Title: Who's Afraid of the Dentists' Daughter?
Setting: Alternate Philosopher's Stone.
Summary: Muggleborn Hermione Granger is sorted into Slytherin, but after a nasty prank goes wrong and gives her red eyes, her classmates become convinced that she's the Dark Lord's heir.
Please note that this is an AU story. In this fic, Daphne Greengrass, and almost all the Slytherin girls, are purebloods. If people can keep writing fem!Blaise, I don't see why I can't write a Tracy Davis and Daphne Greengrass who are entirely pureblood.
Thank you for all your reviews, and suggestions!
Also, I know it's been, like, about a year. I suck, I know.
Not as funny, this chapter, but sets up some things for the next few.
WHO'S AFRAID OF THE DENTIST'S DAUGHTER?
The moment that potions class was over, Ron Weasley exploded.
"The nerve of her!" he seethed. "Ordering us about! Slimy Slytherin!"
Harry looked at him quizzically. He was still getting used to all of the wizarding world's little foibles, and wasn't sure if this was a wizarding thing, or a Ron thing.
"Well, she was right," he pointed out, "we didn't have a clue what we were doing. And so what if she's Slytherin?"
"Slytherins are evil!" Ron yelled.
Harry frowned at him. Hagrid had said something similar, but he'd been thinking about it since he got to Hogwarts, and it didn't make sense. Why would they have a house for evil people? Why not just expel them? Harry had watched the Slytherins, and no, they didn't seem that nice, but they weren't too bad, either. (Except for Draco, who was a class-A git, although not actually evil.) Besides, could you even tell whether people were going to be evil, that young?
"Why are they evil?"
"Because they are! Everyone knows that! Gryffindors are good, and Slytherins are evil! That's how it works!"
Harry gave him a blank uncomprehending stare, and wondered if maybe he'd been Sorted into the wrong house, after all.
Hermione was on her way down to the common room when she was waylaid by a bouncy dark haired girl.
"Hello!" the girl greeted Hermione brightly. It was the one who had been smiling hopefully at her earlier. "I'm Daphne Greengrass."
"Hello," Hermione returned warily.
"Aren't you purebloods supposed to avoid muggleborns, or something?" Hermione asked.
Daphne nodded cheerfully.
"In theory, sure. But honestly, it's a bit silly, isn't it? Besides, without muggleborns our entire society would collapse. You don't suppose the average pureblood knows how to cook or make a shoe, do you? I refuse to alienate the people who will one day make my clothes."
Hermione gave Daphne an outraged stare.
"Listen, Professor Snape told us all off, so I doubt our dorm mates are likely to do anything like that to you again, but all the same, I'd keep it quiet that you have an asphodel allergy, just so that they can't use it against you," Daphne finished, apparently oblivious to Hermione's reaction to her bigoted statements.
"How did you know I had an asphodel allergy?" Hermione demanded.
"My aunt's a healer," Daphne explained matter-of-factly. "Look, I know you're suspicious, and that's a good thing, in Slytherin, but I honestly just want a friend who isn't one of Pansy's group. They're not exactly a moderate and tolerant lot. You're not likely to buy into it, and seem pretty smart. So friends, maybe?"
Daphne deliberately didn't mention the fact that she also wanted to be Hermione's friend because it looked like it would be entertaining as anything.
Hermione looked at the other girl searchingly, but finally nodded. It would be nice to have a friend, even if she was some kind of pureblood snob.
"That sounds… reasonable," Hermione replied, a little hesitantly. She wasn't used to making friends with people, although she'd tried before, and wasn't quite sure how to do so. She hoped she didn't mess it up. "I'm Hermione Granger."
Daphne beamed, and linked arms with her, startling Hermione a little. She wasn't used to friendly contact, either. They started walking.
"So how do you like Hogwarts so far?" Daphne asked companionably.
"I mean our dorm mates are all cows, obviously," Daphne continued on merrily, "and there was the whole asphodel thing, but apart from that."
"Er… I thought Professor Snape was nice?" Hermione offered.
Daphne stopped dead, jerking Hermione to a stop as well, and stared as though Hermione had just dropped in from another planet.
"Professor Snape… nice?" she managed faintly.
"Oh yes," Hermione said with a bit more confidence, "I mean, he talked to everyone about leaving me alone, didn't he, and he didn't seem too annoyed that I only came to class halfway through, even if I had been in the hospital wing all day, and he said I did excellent work and gave me twenty points!" She smiled happily. "I know he doesn't look particularly, well, kind, I suppose, but I'm sure he's far more pleasant than seems."
Daphne was again overcome by the mad urge to giggle hysterically.
"Right," she managed. "You should tell the other girls that, I'm sure they'd feel less nervous."
Or at least be even more convinced that Hermione was a budding Dark Lord, anyway – who else would like Professor Snape?
Oh yes, befriending Hermione had been a very good plan, she could see years of amusement stretching in front of her and with luck it would boost her status within the house.
"Do you think so?" Hermione asked a little doubtfully. "I don't mean to be rude, but they all seemed like rather unpleasant, spoiled little girls to me."
"I'm sure you'll get on better now," Daphne assured her, wanting to see everyone's faces when Hermione said she liked Professor Snape, "come on, let's go to the common room and I can introduce you to everyone properly."
Reluctantly Hermione allowed herself to be led off to the Slytherin common room. She wasn't sure about making friends with those horrible girls, but on the other hand, she'd much rather get along with them than not. Besides, she thought hopefully, maybe now that Professor Snape had sorted things out everything would be better.
As she and Daphne walked in there was a sudden hush, as almost everyone in the room turned to stare at them, followed almost instantly by a sudden buzz of murmurs.
Hermione scowled around ferociously. The story of her trip to the hospital wing must have spread around already, she thought. How typical.
People looked hastily away as they met her scowl. Glowering, Hermione followed Daphne to where the other first year girls were sitting frozen.
"Hello!" Daphne greeted them brightly. "I thought I'd introduce everyone to Hermione personally."
A sea of stricken eyes stared at the glowering Hermione.
"Er, hello?" Verity Lovelace tried, with a strained grin. "I'm um, Verity."
"Hermione Granger," Hermione said shortly. Her eyes moved to Pansy, who was sitting next to her.
Pansy gave a glassy smile.
"I'm… Pansy," her voice broke a little, "listen, I'm really sorry… really sorry… I – I mean, we won't do that again, I promise – um, it was mean. Uh?"
Hermione just frowned in slight confusion at the disjointed speech. Pansy's glassy smile wavered in fear.
"Would you... would you like a chocolate frog?" Tracy blurted, proffering the packet with a shaking hand.
Hermione scrutinised her face for any sign of malice, but only saw anxiety, so she picked on out.
"Thank you," she told Tracy primly, and engaged herself in opening the box.
Her frog tried to escape, but Hermione contained the chocolate and ate it, looking around at the other girls thoughtfully. Why were they trying so hard to be nice to her?
The only thing she could think of, since it didn't seem to be some kind of nasty prank judging by how nervous they appeared to be, was the fact that Professor Snape had talked to them about their behaviour. Her mood warmed at the thought. Really, he was a rather sinister-looking man but clearly he was nicer than he looked. Perhaps he was one of those people possessed of a crotchety exterior, but inside was secretly a kind person? Hermione filed the thought away for later.
"So... what do you think of classes so far?" she tried, since all the girls were still looking at her. Maybe she could gain some insights into the magic-born point of view from what they said.
Daphne sat down between Hermione and Pansy and listened happily to the conversation that followed.
The other first year girls, Pansy and Tracy in particular, were nearly crying with relief that Hermione had apparently forgiven them for this morning's prank, and prattling on all about how it was nice to be here at Hogwarts and nice to be formally learning magic finally and how much they missed all the niceties of home, and wasn't it unfair that they had to all share a dormitory until fifth year instead of getting a room to themselves like at home? Daphne rolled her eyes and watched Hermione, who was listening to all of this with a faintly perplexed frown.
"I think I like Flitwick best," Dulcinea Wilkes said thoughtfully, after Tracy had declared undying hatred for McGonagall, on the grounds that the professor was 'too disapproving and uptight.' "He's so funny and excited. And his voice squeaks."
"Well, I've had only Professor Snape so far, but he seems marvellous," Hermione offered.
Silence descended on the group.
Daphne tried to hide her desperately twitching lips as the others stared blankly.
"Snape... nice... Snape?" Pansy choked out, her brain clearly going into some kind of disjointed loop as it tried to process such an incredible idea.
"Oh, yes," Hermione enthused. "He's been so helpful, and he liked my potion, did you hear? I know he's rather ominous, but I suppose it is impressive. I do like the way his robes billow. Do you suppose it's simply the way they're cut, or does he use a spell?"
Dead silence. All eyes were on Hermione. She looked around suspiciously.
"What is it?"
Daphne was forced to break into a coughing fit at this point.
Severus Snape, meanwhile, was in his office with a comforting bottle of whiskey to cushion his despair at beginning yet another year of teaching hopeless dunderheads when there was a knock on the door, and the Rookwood girl entered the room.
Severus scowled at her thoughtfully. She was a rather strange girl, seemingly cold and with little expression in her face or gestures, but she was one of the few children at the school he actually liked. The fact that she'd always been responsible, intelligent, and scrupulously impartial on most topics was probably the reason, although he couldn't say that he actually knew her very well, or understood her.
He idly wondered if she had some kind of non-human blood in her veins, with her mannerisms and colouring, but decided he didn't care.
"Rookwood," he greeted her shortly.
"Sir," Veneficus returned. "There is an issue I thought should be brought to your attention. The rest of the house has already been made aware of it, and will treat the information with the utmost caution and discretion. The first-year muggleborn girl, Granger, appears to be the offspring of the Dark Lord."
Snape shot upright in his chair, suddenly very alert, and much more sober than he wanted to be after being given that sort of information.
"Any evidence?" he asked sharply.
The prefect hesitated, then gave a minute shrug.
"You did well to bring this to my attention," Severus said darkly.
A brief glow of – some kind of satisfaction in performing her duty? she really was an odd child, he thought – flitted across Veneficus' face, and with a small nod she left the room.
Severus leant back in his chair and considered the problem.
If the brat was the child of the Dark Lord, than that should be reasonably easy to prove, barring outside interference. A far harder problem would be scotching the rumour now it had apparently taken root, whether it was true or not. Although, if the information did turn out to be true, he'd have far greater problems to deal with than mere rumours.
Snape frowned, and decided not to bother Albus about the issue just yet. No point in bringing it to the headmaster's attention when there was as yet no real proof, one way or the other. The easiest way to find out would be to obtain a sample of the girl's blood and perform a paternity or heritage potion; he could gather the details of what had happened to her from Poppy tomorrow, and call in the girl for the sample on the pretext of making sure there were no lasting side effects, or some such thing. Yes, that would work nicely.
He wouldn't have time to do it for a few days, with all the beginning-of-term paperwork, but such a small time delay shouldn't have any effect on the current situation.
With a sigh, Severus sent a wistful look at his whiskey, and decided that a bit more tonight couldn't hurt.
That evening, just before curfew, Daphne sent out a letter to her cousin.
He had an entrepreneurial spirit, mixed with Slytherin shrewdness, and had established a reasonable income over the previous summer through a not-entirely principled use of his brand-new Potions N.E.W.T.
Hey Argonaut, the letter read,
I really need a heritage blocking potion, as soon as possible, and you're apprenticed in potions. I know that those aren't exactly legal, so I'm including five galleons, and a reminder that I know exactly what you used your skills for last summer. Love, Daphne.
Unfortunately for Professor Snape, his delay in testing Hermione's parentage was going to be more significant than he had thought.
The next morning Hermione woke up before anyone else in the dormitory, when the lights – charmed to slowly grow brighter from six o'clock onwards – were still dull, wispy lights that didn't so much dispel the darkness in the room as introduce different shades of black.
Hermione was not precisely a morning person; she tended to wake appallingly early, but instead of being bright and cheerful about it, as a lot of people were, waking up early tended to put her in a bad mood that only wore off as the morning went on.
With a mental sigh, Hermione gathered her clothing and things and went into the bathrooms.
By the time she returned to her dormitory all of the other girls were up and beginning to get ready.
Except for Daphne.
When Hermione pulled back the curtains, Daphne was sprawled across her bed, limbs splayed in awkward positions, her mouth wide open.
"Daphne!" Hermione called. "You need to get up."
There was no response.
"Daphne!" Hermione put out a hand to shake her shoulder. Daphne gave a deep groan, and with all the slow, labouring movement of a beached whale, rolled over so that her face was buried in the blankets.
Hermione scowled, beginning to feel irritated.
"Daphne Greengrass!" she snapped, prodding at the other girl firmly. "You need to get up right now!" Hermione gave her a little push.
Daphne groaned again, and muttered something like "Rillydarkordsdaugher."
Hermione's eyes narrowed.
The next moment Daphne shrieked as she was yanked off the bed by the ankle, the pile of blankets she was clutching cushioning her fall before she was pulled off them.
The other girls stared as Hermione dragged Daphne across the floor into the bathrooms, both hands wrapped around Daphne's ankle. A moment later there was a horrified screech of "No! Not the cold water!" almost immediately followed by the loud shriek of someone having a cold shower turned on them full blast.
"Definitely the Dark Lord's daughter," Pansy said with awe. Who else could be so evil?
Hermione stormed out of the bathrooms a moment later, radiating a kind of cold, annoyed satisfaction. The other girls watched wide-eyed as she gathered her books.
"I need tea," Hermione muttered, and left the dormitory, while Daphne's shouted insults and curses drifted back from the bathrooms.
Daphne scowled as she dried her hair with Tracey's towel. Bloody Granger. Who knew she had it in her? Maybe she really was Dark Lord spawn.
Grumbling to her herself, Daphne left the bathrooms, her frown lightening a little as an irate shout of "who used my towel?" echoed from behind her.
At least she was spreading the anti-love this morning, anyway. That was some consolation.
When she got to the Great Hall, Daphne sat next to Hermione and glared unblinkingly.
Hermione pretended that she didn't notice at first, before her nose went up slightly and she finally acknowledged the other girl.
"It was for your own good," Hermione announced righteously.
Daphne gaped, speechless with indignation. It was what?
"Otherwise you would have slept in and missed breakfast, perhaps even classes. Besides," Hermione added, a bit defensively, "I don't have a very even temper in the morning, and you were trying my patience."
Daphne fumed, and didn't speak to her again for the rest of breakfast.
Their first class that morning was Herbology, with the Ravenclaws.
Hermion didn't really like this whole business of digging and potting things; she wasn't an outdoors sort of person, much preferring to stay inside with a good book. But this was, after all, a class, and therefore important, and so Hermione busily herself with helping her partner re-pot their plant.
Her partner's name was Justin Finch-Fletchley, and he, like her, was muggleborn.
"I was down for Eton," the fair-haired boy explained, with a touch of superiority, "but when I got my letter I decided to come to Hogwarts instead. My mother was frightfully upset at first, but I managed to convince her."
Hermione bristled a little bit, her competitive streak roused by the pride in his voice.
"I'd won a scholarship to St George's, in Ascot," she explained airily. "Winston Churchill went there, you know, before it became a girl's school."
Justin just gave her an odd, sideways look of confusion.
"That's nice," he said hesitantly.
There was silence for a while, while Hermione berated herself inwardly for letting her competitiveness get the better of her.
She cast her mind around for something to say.
"Are you enjoying Hogwarts?" she tried.
"Oh yes," Justin agreed. "It's all rather fascinating, isn't it? Very E. Nesbit."
Hermione stared disbelievingly, as her brain first processed this statement, and then began speculating on exactly what kind of mind one had to have in order to select such a comparison.
"I see." Clearly his mind was not that of an ordinary person.
Hermione found herself oddly curious as to what other thought processes Justin might end up exposing through conversation, and carefully talked to him through the rest of the lesson, but Justin didn't say anything else she regarded as strange, to her disappointment.
It was during lunch that Hermione notice the way that the other Slytherins seemed to be staring at her.
When she thought about it, she realised that they had in fact been doing this all day; their behaviour was simply far more obvious once they had all gathered en masse.
She glared ferociously, and everyone instantly looked away… only to look back as soon as her gaze lowered to her food.
Honestly, Hermione thought in exasperation. This was ridiculous. Students from the other houses were beginning to glance at her as well, now, curious about the focus of the Slytherins stares. She didn't know why they were staring, but she wasn't going to stand for it.
"Really," she said aloud, in her most scathing tones, "could you be any more obvious? You're staring at me like a group of gormless idiots. Everyone else is beginning to stare as well, you know."
To her surprise a kind of restrained panic seemed to overtake everyone; their gazes skittered away like frightened rabbits.
For the rest of lunch, no one but Daphne made any kind of eye contact at all.
By the time Hermione was on her way to her next class, she had come to the conclusion that in general, wizards and witches were rather peculiar.
Millicent Bulstrode was not really enjoying her time at Hogwarts so far.
She was a tall, solidly-built girl, not very pretty but not unattractive either; not particularly bright, but certainly not stupid. She wasn't really remarkable in any way. Average, that was Millie.
It wasn't a problem at home, but Hogwarts was different. Everything was crowded and strange, and people weren't straightforward and down-to-earth like she was used to.
Everyone seemed to be more complicated, operating by some kind of unspoken set of rules that Millie hadn't grasped yet, and all the other girls her age were shorter and more delicate, so that Millie felt like a great hulking lump, acutely conscious of the way she towered over them and the way her robes made her look like she was built like a troll.
Classes weren't much better. Academia wasn't Millie's strong point; she was much better at doing something physical, like Quidditch. All this fiddly stuff was difficult, and Millie didn't understand why all the theory was so important. Couldn't they just skip to the bit where you waved your wand around and did things? Why did the angle you waved it at or they way you said the words matter?
Still, Millie wouldn't mind so much if she could at least make some friends, but none of the other girls liked her. Tracy and Pansy had looked her up and down and giggled when they first saw her, and kept making remarks about clumsy people and mountains and cows, while all the other girls laughed along with them.
The only one who hadn't was the muggleborn girl, Granger, who had looked pretty haughty and unfriendly even before they found out she was the Dark Lord's daughter. Millie hadn't said anything when the others had put asphodel in her bed, but she'd lain awake, feeling kind of bad about it; it wasn't a nice thing to do, but she didn't want to classmates to dislike her any more than they did already. And then the next morning the Granger girl had come out all red-eyed and furious, and they'd found out she was the Dark Lord's daughter.
Everyone was afraid that she was going to get some kind of horrible revenge, Millie knew. But she didn't really care.
"You're blocking the hallway, Bulstrode!" a shrill voice said loudly, and Pansy and Tracy sailed past, smirking, while the others girl followed.
…Millie didn't think that Granger could really make things much worse than they were already.
She wished she could just go home.