"Come on. Please? Just look it over. I'll be your best mate!"
Hermione slammed down her quill in frustration. "Ronald, for the last time, no. I will not 'look over' your Potions essay! Can't you do it on your own? I mean, moonstone's properties when mixed with essence of newt eyes? We went over it just today! And Professor Snape only assigned four feet, so you should be fully able. As well, you've had all day to-" She had just begun her routine lecture when a crash drew her attention. Annoyed at the interruption, she turned around and immediately rushed over.
Ginny Weasley had just tripped over someone's bag, causing all of her things to spread out across the floor. The second year turned a beet red that shamed Ron and scrambled to pick it up. Hermione, ignoring the sniggers of several seventh years, started helping Ginny.
"Hi," she said kindly while handing her several ink bottles and a roll of parchment. "You're Ron's sister Ginny, right?"
Mortified, Ginny just nodded. Hermione smiled at her. "Tell me, is he that hopeless on his summer homework as well?" she asked in a low voice, motioning with her head to where Ron still sat, scratching his head and staring at his blank parchment as though it held some amazing secret that he needed to decipher.
Ginny grinned shakily. "Yeah, he is."
Hermione pursed her lips. "I fail to understand how that boy passes his classes," she announced dryly. She took another glance at Ginny's towering stack of books, with her bag hanging loosely at her side. "Why don't you put your things in your bag?"
"Oh, it ripped," Ginny admitted with a shrug. "I'll get Percy or somebody to fix it later."
Hermione brightened at the prospect before her. "If we can go to your dormitory, I'll teach you how to fix it yourself," she offered.
"Okay." Hermione took some of the books in her arms and marched matter-of-factly up the stairs, sending Ron one last glance. She turned into the second year dorm room and called to Ginny.
"Which bed is yours?"
"The one with the bottle of blue ink on the stand next to it."
Hermione spotted the right bed and set Ginny's things down on it neatly. Ginny sat down next to her and pulled her long red hair back with a tie she took off her wrist. "So, were you going to show me that spell?"
"Yes. Do you have your bag?"
"Great. Now take out your wand and repeat after me. Reparo!"
"Reparo!" Ginny said, slashing her wand down. The bag gave a little jump before splitting completely in half. "Oh no," she cried, "Now look what I've done!"
"Don't worry, that's easy to fix. It's more of a sweeping motion, like this."
Ginny tentatively tried again. The bag came together and settled nicely next to the girls. "Wicked," breathed Ginny. "Thanks so much. You're a good teacher."
Hermione swelled with pride. See, Ronald? At least someone appreciates help, she thought smugly.
Slowly, a voice brought her out of her reverie. "Um, Hermione? Hermione? Can you hear me?"
She shook her head to clear it, bushy hair flying around her shoulders. "Yes, Ginny?"
Ginny fiddled with her hands for a moment. "I was wondering if you'd… if you'd want to come over for a few days during the winter break."
"Oh, I'd love to. But I'd have to owl my parents first to get permission, of course."
Ginny turned to her and gave a shy smile. "I guess I'll see you, then."
"Alright. Bye, Ginny."
The redhead stuffed her books in her bag and walked quickly out of the room. Hermione went back down to the common room, said 'Hi' to Harry as she passed, and sat down next to Ron.
"What was that?" he asked, one eyebrow raised.
"What? I can't be friends with your sister?" she countered, eyes narrowing.
Ron spluttered angrily. "I never said that! I have a right to know, don't I?" he practically yelled.
From across the room, Harry groaned. "Another row? You two bicker too much, d'you know that?"
Hermione ignored him, glaring daggers at Ron. "Frankly, Ronald, what Ginny and I talk about is none of your bloody business. So, if you don't mind, I have a letter to mail. And, by the way, is that a spider I see?"
Ron yelped, jumping up on his armchair.
Hermione gave an icy laugh, hitched her own bag up on her shoulder, and stalked out of the common room on her way to the Owlery.
After two corridors, three turns, and approximately seventeen silent curses aimed at Ron, Hermione reached her destination. Frowning, she spent a good ten minutes getting an owl to come down to her.
Should have asked Harry to borrow Hedwig, she thought ruefully. Followed by, Thank Merlin, here comes one. Oh, nope. It's just going on a hunt.
When Hermione finally coaxed a large, brown owl with black eyes off its perch, she realized she was missing one key component. Damn it! I can't believe I forgot to write the letter. Oh well.
Sighing, she settled on a stool near the window and pulled a piece of parchment and a quill from her bag.
Dear Mum and Dad,
I've missed you. Sorry for not writing before, but it's been quite the year. Did you know Sirius Black was a wizard? He was a friend of Harry's parents. He betrayed their location to You-Know-Who and killed a dozen Muggles and one wizard, who was also their friend. He recently broke out of the Wizarding prison, Azkaban. According to the Daily Prophet, it's the first time anyone has ever done so. Needless to say, this is quite the drama. Somehow, Black managed to break into Hogwarts. He went up to the boys' dorms and scared Ron half to death. We think he was looking for Harry, but at any rate, he ran off before the teachers could apprehend him. Don't worry though, it's safe now.
On a lighter note, I met Ron's sister Ginny recently. She's a year younger than me, but in Gryffindor as well. She's invited me over to the Weasleys' for a few days over the Christmas holidays. Would it be alright if I went? Of course, I'd spend Christmas Day at home.
See you in a week,
Hermione reviewed her letter. It seemed all right, but knowing her mother, she'd worry. But she'd also disapprove of Hermione not telling her, so it looked as though it was the only option.
She stood, stuffed her quill back in her bag, and tied the letter to the leg of the impatient owl. No sooner has she let go than it soared out of the window. Hermione watched it leave, then walked back to the common room. Curiously, it was empty. Oh no… Hermione felt a feeling of dread settle in her stomach. Slowly, she looked at her watch.
Bugger. Hermione tore out of the room towards her next class.
A few days later, at breakfast, the same brown owl landed on Ron's head.
"Get it off! Get it off!" he yelled, waving his arms at the offending bird. It gave an indignant hoot before hopping lightly onto the table. Hermione suppressed a giggle and took the letter on its leg, which contained a short note from her parents.
I'm glad you're okay. I'll take your word that it's safe, but if anyone gets hurt by that man, you're leaving Hogwarts.
Your father and I agree that you going to the Weasleys' would be fine. We'll talk more upon your return.
Hermione smiled. Typical of her mum to be so worried. She put the letter in her bag and finished her breakfast. Only three more days, and she could go home.
Hermione looked around after saying goodbye to Harry and Ron. Her parents stood waiting about twenty meters away. She made her way through the crowd and joined them.
For the thirty minute ride, the Grangers' car was filled with light chatter and small talk. After arriving at her home, Hermione went to her room, set her trunk down, and looked around fondly. She had missed it here.
Hermione heard her parents calling from the kitchen and jogged down the stairs.
Her mother, Jane Granger, swept forward and hugged her tightly. "Oh, I've been so worried! No letters, and then news that a convict broke into your school!" she chided gently.
"Don't worry, Mum. I'm fine," said Hermione with a laugh.
"Let the poor girl go, Jane," grinned Devin Granger. "Now, you tell us you've been invited to the Weasleys'?"
Hermione nodded eagerly. "Yes. That's correct. Thank you for letting me go! I can't wait."
"Do you have their phone number?" asked Mrs. Granger.
"Oh, they don't have a phone. Few wizard families do, unless at least one of the parents grew up with or is a muggle." explained Hermione. "Ginny gave me some Floo powder to respond with in case I didn't get an answer before holidays started." She said, holding up a small pouch.
"How does Floo powder work?" Mr. Granger inquired.
Hermione knew this would be the hardest part. "Okay, I need you to not get upset. This will be a bit of a shock."
Her parents nodded cautiously. Hermione removed the safety gate from the fire place and tossed in a pinch of light blue powder. The fire roared a poisonous green. Hermione stuck her hand in, earning gasps from her parents. "See? That's Flooing. You simply step into the fire; state your destination, and then you'll be transported. However, because I'm only calling the Weasleys, I'll just put my head in."
Her mother shook her head. "It's too dangerous."
"No," said Hermione. "It's perfectly safe. The fire won't go back to normal until you come out."
Mr. and Mrs. Granger exchanged a long look. "Well," said Mrs. Granger hesitantly, "if you're sure."
Hermione gave them a reassuring smile. "I am." She tossed another pinch of Floo powder into the fire. Sticking her head in and closing her eyes, she shouted "The Burrow!"
When she opened her eyes, she was peering into the Weasleys' sitting room. A stout, redheaded woman looked up from her knitting and gave Hermione a kind smile. "Hello, dear," she said, "you must be Hermione. Shall I fetch Ginny?"
"Yes ma'am, thank you," said Hermione politely.
Mrs. Weasley bustled over to the winding staircase. "Ginny! Hermione is on the Floo!"
"Coming!" yelled a voice from the top.
"She'll be down in just a minute. Oh, and by the way, I'm Molly Weasley. Pleased to meet you." With that, she gave Hermione another smile and headed into a different room.
Just then, Ginny came down the steps. "Hi, Hermione," she said with a small grin. "So, can you make it? Mum's really pleased that I've found someone to invite home. She gets pretty enthusiastic about that."
Hermione nodded. "My mum and dad say I can come. When were you thinking?"
"Well, I talked to Mum, and she says that if you Floo over at noon the day after Christmas, you can stay until holidays are over, and she'll take us to King's Cross as well."
"Sounds good to me. Let me check with my parents." Being careful to keep her hand in the fire, Hermione turned around. "Ginny says I can come at noon on the day after Christmas, stay until holidays are over, and her parents'll take us to King's Cross."
"Excellent. That sounds lovely."
Hermione beamed. "Thank you!" She thrust her head back into the fire. "It's all set."
"All right! I'll see you, then?"
"You will." agreed Hermione.
Hermione woke up at nine o'clock sharp on the day she was going to the Weasleys. She spent the next half hour making sure she was packed and getting ready. At nine fifty-seven, she crowded around the fire place with her parents. Hugging them each in turn, she said goodbye.
"Bye Mum, bye, Dad. I'll see you in June, okay?"
"Alright, honey. Be good, alright?" said Mrs. Granger.
"Bye, kiddo," Mr. Granger said fondly.
Hermione waved one last time, and then tossed some Floo powder into the fire.
Stepping in, she took a last look back.
AN- I loved writing the dialogue between Ron and Hermione. They're surprisingly easy to write.
Also, I was thinking of doing a second chapter about Hermione's time at the Weasleys'. You can visit my profile to vote.
Please R+R and tell me what you think!