Hermione smiled as she met up with Jareth after classes let out on their first day back. There were times she seriously regretted choosing Gryffindor, especially when her housemates snubbed her, but as Jareth had pointed out, Ravenclaw wasn't all that much better. She might've fit in a bit better because of her bookishness, but her heritage would've ended up working against her.
To say that her mother had been stunned to discover that her grandmother had been a Banshee was something of an understatement. Following her admission into Hogwarts, both of her parents had looked back at what they knew of their families to see where she might've gotten it from. Her murdered great-grandmother had not even been suspected as a possible source. The main contenders had been her father's grandfather who had hailed from parts unknown, and her mother's maternal grandmother who'd supposedly had "a touch of the Sight".
Ron was with Jareth as always. She didn't get on with Ron as well as she did Jareth, but she admired the fact that he was willing to go against his house in order to stand by his friends. Friends who were completely unsuitable by Slytherin House standards because of the three of them, two were Gryffindor, two had non-human ancestry, and one was both.
"Hello Jareth, Ron." she greeted, seating herself at the table in the library the two had appropriated, Neville following her lead.
"Hello Hermione, Neville." both boys chorused, looking happy to see them. Ron a little less so than Harry.
Ron looked rather exhausted, probably having not gotten any sleep at all the night before thanks to his dormmates. Knowing this, she resolved to give him a bit of a break if he finally crashed at the table even if it went against every last one of her instincts. She'd been trying to rein in her bossy behavior as of late, but it was rather difficult, especially when she saw someone doing something that went against the rules she'd been raised with. As Jareth had pointed out to her, she likely didn't know the entire story, and there might be a good reason for the rule having been broken. More often than not however, there wasn't. The few times there was though, she did her best to bite her tongue and say nothing, because she'd otherwise come across as the sort of person that even she didn't like.
Because she was part Banshee, the last thing she wanted to come across as would be the stereotypical banshee. It'd only give those who would picked on her more ammunition.
"So, how do these work?" Ron asked, holding up the color-coded study planner she'd sent him for Christmas.
Smiling at the fact that Ron was a bit clueless about everything but Quiddich and Chess, she helped the boy fill out his planner, showing him what went where until roughly the end of the year where there would be increased study time leading into the exams. Ron had looked like he was zoning out near the middle of it, but since she knew that Malfoy often tormented the boy by keeping him awake at night or having one of his cronies keep him awake at night, she knew better than to take it personally.
Neville and Jareth both payed attention to her lecture, and with her help, filled out their own study planners, thanking her for getting them for them.
"So," Neville started when the planners were tentatively filled in. "Did any of you find anything about Nicholas Flamel over the holiday break?"
Jareth's expression darkened at this.
"I learned plenty." he said. "And, the rest of you should stay out of this."
Ron bristled slightly at this, likely taking it to be a slight against either him or his abilities as he was wont to do on occasion. Nobody knew exactly what would set Ron off, but when it did, the words Weasley Temper often applied.
"Look mate," Jareth said, apparently sensing Ron's mood. "It's dangerous. Flamel's dead, been dead since before the break-in at Gringotts, and I don't want to be the one to tell your family that I got you killed playing some sort of game for Dumbledore."
"Aside from Percy, my family wouldn't care." Ron muttered darkly.
"Ron!" she exclaimed. "Don't say things like that!"
Though she knew it had to be a gross exaggeration, she was slightly stunned by what her friend had said. No family wouldn't care if a member was dead. They might be somewhat neglectful, and not spend time with their children. Sure, aside from when they went on vacation together, her own parents didn't have all that much time for her, and often left her with nothing but books for company. But, they had also proven to her on numerous occasions that they loved her and would miss her if she were gone. The time that most often came to mind had been when she'd ended up in the hospital after that car had backed into her when she was six. Ron's family was surely the same.
"I'm sure your family loves you. That's what families do." she said to the boy.
The expressions on Jareth and Neville's faces as she said this weren't very reassuring.
Snape sighed from his spot in the stacks near the Potter boy's table where he'd overheard a conversation that, for the sake of his peace of mind, he probably shouldn't have. It figured there had to be a reason that Dumbledore had insisted that his defense of the Stone be solvable aside from it being a trap for the Dark Lord. He'd been figuring that Dumbledore's final defense of the stone which had been brought to the school for some unfathomable reason would make the trap more like a roach motel "They go in, but they don't come out.", but that apparently wasn't the case if what he was hearing was correct. Apparently, what he and the other professors had made in order to defend a certain priceless artifact that was supposed to be Dark Lord bait was a puzzle for the Potter boy to solve in order to test him and see if he was indeed the one that the prophesy he'd made the mistake of overhearing was speaking of.
Because Potter and his friends had been mostly staying out of trouble when they were together, he had not found any reason to approach the boy outside of class, and couldn't bring himself to make up a reason to do so. The thought of doing so made him feel vaguely ill as well, as every time he looked at the boy, he was reminded of how and why he had driven his Lily into the arms of the boy's father. Rather than trying to cover his non-human features with glamor charms in the hopes of hiding his heritage in order to be treated better by those around him like most half-breeds would've done, the boy's Fae features were prominently on display, mostly drowning out the features that would've made the boy look much like a carbon copy of his father.
Potter may have surrounded himself with a little pack much as his father had, but his rather eclectic group of friends was nothing like the Marauders. They tended not to get into mischief for one, and tended to be tormented by others rather than torment others. The Weasley boy who would've had Black's position in the Marauders may have been the family reject and in the wrong house like Black had been, but was a distorted mirror-image of Black because he was a reject from a "Light" family, and in Slytherin instead of Gryffindor. Granger the brain could keep better control of the group than Lupin had been able to when it came to his "friends", and despite the resemblance, Neville wasn't exactly a pathetic hanger-on like Pettigrew had been, but a full member of the group. It was only in the fact that there was four of them and that one of them was a Potter that they resembled the Marauders in any way, shape, or form.
Had the Potter boy been more like his father, and had a servant of the Dark Lord not been lurking about, he would've been far less concerned about the situation, aside from being upset that he was assisting in providing the boy with even more attention that he didn't deserve. The Potter boy wasn't like his father however, far from it in fact. He was far more reserved for one. He was also a natural at Potions like his mother was, mitigating the worst of the Longbottom boy's disasters before they could become potentially deadly. Rather than being a copy of his father, or just like his mother, the boy was his own person. A person that oddly enough reminded him a bit of himself when he was that age at times.
Considering the fact that according to what he'd heard, the boy had been raised by Petunia who had come to all but despise Lily by the time their friendship had broken apart, there was likely a good reason for the last. A reason that rather disturbed him, as the boy had apparently not been spoiled as he'd almost come to believe the boy would have before the child had come to Hogwarts.
"Now that that's taken care of," Jareth said. "I think it's time that Hermione and I started planning meetings for the club."
That had apparently been the Weasley boy's cue to get some sleep, as the boy had settled his head on the table and was out like a light moments later. Fortunately, the boy's head hadn't been resting on any of Madam Pince's precious books when he'd started drooling moments after that.
Deciding that it was far past time he quit eavesdropping on the boy who hadn't been planning on getting into any mischief whatsoever and his friends, he grabbed the book he came for and left. Based on its coloration, the Cerberus that Hagrid had defending the Philosopher's Stone which may or may not be the genuine article that Dumbledore had brought to Hogwarts wasn't a full Cerberus, which may explain why music hadn't put it down like it should've when he'd gone to check on the traps on Halloween after that idiot Quirrel had brought that damned Mountain Troll in and had gotten a chunk taken out of his leg for his troubles. He figured that he should have a reference for dealing with the creature on hand in case Quirrel managed to find a way to get past it without incapacitating it or killing it outright.
Voldemort frowned slightly, which was as much as he was able to on the back of his host's head. Now that he wasn't in such excruciating pain as he had been in the early days after he'd lost his body, and wasn't forced to constantly move from animal to animal in order to survive, he had time to think, and one subject his mind constantly turned to was the Potter boy, or his mother more precisely.
Memory was a tricky thing that comes and goes when it wants to and throws what you'd rather forget back at you when you least want it. A trip down memory lane to places not revisited in nearly fifty years had finally given him a likely answer to every question he'd had about Lily Potter and that blasted son of hers who had survived every attempt on his life so far.
When he'd been growing up at the orphanage, the staff had liked to tell the sort of fairy stories that the Wizarding world didn't tell even if they knew. Fairy stories that may or may not have been true. In those stories, both accepting gifts from and breaking promises to the Faerie folk came with dire consequences for the one who did so. Had Mrs. Cole known what he'd done, she would've called him an idiot or worse. The woman who'd touched him with iron and sprinkled salt on him on several occasions to make sure he wasn't a demon or a changeling had been the one who had shared most of such stories with the children when he had been growing up. Like an idiot, he'd disregarded such things as Muggle nonsense when he'd gotten blank looks from his peers upon asking about them in the Wizarding world. And, because of that, he'd been forced to pay the price of doing so without realizing it.
Lily Potter whom he should've known was too pretty to be human had been half Fae, and her request that he kill her instead may have been considered a bargain for her son's life. So, it should've been no surprise to him that he'd nearly been the one killed when he'd turned his wand on the boy less than a minute after he had killed his mother.
Now knowing this, he would have to be careful when dealing with the Potter boy in the future, and have to make sure not to say anything to the boy that could be considered a bargain or a promise before he killed him. If the mother could do this to him after trapping him in a bargain, there was no telling what the son could do.
The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches indeed.