A/N: I began working this story, my first fanfiction, almost a year and a half ago, and, for one reason or another, I've finally plucked up the courage to begin posting it. I would like to thank, first and foremost, my beautiful beta and best friend s and h forever. I never would have written this without her urging and support. She is an inspiration.

Reviews would be lovely, but please, no flames. My muse would appreciate being fed, not strangled to death.

Disclaimer: You recognize it? I don't own it. The world I've been privileged enough to play in has been lovingly created by the wonderful J.K.R. She deserves all the credit here.

"I know it 'cause you wrote it down a hundred times, but you say that you're doin' just fine. Say there's something better, but today, there is a cold moon rising." (Molasses, by The Hush Sound)

The sun streamed through the window panes as Hermione Granger woke to the smell of new books and parchment in the Gryffindor girls' dormitory. She quickly jumped out of bed at the thought of her first day of classes as a sixth year Hogwarts student and gazed fondly at the bookshelf she had organized the night before upon her arrival at the castle. After reminding herself not to appear too excited for the day's classes at breakfast, Hermione eagerly packed her bag and headed off to the Great Hall to meet Harry and Ron.

"Good morning, you two! I trust you both slept well?" inquired Hermione as she sat down to breakfast.

"Wow, you really are excited for today, aren't you?" replied Harry, shocked and slightly disturbed by his friend's noticeable enthusiasm.

"God, am I that obvious?" Hermione, despite her self-proclaimed love of learning, was discomforted by the transparency of her academic fervor and promised herself that she would become more proficient in hiding her emotions. Just one more goal she had to add to her growing to-do list.

"Yes, you are," Ron stated matter-of-factly, his lack of sleep apparently setting in already. "You have this weird glow around you. It's sort of freaking me out a bit, actually."

"Well at least I'm determined to enjoy myself today instead of wallowing in my own self-pity. Poor Ronald, you're actually going to have to do work today. I don't know how you're possibly going to survive!" rebutted Hermione, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

"Whatever." Ron shrugged, unwillingly admitting defeat and wondering how Hermione always managed to be right.

"Anyway, it was nice talking to you boys, but I'm going to head to our first class early. I still have to write headers on all of my notebooks!" Hermione attempted to gather up her things from the table, but was promptly interrupted by Harry.

"Well obviously you don't remember what class we have first, or you wouldn't be rushing to get to it." Harry and Ron exchanged knowing glances; their very expressions screamed kill me now!

"Oh sod it," Hermione gasped as she threw her bag back down, "we have Potions first, don't we?! Well, maybe the headers can wait."

"Hmmmm…not as excited for today's classes as you thought, Hermione?" Ron was thrilled at the chance to find Hermione reluctant to go to class.

"No, I'm still excited; I find Potions fascinating. I just wish it wasn't taught by that insufferable excuse for a teacher!" For the past five years Hermione had held her own personal battle with Professor Snape, disgusted by his favoritism and refusal to acknowledge her hard work in his class. She was determined to make him appreciate her love of Potions and knowledge in his field, but couldn't bear to be around him long enough to even begin a conversation about the latest issue of Potions Weekly.

"WAIT! You actually like Potions? But he's greasy!" Ron glared at Hermione as if she had just stabbed a knife into his back. "Harry...we have to do something about this!"

"Yes, I like Potions, Ron, but that doesn't mean I like Snape. I'm surprised you would even think something like that after being subjected to my almost daily rants after class about how much I can't stand him!"

"That's true." Ron knew Hermione wasn't exaggerating; she complained about Snape almost as much as Harry did. "I guess I'm still a little tired."

"Don't worry about it Ron. Well, I guess it's time we went down to the dungeons anyway. It's almost time for class." Great, Hermione thought to herself, time to be reminded of how much I hate Severus Snape.

It was going to be a long year.