Author's Notes: Hello! I hope you enjoy reading my story. I'm a beginner at writing long fics, so I'm definitely not going to brag about the story or anything. I'm not going to ask you to be "gentle" with me, either - I will appreciate criticism as much as anything else, if not more. I want to improve my writing through doing this, and I hope by the time this story's done it will be enjoyable to read. (Also, I love the heck out of the Harry Potter series!)

I'm not exactly sure when this story is supposed to take place in relation to the books... I'm thinking it's at least after The Prisoner of Azkaban, because Harry already knows Sirius... it's in a kind of made-up in-between year. Whatever, use your imagination.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Harry Potter stories, characters, etc. I love and worship them, but none of it is mine. The story is fictional and not very well written, obviously not J. K. Rowling's. *bows down in reverence before massive collection of Harry Potter books, posters and merchandise*

I also realize I may have borrowed ideas from other authors/fan-fiction writers unintentionally... if so, I'm sorry! I give you amazing people all the credit!


Without further ado, here's the first chapter of my story.

Chapter One – Evening in the Library

Hermione sat hunched over her History of Magic homework in the mostly empty library of Hogwarts. Explain events of significance that modernized pyromancing throughout the years, using specific examples, the homework asked. She flipped a few pages in the heavy tome lying open on the desk to her left. Not finding answers there, she stood up and stretched for a moment before going over to the aisle of shelves she knew contained history books on fire spells. On her way through the familiar rows, Hermione picked up two other books that caught her interest. I'll read them later, she thought, trying to keep focused on her work.

When she turned into the "H" aisle, she found Lavender Brown standing at the end with a flame-lit lamp at her feet. It was past sunset now, and most students brought lamps to the library to read because the sconces on the walls didn't provide much light. When Lavender looked over her shoulder and saw Hermione, she snapped her book shut. Hermione could see the book cover - How to Predict Your Romantic Future with Tarot Cards.

Lavender blushed and said, "Oh, hi Hermione. I thought you were the librarian."

Hermione shrugged and replied, "I hang around here as much as her, if not more. I'm not surprised."

She did a small smile and turned to the rows of thickly-bound books. Scanning, she found History of Fire Spells – Volume One, by Felicity Annsworth. She pulled the colossal red book off the shelf and almost buckled under its weight; it felt like it weighed fifty pounds. Lavender ran over and helpfully grabbed the book while Hermione dropped some papers and the two other books she had in her arms.

"Oh, goodness!" She knelt down and swept her things back together. "Thank you, Lavender."

Lavender didn't say you're welcome, but instead looked at her classmate as she straightened up. Hermione reached out to take the large book back, and Lavender put it into her hands, but she didn't let go. Instead she drew nearer to her. She suddenly asked, as though she had been thinking it and couldn't control herself, "Hermione, have you ever kissed a boy?"

The bushy-haired brunette was now the one to blush uncontrollably. "Um…" She couldn't think what to say. Didn't Lavender recognize a socially hopeless girl who spent all her time studying when she saw one?

"I'm sorry, that was rude," Lavender said shyly, taking her hands off the book. She looked down at her hands, which were now fidgeting thoughtfully. "You're just so smart. You get the top marks in our grade. I thought you must, you know, be going out…" she trailed off.

"It's okay, Lavender. I don't really mind that much."

Lavender suddenly looked up and out the window to her right as if she realized she was late for something.

"Um, I'd better be off." She turned and walked away with fast steps.

Hermione stood there for a minute even though she had the book she wanted. The truth was she had never kissed anyone. She hadn't even thought about it. She sighed and decided to check out the book and go back to her dorm because the library would close soon.

Walking back to the table where her things still lay out, Hermione absentmindedly stuffed her papers and books into her bag without even alphabetizing them as usual. She snapped the clasp on her bag shut and threw it over her shoulder, pushing in her chair. When she turned away from the table she shrieked quietly, finding that someone was standing right next to her.

"Calm down! It's just me," Harry said quickly, holding his hands up in front of him as Hermione almost hit him with her bag full of books.

"Oh! I'm sorry Harry!" she pushed back her hair and shook her head, exhaling. Harry picked up the red history book from the table. "I came down to see if you were still awake this late. You should really go to bed."

"I had to do this History homework."

Harry squinted at the title of the book he was holding in the fading lantern-light. "Hermione, this assignment isn't due until next week! Loosen up a little." He chuckled and smiled, and after a moment she smiled back.

They walked away from the table – slowly, because of all the books they were carrying. After checking out Hermione's new reading materials, they headed down the ground floor hall towards the staircases.

They were just going up the first flight of stairs past a wall of faceted windows when a large grey shape shot past outside. The friends stopped and searched for what had moved past.

The grey shape appeared again and hovered by the window, making a kind of heavy flapping motion.

"Buckbeak!" Hermione shouted, putting her hand on the window. Harry ran back down the stairs and Hermione followed just behind him. Pushing open a small wooden door at the bottom, they emerged into a cool autumn night.

How'd you like it? I know, I know, not very exciting yet. I promise the next chapter is longer and more juicy!

Please review! I love writing, but I'm not very good and I'm sure you have some unique insight on what I can do to improve. Thanks!