The First Day and the Beauty Spells

Hermione woke up at six o'clock sharp, without the use of any spells to alarm her, as was habit due to both her nightmares, and months of sleeping in a tent. She took a shower and performed several spells to dry off and put up her hair in the same style it had been in yesterday, wavy, with one side pinned back. She would have to visit the library today and find some more beauty spells. She brushed her teeth for the required three minutes, and then performed a couple spells to apply basic makeup. She did the dark red lipstick without the aid of magic. She loved gliding the creamy substance over her lips. It felt like good luck, even if Hermione didn't really believe in such things. She walked back to her wardrobe, grabbed her undergarments and school robes, and closed her curtains around her to change. She quickly transfigured her jeans into a pair of knee length pantyhose, which she wore under the standard black rounded toe heels she had been issued during her talk with Headmaster Dippet.

When she turned back to her bed, Hermione was surprised to see a slip of paper on her pillow. She found that it was her class schedule, and today she had Potions first block. Hermione attached her wand holster to her right forearm, slipped her wand inside, and wrapped her beaded bag's strap around her leg just above the knee, tucking the bag into the top of her pantyhose. She grabbed her school bag and tugged her trunk out from underneath her bed, snapping it open. She grabbed her potions kit, stuffed it in the dark brown leather satchel, and slid the trunk back in place.

Finally, Hermione made the bed (she still felt that house-elves needn't do everything), closed her wardrobe doors, and left her dorm room just as she heard the first wand start chirping like a Robin (which she found uncharacteristically pleasant for a Slytherin's alarm). She hurried out of the common room, and decided to go to the kitchens instead of the Great Hall. Hermione didn't really want to be in a room full of people staring at her, plus she would only have to go up two flights of stairs instead of three.

Hermione tickled the pear in the bowl of fruit, which giggled and promptly turned into a doorknob that she turned and pulled on to swing the painting open. She stepped through the hole and pulled the painting shut, and turned to find about twenty house-elves looking up at her eagerly.

"What can Tinky gets for you missus?" Asked the elf closest to her.

"Hello Tinky, my name's Hermione Granger. I would like some toast and jam, a bunch of grapes, and some pumpkin juice please."

"Of course, missus Hermione Granger!" She squeaked.

"Oh Tinky, I would like you to call me Hermione. I would like us to be friends."

"Oh, Tinky is honored! Tinky will do her best miss- Hermione!" The little elf looked like she didn't know what to do with herself, so Hermione smiled at her encouragingly.

"Go on then Tinky. Tell the rest of the elves I hope I can get to know them as well."

"Yes Hermione! Of course!" She scurried off, and another elf brought Hermione her food, but ran off before she could catch it's (Hermione still had trouble with telling an elf's gender simply by appearance) name.

Hermione ate her toast and drank her pumpkin juice. She picked up the bunch of grapes, and slung her bag over her shoulder.

"Goodbye Tinky! Goodbye to the rest of you too!" A chorus of goodbyes came in return, and Hermione left the kitchens to meander her way to Potions.

As she walked Hermione picked at her grapes and ate them one by one, enjoying the taste and the time she had to get to class due to how early she got up. She even held some light conversation with a few portraits, something that Luna had given her the idea to do. Hermione quickly swallowed the grape she was chewing, along with her tears.

Her grapes all gone, Hermione shoved the stem into her school bag, and found herself at the Potions classroom door. She opened it to find that the classroom was different in this time. Instead of being oval, it was square, a little larger, and the work tables were larger as well, and looked like they could seat four people each instead of two or three. She walked to the stone basin and washed her hands, before making her way to a table in the back of the classroom and taking out her cauldron and knife, laying them down neatly. She placed her bag on the bench, and turned to the sound of the door opening.

"Oh my, child, you gave me quite the fright!" said a startled Professor Slughorn. The only change between now and when Hermione had previously been taught by the man was that his hair was now flaxen, and he had significantly less wrinkles. His stomach, unfortunately, was as bulbous as ever. It was oddly comforting in a way Hermione couldn't define. You most certainly should not find your Potions Proffessor's poor health comforting! she scolded to herself.

"Sorry Professor. I'm Hermione Granger, though you probably know that. I'm terribly sorry to ask you this, but I didn't get the chance to buy my books, could I perhaps borrow a copy?" Hermione tried her best to look pitiful, pathetic, and generally on the verge of tears. She must have done a good job, because Slughorn was looking at her with pity.

"Of course my dear girl," he said, and walked to a cupboard adjacent to the potion supplies closet. He opened it and handed her a battered copy of Advanced Potion-Making by Libatius Borage, as she had followed him. As she walked back to her seat, she leafed through it, taking in the crinkled pages, but finding no one had marked it up too much, and the book would do fine. She sat down, moving her bag to the floor, and flicked her wrist. The motion caused her holster to release her wand into her hand. She cast a few reparo's, moderately improving the state of the sad, battered book. The book-worm in her mourned a little at the state of the book.

Gryffindors and Slytherins began to trickle in, and Hermione was relieved to find she was on the right side of the room. She flicked her wand back into her holster, and turned her attention to the front of the classroom as Slughorn began to speak.

"Good morning class! Today we are going to brew the Elixir to Induce Euphoria. Can anyone tell me about this elixir?" Hermione's hand rose slowly (keeping up appearances, she was itching to shoot her hand into the sky at the speed of light), and she didn't notice the boy who was in the process of raising his hand. "Yes Miss Granger?" Slughorn asked, looking both surprised and pleased. Probably because she had just received her textbook, and as far as he knew, hadn't had the time to read it.

"The Elixir to Induce Euphoria is an elixir that produces irrational happiness upon those who drink it. It can occasionally cause excessive singing and nose-tweaking, and when finished, it should be bright yellow and smell sweet and aromatic, as all elixirs do. It contains shrivelfig, porcupine quills, castor beans, and wormwood. It takes approximately one hour to a little under two hours to brew depending on one's skill level." Her explanation was as quick as usual, though she had dropped the know-it-all tone that she used to use when she explained things, and now simply sounded matter-of-fact, abashed, and shy. Well done! Know-it-all Granger is no longer! Good riddance!

"Excellent Miss Granger! Five points to Slytherin." The Gryffindors groaned quietly. "Everyone except Miss Granger, please pair up. Miss Granger, you will be making this on your own so I can see if you should be in this N.E.W.T. level class, or the regular seventh year Potions class." He raised his voice. "Gather your supplies!"

Hermione gathered the usual supplies, as well as a sprig of peppermint. She had read through Snape's old potions textbook, and she had made sure to memorize all his tricks. She lit the flame under her cauldron, and went about splitting the porcupine quills before throwing them in as opposed to adding them in as is, using the flat of her knife to squish the juice out of the castor beans instead of slicing them, and stirring three times counter-clockwise and four times clockwise with her wand, adding the sprig of peppermint in between switching directions as opposed to stirring five times counter-clockwise and two times clockwise without adding peppermint. She followed the rest of the directions as they were written, and found she was done in fifty minutes. Hermione proudly raised her hand.

"Yes, Miss Granger. Having problems?" Slughorn asked, walking towards her.

"No sir, I'm done." Some students turned to stare. They weren't even half-way done!

"Are you?" Slughorn seemed, once again, surprised and pleased. He leaned over her cauldron, peering into the bright yellow fluid and inhaling deeply.

"Well done, Miss Granger! Very fast, and very accurate! And is that... peppermint I smell? Yes, that would counter the side-effects you mentioned earlier. Brilliant, Miss Granger!" He beamed at her, bouncing on the balls of his feet.

"Thank you, Professor." Hermione replied, flushing with pleasure. It had been a while since she'd been praised, especially by a teacher, and she had forgotten how nice it felt.

"Yes, bottle that up now, and bring it to my desk." Hermione bottled, corked, and labeled a sample of the potion, and banished the rest, putting her supplies away. She approached his desk, and placed it on the small patch of mahogany cleared of paper.

"Well, you certainly deserve to be in this class Miss Granger!" He chortled, and Hermione flushed again. "I would like you to join the Slug Club. It's a little group of students I've gathered. We have meetings at the end of every month. I'll owl you an invitation, and I do hope you will join us!"

Hermione wanted nothing less than to be part of the Slug Club, but this would help her get closer to Riddle, so she plastered on a winning smile and replied, "Of course sir, I would be honored! I'll be awaiting your owl." She started to turn, but remembered something. "Sir, I know I'm borrowing my potions textbook, but could I write in it, perhaps?"

"Of course my dear!" Slughorn replied happily. He was already wrapped around her finger.

She walked back to the back of the room, and washed her hands in the stone basin again, so the bean juice wouldn't stain. She then settled back onto her bench, taking out a quill, her ink pot, and her textbook. For the next hour, she simply crossed out different instructions and made improvements based off of further editions and Snape's work.

After Double Potions (which, if she did say so herself, was a slam dunk!), Hermione made her way to the seventh floor, and found the bare stretch of wall across from that ridiculous tapestry. After checking for the tenth time to make sure no one was behind her, she walked past it three times.

I want somewhere comfortable where no one will find me.

I want somewhere comfortable where no one will find me.

I want somewhere comfortable where no one will find me.

To her pleasure, the door appeared on her first try, and she didn't have to alter her wording. She opened the large door to find a scene that looked painfully similar to the area of the Gryffindor common room where she, Harry, and Ron had spent most of their time. Three crimson armchairs sat to one side of a fire, and a cushy crimson couch was on the other side, forming a cluster around the warmth of the fire. A warm brown coffee table was placed between them, and the rich wooden floorboards were covered with worn red carpets with golden designs. Hermione's lower lip trembled before tears began to flow down her cheeks. She approached the chair she always sat in when she wasn't on the sofa, the one that was closest to the sofa, and collapsed, swinging her bag down on the coffee table. She bawled for a good ten minutes, grabbing at tissues that had magically appeared next to her bag.

When she settled town, Hermione unwrapped her beaded bag and pulled it out of her panty hose.

"Accio 'How To Become An Animagus, Final Steps'" Hermione said, pointing her wand into the bag. The thick book flew out, and landed heavily in her hands. Hermione had been studying how to become an animagus for over a year now. The process required a lot of meditation, and so she had brought the books recommended to her by McGonagall with her when she was on the run in her would-be seventh year. There had been plenty of down time in the tent, and so she was in the final stages. She had already done all the required spell work and consumed all the potions. The only thing she had left to do now was 'tap into her inner self', and find a quiet place to keep her focus during her first transformation. At least, that's what the last chapter of the book said.

"Tempus." Fifty minutes had past. She had better get going to Transfiguration. Hermione put the book back in her beaded bag, and hid the bag under her robes again. She slung her satchel over her shoulder, left the room, and headed down seven flights of stairs. She took the short cut through the court yard, and arrived at Classroom 1B.

"Hello Professor" she smiled up at Dumbledore, who was taller than nearly everyone.

"Hello Miss Granger. Have your classes been going well so far?" he asked, eyes twinkling as always.

"Yes sir, I find I'm adapting quite well. Thank you for your concern." Dumbledore simply smiled, and Hermione headed to a seat in the back of the classroom once again. Not a minute later, and a sandy-haired boy with freckles sat next to her on the bench.

"Hello, I'm William Goldstein, a Ravenclaw. You can call me Will if you like. You looked a little lonely, so I thought I'd introduce myself." William said with a grin. Hermione already liked him, but that might have been because she had gotten to know Anthony, who had been a member of the D.A.. He was one of the many members she had liked, because he had not just joined to be around Harry.

"Hello William, I'm Hermione Granger, but I'm sure you already know that. Thank you for coming over, that's quite kind of you. That hat almost put me in Ravenclaw, you know." She replied, voice quiet and polite as her new facade required.

"Really? So you're smart, then? That's a relief. Why did it choose Slytherin?"

"Something about being mischievous" Hermione replied with a sly smile. Will laughed.

"I can see that. In Ravenclaw we like to exchange facts. Give me one and I'll give you one." He said, wiggling his eyebrows at the last part. Hermione laughed at his ridiculous expression.

"Okay, how about this. When cranberries are ripe, they bounce." She said with a smile.

"Are you serious?"

"Yup. I could show you next time they serve them in the Great Hall."

"Please do!" He said enthusiastically. "Alright, here's mine. A pregnant goldfish is called a twit."

"Really? How strange!" Hermone laughed, and soon Will joined in, and the class was looking on in confusion at the Slytherin and Ravenclaw laughing together.

"Settle down, settle down. Miss Granger, Mister Goldstein." Dumbledore said, and the pair quieted. "Today we will be turning rocks into busts of people. It can be someone famous, a friend, a family member, or even yourself! But the goal is to make them as detailed as possible." Dumbledore demonstrated the wand movement and pronunciation, and medium-sized rocks appeared on their desks.

Will started to work on his, and Hermione thought of who to make the bust of. She couldn't stand to make her parent's, or Ron or Harry. Hermione focused on the thought of Luna. With her long straggly hair, big eyes, radish earrings, and butterbeer cork necklace. Her spectrespecs were propped on top of her head, and a dreamy smile was upon her face. Hermione focused on the image with all her might, and waved her wand, pronouncing the spell perfectly. When she opened her eyes, the image in her mind sat in front of her, although it was all the color of rock.

"How'd you do that?" William whispered, looking jealous.

"It's all in the concentration." Hermione said, knowing that Will's wand movement and pronunciation were perfect.

Dumbledore seemed to have spotted her sculpture. "Well done Miss Granger! Five points to Slytherin. Your friend is quite the odd one, isn't she?" He asked, coming up behind her.

"She was Professor, but in the best way a person could possibly be odd" Hermione replied fondly. Hermione had grown to quite like Luna over the years. She was a brave and extremely intelligent girl, with a fantastic imagination. And who knows, nargles could very well exist. They were in a world of magic, and Hermione had never accepted that as much as she should have. Anything was possible. Hermione shouldn't have been so mean to the girl. Dumbledore noted the use of the past tense, but didn't dwell on it. The Professors all knew of her past. He simply continued to pace the classroom, giving encouragement to the frustrated students. Hermione quickly transfigured the bust back into a rock, unable to look at Luna any longer without going completely bonkers, or bursting into tears.

After Transfiguration Hermione headed to the kitchen, and got a turkey sandwich an apple, water, and a couple extra scraps of food that were leftover from breakfast to eat out by the Lake. She sat with her back to the same tree that she used to sit with Harry and Ron at, or by herself when they were being ridiculous or flying. She ate half her sandwich, back against the tree, occasionally throwing the breakfast scraps, and eventually the rest of her sandwich, to the Giant Squid, who ate them happily. She drank her water, then laid down closer to the lake, idly petting the huge tentacle the squid offered her and occasionally taking a bite out of her apple until it was gone. She threw the core to the squid, along with the rest of the scraps, and picked up the tray, plate, and cup, preparing to take them to the kitchen. She grabbed her bag, called a farewell to the squid (who knew, maybe magical giant squids knew English) and headed back to the castle. She didn't want to get a sunburn.

After returning the dishes to the kitchen, Hermione headed to the sixth floor for Ancient Runes, taking a detour due to a moving staircase. When she arrived she found that her Professor was Professor Babbling, however it was not the Bathsheda Babbling she was used to. It seemed that love of runes ran in the family. Hermione had to borrow several books, including Advanced Rune Translation and Rune Dictionary, and at the end of the hour, Hermione had five new borrowed books, and a parchment with the English translation of an Ancient Egyptian passage about dragons. This Professor Babbling (ironically) hardly spoke at all. He simply placed instructions on the board, and let you work.

Hermione made her way to the D.A.D.A. Tower, climbing the winding staircase to reach the semi-circular room. She was greeted by Professor Merrythought, who Hermione knew was going to retire at the end of this school year. She looked to be over a hundred, but she held herself well, and Hermione could see she was a woman to be respected. Hermione collected a used edition of Defense Against the Dark Arts and sat at the back once again.

"As you all know but Miss Granger doesn't, we have been studying the theory behind the patronus charm. Can anyone tell me the incantation?" Several people raised their hands, including Hermione. "Mr. Longbottom?"

"Expecto Patronum, Professor." A boy sitting near the front of the class room answered.

"I see you have been paying attention. Very good. Now, who has seen a dementor before?" Ten hands other than her own raised. "Very good, very good. And who has seen a patronus?" Hermione's hand was raised along with two others. "Why don't you all tell us where you've seen a patronus before. You start, Mr. Malfoy."

A boy with blond hair rose to address the class. "I went to Azkaban once, and the guards cast a patronus to keep the dementors away from us." He said haughtily, before sitting back down.

"Miss. Parkinson?"

"My father cast his for me once, Professor." She said. The girl was quite pretty, much better looking than Pansy.

"And you, Miss Granger?"

Hermione rose. "My old friends and I all learned to cast a patronus together, Professor." She sat back down. Many people in the classroom looked surprised.

"Miss Granger, many full grown wizards can't produce a corporeal patronus. You'll have to forgive me, but I wish to see you cast the charm. I do not tolerate lying in my class room."

"I- alright Professor." Hermione had not cast her patronus since the incident at the ministry while she was on the run.

"To the front, if you please." Hermione joined Professor Merrythought at the front. "Take a few moments to gather yourself." the Professor said, and Hermione gave her a grateful smile.

"It's been a while since I've done this, you'll forgive me if I need to take a moment." Hermione closed her eyes, and tried to recall the happiest moment of her life.

"No! Harry! Not another! Ah!" Hermione shrieked, as Harry hit her with snowballs.

"Don't worry Hermione, I'll save you!" Ron exclaimed in an exaggerated deep voice. He ran towards her and gathered up snow to hurl at Harry while Hermione tried to salvage the fort. Suddenly Hermione looked up to see Ron give a battle cry, and tackle Harry. They were collapsed on the ground, unable to get up due to their laughter.

"Hermione- help- us" Harry gasped. They each reached out a hand, and Hermione grabbed them to help them up. In perfect synchronization, they winked at her, and pulled her down with them. The just laughed and rolled in the snow, making snow angels and telling corny jokes, getting soaked to the bone for hours.

"Expecto Patronum!" Hermione said loudly snapping her eyes open, and a great wolf burst out of her wand, circling the room before coming to join her. It nuzzled her comfortingly before fading away. The shock must have shown on her face, because Professor Merrythought asked,

"Why are you so surprised Miss Granger?" The Professor as well as the rest of the class looked shocked as well. In fact, they all looked quite silly.

"I- erm, my patronus didn't used to be a wolf. That's the first time I've seen it in that form."

"Well done Miss Granger, stay up here a moment. Does anyone know why a person's patronus might change? Yes, Mister Riddle." Hermione's eyes snapped to a handsome boy who sat in the middle row. He had jet black hair and dark eyes, and his skin was pale enough to look regal, but not so pale as to look sickly. This was who she had to befriend. She focused all her attention on him, taking in mannerisms and the undertones in his voice. Any information could be of help.

"Many people never see their patronus change forms, however if a person goes through trauma, or a complete lifestyle change, their patronus usually changes it's form to better fit the new version of the person." How fitting. She was a lone wolf that mourned the loss of her pack. It was depressing and corny and utterly stupid. Hermione had loved her otter patronus, and what the new form of her patronus symbolized made her want to puke.

Professor Merrythought dismissed her, and the lesson on the patronus charm continued.

Hermione sat in the farthest corner of the library, beauty spells stacked high in front of her on the table as she tried to hold back her tears. Casting the patronus had rose many painful memories to the surface. What had Hermione ever done to deserve such misery in her life? It didn't seem fair.

She rapidly blinked and pinched her thigh. She could cry later in the safety of silencioed emerald curtains. She scanned through the last book. Beauty spells were fairly easy for Hermione to learn after she had to learn all the protection spells she had cast on the tent on her own. She snapped the book shut, and stacked all of them in her arms, placing them one by one back on their shelves a few rows up.