
Releasing his anger, Harry leaned back slightly and kicked the door in. The door landed on Goyle, temporarily knocking him unconscious. "Look out 'Mione!" Harry roared, and she turned in time to see Crabbe advancing and moved out of harm's way. Malfoy, having recovered from Hermione's initial blow, tackled Harry before he could draw his wand, slamming him against the wall in the process. As Malfoy pulled his fist back to punch Harry, Hermione grabbed his fist and twisted his arm into a painful position behind his back. Harry quickly yanked out his wand, "Accio wand!" he shouted, and Malfoy's wand flew into his hand from the floor. Goyle lay forgotten on the floor, and Crabbe was paralyzed as a result of Hermione's Petrificus Totalus.
Once Harry saw that the fight was essentially over, he faced Malfoy menacingly and slammed him against the wall with one hand after Hermione moved out of the way. "If you ever touch her again," He growled. "I will see to it that you throat is slit myself."
"Bit jealous now, aren't we?" Malfoy jeered as the blood dried on his face. "You fancy the mudblood?"
"I protect my friends. And you are certainly not one of them." Harry answered, ignoring his second comment.
"You wouldn't turn me over to the Headmaster. You know for a fact nothing would ever happen to me. My father-" he drawled.
"I don't care about your father." Harry interjected. "Stay… Away… From… Hermione." He said, emphasizing each word by banging him against the wall.
"You can't harm me. I have friends in high places, you know."
"Is that so?" Harry asked, his eyes flashing dangerously. "Please go on. I'm beggin' you. I've been dying for revenge on Voldemort." At this, Draco looked disgusted and clamped his mouth shut. From behind Harry, Hermione watched this encounter. To make sure Harry wouldn't harm Malfoy, she quickly cast an Immobulus, and Harry then tossed him to the ground as carelessly as with a doll.
"I'll alert the Headmaster." Hermione said quietly as she walked towards the doorway. "And Harry?" she murmured; Harry looked over his shoulder at her. "Thanks," she said with a weak smile. She quickly ran out the door and towards the front of the train.
During the ten minutes it took Hermione to get the Headmaster, Harry stood lost in thought. When she returned, Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall in tow, Harry still stood in the same position he had been when she left. "There he is, sir." Hermione said respectfully, pointing toward Malfoy.
"Thank you; and Miss Granger? Would you please escort Mr. Potter back to your compartment? I'm sure Mr. Weasley is curious about your whereabouts."
"Yes, sir," she said and grabbed Harry's hand. "C'mon Harry," she whispered to him," Let's leave ferret-face here." Harry came out of his thoughtful daze once she said this, and he followed her out the splintered door frame.
When they got back to the compartment, Ron was gorging himself with pastries and sweets, seemingly unaware that Harry had even left. Hermione quickly engaged him in conversation, asking him how his summer went and what he and Ginny had been up to, while Harry sat staring out the window, lost in thought.
They arrived at the school, and boarded the Thestral-drawn carriages. Once they reached the main castle, the trio walked through the front doors and into the Great Hall. They quickly sat down with Harry and Ron on either side of Hermione. Their friends quickly filled in the gaps, and they all chattered happily amongst each other as they waited for the sorting to begin. Suddenly, the huge doors leading into the Great Hall banged open and Professor McGonagall led a terrified-looking group of first years down the center aisle.
"I don't remember looking so terrified when we were sorted. Did we really look so stupid?" Harry whispered to his friends and Ron sniggered rather loudly while Hermione playfully slapped Harry on the arm in mock anger.
While this exchange was going on, McGonagall had gingerly placed the Sorting Hat on the stool. Once they noticed this, the trio looked at the hat expectantly along with the rest of the hall. Immediately, a seam near the brim of the hat opened as a crude mouth and the hat started to sing.
So you want to be a wizard?
You want to learn how to cast
Certain spells and magicks
Cast by others in the past?
Then sit your merry self down
And listen to my singing
For everyone can still hear
The school bells a-ringing!
A wand is really all you'll need
And we'll provide the rest
Filling your mind with knowledge
With which you'll be the best!
But before these talents are taught
First you need to be placed
Into a House which suits you
And you'll show it on your face!
Perhaps you'll be a noble Gryffindor
A courageous bunch you'll find
A group of witches and wizards
That are truly brave and kind.
Or maybe in pleasant Hufflepuff
Is where you'll find your course
These jolly do-gooders never see
A second of remorse!
Maybe clever Ravenclaw
Where there's knowledge abundant
With their books and studies
They will never be redundant!
Or Ambitious Slytherin
Could be the place for you
Where dreams of gold and power
Always do come true!
There's the thing you wanted
Houses have been described
Now place me on your head
And your Fate will be inscribed!
A moment of silence followed the song, and then murmuring rampaged throughout the Hall. After a stern look from McGonagall, the hall became quiet once again and she unrolled the scroll of names and cleared her throat. "Abbey, Richard!" She called, and a thin boy with light hair and mouse-like features jumped in the back of the crowd. Finally, with a nervous smile, he crept up to the hat. He sat upon the stool at a gesture from McGonagall, and then half of his face disappeared under the worn cloth that formed the hat's brim. After a few seconds, the hat opened its mouth, "GRYFFINDOR!" It shouted, and a very relieved looking Richard rushed to the end of the table.
"Crabbe, Samantha." McGonagall said. A dark-haired, tan-skinned girl walked nervously toward the stool. She sat down, and the hat was placed on her head.
"10 knuts says she's a Slytherin." Ron muttered. Harry nodded.
"You're on." Hermione whispered furiously back.
"You just got 10 free knuts." Harry whispered to Ron.
"GRYFFINDOR!" The hat shouted again.
"Pay up." Hermione said with a smirk. Ron ruefully dumped the ten bronze coins in her hand.
"You cheated." Ron said hotly.
"How could I have possibly cheated? Did I will the hat not to put Crabbe's sister in Slytherin?" She asked with another smirk. For the next few people, Ron sat muttering darkly in his seat.
2 more Gryffindors, 1 Hufflepuff, and 2 Ravenclaws later, McGonagall read "Finnigan, Amelie" off of the list. Seamus whooped loudly from the table. The hat was on her head for less than a second, when, "GRYFFINDOR!"
"Yes!" Seamus shouted, and his sister skipped to the empty seat beside him. "Goyle, Nicole" became a Hufflepuff, shocking the Gryffindor crowd once again, and making Ron lose another 10 knuts to Hermione.
"Malfoy, Cassandra." McGonagall said sternly.
"Here comes the first Slytherin." Ron whispered.
"10 sickles says she's a Gryffindor." Hermione said with a smile, "Or are you afraid you'll get beaten again?"
"Am not! I'm in!" Ron retorted ever so predictably. Many minutes later, the Hat opened its mouth.
"GRYFFINDOR!" Ron's jaw dropped to the floor as the platinum-blond girl rushed to the table. Ron numbly handed the 20 coins to Hermione who let out a triumphant grin.
"Ron, I don't think you should bet anymore." Harry said and received an attempt to smack him on the head because of it. The other 16 people turned into 5 Gryffindors, 7 Hufflepuffs, and 4 Ravenclaws.
"There wasn't a single Slytherin out of 26!" Harry said in shock after tabulating the numbers.
"You would think there would be more than ever!" Hermione pointed out, "What with the rise of Voldemort and all."
Ron resembled a goldfish gasping for air for a few seconds as he sat in shock and then said, "You… You said h-his name!"
"Fear in the name only increases fear in the thing itself." Hermione retorted, doing a remarkable impression of Dumbledore. As Ron was about to respond, Dumbledore picked up his goblet and banged it on the table several times.
"I do not want to detain you from your meals any longer. I only wanted to say that for the first years, the Forbidden Forest on the edge of the grounds is off-limits to all students. Next, for third years and up, there will be a Hogsmeade visit this weekend on Saturday. Also, the seventh years will get to have a Muggle ball three weeks from Saturday, so it is advised that tuxedoes and gowns be bought while in Hogsmeade. Muggle dress is required for the ball, and the type of clothing is extremely formal. Lastly, our returning Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Lupin, should be made welcome by all students. Now, if none of the staff have any announcements, you may dine!"
"That was a long speech for Dumbledore," Harry said in stupefaction.
"Yeah," Ron said as he loaded his plate with scalloped potatoes and fried chicken.
"Usually, he only says something like "twiddle dee, twiddle dum, kumquat" or "birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom" Hermione remarked.
"Isn't that from a song?" Harry asked while staring transfixed as Ron shoveled food into his mouth and made noises resembling a pig.
"What is?" Hermione replied, also staring.
"Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom," Harry replied, tearing his eyes away from the horrid spectacle in order to regain his appetite.
"I don't think so… Maybe," Hermione said and picked up one of the few remaining drumsticks. "Ron! Slow down!" She snapped, visibly agitated, "I'm surprised you haven't swallowed your fork! Stop shoveling food into your mouth long enough to let other people eat without having the urge to throw it back up!" At this, Ron paused in his eating and looked at her. Realizing that he had finally stopped, Hermione quickly started drinking her pumpkin juice so that she could eat and drink a little before the gorge-fest started again.
"Hermione." Ron said after swallowing the mouthful of food that he had managed to cram into his mouth before Hermione's outburst. She nodded to show that she heard him with her mouth full of pumpkin juice. "Will you go out with me?" Hermione was so shocked that she accidentally spewed her pumpkin juice all over Seamus, while Harry was so surprised that he started choking on the chicken in his mouth with laughter.
"Yuck! Hermione!" Seamus shouted while Harry tried to stop laughing long enough to swallow.
"Ron…" Hermione said, "Let me put this delicately… Hell no! You said that I wasn't pretty before this summer, and we tried last year, and everyone at Hogwarts knows what a disaster that turned out to be!"
"How did you know I said that you weren't pretty before this summer?" Ron asked in surprise, ignoring the rest of her statement.
Meanwhile, Harry started to sink below the table. "You told her?" Ron asked furiously as his ears started to turn red.
"Maaaaaaybe," Harry said with an innocent grin. "What?" he asked under Ron's glare. "We can't keep anything from each other! She knows when I heard something that puzzled or distressed me or when I need help with something. I told her on the train while I walked with her back from the meeting. It's like she's a mind reader or something!"
"No, I'm not a mind reader," Hermione said, glad for the distraction from Ron's recent dating failure. "You have a certain expression you make when you experience a certain emotion."
"Like what?" Harry asked disbelievingly.
"Well, when you don't believe someone, like now, you raise your right eyebrow," Ginny looked at his face from across the table.
"She's right," She said and returned to her meal.
"And when you're frustrated, you run your hands through your hair once every five minutes that until it practically stands on end. Also, when you are concentrating really hard, like when you're doing homework or trying to catch the snitch, you narrow your eyes to slits. You do it every single time; it's kind of funny really. When you're checking out a girl, you tilt your head to the right."
"How have you noticed all of this?" Harry asked in awe.
"I've been your best friend for seven years, Harry. What haven'tI noticed about you?" Harry smirked. "Not like that, you pervy git!" She exclaimed and punched him playfully on the arm.
"You're the one who thought of it! Not me!" Harry said as he rubbed his arm. Hermione sighed in exasperation, and then the group stood up to go back to the Gryffindor Common Room.