A/N: This is "Book" One of Three. This story will cover year One at Hogwarts, but it is only Part One, of Seven in Book One. This is all (for now anyway) from Hermione's POV. Slight, AUness. As story progresses the rating might go up, though it is unlikely.
Disclaimer: Everything belongs to J.K. Rowling, and the printing companies.
Hermione Granger said a loving good-bye to her parents that she wouldn't see again until Christmas. She promised to write, be good, get good grades, and to make lots of friends and have fun. Hermione truly loved how supportive her parents were of all this. They even told all her friends (which was a small few, only two, and her cousins) that she'd been accepted to a prestigious boarding school. Technically, Hermione had been accepted to that boarding school but her parents couldn't bear to be apart from their beloved daughter for that long. Everything changed once she got her Hogwarts letter. At first her dad thought it was a hoax, but then Professor Burbage showed up and explained everything.
Personally, Hermione thought that everything was wonderful. Learning that she was a witch was one of the best things that had ever happened to her. It gave her the opportunity for a fresh start. Back home, she was constantly teased and ridiculed for being a "Know it all." Hermione didn't let the cruel taunts get to her. So she was knowledgable, that didn't register as a crime in her mind. They were all just jealous because she knew things, and their brains were just too small. All the same, she was looking forward to this fresh start. New friends, new beginnings, and besides, it's not like they could judge at this school anyway. They were all witches and wizards, they weren't normal by any means!
Unfortunately, it seemed that Hermione was destined to be proven wrong. She'd barely taken two steps from her parents when a mean looking girl with black hair caught sight of her and laughed cruelly. "What on earth are you wearing your school robes for? You might as well charm your forehead to read 'bore.'"
"Pansy!" The girls father barked and Hermione was mercifully left alone. Her face was beet red, but she just shook off the girls mean words and kept walking. The girl was just like Bethany Burgins back at home. Hermione had survived her, and she was fairly certain that she'd be able to survive the wizarding world's version of her. Still, it stung a bit to know that not everyone was open to the idea of being prepared. Well, Hermione thought. Despite the fact that she was extremely rude to me, I'm not going to judge her until I know her a bit better.
Feeling satisfied with herself Hermione walked up to the train compartments being bumped into yet again by a round-faced boy. Unlike the first person who had bumped into her, he was apologetic.
"I'm sorry!" He said quickly, looking at her nervously.
Hermione smiled at him. "It's fine," She said holding out her hand confidently. "I'm Hermione Granger. What's your name?"
"Neville Longbottom," The boy said.
"Did you know you were going to be accepted?" Hermione asked before continuing on without waiting for a response. "I didn't, I'm muggle-born. I was quite shocked when I-"
"Oo, Mother was right!" The same mean voice of Pansy called out behind Hermione. "You are a Muggle-born! Careful Longbottom," She continued. "You don't want to get any more pathetic than you already are."
The dark-skinned boy next to Pansy laughed along with her, and then Pansy gave Hermione a mocking wave before climbing up into the train. Hermione turned fearfully to face Neville afraid that he would react to her muggle-born status the way Pansy and the other boy had. Thankfully, he only looked at her nervously, the same way as before. Hermione smiled again.
"Do you want to get a compartment together?" She asked Neville, smiling even wider when he nodded. The two of them walked together and Hermione made sure she walked in the opposite direction of where Pansy had gone. Just because she hadn't passed complete judgement on the girl yet didn't mean that Hermione wanted to deliberately subject herself (or Neville) to more cruel remarks.
Luck was on their side as they found a completely empty compartment. The settled in on separate sides of it, and silence fell on them as the train lurched to a start. Hermione, being her typical self broke the silence after a few minutes of both of them looking out the train window. "What was it like growing up in the wizarding world?" Hermione asked, eager to "fit in." Especially if she had to see Pansy on a more regular basis.
That topic of conversation carried them for a good part of the train ride giving Hermione a more in depth feel of what the wizarding world was like. She'd memorized every text book by heart, and she'd done a lot of recreational reading as well but it still didn't compare to having an actual wizard explaining everything to her. Neville didn't give as many details as the all the books she'd read did, but his words still aided to her mounting excitement.
"Do you want to see Trevor?" He asked hesitantly passing her the toad he'd had in his hands the whole journey.
"Okay." Hermione said and Trevor was passed into her hands. The toad squirmed a bit but Hermione was still able to get a good look at it. It didn't look magical, but maybe it was old. Done inspecting it she passed the toad back to Neville and the pair of them looked at the windows again.
Just then the compartment door slid open and friendly looking witch with a trolley stood there. "Anything from the cart, dears?" She asked politely.
Neville got up and walked over to the cart and Hermione followed suit not wanting to miss anything. She wasn't surprised to see that it was all wizarding food, but she was a touch alarmed at all the choices.
"Neville, what would you say was the best?" Hermione asked an Neville gave her a rather flustered look at his opinion being asked.
"Muggle-born dearie?" The friendly witch asked and Hermione nodded. "Don't worry, you'll get the hang of everything soon enough. But, I recommend the Pumpkin Pasties, they taste a bit like "Pumpkin Pie" I believe it's called."
Hermione smiled grateful for the kind woman's advice and handed over four bronze Knuts for two Pumpkin Pasties. She settled down again in her seat setting her pasties down beside her. "What did you get?" She asked Neville as he set his pile of food in an empty seat.
"Chocolate Frogs mostly," Neville answered holding one up. "Do you want one?"
Hermione smiled politely accepting the package from Neville. As unwrapped it she gave a tiny yelp of fear as the frog hopped out of the package and landed on the seat next to her. Neville chuckled lightly. Hermione joined in on the chuckling as she picked up the now still frog and took a bite out of it. Smiling to herself she set the chocolate down and picked up the card that had been inside the packaging. The card had "AGRIPPA" across the top in bold letters along with a picture and a few facts. Hermione put the card in her pocket and picked up the chocolate again.
"You can collect the cards," Neville said distractedly while searching his pockets and under the seats.
"What are you looking for?" Hermione asked, tilting her head to see if anything had fallen under the seats. From what she could see nothing had. Neville had apparently reached the same conclusion because he got up looking close to tears. "Neville! What's wrong?"
"I can't find Trevor." He admitted sadly.
Hermione thought this over. "Maybe he jumped out of your pocket when we were buying food. You should go ask people if they've seen a toad. Maybe it hopped into a compartment."
Neville nodded to her suggestion and left the compartment. Hermione fiddled with her skirt, humoring herself by ducking for a quick look under the compartment chairs. Nothing was there so she settled back into her seat and finished her chocolate frog. Neville came back toad-less and dejected. Hermione stood up determined.
"Well, that wasn't a very long search." She said. "Here, I'll help you look." And the two of them set off down the train.
People, Hermione thought, Were really quite rude. They were most un-helpful during the search for Trevor, and Neville wasn't very much help at all. Growing steadily frustrated with her school mates Hermione pushed open the compartment doors and started in at a black haired boy, and a red head boy who from the looks of things were first years just like her and Neville.
"Has anyone seen a toad? Neville's lost one." She said in a slightly weary voice, before eyeing the wand the red headed boy was holding. The red head muttered an irritated response but Hermione didn't hear it. "Oh, are you doing magic? Let's see it, then." If he was going to perform magic Hermione wanted to see it with her very own eyes. She sat down next to the black haired boy and leaned forward in her seat with anticipation.
The red-headed boy looked extremely nervous but he straightened out regardless. "Er- all right." He said and he cleared his throat directing his wand at the rat in his other hand. "Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow, Turn this stupid, fat rat yellow."
Hermione raised her eyebrows skeptically and wasn't too surprised when nothing happened to the rat. "Are you sure that's a real spell?" She asked the red head, disbelief in her tone. When he didn't answer she shrugged it off. "Well, it's not very good is it? I've tried a few simple spells just for practice and it's all worked for me. Nobody in my family's magic at all, it was ever such a surprise when I got my letter, but I was ever so pleased, of course, I mean, it's the very best school of witchcraft there is, I've heard. I've learned all our course books by heart, of course, I just hope it will be enough. I'm Hermione Granger, by the way, who are you?"
She stood staring at the two boys frowning a bit when she saw them exchange incredulous looks. Was Neville going to be the only nice kid at Hogwarts?
"I'm Ron Weasley." The red-headed boy finally muttered.
"Harry Potter." The black haired boy said and Hermione's jaw dropped open in shock.
"Are you really?" She asked excitedly sitting down beside him again. "I know all about you, of course - I got a few extra books. For background reading, and you're in "Modern Magical History" and "The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts" and "Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century.""
"Am I?" The boy -or Harry rather- said looking both confused and overwhelmed.
"Goodness, didn't you know? I'd have found out everything I could it if was me," Hermione said thinking to herself that he acted more like a muggle-born then she did. "Do either of you know what house you'll be in? I've been asking around and I hope I'm in Gryffindor, it sounds by far the best; I hear Dumbledore himself was in it, but I suppose Ravenclaw wouldn't be to bad…. Anyway, we'd better go and look for Neville's toad. You two had better change, you know, I expect we'll be there soon."
Hermione rose and left the compartment, Neville following her out. "Those two seem nice." Hermione commented approaching the next compartment. Neville muttered something about not wanting to go in there again but Hermione ignored him. I mean Honestly, she thought to herself, Did Neville want to find his toad or not? But the second Hermione slid open the compartment door it became apparent why Neville hadn't wanted to stop at this particular compartment. It was filled with Pansy, and the dark skinned boy who had laughed at her. There were also four others, a pale blonde boy who was clearly the leader, two unfriendly bully type looking fellows, and a brunette girl with a distasteful sneer on her face. Hermione sighed, this was going to be difficult.
"Have any of you seen Neville's toad, he's lost it."
The brunette's sneer grew more pronounced. "Has anyone seen Neville's toad?" Pansy mimicked in a cruel voice, and the entire compartment laughed at Hermione's expense. "What do you think muggle, I mean, would you touch anything after he had?"
"I'm not a muggle," Hermione said angrily. "And yes, I would touch something after Neville because he's my friend."
"I pity your taste in friends." The blonde boy drawled and Pansy shrieked with laughter even though he clearly hadn't intended his comment to be funny. Something about his cold grey eyes let Hermione know that despite the fact that Pansy was going to be cruel during their time at Hogwarts, this boy was the one to look out for.
"I didn't ask for your opinion," Hermione said, braver then she felt. She wanted to follow Neville's earlier plea and just leave this compartment and not come back. "Now have any of you seen Neville's toad or not?"
"Even if we had seen the little blood-traitors pet, I don't think any of us would fancy giving it back. Would we boys?" He asked and the two boys seated next to him smiled cruelly.
"You know, Neville," Hermione said icily. "I think I liked the compartment with Harry and Ron in it better."
Pansy began to mimic Hermione again but Draco stopped her.
"Shut up Pansy," He snapped his eyes on Hermione. "Harry Potter?" He asked for clarification, his eyes darkening slightly at Hermione's nod. "Come on boys, lets go check this out." He said and the three of them rose and stepped out into the hallway.
"It's that one," Hermione said tiredly pointing the compartment out before dragging Neville away. "I want to go talk to the Conductor, you should go change into your school robes."
The two of them parted ways and Hermione confirmed her suspicions when the conductor said that they were nearly to Hogwarts. As she was walking back to her and Neville's shared compartment she heard loud shrieks and followed the noise back to Harry and Ron's compartment where several people were sticking their heads out to investigate the noise. Hermione pushed her way into closer to the compartment and fought the urge to laugh at the three mean boys walking hurriedly back to their compartment, one of them clutching his hand for dear life.
"What has been going on?" Hermione asked glancing disgustingly at the sweets littering the floor and the way Ron man-handled his rat, picking it up by the tail.
"I think he's been knocked out," Ron said ignoring Hermione completely and speaking only to Harry. "No -I don't believe it- he's gone back to sleep."
Hermione watched as Ron put the apparently asleep rat back into his pocket before turning once more to Harry. "You've met Malfoy before?" Harry explained meeting Malfoy in Diagon Alley while both Hermione and Ron listened on. "I've heard of his family," Ron said darkly and Hermione turned her attention back to him. "They were some of the first to come back to our side after You-Know-Who disappeared. Said they'd been bewitched. My dad doesn't believe it. He says Malfoy's father didn't need an excuse to go over to the Dark Side."
Hermione bit her lip thinking that over, it would definitely explain the cold way Malfoy had looked at her.
"Can we help you with something?" Ron asked rudely facing Hermione as though he'd just realized she was there.
Hermione bristled with irritation. "You'd better hurry up and put your robes on, I've been up the front to ask the conductor and he says we're nearly there. You haven't been fighting, have you? You'll be in trouble before we even get there!"
"Scabbers had been fighting, not us," Ron said giving Hermione a scowl. "Would you mind leaving while we change?"
"All right- I only came in here because people outside are behaving very childishly, racing up and down the corridors," Hermione said trying to disguise how hurt she was by his unfriendly behavior. "And you've got dirt on your nose, by the way, did you know?" And with that Hermione stalked back to the compartment slamming the door and sitting huffily across from Neville.
He looked at her concerned and she explained the teenest bit about her angry mood. "People aren't very nice," She said and Neville nodded in agreement. The two of them fell into yet another silence in which Hermione tried hard not to dwell on the fact that her fresh start wasn't starting off very good at all.
The conductors voice echoed through the train saying: "We will be reaching Hogwarts in five minutes' time. Please leave your luggage on the train, it will be taken to the school separately."
Hermione glanced over at Neville fear and excitement mixing together, each fighting the other for her mood. This was it, she thought, she was really going to Hogwarts. "Neville," She asked. "Do you know how we get to the castle?"
But Neville didn't know so Hermione let her imagination run wild as she thought up all the possible ways they could have to get up to the school. As the train slowed and then stopped she felt her stomach tighten. Hopefully, school itself would prove to have better results than the train ride had shown. Her and Neville got off the train together both walking to the voice calling: "Firs' years! Firs' years over here!" and away from the carriages that the older students were piling into.
Hermione and Neville followed the man and the rest of the first years down a steep, narrow path. Hermione kept her eyes on her feet afraid that she'd take a wrong step and subject herself to further humiliation.
"Ye' all get your firs' sight o' Hogwarts in a sec," the man called back over his shoulder and Hermione's eyes snapped up eagerly. "Jus' round this bend here."
The pathway opened up and they were suddenly on the edge of a great lake. Hermione could see a sparkling window and stood up on her tiptoes to see Hogwarts better. A smile streched across her face as she took in the scene. This was really happening. She was going to be a witch.
"No more'n four to a boat!" The man called and Hermione quickly followed Neville into the boat that had both Harry and (unfortunately) Ron in it. "Everyone in?" shouted the man, who had an entire boat to himself. "Right then- FORWARD!"
The boats began to move all at the same time, gliding smoothly across the lake. Hermione sat up straighter in her seat, her eyes trying to memorize every detail of Hogwarts, she ducked when she was instructed too, smiling as the ivy tickled the side of her face. She sat up straight again when the boats stopped at the side of rocks and pebbles.
"Oy, you there! Is this your toad?" The man called and Neville scurried forward to receive his toad. Hermione narrowed her eyes and looked at the boat that Hagrid had pulled the toad out of. She was pretty sure that was the boat Malfoy had been in. And, sure enough, when Hermione scanned the crowd looking for Malfoy she saw him doubled over laughing with his friends about the "great" prank they'd just pulled.
He must have felt Hermione's eyes on him, because he straightened up, and turned to look Hermione in the eye. Despite the fact that Hermione wanted to look away in fear she gave him her best disapproving stare. It was pointless as all Malfoy did was smirk at her. Sighing crossly, Hermione followed Neville and the others up the stone steps and stopped outside a huge, Oak front door.
"Did you see his face, when he found his toad? Priceless, that was." Malfoy whispered low into her ear but Hermione ignored him instead watching as the man turned one last time to address them all.
"Everyone here? You there, still got yer toad?"
Malfoy snorted with laughter and Hermione gave him an angry side glance. "And look at that great big oaf," Malfoy whispered to her as the man banged on the castle door. "And the way he speaks," Malfoy chortled. "He's an idiot for sure."
Hermione gave him a glare right as the castle door swung open to show a tall, dark-haired witch in emerald robe's. She looked extremely stern, and Hermione wondered what class she taught. It would be a class to try her absolute best in, that was for sure.
"The firs' years, Professor McGonagall," the man said.
"Thank you, Hagrid. I will take them from here." She pulled open the door, and gestured for the students to come inside.
As Hermione past Hagrid she gave him a hesitant smile and was pleased when he smiled broadly back at her. Much to her displeasure, she found herself standing near Malfoy yet again inside the gianormous entryway. Hermione scanned her eyes over the walls, noticing that there were way to many torches to count. The stairways were made out of gleaming marble. All in all, the castle was very impressive.
She heard voices coming from a closed doorway, but Professor McGonagall lead them into a much smaller chamber. Hermione found herself squished rather close to Malfoy (but thankfully Pansy and most of his friends were on the other side of them) and he laughed lowly at the expression on her face, although, Hermione noted, he looked mighty nervous himself.
"Welcome to Hogwarts," Professor McGonagall said and Hermione hung on to every word. "The start-of-term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the Great Hall, you will be sorted into your houses. The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your house will be something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory, and spend free time in your house common room. The four houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Each house has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn you house points, while any rule-breaking will lose house points. At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the house cup, a great honor. I hope each of you will be a credit to whichever house becomes yours.
Professor McGonagall took a deep breath, her eyes briefly scanning over the students to see which were actually still paying attention. Hermione could have sworn she saw her smile the tiniest bit when she saw Hermione's unwavering eyes on her.
"The Sorting Ceremony will take place in a few minutes in front of the rest of the school. I suggest you all smarten yourselves up as much as you can while you are waiting." Hermione fidgeted nervously while Professor McGonagall looked at Neville's horribly fastened cloak, and the dirt smudge that was still on Ron's nose. Hermione smiled at the last one, she'd told him he had dirt on his nose, why hadn't he listened? "I shall return when we are ready for you. Please wait quietly."
And with that, she left and went into a different room. She was only gone a few minutes before everyone started ignoring her last request to wait quietly. Hermione could hear Harry and Ron having a nervous conversation about what sorting entailed, and she secretly hoped it was a test. That would put an end to all the muggle-born comments for sure, once she proved to them how much she was capable of.
Hermione scanned over the chamber again, and then she screamed. Ghosts had just flown through the walls, ghosts! And a good number of them too. Malfoy was looking at Hermione and chuckling. She slowly removed her hand from her heart and glared at him. "Just because i'd read they existed didn't mean I was prepared for them to come floating out nowhere." She snapped much to Malfoy's amusement. Before Malfoy could retort however the ghosts began speaking to them and the first years (even Malfoy!) looked up at the ghosts apprehensively.
"New students!" The Fat Friar said smiling. "About to be Sorted, I suppose?" Hermione nodded mutely. "Hope to see you in Hufflepuff!" The Friar said. "My old house, you know."
Draco sniggered beside her and muttered, "No wonder she's fat." Before Hermione had time to scold him for his rude remark Professor McGonagall returned and sent the ghosts away.
"Now, form a line," Professor McGonagall told them. "And follow me."
Hermione ended up behind Malfoy in line, and followed him into the great hall, trying to stop the sudden shaking that had over taken her body. They entered the great hall and all eyes were on them. Malfoy looked up at the ceiling and murmured something in awe. "It's bewitched to look the the sky outside." Hermione whispered to him. "I read about it in Hogwarts, A History." Malfoy gave her a mildly impressed look before turning his attention back to the scenery of the great hall.
Hermione kept her attention on Professor McGonagall as she brought over a stool and placed it in front of the now still line of first years. She placed a frayed and dirty hat on top of the stool. Hermione glanced at Professor McGonagall waiting for her to explain what was going on. And then someone spoke, but it wasn't the Professor. Hermione turned to stare at the hat on the stool which had begun to sing.
"Oh, you may not think I'm pretty,
But don't judge on what you see,
I'll eat myself if you can find
a smarted hat than me.
You can keep your bowlers black,
your top hats sleek and tall,
for i'm the Hogwarts Sorting Hat
and I can cap them all.
There's nothing hidden in your head
the Sorting Hat can't see,
so try me on and I will tell you
where you ought to be.
You might belong in Gryffindor,
where dwell the brave at heart,
their daring, nerve, and chivalry set Gryffindors apart;
you might belong in Hufflepuff,
where they are just and loyal,
those patient Hufflepuffs are true and unafraid of toil;
or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
if you've a ready mind,
where those of wit and learning,
will always find their kind;
or perhaps in Slytherin,
you'll make your real friends,
those cunning folk use any means
to achieve their ends.
So put me on! Don't be afraid!
And don't get in a flap!
You're in safe hands (though I have none)
for I'm a Thinking Cap!"
The whole hall burst into applause and Hermione followed suit in the clapping. The hat bowed to everyone before settling down and falling silent again. Hermione peered nervously at the hat, it said it could see everything about you. That was worrying. Hermione glanced anxiously at the hat once more before turning to face Professor McGonagall who had lifted up a role of parchment and was beginning to speak again.
"When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted," She informed to first years who all nodded their understanding. "Abott, Hannah!" Professor McGonagall called and a girl stumbled forward. She put the hat on her head and a moment later the hat yelled, "HUFFLEPUFF!"
Malfoy sniggered at the girl who was now walking over to the cheering table. Hermione pinched the side of Malfoy's arm and smirked when he rubbed at his arm in pain. "You pinched me!" He whispered disbelievingly and Hermione gave him a rather evil smile. Malfoy muttered something turning to face the front again, and she chuckled softly. She loved being here. She absolutely loved it.
Hermione watched as more kids got sorted, Malfoy being careful not to make any more remarks about the Hufflepuffs. Finally, Professor McGonagall called out her name and Hermione stumbled out of the line, exchanging a fleeting look with Malfoy before nearly running to the stool and jamming the hat down on her head.
"Hmm, yes." The hat said. "Well, you would certainly make a good Gryffindor or a Ravenclaw… Ah yes, but you are extremely loyal, a good Hufflepuff trait. And, why look! You even have a good chunk of Slytherin in you, hmmm. Interesting one you are, haven't had someone with all four houses in them in quite a while. Well, let's see now, ah. You would make a good Ravenclaw, definitely have the brains for the house…. but your bravery and loyalty are almost equal to your knowledge… Right then. Hmm, right. Okay. GRYFFINDOR!"
Hermione took off the hat and set it carefully back on the stool running over to the cheering Gryffindor table and sitting next to Lavender Brown, the other first year to have been sorted into Gryffindor. The two girls sat side by side, eagerly listening to the other kids houses. "Hampton, Olivia" became a Gryffindor and much to Hermione's pleasure so did Neville. She wasn't at all surprised when Malfoy and Pansy both went to Slytherin house. Parvati Patil became another Gryffindor and then Harry sat on the stool and the whole hall started whispering before falling unnaturally silent.
The hat seemed to be deciding something and the entire house held it's breath when the hat opened it's mouth and shouted, "GRYFFINDOR!" Gryffindor table exploded. Everyone (including herself) was clapping wildly, and several older students grabbed onto Harry and cheered. Hermione turned back to the rest of the sorting where "Robins, Cassidy" and "Thomas, Dean" were both made Gryffindors, along with Ron who'd been looking a little green.
Hermione clapped along with the rest when sorting ended with the dark-skinned boy being made a Slytherin. What a surprise, Hermione thought dryly. Hermione looked up at the High Table, where she spotted Albus Dumbledore the famous headmaster. Dumbledore got to his feet and beamed at all the students, his arms open wide in a gesture of welcome.
"Welcome," He said. "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin out banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!"
Hermione joined in on the clapping and cheering as Dumbeldore took his seat again. Over at the Slytherin table Malfoy and his friends were laughing heartily at Dumbledore but Hermione didn't think his words had been funny. He was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
Hermione glanced back at the table only to see that the once empty dishes were know piled with food. Glancing around to see what she was supposed to do, she hesitantly lifted her plate and began to load it with food following the example of the red-headed prefect next to her. Hermione filled her plate with a decent amount of food, not taking absurd amounts like Harry and Ron were. She took a small bite of the roast beef, and was pleased to note that the food tasted excellent. Hermione stopped worrying so much about eating, and just ate. She hadn't noticed how hungry she was until this moment. Despite her hunger, Hermione made efforts not to look like a complete pig while she ate, unlike Ron who was devouring his meal at an unhealthy speed.
Hermione listened in on the conversations around her, deciding not to participate on engage in one just yet. A few other first years were talking to the ghost seated at their table who introduced himself as Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, the ghost of Gryffindor Tower. Or, as Ron called him, Nearly Headless Nick. Hermione frowned unpleasantly at the nickname, and frowned even more so when he revealed why he was nearly headless and showed them his head hanging onto the rest of his body by a very small stretch of skin. Nearly Headless Nick changed the topic of conversations and started talking about the house of championship, which since Hermione believed very strongly in following the rules, Hermione felt as if she could be an asset to the Gryffindors. She certainly wouldn't be losing house points anytime soon.
Hermione ate the rest of her dinner in a comfortable silence, her eyes taking in the great hall scenery. She tried to spot the various houses' ghosts and thought that the Slytherin house ghost looked the most gruesome, with silver blood all over himself, as well as chains. Hermione glanced over and saw that he was sitting next to Malfoy who looked extremely uncomfortable. Who's afraid of ghosts now? Hermione thought smugly.
The dinner food vanished and was replaced with desserts. Hermione helped herself to some rice pudding and a good portion of strawberries, and decided to finally have a conversation. On the one side of her, Lavender was talking with another first year, Parvati so Hermione turned to the Prefect she had sat near and introduced herself.
"Hi, I'm Hermione Granger."
And the pair of them shook hands, before Hermione launched into her endless questions about the curriculum at Hogwarts. "I do hope they start right away, there's so much to learn, I'm particularly interested in Transfiguration, you know, turning something into something else, of course, it's supposed to be very difficult…"
"You'll be starting small," Percy assured her. "Just matches into needles and that sort of thing. You won't get into the really hard stuff until fourth year I'd reckon. Of course, it's important to pay attention in each and every lesson, because of finals at the end of the year. Also, all the magic you learn now will be important at some later point in life. Take Charms for instance, all the spells you learn can help the growth of learning other spells in that same branch. Also, it's important to know everything for OWL exams."
"I've read about those," Hermione said breathlessly. "They're the most important exam you can take at Hogwarts. Besides NEWT of course, but without passing OWL's first, NEWT's don't-"
Hermione and Percy stopped talking and turned to stare at Harry who had just given an exclamation of pain, and was now holding his forehead.
"What is it?" Percy asked.
"N-nothing," Harry stammered unconvincingly. Hermione waited for Percy to press the topic (he was a prefect after all) but Harry changed the subject before Percy could. "Who's that teated talking to Professor Quirrell?" Harry asked Percy.
"Oh, you know Quirrell already, do you? No wonder he's looking so nervous, that's Professor Snape. He teaches Potions, but doesn't want to- everyone knows he's after Quirrell's job. Knows an awful lot about the Dark Arts, Snape."
Hermione turned to get a better look at Professor's Snape and Quirrell. Professor Snape did look a touch unfriendly, and Professor Quirrell looked rather odd with his purple turban. Hermione vaguely wondered if he wore it for religious reasons. She ate some more of her rice pudding before the dessert plates cleared just like the dinner plates had, and Dumbledore rose to his feet. The hall went silent at once.
"Ahem- just a few more words now that we are all fed and watered. I have a few start-of-term notices to give you. First years should note that the forest on the grounds is forbidden to all pupils. And a few of our older students would do well to remember that as well. I have also been asked by Mr. Filch, the caretaker, to remind you all that no magic should be used between classes in the corridors. Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of the term. Anyone interested in playing for their house teams should contact Madam Hooch. And finally, I must tell you that this year, the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death."
Hermione thought that over, she would have to be careful to avoid that particular part of the castle. She had no desire to die, and even more so, she didn't want to be caught breaking the rules.
"And now, before we go to bed, let us sing the school song!" Dumbledore cried with enthusiasm though he appeared to be the only Professor actually enthused by his words.
Dumbledore gave his wand a little flick and a golden ribbon flew out of it, and twisted itself, presumably into the school song lyrics.
"Everyone pick their favorite tune," Dumbledore instructed and Hermione thought quickly of her favorite nursery rhyme. "And off we go!"
"Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts,
Teach us something please,
whether we be old and bald,
or young with scabby knees,
our heads could do with filling
with some interesting stuff,
for now they're bare and full of air,
dead flies and bits of fluff,
so teach us things worth knowing,
bring back what we've forgot,
just do your best, we'll do the rest,
and learn until our brains rot."
The ending of the song was complete chaos as everyone ended at different times. As the singers dwindled out it was soon just two red-head Gryffindors (Hermione would bet her left-hand that they were Weasleys) that were singing to the tune of a funeral march. Finally, when the song ended Dumbledore clapped the loudest, and the other teachers gave a few claps before stopping or, in the case of Professor Snape, never clapped to begin with.
"Ah music," Dumbledore smiling at all of them once more. "A magic beyond all we do here! And now, bedtime. Off you trot!"
Hermione rose and followed Percy out of the Great Hall and up the marble staircase. Hermione memorized as many details of the journey as she could so that way she wouldn't get lost on future trips from the Great Hall to Gryffindor Tower. The most interesting part of the journey was when the meet the school poltergeist Peeves (and why Hogwarts even had a poltergeist Hermione didn't know, there wasn't a need for one) and Percy warned them that Peeves was someone to watch out for. Apparently, he didn't even listen to prefects! Hermione sniffed, if he didn't listen to prefects then he was bound to be nothing but trouble.
Hermione gladly walked away from the place where Peeves had been following Percy until they stopped at the end of the corridor in front of a portrait of a fat lady in a pink dress.
"Password?" The portrait asked and Hermione was glad that "Hogwarts, a History" had mentioned talking portraits otherwise she felt it would have been a nasty shock.
"Caput Draconis," Percy said and the portrait swung open to reveal a hole in the wall. All the Gryffindors began to go through it (She had to help Neville through) and they walked straight into the common room which was a round room with lots of comfortable looking armchairs, and a nice, cozy, fireplace. Percy pointed the girls to a door that would lead them to their dormitory and Hermione waved a quick good-bye to Neville before entering through the door.
The girls climbed up a long spiral staircase until they reached a door that had the glowing number one on it for first years. Hermione opened the door and walked into the room with five four poster beds, arranged in a horseshoe shape.
Hemrione's trunk had been placed at the foot of the third bed and without much thought she changed, pulled on her pajamas, and before she went into a deep sleep she thought of how excited she was to be at Hogwarts.
A/N: Too much Draco/Hermione interaction? This story IS ultimately Ron and 'Mione, but Draco/Hermione will play a part in it, so I need for them to interact more than they do in Canon... still, should I tone it down, amp it up? Oh, and this isn't a Ron bashing story, but if you noticed they don't get along well in First Book, and I'm trying to be as true to that as possible.
Anyway, reviews are lovely... (: