Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Hermione opened her eyes after her first night at Hogwarts and was disoriented for a few seconds. Then she remembered where she was and smiled. It was still pretty early, but she was too excited to go back to sleep. Instead, she got out of bed and dressed quietly, careful not to disturb her dorm mates.
Once dressed she made her way down to the common room, gaping at its sheer magnificence now that she was alone. Not that she hadn't been astonished by the rich, midnight blue wall hangings and bronze gilt windows the night before, when she and Harry had first arrived with the other first years. But it was harder to appreciate the beautiful carpet – sprinkled with stars – when surrounded by other kids, and the windows had been dark, hiding a glorious view of the mountains.
There were three exits from the common room. One left the Ravenclaw tower completely, one led to the dormitories. The third, however … Hermione grinned as she turned toward it. According to Penelope Clearwater, the prefect, that door led to the library. Not just any library, either. It was the Ravenclaws' secret library, containing books that were – supposedly, at least – written by Rowena Ravenclaw herself.
As soon as Penelope had mentioned it, Hermione had known she chose the right House.
Timidly, as always when faced with a large amount of new books, Hermione entered the room. Excitement mounting, she started to peruse the shelves, running her fingers over the rows of books. As far as she could tell, the subjects varied widely and there seemed to be no evident reason to their order, but she found it unlikely that there was no organization whatsoever.
"I wondered if it would be you."
Hermione jumped and turned around. Then she nearly jumped again. I'll have to get used to ghosts eventually. She told herself firmly. The speaker was the ghost of a pretty, young women with long, flowing hair, but Hermione thought there was something distant in her eyes. Something sorrowful. "You wondered if … what would be me?"
"Every year there is at least one new student who is drawn to the room early on their first morning," The woman replied. "I saw you, in the common room last night, and wondered if it would be you this year. And it was." She added grandly.
"Oh," Hermione was a little confused. "How did you know?"
"Hmm … just something about you." The woman said vaguely. "What's your name?"
"Hermione Granger. Yours?"
The ghost gave her a very small, but very cold smile. "I am known as the Grey Lady." She answered quietly.
The Grey Lady didn't seem to want to talk anymore, but Hermione's curiosity got the better of her. "Is it true that these books were written by Rowena Ravenclaw?"
"Some, perhaps," Was the only response. Then the ghost appeared to lose interest in her and glided away to another section of the library.
Hermione returned to looking through the books. Only a few minutes later, the door to the library opened and Harry entered. "Good morning. I thought I probably find you here." He said, grinning at her. "It is a library, after all."
"Hi, Harry. I had no idea this place was here!" She said happily. "I mean, I know it is a 'secret' library, and wouldn't be much of a secret if it were described in Hogwarts, A History or something, but … " Hermione trailed off. "I wonder if the other teachers, at least, know about it."
"No," The Grey Lady said. "Only Ravenclaws – and as Ravenclaws, you are expected to tell no one else." She had settled herself at a desk in the corner and appeared to be reading a ghost book. She had not looked up to answer the question, nor did she give any indication that she was going to speak again.
"Who is that?" Harry mouthed.
Hermione motioned toward the door and they left the library. "The Grey Lady," She said, answering his question. "The ghost of Ravenclaw House – Hogwarts, A History did mention her a few times – nothing about her, just that each of the Houses had a ghost and it gave their names. I don't remember the others."
Harry gasped theatrically. "Hermione Granger doesn't remember something?" He said with mock horror. "I think the world is ending."
Laughing with him, Hermione said, "Let's go eat breakfast." However, as they left the Tower, Hermione started trying to think of the ghosts' names frantically. "The Bloody Baron." She said almost immediately. "The Slytherin ghost – that was the part I read most, trying to find out more about Parseltongue. I think the Fat Friar was - " She broke off as they reached the end of the spiral staircase outside Ravenclaw Tower. "Do you remember the way to the Great Hall?"
"I'll take that as a no." Hermione took the lead, attempting to retrace their steps from the night before. Normally it wouldn't be a problem, because normally, she'd be able to see familiar things and remember where they were. Unfortunately, Hogwarts wasn't that simple – the staircases moved, the pictures moved, the suits of armor moved. "There has got to be a map of this place." She cried in frustration the second time they got lost. "Surely they can't expect first years to just know their way around!"
"Ask - "
"- and you -"
"- shall receive."
Two identical twins wearing two identical grins appeared in front of them, seemingly out of the walls. They were about thirteen and had red hair – in fact, when Hermione looked closer, she realized they looked a lot like Ron Weasley and decided they must've been part of the family she'd seen at the train station. The twins looked at them expectantly. "Er … " Harry said, glancing nervously at Hermione. "Do you know how to get to the Great Hall?"
"Fred, do we know how to get the Great Hall?" One twin asked the other.
"That we do, George." The other replied. Together, they told Harry and Hermione, "Follow us, firsties."
As the twins led them through the confusing halls of Hogwarts, they introduced themselves. "Fred and George Weasley. You're Harry Potter, of course. What about you?" One of the twins – she couldn't tell which – asked Hermione.
"Hermione Granger." She answered.
With the twins' help, they arrived at their destination in minutes. "Thanks!" said Harry, as they entered the Great Hall.
"Anytime!" The twins chorused.
They left for the Gryffindor table, while Harry and Hermione made their way the the Ravenclaw. Despite the early visit to the Ravenclaw library, it was still early enough that there were only a few students already there. The prefect, Penelope Clearwater, was among them.
"Just as a warning," she said as they sat down. "Don't trust the Weasley twins."
"What do you mean?" asked Harry.
Penelope smiled. "They're notorious. Don't get me wrong, they aren't mean just … mischievous. You might call them pranksters."
"They helped us find the Great Hall this morning." Hermione said, confused.
Penelope nodded. "Yes, but next time. Next time they might do something completely different. Their pranks are usually harmless and all in good fun - " She sniffed, as though she didn't think pranks could possibly be all in good fun " - but all the same, it's best to watch yourselves around them. And be glad you're not in Gryffindor - they lose point all the time."
Harry and Hermione nodded. "So, how do you suggest avoiding getting lost?" Harry asked.
"Well, of course, I'm always willing to help," said Penelope. "But if I'm not around, any of the other prefects and most of the ghosts will point you in the right direction. And the teachers, of course. Peeves though, you know, the poltergeist? Avoid him at all cost." She added with a grimace. Hermione nodded. Penelope had mentioned Peeves on the way to the Ravenclaw Tower from dinner the night before. They hadn't actually met this poltergeist, and she wasn't looking forward to it. "Don't be too worried if you do get lost though." The prefect continued. "You'll get used to the castle soon enough and the teachers are usually pretty lenient for the first week or so. Not Snape though – be sure to leave plenty early to get to Potions."
Hermione noticed that more and more students were trickling into the Great Hall and looked to the Gryffindor table. "Look, Harry!" She said suddenly. "There's Neville! You finished?" She asked and Harry nodded. "Me too. Thanks, Penelope." The two of them got up and joined Neville.
"This castle is a nightmare." He informed them as they sat down across from him. "I left Gryffindor Tower an hour ago. I was worried I wouldn't have time for breakfast."
Hermione nodded sympathetically. "We got lost too, and needed help getting here."
Neville was about to say something else, but he was interrupted by Professor McGonagall giving him his schedule. "You should probably go back to your own table Miss Granger, Mr. Potter." She told them sternly. "You'll be needing to pick up your own schedules from Professor Flitwick."
"All right." Hermione stood. "Oh, Professor. Do Ravenclaws and Gryffindors share any classes?"
"Not first years, no." McGonagall answered, then continued down the table handing out schedules.
"Oh, well," Hermione sighed. "See you after classes then, Neville. Do you want to meet in the library?"
Neville nodded and they left again to pick up their own schedules.
A/N: Do not think that the posting of this chapter means that I'll start updating on a regular basis again. It just means I had a chapter written and decided to post it. It's not beta'ed either, just carefully edited by me - but that's because my internet is only working sporadically right now and I want to post while I can.