Hermione Jean Granger had not won the national high school level spelling bee three years running for being pretty. She had not had her fourth grade essays published in the London Times by being charming. She had not taught herself, at age five, to solve the Rubik's cube in four minutes flat by being demure.
No, Hermione was undoubtedly very, very intelligent. Thus, it seemed only natural that, by age eight, she had come to the conclusion that there was something supremely wrong with herself.
It wasn't just her intelligence. That seemed natural and understandable. She knew, of course, that she was unusual, but it didn't seem like anything truly wrong with her. Just a quirk of fate, an accidental twist somewhere in her genome that had caused her IQ to soar.
It wasn't her social isolation, either. That was, as she understood it, simply a logical effect of her intelligence and general affinity for learning. She wasn't entirely sure why human nature caused this hostility to extreme intelligence, but, like her brainpower itself, it simply was.
No, Hermione's conclusion that something about her was wrong stemmed from the strange incidents that had marked her life since she could remember. There were so many things she had instinctively known she had caused that simply were not possible. There had been the time when she had longed to become a princess to impress her classmates, and lo and behold, the next morning, her closet was filled with dozens of elegant princess frocks. The moment when she had found herself suddenly in her local library when she had been bored at home on a rainy day only a moment before. That time when all of her Brussels sprouts had simply disappeared with small pop off her plate. The way she could leap off the tallest things on the playground and land ever so softly and gently, always completely unscathed. The moment when she had been giving an oral report on Tangiers when her teacher had left the classroom and not come back. He had been found weeks later, wandering around in Tangiers. There had even been that strange, lone incident at the local zoo when Hermione had struck up a conversation with a family of Indian tourists in Hindi, despite not actually speaking a word of Hindi.
It was at this point that Hermione began to suspect she was slowly going crazy. She began reading up on mental illnesses. Her parents dismissed it as her latest pet project, even after she calmly informed them that her favorite psychological problem was Ondine's Curse, and she felt it was the best thing she could be diagnosed with because she was conscious of her breathing almost all the time, so she'd be fine.
No, Hermione's parents didn't suspect a thing, but Hermione knew she was going crazy. The things that happened to her—the things she instinctively knew she had done- defied the laws of nature. And surely that wasn't possible?
Hermione knew she was going crazy, and she wasn't sure what to do. She knew a lot of geniuses had been a little bit crazy. But she wasn't a genius, and she was more than a little bit crazy.
Besides, being a chemical engineer- Hermione's career of choice- was out of the question if the things that happened to her seemed so much like, well, magic. Because Hermione, if she was absolutely honest with herself, loved that magic.
Even if she knew it was all kinds of wrong