A/N: This is really very different to anything I've written before. I was going to have it as one piece but it became a bit of a mish mash so I decided to separate it into sections (the length doesn't really justify the use of the word 'chapters') and try and make it seem a little more organised. It's stemmed from wanting to write the Tom/Hermione interaction without having to go through all that Time Turner stuff. I just wanted a selection of short sharp snapshots as to how their relationship changes. Anyway, after that poor explanation, I now invite you to read, review, and most importantly, enjoy.
The shallow part of her (and we're talking really, very shallow here) thinks it is a shame that he underwent all those magical transformations.
Try as she might, she had never been able to imagine Voldemort as a teenager. Similarly she had never been able to imagine Professor Dumbledore as a teenager, or Professor Flitwick. It's just odd.
She likes watching the way he writes. He's left handed. She'd never considered that he could be left handed before.
They sometimes sit together in the library. He doesn't mind the houses as such, more the qualities that those who belong to them tend to have.
Hermione's performance in class shows him that she is no fool, and so he is able to sit with her in the library, trading information and discussing magical theories.
One day, she decides to comment on his left handedness. "Left handed people live longer, apparently," she says.
Tom looks up at her, his eyes glinting, a thin smile curving his lips. "Is that so?"
"Apparently," Hermione says. "And apparently they're more creative."
"Do you think I'm creative?"
Hermione shrugs. "You're a man."
"Women live longer than men, is what I was going to say, if you'd have let me finish." The response isn't irritated, more jokey. She finds he brings out the humour in her, something which confuses her greatly because she should be terrified of him.
This is the man who will go on to kill so many people, but she doesn't consider that little titbit of information when she speaks to him. She considers how intelligent he is, and how she loves their conversations which can be deep or meaningless, fiery or relaxed. She considers that he really is quite handsome, once you get past that unsettling smirk. She realises that it's only unsettling because you don't know what he's thinking, whether he's laughing at you, planning to do something to you or whether it's something completely unrelated to you.
Foolish though it may be, she considers herself safe with him. Some Hufflepuff girls had been giving her trouble outside Ancient Runes, telling her to go back to where she came from (she wishes she could) and making fun of her hair (thank goodness it's not as mad as it was when she was really small).
She does wonder whether she should just whip her wand out and jinx them all, but that would involve detention, and Professor Dippet isn't nearly as nice or understanding as Dumbledore is. (That's where she and Tom differ. She 'hero worships' Dumbledore and Tom can't stand it when a teacher doesn't fall for his 'charming arrogance'.)
"These dunces aren't troubling you are they, Miss Granger?" He's smooth and sophisticated, and she enjoys that. Especially when he's sticking up for her.
"Oh it's just girl's stuff, Tom," she says, "At this age you're considered a failure if you're not awfully shallow and horrid."
"Well I don't think any of you girls will be awfully shallow or horrid to Miss granger from now on, will you?" He's twirling his wand in his fingers and all three pairs of Hufflepuff eyes travel downwards to look at it.
"No Tom, of course not." They rush off, without looking back.
"Thanks," Hermione says.
"Don't worry, you'll just be forever in my debt from now."
Hermione smiles at the joke which is not actually a joke and is relieved when the door to the classroom opens.
He sits next to her. They nearly take each other's heads off when their hands shoot up into the air to answer a question before Professor Magnus has even finished asking it. Professor Magnus chuckles at the pair of them and makes a comment about Tom finally having met his match.
"Oh I doubt it very much," he says.
Hermione elbows him in the ribs. There is an audible gasp from some of their classmates, who cannot believe that someone has just elbowed Tom, Tom Riddle, Tom Riddle the prefect, in the ribs.
"Arrogance isn't endearing, Tom," Hermione tells him, then dips her quill in her ink pot and makes some adjustments to her notes.
It's almost a chuckle that escapes his lips, but not quite.
She can tell he's impressed. Nobody ever stands up to him like that.