Hermione Granger's Diary

Chapter Four

By: Len (lendolyn@yahoo.com)

Rated: PG-13

Spoilers:  Up through GoF.

Pairing: RW/HG, very minor HP/Gin

Disclaimer:  Characters you recognize aren't mine – they are JK Rowling's creation.  Those you don't recognize probably *are* mine, but honestly, who cares?  Also – does this sound kind of like 'Bridget Jones' Diary'?  It should!  And that wonderful book and its stylings all belong to Helen Fieldings. 

Archive:  FF.net, G-W, the Haven, and the spiffy new site Penumbra ().  But if you'd like it, that's totally cool.  Just let me know where!

Dedication: For the hoopiest frood I know – thanks for everything, Kendra A. (sniffs prettily in dramatic Oscar Night-ish way)!!!

Mui Gracias: To Jen for the beta and invaluable help with grammar and BritSpeak in this chapter, and Courtney for taking the dubious job of beta-ing this monster permanently.  Crazy globe-trotting kid.

Notes:  I know!  It's been almost a year since Lackadaisical Me © first posted this story, and I hope there are still interested people out there!  In any case, thanks for the overwhelming feedback and support – it's wonderful!  Frizzy Frillers all around!

So.  On with the story!!

Friday 7 September~

Hair bushiness (on scale of 0 – 10): 6.  School assignments completed: 1 (v. bad!).  Hours spent on study: 2.  Chocolate eggs consumed: 2 (for medicinal purposes only).  Number of times certain best friend was going to be sick in front of entire school: 26.  Number of times certain self was going to be sick in front of entire school: 1.

6:43 am: Marvelous day!  Autumn is in the air, the week is coming to a close, and tomorrow is the Fifth Year's trip to Hogsmeade.  Good thing, as was so distracted in Diagon Alley while shopping for school supplies that forgot to buy extra box of quills.  Have already lent all mine out.  Honestly – students should be better prepared.  However, should not allow classmates to fall behind in studies because of own quill-selfishness.

Lavender just rolled out of bed.  Must get to bathroom before mirrors become caked in hair potions and badly-aimed face powder.

7:30 am:  Quidditch tryouts today.  I'd forgotten this until I got down to breakfast, and found Ron staring at food like it was his pet Puffskein scrambled on a piece of toast.  "Ron?"  I asked.  He slowly raised his head and looked at me dully.

   "Yeah?"

   "You're green."

   At those words, the green tinge of his face became a slightly more glowing shade.  He swallowed hard.  "Thanks, Hermione."

   Oops.

   "He's a little scared about try-outs," Harry explained.  

   "I'm not *scared*.  I'm a bit nervous, s'all," Ron argued.

   I blinked.  "Oh.  Oh? That's today, is it?  I'd forgotten."

   "You forgot?" Ron asked in disbelief.  "How could you forget?  It's all anyone's been talking about for the past week!  The entire school has gone mental with it!  McGonagall actually threw a turtle at me Wednesday in Transfigurations, without warning, just to see if I could catch it!  We get a new captain and a new chaser and a new – a new – new –" he trailed off, sputtering.

   "Keeper," Harry added helpfully.  Ron looked as if he was going to be sick all over the table, and a couple of second-year girls seated next to him quickly scooted further down the bench.

   I tried to look cheerful for him.  "*Relax*, Ron!  I'm sure you'll be wonderful at it.  You'll definitely get Keeper."

  He gave me a wobbly smile.  "Yeah?"

   "Of course!"  I said.  "And even if you don't – it's not the end of the world, after all.  There's more to life than Quidditch."

   Ron shoved his plate away, and quickly excused himself.  He nearly ran out of the hall.  I stared after him, puzzled.  "Did I say something wrong?"  I wondered.

   Harry looked at me oddly and shook his head.  "I have no idea."

7:53 pm:  Ugh.  Just had unpleasant confrontation with Draco Malfoy.  Was talking with Parvati and Lavender outside Transfiguration classroom when Malfoy rounded corner and collided with us.  Dropped all of my books on Lavender's foot, and was too distracted by her shout of pain to give Slimy Ferret Boy a good telling off.

Once I had retrieved my books again and Lav (leaning heavily on Parvati and whimpering – honestly, Hogwarts: A History; Temples, Tombs and Curses; and Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them aren't that heavy.  Think roommate's limping was shameless attempt to get excused from classes) had headed off towards the infirmary, I was somewhat startled to realize Malfoy was still there.  Apparently he had something pressing on his mind he wanted to discuss.

"I heard your pauper boyfriend is trying out for Keeper today, Granger," he started, sneering in an irritating manner.  Briefly considered merits of kicking him in shin and going into classroom, but figured action would surely land me in detention, or earn me a disappointed look from Professor McGonagall, which is worse.

Instead settled for raising eyebrows and looking superiorly intelligent.

"With him as Keeper, it'll be almost too easy for Slytherin to win the House Cup this year.  *I* prefer a challenge.  But I suppose it's Gryffindor's fault for letting not one but *three* Weasleys on their team.  There's not one thing on Earth that they've touched that hasn't gone to rubbish."

Kicking shins suddenly became far more appealing.  "Oh, remind me again, Malfoy – how many times did you miss the snitch *last* season?" I asked through fake smile.  A blush – which on some people is v. endearing, but on Malfoy merely horrid – covered his pointy face.     

"Listen, you ugly, big-haired, *nothing*: I'm going to give you some advice," he spat out.

"Don't strain yourself," I advised.

He moved in far too close for my liking, and sneered down.  "You'd do better to watch what you say, Mudblood, and who you say it to.  If the Dark Lord is back, who do you think is going to be at the top of his list?"

I pressed my lips together, trying to appear unaffected.  V. nearly impossible – I have a fair idea of how much danger we're all in – all of Hogwarts – but am certain that's not nearly equal to the danger "uppity" Muggle-borns are in.  I *know* Gryffindors are supposed to be brave, but knowing it is far different from actually *being* it…and being targeted by You-Know-Who because of who my parents are almost scares me witless.  Malfoy must have seen how utterly *sick* the implication made me, as he smirked quite evilly, and moved even further into personal space…

…only to be shoved abruptly into wall by a large, freckled hand. 

After regaining his breath, Malfoy glared at Ron.  "No need to get territorial, Weasley.  I wouldn't touch your girlfriend if she were the last woman on Earth."

My inner-woman took a moment to do little dance of joy.

Meanwhile, Ron returned Malfoy's glare with interest.  Malfoy seemed to lose one or two vertebrae worth of backbone before my very eyes.

"Why don't you go crawl back under your rock, ferret-face?" Ron growled.

Unfortunately, Malfoy was not intimidated enough to stop talking.  "Why are you even here, Weasley?  I thought for sure you'd be busy charming your broom so that it actually stays in the air this afternoon."

Ron looked as if he rather wanted to knock Malfoy over again, so I grabbed onto his arm.  And then stood on his left foot.  "Why don't you leave, Malfoy," I said.  He stood up straight, dusting his robes off.

"Fine.  I was only wondering what on Earth you're going to do with yourself if both Weasley *and* Potter are in training, Granger."  He tisked in ridiculous villainous manner.  "I'd hate to think of you all alone…and these days, that *really* can't be safe…"

The arm under my hand tensed even further.  "Bugger off, Malfoy."

Malfoy did.

"I hate him," Ron said a few moments later.  "I honestly do.  Hermione, you can get off me now."

And *of course*, that would be the point where Harry pops up.  "What are you doing on Ron?" he asked, blinking innocently.

"Draco Malfoy," I said simply.

His face lost all traces of amusement.  "You all right?"

We both nodded, Ron more slowly than myself, then headed into Transfiguration classroom.  I had a few pieces of the chocolate egg I found in my pocket, and felt much better. 

11 am:  As it's Friday, we have short day of classes today.  Just got out of History of Magic.  Class so dull *I* nearly fell asleep.  Settled instead on taking copious notes to avoid falling into boredom-induced stupor.  Professor Binns has been lecturing on Spells of Ancient Mongolia.  Should pay close attention, as Mongolia was one of the "Cradles of Magical Civilization" (according to Professor Binns), but have no real interest in ancient history.   I mean, it's all well and good because the ancients got us to where we are now…but they were all so frightfully dull.  The highlights of each seem to be some horrible war or assassination that brought about a need for new magic.  Ugh.  Much prefer Arithmancy and its lovely, bright, shiny newness. 

However, it's nice to know that if I ever need to know the origins of the Raucously Rank Sonnet Spell – a spell which can produce poetry so horrendously bad it is capable of knocking a fully-grown man off his horse – while I'm, say, being chased by You-Know-Who….I now do.

Although it may be a null point, because Harry and Ron found the idea of deadly poetry so outrageously funny, I have sinking feeling they'll learn it solely for entertainment value.  Oh dear.  Feel as though I should warn somebody…but will settle for telling Ginny Weasley. 

As she says, us girls must stick together.  Everyone else is on their own.  And, as Dad would say, God help them.

For now, must get out to Quidditch pitch.  Promised the boys I'd watch tryouts.

1:24 pm:  Am in shock.  Must find Harry and Ron. 

1:30 pm: Asked Ginny if she'd seen her brother.  She hasn't.

1:45 pm:  Nearly run over by Griffyndor Quidditch Team.  None of them have seen Ron either, although Katie Bell reckons she saw Harry take off towards Hagrid's hut. 

Fred and George still seemed stunned.  "I don't know what's bloody wrong with him," Fred said.

George nodded in dazed manner.  "He was brilliant this summer.  Maybe he's sick?"

"Maybe he's dying?"

"Maybe he *was* dead?"

"Maybe he was hexed?"

"Or concussed?"

"Or sleepwalking?"

"Or hung over?"

"Or—"

Left Twins and team mulling over Ron's peculiar behavior.  Am heading to Hagrid's.  Must get to the bottom of this.

1:52 pm:  No sign of Harry or Ron.  Or Hagrid, for that matter, but as Hagrid is presently on secret mission for Dumbledore, suppose latter is not great surprise. 

Am wondering if I should return to Common Room.  Feeling like chicken with head cut off, and am beginning to get stitch in right side.

Must remind self to include physical exercise in new Millicent-Bulstrode-Figure-Avoidance diet.  

2:03 pm:  Found Ron and Harry sitting against outer east wall of school.  Conversation stopped abruptly as I rounded the corner – must have interrupted  "man-to-man" talk.

Felt relief at finally finding them, but rather hurt from being completely cut out.  In this slightly over-emotional state I said the first thing that came to mind.

"What are you boys doing out here?  It's out of bounds!"

Ron and Harry frowned and blinked.

"And," I continued, "there's a storm coming in.  You'll catch your death – neither of you are wearing a coat!"

Harry looked down and apparently realized he was still in Quidditch uniform.

"You're not either, Hermione," Ron pointed out sourly.

Gah.  Things not going according to plan.  Supposed to be supportive friend, not snipping harpy.  I sighed and slid down the wall to sit beside them.  "So…"

"So," Ron replied.

"How are you, Ron?"  I asked, tentatively.

He shrugged, then sighed.  "Orright," he said.  "Like you said – there's more to life than Quidditch, hey?"

His statement hung in the air, unnatural as a Dungbomb cloud.  Ron?  Suggesting England's National (Magical) Pastime not vital to one's existence?  Could Ron be under some sort of spell?  Or maybe lanky redhead is in fact Polyjuiced spy?!

I looked at him closely, trying to detect any differences in his mannerisms.  Seemed weary rather than upset or depressed.  V. uncharacteristic.  V. odd.

Harry threw his hands up in the air.  "More to life?  Ron?  Are you off your head?  What happened?  You had the Keeper position locked in!"

"Yeah."

"But you missed the Quaffle five times today," Harry pointed out.

"Reckon I'm not as fast as I thought."

"And you dropped it twice."

"My hands were sweaty," Ron said sullenly.

Harry didn't seem to have an answer to that, so we stared out at the ocean for a bit.  You could hear the waves crashing against the cliffs below.  Finally Harry spoke.

"You know…if I didn't know better…I'd say you deliberately bollocksed-up your try-out."

Ron didn't answer him.

6:14 pm:  In Common Room, with Ginny. 

"I reckon I've figured out what the problem is," she announced, dropping into an armchair next to the fire.  I looked up from 'Quidditch Through The Ages' (being re-read for the forth time in vain hope that it could help me understand reasons for odd hold the sport seemed to have over male wizarding population.). 

"Oh?" I said, not having the faintest idea what she was referring to.

"Yeah," she said.  I waited for her to elaborate.  She didn't, and my eyes drifted back down to the book on my lap (setting fire to opponent's broom tail?  I knew sport was barbaric!).

"I'm too girly," Ginny burst out again. 

"Girly?"  Mentally, I attempted to put Ginny Weasley in same ranks as Lavendar Brown, Parvati and Padma Patil, and Pansy Parkinson.  Failed utterly.  "Huh?" I said cleverly.

"Yeah.  I think Harry finds it intimidating.  After all, look at the girl he's fancied – she's the Ravenclaw seeker, for crying out loud!  So I've decided that the only way he'll ever notice me is if I tone down the girlyness.  Be his friend first.  You know?"

Personally, believed that any plan that didn't include blushing crimson and running away was a step in the right direction.  However, felt this observation would not be helpful under the circumstances.  Instead answered, "Completely."

She grinned.  "So you'll help, then?"

"Er…help?"

"Yeah – I need to get a chance to talk with him alone.  And you know how Ron is with Harry and…and some people – his bloody middle name should be changed to "Mother Hen".  Would you distract him for a little while?  Start a row with him if you have to, just keep him away from me and Harry for at least five minutes?"

Felt obligated to object to the implication that I can only hold Ron's attention if we're screaming at each other.  However, the truth of the statement rather took the wind out of my sails. 

Harry and Ron chose that moment to enter through the portrait hole.  Ginny mouthed 'Thank you' to me, and bounced off to begin Phase One of her plan.  She waylaid Harry by the door.  I waved to Ron.

After casting a confused look at his sister and his best friend, he joined me by the fire. 

"Fancy a game of chess?"  I asked.

He shook his head.  "Nah, no thanks, Hermione.  Not tonight.  I don't reckon I could keep my head in the game right now."

"Why else did you think I suggested it?" I said, smiling. 

Ron laughed.  "I should have guessed."  

"Probably."  We sat silently for a moment.  The pensive look returned to his face as he stared at the flames.  "I *am* sorry about the try-outs, Ron."

He shrugged.  "S'okay.  I've heard that Katie has scheduled practices for five-thirty in the morning, anyway."  He propped his chin up on his hand.  One corner of his mouth turned up.  "'sides – someone's got to keep an eye on you – make sure you don't light any more teacher's robes on fire.  Might as well be me, hey?"

And then he shot me such a *look* – felt like tiny, hyperactive Cornish pixies were zinging around stomach and tickling ribcage. 

Blimey.

~End Chapter 4~