The Sugar Quill
Author: Arabella (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Hermione, Queen of Witches, Book Four  Chapter: Chapter One
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The Secret Diary of Hermione Granger

~Year Four~

Based on "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" by J.K. Rowling

Disclaimer: Itís all JKR.

Thanks to: Zsenya, for generously posting everything for me; Honeychurch, for the great Guinevere info; and Kata, who encouraged this in the first place.

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A/N: Anyone whoís made it this far may have also begun to read Ronís Rants. Heíll be ranting rudely all along the way as Hermione continues to neatly chronicle her life. Youíll know thereís a corresponding "journal" entry if you see (Ron Rants) at the end of an HQoW diary entry. They will be posted separately.

***

 

HQoW

July 13

Hi, Gwen. How are you?

Perfectly well. Howís summer?

Itís... decent. Mum and Dad are adamant, though. I am not allowed to shrink my teeth. Youíd think theyíd understand. I look in the mirror and when I pull my hair back and smile with my mouth shut, Iím fine. But when I see my teeth.... itís never bothered me this much before, but it bothers me now. Iíd like to be.... Iíd like to be pretty. I know thereís more to people than their looks Ė heaven knows I learned that second year, with Professor Lockhart. But still.... I donít know. I hate that I even care.

I know.

No you donít, youíre Guinevere. Iíve seen what you looked like. Anyway, I donít want to think about it, because it depresses me. Mum and Dad... theyíre just not going to give in and thatís final. Why wonít they trust magic? Why wonít they just let me shrink them? Itís so unfair, itís just so unfair. Iíve put together a lot of research, and really reasoned things out, plus the fact that I know Mum wants me to be pretty Ė why else would she buy me that hair potion back in first year? But she doesnít trust magic. Neither does Dad. They love me, but sometimes magic scares them a lot, even though they try not to show it. And theyíre already hung up on my teeth to the point where they wonít let anybody else look in my mouth but themselves. Ugh, theyíre such dentists. They wonít even let my friends eat sugar if they can help it. I had to send food to Harry and theyíd only let me send sugar-free things. Iím sure he just loved that.

And why were you sending food to Harry? Is he quite all right?

Well, itís just that the Dursleys Ė here, Iíll copy his letter. Itís funny.

"Dear Hermione,

Isnít it great? I can use Hedwig! The Dursleys are scared of Sirius, so I get to use all my wizarding stuff this summer, which makes things a lot less miserable in this house. But listen, youíve GOT to help me with one thing Ė youíve got to send me something to eat. Dudleyís on a diet, so everybodyís forced to eat rabbit food. Seriously, you should see him - heís gotten so enormous that itís out of control. Heís wider than Goyle and a foot shorter, Iím not kidding you, which means Iím having to eat nothing but carrots and grapefruit. HELP ME. SEND FOOD.

Let me know how youíre doing,

Harry"

That is rather amusing. Hm.

Yes, and itís nice to be able to write him. I wrote back, of course, and sent food right away. Then I got a letter from Ron about it Ė shall I copy that one?

Please!

"Dear Hermione,

Howís life? Did you get that appeal from the Feed Harry Potter Fund of Great Britain? I laughed my head off, and Mum packed him up a pile of food Ė you know her, she practically had kittens when she heard he was hungry. Well, heís not hungry now. Errol took five days to recover from flying over about twelve mince pies. Then I heard from him that Hagrid sent him rock cakes (which he could eat if he were desperate, I reckon) and you sent him everything but sweets, so I guess heíll live. Still no sweets over there, eh? I disagree with that kind of torture. Hereíre some Every-Flavor Beans (donít eat the yellowish-green ones. Just donít.) I swiped them from Fred. Heís still got a huge stash from Hogsmeade last year. Go on, ruin your teeth, itíll be great.

Still no word on the Quidditch tickets. Iíll definitely write when I know. The match is on August 25th, so keep that whole week free, if you can.

Right, thatís it. Let Pig have a minute before you send him back, all right? He gets way too hyper if he flies two trips at once. Everybody here says hi.

See you,

Ron"

Whatís "Pig"?

Well, I suppose thatís what heís calling the tiny owl that Sirius gave him. Itís proper name is Pigwidgeon, Ginny told me. She named him. I like it.

The owl or the name?

Both Ė you should see him, heís the teeniest thing, itís so sweet. And do you want to see Ginnyís letter? Oh, never mind, of course you do, here Ė

"Hi, Hermione.

Things here are all right. Iím glad youíll be coming if we get the World Cup tickets Ė then youíll be able to meet Bill and Charlie and theyíre just great. Especially Bill, wait Ďtil you see how cool he is, and how nice! Heís so mature. I think Iíd really like having six older brothers if all of them were out of the house. It so makes me look forward to my seventh year. J

I got your letter, and yes, I burnt it right up. Donít worry, I know all about it, Iíd never leave anything like that lying around in a house full of boys. And now you know about me, too, even though you already did. Iíve been sort of obvious. Oh, well, I suppose I canít help it, but Iím telling you, Iím not being obvious anymore, Iím just not. Thatís it, okay? I wonít like him. But DONíT say anything about it in your letter, or anything personal at all Ė Iím warning you Ė DO NOT send anything personal back with Pigwidgeon (thatís the owl. Isnít that sweet? I named him. Ron hates it!) Anyway, Pigwidgeon tends to drop letters with the first person he sees, so donít say anything you wouldnít want Mum or Ron to "accidentally" read ten times.

I hope youíre having a really nice summer.

Take care,

Ginny"

So thatís how everybodyís doing.

Erm... what exactly did Ginny Ďburn right upí?

Nothing.

Ah, yes, Ďnothingí. Well that explains it then. Hermione, are you really not going to tell me?

No. I canít remember what I said anyway.

Yes, Iím sure youíve forgotten it word for word. Well, I suppose itís none of my business.... even if I am supposed to be your diary...

Good. Well, Iíll write again soon. Harryís birthday is in two weeks or so, and Iíll have to think of what to send him. Any ideas?

Oh, Hermione. Iíll think on it.

Thanks. See you soon.

 

HQoW

July 28

Hi, Gwen! Hedwigís just been here. She always knows when itís Harryís birthday. I sent her back to him with a birthday cake and a card.

Your parents let you send cake?

Well, as itís a birthday, and as Iíve explained to them about Dudleyís diet, they thought it was all right. Thatís how they are Ė Christmas and birthdays only. And I found him a present, too. Itís just a little thing Ė a tiny, wooden, three-minute hourglass. Just to remind him of the Time-Turner, and what we did with Sirius and Buckbeak.

I like that.

Me, too Ė I hope Harry does. In any case, heíll have cake, and Dudley wonít, and Iím sure heíll love that. You know, I could almost feel badly for Dudley, but from what Harryís told me I just canít care too much about the Dursleys. Itís really a crime that Harry canít live with Sirius. That would have been so wonderful for him. He could find out about his mum and dad, and get to know what kind of people they were Ė I wonder if heís even heard from Sirius since that letter on the train. I hope so. He needs that Ė and it would be nice to know that Sirius and Buckbeak are okay.

Iím sure theyíre fine Ė wouldnít it make the news if he were caught?

Yes, it would. Thatís true. Iíve been getting the Daily Prophet again this summer, and I havenít seen a word about him, so Iíll just assume that heís all right.

Any news on the World Cup?

No. But I did have a letter from Ron about Percy. Apparently heís gone to work for the Ministry, in the Department of International Magical Cooperation. Thatís such an honor for him! I know how hard he worked for all his N.E.W.T.s, and I know he wanted to go into the Ministry like his dad. I think itís wonderful, even if Ron says heís being, er, a bit over enthusiastic about it. Actually his words were, "That great giant braggart is lording around the house, boring the pants off everybody. Itís insufferable." And even Ginny said, "One more word about Abroad and Iím going to throw myself out a window." Poor Percy. Iíll bet Mr. and Mrs. Weasley are really, really proud of him, though.

Iím ready for summer to be over, Gwen. I miss magic. I miss school. Iíve gone back over all my notes and things, and Iím really ready for fourth year. I hope itíll be wonderful Ė I hate not being at Hogwarts. Regular life is so.... regular. Although I suppose it is nice to have a couple of months when Iím not in mortal peril.

I imagine it must be, yes.

I think things are really going to change for me this year, Gwen. I canít say why, I just have this feeling... Iím so different this summer than Iíve ever been. I saw Susie Raviski in the grocery market the other day, and I waved and smiled. She was so confused, she couldnít think of anything mean to do or say Ė I didnít even care enough to stick around and see -- and I used to be so affected by her. Isnít that weird? I donít know how that happened.

And I was reading back over you the other day, looking back at first year, and I just kept thinking Ė wow, what a little girl I was! I mean, I know Iím only fourteen in September, but thatís ever so much older than eleven, it really is. I feel things differently now. But sometimes I think Iím the only person who feels them. Sometimes I think Iím the only one who really sees me. And I wonder if anyone else will ever see me differently from... from what Iíve been before. I wish I could explain it better than that. Iím so much better at an essay than I am at this sort of thing.

Youíve explained it. I understand.

Youíre just the best, Gwen. If I didnít have you and Ginny.... and Ron and Harry, of course, but I mean if I didnít have girl friends... I donít know what Iíd do. Iíll write you soon, okay?

Okay.

ĎBye.

 

HQoW

August 22

Gwen Ė sorry Iíve been so bad about writing Ė just there hasnít been anything to say. But there is now! Iíve just had two letters. Theyíre perfectly Ė well Ė here, just read them.

"Hi, Hermione!

Guess what? Dad got the World Cup tickets! He got enough for all of us, and then an extra ticket each for Ron and me. He said we could each bring a friend. Well you should have seen Ron. "Ginny, you have to give me your extra ticket. Seriously, thatís not funny. I have to give Harry mine, heís with those Dursleys and I invited him first. But I invited Hermione, too, and Iím telling you Ė give me that ticket."

I pretended that I wouldnít, though. Heís having a fit right now. Of course youíre coming, I mean, you have to come, Hermione, who else does he think Iíd invite? But I canít say anything to him about it just yet, because itís hysterically funny, the way Ronís behaving. I expect youíll have a letter from him, flaming me. Ha!

Mum and I will come and get you by Floo Powder on Saturday at five. Get all your Hogwarts things together, and you can just stay here at the Burrow all week and catch the Express with us, if thatís okay with your parents. The letter attached to this one is to your mum, from mine, explaining it all. Anyway, they canít say no. You have to come. I canít have a whole week of Ron and Harry, with nobody to talk to about... you know. Everything. Not that thereís anything, really Ė I hardly even think about it anymore.

Send Pigwidgeon back with your answer, but donít sign it, or write anything that Ron might recognize in case he gets his hands on it -- please, donít spoil the joke, itís too funny. (I didnít grow up with Fred and George for nothing!) Just put a check mark for yes, and a line for no, and I promise Iíll tell him the truth in the morning, before you arrive, itís just too brilliant to torture him, and he deserves it Ė Iíve got years and years to get him back for.

See you Saturday!

Ginny

p.s. And of course, you have to bring Crookshanks.

-G.W."

Okay? So thereís that. And not five minutes later, Errol flew in with this one.

"Hermione,

Youíre going to kill me, but donít. Kill Ginny instead. Sheís being a selfish little git Ė she even just stole Pig to send her stupid letter to some friend of hers. Look. What Iím trying to tell you is this. Dad got some tickets to the World Cup, and he gave the two extras to Ginny and me. She gets to invite a friend. I have to invite Harry with mine Ė heís at the Dursleys, plus I asked him first, and heís a Quidditch player. I was going to bring you, too, but now Ginnyís ruining it by inviting some girl. Iím sorry, but itís not my fault. Itís really too bad, Ďcause I know if you could see this match, youíd understand why Quidditch is the best bloody sport on earth Ė and thereís no need to write me back about my language. Iím irritated enough as it is.

I guess weíll just see you on the Hogwarts Express. Say hi to your mum and dad from mine.

ĎBye,

Ron"

Gwen, Iíve done nothing but laugh. I could hardly write my answer. Finally, I did. I sent a check mark to Ginny with Pig Ė and this to Ron.

"Dear Ron,

Itís okay. Iím not mad. Iím sure youíll have a lot of fun, and you know I donít care anything about Quidditch unless itís Gryffindor. Anyway, Iíll bet I know who Ginnyís friend is, and if Iím right, sheís just a brilliant person Ė wonderful, really Ė and you probably wonít even miss me.

Say hi to Harry for me. See you on the Hogwarts Express, September first! And oh, donít swear in your letters, itís awful.

Love from,

Hermione"

Youíre a terrible person.

I know it. But the opportunity is too good to pass up. Ginnyís right. She says she has "years and years to get him back for" Ė well, so do I. Anyway, she said sheíll tell him tomorrow morning before I arrive, so heíll live.

I canít WAIT to see everyone!!!! Oh, this is going to be so much fun!

Whoís playing?

What?

In the Quidditch World Cup Ė whoís playing?

Oh Ė I donít know, Gwen Ė teams from someplace. Itíll be great. I have to go and pack! I have to be all ready by five oíclock tomorrow! Iíll write you when I get to the Weasleysí!

 

(Ron Rants)

 

HQoW

August 23

Oh my goodness. I love this house. I LOVE this house. The Weasleys call it The Burrow. Itís a completely magical wizarding house, and I feel so at home in it. Now Iíll never be able to bear summers in the Muggle world again, I know I wonít. I mean, of course I love Mum and Dad with all my heart, but this is how it should be. A million people, a lot of spells flying Ďround, and so much fun that you can hardly catch your breath. And Harry gets here tomorrow! Weíll all be together Ė oh, Gwen, I just, Iím so happy I could sing. But I wonít, because it would probably scare everybody.

How was your trip?

It was incredible! Iíve never gone by Floo Powder before Ė I mean, I knew what it was of course, and I knew how to do it, because I read about it in Muggle Studies last year when we were comparing modes of Muggle transportation like cars, planes, and trains to modes of magical types like Apparation, broomsticks, and Floo Powder. It was great to have Ginny and Mrs. Weasley see my house. They looked all around, and Mrs. Weasley had a cup of tea with my Mum before we went. I was able to show Ginny the telephone and the video-recorder and things, and she was fascinated. It almost makes the normal world seem interesting, when youíre in it with witches. Although I have to say, Mrs. Weasley was NOT HELPFUL about my teeth.

What do you mean?

Well, I thought Iíd make one last appeal about shrinking them, and get a grown-up witch to back me up on it. I said, "Mum, Mrs. Weasley will tell you itís not dangerous, sheíll tell you thereís nothing wrong with the idea, wonít you, Mrs. Weasley?" And Mrs. Weasley said, "No, I will not! Your mum is absolutely right, there is nothing the matter with your teeth." And then she pointed to Ginny and said, "This oneís always trying to get me to spell off her freckles. I just donít think itís good to encourage that sort of thing in young girls. Theyíre fine the way they are."

I am SO MAD. I told them Iíll just wait Ďtil Iím a fully qualified witch, and then Iíll do it myself! Mrs. Weasley said by the time Iím grown-up, I wonít care so much about it anymore, and Mum agreed. But I donít believe a word of that. Anyway, forget it. Iím stuck like this until I pass the N.E.W.T.ís.

All right, then, tell me about the Burrow.

Oh, Gwen. When I got here, all the Weasley boys (except Percy) were down in the paddock playing Quidditch. Ginny took me down there Ė itís like a little glen surrounded by trees, so if they fly low, none of the Muggles in the area can see them Ė and I looked up, and there they all were, flying around. I felt a little bit.... shy, all of a sudden. It was weird. I was going to yell up at Ron, but instead I just watched for a minute.

Finally Ron caught sight of me on the ground, and yelled, "Hermione! Hey, time out--" And then all of them landed at once. As soon as we said hi, I felt perfectly fine. Actually, I couldnít stop grinning. Thereís nothing like being surrounded by a wall of redheaded boys.

Hmmm.

Ron told me off for a minute about not informing him that I was coming Ė but he was grinning, too. And then Ginny introduced me to her brothers Bill and Charlie, and she was right about Bill. Heís cool. He looks like something out of a rock concert, with long hair and a fang earring and dragon-hide boots and things. Heís obviously Ginnyís favorite brother, and itís clear why Ė he adores her. He and Charlie both do. They were ruffling her hair and she was slapping at them, but laughing.

It must be so nice to have older brothers. I told Ginny I wish I had some, and she laughed and said, "Sure, but if you did have, youíd want them all to get lost. Have three of mine." Still, it must feel pretty good, to have so many people love you and look out for you. Plus, I think having all these boys around is what makes Ginny so laid back about things, when Iím not. Being an only child... well, Iím the only one who can make things happen, you know? Mum and Dad just have me, so I have to be everything. Ginny can just be herself. The only thing that seems to make her anxious is Harry. Oh, thatís going to be interesting, when he gets here tomorrow. Ginny cleaned her room about nine times, and heís not even going to see it, and even if he did, he wouldnít care. But I know the feeling.

So do I.

Ron said he wrote Harry today, and theyíre going to get him by Floo Powder tomorrow. He asked if I wanted to come, but I said no, that if the Dursleys are so hard on Harry for being a wizard, then as few of us as possible ought to be invading their house. I think it should just be Ron and Mr. Weasley, but Fred and George say they wonít miss the chance to see "that great fat prig Harryís always talking about." Thatís what theyíre calling Dudley. I think they just want to play a trick on him and try out some of their Weasleysí Wizard Wheezes.

Wizard Wheezes?

Oh, Fred and Georgeíve been making up all sorts of trick things Ė fake wands that turn into rubber chickens, Canary Creams that really turn you into a Canary for a minute, Ton Tongue Toffees that engorge your whole tongue Ė they want to open a joke shop when they graduate from Hogwarts. Theyíd written up order sheets and things, so they could start selling all this stuff at school this year. But Mrs. Weasley found all of it, and confiscated it. Sheís furious with them.

But why? That sounds like fun.

No, itís not. Itís really dangerous. Theyíd have to get all those items approved at the Ministry before they could sell them Ė thatís what Percy and their mum and dad say. They canít just go Ďround making up things, and having people ingest them Ė what if a spell goes wrong? What if someone got hurt? Fred and George arenít the most... thorough people in the world. They could easily make a mistake. I just donít think thatís a very good idea, selling trick items that might backfire.

Well.... I guess not.

Iím one of the only people who think itís bad. Ginny thinks Fred and George are a riot. Ron thinks Iím being bossy. I canít believe heís already started in on me and itís only been one day. "Lighten up, Hermione Ė oh, look, itís nothing to get in a snit about Ė save the lectures for after summer Ė stop, youíre sounding like Percy Ė" and then heíll put his hands over his ears altogether.

Honestly, Gwen, sometimes, I donít know why I have to like him so much.

P- pardon?

But then he does something nice, like throw a gnome for Crookshanks to chase when he thinks nobodyís watching Ė heís still pretending to think Crookshanks is a beast Ė but I know he doesnít, I know him, and I just - I canít help it. Iíve got a mess of feelings that wonít go away, no matter how reasonable I try to be. Over dinner tonight, when the rest of the boys came in from Quidditch, Mrs. Weasley was being a total mum, and saying things like "Well, Bill, Charlie - youíve met Hermione Granger? Sheís one of Ronís best friends from school." And Bill said, "So I take it, if we want the scoop on Ron, youíre the one to ask, hmm?" And Charlie said, "Thatís right, give us the dirt!"

I said, "Oh! Well Ė that is Ė Ronís very....." and Ron looked at me as if to say, "Yeah, what am I?" And then I just blushed, I mean, I just started blushing, and I couldnít think of a single word to say, and I donít know why I couldnít just be normal about everything, but itís hard. Bill and Charlie were sort of grinning at me, and at each other. Finally Ginny Ė sheís the best, Gwen Ė said, "Oh, no, donít even bother asking Hermione. If you want the real story on Ron, wait Ďtil Harry gets here tomorrow," and then she changed the subject to Quidditch, and everybody forgot about me. What a relief.

I donít know how Iím supposed to manage this. Thereís just no good reason for me to be like this. Iím so angry with myself, especially because heís not... so why am I.... Do you have any idea what this is like?

Oh yes.

WELL ITíS AWFUL. Especially when he doesnít take anything seriously. He actually asked me to do a Silencing Spell on Percy with magic, tonight. "Hey, Hermione, díyou know any Muting Charms? Iíd like you to shut him up so he doesnít ruin the whole week." Honestly. Sometimes I think he says things like that on purpose, just to annoy me.

Anyway, Iím going to try and forget about it. If I ignore it, maybe it will just go away. I donít want it. Iíll make it stop. Harryís coming tomorrow, and then everything will be back to normal.

Yes. Well.

Ohhhhhhhh, yawn. Iíve tired myself out. Ginnyís already asleep. Iím going to sleep, too. Goodnight, Gwen. Thanks Ė thanks for not Ė you know Ė saying anything.

Goodnight, Hermione.

 

(Ron Rants)

 

HQoW

August 24

Hi! Weíre leaving for the World Cup really, really early in the morning, but Iím over excited and I canít get to sleep! I donít know how Ginny does it, she just climbs in bed, and sheís out like a light.

Harryís here. They all went and got him Ė and blew apart the Dursleysí fireplace in the process. I guess the Dursleys had an electric one, so theyíd boarded up their flue. Plus, Fred and George did manage to feed Dudley a Ton Tongue Toffee, and they got in SO MUCH TROUBLE with their mum when they got back. Thatís really dangerous, what they did Ė if theyíd hurt him, they might have been expelled. Of course everyone else thinks itís hilarious, even Harry Ė and heís got to go back to the Dursleysí at the end of the year, so youíd think he wouldnít want to irritate them so much! Honestly, theyíre all just too easy going for their own good.

But I tried to relax about it because weíre all together again, and it is awfully good to see Harry after the whole summer. Thereís nothing that makes me happier than to be with all my friends at once. Ginnyís actually been really calm about Harry Ė Iím impressed. She told me this morning sheís not "planning on doing anything else idiotic, like sending valentine dwarves or singing get-well cards." And sheís "just going to try and get over it," if she can. Of course, the second he walked through the fireplace, she heard him from all the way upstairs. She started repeating, "Okay. Okay." And I said, "Yes, itís okay. Breathe." And then she raced down to see him with me right behind her, and when he grinned hello at us, she turned an incredible shade of pink. But after that, she really did seem okay. She was even talking to him normally on the stairs.

I jut wish we didnít have to leave her out of the secret about Sirius. I hate when thereís an awkward pause in the conversation just because Ginnyís present. I try to smooth it over so she wonít notice, but Ron almost blew it today because he forgot she was standing right there. I wish heíd be more sensitive of her Ė sheís not a little girl. I donít want to be part of kicking her out of the room when the conversation is private Ė sheís my friend.

Does this mean thereís news about Sirius?

Yes, heís written Harry twice and heís fine. We were able to talk about it a bit at dinner because with eleven people, it gets loud enough to cover a private conversation without having to rudely leave anybody out. Actually though, we didnít talk long about Sirius. There was too much other news. I wish I lived in the wizarding world Ė I found out so much just at one dinner! Of course, it makes a difference when two of the party are employed at the Ministry. They were talking about everything. Somebody named Bertha Jorkins went missing.

Whoís she?

A witch who worked for the Ministry, for the Department of Magical Games and Sports. She worked for the person who got us the Quidditch tickets Ė Ludo Bagman. I guess he hasnít even tried to find her! Percy says heís not very bright. But then Percy doesnít think anybody compares to his own boss at the Ministry, Mr. Crouch. Mr. Crouch, Mr. Crouch, Mr. Crouch. I have to admit, Gwen Ė I like Percy all right, and I think itís really great heís got his job and everything Ė but he really talks a lot about his boss. And he really does lord it over everybody. For once Ron wasnít exaggerating. Percyís trying to act grown up and impressive, and it rubs everyone the wrong way. He kept talking really loudly about some top-secret project heís working on. Well, if itís top secret, why talk so loudly?

Indeed.

But I didnít say anything. Itís kind of funny, the way Ron gets so irritated about it. I mean, itís only Percy. Anyway, the rest of dinner, all anybody talked about was Quidditch.

What do you mean, "all"? Did you find out whoís playing?

Mm-hmm. Let me think a minute. Itís..... Ireland. Ireland and.... hold on, I know this, Ron was just giving me a speech about it.... Uganda? No, they lost to France or something. Or did they beat Wales?

Honestly, Hermione. Top of your class and you canít keep two champion Quidditch teams straight in your head?

Well I wasnít listening! I was watching Crookshanks chase gnomes in the garden because heís just so cute. Anyway, what I said to Ron in that letter was true. The only time I really care about Quidditch is when itís Gryffindor, and Harry Ė people I know. Otherwise, itís just a sport. Not that Iím not thrilled to go to the match tomorrow Ė I am! Iím sure itíll be a fascinating experience. Wizards from all over the world will be there Ė itíll be really educational.

EduCAtional? Hermione, you go to an international match to watch the GAME!

Youíre scary, Gwen. Do you know thatís almost word for word what Ron said to me after dinner? Gave me a half-hour lecture on the joys of Quidditch before I was allowed to come upstairs. Heís obsessed. You should see his room.

Er Ė have you seen it?

Yes, I Ė I went in there today. But it wasnít any big deal, we were all in there, and it was just to show Harry where heís sleeping! Even though I have to say I felt a little funny, and I kept kicking myself mentally because thereís nothing in the least new or different about knowing where Róknowing where the boys are sleeping, because for heavenís sake, weíve lived together in Gryffindor since we were eleven. Oh why am I going on about this??

The only reason I even brought this up was to tell you that his walls are plastered with posters of the Chudley Cannons, and thereís a zooming Quidditch pictorial going on in there twenty-four hours a day. I donít know how he even sleeps.

Speaking of sleep, I need some. Weíre leaving here at five in the morning to go set up our camp.

Camp?

Yes! Mr. Weasley says the World Cup went on for five days last time, and weíre going to camp out at the game-site Ďtil itís through. Doesnít that sound like fun? Iíve never done much camping, but Iím glad Iíll be there Ė since the game-site is in public, all the wizarding people are going to have to behave like Muggles, and I donít think the Weasleys have the slightest idea where to begin. Every once in awhile, itís very handy to be Muggle-born. I hope the match doesnít really last five days, though.

What!? Why not? The longer, the better!

Well, itís my schoolbooks. Mrs. Weasleyís not coming with us to the match after allĖ sheís going to Diagon Alley and getting all our school things. Iíve never shown up at Hogwarts without reading my texts. Iíll need a bit of time to at least skim through everything before next Monday. But donít worry, you wonít catch me telling Ron and Harry that Iíd rather study than watch Quidditch for a week. Theyíd throttle me.

Youíre just lucky I havenít got hands.

Well! In that case, Iím going to bed. ĎNight.

 

HQoW

August 25

Wow. Thatís all I have to say. This is completely unreal. In all the books Iíve read, Iíve never been able to absorb what the wizarding population really is. Itís enormous. People are here from all over. Little tiny witches, three years old Ė oh, how I wish Iíd known what I was at that age! And lots of grown ups going Ďround, trying to look like Muggles and failing miserably Ė one man in the water queue was wearing a dress! He was so hilarious Ė his friend said to him, "Archie, thatís for Muggle women, not the men. You need britches like these," or something. And the man in the dressĖ oh, Gwen, he said Ė he said he wouldnít wear britches because "I like a nice, healthy breeze Ďround my privates, thanks."

I couldnít even look at Ron and Harry. I just burst out laughing like a maniac, and had to leave the queue altogether. How grown ups can say things like that and not be embarrassed, Iíll never know! And how these wizards and witches expect to get away with being out in public is beyond me. Theyíre so obvious! You should see the tents. They keep on having to modify the site-keeperís memory; heís the only real Muggle for acres. His nameís Mr. Roberts, and heís very muddled, poor man, because of all they Memory Charms theyíve hit him with. But what are they supposed to do? I mean, Mr. Weasley for example. When we got here, he didnít know how to count Muggle money, and it looked very suspicious!

Iím sure. How did you get there, anyway? You couldnít possibly have gone by broomstick, and youíre not old enough to Apparate, are you?

No, you have to be of age and pass the test. We had to go by Portkey. You know, magical objects that are enchanted to take you to a certain place? Only Percy, Charlie, and Bill were allowed to Apparate. So lucky Ė thatís so much easier. The rest of us had to climb this enormous hill and touch this manky old boot, along with Cedric Diggory and his dad. Did I ever mention Cedric?

I vaguely recall... something about Quidditch. Hufflepuff?

Hufflepuff. Heís their Seeker Ė remember, heís the one that caught the Snitch the one time Harry didnít. The honest truth is that he only won because the dementors came and made Harry fall off his Nimbus. Cedricís really nice about it, but Mr. Diggory was being very rude, rubbing it in that his son beat the famous Harry Potter at Quidditch. Cedric just looked sort of embarrassed. But wow. Embarrassed or not, heís extremely handsome and I canít believe I never thought about it before. I mean, Iíve noticed it, of course, but goodness! Now Iíve really noticed it.

Oh, REAlly.

Donít worry, Gwen. Itís not like I fancy him or anything. I donít know him at all, and Iím determined never again to like anybody just because theyíre nice to look at. Anyway, heís seventeen; thatís old.

Remind me never to tell you how old I am.

I meant old for me, Gwen, honestly. So, what else, what else.... Oh yes, the tents! You should see this place; itís marvelous! Ginny and I have our own little two-room flat, inside what looks like a normal two-man tent. I do love magic, and Iím so glad Iím a girl, because all eight of the boys have to share a three room flat, and Ginny and I get this one all to ourselves. Itís like playing house with a real house. Not that thereís been much time for that sort of thing Ė weíve been too busy running around and seeing everything, and running into everyone.

Other students from Hogwarts?

Oh, yes, pretty much everybody. We saw Oliver Wood Ė heís been signed to the Puddlemere Reserve Quidditch Team, and heís so happy! Iím glad for him. Then we saw Cho Chang Ė the Ravenclaw Seeker Ė Iíve mentioned her, I think.

Yes, briefly.

Well, we saw her on the way back from getting water at the tap, and Harry slopped practically the whole bucket down the front of him. Do you know, I think he... I think he might like her. I donít know for sure, but Ron seemed to be smirking at him, and I think Harry was blushing. Iím glad Ginny didnít see it. And anyway, if Harry likes Cho then heís as bad as I was in second year. I mean, Choís really pretty, but I donít think he really knows her, so what reason is there to like her? Not that itís any of my business, but still. Although I have to say, itís rather nice to see somebody else acting like a bit of an idiot. Is that bad of me?

Of course not. Did you see anyone else?

Yes, we ran into Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas in the Ireland section. The Finnigans have their whole tent covered with live shamrocks Ė Gwen, theyíre a dead giveaway if the site-manager sees them! Muggles canít grow plants all over their tents! Theyíre going to get in trouble, but it looks so great that I hope they donít. Lots of the Irish people were covered in shamrocks. Weíre supporting Ireland, too Ė mostly because Seamus and his mum looked like theyíd wrestle us to the ground if we said otherwise.

And tell me, because you MUST know by now Ė WHO are they playing against?

Bulgaria. Apparently theyíve got this amazing Seeker named Viktor Krum. There were a thousand posters of him in the Bulgaria section, but all they did was blink and scowl Ė I thought he looked really grumpy, and I said so. Ron just about had an attack. "Really grumpy? Who cares what he looks like? Heís unbelievable. Heís really young, too. Only just eighteen or something. Heís a genius, you wait until tonight, youíll see." Yes, Iíll see, whatever, Mr. Obsessive.

Well, whoís the favorite to win, then?

Iím not sure Ė Ireland, I think. Fred and George have bet Ludo Bagman almost forty galleons that Ireland will win it, but that Krum will get the Snitch. I donít think they should be gambling their whole savings, but itís too late, theyíve already done it. I canít believe Mr. Bagman would encourage gambling Ė heís the head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports! But Mr. Weasley says heís very lax about everything - and I guess he must be, if he isnít even looking for Bertha Jorkins, that missing woman. Heís certainly not being helpful to the people on security duty Ė heís been running around talking about Bludgers and Quaffles at the top of his voice, and heís wearing Quidditch robes.

Why?

I guess heís just very excited. He used to play for one of Englandís teams- Mr. Weasley says he was the best Beater the Wimbourne Wasps ever had. But some of the other Ministry officials are really unhappy with the way heís behaving. Percyís boss came by our tents Ė

The famous Mr. Crouch?

Exactly. And I can actually forgive Percy for being so hung up on him Ė I mean, the man is amazingly smart. He was dressed more like a Muggle than anybody in the whole place, even me. And he speaks something like two hundred languages, and he'ís very rule-abiding. I have a lot of respect for that, even though some people I know think itís a useless way to behave. Anyway, poor Percy. His boss doesnít think quite as highly of him as he thinks of his boss. Mr. Crouch was calling him "Weatherby" instead of Weasley, right in front of everybody. Fred and George went into hysterics, but I felt badly for Percy, and it made me like Mr. Crouch a little less, too. He should value an employee who works so hard. Even if Mr. Bagmanís not very.... er.... on top of things, at least heís fun. Heís commentating for the match tonight.

The match tonight! Oh, itís going to be so much fun. Weíve just had lunch, and now it looks like weíre going to go Ďround and shop through all the souvenirs. Ron says heís saved up all his pocket money this summer for this event. I donít know if Iíll get anything, but itís fun to look, and itís starting to get crazy here in the field because nobodyís even pretending to be a Muggle anymore. Magicís exploding everywhere. Mr. Weasleyís still trying really hard, though Ė he was trying to light matches earlier to cook lunch and everything, instead of just prodding up a fire with his wand. Can you believe it Ė a grown man whoíd never lit a match! I had to teach him how. It was an interesting experience.

I have to go, theyíre wandering off without me, and I want to see everything. Iíll tell you what happens with the match!

Or else!

ĎBye!

 

HQoW

That was just incredible.

The match? You saw it? Itís over already? What HAPPENED?

Now, donít get mad with me, Gwen, because I know youíre going to want details, but the fact is, I hardly know what happened. Itís all very well to explain a match when itís played by people I know, but I could hardly keep the Irish and Bulgarian players straight in my head, so it would just be a mess to try and describe the match. The battle between the Seekers was the only part I really got.

Fine, fine Ė tell me!

Well, all right, Iíll tell from the beginning, and then I HAVE to go to sleep because Iím exHAUsted. Ginnyís already gone to bedĖ she passed out at the table while we were having cocoa. What a day. So much went on, not just the match.

First we were out in the field going around and seeing all the souvenirs. Ron got a green rosette and a dancing shamrock hat, and a little tiny figure of Viktor Krum that walks around looking sulky. And then we ran across these things called Omnioculars, which are really great Ė you can dial the speed down and watch replays and things during the match, plus it tells you what the formations and strategic moves are called Ė not that I really caught any of them. And we needed to be able to see closely because we were in the Top Box, so Harry got some for all of us.

I donít know if Iíve ever told you this, Gwen, but Harryís got quite a lot of money. His parents left him a small fortune, I think. And you know... well, you know how Ronís family is poor? Well, I think Ron feels embarrassed when Harry can buy things like that for all of us, and he canít. I think heís jealous. And I hurt for him, because it bothers him so much. I wish it didnít Ė itís not important if he has money or not! But I tried to distract him anyway, by getting some programs for all of us so it wouldnít seem like it was all Harry. I donít know. I feel weird getting in the middle of that.

Donít, if you can help it.

I know. Anyway, Harry made him feel better, he told Ron that he could forget about getting a Christmas present for about ten years, and Ron looked much cheerier after that. And then there was a loud, distant gong from the direction of the stadium, and we knew it was time for the match to start! We hurried over, and climbed to the Top Box. I tell you, Gwen, Iíve had more exercise today Ė first climbing that big hill to get the Portkey, and then going up about twenty flights of steps to the very top seats in the Quidditch stadium, which was big enough to fit about ten cathedrals! And all the wizards and witches weíd seen camping in the field were pouring in Ė Iíve never seen so many people, let alone so many magical ones Ė it was so unbelievable to watch!

We were in the best box of all Ė all purple velvet and beautiful seats Ė the Minister himself was up there, and the Bulgarian Minister, too - oh, and guess who else? A house-elf! At first Harry called it Dobby Ė remember that one who tried to help him second year, the one who worked for Lucius Malfoy?

Yes, I do. Harry set him free with a sock, if I recall.

I still think thatís marvelous Ė in fact, Iím starting to get a bit angry about the way these elves are treated. This elf wasnít Dobby Ė her name was Winky Ė but she knew Dobby, and she said some very disturbing things about his freedom. She said that he was "wanting paying" which means that he has "ideas above his station." Above his station? Who wouldnít want paying for doing all the household work? Mum hires a housekeeper every once in awhile, Iíd like to see her find one for free! And then Winky said, "house-elves is not supposed to have fun," that theyíre just supposed to do as theyíre told Ė even if that includes going up to the Top Box to save their mastersí seats, when theyíre terrified of heights themselves!

Winky is afraid of heights?

Yes, and Mr. Crouch sent her up there anyway! Thatís horrible, I think.

Winky is Mr. Crouchís house-elf?

Yes, sorry, meant to explain that Ė but it gets me so mad, just thinking about how unfair that is! Donít you think itís unfair?

Well, it certainly doesnít sound quite right.

It isnít. How can it be? But I decided to think about it later, because Mr. Weasley was so nice to get the tickets, and I wanted to enjoy the match. But ugh, just when I had managed to direct my mind back to the program, the Malfoys came up. Draco and his mum and dad. Lucius Malfoy of course said something really nasty to Mr. Weasley that made me want to push him out of the box. "Good Lord, Arthur. What did you have to sell to get seats in the Top Box? Surely your house wouldnít have fetched this much."

He said that in front of the Minister?

Gwen, the Minister isnít... very.... well, heís just sort of a blustery person. I donít know how much he really pays attention to things Ė at least, he didnít notice anything that Mr. Malfoy was doing.

What else was he doing?

Staring at me like I was trash, like he did last time I met him. Just curling his lip and looking at me as if to frighten me out of the box. Draco gave all of us one mean sweep with his eyes, and his mother just ignored us. She was pretty, but she looked exceptionally snotty, and her name Ė you wonít believe it Ė is Narcissa.

How appropriate, Iím sure.

Hateful family. I just stared right back at Mr. Malfoy. I felt really upset, but I wasnít going to let him scare me. And then the three of them moved along and found their seats. Ron and Harry were both glaring at the Malfoys, and looking Ďround at me to see if I was all right about it. Theyíre great. I was quite all right, really, just.... you know, I think this is the real reason why I didnít tell everyone about Lupin last year.

Iím not sure I understand.

Because the whole werewolf thing Ė itís just prejudice. He was wonderful, even if he was a werewolf. And I know what itís like to be prejudiced against. I know how it feels to have people think badly of you, without giving you a chance to prove yourself. I know it, and I hate it, and I wonít be a party to it.

Well done.

Iím serious. Injustice does not go over well with me Ė Iíve been really sensitive to it lately. First Buckbeak, then Lupin.... and now these elves. Something strikes up in me when I hear about things like this. And I think it might be because of the way Iím treated by people like the Malfoys. The same way that I donít agree with teasing people about their looks, because I was teased and I know how it feels. Does that make sense?

It makes perfect sense.

Yes. Well, thatís enough about that. Anyway, what happened next was enough to drive it right out of my mind. Bulgaria and Ireland both did team mascot presentations. Bulgaria had brought veela.

I never liked those creatures. Sorry if thatís prejudiced.

No, thatís all right, actually. I donít like them myself. Theyíre very distracting. They came out, looking gorgeous, the way Iíd look if I were allowed to make myself over from scratch Ė you know, just perfect? And then they started dancing around. And then.... oh, it made me so MAD. Stupid veela.

The boys went berserk, didnít they?

Worse than that. They were about to leap out of the Top Box Ė literally! I yanked Harry back into his seat Ė I didnít even want to look at Ron. Both of them, losing their heads over a lot of pretty faces, itís just revolting, honestly. Later on, when they got angry during the match, the veela turned into giant, evil-looking birds, and Mr. Weasley yelled out "And that, boys, is why you should never go for looks alone!" I laughed at that Ė good for Mr. Weasley! Ė at least he knows whatís really important, if some people donít.

Some people just havenít figured things out yet. Donít be too hard on some people.

Hmph. Thatís all Iím saying.

Then Ireland had their mascot presentation Ė a lot of leprechauns flew through the air and made shamrocks out of themselves, and threw down gold pieces Ė it was wonderful! I noticed that Ron caught up some of the gold pieces and gave them to Harry, to pay him back for the Omnioculars. But the thing is, Gwen, it was leprechaun gold. It dissolves after a little while. If Ron would only read.... well, letís just hope he never figures it out. I didnít want to tell him.

Itís probably better.

Yes. And then, Gwen, after the mascots had gone to opposite sides of the field Ė the game began. Like I said, I donít know much about what went on Ė I tried to keep up, and of course I knew the basic plays, but this was Quidditch like Iíve never seen it at school. And I know Iíve said before that Harryís the best Seeker in the world Ė well, he might be the best Seeker of his age, but in the world Ė no. I mean, he could be, one day, but these Seekers.... they didnít care about what happened to them, you should have seen the way they dove Ė the Irish one, Aidan Lynch, got plowed into the ground twice. And I mean plowed Ė worse than Iíve ever seen Harry hit the ground, and thatís really saying something. In fact, Lynch hit so hard that he knocked himself silly; at the end of the game he had to ride on the back of somebody elseís broom when they did the victory lap.

Then Ireland won?!

Yes, they did. They won by ten points. It was an incredible game Ė Ireland was up a hundred seventy points to ten Ė the Irish Chasers were far, far better than the Bulgarian ones Ė but Fred and George were right on their bet. Krum caught the Snitch. But first he did this thing Ė he went into this dive that was so steep I screamed, and my Omnioculars said it was called something Ė a Wonky Faint, I think.

A Ė what?

Something like that Ė anyway, the point is, Krum wasnít even going for the Snitch, he was just faking out the other Seeker, and it worked. Lynch hit the ground and got badly shaken. And then Krum got hit right in the face with a Bludger Ė Iíve never seen anyone take a Bludger in the face like that Ė he was all bloody and it must have shattered his nose. But he kept on playing. Ron was right about him, heís very good.

Why did he catch the Snitch, if Bulgaria wasnít going to win?

Harry says that Krum wanted to end the match on his own terms. The Irish Chasers were just too good. I guess Harry should know what goes on inside a Seekerís head, since he is one. He was going crazy afterwards, talking about all the different strategic moves heís going to try this year in school Ė I hope he doesnít want to play like Krum, though. Iíd hate to see him get his face all smashed up and everything Ė at the end, when Krum caught the Snitch, he ran Lynch right into the ground again and then rose into the air, covered in blood. He was very brave, but I donít think Harry should Ė oh, who am I kidding, of course he will. Heíll do anything for Quidditch. Heís already fallen fifty feet from the air, had his arm de-boned and tried to ride a broom that was very likely jinxed. Heíll try that Wonky dive, Iím sure.

What does... er... "Wonky" mean, Hermione?

How am I supposed to know? Some special kind of move, I guess. Oh, it was wonderful to watch. And then the players filed up into the Top Box with us, for the awards presentation! We saw them right up close Ė Ron was about fainting when Viktor Krum walked in and filed past us. Krum looked a sight, Iím telling you Ė broken nose, two black eyes, round-shouldered Ė heís not famous for his looks, thatís for sure. But like Ron said, when he can play Quidditch like that, "who cares what he looks like?" Funny how Ron doesnít care what Krum looks like, but when it comes to those veela... hmph. Boys. Ron especially.

That really was a once in a lifetime experience, though, Gwen. You have to tell all your friends at Miss Vauclainís Ė it was just a wonderful match.

I will. Theyíll love it, of course. Thank you.

Sure.... Oh, Iím tired. My goodness, it must be almost midnight. I can hear snores from the boysí tent from all the way over here. I wonder who that is? Itís practically shaking the walls. I guess I ought to go to sleep. Weíre going back to the Burrow in the morning, and Iíll get to study the rest of the week.... Iím so glad.....

You know, Hermione, I have to side with Ron on this. Youíre out of your mind.

Oh, Gwen. Gínight.

//
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