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Chapter Three:

Hermione’s First Day

Heavy rain sprayed against the windows of Professor Granger’s classroom as she organized her desk for the first of her classes. Throughout the castle the first bell sounded, signalling the start of class. When the first of the first years ambled into her class and took their seats, Hermione walked around her desk and took her own. So many impressionable minds – could she really do this? Could she be strong enough and confident enough to pass on to these young witches and wizards all that she knew? Hermione dwelled on these thoughts. Even after the second bell, she wasn’t able to shake them.

Just as she was about to stand back up and address her students, two young first years came running into the room, out of breath and panting. Like a slap in the face, Hermione suddenly remembered her first Transfiguration lesson, Ron and Harry running into the classroom out of breath and late just like these two. She remembered how she had chastised them in her head for being tardy. The memory being more than she could handle, she forced herself to turn away. Once she got her nerves and emotions back in check she turned around to face the two late students.

“Mr. Andrews, Mr. Barton. Five points will be taken from Hufflepuff and you both will receive detention. Now take your seats,” Hermione said with little emotion. Turning to face her desk, she waved her wand at a stack of papers resting on it. The stack of papers lifted off of the desk and magically floated throughout the class, one landing in front of each student.

“What I am handing out to you is this year’s class syllabus. On this syllabus I have outlined the lessons we will cover throughout the course of the term. For the most part this class will be a practical one, meaning that class participation will cover eighty percent of your final grade. The other twenty percent will consist of homework and examinations. With that said, let me give you a basic definition of what Transfiguration is. Transfiguration is the ability to turn one object into another by means of magic. What you will learn from me this year is the basic tools needed to perform simple Transfigurations. I expect each of you to pass my course with at least an Acceptable. So, without consuming any more time, let us begin.” Hermione waved her wand at a blackboard, which began to write lengthy notes on Basic Transfiguration. “Copy down these notes as I read them aloud,” she added.

<+>

The final bell of the evening rang as Hermione began packing up her book bag. A seventh year Ravenclaw witch approached Hermione’s desk. With heated excitement she asked, “Professor? Can you tell me when the N.E.W.T. exams will start? Also, I was hoping you could tell me what will be covered on your N.E.W.T. I would very much like to start studying right away.”

Hermione looked up into the young girl’s eyes and couldn’t help but see a younger version of herself. “Ms. Taldridge, the N.E.W.T.s won’t be held until June. If I were you, I’d expect every Transfiguration spell you’ve learned since your first year to be covered in the exam. Does that help you?” Hermione answered.

“Yes, Professor. Thank you,” the young witch replied. Turning around rather animatedly, she left the classroom, leaving Hermione alone at last. Scooping up her book bag, she left the classroom and travelled down the hall to her office. Once inside she immediately placed her bag on the desk.

Ah, Harry. So good of you to come. Witness the end. Avada Kedavra!” The phantom voice made Hermione spin around with her wand at the ready. Despite the fact that she was alone, more voices spoke.

Hermione! Get out of here!” The phantom voice of Harry yelled. The voices from her past were too much for her to handle, and she shut her eyes tightly; but still the voices continued.

Hermione! Hermione?” Something about this voice made Hermione re-open her eyes. Standing before her were Sirius and Remus, both with concerned looks on their faces.

“Hermione, are you all right?” Sirius asked.

“What? Yes, I’m all right. Never better,” Hermione lied.

“Would you mind, then, lowering your wand?” Remus asked.

“Oh! Sorry.” Hermione returned her wand to her front pants pocket and immediately walked around her desk, where she sat down in her chair.

“Hermione, I think we’ve known each other long enough to know when you’re lying. What’s wrong?” Sirius asked as Hermione began to fidget with the many papers on her desk.

Hermione stopped messing with her papers and stared up into Sirius’ eyes. Seriously contemplating whether or not she should tell them about her nightmares, she rose from her seat and walked to one of her bookshelves. “I’ve been having…I’ve been having nightmares,” she said as she pulled a book from a shelf. Returning to her desk, she placed the book on it without looking at Sirius or Remus. Afraid that they would see her shame, she made sure that she didn’t look them in the eyes.

“How bad are they?” Remus asked as he sat down in one of the chairs in front of her desk. Hermione turned around to face them, making sure not to look at them directly.

“Pretty bad,” she answered.

“Do you want to talk about them?” Sirius asked.

“No. I love you both with all my heart. Please understand – the horrors I endured during the war are, for me, not over. They’re still fresh in my mind, and if I let them out they’ll destroy me. So until I’m able control them, I must keep them to myself,” Hermione explained.

“I understand. We’ll always be here for you when you need to talk,” Remus interjected. “I may have a solution for your nightmares. Have you considered using a Pensieve?”

“There are no more Pensieves. When Tom Riddle discovered that Professor Dumbledore had many memories about him stored in his Pensieve, he had his Death Eaters round up and destroy all of them so that no one else could use them against him. Unfortunately, he succeeded,” she replied.

“There is one left – mine. And it is yours to use if you wish.”

“I appreciate that, Remus. However, I have no intention of using one. From the many times I listened to Harry’s stories of diving into Professor Dumbledore’s and Professor Snape’s memories, I’ve concluded that a Pensieve is unsafe. My memories are private and I would like to keep them to myself.”

“There is another option,” Sirius said.

“Padfoot! Hermione doesn’t need to be messing with that,” Remus scolded.

“This is different, Moony. Hermione is more level-headed than I was back then. She’d be able to use it responsibly,” Sirius argued.

“That’s not the point, Sirius! The Draught of Silent Sleep should never be used. There is a reason why that draught was never taught in school. There are very few books out there that even have a recipe for that potion. Dream suppression is dangerous, Hermione.”

“These nightmares are preventing me from getting a decent night’s sleep. What’s worse, I have them even when I’m wide awake. I want them to stop, Remus,” Hermione said.

For the first time since she had arrived at Hogwarts she looked into Remus’ eyes. In hers, Remus was able to see the desperation that plagued her. Coming to a decision, Remus nodded to Sirius. In response, Sirius grabbed a small piece of parchment from Hermione’s desk and, using her quill, he wrote something on it.

“Now, Hermione. The Draught of Silent Sleep is a difficult potion to brew, but you should have no problems,” Sirius explained.

“I’ve never heard of this potion. How is it different from a simple sleeping draught?” Hermione asked.

“No, you wouldn’t. This particular draught was never taught in school. The potion was originally devised by Salazar Slytherin himself. Naturally, the other founders didn’t like the power the potion had over the individual.” Placing the quill back on her desk, he handed the parchment to Hermione. “Now, the bookstore I got this book from is no longer open. However, I hear that a new bookstore, Brown and Vane, has the largest assortment of potion books. I would inquire for it there first.”

Hermione took the piece of parchment from him and read, “Ye Olde Potions Book for the Curious Wizard, by Xodius McClare.” Looking up, she added, “Thank you, Sirius.” Hermione placed the parchment inside her pants pocket; promptly sitting on her desk she asked, “Why did you need this, Sirius?”

“Yes, Padfoot. You brought up this bit of your past, so go ahead. Tell her about Matilda,” Remus said.

“During my sixth year, I was…in love. With a Slytherin girl. Her name was Matilda Taylor. She was so beautiful and I thought she liked me. She would rub up against me in Potions class and in the Library. We would sneak out at night and snog in unused classrooms. Then she told me that her father had passed away and she wouldn’t have time to study for the O.W.L.s. She asked if I could get her the answers to the Potions O.W.L. Well, naturally I said yes. After I had finished my own exam I walked by her and casually dropped a piece of parchment by her feet.

“That night she was to meet me on the Quidditch pitch. When I was waiting for her, Professor Slughorn found me and took fifty points away from my House and gave me detention. As he was escorting me back into the castle, he let slip that Matilda had turned me in. When I confronted her the next day she laughed in my face while Lucius Malfoy and Severus Snape cursed me. Well, I was heartbroken. I started having the same nightmare over and over again. So I turned to that potion. With the first dose, the potion took away my nightmares. I was able to sleep again. The potion is designed to be used only as a temporary solution. I took it every night for three months; the prolonged use of it eventually gave me insomnia – once again, I couldn’t sleep. So naturally, I took more of the potion. In the end it took Lily Evans to put me back on the straight and narrow. Ever since then she’s always had a special place in my heart,” Sirius said.

“Harry’s mum?” Hermione asked curiously.

“Yes. I was the one who went to her and asked her to help Sirius. Naturally, she refused. Even though she and James were dating then, she still didn’t much care for Sirius,” Remus elaborated. “She felt he was a self-absorbed Veela too busy marvelling at his good looks to notice that his hair was on fire.”

“Thank you, Moony. I’m sure Hermione couldn’t have gotten through her day without that piece of information,” Sirius said sarcastically.

“Any time, Padfoot.” Hermione started to laugh, causing Remus and Sirius to smile.

“Anyway. Hermione, remember what I told you. The potion is designed to give you peaceful sleep just long enough for you to fix whatever is causing your nightmares. Find out quickly what’s causing them and take care of it immediately,” Sirius cautioned.

“I will, I promise. Thank you, guys,” she replied. All three of them stood up and Hermione hugged both men. Sirius and Remus then took their leave of her.

<+>

Hermione Apparated into the wizarding town of Hogsmeade with a loud crack! It didn’t take her long to find Brown and Vane Books. Stepping into the store, Hermione was taken back to her days at Hogwarts once again. The interior decorating of this quaint shop reeked of something familiar, and Hermione found herself thinking that she knew who ran this shop. Sure enough, a familiar voice called out, “Hermione Granger! Hey, Romilda! Hermione’s here!”

Lavender Brown walked around the counter and instantly embraced Hermione in a hug. They were soon joined by Romilda Vane, who hugged her as well. “What brings you to our shop?” Romilda asked.

“Hello, Lavender. Hello, Romilda. I’m actually looking for a specific book. I need a copy of Ye Olde Potions Book for the Curious Wixard by Xodius McClare,” Hermione explained.

“Xavier!” Lavender called. Out of the backroom a small, stocky wizard emerged. Hermione thought he seemed familiar but she couldn’t place him. The young wizard looked up at Hermione and froze. For quite a spell he stared at her, making her very uncomfortable. “Xavier Bradley!” In response to his name being called again, he hastily walked up to Lavender.

“Yes, Ms. Brown?” Xavier responded.

“Go into the Special Collections and bring me a copy of Ye Olde Potions Book for the Curious Wizard.”

Xavier returned his stare to Hermione, sending a chill down her spine. “Yes, ma’am. Right away.” He spun around and disappeared into the back room.

“While we’re waiting, how are you? What have you been up to?”

“Fighting in the war against You Know Who,” Hermione answered.

“Oh,” Lavender and Romilda said together.

“How’s Ron doing?” Romilda asked.

Hearing his name was like having a red-hot poker plunged deep into Hermione’s chest. She found it difficult to swallow. Didn’t they already know? she thought to herself. “Ron’s…umm…Romilda? Ron died. Three months ago. I thought you guys knew.”

Romilda and Lavender’s faces both dropped at this revelation. Romilda felt the need to sit down. “How?” Lavender asked.

“You Know Who killed him. He died saving my life.”

The silence in the room became so intense that Lavender felt compelled to say something just to break it. “What’s taking that Xavier so long? XAVIER!” From out of the back room the small wizard re-emerged with an old, thick book under his arm. He walked up to Lavender and gave the book to her. “That will be ten Galleons,” she murmured to Hermione.

Hermione paid for the book and left the store. Throughout the entire transaction, Xavier never took his eyes off of Hermione. Once she was outside the store she couldn’t help but relish the sweet, comforting smell of the fresh air. Turning on the spot, Hermione Apparated back to Hogwarts.

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