A.N: I'm going to stop the first person thing and switch over to the third person so instead of "I did…" I'll use "Hermione did…", because the story isn't just about her anymore is it ;). Now the ground work for the story will be set here and I'm using a 'molded' form of an excerpt from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone; things are not always as they seem just keep that in mind and enjoy the ride!
With the help of Amanda, the small Granger family made a schedule for where Hermione would spend her time and how long she would remain there. It had been decided that while Hermione would spend the bulk of her time at Hogwarts, on her breaks for Christmas and Easter she would spend the time in France; generally the Feuder House in Avallon taking care of her obligations. Hermione's parents fought and won Christmas and Easter Day and Hermione would arrive at their home in London via portkey; the summer would be split evenly on a need be basis.
For Hermione, Diagon Alley had been a dream come true with a multitude of potions and whizzing objects and men and women dressed in cloaks going about the street and shops as though it were an everyday occurrence; which Hermione supposed it must have been for them. But for her, it was the opening of a whole new world where everything was so different it made her feel odd that she felt at home here. Amanda had offered to take her through the shops to do her school shopping and get her wand but Hermione's parents resolutely refused the offer, opting to be the ones Hermione experienced the new place with. Hermione had gone through the area almost without incident; almost. Hermione had caught a glimpse of a ravened hair bun and the corner of an emerald robe a little ways away and began to go after the figure without a second thought, she had gotten a few feet away from her parents when her mother had clasped her hand and she turned to look at Jean breaking eye contact with the glimmer for only a second; but as Hermione franticly searched for the figure again the Deputy was gone. People on Diagon Alley had a distinct habit of disappearing or appearing quite sporadically…
Hermione stood a handful of yards from a scarlet red engine train that poured steam, hugging her parents for the last time for three months; disentangling from her parents, Hermione stepped aboard the Hogwarts express. It wasn't long before she was signaled by the platinum haired boy from her party; Draco Malfoy. Taking a deep breath Hermione made her way down the slim corridor to what must have been almost the very back of the train itself and ducked into the directed compartment which was empty except for her and Draco.
"Blaise will be here in a minute" Draco stated licking his lips quickly while he drummed his fingers on his seat. Hermione nodded silently and sure enough within the next minute Blaise Zabini walked through the compartment door and closed it behind him.
"Have you told her yet?" Blaise asked standing in front of the compartment, his gaze moving between Hermione and Draco.
"No", Draco responded while shaking his head, "I was waiting for you". Blaise gave a single nod in response then sat next to Draco, across from Hermione.
"Told me what?" Hermione asked shifting in her seat; she was starting to second guess just blindly following the boy.
"Amanda told us you want to keep your title a secret, and asked that we look after you while you're at Hogwarts" Blaise responded quietly and calmly.
Before Hermione could formulate a response, Draco spoke up; "however as purebloods we have a reputation to uphold, and without people knowing of your position it would be very strange to see us with you".
"Pureblood?", Hermione asked lamely.
"All wizarding family" Blaise answered looking at her oddly.
"Oh…." Hermione responded as her brain worked through what they were saying when they remained silent she continued on, "how did Amanda get in touch with you?"
"After your party started coming to an end she pulled our families aside" Draco said with a self important air akin to his Father's.
"Separately" Blaise added only glancing at Draco for a second before fully turning towards Hermione, "I'm supposed to be courting you by the way, so is Draco;" here he gestured to the boy beside him, "healthy competition and all that".
Hermione felt her stomach drop as she looked between the two boys, "Do you guys even like me?"
"Not like that" Draco said with a small curl of his lip into a sneer.
"Not that you're not pretty" Blaise added quickly at which Draco nodded along and Hermione felt herself sink into the seat as she breathed a sigh of relief.
"Wait, you don't want us to like you like that?", Draco asked his brow furrowing, all look of nervousness disappearing.
"I'm not even twelve years old yet!" Hermione argued in a harsh whisper, "I don't want to think about who I'm going to be marrying in another like fifteen plus years!"
Doing some quick muggle math, Blaise cleared his throat slightly, "That would make you twenty-seven at the time of the marriage…"; at Hermione's nod Draco and Blaise shared a worried look, "I don't think you understand Hermione… the marrying age in Europe is sixteen with parents permission and eighteen without; you become an adult in the wizarding world at age seventeen".
Hermione blinked once, twice, then a third time before she responded, "What does that have to do with anything?"
Here Draco blanched and crossed his arms leaning back into his seat, "Have you no concept of what it means to be royal?", instead of bursting out like she wanted Hermione merely crossed her own arms and pursed her lips waiting for him to explain, "You need an heir!"
"What?!" Hermione yelled out in surprised and shrunk back at Blaise and Draco's shushing, "What do I need an heir for?"
"To secure your line!" Draco answered back as though it were the simplest thing in the world, "You need an heir as soon as possible and as many as possible! Blaise and I are our parents' only heirs, if something happens to us all of our lands, titles and money will leave the family!"
"In actuality it just goes to another part of the family" Blaise answered shifting slightly in his seat.
"Maybe for you!" Draco bit back keeping his voice at a careful level so he wasn't overheard , "But all of the Malfoys and Blacks are either dead, in Azkaban, or went into hiding the night the Dark Lord died!" Blaise wouldn't meet either of the other occupants' eyes but Hermione was even more confused than before.
"Azkaban? The Dark Lord? What are you talking about?" Hermione asked in quick succession.
"You really don't know anything do you?" Draco asked quietly and at Hermione's shake of the head Draco sat forward and Blaise turned his gaze towards the window, "decades ago there was a wizard who started to come into power and wanted to cleanse the world of all non purebloods-"
"Massacre and enslave those who he didn't believe deserved to practice magic" Blaise cut in, his eyes still trained on the outside terrain.
"There was a war, and ten years ago it ended when the Dark Lord died from a rebound killing curse-"
"Voldemort tried to kill a baby, and the spell came back at him. The baby's name was Harry Potter; word is he still has a lightning bolt scar but no one's seen him since he was born", Blaise interrupted again.
Malfoy continued on as though Blaise hadn't said anything, "most of the old pureblood families had aligned themselves with Him including the Malfoys and the Blacks so in the war a lot of them died, then when the Dark Lord fell the ones who found out quickly, left the country and changed their name to avoid Azkaban. Some stayed and tried to continue to fight and so still more died; then they took the remaining followers of the Dark Lord and put them in Azkaban, the most secure wizarding prison in the world; no one has ever escaped", Draco finished quietly.
"It's patrolled by Dementors, they're these dark cloaked floating figures that suck out all your happy memories until you have nothing left but all the painful ones and you're driven into madness. They can also suck out your soul, it's called the Dementors' Kiss" Blaise added quietly as he turned to look at Hermione.
"And they do that? To the prisoners I mean?" Hermione asked and as both Draco and Blaise nodded solemnly she continued, "That's terrible".
"My Aunt Bella and her husband, my Uncle Roldulphus, have been in there for ten years" Draco stated in a whisper, "so has my mother's cousin Sirius", he added as an afterthought, "I never got to know them, they've probably all gone mad by now …".
As the compartment descended into silence their gazes shifted from one to another and as Blaise's eyes flickered to outside the window again he quietly remarked, "We should get changed soon" . All of them nodded along and the boys gave Hermione directions to one of the changing rooms towards the middle of the train and they would change in the compartment.
Making her way down the hall with her robes in hand Hermione ducked into one of the small changing rooms and after securing the door began to take off her clothes, her jumper caught on her hair and through an unfortunate amount of tugging she wrestled free of it only to see herself in the mirror with her hair all mussed up and sticking out in odd places. With a groan Hermione put on her school uniform and then her over black school over cloak.
Stepping from the small compartment with her muggle clothes Hermione ran smack into another student, a dark haired boy with a round face and a sad look in his eyes. They stumbled back from one another and after a mumbled apology the boy spoke, "Have you seen a toad anywhere?", Hermione shook her head and the boy groaned loudly.
"I can help you look though", Hermione offered with a small smile.
"Really?" The boy asked in surprise and his eyes lit up as Hermione nodded, "I'm Neville by the way". Systematically they checked the compartments from the front of the train to the rear, dropping off her clothes in the compartment with Draco and Blaise; Neville wouldn't look directly at Draco as he stepped in but they were gone soon enough that Hermione didn't give much thought to it.
In the last compartment though, they stumbled upon two boys; one with black hair the other with flaming red hair. The red haired boy had a battered wand in his hand, poised at the rat in his lap.
"Has anyone seen a toad? Neville's lost one", Hermione stated again for what seemed like the hundredth time and it all felt very practiced now; the redhead boy tried to tell her that they hadn't but Hermione was far too focused on his wand, "Oh, are you doing magic? Let's see it, then", and with that Hermione sat down leaving Neville in the door way.
The red haired boy looked a little thrown, "Er- all right", he cleared his throat, "Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow, turn this stupid, fat rat yellow", he waved his wand, but nothing happened. The rat stayed gray and fast asleep.
"Are you sure that's a real spell?" Hermione asked. "Well it's not a 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", Hermione smiled slightly at the memory of meeting the Deputy, "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?", with each word she had gone faster and faster.
The black haired boy looked to the red head and there was a look of shock on their faces; Hermione wondered if they had recognized her name, she had been assured they wouldn't but maybe giving them her last name had been a bit much.
"I'm Ron Weasley", the red head muttered.
"Harry Potter", said the black haired boy.
"Are you really?" Hermione asked recalling the conversation with Blaise and Draco that felt liked ages ago now, "you're the one who defeated the Dark Lord, everyone talks about you!"
"They do?" Harry asked looking dazed.
"Goodness, didn't you know, I'd have found out everything I could if it was me", Hermione said. "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 too bad…" Hermione trailed off thinking of how much less she would see the Professor if she weren't in Gryffindor which she had heard from the other students was the woman's house. "Anyway, we'd better go and finish looking for Neville's toad. You two had better change, you know, I expect we'll be there soon"
With that Hermione and Neville left the compartment but Neville stopped her a little ways down the hall, "It's okay Hermione, you don't have to keep looking; we're almost there and if he hasn't showed up yet….. I mean we've gone through all the compartments…." The sad look in Neville's eyes returned.
"He'll turn up" Hermione said more confidently than she felt as she patted Neville on the shoulder, "Want to come back to my compartment while we wait?"
Neville shook his head emphatically, "No, but I'll see you at the sorting; yeah?" he asked already backing away from her and at her nod he turned away and slipped into a compartment several doors away. As Hermione stepped into her own compartment to meet the twin gazes of Draco and Blaise.
"Where have you been?" Draco asked in a huff.
"Helping Neville look for his toad, I told you" Hermione answered back, checking that all her belongings were stored away properly.
"Neville? As in Neville Longbottom?" Blaise asked leaning forward slightly, Draco turned sharply towards the other boy.
"I didn't ask… is it important?" Hermione questioned as the train screeched to a halt. Draco stood and rushed through the door as made his way away from the compartment and down the hall.
Hermione almost stood to go after him but Blaise held her back, "The reason his Aunt Bellatrix is in Azkaban, well one of the reasons, is because she tortured an auror and his wife out of their minds until there was nothing left. Their names were Frank and Alice Longbottom; Neville's parents".
"What happened to them?" Hermione asked in a whisper as the commotion outside the door grew and a bellowing call could be heard for first years.
"It's said they're in the intense care unit at St. Mungo's; a wizarding hospital" Blaise answered quietly. Hermione stood shock still until Blaise touched her arm again, "We should get going, they take care of our trunks" at Hermione's nod they made their way off the train to follow the trail of children walking behind a ginormous man with wirey black hair.
He led them all to an armada of row boats and instructed them to get in them in small groups. Clearly working off of their groups from the train the children divided themselves quickly. "This one", Blaise directed Hermione to a boat with three girls already in it. He paused about a foot away, "This is where we part ways Hermione, I'll see you later; good luck" and with that Blaise shuffled through the crowd to climb into a boat with Draco and two large beefy looking boys.
Hermione followed his directions as she climbed into the boat with the other girls giving them a tight smile; the large man bellowed 'FORWARD' the boat lurched forward and the girls all shifted at the sensation.
"I'm Lavender Brown", a blond girl stated as the boat glided over the glass looking water.
"Hermione Granger" Hermione said shaking the girl's hand.
"That's Pavarti" Lavender said gesturing to one of the girls who smiled and reached her hand forward which Hermione shook, "And that's Padma Patil; they're twins, identical", the other girl hesitated at first but after a nudge from her sister Padma shook Hermione's hand.
"Pleasure" Hermione stated smiling a little easier this time but all chatter stopped as they were ordered to duck under the curtain of vines and as they raised their heads back up, gasps of awe could be heard at the sight of the large dark castle with windows lit up randomly across it. The castle treated the starlit sky as its own personal backdrop and the stars bent around the turrets and twinkled in places to show off its outline and Hermione couldn't think of anything over than the thought that she was suddenly very happy that she had not chosen Beauxbatons because if she had, she might never have laid eyes on this place. That thought made her stomach twist in a way that reminded her of the way she felt when the Emerald Woman first tried to leave and from then on the two formidable figures were forever linked in her mind.
When the boats had come to a halt, the large man got out and looked around at the group of children and Hermione heard him point out Neville's toad to him and she smiled at how happy the boy looked. Turning toward the door, the man knock three times on a great big door and almost immediately the door was opened by the Emerald Woman. Hermione felt her breath catch and her mind went blank again as she focused on the Deputy.
Hermione vaguely heard the woman address the man as 'Hagrid' and she pulled the door open wide and led the first years inside. She knew she should be paying attention to the words coming out of the woman's mouth, they were no doubt very important; but Hermione only caught the gist. The speech was all about the four houses and a little bit about the sorting ceremony; all of which Hermione had read about in the books Amanda had supplied her, and through all of the words the woman's eyes never once landed on Hermione.
Just as quickly as she had appeared, the Deputy slipped away and Hermione still was finding it hard to breathe; her stomach was fluttering wildly and she couldn't think of what was causing it. Hermione half thought she might be having a heart attack, wasn't she too young for that though? And her arm was supposed to be numb? A panic attack then? She started sputtering off all of the spells she had learned trying to distract herself from the feeling, hoping it would go away soon. Hermione looked around noticing how the students were trying to right their appearances and she simultaneously decided there was nothing to do about her own.
Lavender Brown stepped behind Hermione and said, "here, let help you"; at which point the girl took Hermione's hair in both her hands, brought it together and began to twist it tightly but not painfully into an odd bun securing it with a hair tie from her wrist, "When we're about to go in, I'll take it out" Lavender said stepping around to admire her handiwork with a smile that Hermione returned.
They all gasped and stared in shock as the ghosts came flying through and conversing. A heavy looking one remarked about being from Hufflepuff and in a few more minutes the woman was back. Lavender reached up smoothly unleashing Hermione's mane and though it still looked bushy, it didn't quite look uncontrollable. At the same time the Deputy's emerald eyes swept the room and snagged on Hermione for a moment as the girl's hair tumbled out of its confines. The Emerald Woman took a deep breath as her eyes locked onto Hermione's brown ones before giving instructions that they should form a line behind her.
Stepping into the hall, Hermione couldn't contain her nervous energy built up from her brief contact with the Emerald Woman and began to spit out facts from Hogwarts: A History about the truth behind the beautiful starlit sky of a ceiling, further lending to the idea that the night sky was only there for Hogwart's use. People began to glance back at her oddly but she couldn't stop until a small, warm hand reached forward and took her left hand. Trailing off Hermione turned to look at the girl who had grabbed her hand; it was Padma Patil, or was it Pavarti? She hadn't gotten a great look since there wasn't much light outside on the lake. But as the girl smiled shyly Hermione knew without a doubt it was Padma because it was the same smile from the boat and it brought Hermione a sort of peace as they moved forward.
The Deputy moved a four legged stool in front of the group of children, upon which she placed a patched up pointed hat. Padma flinched and buried her head into Hermione's shoulder as the hat started to sing; while it was truly amazing to behold, Hermione's eyes never left the Emerald Woman's form. Soon the song was over and the Great Hall applauded the hat and Hermione squeezed Padma's hand as she hesitantly looked up and returned Hermione's smile.
The Deputy held a long roll of parchment and began to speak, again the words jumbling to Hermione's ears until she called out a name, "Abbott, Hannah!". A blond girl sat on the stool and with the hat on her head and the hat announced she would be in "HUFFLEPUFF"
"Bones, Susan!"- "HUFFLEPUFF"
"Boot, Terry!- "RAVENCLAW"
"Broklehurst, Mandy!"- "RAVENCLAW"
When "Brown, Lavender!" was called for, a few cat calls were made and Pavarti made her way back to her sister and the three girls wait apprehensively for the Hat's verdict- "GRYFFINDOR".
Pavarti let out a happy sigh, "That's the one she wanted!" She whispered excitedly as the next name was called.
" Bulstrode, Millicent!"- "SLYTHERIN"
"Finch-Fletchley, Justin!"- "HUFFLEPUFF"
"Finnigan, Seamus!"- "GRYFFINDOR"
Her name was called next and at the Deputy's voice Hermione felt her knees go weak as she was mentally thrown back to that night in the sitting room. Padma squeezed her hand and Hermione turned to look at her, with a quick wink Hermione made her way to the stool. She walked quickly trying to hide how unsteady she was on her feet.
Quickly Hermione put the hat on to hide the burning on her face from being so very close to the Emerald Woman.
"Aaaahhh! Hermione Granger!" The Hat whispered in her ear and Hermione stood shock still wondering who else could hear it, "No one my dear, only you. I've been expecting you, you know. I've overheard great things from the Headmaster's office! Most said by the woman standing next to you!"
Gryffindor! Hermione thought wildly as her face scrunched up.
"Really? You could do quite well in say… Ravenclaw. There's even some Slytherin in you if you want… Ravenclaw really would be for the best though….but then again those aren't her houses are they?"
Gryffindor! Please, Hermione thought again.
"Just so you know, there's still more than the woman whose house is GRYFFINDOR!" he screamed the last word to the room and the Deputy removed the Hat as Hermione went down to the cheering table.
More names were called but Hermione glazed over them until it was "Longbottom, Neville"'s turn and the Hat took a long time with him until – "GRYFFINDOR". Hermione cheered with her table and laughed good naturedly as he ran off with the Hat still on having to go back and return it to:
"MacDougal, Morag!" – "SLYTHERIN"
"Malfoy, Draco!"- "SLYTHERIN!", he looked very pleased with himself and Hermione almost felt a sense of loss at the boy being put into her rival house instead of alongside her.
"Patil, Padma!" Hermione's eyes snapped to the girl who hesitantly sat on the stool, a moment later it shouted, "RAVENCLAW!" and Hermione, for the first time, began to regret her placement in Gryffindor as the tanned refined face spun to her before making its way to the Ravenclaw table.
"Patil, Pavarti!" The Deputy called, causing Hermione to snap her eyes to the woman as the other Patil sister stepped up and took her turn. Pavarti's face was different from Padma's somehow but Hermione couldn't quite tell why, maybe it's their eyebrows? Or their confidence? "GRYFFINDOR" and as Hermione saw the mixed feelings flash across the girl's face Hermione decided she'd probably never really know.
Pavarti sat down next to Hermione and Lavender then glanced over worriedly at the Ravenclaw table meeting her sister's eyes and sharing a small smile with her; Lavender drew Pavarti's attention back to the table, "She'll be fine". But as Hermione continued to look between the twins, she wasn't so sure either of them would do well apart.
"You'll still see each other all the time" one older red haired boy said from a little ways down the table.
"She can come to our common room whenever" another red haired boy added, who was identical to the first, while they both nodded.
"And you'll probably still have loads of classes together" the first boy continued.
"Plus" the second boy said nudging his twin brother, "You can even switch ties and pretend to be each other! George and I have done it loads of times!" and as they laughed, Pavarti laughed with them eased into the group; her sister straying to outer edges of her mind. However, Hermione looked back at Padma and she wasn't so sure Padma was getting the same reassuring comments; still being included but not with the same care Pavarti was.
"Wait I thought you were George!" the first boy said
"No, I'm Fred!" the second boy said and while they argued and the table laughed; several more names had been called until:
The Hall went silent for a moment until harsh whispers of incredulity sprang up across the tables; at that moment, through the throws of people Hermione's eyes latched on to Draco's for just a split second and then they both turn to see just where The-Boy-Who-Lived ended up.
The Hat took at least a full minute to decide, and Hermione got the queasy feeling it was talking to Harry the same way it had her; but in the end the Hat shouted out "GRYFFINDOR".
Hermione's table was in an uproar, shouting and yelling in triumph; the red haired twins were even doing a little chant, "We got Potter! We got Potter!". Harry's placement had easily gotten the biggest applause and Hermione realized it couldn't have been anything less; not for the Chosen One. As he almost stumbled down the short set of stairs he became more human with every wobbly step and as he was congratulated and his hand was shaken by most of the table, Hermione saw the same surprise, relief, and shock that she saw on all the other faces and he was just like the rest of them.
When he sat down, Hermione scooted closer to him, "The Hat talked to you didn't it?" Harry nodded shakily in response and Hermione smiled brightly, "Me too, it wanted to put me in another house! Ravenclaw!"
Only a few people were left now; "Thomas, Dean!"- "GRYFFINDOR"
Harry licked his lips for a moment before responding, "It wanted to put me in Slytherin" Hermione felt her smile falter.
"Well you're here now" Hermione whispered and they shared a little smile.
"Weasley, Ronald!" -"GRYFFINDOR" the boy clambered down the steps to be patted on the back and congratulated by his new housemates.
"Zabini, Blaise" was called and Hermione watched as the Hat was placed on his head and though somewhere in her mind she knew it was hopeless, she begged the universe to let Blaise be in Gryffindor but hope as she might the Hat shouted out, "SLYTHERIN" Hermione wondered if he had known what house he would be in, what house she would be in? What houses the girls from the boat he directed her to would be in? was that why he chose them? There were other boats surely! But for her to be with future members of the same two houses the Hat debated over? It was a ludicrous thought!
The Emerald Woman moved the stool and rolled her parchment back up and took the Sorting Hat away. But as Blaise made his way to his new table he turned almost imperceptibly and winked at Hermione then continued on his way; Hermione began to think about it. The more Hermione thought about it, the more likely it seemed. They had probably done research on all the students! Or maybe… she thought looking back at Padma…just maybe… it was sheer dumb luck!
The feast continued on and the Headmaster did some sort of weird spell after welcoming them, "Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!" and then all of the feast food appeared and the students busied themselves with eating and talking amongst themselves. Hermione watched as the Deputy returned to the Hall and sat next to the Headmaster. As Hermione openly started at the woman who looked up sharply and met Hermione's eyes; the beautiful emerald laced with flecks of a darker green, almost black
Hermione gasped at the intensity of the stare but their gaze was broken as the Headmaster pulled his Deputy into conversation. Hermione continued to stare trying to catch the woman's eye but she was resolutely distracted by her employer. And soon Pavarti brought her into a conversation of her own and Hermione wouldn't be able to lay eyes on the Emerald Woman again for the rest of the night.
AN.: WOW! Another 10 pages! I must really like you guys ;) please leave a review!