Welcome To Hogwarts
Platform 9 ¾ was aligned with parents and siblings bidding the young attendees of Hogwarts long, unneeded goodbyes. Hermione watched them in disgust, each hug and kiss on the cheek driving her closer to regurgitating her breakfast. Honestly, they get to see each other at Christmas, they don’t even need to say goodbye! She thought to herself as she continued to follow behind Draco as he led her to the train. His goodbye with his parent’s had been short enough that she was sure he was the only person in this platform that wasn’t annoying her. They were soon aboard the train and she took the time they spent searching for an open compartment observing the narrow hallway. Younger students were running up and down with their friends, not escaping scolding from the older students with what appeared to be badges atop their chests. She assumed they were the Prefects that Draco had told her about. He also had a similar badge on his chest and made it the topic of many of their discussions about the school and how he gave the Gryffindor’s detentions for any reason he could think of. Her favorite was that their shoes were untied.
The two found a compartment towards the middle of the train and got situated. Hermione placed her trunk on the shelf that was hanging above their heads with ease and took a seat across from Draco and sighed, glancing out the window at the platform once again. Even though she was still disgusted with the sight of the families, one group in particular still managed to catch her attention. It seemed to her to be a sea of red, for each of the occupants in the tight bunch had ginger-colored hair and was being pampered by a plump, short woman who seemed to be wearing a hand-knit shawl atop a heavily floral skirt and jumper. It was a curious sight for Hermione to see that a head of black hair was among the group as well, a male. His hand was around the only girl in the group beside the mother and was talking animatedly to a rather tall boy with a large amount of freckles lining his nose. Her mind became a daze as she continued to observe the family, completely entranced for Merlin knew what reason.
“Mia, are you alright?”
Her head turned to see the amused face of her friend smiling at her. She nodded as she glanced back out the window, only to see that the family had dispersed. Frowning, Hermione turned so that she was facing Draco, who seemed to be thinking deeply about something. He felt her eyes upon him and seemed to shake out of his trance, mimicking her and adjusting himself in his seat. “So, it’ll be a bit difficult for you to get into Potter’s little posse, being sorted into Slytherin and all.”
“Draco, you know I still have to be sorted like everyone else was.” She said playfully.
“Yeah, but you’re a shoe-in for Slytherin. Every Death Eater, with the exception of Wormtail, was in Slytherin. But we all know that his being in Gryffindor deeply scarred him for life.” He replied with a slight chuckle.
She also laughed and they sat in silence for a moment, until she chose to speak up hesitantly, “But what happens if I’m sorted into Gryffindor or something?”
Both she and Draco shuttered as he responded, “I would have to kill you, I suppose.”
She leaned forward and punched him in the shoulder. As she leaned back into her seat, she spoke up again, “I guess it’s nothing to worry about, really. I mean, my father should have a tremendous influence on which house I get into; that, and the fact that I was brought up by your parents for most of my life.”
Draco nodded as she allowed herself to reminisce at the memories. For the first fifteen years of her life, she had been brought up by the Malfoy’s due to the Dark Lord being indisposed, courtesy of one Harry Potter. Yet another reason she hated the bastard— he had destroyed her adoptive father! Although she didn’t regret being brought up by the Malfoy’s. Hermione wouldn’t be the person she was today without their guidance. Plus, she had the pleasure (and displeasure) of growing up with Draco. Their relationship had been a bumpy one to say the least. When they were younger, they despised one another, could not be in the same room without breaking into an argument. But, when they were around thirteen, things started to change… a lot. Needless to say, hormones got to be a bit too much to handle. She did not love him—no she definitely did not. She could never love anyone. Hermione was convinced that a black hole had replaced where the useless organ should have been. Draco and she were far from being anything but acquaintances… with many benefits.
“Anything from the trolley, dears?” a tender voice said from the doorway of their compartment. She was pushing a cart filled with things Hermione had only rarely seen before, brightly colored objects that seemed to be edible—sweets.
She turned to Draco, only to see that he seemed to be ignoring the woman. Licking her lips, she nodded her head and decided to take a chance and purchase one of every item on the cart. The elderly woman seemed to be surprised, but handed her one of each of the items and took the appropriate amount of galleons Hermione handed her without much say. With a polite “thank-you”, the woman took off to the next compartment and Hermione returned to her seat and spread the variety of sweets beside her. Draco looked over at her curiously but said nothing as she opened the first box and found what seemed to be chocolate in the shape of a frog. As she made a grab for it, the frog leaped out of the box and onto the window. Using her quick reflexes, she grabbed the frog before it could climb up the window any further and felt the chocolate slide around in her palm. Not knowing what to do with the squirming creature, she turned to Draco to see him chuckling at her.
“What’s so funny?” she asked agitatedly as the frog tried to make another escape from the confines of her hands.
He just shook his head and she growled at him. Staring at the creature, she felt a light go off in her head. She had heard some discussions about chocolate frogs and the collective cards that they had in their packages. She took a bite off of the frog and felt the milky chocolate fill her mouth. She moaned at the sensation and ate the rest of the frog in record time. Feeling much more content, she leaned back in her seat again and licked the remnants of the chocolate from the inside of her mouth. Unaware that her eyes were slowly drooping shut, she leaned her head against the cool window and let sleep overcome her.
She was shaken from her dreamless slumber by a hand gently touching her shoulder and jerking her into consciousness. Opening her eyes, she saw three familiar faces occupying the compartment—Crabbe, Goyle, and Pansy Parkinson—frequent visitors to the Malfoy Mansion whilst she lived there. She smiled at them as she straightened her composure and lifted her hands over head to stretch.
“We’re there, Mia, we’re pulling into Hogsmeade Station now.”
She looked out of her window at the darkened, star infested sky and saw that they were, indeed, pulling to a station. She felt the train come to a smooth stop and followed Draco as he grabbed his trunk and led the group out of the compartment. Hermione sighed at the cool breeze grazing her skin and heard a deep voice call from afar, “Firs’ years o’er here! Come on now, don’ be shy!” Looking over to her right she saw that the voice belonged to a rather large man—well, large was an understatement. If she said so herself, he looked more like a half-giant! She could only look at the man for a short time, for Draco was heading toward a line of carriages being pulled by what seemed to be horse skeletons with bat wings attached to their sides. They looked very foreboding and she felt a chill go down her spine as one turned to look at her. The other students seemed to be oblivious to the creatures altogether, probably because they had seen these creatures many times before. Her eyes flickered over to where Pansy was getting into the carriage and quickly followed behind her, her uneasiness slowly drifting away.
After the carriage began to move, Pansy spoke up, “So, you must be excited, Hermione, getting sorted with the first years?”
Hermione inwardly rolled her eyes. Pansy had always been jealous of the relationship that she and Draco had, pining over him for years and jumping at the chance to try and get the best of Hermione. “Oh, it’s going to be thrilling, I’m sure. But seeing as we’re going to be roommates for the next year, I can see you are as excited as I am.”
No one said she ever did.
Pansy pursed her lips and turned to look out the window and Hermione smirked. If she had to bear to share a room with her, she might as well have fun with it. It was a quiet trip to the school, and Hermione was becoming antsy. But when she saw the castle come into view, she felt her breathe catch in her throat as she let a wide grin spread on her face. She was here, at a real school. It all seemed surreal as the carriage pulled to a stop and she stepped out and craned her neck to view the tall towers. She followed the sea of students as they entered the school in a daze, taking in the large staircase and torch lights illuminating the hall. They ascended the steps and came to a large set of double-doors which opened as they filed into the hall. But before she could enter into the grand hall that she saw before her, she felt a hand on her shoulder stop her in her tracks. She turned to see the smiling face of an elderly man with a nearly floor-length beard dressed in deep purple, seemingly velvet, robes. Hermione looked confusedly at the man as the rest of the students filed past them, wondering why he was pulling her aside.
“You must be Miss Granger, am I correct?” he asked.
She nodded, remembering the last name that the Dark Lord had told her belonged to her deceased parents. “I am, and who are you?”
The man chuckled, and she could have sworn that his eyes twinkled. Maybe it was the reflection of his half-moon spectacles? “I am Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts.”
“O-oh, of course.” She said shakily. Hermione had heard of Albus Dumbledore, he was the only man that the Dark Lord had admitted to fearing to her. Of course, she had never seen pictures of him, only stories from Draco and fellow Death Eaters, mocking him for his Muggle-loving tendencies among other thing. To say she was intimidated would be an understatement. Although, he didn’t look intimidating at all, and at first sight she would assume that she could take him. Fortunately, she knew not to take that risk.
“I understand you are a transfer student?” he asked.
“Yes.” She responded quickly.
“Very well—you know of the sorting ceremony, am I correct?” She responded with a nod, “Well, then you also must know that you have to be sorted into a house?”
She wanted to tell him that she already knew which house she would be sorted into, but decided against it, choosing to nod again.
“Follow me, Miss Granger.” he said simply, leading her into the Great Hall that she read so much about.
As she followed the headmaster, she looked up at the ceiling to see that it was, indeed, enchanted to look like the night sky. She had thought that her reading about the school in Hogwarts, a History would save her the trouble of being too overwhelmed by it. But she was pleasantly wrong. The hall was only one part of the grand school and she was already breathless. How could these people not be staring at all of these floating candles above their heads? How could they not be speechless at the perfect alignment of the four house tables and one head table?
Gathered at the front of the hall were a bunch of nervous-looking first years, waiting to be sorted. She had failed to notice the eyes upon her as she entered with the headmaster, for they were all obviously waiting for him to arrive. She continued behind him as he made his way around the first years and motioned for her to take a seat on a small stool while a woman in forest green robes placed a ratty-looking hat atop her head. She was thankful that he didn’t announce her to the entire school. But her thoughts were put to a cease as she heard a low voice whisper in her ear.
“What a mind… that of a true visionary.” It mumbled.
She had read about the Sorting Hat as well and relaxed, it would see where she was truly meant to be. Slytherin, Slytherin… I want to be in Slytherin.
“Slytherin?” the hat questioned. “Your mind tells me otherwise, young one. It speaks of bravery and love… not of any traits belonging to Slytherin. You are quite the opposite.”
She ignored him, he would see.
She could feel the hat raise its eyes in amusement, odd as it seemed. “You, my dear girl are not a Slytherin… you are meant for… GRYFFINDOR!” The announcement of the house she most loathed was announced loudly and she didn’t register what had happened until the table filled with students dressed in robes embroidered with scarlet and gold erupted in cheers. I want a do-over! She thought to the hat, but it was un-responsive. There were so many more things she could have said to persuade it to place her in Slytherin! Why didn’t she register that it didn’t take long to get sorted?
As the hat was taken from atop her head, she was brought to reality. She was sorted into the house that she was brought up to hate; the house that he was in. Although it was probably best for the mission for her to be sorted there, she didn’t have to be happy about it. Hermione walked numbly from her seat and moved over to where the happy, smiling faces were greeting her. There must be some mistake in Hogwarts, a History because she surely did not have love or any of the other stupid qualities that fit into Gryffindor’s students! That ruddy old hat could not read a mind, that was for sure.
Hermione took a seat next to a girl with fiery red hair. She immediately recognized her from Madame Malkin’s as the girl who had walked in while she was getting fitted. Normally, she would not have recognized a face this quickly, but with hair like that, who couldn’t? The girl smiled at her and Hermione smiled politely in return.
“You’re the new transfer student, right?” she asked in a sweet voice.
“Yeah.” She replied shortly.
The girl put out her hand for Hermione to shake and she took it slowly, “I’m Ginny Weasley. This is my brother Ron—” She motioned to a boy across from her who blushed as she met his eyes and said a quiet “Hello” into the table. “And my boyfriend, Harry” she leaned back slightly and Hermione’s stomach dropped. There he was; the same emeralds for eyes, the scar now so potent on his forehead. Her target, her enemy… the boy she had to befriend.
She put on a fake smile and addressed the three of them kindly, “Nice to meet you all—my name is Hermione… Hermione Granger.”
“Nice to meet you, Hermione” Harry said genuinely from beside Ginny. Hermione forced herself to nod at him politely. Surely he recognized her from the bookshop, and that is why he was treating her to such a sweet smile. He must feel sorry for her. Well, she would show him!
“Hermione… that’s such a pretty name” Ginny said, catching Hermione’s attention, “Almost poetic… were you named after anyone?”
“I don’t know.” She answered simply. Hermione had always known her name was a curious one, but never knew from where it came from—a Grandparent, a poet, a character in a book? Of course, she would never know.
“Well, I know how scary your first day can be, so please feel free to ask any questions or just talk.” Ginny said kindly.
“Umm… thank you.” Hermione responded, not knowing what else to say.
She was saved from the inevitable awkward pause by the headmaster standing up and holding a hand to the crowd of talking students. The hall immediately silenced as they all looked at him pointedly. “I would like to be the first one to welcome you to another year at Hogwarts. Surely, this will be another year filled with new beginnings, and happy endings.” Hermione could have sworn that he looked at her for a moment, directing the last statement at her, but dismissed it as he continued. “Now, for the usual announcements: The forbidden forest precedes its name, it is forbidden to those who are not given permission by either myself or one of the other members of the staff. Also, the curfew has been cut to seven o’clock for obvious reasons. We are in the middle of a war, and must take every precaution to stay safe.” A few worried glances were exchanged among the students. “And lastly, I would like to welcome our new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, one whom some of you will surely remember, Mister Remus Lupin.”
A pale man with sandy, slightly graying, hair stood up and took a slight bow to the thunderous applause the came from the students. Hermione had heard about Lupin, he was an Auror at the Ministry and also a Werewolf, being infected by one of the Dark Lord’s followers, Fernier Greyback. He had been sacked a few years ago, according to what she had head from Snape, because of his condition. But Dumbledore was a smart man and he must have pulled a few strings in order for him to return to his previous teaching position.
Lupin sat back down and Dumbledore continued, “I am sure you are all as hungry as I am, so please, tuck in!” He clapped his hands and food appeared on the table in front of the students. Hermione could hear the first years exchange comments of wonder as the older students’ bean to eat the feast greedily. Hermione loaded her plate with food and felt her stomach rumble. The chocolate frog had been the only thing she had eaten that day, so it was safe to say that she was hungry. She was about to take a bite of her chicken when she heard what seemed to be a trash disposal coming from in front of her. Looking up, she saw that Ron was stuffing his face with mashed potatoes and chicken simultaneously. The site made her want to vomit.
“Excuse my brother,” she heard Ginny say, “he doesn’t have manners programmed into his pea brain”
Hermione smiled at her and tried to re-focus on her food, taking careful bites to settle her stomach.
The rest of the feast passed quite uneventfully, and before she knew it, she was being lead to the Gryffindor Common Room. She followed the crowd of students to what looked to be a portrait of a rather large woman in a pink dress. She heard someone speak up to say an odd phrase that she only heard as a mumble. But she didn’t think on it long, for the portrait opened and people started to file through. Hermione stuck to the crowd and stepped into it, immediately being blown with a warm gush of air.
It was a very homely place, well… more homely than she was used to seeing. Instead of cool, dark colors aligning the walls, there was quite the opposite. Soft scarlet and gold tapestries and warm colored painting aligned the walls. There was a rather large fireplace surrounded by plush sofas and armchairs that looked like you could be able to drown in them just by sitting. The thought of warm colors and cheery atmosphere used to disgust her, like most things that reflected the light side of magic. But this felt… nice.
A prefect was giving a small tour of the common room but Hermione wasn’t listening, she was too busy unconsciously making her way over to the welcoming sofas. She was right, you did melt into them. She felt very at ease, almost as if she was meant to be here. No, she couldn’t start thinking like that, going soft because of a simple tower. She was just beginning to relax into the cushions when a soft voice called from beside her.
“You seem to like the feelings of the couch much better than the floor.”
Her eyes shot open to see the smirking face of one Harry Potter looking at her from the sofa across from where she was laying. “So you do recognize me, then?” she said coolly.
“Well, it took me a while. Your face was too busy ranting apologies to me that I couldn’t remember anything but that until I saw you laying here.”
“And how, might I ask, would me lying on a sofa trigger your memory?” she asked carefully.
“Simple, the look of relief on your face when I helped you up is almost identical.” He said with a smile.
Hermione couldn’t help but smile at him. She had to get used to accepting his feeble attempts at conversation sooner or later. But there was still a small part at the back of her head that told her that she wasn’t faking her smile.
She was saved from thinking too much on it when Ginny came over and sat on Harry’s lap, his arms moving around her waist to steady her. “So what were you two chatting about?” she asked sweetly.
“Oh nothing, Gin— just about Hermione’s similar expressions of relief.” Hermione couldn’t help but blush and Ginny just looked between the two of them in confusion. Harry saw her look and carefully explained, “I ran into Hermione at Flourish and Blotts a few days back and knocked the both of us to the ground.”
“Oh, so this is the girl you told us about!” a voice said from behind her. Hermione turned to look and saw the amused face of Ron behind her. He had talked about her?
“In the flesh” he said, outstretching a hand towards her.
“You must have had quite the fall, with Harry’s fat arse knocking you down.” Ron said. Harry threw a pillow at him and Ron caught it, laughing. “Whoa, no need to get all defensive, mate.”
Harry made a face and Hermione couldn’t help but giggle at the playful banter. It was a very foreign thing to see joking between friends unless she was a part of it. “Alright you two, knock it off. It’s too late for that.” Ginny said.
“It’s only nine!” Ron complained to his sister
“Well I for one am tired.” She stated. “I’m off to bed to get a good night’s rest” Ginny briefly kissed Harry’s lips goodnight and hopped off his lap. She looked over at Hermione and smiled, “You want to join me, Hermione?”
Hermione nodded, wanting to get away from these conflicting thoughts that began to cloud her mind. She got up from the sofa and began to follow Ginny to the stairs that lead up to the dormitories. She thought she heard a “Goodnight ladies” from behind them, but refused to acknowledge it. No one had ever wished her a good night and she didn’t think tonight would be any different. They passed five sets of doors until they came to the one labeled “Sixth Year”.
“This is my stop; your dormitory is the next door up. Good luck with your roommates, they can be a handful.” Ginny said with a friendly smile. “Goodnight, Hermione.”
Hermione was speechless. Maybe she didn’t just imagine the first goodnight. But before she could come up with a response, Ginny shut the door quietly behind her. She turned and walked a few steps to the last door in the corridor. She bit her lip as she pushed open the heavy wood door and came into, yet again, another warm room. This one was filled with five four-poster beds, all with trunks next to them. Hermione looked over at the bed nearest to the single window in the room and saw her luggage next to it. Assuming that it signified that was her bed, she made her way over to it and saw that a new set of robes were sitting atop the covers. She looked at the scarlet and gold embroidering and sneered. She really wasn’t looking forward to tomorrow morning, where surely Draco would confront her and start asking questions that she didn’t have any answers to. How would she know the reason she was sorted into Gryffindor? Surely, it was her mind, but that didn’t mean that she memorized every nook and cranny!
She sighed and cleared off her bed. Slipping into her pajamas, she quickly got under the warm covers and tried to relax. It wasn’t an easy task, with all of the events of the day swimming around in her brain and causing her to shift uncomfortably. She didn’t think she would ever fall asleep and she barely registered the sound of her roommates entering. Hermione feigned sleep, remembering Ginny’s comments about them, even though she didn’t know what to think of it. It was after the only sound in the room was reduced to the wind blowing against the bricks outside of the dormitory that she felt sleep begin to claim her. Then, she fell under the spell of dreamless slumber once again, her last thought being of the laughter she had witnessed.
A/N: Wow, you guys really seem to like this story! I'm so glad that you're warming up to it, even though things haven't even gotten good yet =] This is going to be a story potent with URST, so if you have small patience, you'll be very mad at me for a while... until you read about them finally getting together, then you'll love me!
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