Disclaimer: Everything belongs to JKR, except for the storyline and original characters.

This fic actually means a lot to me. Believe it or not, HP is not the first topic I have written fanfics for. The first one was of YuYu Hakushu, but I stopped after starting on the fifth one. This as my sixth one for HP, and you could understand why it means so much to me.

Enjoy, and please read and review. Thanks.

Big Big World

I'm a big big girl

in a big big world

It's not a big big thing if you leave me

but I do do feel that

I do do will miss you much

miss you much...

I can see the first leaf falling

it's all yellow and nice

It's so very cold outside

like the way I'm feeling inside

Outside it's now raining

and tears are falling from my eyes

why did it have to happen

why did it all have to end

I have your arms around me

warm like fire

but when I open my eyes

you're gone...

I'm a big big girl

in a big big world

It's not a big big thing if you leave me

but I do feel I will miss you much

miss you much...

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Chapter 1 How are you, Hermione?

Allison Lowe ran a bookshop in Richmond, West London. It was not a really big one, but she had quite a number of sources for keeping up the business, which made sure that she would have no worry about balancing the books. She mostly supplied textbooks for primary and secondary schools, sometimes also universities. These were just by orders, but the tomes on shelf in the store were quite a different matter. .

These were 'rare' books. Of course, everything depended on how one defined 'rare'. Maybe it would have been more exact to say that they were books of cold subject areas like for instance flower language. You name it, Allison had it it. One reason why she did that was her firm belief that only because the subjects were cold that didn't make them unimportant. They might come in handy when you least expected them to. Therefore, her bookshop actually had a reputation of being 'the last resort of knowledge'. Funny, wasn't it? She had never thought that she would achieve this far. From struggling to remain in the black at the early age of the business to the small success she had now, she really thanked God for her luck.

She had made quite a number of close friends through her business too, and she was proud to say they were all true friends; but none of them was as special to her as Hermione. She had known her for eight years, and regardless of their age difference (she was twelve years Hermione's senior), they were close to each other like sisters.

Although today was just another Blue Monday, she had not felt so excited for quite a long time. It was the monthly delivery date of the newly-ordered goods from the book dealers, and this time one of them was an unknown. It was actually a present from one of her suppliers, who was also one of her best friends, as an early birthday present for Allison. While she patiently awaited the arrival of her treasure she had an unexpected visitor.

********************

Allison was reading the new Waterstone's Books Quarterly, when she heard the door bell attached to the ring and turned her head around, thinking that it might be Eric, the delivery man. Instead, to her surprise, it was Hermione.

"Hermione! What a surprise!" Allison walked out from behind the cashier counter, and gave Hermione a hug. "When did you come back?"

"Just came back yesterday for Easter holidays." Hermione replied, while taking her usual seat on the stool opposite the cashier. "Do you still need someone for summer this year?"

"Hermione, you know you are welcome to come and read the books here whenever you like! We have been friends for such a long time already."

It was kind of funny how they had become friends. Hermione had been seven at that time and come in to order some university textbooks. As the bookstore's main income was from such orders, Allison hadn't been at all shocked about it, instead she had been shocked it was this young girl who wanted these books, more so as they it ranged from science to arts. They had started chatting a bit from time to time and eventually they become friends. For the past summer, Hermione had been working part-time in Allison's shop, so she could read the books there, and also help tidy the books at the same time. Actually, Allison didn't mind if Hermione came in just to read. She appreciated that the girl actually loved to read the volumes on display, as they were not really treating popular subjects anyway. She didn't mind someone to keep her company. She just didn't want to give Hermione a feeling that she was obliged to work here in order to read the books. For crying out loud, Hermione wouldn't have taken the wages Allison had paid her for last summer after she had reached the legal age for getting paid for work!

"I just want an excuse for coming out. That's all." Hermione replied. Having been friends for so long, she knew exactly what had been going through Allison's mind. She knew she wouldn't mind her in the shop, but she did not want to make people think her friend was giving her a privilege because they were close. Who knew what rumours might come out of this. Then again, after knowing her for so long, Hermione knew CLEARLY Allison did not give a damn about private life influencing her work reputation. She didn't care how others looked at her, which could be clearly seen from her motto --- I am only responsible for how I look at myself, but not how others look at me.

"Whatever. You get the job." Allison said. "So how has school been lately? Still having a difficult time with your Professor Snape?"

"Sigh... It is difficult, but I am used to it already. I mean, it's already been six and a half years having him as my professor. I am going to graduate in a few months' time, I could still stand it." Of course Hermione told Allison a 'corrected version' of her boarding school life.

"Well, I just worry that you might get so fed up by him that you might explode like I did when I was still in uni."

"Really?! What happened?"

"Well, there was this professor of mine who used to teach Classical History. I didn't give a damn why he hated me so much, but one day I was so pissed off by him that I... screamed in front of him, criticizing his behaviour." She chuckled a bit when Hermione gaped at her. "I know. It's one of the craziest things I have ever done in my life, but that was the only thing I could think of to 'help' him understand about the 'seriousness'. It turned out that he hated me so much just because I didn't speak up in class."

"Just that?"

"Yes. Hilarious, isn't it? My situation was the exact contrary of yours. I couldn't believe it myself when he told me that. I didn't speak up in class, but handed in excellent essays. He believed that it was not my work. But he changed his mind after my outburst at him that time. One reason why I don't really give a damn what others think about me, because it is too much trouble worrying about it."

"What are you guys talking about?"

TBC

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