The Sugar Quill
Author: Arabella (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Hermione, Queen of Witches, Book One  Chapter: Chapter Two
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

HQoW

January 7

Gwen? Something's happened.

Are you all right, dear? Is it Harry? Is it Snape?

No, no- nothing like that. Onlyjust.... well, I suppose it isn't really anything, but....

Oh, the suspense.

Oh, hush. It's Ron. He- he beat me at Wizard Chess. Really, really badly. I don't think I've ever lost that badly. Not even to Dad. It's... it's thrown me for a loop.

Hermione... can I say something?

Sure.

You're a very intelligent girl. But it might not be entirely bad for you to... well... lose something once in awhile.

That's what Harry said.

Well then, it's nothing to get upset over.

That's what Ron said. And I'm not upset. I'm just... shocked. Ron's so illogical about everything- so incredibly illogical. And all this time, he's been faking it. He's really smart. I don't know what to think about it. I just sat there tonight and watched him play while he beat Harry, and all the time I was getting more and more antsy to play him myself, you know? Because I could see how good he was, and I knew it would be a challenge! I figured we'd be pretty evenly matched, but I knew I could beat him, no problem- I mean, his moves were smart, but they weren't amazing or anything.

He was holding back with Harry, Gwen. He did not hold back with me. Ron Weasley is amazing at chess.

I don't think I would have lost quite so badly if I hadn't been so surprised. I will beat him next time.

That's the spirit, dear.

It's so strange, Gwen. I've never seen Ron look like that- like he did while he was concentrating on his chessmen. I don't know how to describe it.

I think I know.

Anyhow, it's late, and I've got to get my things together for Astronomy. I can't believe we have to go out there in this snow. I'd love to crawl into bed.... but the planets await. 'Bye, Gwen.

 

HQoW

January 21

Gwen! We did it! We found Nicolas Flamel!

So the library did pay off, then.

Well, no. Harry found him on the back of a Wizard Card, from that box of Frogs I gave him for Christmas. I guess it was a useful present after all! But there's so much that's happened- that's not all of it- everything always happens at once-

Slow down.

Can't! I was in the common room with Ron, having a game of chess, when Harry came running in from Quidditch practice, all pale and shaken up. (I was rather glad of the interruption really. Ron was winning again- I still haven't managed to beat him. Though he does have to concentrate harder, now I've had a bit of practice. You should see him get all serious. But anyway.) Harry was upset because he'd just found out that Professor Snape is going to be refereeing the Quidditch match, two Saturdays from now!

Oh, is it that soon? I'm just dying for another good Quidditch story.

Gwen!! That is not important! Snape is referee. That means he'll be able to do whatever he likes to Harry's broomstick- or he could curse the Bludgers- or anything awful. He's never refereed a Quidditch match before, and I just know he's only doing it so he'll be in a position to murder Harry without any trouble. I told Harry not to play, to pretend to break his leg. Ron said "Really break your leg." Honestly. But Harry won't back out, because there's no reserve Seeker, and if he won't fly, then Gryffindor will have to forfeit to Hufflepuff. Hufflepuff! As if we couldn't beat them in about five seconds flat.

Splendid! Then he is going to play?

Gwen!

Well?

Going on. I was trying to come up with some kind of alternative, or plan, but I didn't get the chance, because right then we were interrupted by Neville. He came falling through our portrait hole with the Leg-Locker Curse on him- the poor thing couldn't unstick his legs to walk. I can't imagine how he got through the hole. Well of course everybody thought that was just hilarious, and they all laughed at him. I didn't- I did the counter-curse and brought him to sit with us. He told us Malfoy'd been waiting 'round outside, "looking for someone to pratice that on;". Horrible. You know, Mum always says that bad things happen in threes, but at Hogwarts they come in a pair- Snape and Malfoy.

Poor Neville- he gets picked on so often. I told him to go right to Professor McGonagall. She seems stern, but in a situation like this, she can be wonderfully sensitive. But he won't go- says he doesn't want any more trouble. Ron told him to stand up for himself, and not to make it easy for Malfoy to be such a bully. But to that, Neville just said "There's no need to tell me I'm not brave enough to be in Gryffindor. Malfoy's done that already." Hang Malfoy. What a coward, attacking Neville away from everybody and then trying to make him feel even worse about it.

But if he hadn't attacked him- oh, I feel just awful for saying this- but if he hadn't attacked him, we might never have found Flamel. Here's what went on:

Harry tried cheering Neville up by giving him his last Chocolate Frog and telling him "You're worth twelve of Malfoy," which I thought was a really nice gesture. Neville tried to smile, but I'm sure he was going to cry because he hurried off a second later. As he was going, he gave Harry back the Wizard Card that came with the Frog, because Harry's been collecting them all year. It was a Dumbledore card, which Harry turned over in his hand. And that's when he saw it. The little summary on the back. It says "Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945, for the discovery of the twelve uses of dragon's blood, and his work on alchemy with his partner, Nicolas Flamel"!!!!!!

Well done!

I know! Just when we were about to give up hope of ever finding Flamel- and he was there all the time! I had a book in my room with a whole section on alchemy. I took it out of the library weeks ago for a bit of light reading. (Ron made fun of me for calling it "light". I suppose it's not, compared to "Flying with the Cannons", a book about his favorite Quidditch team, but then, the Cannons haven't been much help in helping us find Flamel, so he ought to bite his tongue.) I grabbed up my book, and read it out to Harry and Ron- "Nicolas Flamel is the only known maker of the Sorcerer's Stone"! Well, they neither of them knew what that meant. Honestly, don't they read? You know what the Sorcerer's Stone is, I'll bet.

Certainly I do. It transforms metal into gold, and produces the Elixir of Life, which renders the drinker immortal.

Oh Gwen, I do adore you. Precisely right!

Why thanks.

So of course Snape wants it! Who wouldn't? All the wealth you could dream of and eternal life, in one fell swoop- the Flamels are over six hundred years old- just think of all the damage Snape could do if he lived that long. It's a nightmare. He just can't find it. We have to convince Dumbledore, but we've got no proof of anything- maybe if we could provoke him into something nasty in Potions on Friday, and we have witnesses-

Hermione- it's Wednesday, isn't it?

Yes, why?

You're very late for Astronomy, dear. Run.

Oh, not again. 'Bye!

 

HQoW

February 1

Hi, Gwen. Urgh.

I'm exhausted and sore. Harry's at Quidditch practice. Every time he goes, Ron and I practice putting the Leg-Locker Curse on each other, so we'll be ready to use it on Snape if he tries to attack Harry during the match. It happens to be one curse Ron's very good at, so I've been falling over all morning. We always play a game of chess for it, and the winner gets to do the cursing. The loser has to get cursed. I've got to get better at chess. My backside is killing me. And Ron's having far too much fun practicing- I've never seen him like this about his homework, but now it's always "Want to practice, Hermione? C'mon, we have to get it perfect. You're the one who says practice makes perfect." And if I won't, he just puts the curse on me anyway, for fun.

The thing is, though, I can do the curse, too. And I'm the only one of us who's bothered to learn the counter-curse. So right now, Ron's bunny-hopping all around downstairs, because I refuse to unlock him.

Ha, ha, ha. 'Bye.

 

HQoW

February 7

Gwen.... do you know what day this is?

YES I DO!! WHAT HAPPENED??

Shall I tell you the short version, or the long?

LONG!

Well, it was an extremely short game, but I'll stretch out the details as best I can. Ron and I left Harry outside the locker room, wondering if we'd ever see him again after Snape got through with him. But we were armed. I was so nervous that I kept reminding Ron that the Leg-Locker curse is "Locomotor Mortis", (as if he doesn't know.) But he just shoved his wand up his sleeve and said "Don't nag." I think he was still a bit sore about being locked up all last Sunday. But we didn't need the curse after all. We met up with Neville, climbed into the stands, and saw a silver beard glinting in the sun, which could only mean one thing-

Professor Dumbledore!! He'd come to the match! I knew Snape wouldn't dare hurt Harry in front of Dumbledore, so Harry was safe. Maybe that's why Snape looked so extra-mean. All the Slytherins, in fact, were in a rather foul mood. Especially Malfoy. He came along with his two idiot bully friends, Crabbe and Goyle, and poked Ron in the back of the head. He was saying something about placing bets on how long it would be before Harry fell off his broomstick this game. But Ron ignored him, because the game was starting, and we both of us had our eyes pinned on Harry.

First thing, Fred Weasley knocked a Bludger at Professor Snape, (on purpose? We'll never know), so Snape gave Hufflepuff a penalty shot, which made no sense at all. They put it right past our Keeper, Oliver Wood, who looked like he might have sworn. Ten to zero, Hufflepuff. Harry was circling for a sign of the Snitch.

Then, Angelina Johnson snagged the Quaffle! She cut fairly past the Hufflepuff Seeker, who was circling up to Harry and blocking her way. She passed the Quaffle off to Katie Bell-but not before Snape had blown the whistle and awarded another penalty shot to Hufflepuff! The call was that Angelina's cut off was a foul block- which it was not. But that didn't stop Diggory from putting another one past Wood, who did swear this time, so loudly that we could all hear him in the stands. Professor McGonagall took the microphone from Lee Jordan, and called up "Language, Wood!" Lee took the microphone back and said, "Yes, Wood, yes, it's the best language to describe this travesty!" Everyone cheered but the Slytherins- I even saw Professor Dumbledore grinning over at him. At that point, Prof. M. said something to Jordan that sounded like "Do you want this job?" and Jordan went back to the normal commentary.

Meanwhile, in the stands, Malfoy still hadn't given up trying to get a rise out of Ron. He is so low. He said, in that sniveling little voice of his, "You know how I think they choose people for the Gryffindor team? It's people they feel sorry for. See, there's Potter, who's got no parents, then there's the Weasleys, who've got no money-you should be on the team, Longbottom- you've got no brains."

I've never been so proud of anybody as I was when Neville turned around and said, "I'm worth twelve of you, Malfoy." And Ron felt the same as I did, because he said, "You tell him, Neville." Of course Malfoy laughed with his ugly bat-brained friends- they don't understand what it means to have courage- and then he said "Longbottom, if brains were gold you'd be poorer than Weasley, and that's saying something." I tell you, Gwen, I am sick of him going on about Ron being poor. Draco's rich, all right, but it doesn't change the fact that he's a useless, self-centered, bragging, two-faced, pointy-looking-

Got it.

Right. And Ron was trying so hard not to give in to him- I mean, he was watching Harry play, for heaven's sake. He just said, "I'm warning you, Malfoy- one more word"- without taking his eyes off the match.

The game had begun again, Hufflepuff in possession- but not for long- George and Fred Weasley each smacked a Bludger into their trio of Chasers, who flew apart and left the Quaffle for Alicia Spinnet-

But there was no need for our Chasers just then! Harry had gone into a sudden and spectacular dive! Everyone gasped and the Gryffindor stands began to cheer like mad--

The Snitch, the Snitch!

I jumped up with all my fingers crossed and half of them stuck in my mouth. Ron was whooping beside me. Neville was in a state of half shock. But of course Malfoy ruined the moment-"You're in luck, Weasley. Potter's obviously spotted some money on the ground!" It was one insult too many.

Ron was on top of him in an instant, and had him on the ground. And Neville actually jumped over the back of his seat and started to help wrestle him! If Malfoy didn't have those trolls, Crabbe and Goyle, then he would have been in serious trouble, but they pulled Neville off and started pounding him. At that point, the whole lot of them sort of rolled under the seats, tearing each other apart, and I gave up on them. I was watching the Snitch! I was standing on my seat, screaming "Come on, Harry!" He was shooting right toward Snape! If Snape had reached out his arm even a little bit, he could have tripped the broom and sent it spinning- but Harry was too quick- he bolted past him by inches- and a foot from the ground he stopped, pivoted, and threw his fist up in the air-holding the Snitch!

Extraordinary! How long did the game last?

Five minutes. It was a record, I think. No one's ever caught the Snitch that fast. The team swooped down on him and carried him off the field, raised high! Professor Dumbledore even went over to him and said something, smiling- while Snape spat on the ground. I was hugging Parvati Patil in the row in front, jumping up and down and yelling at Ron to get up and look, which he finally did. We waved madly at Harry until he was off the field. It was a marvelous victory.

Yes, yes- oh, Hermione, that's divine. I can take that one back with me, can't I?

Of course! Tell the world how Harry's the best Seeker Hogwarts has ever seen!

Once the noise died down, I looked over at Ron for the first time since the game had started. His nose was bleeding all over the place and he looked disgusting, but extremely happy; not only because Harry had won the match, but because Malfoy was limping away from us with a huge black eye. Then I noticed that Crabbe and Goyle had left Neville on the ground unconscious. So Ron got Neville's head and I got his feet, and we carried him all the way to the hospital wing together. He's still out cold, but Madam Pomfrey says he'll be fine tomorrow.

What a great game! Gryffindor is so close- we could win the house cup for the first time in seven years! Harry's still in the locker rooms, and Ron's cleaning up his nose, but when they get back we're going to have the biggest celebration this common room has ever seen- and I'm not going to say one word to them about the "History of Flux: Changeling Goblins" assignment until tomorrow!

How good of you.

Yes, I think so. Wait a minute. Gwen, was that meant to be sarcastic?

Oh, dear- look at the time. Hermione, they'll all be waiting for me back at Miss Vauclain's- I've promised to tell them everything right away. You don't mind letting me off early, do you?

Humph. Cheeky.

 

HQoW

February 8

Wretched news.

Last night, when Harry went to put his Nimbus back in the broom-shed, he spotted Snape skulking into the Forbidden Forest. So he hopped on his broom and followed him right in. Normally I'd be really furious- that's so dangerous!- but this time I forgave him, as he found out something we'd never have known.

Snape was meeting Professor Quirrell in there. Harry heard him asking Quirrell how to get past Fluffy- you know, that three-headed dog in the forbidden corridor?- and how to get past some kind of "hocus-pocus". From what Harry heard, and from what we could figure out, it seems that there are enchantments guarding the Sorcerer's Stone, as well as Fluffy. Quirrell must have done the enchantments- he is the Defense Against the Dark Arts professional, after all- and Snape was threatening Quirrell to tell him how to break through them.

All I can say is, if the only thing guarding that Stone is Quirrell, we're in trouble. He's no match for Snape. We simply have to find out how much more he knows... But how, Gwen?

How, indeed.

I'm exhausted just from thinking about it. I don't know what we're going to do. If Hagrid doesn't believe us, nobody else will.

Well, if it's any consolation to you, we're all pulling for Gryffindor to win the Quidditch Cup!

What? Oh, that. Thanks. But it won't matter much about Quidditch if Snape gets his hands on that Stone- or on Harry.

No, I suppose not. You sound very tired, dear.

I am. I'm going to bed to think about this. 'Night.

 

 

HQoW

February 14

Dear Gwen,

I woke up this morning, and Parvati Patil was dressed all in pink under her robes. It seemed like a bit much, even for Parvati-and then I remembered. It's Valentine's Day. I hadn't even thought about it. She was putting little pink heart earrings in her ears and giggling. She had my music box playing "Goin' to the Chapel." I shut it off, but she just got even gigglier. She said, "What, aren't you happy it's Valentine's Day?" I said, "Why, should I be?" And she said, "Well, I thought at least you'd have cards for Harry and Ron."

Well Gwen, I was just shocked. Cards for Harry and Ron? I can just see it; "Gee.... thanks, Hermione." "Hermione, that's sick! Get that away from me!" Honestly. How embarrassing.

I told Parvati, "Not a chance." And she said, "Well, what's the point of spending all your time with a bunch of boys, then?" I said, "They're my friends, Parvati." And she said, "Fine, suit yourself. I'm giving cards to everyone, and having a holiday of it."

She did, too. And I was right- Harry just sort of stuffed his in a notebook, and Ron drop kicked his out the window. They both looked at me like they were scared I was going to go next. But I just ignored the whole thing. They were relieved, I think, that I didn't try anything stupid.

We ended up playing chess in the common room all afternoon when Harry got back from practice, because it was too icy to do anything outside. Ron said he'd play winner, so I went ahead and beat Harry, and ended up playing Ron. I'm really getting much better, Gwen. He looked a bit worried, and kept telling everyone around us to keep it down so he could concentrate. I think I'd have beaten him this time, if it weren't for Lavender Brown.

Lavender came over, out of the blue, and she pinched me! I said, "What's wrong with you? Can't you see I'm concentrating?" She said, "It's Valentine's Day and you're not wearing any pink, so you get a pinch!" I said, "That's for St. Patrick's Day, Lavender. You pinch people for not wearing any green." She just giggled, dropped cards on Harry and Ron, and skipped off.

They didn't even open the cards. Ron looked at me and said, "I'm so glad you're not a girl, Hermione."

I lost pretty quickly after that. I couldn't think straight. I am too a girl. Maybe Parvati's right. What's the point of hanging out with a bunch of boys, anyway?

And the stupidest thing is this- after we'd practiced our Sealing Charms for an hour, and gone over Transfiguring a candle into a thermos half a dozen times, I gathered up all my schoolbooks to go up to the girls' dormitory. As I was walking off, Ron pinched me really hard on my arm and said, "No pink- hah!" and went off upstairs.

Idiot holiday.

 

 

HQoW

February 28

Gwen,

I'm so sorry. I know it's been two weeks, but I'm knee deep in studies. Exams are coming up.

But Hermione, it's only February.

It's March tomorrow. Exams are in less than three months. I've been color coding my notes, trying to arrange study schedules week by week. I should have started studying a month ago! All this trouble with Snape and Professor Quirrell- it's really interfering with my education. Even if Snape does find the Sorcerer's Stone, he won't live very long if I find out I've failed first year. These exams are so important for passing into second- and I simply have to get the best marks, or I'll never be able to convince Professor McGonagall to let me add extra classes to my course schedule next term. I'm very busy.

Snape still hasn't got that Stone- we know because whenever any of us goes by the third floor corridor, we listen at the door. Fluffy's still growling away in there. I never thought that'd be a comforting sound, but it is now.

Poor Professor Quirrell- Snape must really be digging into him- he looks pale, and tired, and thin, he stutters more than ever (Ron's started telling off anybody who makes fun of him for it,) and he's even more jumpy than he was, if that's possible. I feel just awful for being so hard on him before. I'd be jumpy, too, if I had Snape breathing down my neck.

Now, let's see. If I put a good study session in four times a week, two being on the weekend, and split them up by class session.... I'll still have plenty of time for my regular class-work, don't you think? I don't envy Harry, having to practice Quidditch on top of all this. I'd better make him a schedule, too, so he won't fall behind. Come to think of it, I'll just make one for Ron as well. And Neville. Oh, how will I manage all this in less than three months?

Hermione, do you remember that word of wisdom I gave you before you started at Hogwarts?

I need all new highlighters, to do this properly. My yellow one is dead. I need to have Flying Lessons really yellow, so I can see them apart from Herbology sessions, which are green. And I can use the blue for Astrology and the pink for Charms... what'll I use for Transfiguration? Orange for Potions. Maybe just leave Transfiguration blank, and outline it really dark.

Hermione?

Oh, Gwen, on Saturdays do you think I should do Defense Against the Dark Arts, or History of Magic- or should I just do them on alternating Saturdays? But that'll never be enough- maybe I should do Herbology on Saturdays-

Relax.

Can't. Got to start on this Potions essay, or I won't be done by four, and that's when I've scheduled my first Astronomy Notes Session. I'm going to learn all the moons, and at least twenty major constellations, plus do flashcards.

Talk to you when I can!

 

 

HQoW

March 7

Gwen- in a rush- just an update.

Snape doesn't have the Stone. Quirrell must be tougher than we thought. Maybe it helps that we smile at him a lot, and try to bolster him up in classes.

Harry and Ron don't appreciate my study schedules. They say I've gone off the deep end. They think ten weeks is a very long time, and they get crabby every time I try to take them to the library.

Neville, on the other hand, loves his schedule, and is following it very nicely. I won't be a bit surprised if he has better marks than Harry and Ron.

I am keeping up. Barely. Easter holidays are in two weeks, and I'll really need that week to study. I'm not even going home.

Hope all is well with you?

It is.

Great. 'Bye.

 

 

HQoW

March 17

Just popping in for the holiday, Gwen. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thank you.

I am wearing a lot of green. There isn't going to be any pinching of any kind.

Well, I should hope not.

Got to study. See you soon.

 

 

 

 

 

HQoW

March 29

Hi, Gwen! Happy Easter!

I can't believe it!

What?

Not rushing off to study? Not, "Hi, Gwen, got to study, see you in two weeks?"

Oh... well, this past week we were on holiday, and I've gotten so much accomplished that I've given myself today free. I've got my wand movements perfect, memorized the twelve uses of dragon's blood, completed all my class-work, gotten through all my notes for History of Magic up through the Medieval Period, Transfigured a mouse into a snuffbox without any trouble-

Hermione, if you've given yourself a day off, then take it.

You're right. It is Easter, after all. My Mum and Dad don't celebrate it, but the Weasleys certainly do- Mrs. Weasley sent an enormous box of huge chocolate eggs- for Percy, Fred, George, Ron, Harry- and for me! I guess Ron must've written home about me, or Mrs. Weasley wouldn't have thought to send me one, too. I thought it was so nice of her to remember Harry as well, since he's got no parents to do that kind of thing for him.

Very nice.

Snape still hasn't got the Stone, by the way. But I'm trying to take a day off from thinking about that, too.

Good. What did you do, then, with your free day?

Today was a lot warmer than it has been lately- not really fine, but nice enough. We got outside, and Harry let us each have a turn on his Nimbus Two Thousand. Even Neville. Flying is part of our exams, but I tried not to think of it as practice. I tried just to enjoy it. I'm not a very good flier, but I've improved a lot this year, and it's much easier on Harry's nice broom than it is on the old Cleansweeps we use for class. Neville even managed a good circle around the Quidditch field before he let me have a turn.

I went up nicely, but hovered. I have a lot of trouble really maneuvering on a broomstick. Harry and Ron kept shouting out instructions, and Harry did an impression of Professor McGonagall that was perfect- I couldn't help laughing- "I cannot impress upon you enough the importance of leaning forward, Miss Granger! If you do not lean forward, you simply will not see any improvement in your speed!" He had his hands on his hips and everything. Ron sounded more like Madam Hooch- "Up, Granger- up- up! Nice and easy! Now lean left- that's it, now sit back a bit- there! See how that feels? Now forward, Granger, move! Right!" By the time I came down, I felt like I'd been put through a Quidditch workout.

It sounds like a wonderful time.

Do you know something, Gwen? It really was. Mmmmmm, I'm yawning.

Well, go to bed. It's almost eleven. Goodnight.

'Night, Gwen!

 

HQoW

April 11

Progress, Gwen! Progress on the Sorcerer's Stone!

Really? What's happened?

We were in the library, the three of us, doing our Herbology Study Session, (and I had a time of it making he two of them study today, let me tell you It was a perfectly gorgeous day out- just like summer. It killed me to be indoors, too, but Herbology's going to include a very important practical exam!) Anyway, Hagrid came in. None of us had ever seen Hagrid in the library, so naturally we were curious as to why he was there. He wouldn't tell us anything- - not about why he was there, or the Sorcerer's Stone, which of course we asked about. But it was Hagrid's own fault- he brought it up.

He wanted to know if we were still looking up Nicolas Flamel. Ron started hollering that we'd known about Flamel for ages, plus we know that Fluffy's guarding a Sorcerer's Stone. Harry joined him, asking Hagrid about what's guarding the Stone apart from Fluffy. Hagrid looked panicked- students aren't supposed to know anything about any of this. Just to hush us up, he told us if we wanted to talk about it, we'd have to come down to his cabin and do it privately. "I'm not promisin' anythin', mind," he told us. But I knew I could get him to talk.

We had another two hours of study session before we could go down to see him. Ron was sick of studying- big surprise- so he went to see what section of the library Hagrid had been in. It was all books about dragons, Gwen! He'd been looking up things on dragon keeping, and their care, and all of that. But Ron said that dragon breeding was outlawed at the Warlocks' Convention of 1709 "everybody knows that". (Honestly. He can't remember a single date for the Goblin Invasions we've got to learn for History of Magic, but he can spout right off about the Warlocks' Convention of 1709. If these exams were on dragons, chess, and Quidditch, Ron would have the best marks of everybody.) We cut our study session short by an hour to go and see what on earth Hagrid could be up to.

He's got a dragon egg in his fire, Gwen. He's tending to it so it'll hatch properly. I mean, that is so against the law, not to mention that dragons breathe fire, and Hagrid lives in a wooden house. I tried to tell him that, but would he listen? No; he loves his pets too much to care. His pets!! First Fluffy, now this dragon egg. Plus that enormous dog he's got, Fang. Can't he just get a cat? He won the egg off some stranger in a pub. I can't believe he'd actually think of trying to raise it, right here at Hogwarts. Does he think Dumbledore won't notice? It's a dragon, for heaven's sakes. But, well, that's Hagrid for you.

But about the Sorcerer's Stone?

Oh, yes, we've got information about that. Harry asked Hagrid to tell us what's guarding the Stone apart from Fluffy. Hagrid said not only wouldn't he tell us, but he couldn't. Apparently he doesn't know any more about what enchantments are in the way than we do. But I went about it a different way. I used my most flattering tone of voice. I said to Hagrid that I was sure he knew all about it, because he knows everything that goes on 'round here, and since Dumbledore trusts him so much, I just knew he must at least have some idea of who set the enchantments that are guarding the Stone. I warmed him right up, and it worked like a charm. Sometimes you just have to be a girl, you know? No matter what certain people might think about girls, we've got a whole separate kind of magic. Hagrid told us everything.

There are enchantments guarding the Stone. Here's who set them: Professors Sprout, Flitwick, McGonagall, Quirrell, Dumbledore, and Snape.

Snape. Which means he was in on the guarding. Which means he knows all the enchantments. Quirrell must have set some Dark Arts one that he can't crack, and otherwise, his way is free and clear! Except for Fluffy- Hagrid says that only he and Dumbledore know how to get past Fluffy. At least that's something.

All this to worry about- plus Hagrid's dragon egg- plus exams! I wish there were some way to make more hours in the day. I really need them. Oh, Gwen.

Oh, dear.

Goodnight.

 

HQoW

April 16

Gwen, the dragon hatched!

This morning, when the owl post came at breakfast, Hagrid sent us a note that just said "It's hatching." Ron and Harry wanted to skip class and go right down, but I said we had to wait 'til break. "Hermione, how many times in our lives are we going to see a dragon hatching?" But I told Ron that classes are important, not to mention we could get into trouble, which is nothing in comparison to the trouble Hagrid's going to be in when someone finds out what he's---

Harry cut me off in the middle of my speech. He'd seen Malfoy listening to us, and Malfoy was grinning. Oh, how I hoped he hadn't heard anything! Drat Ron for yelling. I didn't want Malfoy knowing about Hagrid and the dragon- he'll just get us all into trouble.

Ron and I bickered all the way to Herbology. It's so juvenile, the way we go at it, but I can't help it. This is what we sound like:

"He'd never have heard us, Ron, if you hadn't been shouting."

"I wouldn't have had to shout if you hadn't been nagging!"

"It's not nagging to say that classes are important. They are. Exams are very soon!"

"Oh, exams, exams- I'm sick of you and your exams."

"They're your exams, too, Ron."

"Oh, shut it."

"Excuse me?"

"I said, OH, SHUT"-

And then there's poor Harry, trying to stop us:

"Come on, both of you- now, Hermione- oh, come off it, Ron- I'm serious- look, would you cut it out?"

So we did. But then Ron started whining and pouting, which I can't take.

"Oh, come on, Hermione, let's go to Hagrid's? It'll be fun. I want to see it. Don't you want to see it, Harry? It'll be so cool, I swear- I can write Charlie all about it. And Norwegian Ridgebacks are rare, Hermione, really rare- you'll be glad you went- I know you, you like rare stuff. Please? Please? Please?"

So we went to Hagrid's, at our first break. And it was rather... cool. Interesting thing to see, really. But I'm sure dragons grow very quickly, and I want Hagrid to get rid of it as soon as possible. Especially since there was someone spying on us through the window the whole time it was hatching.

Malfoy. He knows.

Hagrid's got to give up that dragon, or we're all going to get kicked out of Hogwarts, I just know it. But Hagrid thinks it's a helpless little baby or something. When it hatched, he actually said, "Bless him, he knows his mommy!" He's mad.

I'll let you know when something else happens.

 

 

HQoW

April 22

Gwen, the dragon is three times bigger. Hagrid's calling it Norbert and playing peek-a-boo with it- "Norbert, where's mommy? Where's mommy?" Ron says he's lost his marbles, and for once, we agree.

At least we know what we're going to try and do. Ron's brother Charlie works with dragons in Romania. We've just sent him an owl to see if he can come take Norbert out of here. It took us all week to convince Hagrid to do this- all our free time has been spent at his hut, trying to make him come to his senses. I've lost so much study time, I'll never make it up.

I hope Charlie writes that he'll take Norbert. Malfoy could go to a teacher any day now.

More soon, I promise.

 

HQoW

April 29

Charlie will take the dragon. He sent a letter. Some friends of his are going to come to the top of the tallest astronomy tower at midnight on Saturday. It's out of bounds except for class, so Harry and Ron are going to use the Invisibility Cloak to sneak Norbert up there. Hagrid's already crying about losing him. I'd feel sorry for Hagrid if I weren't so scared they're going to be caught. Or if I weren't so worried that Norbert will get free and scorch them. Or if I didn't have so much homework to catch up on.

Actually, I don't feel a bit sorry for Hagrid. I'm mad at him. All this trouble for everybody- why did he have to try and raise a dragon in the first place?

Oh, yes I do feel sorry for him. It's awful to see Hagrid cry. I'm going down to his hut to see if he's all right. 'Bye.

 

 

HQoW

April 30

Norbert bit Ron yesterday. His hand is twice its normal size, which means now I've got to help Harry get Norbert up that tower on Saturday night. Ron says his hand feels like it's going to fall off. Horrible dragon. When it bit him, Hagrid told Ron off for scaring it! Horrible Hagrid. (Well, not really. But this is all very frustrating.)

Even worse is this- Malfoy went to visit Ron in the hospital wing, pretending that he wanted to borrow a book. What he really wanted to do was threaten to tell Madam Pomfrey what really bit Ron's hand. Ron's been telling her it was a dog, and she's already suspicious, so he just shoved a book at Malfoy and told him to get lost.

But Gwen, Charlie's letter was in that book. Now Malfoy knows all about our plan to meet on the tower. Ron just about lost it when he realized what he'd done- but Harry and I tried to keep calm. After all, Malfoy doesn't know about the Invisibility Cloak. We still might be able to pull this off. And anyway, what choice do we have? Hagrid can't keep Norbert, and we don't have time to send Charlie another owl.

I'll tell you how we manage after Saturday.

 

 

HQoW

May 2

Well, actually it's May 3rd. It's one-thirty in the morning on Sunday. But it doesn't matter what day it is, or what time, because my life is over. Over.

Hermione! My dear, what is it? Didn't you manage to save Norbert?

Oh, Norbert's just fine. Off having a great time in Romania by now. We dragged him from sobbing Hagrid to the top of the tower, got him into the harness Charlie's friends had brought, and saw him off safely. Yes, Norbert's gone. It's us. We got caught.

Malfoy.

Foul, evil, malevolent. I despise him. He's ruined my life. Ruined. My. Life.

Come now, I'm sure it isn't-

No, listen. It is. It's that bad. When we were carrying Norbert up, covered with the Invisibility Cloak, we saw Professor McGonagall dragging Malfoy down from the tower. She was in her hairnet and bathrobe, looking furious, telling him off for being out of bed so late. He tried to convince her about us, and the dragon, and everything- but she thought he was just lying, so she gave him a detention.

It was too good to be true. Malfoy in detention! I told Harry I was so happy I could sing! He said, "Don't." We laughed about it when we got up there, thought we were so clever, so funny. When Charlie's friends took Norbert, we were so relieved! We ran back down the tower stairway- we couldn't wait to tell Ron everything.

Filch met us at the bottom of that stairway.

We'd forgotten to put the Invisibility Cloak back on.

Oh.... oh.... oh, no....

Oh, yes. And he took us to Professor McGonagall's office. Where we waited. Just waited. Couldn't speak. Thought I'd faint. How could we have been so stupid? How, how, how? And then- do you think this could get any worse, Gwen?

No.

Guess again. When Professor McGonagall finally came in, she had Neville by the ear. He said, "Harry! I was trying to find you- to warn you- I heard Malfoy saying he was going to catch you, and he said you had a drag"---

No!

Oh, yes. Professor McGonagall, luckily, still does not believe we had a dragon. She thinks we made it up to get Malfoy out of bed and into trouble. She accused us of thinking it was funny that Neville got caught up in it, too. Poor Neville. He was sincerely trying to help us, and now he thinks we were trying to have a joke on him. I feel worse about that than anything.

That's a lie. I feel the worst about the points.

The points- the house points- the Gryffindor house points? What, did she take ten?

Ten! I only wish it were. She took fifty.

Fifty!

Fifty each. One hundred fifty points from Gryffindor. Plus detention. Plus the humiliation of hearing her say that she'd never been so disgusted with students in her life. "And you, Miss Granger. I thought you had more sense." After she called me an exception, and let me practice magic at home! Now she hates me.

Everyone is going to hate me. All of Gryffindor. They'll hate all of us. A hundred and fifty points- gone. We were winning, too. Now we'll have no hope. Now Slytherin will win. Everybody's going to kill us.

I've never been so scared of tomorrow. I wish I didn't have to wake up in the morning. I never want to look anyone in the eye ever, ever again. Neville cried all the way back to Gryffindor Tower. I'm going to cry myself to sleep right now. My life at Hogwarts is over. I've never been in so much trouble in my whole life. What will Mum and Dad think of me?

Hermione...

No, don't. Don't try to make me feel better. I deserve this. I'm going to kill Hagrid. I hate dragons. I hate Filch. I hate Malfoy. I hate... myself. How could we have left that cloak? I'll never forgive myself. Never, never, never.

I feel nauseated. I think I'm going to be sick.

 

HQoW

May 9

Hi, Gwen.

Life goes on, but it's awful. I'm glad exams are so soon. It doesn't give me much time to think about the fact that things are miserable.

It's worst for Harry, because he's famous. People keep yelling out at him in the halls for losing all those points. Neville and I might not be famous, but they know us well enough not to speak to us- and not just the Gryffindors, either. All the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws are ignoring us, too. Everybody wanted to see Slytherin lose the House Cup. Now they'll probably win. I can't even blame everybody for being so mean. I wanted Slytherin to lose more than anybody.

Ron's standing by us, and people are giving him the cold shoulder by association. He says it should have been him up there. I think he feels really badly that I got in so much trouble. He and Harry don't seem to mind being in trouble quite as much as I do. He keeps telling Harry not to worry- that Fred and George have lost loads of points since they've come to Hogwarts. But they've never lost a hundred and fifty in one go, so that doesn't help much. Harry says he's resolved never to interfere in anything ever again- he feels just awful about the points- even went to try to resign from the Quidditch team. But their captain said that would only make things worse, because then Gryffindor wouldn't be in the running for the Quidditch Cup, either. I can imagine practice must just be suffering for Harry, though. He says they won't even call him by name anymore- just refer to him as "the Seeker".

My one consolation is that, having no social life, I've got plenty of time to catch up on my studies. We al three spend hours and hours on our work now. Harry and Ron don't even complain when I want to haul off to the library. They say they might as well, since they haven't got anything better to do.

Still, it's depressing. I wish we could get back those points- do something incredible- but what? We're never going to figure out what to do about the Sorcerer's Stone. And anyway, Harry's right. We shouldn't ever interfere with these kinds of things again. We should have gone straight to Dumbledore when we saw that dragon egg. I've certainly learned my lesson.

I'm off. Time for studies. We're going to drill all the Charms we've learned this year. Harry's going to get that wrist-flick if it's the last thing I do. Talk to you soon.

 

HQoW

May 17

Hello, Gwen. I'm feeling low. We've got to serve our detention in an hour. We got notes this morning from Professor McGonagall saying that Harry, Neville, Malfoy and I all have to meet Filch in the entrance hall at eleven. I can't imagine what he wants us for in the middle of the night, but it can't be good. Oh well. Maybe if he tortures us, everyone will feel sorry, and ease up on the silent treatment a little.

Snape's practically got the Stone, by the way. Yesterday, Harry heard Professor Quirrell sobbing through a classroom door, saying "No, please, not again," and then, "All right, all right," as if he was giving in. So that's it. Snape knows how to break whatever enchantment Quirrell set up, and now all that's stopping him is Fluffy. Ron wanted to try and stop him ourselves, and I thought we should go to Dumbledore, but Harry says we're in enough trouble as it is, plus we've got no proof. It's true. I hate to let it go, when we've done so much work... but we don't have any choice. So Snape will get rich and live forever. A perfect end to a perfect year.

Detention. I can't believe I've got detention. And with Malfoy. I'm never breaking the rules ever again.

 

HQoW

May 18

Detention was amazing! I'll never recover. Oh, Gwen, wait 'til I tell you!

Well that sounds a bit more like it.

I know, I've been a little depressed.

A little.

But I'm not now- I'm anxious and excited and... exhausted. Gwen, I was up 'til five-thirty this morning.

What on earth kept you up so late? Detention?

Talking to Harry and Ron.

About what?

Listen and I'll tell you. It's long and complicated. First, we met Filch in the entrance hall and he dragged us outside to walk us to our detention. He was giving us a talking-to, and enjoying every minute of it. He loves to have students in trouble. If nobody ever broke the rules, I don't know what he'd do for fun. He says he still keeps chains oiled in his basement in case they ever let the old punishments come back. Awful, awful. He told us we'd learn our lesson the hard way, though, because we would be doing our detention in the Forbidden Forest.

There are creatures in there, Gwen. Like werewolves. Neville went ahead and started whimpering. Malfoy looked and sounded very unlike himself- lost his cool a bit, I imagine. But Harry and I felt a lot better when we realized who was to be going with us.

Hagrid, thank goodness! Filch took us to Hagrid's cabin, dropped us off, and said he'd be back later for what was left of us. Honestly, I think if we'd died, he'd have done a jig on the spot. But Hagrid told him to quit lecturing us and get back up to the castle. And then we found out what we were going to be doing.

We had to go into the forest because something has been killing unicorns, and Hagrid needed help to find an injured one, quickly enough to either rescue it, or put it out of its misery. Malfoy tried to give Hagrid a hard time about going into the forest, saying it was "servant stuff"-- but Hagrid just told him if he wanted to skip detention and be expelled, he was welcome to go back up to the castle and start packing. Harry and I looked at each other. Wouldn't that be nice? But of course Malfoy didn't go anywhere. Just kept muttering on about how his father would have something to say about it.

Then Hagrid showed us the unicorn's silvery blood on the ground, and we started to follow the trail of it. I've never felt so terrified in my life. Hagrid said that whatever was doing this must be something powerfully evil and quick to kill a unicorn, and I certainly did not want to meet it. Malfoy obviously agreed with me, because he said, "What if whatever hurt the unicorn finds us first?" But I was glad he was the one who said it, because he sounded like a scaredy-cat.

We came to a fork in the path. Neville, Malfoy and Fang went one way- Harry, Hagrid and I the other. Hagrid told them to keep to the path, and to send up green sparks if they found the unicorn, red ones if there was any danger. Poor Neville looked like he'd send up red sparks right then and there, and I didn't blame him a bit- going off into those woods with Malfoy is about the worst thing I can think of. But he grabbed onto Fang's collar, and let himself be dragged away.

For my part, I tried to wedge myself in between Harry and Hagrid, who told us that nothing would hurt us so long as we were with either him or Fang- but this was hard to believe a moment later, when we heard a horrible, slithering noise right near us. I'd never heard anything like that, and obviously Hagrid hadn't either, because he yanked Harry and me behind a tree and said "Somethin's in here that shouldn' be." Whatever it was, it snaked off too fast for us to figure it out. It was fast, and unfamiliar, and I could tell Hagrid thought that it was what had killed the unicorns.

How dreadful, Hermione!

I know. And then, while we were behind the tree, we heard another noise coming at us, Hagrid fitted an arrow into his crossbow and called out for it to identify itself. For a moment, I thought he was going to leap out and shoot it- but it's a good thing he didn't. Gwen, it was a centaur! Can you believe it?

Had you never seen a centaur?

Er- no. We have regular animals where I'm from, not magical creatures. He was beautiful! His name was Ronan, and he had red hair, and a beard, and was a man to the waist, but with the body and legs of a chestnut steed.

Of course.

Well honestly, Gwen, it might be old hat to you, but I was amazed. What a gallant looking person- or creature?- he was. Anyway, Hagrid introduced us, and Ronan asked if we were learning anything up at school. And I thought, what a funny question. Here I am, a witch, in the middle of a Forbidden Forest, standing next to a wizard, and a centaur wants to know if we're learning anything up at school. Sometimes, I have to pinch myself to be sure I'm awake, and this is really my life.

But back to Hagrid- he asked Ronan about the strange creature and the unicorns- wanted to know if he'd seen anything unusual lately. Ronan was not very helpful, I must say. He went on about the forest holding many secrets, and Mars being "unusually bright". I thought it was very evasive. And then another centaur named Bane came along, and Hagrid asked him the same questions. But Bane just said what Ronan did- "Mars is unusually bright tonight." What on earth is that supposed to mean? Hagrid didn't get it either, because when the centaurs left he looked confused, and called them "ruddy stargazers". I think I rather agree with him- but I'm going to look up all my Astronomy notes on Mars and see if I can't figure something out.

We walked on a little farther, and then I nearly jumped out of my skin-- I grabbed Hagrid's arm and pointed across the trees-- Neville and Malfoy were sending up red sparks! Hagrid told us to stay put, and ran off to get them out of trouble. I asked Harry if he thought they'd been hurt- more for the sake of making conversation than anything else. It was awful standing there in the dark, surrounded by goodness only knows what, without Hagrid to look after us. He said that he didn't care if Malfoy was injured, but if anything had happened to Neville.... after all, it was our fault he was out there in the first place. I felt my stomach turn very icy while we waited. What if something had happened to Neville?

Here's what happened to Neville- Malfoy thought it would be a great joke to sneak up from behind and grab him. He was startled, and sent up red sparks.

Oh, very funny.

Yes. Ha, ha. Wretched Malfoy. How I hate him. Hagrid kept Neville with us after that, and sent Harry off "with Fang an' this idiot." I was glad he called him that. If Malfoy is anything, he's an idiot. And Harry is much better equipped to deal with his stupidity than Neville is, so they went off, and I let Neville get between Hagrid and me. Seeing how shaken up he was, I felt a lot braver. I tried to calm him down a bit while we walked on. But after about a quarter of an hour, when we still hadn't found the unicorn, and Neville's breathing had gotten extremely irregular, Hagrid reckoned we'd better turn back and try the other direction.

We turned and started back toward Harry and Malfoy. At this point, Neville was repeating "I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay," in a low voice, without stopping, but I had gotten used to the idea of being in the forest and was finally starting to relax.

That is, until Malfoy came screaming toward us with Fang, looking totally white with fear. Normally I'd've enjoyed seeing him look like such a baby, but at the moment all I could think of was "Where's Harry?" Malfoy couldn't speak- just pointed behind him and started to shake worse than Neville. Hagrid grabbed him by the shoulders and lifted him six feet off the ground. "Where is he?" he growled. Malfoy started stammering, "The unicorn-- blood-- revolting-- Harry was behind me-- don't know where he is-- let go, you great oaf-- get me out of here!" He wriggled away from Hagrid, dropped to the ground, ran to a tree and backed against it, looking around him very wildly. Neville surprised me by going up to him and saying calmly, "It's okay, Draco. We've got Fang. They can go get Harry, and you and I will go back up to the castle."

Hagrid clapped Neville on the back, said "Right," and then he ran to catch me up. I had already started running in the direction Malfoy had been pointing, with my wand out. "Can't believe he left him," Hagrid was panting. "He's a coward," I said. "I'm not surprised at all." Not surprised, maybe, but very, very panicked. "Hagrid, you don't think Harry"--- "He's FINE," he said. He sounded like he was trying to believe it.

He was fine. Thank goodness, Gwen. We almost ran smack into him- he was on the back of another centaur, looking very strange. He said he was all right. He told Hagrid the unicorn was dead in the clearing behind him. Hagrid ran to find the unicorn, and Harry slid off the centaur's back. I overheard it say, "Good luck, Harry Potter. The planets have been read wrongly before, even by centaurs. I hope this is one of those times." Then he galloped away, and we went to get Hagrid.

I tried asking Harry what the centaur meant, saying that, but he just shook his head. I noticed his scar looked so bright it was almost purple, and he had taken off his glasses and was rubbing it. I was really worried, especially when we got to the clearing where the unicorn was lying, and Harry stopped and looked all around like he was waiting to be attacked. I asked him what was the matter, but he just looked-I've never seen him look like that before-sick, and scared, and his voice was all croaky. He said, "Tell you when we get back, okay?" I didn't want to press it.

We went to examine the unicorn. It was certainly dead, but otherwise, it was the whitest, sweetest thing I've ever seen. Everything around us was pitch dark, yet it seemed to be reflecting light. Hagrid was smoothing its mane and saying "Second one this week. Who would do it- who could do it? Harry, did yeh see anythin'?" Harry was as evasive as a centaur. "I'm not sure... I was startled... then Malfoy and Fang made so much noise...and then Firenze came and got me out of here." (Firenze was the centaur he'd been riding.) Hagrid nodded and said, "I hate to leave her like this, Hermione." I had gotten down on the ground beside him. I stroked the unicorn for a moment (it was like liquid moonlight, Gwen,) and then I patted Hagrid's hand, (he looked like he was going to cry,) and he walked us back up to the castle.

When we got back to our common room, Ron was asleep in a chair. I guess he'd tried to wait for us. Harry ran upstairs quickly to check if Neville had gotten back okay, and then he came down and shook Ron, who yelled out something about Quidditch fouls- "Oi- that's right! Penalty to the Cannons, you bloody cheaters!" (The language he uses in his sleep. Honestly.) Once he was really awake though, he asked what we'd had to do. Together we said, "Forbidden Forest", and his jaw just dropped. We told him about everything- Malfoy and Neville, Hagrid and Fang, the unicorn, the slithering sound, the centaurs.... Ron just got more and more amazed, and I admit, I was pretty proud to be able to tell a story like that. It's about the most interesting night I've ever had in my life. When we came to the part where Harry and I split up, I told them what had happened on my end, what with Neville shaking and Malfoy running up screaming his head off. Ron laughed. "Wish I'd seen that." Then Harry said, "I'll tell you why he was screaming, and I wish I hadn't seen it. You won't believe it."

Gwen, we very nearly didn't. Harry told us that when he and Malfoy had stumbled across the clearing where the unicorn lay, they had seen a hooded figure there, crawling along the ground toward its body. When it reached the unicorn, it bent and started to drink the unicorn's blood. That's when Malfoy screamed and ran with Fang. They made so much noise it attracted the hooded figure's attention. Harry was frozen to the spot with fear , plus his scar started to burn out of control, so he was half-blind. The hooded figure started to come straight at him, barreled toward him, and just about killed him! That's when Firenze jumped in- Harry jumped on Firenze- and they rode off.

Well, apparently that was against the stars, or fate, or something, because Harry said that Bane and the other centaurs were furious with Firenze for saving his life. Said it went against what was written in the heavens. I told Harry I think that's all tosh. Hagrid's right. Ruddy stargazers. That's what Firenze must have meant when I heard him talking about hoping the planets had been read wrongly this time. They all think Harry's fated to die. Ron and I went into a fit trying to convince him that it's just idiotic- of course he isn't going to die. Well, I mean, everybody dies, but he's not going to do it soon or anything. I think centaurs are very beautiful, Gwen, but they're highly melodramatic.

But what if they're not? Is Harry fated to die? I don't believe in any of that... but what Firenze told Harry about the unicorn blood and the Sorcerer's Stone is enough to make me think that maybe... I'm really scared for Harry, Gwen.

And what did Firenze say to Harry?

He said that unicorn blood will keep you alive even if you're only inches from death, but if you kill a unicorn and drink its blood, you've slain an innocent thing, and you'll only have a cursed life after that.

Yes. That's true. It's an ancient, terrible magic.

Great. Harry asked Firenze why anybody would want to live like that-- a half-life. And Firenze said normally they wouldn't- that it would have to be someone with nothing to lose and everything to gain. That if a person were just waiting to get their hands on something else, something that could make them immortal, something that could restore their life completely, then it might be a worthwhile risk. And what's at Hogwarts right this minute that can make a person immortal?

The Sorcerer's Stone.

Right. And then Firenze asked Harry who he could think of that would risk a cursed life to be restored to power- who would steal the Stone from Dumbledore- who would do anything, even drink unicorn blood, to stay alive- who would want to attack Harry in the middle of the Forbidden Forest?

It can't be.

Voldemort.

But he's dead.

Hagrid said before that he thinks that's codswallop- that he didn't have enough human left in him to die. It was Voldemort in that forest, Gwen. Voldemort under that hood. No wonder Harry's scar hurt him so badly! No wonder he looked so sick-

No wonder you were up until five-thirty.

All this time, we just thought Snape wanted to get rich-- but he's helping Voldemort. He's trying to get the Stone for him, to return him to power. He must be. He's certainly nasty enough to be on the Dark Side, and we've seen that he's perfectly willing to kill Harry- it all goes together- Gwen, don't you see?

This is very serious, Hermione. What are you going to do?

We don't know. We can't think of anything. It was all Ron and I could do last night just to talk Harry down from some kind of fever-he was babbling on about how Voldemort's going to come 'round and finish him off, but the centaurs will be happy, because the heavens will have been right after all. I told him that You-Know-Who (Ron gets upset when Harry says Voldemort) will never be able to hurt him while Dumbledore is around. Everybody knows that You-Know-Who is scared of Dumbledore. Plus, all that talk about the heavens... well if you ask me, it sounds like fortune-telling, and Professor McGonagall says that's a highly imprecise branch of magic. But Harry didn't look like he felt any better, and we had to sit up and hash it through with him half a dozen times before we finally got off to bed. We none of us got up 'til after lunchtime today, and we all sound sick now- all that talking made us hoarse.

Besides which, can you even believe this is happening to us just one week before our exams?! A week from tomorrow, they start. Right now, I'm trying to commit to memory all the circumstances surrounding the uprising of Elfric the Eager, and half my brain is off worrying about Harry. Snape could find out how to get past Fluffy at any moment! Voldemort could come strolling right into the castle at any time! It's enough to make me to want to just forget our Transfiguration Notes Session this evening.

But you won't, I imagine.

Well of course not. Failing my exams won't stop Voldemort coming back to power, now will it? What we should do is brush up everything we've learned so far in Defense Against the Dark Arts. It's not much, but at least it's something. Actually, that's precisely what we should be doing. Why didn't I think of it before? I'm going to get Ron and Harry. 'Bye.

 

 

HQoW

May 25

Dear Guinevere,

Exams begin tomorrow. I am through studying, because if I don't know it by now, I'm never going to know it. I need a nice rest from my notes.... and the library.... and my books.....

You're kidding. What's wrong?

Gwen, they made me! They forced me! I want to go to the library- I need to go over my notes- we've got Transfiguration tomorrow morning, and I'm dying to have one more look through my textbook. But I'm not allowed.

Not allowed?

They tricked me. When I ran upstairs this morning to get my study things, they got hold of my wand. When I got back, they did it. Ron put me in a Leg-Locker Curse, and Harry held up my wand so I'd know I couldn't do anything about it. I said, "What on earth do you think you're doing? Ron Weasley, unlock me. Harry Potter, give me that wand, or I'll scream."

He said, "Go ahead." I looked around the common room. A few people were laughing, but most just ignored us- we're still getting the silent treatment for losing all those points. "Nobody cares," he said. "You're stuck." So I said, "Fine then, what do you want?" Ron said, "It's a really nice day out, Hermione, and we've gone over this rot about six million times." "It's not rot!" I said.

But, "We're done," said Harry. "And so are you. Let's go outside. We all need a day to rest our brains before this week starts." And I said, "What are we going to do? Sit around all day fretting about Fluffy? No thanks." Ron said, "We're going outside. To have fun. We're not going to think about anything." And I said, "Fine, go ahead. I want to study."

"We knew you'd say that," said Harry. "But really, Hermione, it's for your own good." Oh, he is so patronizing sometimes! "No books, no wand, and no legs until you promise."

"I'll hate you," I said. "I'm not kidding. If I get one single point off of that Transfiguration test, I'll kill both of you."

"Oh, don't be such a drama queen," said Ron. "Repeat after me. 'I, Hermione Granger'."

I didn't say anything. But what was I going to do? Harry had carried off all my books by that time, and I couldn't get my wand away from them, so I finallyjust gave in. I mean, I didn't want to sit there all day. "I, Hermione Granger."

"Do solemnly swear."

"Do solemnly swear."

"That I will give it a rest with the studying."

"I'm not saying that."

"Say it."

"That I.... that I will refrain from studying anymore today."

"I also promise not to spend all day whining about it."

"I hate you."

"That's not very nice. Harry, d'you think we ought to leave her locked up, just for that?"

Long story short, I'm bound by my word of honor not to study, or complain about not studying, all day long. It is extremely annoying. I am going to write down my exam schedule, to make myself feel better.

Monday: 9am Transfiguration 1pm Flying

Tuesday: 9am Charms 1pm Herbology

Wednesday: 9am Defense AtDA 12am Astronomy

Thursday: 1pm Potions

Friday: 9am History of Magic

Hermione... did you get outside and have any fun at all?

Well... .actually Gwen, I tricked them. I did do some studying for tomorrow. But I did it without breaking my word. We went out to do some flying, you know, because it "takes off the tension" according to Harry. And I got them to give me some really great tips on take-off. I'm still shaky on landings, but the way I felt today, I'm sure I'll get an 'A', no matter what.

Oh, Hermione. You're funny.

Why? What do you mean by that? Oh, for heaven's sakes. Ron's just yelled over "What are you doing? You'd better not be studying!" And I said, "I'm not!" But he came over anyway and tried to peek-at my diary! What a nerve. Guess I'd better shut you before he tries to read anything. Wish me luck on my exams!

Dear, I don't think you need it. But good luck.

 

HQoW

May 29

One exam to go. Just one. And then a week of waiting for our marks. It's going to be torture.

But it's a free week!

You know, Gwen, sometimes, you really sound like Harry and Ron. And after that trick they pulled on me last Sunday..... well, all I can say is, they are very lucky that I knew everything on our Transfiguration written. The practical, too-we turned mice into snuffboxes! Just what I'd been practicing. Thank goodness. Our Flying exam that day was all right, too, and Madam Hooch gave us our marks right on the spot. I got a 93%. I'm not too pleased, but it could have been worse- my take off was excellent. I was just a bit shaky on my landing. Ron got a 98%. Harry, of course, our Nimbus professional, got 100%. He's the only one who did. She just loves him. Malfoy, on the other hand, got an 85%, because he bungled the very first thing he did. He said "Up!" and the broom shot right past his hand! Ha! I was so glad! I could have laughed right out loud. Ron and Harry went ahead and did.

Tuesday we had Charms (which I just knew, as we were doing it, that I was passing with perfection. And I was right! Today, Professor Flitwick took me aside in the hall and told me secretly that I got 112%!!!! I guess that will make up for Flying.) Herbology was also fine. It was so nice to see Neville looking confident about something. He's quite good in Professor Sprout's class.

Defense Against the Dark Arts was too easy. We didn't even have to do a practical. Of course, we hardly learned a thing in there all year. Professor Quirrell still looks half-dead- all that mess with the Sorcerer's Stone must have affected his health really badly. Poor man. I'm trying not to be too angry that his class was a complete waste of time.

Astronomy was lovely- a really lovely practical. We each looked through the giant telescope, and named stars and constellations and planets. Even the written was gorgeous- we had these little individual maps of the heavens that really moved and swirled, and we were given special quills that made tiny points of light, so we could plot the moons and chart the rotations. I hope we get them back once they're marked. I'd really love to keep mine.

Potions, of course, was simply dreadful. I knew everything on it, and the practical was just a Forgetfulness Potion, which I could just about do in my sleep by now, I've helped Neville with it so many times. But just being in the same room with Snape- the way he looks at Harry- knowing what he's trying to do- I can't stand it. And Harry's scar keeps paining him, ever since he saw Voldemort in the forest. It's awful. At least Fluffy's still growling away up there. Maybe Snape won't be able to get past him.

It's all I can think about, Gwen. Snape, Voldemort..... Harry. It was easy enough to ignore this mess when we had so much studying to do, but now we've only got one exam left- History of Magic tomorrow- and I know I'm prepared for that one. Now there's nothing for me to do for whole week except wait and worry, about Voldemort, and about my exam results. (I know this is terrible, but I think I'm equally worried about both. Deep down, I feel like Harry will always be safe, so long as Dumbledore is around. But just as deep down, I'm sure Snape will give me an unfair grade on that Potions exam, just because... because he's a mean, hook-nosed, Dark-Sider. So there.)

Oh, Gwen. One more exam. I'll try and concentrate on that.

Or, you could just go on up to bed, dear.

Even better idea.

 

HQoW

May 30

Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. What are we thinking? We're going to get killed. We're going to die.

Hermione! Explain yourself before I have hysterics!

Gwen. We're going down- through the trapdoor- past Fluffy- through the enchantments- to find the Stone. Tonight. We're going to die.

Don't you DARE! You go straight to Dumbledore-

We tried. He's gone. Oh Gwen. Oh my goodness. What will Mum and Dad do? I'll die down there. How'll we do it? How can we possibly?

Do you have enough time to tell me just exactly why you have to do this foolish thing?

Yes. We have time. We have to wait until everyone here's gone up to bed, so no one will know we've gone, and there are still a dozen people hanging 'round. I've been going over my notes, trying to find some of the enchantments we might have to try and break. But I can't concentrate. Oh Gwen. Ron and Harry are just sitting there, looking morbid and nervous. It's enough to scare me to death. What if.... what if Voldemort....

Hermione, please, try to be coherent. I know you can do it.

I'll try. All right. After our last exam today, we three went out to enjoy the sunshine. I was actually feeling nice. At first I wanted to go back over our tests, but Ron says that makes him feel sick, so for once we just.... stopped thinking for a bit. But Harry wouldn't. He kept rubbing on his scar, saying he felt like he'd forgotten to do something. I told him that was just exam nerves- that I'd woken up from a nightmare about Transfiguration the other night and gotten halfway through my notes before I realized we'd already done that one. But he said no, it wasn't like that.

Then suddenly he shot up and started running to Hagrid's, going on about the stranger who had showed up in the pub with the dragon egg. Ron and I had no idea why this was important, but we followed him. Sure enough, Harry'd had a.... an.... what's that word, Gwen, I'm so nervous I can't think.

Idea? Brainstorm? Breakthrough?

Epiphany! Good. I need a clear head. He'd had an epiphany. He'd figured it out. He asked Hagrid just a couple of questions, and then Ron and I realized it, too.

Realized what?

That stranger in the pub, who just happened to find Hagrid, and just happened to have an illegal dragon egg, also happened to be wearing a hooded cloak. Just like the stranger who tried to attack Harry in the Forbidden Forest. And he also just happened to ask Hagrid about Fluffy. Wanted to know, it seems, if Hagrid could handle a dragon. Which led Hagrid to say that, after Fluffy, a dragon would be easy. And of course the stranger was very interested in Fluffy. "How many three-headed dogs d'yeh meet around Hogwarts?" he said. So the stranger asked just how does one handle such a dog, and Hagrid said-oh, he wasn't thinking, Gwen! He'd never betray Dumbledore on purpose! But just get that man started about his pets, and he loses his mind!

What did Hagrid tell the stranger?

"Fluffy's a piece o'cake if yeh know how to calm him down, jus' play him a bit o' music, an' he'll go straight off ter sleep."

Then Voldemort knows how to get past Fluffy. Hermione, you simply must go to Dumbledore, and quickly.

I told you, we tried! He's gone!

What do you mean, Dumbledore's gone?

He's been called out of town very conveniently, to London, by the Ministry of Magic. But we just know it's a trick- Snape must have written him that letter to get Dumbledore out of the way, and now he's going to get the Stone. He must be going tonight, while Dumbledore's gone. So we've got to get to it first.

No. No. Go to another teacher.

As if any of them would believe us after all the trouble we've caused this term. Professor McGonagall certainly doesn't. We ran into her when we were trying to find Dumbledore. She's the one that told us he was gone. We told her it was important- we even told her it was about the Sorcerer's Stone! She was so shocked she dropped her books. She couldn't imagine how we knew about any of that. But she told us to never mind, that the Stone is very well protected, and that we ought to go out and enjoy the sunshine.

We'll be lucky if we ever see the sunshine again.

Anyway, when she was walking off, that's when we started figuring that Snape must have faked that letter to Dumbledore. And as we were standing there talking about it, Snape came up behind us!!! We know he heard us, too, because he said, in this twisted voice, "Anymore nighttime wanderings, and I will personally make sure you are expelled."

We tried to keep an eye on things, but it was impossible after that. Harry and Ron charged me with watching over the teacher's lounge in case Snape came out, so we'd know to follow him, while they went up to stand guard outside the third floor corridor. I said, "Why me?" And Ron said, "That's obvious. You can pretend to be waiting for Professor Flitwick." And then he put on this high voice and did this little dance and said, "Oh, Professor Flitwick, I'm so worried, I think I got question fourteen b wrong!" I told him to shut up, and I'd do it. How Ron Weasley can be perfectly sarcastic in the face of mortal peril is beyond me.

Boys.

Exactly. But the plan didn't work anyway. Snape came out, asked me what I was doing there, and I told him "Waiting to talk to Professor Flitwick about the exam." Snape went to get him, and I had to run for it. I mean, I already know I got 112% on that one. In the meantime, Professor McGonagall found Harry and Ron by the forbidden corridor and told them off for thinking they could do better than a pack of enchantments. So we don't know where Snape is. For all we know, he's been down there and back already. For all we know, he has the Stone. For all we know, he's given it to Voldemort. At that point, I thought we'd have to give up-hide Harry in a trunk- wrap him in the Invisibility Cloak- send him to Romania on his Nimbus- ANYTHING.

But Harry decided he had to try it. He couldn't let Voldemort come back to power without a fight. After all, Voldemort killed his parents. The way he talked about it.... his scar was bright, and so were his eyes, and his voice..... it was like iron, Gwen. He's going down there and nothing we can say will stop him.

But you don't have to go. Don't, Hermione.

Gwen, I have to. After all that's happened, after all we've done for each other! Ron and I both have to go. How could we let Harry do it alone?

Oh my goodness. It's almost time. Lee Jordan is the only one left down here. Lee's stretching.... he's yawning..... he's going up to bed. Harry's gone to get his cloak and a flute to put Fluffy to sleep. He says he doesn't feel much like singing. Neither do I.

Don't do it.

Goodbye, Gwen. If I don't write again tomorrow, you have my permission to tell all these entries to whomever you like. Consider them the memoirs of my short life.

Be careful! I... I'm rather fond of you, you know, my dear.

Thanks Gwen.

This is it. Through the trapdoor.

'Bye.

 

HQoW

May 30/31?

Hi, Gwen. My, it's late.

Hermione! Oh, sweet heavens, you're all right!

Mm-hmm. I'm all right. Thanks, Gwen.

What happened? Did you find it? Was he down there?

What? Who are you talking about?

ExCUSE me? Don't get smart with me, Hermione Granger, I've been in terrible suspense for the past three hours.

Three hours? .... what was I doing three hours ago.... huh. I can't think of it. Oh well.

Don't you 'oh well' me! You write down everything.

Oh, shhhhh, Gwen. Really, I don't know why you're making such a fuss about nothing.

NOTHING?!

Hold on...... this isn't my room...... hey, Gwen, I'm in the hospital wing, I think!

You are?

Mm-hmm. I remember now. I drank a potion. Unthinkable Potion? Undreamable? Un..... somthingable. Hmmm. I feel funny.

I see. I see. I'll bet you feel funny. That stuff could knock out a Giant. It's the Unimaginable Draught, dear. It makes you forget horrid scenes temporarily, so that you can sleep without nightmares. It also makes you---

Gwen, I've got hiccups. Oh.

--- extremely tipsy.

Gwen, I remember! It was horrid!

You do? I don't believe it.

Oh yes, perfectly horrid, I remember. There was a lady, and she yelled at me, and I yelled back and said, "Give me my diary or I won't drink it!"

Oh dear.

And the lady said, "These students today, how I'm supposed to cure anybody I just don't know!" and then she said, "Accio, Hermione Granger's diary!"

And then I flew in.

Yes, Gwen! Very good! See how horrid-- oh, hummm. Lovely. It's so warm in here.

So. Madam Pomfrey must have Summoned me. Well, she tricked you, my dear. You'll be out like a light in three minutes, and you won't be able to write a thing until the morning.

What's that, Gwen? Ooooh, these hiccups.

Never you mind, Hermione. Go to sleep.

Oh, Gwen, look at Ron. Isn't that cute?

Pardon?

He's sleeping with his mouth open. I don't know why he's in here. Boys aren't supposed to be in the girls' dormitory.

Of course, yes. Now go to slee-

Ha- he snored! He looks peaceful when he's sleeping. Probably because he isn't saying anything..... anything sarcastic...... hmmmmmm.

Tired, dear?

Yes, thank you.

Goodnight.

Gwen?

Yes, Hermione?

Did I ever tell you Ron's very nice looking?

You'll be sorry you said that tomorrow, Hermione.

Hermione.

Hermione!?

Oh, wake up and shut me, or somebody will be able to read this! Hermione!

Well, in any case, this should be interesting.

 

HQoW

May 31

Well! I had a complete attack when I woke up and found you wide open like that. I just read that last bit over and I don't know what I was talking about. That potion had me very confused. Anyway, I'm glad Ron's not awake yet. He's just lying there like a dead---

Dead!! Ron! Harry! Gwen, hold on a minute I have to ask Madam Pomfrey if they're all right--- my memory just came back!

 

HQoW

They're okay. Ron's asleep with a nasty concussion. I haven't got a scratch, and the two of us are going to be released when Ron wakes up and Madam Pomfrey can give us the once-over.

Harry's in another room, because he's unconscious. I don't know how he got that way, and Madam Pomfrey won't tell me. She says she doesn't know how long he'll be out- hours or days-oh, Gwen, I remember now, I remember everything.

I shudder to think.

Believe me, so do I. I don't have the words to tell you what went on.

But you'll try.

All right. I'll try. I guess it started, really, even before we left the common room. We were trying to figure out how to fit the Invisibility Cloak over all three of us, when Neville popped out of an armchair in the corner, and told us we'd better not be going out to get Gryffindor in any more trouble. He's still upset about what happened that night with the dragon. He said he'd fight us, and he got in front of the portrait hole.

Ron said "Get away from that hole and don't be an idiot!" And Neville said something like, "Don't you call me an idiot, and you're the one who told me to stand up to people!" And Ron said, "Yes, but not to us.". But Neville didn't care. He said, "Go on and hit me then, I'm ready," or something ridiculous, and then Harry turned to me and said, "Hermione, do something."

So I did the only thing I could think of. I said, "I'm really, really sorry about this." And then, "Petrificus Totalus!" The Full-Body Bind. He fell over, couldn't move or speak. It was awful, but we couldn't have him scream the house down! We had no other choice.

Sorry, but when did you learn the Full-Body Bind?

Oh, last week, when I was trying to find a good way to get back at Harry and Ron for Leg-Locking me on Sunday. Well, now I know how well it works. Poor Neville. He must really hate us. But we had to get out of there, so we left him lying on the floor like that while we pulled on the Invisibility Cloak and ran out toward the third floor corridor.

On the way, we passed Peeves the Poltergeist. He knew someone was there, cloak or no cloak, and he threatened to call out for Filch! Luckily, Harry thought to pretend he was the Bloody Baron- the Slytherin ghost, the only one Peeves is scared of- and so Peeves let us alone. We got to Fluffy a minute later. The door was already open. Snape was already inside.

That's when Harry said to us, "If you want to go back, I won't blame you." Ron said, "Don't be stupid," I said, "We're coming," and in we went.

Harry started playing the flute, and Fluffy went right to sleep, but we still had to go right up to all three of the big, smelly heads, in order to get through the trapdoor. We dropped the cloak and Harry gave me the flute so he could go first. It was a short drop. We followed very quickly- I was last- and in the two seconds of silence when I stopped playing the flute, Fluffy raised its head and snapped at me, but I had already jumped. We were past Fluffy.

You three are absolutely out of your minds. What happened next? What was the first enchantment?

Good question. We didn't realize it right away, but we had landed in the first enchantment. It was Professor Sprout's. It was a plant, and it started twisting 'round our ankles. I managed to get free and move against a wall, but in seconds it had covered the boys and was choking them! I remembered then what it was called- Devil's Snare- we learned about it in Herbology. Ron said, "Oh, I'm so glad we know what it's called, that's a great help." And I said, "Shut up, I'm trying to remember how to kill it!" Well I was figuring it out loud- how they don't like the damp and dark- so Harry suggested I light a fire- and I thought, yes, but I haven't any wood- and then Ron lost it. "HAVE YOU GONE MAD? ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?" And I remembered- the Bluebell Flame! I shot it at the Devil's Snare, and it shrank away. They got free.

Harry said, "Lucky you pay attention in Herbology, Hermione," and I thought, it certainly is, but then Ron said "Lucky Harry doesn't lose his head in a crisis- 'there's no wood', honestly," and I felt troubled. I guess even if I'm the best witch in our class, underneath it all, my first instincts are still Muggle. It's a bit disappointing. I wonder if that will eventually wear off, or if I'll always be a Muggle when it counts.

Nonsense. You may be Muggle-born, but you are also a born witch. Don't ever doubt it.

Okay...

What happened next? This is excruciating.

The next enchantment was down a stone passage in a chamber that had a high, high ceiling, filled with birds.

Birds?

Well, we thought they were birds. We thought they might be attack birds.

Attack birds.

Well, we didn't know! Harry ran across the room with his arms over his head, and they didn't do anything- just kept flying around- so Ron and I ran across, too, and tried to get the door open. It was charmed shut. Not even "Alohomora" would open it. And that's when we took another look at the birds and realized that they were actually flying keys.

I suppose 'attack birds' are just as likely as flying keys. Go on.

It was Harry, who saw the brooms and figured we had to fly up and catch the proper key. But there were hundreds of them! So Ron took a good, long look at the lock, and figured it was probably a big, old-fashioned, silver one. We took brooms and went for it. It only took a minute- you know what a great Seeker Harry is- he caught the right key as if it were a Snitch and fitted it in the lock. We were through! That's when I remember feeling surprised at Ron, thinking to examine the lock like that. It's something I would have done. But then, he's very smart when he wants to be, and thank goodness, because we'd never have gotten any further along without him.

Why? What was next? This is so exciting. It's almost like Quidditch.

Oh yes, just like Quidditch. Except our lives were at stake!

Well you survived, didn't you? Now tell me what it was!

It was a giant, living chess set. Professor McGonagall must have Transfigured it, because it was amazing. Huge, stony pieces, blank-faced but alive. Harry said, "Now what do we do?" But there was no need to ask. Ron got that concentrated look on his face- the one he got the first time I ever saw him play chess- and said, "It's obvious, isn't it? We've got to play our way across the room." Well, right there, Harry and I just shut up and let him take over. He made us take the places of three Black Chessmen- Harry a Bishop, myself a Castle, and Ron became a Knight. He was thinking really seriously, and we kept perfectly quiet like he always wants us to when we try to play in the common room, because each move of this game was more important than the last.

I never noticed how tall Ron is until he stepped out on the board, and it's funny, but when he started directing us, I wasn't worried. I knew he could get us across all right. Though I have to admit, I got nervous when I saw how the White Chessmen took our players. Each time a piece was taken, it was positively bludgeoned to the floor. A white piece would reach out with a wide, stone arm, and-- CRASH! Awful to see. But Ron was.... well, there's only one word for it. Awesome. He took almost as many white pieces as they had taken black ones. Once, he saw just in time that Harry was about to be taken, and he moved him to safety. And then, he was about to move me a square, and as I was picking up my foot he suddenly yelled, "No, Hermione! Don't move! I just about killed you - don't put your foot down." And then he moved himself instead. That's when he had to really stop and think. "We're nearly there," he said. But suddenly he looked very pale.

I'll never forget what happened next. The White Queen turned her blank stone face to him as if to say, "You know what you have to do." And Ron said, "Yes.... it's the only way. I've got to be taken."

NO!

That's what Harry and I both yelled. But Ron said that's chess, and you have to make sacrifices, and did we want to find Snape or not? After seeing what the white players did to the pieces that were taken, I thought maybe finding Snape wasn't so important after all. But Ron had decided-if he moved a square, the White Queen would take him and leave Harry free to checkmate the White King. So he squared his shoulders, and..... oh, Gwen, it was...... wonderful. And monstrous. He stepped forward. The White Queen smashed him across the head, and he was gone. She hit him so hard, I thought he was killed. I don't know how I stayed on my square-I just remember screaming. And then Harry moved where Ron had told him to, we won, the White Chessmen parted, and we had to leave him there.

Oh, Hermione.

Gwen! He's awake. Ron's awake! He just rolled over and said "Get out, Hermione, girls aren't s'posed to be up here." His Unimaginable Draught must still be in effect. I'm going to have to explain it to him. Gwen, would you mind very much if I tell you the rest when I'm back in Gryffindor Tower? I want to help Ron.

Go. I'll be waiting.

 

HQoW

How nice to be alive. I never thought I'd see this dormitory again.

How's Ron? How's Harry?

Harry's still out cold, but Madam Pomfrey swears up and down that he'll be perfectly fine. He'd better be. She won't even let us in to see him. Ron, on the other hand, is perfectly recovered and has returned to normal. When his potion wore off and he remembered everything, he looked quite pleased with himself. He's down in the common room right now, telling everybody how he single-handedly saved the day. Honestly.

I saw Neville down there, too, and he's better. I'm forgiven for the Full-Body Bind, now that he's heard what we were going after. He's down there with Ron's audience, listening to the whole story. Speaking of which, I haven't even finished telling you the whole story.

I'm trying to be patient.

You're very good. Where was I? The chess room. Ron, lying on the floor, pale, maybe dead. With a last look at him, we stumbled through the next door, and into Professor Quirrell's enchantment.

The one Snape couldn't crack!

That's what's so odd, Gwen. It was only a troll, and Snape had already knocked it out. Was that Professor Quirrell's big Dark Arts enchantment? There's nothing so mysterious about that. I mean, Harry and Ron knocked out a troll in October, and they're only first years. Maybe Snape has a lot of trouble handling trolls, or something. Odd, though, don't you think? In any case, we got past that one without having to do anything but hold our noses against the smell of nasty troll, and we came to another chamber.

It was Snape's. Immediately after we entered the room, a purple fire leapt up in the door behind us. Before us, in the door that led onward, a black fire was burning. We were trapped. We turned to Snape's enchantment, which consisted of a line of seven potions, and a parchment. Feeling very small, I read what was on the scroll.

It was a logic puzzle, Gwen! A riddle! I couldn't help but smile. Some of the best wizards of all time didn't have an ounce of logic- but I've got loads. All the clues were there: two bottles of wine, three of deadly poison, one to move you back, and one to get ahead. The scroll just made a puzzle out of their positions. It took me a minute to work it out, but I did it!! It wasjust my kind of enchantment!

Clever girl!

There was only enough in the "move ahead" bottle for one swallow. Harry said he'd take it. He told me to go back, wake Ron, get brooms from the flying-key room, get up the trapdoor and past Fluffy, and go send an owl for Dumbledore. Well, I didn't want to leave him there- what it Voldemort was past that black fire? (And Gwen, he might have been, I still don't know.) But Harry just pointed to his scar and said, "Well-I was lucky once, wasn't I?"

I just lost my head. I flew at him and hugged him- told him he was a great wizard- courageous and brave - I think I embarrassed him. But Gwen, it was just one of those moments.

I know.

Then I took the "move back" bottle, and drank it. For a second I thought I'd done it wrong and taken poison, because my whole body felt like ice. But then I realized that must be meant to get me through the fire, so through I went. I didn't want to go. But I had to leave Harry alone to find the Stone.

I couldn't think about it. I ran back past the troll to the chess room, where Ron was still lying, crushed, on the side of the board. I tapped him with my wand and said "Ennervate," but it did nothing. I checked his breathing, and he was alive, so I picked up his shoulders and shook him. I didn't know what else to do, so when he still didn't come to, I slapped him in the face.

Don't go into nursing, please, Hermione.

I know, it's terrible. Finally, I got right in his ear and started yelling at him, "The Chudley Cannons are the worst team in history! Quidditch is a losers' sport! I hope the Cannons all crash! What a bunch of stupid prats! Down with the Chudley Cannons!"

It worked. Halfway through the insults, Ron had started swinging a fist in the air with his eyes still shut. By the time I was done, he was awake and ready to fight. I had to bring him to his senses, remind him what was happening, before he'd stop hollering names at me. Even then, he said, "You don't talk about the Cannons."

We grabbed brooms and flew out of there, past the Devil's Snare, up the trapdoor, past Fluffy, into the hallway. We could have cared less about Filch. We ran to get to the Owlery and send off a message to Dumbledore, but there was no need. Dumbledore was coming in through the entrance hall, and somehow, he knew. He said, "Harry's gone after him, hasn't he?" We nodded, and he hurtled up to the third floor.

That's when Ron collapsed again. He didn't pass out or anything, just fell and put his hands to his head where the White Queen had smashed him. I knew it was probably due to a concussion, so I helped him up and told him we were going to the hospital wing. For once, he didn't argue with me. He just let me help him down the hall while I told him all about the troll and about Snape's potions.

Maybe it was because he was leaning on me for support, or maybe I'm just a.... girl, but I must have lost my head again because I said, "You were really very brave in there, Ron." And he said, "Well I wasn't going to let you get knocked cold, was I?" That was a nice reply, I thought. Then again, maybe it was the concussion talking. But I didn't mind.

After all, I hear he is rather nice looking.

Gwen. Anyway, I don't know what you're talking about.

We got to the hospital wing, where Madam Pomfrey took a look at his head and took him right in. When I explained about drinking the ice-potion, she said I had to stay the night, too. That's when I started yelling about getting my diary. And that's when she Summoned you, and made me drink the Unimaginable Draught. "Accio, Hermione Granger's diary!" Accio..... very useful. I'll have to work on that one.

Hermione, I have to say, you are truly amazing. You've come through all that, and still managed to learn a new Charm. No one else could have done it.

I couldn't have done it without Harry and Ron.

You three make a formidable team.

We do, don't we? Thanks, Gwen.

You know, I can still hear Ron down there telling a very unbalanced version of the events. I think I have to go give him a few reminders. He doesn't seem to be remembering anything accurately. Think he'll mind?

Absolutely.

Good.

 

 

HQoW

June 1

Yesterday afternoon, Gwen, was the last Quidditch match of the season. But don't get excited.

I-- I'm not.

Harry's still unconscious, so Fred Weasley had to play Beater and Seeker. Let's just say it was a short match.

Oh.

Short, and ugly, and goodbye, Quidditch Cup.

Well.

But I'm going to make it up to you, Gwen. When Harry wakes up and gives us the end of the story, I'm giving you permission to tell it.

The whole story?

The whole story. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I think it makes a good substitute- after all, you said it was almost like Quidditch.

I did! Oh, Hermione! Do you mean it? They'll run positively wild with delight.

It's the least I can do, after you've put up with me all year. Remember when I first got you? I was so nervous to come to Hogwarts! Those awful first months. And then all the studying, and the silent treatment, trolls, dragons and unicorns, not to mention Malfoy and Snape-- and Voldemort!-you've been the best diary in the world.

And I wouldn't want to be anybody else's.

Oh, Gwen. Do you know, now that it's all over Hogwarts about what happened down there, under the trapdoor, everyone's talking to us again? There's a party down in the common room right now. Gryffindor is rather proud of us, I think.

I'm sure they are. Go have fun.

Okay. I'll tell you first thing when Harry wakes up!

 

HQOW

June 3

Harry is awake, and alive, and well! (Although he looked sick when we told him how badly we lost the last Quidditch match.) We've just been visiting him in the hospital wing, and now I have for you, Gwen, the rest of the story about the Stone. Not that you will ever believe it in a million years.

Try me.

First of all, it wasn't Snape. Snape never had anything to do with any of this. When Harry walked through the black fire, into the last enchantment, the only person sitting there was...

Professor Quirrell.

Come again?

Professor Quirrell. Sitting beyond that fire- just waiting for Harry. He tied Harry up with magical ropes, and revealed that he's been the one serving Lord Voldemort all this time!

This has to be untrue.

I know! It's unbelievable! But Quirrell was behind everything- it only looked like it was Snape. Quirrell let the troll in at Halloween to create a diversion, so he could try and get past Fluffy. That's when Snape got bitten- he was trying to stop him! Quirrell was the one who was trying to jinx Harry off his broomstick- remember how I knocked him over on my way to set fire to Snape? That's what stopped it. Snape was only doing a counter-jinx, to try and save Harry. That's why he wanted to referee the next match, too--to be nearby in case Quirrell tried anything else. And that's why Quirrell's Dark Arts enchantment didn't make any sense down there! Snape never needed to break it at all- he wasn't threatening Quirrell to give him the answer- he was threatening him to give up the search!

Are you.... actually serious? Tell me, Hermione.

Deadly serious. And so was Quirrell. Harry said that he was desperate to get his hands on the Stone- for his "Master". Disgusting. But first he had to break the final enchantment, which Dumbledore had set. It was the Mirror of Erised.

Which shows you your heart's deepest desire?

That's the one. Quirrell would look in it and see himself presenting the Stone to Voldemort, but that didn't help him to find it. That's when Harry first heard a voice- a horrible voice that Harry said could just stop your heart- and the voice said, "Use the boy." So Quirrell used Harry- untied him, forced him before the Mirror of Erised, and demanded to be told what Harry saw.

Harry told us that his deepest desire at that moment was to find the Stone before Quirrell did. When he went in front of the mirror, he saw his own reflection reach into his pocket, pull out a blood-red stone, wink, and drop it back into his pocket. That's when Harry felt the real Stone fall into his pocket with a thud. Can you even believe it? He did it! He got the Sorcerer's Stone!

But I don't understand!

Dumbledore had made it so that only a person who simply wanted to find the Stone-not actually use it-would be able to get it. Isn't that just divinely brilliant? Dumbledore is truly the greatest wizard of our time.

Brilliant!

Harry lied to Quirrell, of course; told him he saw himself in the mirror holding up the Gryffindor House Cup. But then he heard the same horrible voice saying "He lies, He lies!" The voice demanded to meet Harry face to face. It said, "I have strength enough.... for this." And that's when Quirrell unwrapped that turban he always wears- the one that reeks of garlic- and turned around to show Harry the most awful sight any of us has ever seen.

Voldemort was sharing his body and his face was coming out the back of Quirrell's head. Is that not the most horrifying-- the sickest-and that's why he's been doing all these things- drinking unicorn blood, skulking around in classrooms after hours and crying- he's been sharing his life with that evil.... that monster..... oh, Gwen, Harry told us he had red eyes like slits and a high, cold voice-I screamed just thinking about it!

Harry Potter faced Voldemort a second time-- he survived it again- how--?

Harry Potter is a great wizard. He's got powers that just... come out. They came out on Friday, and even he doesn't understand how.

Voldemort told Harry to give him the Stone. Somehow, he knew what had happened with the mirror, and he knew the stone had fallen into Harry's pocket. But Harry refused to give it over, no matter how he was threatened, even when Voldemort told Harry he'd die like his parents, begging for mercy. He must be evil- pure evil- to be able to say such a thing.

Harry said "LIAR!" He yelled it out without meaning to as he was telling us the story- Gwen, he was beside himself. I don't ever want to hear Harry's voice sound like that again. He told us how Voldemort had described his parents' deaths, too. "I killed your father first, and he put up a courageous fight... But your mother needn't have died.... She was trying to protect you.... Now give me the Stone, unless you want her to have died in vain!"

"NEVER!" he shouted

I'm so proud of Harry for hanging on at a moment like that. Harry said he didn't think it was too brave- he figured he was going to die anyway, and thought he might as well die fighting. But I'm still awfully proud. Imagine if the murderer of your Mum and Dad were standing there, taunting you, telling you how he'd killed them.... Hagrid says Voldemort hasn't got enough human left in him to die, but he deserves to die- horribly- and he will one day, I know it.

Nothing Voldemort said, no matter how low and revolting, would break Harry. Finally, he ordered Quirrell to take the Sorcerer's Stone by force. But Quirrell couldn't! Every time he tried to touch Harry, his skin would scorch and burn- he couldn't get near him without howling in pain, Harry said. Voldemort would yell "Seize him!" and Quirrell would sizzle in agony. It held him off, but the downside was that each time Harry burned him, the pain in his own head was so bad that he said he thought his scar would explode from the pressure.

In the end, Voldemort told Quirrell to kill Harry, and be done with it-- just kill him!-- just like that. So evil. And, Gwen, he was really going to do it- a teacher, a Hogwarts teacher- and he raised his wand to strike out at a student with deadly force! That's when Harry reached up and grabbed Quirrell by the face, which burnt him so badly that he couldn't perform the curse! But the longer he held off Quirrell, the worse his scar became, until finally he couldn't hold him another second. It was too much. He said he found himself blacking out to the sound of Voldemort screaming "Kill him! Kill him!"

Hermione, this is truly frightening.

You should have seen Harry's face when he told it. Stark white. His scar still looks raised- it's bright and puffy. Dumbledore told him that a few more minutes and the exertion would have killed him. When he got to Harry, it was almost too late. He pulled Harry off of Quirrell and did some magic of his own, and we only know the following few things about what happened after Harry passed out-Voldemort left Quirrell's body and fled somehow. Quirrell is dead from having his life-force taken away. And we know that the Sorcerer's Stone has been destroyed.

Then the Flamels- Nicolas and his wife-

Yes, without the Sorcerer's Stone to make the Elixir of Life, they'll soon die. But Dumbledore says that to the well-organized mind, death is the next great adventure. Ron says Dumbledore's off his rocker.

But what of Snape? He was trying to save Harry? Then he doesn't hate him?

We know a little about that. Harry's father once saved Snape's life when they were in school together, though we don't know how or why. That's the reason he's worked so hard to protect him this year. But no, he definitely still hates him. Dumbledore just says he wanted to make amends so he could go back to hating all the Potters in peace.

But Harry- burning Quirrell's skin- how did he manage it?

Oh yes. Dumbledore explained that, too. It's actually very simple, and very beautiful. Harry's mother died for him, and he's shielded by that sacrifice. He's marked by her love, forever. It's right in his skin. Voldemort is too evil to understand that kind of love- he can't lay hands on anything so good without suffering terrible pain.

So Harry is still protected by her, even in death?

Yes.

Well, I could just.... cry.

Go ahead. I did. When Harry told us that part, I had to duck my head to hide a sob. And I noticed that Harry himself couldn't make eye contact with us- and even Ron looked away...

Then Madam Pomfrey kicked us out. She won't have us "ruining his health." Honestly! As if we didn't save his life!

Tomorrow is the End of Year Feast, and Slytherin's going to win the House Cup. But it's all right. We're all alive, and we've had an incredible adventure, and I'm just too tired to care about any old cups.

And that, Gwen, is the whole story.

 

 

HQoW

June 4

Gwen, nothing is impossible-nothing! I'll pass out from happiness!

GRYFFINDOR WON THE HOUSE CUP!!!!

We had the feast, and Dumbledore read out the points: Gryffindor-312, Hufflepuff-352, Ravenclaw-426, Slytherin-472. The Slytherins were screeching and banging their goblets on the table. It looked to be a rotten kind of party. The hall was all done up in their colors, and Draco Malfoy looked so smug that I leaned across Harry and told Ron I wouldn't mind if he launched a turkey-leg at Malfoy's fat head. Ron said, "Right, should've thought of that," and rather grimly grabbed a fat one from the platter. He was just about to hurl it, when Dumbledore suddenly said that, in light of recent developments, he had some last minute points to dish out.

Ron's turkey-leg froze. The three of us were rigid with excitement. I think we all sort of imagined what was coming. But we weren't prepared for how marvelous it could possibly be. Nothing could have been so wonderful.

"To Mr. Ronald Weasley," Dumbledore said, "for the best-played game of chess Hogwarts has seen in many years, I award Gryffindor House fifty points."

Ron's face went absolutely purple, and he dropped the turkey-leg on the floor as our table started cheering him like mad. I was smiling so wide I thought my face would split, and I think I cheered louder than anybody-after what he did down there-I was so glad!

"To Miss Hermione Granger, for cool logic in the face of fire, I award Gryffindor House fifty points."

Cool logic! I was so proud- I felt my heart grip up in my chest, and all of a sudden everybody was whooping- Ron and Harry were yelling my name- and I put my head down on the table and started to cry. My fifty points! I got them back!

"To Mr. Harry Potter." Gwen, I have never heard that hall so still. The quiet was immediate, and the hush was almost deadly. Everybody had heard about Quirrell by then. Everybody knew what Harry had done.

"For pure nerve and outstanding courage, I award Gryffindor House sixty points."

There was a rush of noise! Stomping, screaming, howling- Harry's eyes were swimming and he had to duck his face- everyone who could add could see it- we were tied with Slytherin! And that's when Dumbledore said what I think was the best thing of all.

"There are all kinds of courage. It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies- but just as much to stand up to our friends. I therefore award ten points to Mr. Neville Longbottom."

Dear Neville! He's never won so much as a point before! I had only just recovered from crying, but one look at his stunned face when he heard Dumbledore's words and I was off again-Neville was the hero! Everybody mobbed him- I thought the noise would take my head off- the Gryffindor colors suddenly splashed across the Great Hall- Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff were hollering, too- people were actually standing on the tables-Slytherin had lost!!!!!

GRYFFINDOR HAD WON!!!!!

The party we had tonight was unbelievable. Everyone was asking us to tell the story over and over- even begging Neville to tell his part. He was giving a rather shy version of events, but Harry said, "No, c'mon, Neville, tell the whole story," and Ron jumped up and said, "Yeah, Neville, move- here's how it was." The four of us then proceeded to act out the scene in the common room for everyone to see. It was so much fun, Gwen! They all gasped and laughed and booed in the right places-and then came the end, when I pointed my wand at Neville to do the Full-Body Bind!

Well, honestly, it wasn't as if I was going to do the curse, or anything, and I was just about to tell him so. But before I could explain, Neville had taken things into his own hands. He whipped out his wand and shouted "Wingardium Leviosa!" And my wand flew out of my hand as Neville dived behind a chair. When we'd recovered from laughing, Neville poked his head out and said, "Been wanting to try that all year," with the funniest little grin. We howled! I almost died laughing!

The night in the Forbidden Forest was the most mysterious of my life, the night with Norbert the most miserable, and the night searching for the Sorcerer's Stone was the most challenging. But tonight, Gwen-tonight was the best.

HQoW

June 5

Exam results, Gwen! We got them. In the excitement, I'd forgotten all about them- if you can believe that.

I'll try. And what's the verdict?

Harry and Ron both passed with about a 90% average. I was so proud of both of them! They do so well when they just apply themselves. Neville averaged around an 83%- he nearly failed Potions, and that took him down quite a notch. But he's so good at Herbology that it didn't destroy his overall!

And yourself?

I passed. With 102%. The best marks in my class.

Hermione! Well, goodness knows you certainly deserve it.

The best marks for a first year in forty-seven years! Prof. McGonagall told me that. And she said, "Miss Granger, perhaps we can make an arrangement. Come to my office if you'd like to talk about an extra class." And I did, and oh, Gwen, I get an extra class next term! I can't believe it! Prof. M. still likes me! I get to take an extra class!

I'm so proud of you, Hermione. Do your parents know?

No, and I'm off to the Owlery right now to tell them all about it. What a wonderful school this is! I'm so happy, Gwen. Mum and Dad are going to be so excited! Maybe I'll get to practice magic outside of school over the summer, too! Oh, I hope so, I hope so. I've got to go ask. Talk to you later!

HQoW

June 6

Hi, Gwen.

What, no more excitement?

No. Last full day at Hogwarts. I'm all packed. We go to the train tomorrow morning. I don't want to go. I wish school were year-round.

Don't let your friends hear you say that.

Too late. I sort of sighed it out over breakfast, and got a miserable look from Ron. "You're sick, you know that Hermione, don't you." But Harry said he didn't know, he thought he might like to spend summer at Hogwarts. (And that's when Ron flipped a pancake at his glasses. I guess I shouldn't have encouraged him with that turkey-leg the other day.) Harry doesn't want to go home to his Aunt and Uncle, but Gwen, they can't be that bad, can they? Anyway, I guess I am rather glad to have a vacation with Mum and Dad. But Gwen?

Yes, dear?

D'you mind if I go? I want to spend this last day with.... well, with Hogwarts.

Go.

 

HQoW

June 7

Well, that's it, then.

All done?

It's all over. Three months, almost, 'til I get to go back. It's going to be a very long summer. I'm going to miss so many things! Magic----we can't practice magic--- not even me--- I'm going to go mad.

Not even "Alohomora"?

No. I'm going to have to grab you in the Muggle way, I'm afraid.

I'll live.

The train ride was nice, and Mum and Dad met me with the car. I'm in the backseat right now. They have so many questions, but I don't feel much like talking--- talking makes me sad. Mum's up there whispering to Dad that she read in her "Muggle-born" book about how the first summer apart from school is always the hardest for the new witch or wizard, and how they have to be very delicate with my feelings. And Dad's saying, "Oh, she's too much like you. You've both got to learn how to take a vacation." As if I can't hear them. I hate it when adults do that.

Ron's invited Harry and me to stay. I don't want to think about them, either. It hurts. I won't be able to stay with him, I'm sure. Hope Harry will, though. His Uncle Dursley was at the station, and he was extremely rude to everybody. Harry shouldn't have to live with people like that. Sweet of Ron to ask us, really.

Oh, how will I ever do without them?!

Cheer up, Hermione-you always have me-and just think how nice it will be to see them again for the first time! And you can always send owls, can't you?

Yes. I can, Gwen. Thanks. I'll be fine.

Sigh.

Oh, what a marvelous year. I just know it can't get any better than that.

 

*FIN*

This work of blatant thievery is brought to you by a person who finished Book Four and thought, "Oh no! How will I ever manage until next year?"

She is still trying to manage.

//
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