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That New Girl
~Chapter 1: Danielle~

"Bloody hell, since when are there so many students going to this school?" Ron was saying as the infamous trio searched for an empty compartment on the Hogwarts Express.

"Hey, I thought you two had to go to the prefect's compartment for that meeting. You went there last year," Harry stated, looking through the windows of the compartment doors without any luck.

"That's only for fifth years though," Hermione told him, "so that they know what's going on and what types of duties they're going to have."

"Waste of time, if you ask me..." Ron added. "Hoy! Found one!" He hurled one of the compartment doors open and lugged his baggage in, followed closely by the others. "Oh, wait..."

"What's wrong?" Hermione asked, before realizing that it was not, in fact, and empty compartment. "Oh, sorry, we thought this one was empty-"

"Oh! No, it's not a problem! You can share this one," said a girl whom none of them recognized, who was sitting alone by the compartment window. All three of them couldn't help but notice that she was extremely pretty: she had very straight, blondish-brown hair and pretty blue eyes that lit up when she smiled. She was already in her Hogwarts robes, which didn't help very much in hiding her perfect bodily curves. Both Ron and Harry's mouths hung open stupidly as they looked down at her, and they most likely would've stood there all day if Hermione hadn't cleared her throat loudly, signaling them to move. They snapped out of they're trance before hurling their bags onto the luggage rack above the door and sitting down across from the girl, while Hermione sat next to her.

"Er, thanks for letting here," Harry said, still staring at her and smiling.

"Oh, no problem," she replied happily. Her accent told them that she was, indeed, American. "My name's Danielle Fitzgerald, by the way. Just moved here from the US."

"Nice to meet you Danielle," Hermione said, offering her hand. Danielle took it graciously. "I'm Hermione Granger, that's Ron Weasley,” she said, jerking her head towards Ron, who smiled and waved, “and that’s Harry Potter,” she said, now jerking her head towards Harry, who also waved. Danielle’s eyes widened in shock.

“No way!” she said, “Cool! Pleasure to meet you Harry. And you too, Ron.” Both of them blushed sheepishly. Hermione rolled her eyes.

“They’re just shy because they fancy you," she told Danielle, smirking. Danielle giggled.

“We do not!” Ron yelled, his ears turning red as his hair. Harry was having a hard time stifling a laugh, but he was blushing too. “I mean, er…of course we think your pretty…wait…er…no, what I meant to say was…er…it’s just not-”

Danielle shook her head, still laughing along with Hermione. “It’s fine, I get it,” she said, starting to calm down.

“When did you move here?” Hermione asked the new girl once she caught her breath.

“About four months ago,” replied Danielle, “because my father was offered a job in the British Ministry. It was better than his old one, so…” she said, trailing off.

“What school did you go to in the states?” Hermione inquired, “I’ve read about some really good ones they have there.”

Danielle frowned. “Well, unfortunately, my school wasn’t one of those ‘good’ ones. I went to Fleetwood in Virginia.”

Hermione frowned too. “Oh, I’ve read about Fleetwood. That must have been horrid.”

“What’s so bad about Fleetwood?” Harry asked curiously.

“Well, I mean, the teachers are very good there and everything, and it’s very luxurious and beautiful and stuff,” Danielle explained, “but, well, it’s not the best place to go if you’re, er, not very wealthy. Everything is roughly based upon how large your parent’s paycheck is every month.”

“Whadda you mean?” Ron asked, furrowing his brow. Money was a sensitive subject for him.

“Well,” Danielle continued, “basically, if you’re not a millionaire or you don’t have your very own indoor pool like most of those stuck up prats do, it shouldn’t be your first choice for a school.”

Hermione cut in. “Yes, in International Schools of Sorcery, I read that at Fleetwood, the two different Houses, Ditus and Inops I believe, are sorted primarily on how large or small your bank account is. Is that right?” Hermione asked Danielle, who nodded.

“That’s bull.” Ron said.

“I know,” agreed Danielle, “and seeing as my dad used to work as a mere security official in the American Ministry, we don’t really have a whole lot of moolah.” Seeing the looks of confusion on their faces she quickly explained, “It means money.”

“Oh,” the three said in unison, still looking confused. Danielle laughed

“Well, did you at least have friends in your House?” Harry asked her.

“Which one of the Houses were you in anyway?” Ron added.

“I was in Inops, and no, I didn’t have any friends in there. They were all as big of jerks as the kids in Ditus anyay, and none of them shared my sense of humor. Plus, they were always having their nose smashed against some kind of book every hour of the day, which didn’t really leave much room for friendly conversation. Not that I cared,” she said smirking. Ron and Harry laughed. Hermione scowled, but stayed silent. The boys couldn’t believe she had no friends in Fleetwood. She was so, well, awesome.

“Well did they at least have Quidditch?” Harry asked her. Hermione rolled her eyes again and laughed silently. Leave it to Harry to bring up Quidditch.

“Yeah, the houses played against each other numerous times over the year, basically for recreation, but we didn’t have a Quidditch Cup or anything. I was a Beater for Inops,” she answered. Ron’s and Harry’s eyebrows shot up.

“Were you any good?” Ron asked.

“Yeah, compared to our other Beater and Ditus’ team’s Beaters, I guess I was alright,” she replied, trying to sound humble.

“Brilliant!” Ron exclaimed, “We’ll need a new Beater this year for Gryffindor. Well, that is, if you’re sorted into our House.”

“Oooh yeah, I read about the Houses in Hogwarts, A History a couple of days ago. Gryffindor sounds like the best one. Well, I suppose Ravenclaw wouldn’t be so bad either, would it?” Danielle asked, turning to Hermione, who’s eyes were wide in delightful shock.

“You’ve read that book too? I thought I was the only one who took interest in it!” Hermione said happily.

“Well, I wanted to know a little about Hogwarts, so I picked it up for some light reading. I read all of our class books too; I really wanted to be prepared…”

Hermione was extremely thrilled, but Ron muttered to Harry sarcastically, “Great, just what we need, a Hermione clone.” Harry grinned while stifling a laugh. The girls took no notice; they were in deep conversation about what they’d read over the summer.

When they’d finished, Harry looked towards Danielle and asked, “How’re they going to sort you anyway? With the first years?” Danielle shrugged.

“Dunno. I hope not though, that would be kinda embarrassing.” She said. “I just hope they don’t sort me into Slytherin. That sounds by far the worst.”

“Yeah, you’ll want to stay away from the Slytherins.” Harry told her. “Especially-“

“Draco Malfoy,” Ron cut him off, with a look of pure disgust on his face. “The slimy git.”

Danielle frowned. “What’s so bad about him?”

“He’s just an all around pain in the arse if you ask me,” said Hermione. “Very into the Dark Arts, you know. His father’s even a Death Eater. Right Harry?” Harry nodded solemnly. Danielle’s eyes were wide.

And he’s got a bit of a personal grudge against Harry to boot,” Ron added, “so naturally me and Hermione are towards the top of his hit list as well.”

“Not that he’s not on ours,” said Harry, smirking.

“Why’s he got a grudge against you?” Danielle asked Harry, “I mean, who the hell has a grudge against Harry Potter?”

“Well, being that his father’s a Death Eater…” Harry replied.

“Oh,” said Danielle, nodding her head, “right…”

“Yeah, he’s his father’s little clone. He’ll soon be following in his daddy’s footsteps I presume…” Hermione remarked.

“Well, if he knows what’s good from him he’ll stay away from me. I’ve got a few good hexes up my sleeve,” said Danielle matter-of-factly. “They teach some pretty advanced stuff over at Fleetwood, you know.”

The trio and their new-found friend continued to talk with each other until they neared the school, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione changed into their school robes. When the train finally stopped, they all got out, still talking with each other. Hermione could tell that Harry and Ron fancied Danielle; they kept staring at her and forgetting what they wanted to say, and they were both extremely eager for her to be placed in Gryffindor. Hermione didn’t know why, but she didn’t like it very much. Actually she didn’t like it at all. Sure, Danielle was extremely pleasant to be around, but there was something she didn’t like about her.

Maybe you don’t like her because she’s stealing your two best friends away, eh? You’re getting jealous, aren’t you? her conscious was saying.

No, I’m definitely not jealous, she argued to herself. At least I don’t think I am. Am I? She shook her head and laughed silently. No, of course I’m not. They can make other friends if they want. How silly of me. She shook her head again in an attempt to get rid of these thoughts, and followed the others outside.

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