The Sugar Quill
Author: Arabella (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Hermione, Queen of Witches, Book Four  Chapter: Chapter Three
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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.

***

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.

A/N: Some of you may have read my story "Sine Qua Non", and will therefore find that a certain section of this diary post is eerily familiar. J The explanation is this: I began writing these diaries before I ever wrote SQN, and it was HQoW that gave me the idea for that story. If you read it, you may have noticed that Hermione seemed to know an awful lot about that Amora Primus spell when

Professor Flitwick explained it to the rest of the class.

Well, now youíll know just how she became so well-informed.

***

 

 

HQoW

September 1

I despise Malfoy. Now Ronís going to be testy all the way to school. Why canít that little beast just keep his mouth shut? Doesnít he have anything to do except bother us? Iíll give him something to do if heís not careful.

Hermione!

You wonít say that when you know what he said. Just because Ronís dress robes are Ė well Ė not the best.

Youíve seen them, then?

Oh, yes. Big snit all morning, everybodyís in a mood. Ron and I werenít really talking because of last night, and then Mr. Weasley had to go early, and left Mrs. Weasley to bring us all to Kingís Cross Ė

Why?

Oh, he had to go get a retired Auror out of trouble. Mad-Eye-Moody is his name Ė or at least thatís what they call him Ė heís a very paranoid old Dark wizard catcher, and heís made a mess with some Muggle Artifacts. He always thinks people are trying to get him, so heís got the dustbins outside his house enchanted to go off, as a sort of alarm system. They started clattering all over the place last night because some cat tripped them up or something Ė anyway, he isnít allowed to enchant his dustbins and some Muggle policemen saw them going off, so now heís in trouble. Mr. Weasley has to fix it because thatís his department, and he likes Mad-Eye.

So he went off to work and so did Percy, and Mrs. Weasley brought us all to Kingís Cross with Bill and Charlieís help. We went by Muggle taxi. Do you have any idea what itís like to get six Hogwarts trunks, an owl and a cat, seven Weasleys, Harry and me into regular taxis? The drivers were baffled. Fredís trunk came open and his Filibuster Fireworks went off Ė poor Crookshanks was frightened to death and clawed the driver, who tried to kick him! But Ron said, "Hey, watch it!" and grabbed Crookshanks into the cab with us.

How nice.

Yes, well, you know him. One nice thing and then he counteracts it. He, Harry and I got in one taxi and Ron was trying to hold down Crookshanks, who was scratching him all up, and he snapped at me, "Donít think Iím going to apologize for yelling last night, now that this bruteís attacked me."

"You know heís not a brute Ė and you donít have to apologize, because I know all about it."

"About WHAT?"

"Your dress robes."

"Who told you?"

"Your mum."

"Some loyal family Iíve got!"

"Oh, hush, honestly. Your robes canít be that bad."

"Canít they. Youíll see Ė yeah, Iíll show you, who cares. It doesnít matter who sees them, Iím never putting them on. Ow!"

Crookshanks spent the remainder of the ride to Kingís Cross running across our three laps and giving us bad scratches because he was still in a state about the fireworks. It was some job, getting through the barrier at platform nine and three-quarters without any Muggles noticing all our commotion.

Then, when we were boarding the train, Charlie and Bill and Mrs. Weasley started getting all secretive on us, saying weíll have an especially good time at school this year because theyíre changing the rules. What rules? And then Charlie said weíll be seeing him sooner than we think, and Bill said he wishes he was back at Hogwarts this year for the fun, and maybe heíll come and see some of it. Some of what? This must be the top-secret project that Percy was always talking loudly about. Whatever it is, itís happening at Hogwarts Ė and Malfoy, at least, seems to know all about it.

Malfoy. Whyíd he even come into our compartment if he despises us so much? We hate him too, but we donít seek him out. It makes much more sense! I mean, we could hear him in the next-door compartment, so I just slid the door shut. Simple. Goodbye, we donít want to talk to you. He was in there going on about how much heíd rather have gone to Durmstrang to study, because they actually teach the Dark Arts there, instead of teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts like we do at Hogwarts. That schoolís got a horrible reputation. Malfoy would have been their prize student, Iím sure.

Anyway, we just tried to shut him out and enjoy the ride to school. Pigwidgeon was hooting non-stop at first, so Ron dragged this maroon thing out of his trunk and threw it over the cage to make Pig be quiet. Then he gave me a very dark look and jabbed his thumb at the maroon thing, and I saw it had sleeves and lace cuffs.

The dress robes?

Yes. Heís right, theyíre not very nice. But Iíd never let on I thought that. I looked at them, looked at Ron, and shrugged. I wanted him to know that theyíre not a big deal. He shrugged too, and seemed all right after that. Neville came in with us and Ron was showing off that sulky little Krum figurine he got at the Cup, and Harry got us all Cauldron Cakes, and everything was fine. Ron was telling Neville about seeing Krum up close, and about our being in the Top Box, and then we heard Ė

"For the first and last time in your life, Weasley."

Iím so sick of Malfoy I could scream, and we havenít even started school yet. I almost did yell at him when he picked up Ronís dress robes off Pigís cage, and started to mock them. What right does he have to make fun of Ron? Just because his familyís rich Ė he didnít do anything to get that money except be born into it. Itís nothing to do with whoís the better person, and itís just a demonstration of how poor Malfoy really is. But it still stings Ron, I know it Ė he went and told Malfoy to eat dung. His mouth lately Ė itís awful! But I wonít bother him about it today. Malfoyís made him so irritable itís not possible to talk sense to him. After he taunted Ron about the dress robes, he started getting on all of us about the secret project thing Ė asking if we were planning to enter.

Enter what?

We donít know. The secret project Ė whatever Mrs. Weasley and Bill and Charlie were talking about this morning. Malfoy knows what it is, though, and made a whole show of bothering us about it. I said, "Either explain what youíre on about or go away, Malfoy." But I shouldnít have said it Ė it was an admission that we didnít know the secret, and he just loved that. "Youíve got a father and brother at the Ministry and you donít even know? My God, my father told me about it ages ago... maybe your fatherís too junior to know about it, Weasley... yes... they probably donít talk about important stuff in front of him."

That was it for Ron. He slammed the door so hard after Malfoy that the window-glass shattered. I repaired it with my wand and said, "Ron!" but it was really just out of habit. I didnít blame him. He snarled at me, "Well... making it look like he knows everything and we donít.... Dad couldíve got a promotion anytime... he just likes it where he is." I could see how defensive he was feeling about his dad, and I just wanted him to know that I understood, so I quietly said, "Of course he does. Donít let Malfoy get to you, Ron Ė"

"Him? Get to me? As if!" Thatís how he ended the conversation, and then he turned around and started writing something Ė díyou know, Gwen, I think itís his journal! Ė and itís been quiet in here for an hour now.

I wish he had let me finish. I was going to tell him heís so much better than Malfoy that thereís no room in it for fighting and the same thing goes for his father. Although now that I look at it... maybe itís better I kept that to myself. After all, thatís.... a little bit too obvious.

Obvious?

Well, you know Ė you know I think Ron is Ė but he certainly doesnít need to know Ė and in front of Harry Ė well, Iím just going to have to be careful about saying what I think, or Iíll give myself away.

Gwen, I donít want to have to check myself! Itís so strange to keep something back from my best friends. But I couldnít ever say anything, or it would just be.... everything would be too different and awkward Ė oh, never mind. But why do I have this crazy impulse to....

What?

Well, when Ron looks upset like he does right now, I sort of wish I could... I wish heíd let me...

Oh, itís just wrong that heís all irritated like this, itís a horrible way to start off a new school year. Ron canít stay in this mood. Hang on a second.

***

Heís being so secretive lately. I just barely touched him on the shoulder and I swear he about launched out of his seat. I didnít mean to startle him! Then he slammed his journal, whipped around and glared at me. As if Iíd try and read it! I never would! I said, "Ron, are you all right?" And he said, "Perfect, thanks," in a sarcastic kind of voice that hurt my feelings. I just wanted to help. What a lovely journey to school this has been.

Plus itís raining like a fiend out there. Oooh, I wouldnít fancy being in first year and having to cross the lake in this weather. But at least weíre almost to Hogwarts. Oh, Hogwarts Ė school Ė everythingís going to be fine, Gwen, isnít it? Iím about to be home!

 

HQoW

Everything is NOT fine. Everything has been a big, fat lie Ė Hogwarts is practically a slave camp Ė I canít believe it Ė three years Iíve been contributing to the mistreatment, to the bigotry, to the oppression! I feel sick.

Dear, whatever happened? Who have you been oppressing?

House-elves! Gwen, Hogwarts has house-elves! The largest number of any dwelling in Britain! They cook our meals, clean our castle, light our fires, warm our beds Ė for nothing. No salary, no sick leave, no pensions Ė nothing! I find it appalling that my school takes such an active part in sustaining this injustice. How could Dumbledore? And all the staff? Am I the only living witch who cares a whit about whatís decent?

Iíll tell you one thing, Gwen, I wonít have it. I wonít take part. I wonít allow myself to benefit from slave labor.

What exactly do you intend to Ė

Iím on strike. I didnít eat dinner, and I wonít eat again. I wonít sit down in the common room and enjoy the fire. Iíll put a sign on my bed so they wonít heat it. I wonít HAVE it.

But Hermione, you have to eat.

Oh do I? Well maybe if I starve a bit and get sick, someone will see this is serious!

It doesnít work that way.

Oh no? How do strikes work, then?

Not like that! You wonít really starve yourself, will you? You mustnít.

Gwen. Do you understand. There are SLAVES at my SCHOOL. If I have to sacrifice a bit, it will be worth it. Someoneís got to listen to me!

Perhaps you could try another way of Ė

No! No, no, no Ė and thatís final.

No! For once, Hermione, youíll listen to me Ė you canít cut me off on this one.

Can if I want Ė youíre my diary.

Aha! So then youíll treat me like a house-elf instead? Excellent compromise.

Gwen! No Ė I didnít mean Ė you know thatís not what I Ė

I know. Just hear me out. The way to go about this is to enlist support Ė to make an organized commotion. Get people to understand your position and bring them to your side. Thereís strength in numbers. Now, whatís your position?

Well itís.... House-elves should be compensated, not enslaved!

Based on what? Was there a time they were free? Do you know their personal beliefs on the subject? What is their treatment, in comparison to the treatment of other non-human magical creatures?

I.... I donít know that. I donít know anything except itís wrong.

Which is an excellent start. But I suggest you do research, and find a better way to support your platform. If anyone knows how to go about that, itís you.

I know Ė I wanted to do research before Ė remember, I told you Ė

Yes, yes. Well, in the meantime, eat something, because if you donít, Iíd like to see how far you get on your research before you collapse. Not to mention that your brain will be addled all day tomorrow if you skip breakfast after skipping dinner Ė youíll ruin your whole first day of classes.

Oh no!

Oh yes. You wonít learn a thing. And your stomach will growl in a beastly way, and everyone will hear it.

Gwen!

Itís true. So. Youíll start eating again, is that clear? You wonít help these elves if youíre fainting all over the place.

Ugh, youíre just like Ron.

Why? What did Ron have to say?

He said I wouldnít get the house-elves sick leave by starving myself, and then he tried to tease me into eating dessert.

Good. I have an ally looking out for your interests.

He isnít looking out for anything. He just doesnít care about house-elves.

However youíd like to see it, Hermione.

I see it the way it is. And you can stop bothering me Ė Iíll eat breakfast in the morning, youíre put it to me reasonably enough.

Good.

But now.... I have some rather... well itís not good news, Gwen. I mean, it is, but it isnít. Youíll die. Try to stay calm. Itís... itís about Quidditch.

What? What about Quidditch?

Well, this year, the Inter-House Quidditch Cup is cancelled, and we arenít going to have any matches.

***

Gwen.

Gwen? Are you all right?

Youíre fibbing.

No, Iím not, itís really cancelled for the whole year. Believe me, Harryís upset too Ė he looked like someone had died.

Well. Well itís a tragedy. An unspeakable thing.

Goodness, I wish somebody would react this violently about house-elves. But cheer up Ė thereís something fun happening here, something to take the place of Quidditch.

Nothing can take the place of Quidditch.

Well... what about a Triwizard Tournament? Weíre having one. Itís a chance for the three largest European schools to Ė

Youíre having a Triwizard Tournament?! But thatís wonderful! Why, I havenít heard about one of those in absolutely ages!

Thatís because they havenít held one for a few hundred years. Anyway, how do you know about the Triwizard Tournament?

Well, it was established in the late thirteenth century, wasnít it? And Iím not quite that old.

Oh. Well when were you alive, then?

I used to hear about the tournament from someone who owned me, who had a friend at Beauxbatons. I wish I couldíve gone to one of the big schools! Youíre going to have so much fun!

Why couldnít you go to one of the big schools?

Oh, well in the first place, I was alive in the sixth century. Hogwarts wasnít established until the Ė tenth?

Actually, itís commonly accepted that it happened in the early eleventh Ė

Right. And even if Hogwarts had existed, my parents never would have let me go. They wanted my magic kept quiet. They were terrified that someone would discover I was a witch, and that I wouldnít make a royal marriage. They sent me to Alpenstachen for my education.

Iíve read of it! In the Alps somewhere, isnít it? All-female, very small, combines witchcraft studies with a modern classical Muggle education, and costs loads?

Thatís the one! Is it still around, then?

Yes, I think so.

Amazing. Well, I canít complain Ė I enjoyed it very much. But I always rather wished.... the Triwizard Tournament does sound like fun.

Well, I suppose it does. But Professor Dumbledore said something about there having been a death toll in the past Ė champions have died during the competition! Although it will be nice to meet foreign witches and wizards. Beauxbatons and Durmstrang are both bringing their short-listed contenders in October. I wonder who the Hogwarts champion will be? I hope itís a Gryffindor! Angelina Johnson says sheíll enter!

What about you? Youíre certainly smart and brave enough!

Oh no, I canít. Part of the new rules so there wonít be anymore deaths Ė you can only enter if youíre seventeen or older. Fred and George are positively livid. They really wanted a chance to get at the thousand galleons prize money, but they wonít be seventeen Ďtil April. I know theyíd all be mad.... but Iím glad my friends are all too young to enter. I wouldnít want any of them hurt, and we havenít learned enough to compete Ė who knows what kind of magic the champions will come up against? Maybe even Dark magic!

Oh, Gwen, Dark magic, guess what?? Weíve got our new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, and itís Mad-Eye-Moody.

The paranoid Auror with the enchanted dustbins?

Can you believe it? Another contender for the title of Most Bizarre Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor Ever. Really, there should be a contest. So far, weíve had a werewolf (granted, he was a wonderful one,) a silly fool, and a Dark wizard who was keeping Voldemort on the back of his head. Yes, Quirrell definitely takes the prize so far. But Professor Moody is already in the running if you ask me Ė his face is all gnarled and scarred, he has a wooden leg and a crazy magical eye, plus he enchants his dustbins. Canít we ever have a normal teacher in that class?

Apparently not.

I hope he can teach. I just canít afford another year like the first two, and I donít want to fall behind after all Professor Lupin did to bring us up to speed Ė I donít care if heís crazy as long as I learn something. Parvati and Lavender arenít sure about him, though. They were going on about his skin, his scars Ė they care way too much about that kind of thing. Do you know what they started doing over the summer? They started shaving their legs! Am I supposed to start doing that, too? Is it time for that already? Mum says once you start you canít ever stop and I just donít know if I can bother.... bothering. But I think Iím the only one who isnít doing it. Iíll just wear trousers. I donít want to shave.

Why do girls have all these things weíre supposed to do, and boys donít seem to have any? You donít see boys having to paint their toenails or pluck their eyebrows or wear make-up or... Gwen, I didnít tell you but I got a bra this summer, and just donít ask me about it because I hate it. Mum made me. She said it was time for me to start being "discreet". Lord. Itís not like I needed one that much. And I always forget to put it on because Iím not used to it. And I have to be careful what I wear because there are some shirts that you can see the outline through Ė and I donít want it getting snapped, or Ė or anybody knowing. Plus, this summer, I became a "woman", and donít ask me about that, either. Letís just say Iím grateful it happened over the summer with my mum there, and not here at Hogwarts. Imagine having to tell Professor McGonagall. Iíd die.

Suddenly this year I have about a million things that I canít ever share with Harry or Ron. Iím tired of being a girl.

Boys have their own set of troubles, I promise you. But yes, Iíll agree weíve got the worst end of the deal in the area of personal maintenance. You think you hate your underclothes? The first time I was cinched into a corset I fainted dead away. Horrible! Oh, the things weíll do to look lovely.

Honestly.

Honestly.

What a lot of fuss and bother it is, being us. But there are some girls who donít even seem to care Ė they seem to like it Ė Parvati and Lavender are all happy about shaving their legs. Maybe thatís not such a terrible idea Ė I guess it does look better. But no, I just donít feel like it. I feel like... sleeping, actually Ė Gwen, itís eleven-thirty! I canít believe I didnít notice! Iíve got to go to bed, itís late, and tomorrowís the first day of classes, plus Iím going to start up my research on house-elves. Iíll need to be rested.

Indeed. Goodnight, Hermione.

Goodnight, Gwen.

 

(Ron Rants)

 

HQoW

September 2

Ron has a terrible problem with cursing Ė and I donít mean the magical kind. Heíll need to start watching his language, or heís going to get into trouble. I came in from the library just now, and he was sitting with Harry doing Divination homework, and I swear I heard him say "What the hell is this supposed to mean?" I said, "Excuse me?" And he repeated, "I said, what on earth is this supposed to mean?" But really, Iím not deaf. And this morning, he said "damn" right in the middle of breakfast Ė right in the Great Hall, not ten feet from the teachers!

What for?

Care of Magical Creatures class Ė he was looking at it on the course schedule and he said, "Damn it, weíre still with the Slytherins." I gave him a look, and he just mouthed it again to bother me. And then in Divination Ė

Are you taking Divination again?

Oh, for pityís sake, never. But Lavender told me all about it tonight before she climbed into bed. She said, "I donít know why you bother with Ron Weasley, heís terribly immature." Which made me angry at first. I said, "I donít know what you mean by bother with him Ė heís my friend. So donít you say anything about him." She just gave me a knowing look and said, "Well, fine. If you donít want to know what he said to me then I just wonít tell you."

I donít know why, Gwen. But that bothered me a lot. Enough that I caved in and asked her what he said, even though normally Iíd have ignored her. But do you know what he said?

No.

Apparently, Lavender found an unaspected planet in her horoscope, and Professor Trelawney told her it was Uranus. And Ron said, "Can I have a look at Uranus, too, Lavender?" And you know he didnít mean the planet. He is immature.

Hm. Well.

Couldnít you just tape his mouth shut? Mum would wash mine out with soap if I ever said things like that! Uranus. What an idiot.

Er... yes... terrible Ė

Gwen, if youíre laughing Ė

No, no, of course not Ė itís abominable Ė completely immature!

I donít believe you mean that one bit, but he is awful, whether you agree or not. Oh, and this morning, he made fun of me for eating breakfast, too. "Youíre eating again, I notice," he said. I told him Iíd found another, better way to make a stand about elf rights, and he said, "Yeah... and you were hungry." Harry laughed, youíre probably laughing Ė why did it make me want to throw my eggs at him? He never says anything serious. Itís always a big joke. I really care about these elves, Gwen, and he wonít understand! And then at lunch, I was eating really, really fast, he said, "Er- is this the new stand on elf rights? Youíre going to make yourself puke instead?" He just never sees.

Well... neither do I, exactly - why were you eating so quickly?

To make extra time! I needed time to use the library, to do some of my elf research. Iíve got some extremely useful facts. Do you know that elf enslavement goes back for centuries, and hardly anythingís ever been attempted to stop it? People are too happy to have slaves to want to help them regain their freedom. Just because elves are a naturally pacifist species, itís easy for more powerful types to take advantage of them! I canít believe that witches and wizards, with all the convenience of magic at their disposal, would still choose to dominate elves! The poor creatures are smaller than we are, and theyíre not allowed to use their magic even in self-defense. Also, theyíre deferential to those who would cause conflict because by nature they abhor contention. Theyíd rather be slaves than stick up for themselves. Theyíd never cause a riot or a rebellion like the goblins are always doing. And now theyíve been oppressed for so long that they donít know how to fight! Theyíre not even referred to as elves in most of the books Ė people just think of them as house-elves Ė as if theyíve got no abilities other than housework! Itís rotten.

I have a lot more research to do tomorrow. I need to form a plan of action. I was in the library all night after dinner, but there was hardly enough time to find out everything I need to know.

What about your regular homework?

Can you believe I donít even have any yet? What a change from last year! Professor Vector didnít assign anything in Arithmancy, Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures were our only other classes today. Those are usually mostly lab classes, and we didnít get homework in either one Ė though we had enough work to do in both of them. Today in Herbology we collected bubotuber pus. It was fairly disgusting, but itís supposed to remove bad acne. We needed to bottle it up for Madam Pomfrey so that no one else will try to curse their pimples off.

Who did that?

Eloise Midgen Ė sheís in Hufflepuff Ė she tried to get rid of her acne and took her nose off instead. Now sheís still got pimples all over, plus her nose had to be fixed back on, and itís slightly imperfect on her face. Poor Eloise. It makes me grateful that all Iíve got to deal with is these giant teeth and this big frizzy puff of a head.

Oh, Hermione, Iím sure it isnít Ė

Yes it is Ė itís bad Ė but Iíll live. Hopefully, with school and elf rights, I wonít have time to look in the mirror. I donít want to be bothered. Just one morning back with Parvati and Lavender and Iím ready to give up on being a girl. They wouldnít even touch the Blast-Ended Skrewts weíre working on in Care of Magical Creatures class. Lavender kept protesting, "Eurgh, Hagrid!" in this really high voice. Does she think the boys are really going to fall for that nonsense?

Although, maybe sheís right about the skrewts. Hagrid has such a bizarre idea of what kinds of magical creatures we ought to be caring for. Skrewts do the following things: burn, sting, and suck blood. I rather agreed with Malfoy for once when he asked Hagrid why weíd want to bother raising them.

You agreed with Malfoy?

Partly Ė but I told him off anyway. He oughtnít to have talked back to Hagrid, and I wonít let him. Iím sick of him making all my friends feel bad. Before dinner, he was bothering Ron again, reading out the newest ratty article from Rita Skeeter at the Daily Prophet, which is all exaggerations about Mr. Weasley messing something up at the Ministry Ė plus, Malfoy was making extremely ugly personal comments about Mrs. Weasleyís weight Ė how dare he?! Mrs. Weasleyís the dearest mum in the world besides my own! Harry and I both had to grab Ron tight by the robes to hold him back Ė I really thought heíd clobber Malfoy that time.

One of these times, Hermione, you ought to let him go.

No. I donít approve of fighting.

Oh? Who gave Malfoy a good hard smack last year, then?

I was under severe emotional stress, and didnít know what I was doing! Anyway, Harry said something nasty to Malfoy about his mother, and then we tried to walk away from it, but Malfoy tried to shoot a curse at Harryís back.

And thatís when Malfoy got his comeuppance, better than we ever could have dreamed.

Why? What happened?!

Well, we heard the BANG! of Malfoyís spell, and then we heard another BANG! And a voice said, "OH, NO YOU DONíT, LADDIE!" It was Professor Moody. Heíd turned Malfoy into a ferret.

Really!

A little white ferret. And he was very calmly bouncing him up and down on the floor with his wand. Said he thinks attacking from the back is a "stinking, cowardly, scummy thing to do." We just stared, open-mouthed, until Professor McGonagall came along and threw a fit at Professor Moody Ė teachers at Hogwarts arenít ever allowed to use Transfiguration as a punishment. But even though I know Malfoy could have really been hurt, I have to admit there was something incredibly satisfying about seeing his little ferrety self getting bonked about the corridor like that. Iíve never seen Ron so uplifted. It was an answer to his every prayer. "Draco Malfoy, the amazing bouncing ferret..." he said. I couldnít help but laugh with Harry at the expression on his face.

I can only imagine.

Imagine perfect revenged contentment and youíll have it about right. Ahhh.... what a loaded first day back at school, Gwen. I missed it here Ė even if we do have house-elves. Iím wonderfully tired, and I canít wait to go to sleep, and have it be morning, and start it all over.

Goodnight then, my dear.

Goodnight, Gwen.

 

 

(Ron Rants)

 

 

HQoW

September 3

Hi! Just wanted to tell you that I found out some new facts about elves in the library after dinner tonight. Can you believe that there isnít a single elf in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures? Theyíre shockingly underrepresented! Itís an outrage! They havenít got any political voice at all....

Oh, poor Neville. Thatís just disgusting.

What did he do?

Heís covered in toad guts Ė he looks miserable. He melted his sixth cauldron in Potions this afternoon, so Snape gave him detention and made him disembowel a barrel of horned toads. Snapeís in such a bad mood Ė he hates Mad-Eye-Moody. Not that thatís surprising Ė heís always hated our Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers because he wants that job for himself. But heís too scared of Professor Moody to be openly mean to him, so now heís taking it out on us. Poor Neville - he looks like heís about to faint and heís holding his hands out in front of him like he wants to get rid of the toad guts, and doesnít know how.

Iím telling you, go and get that Frog Spawn soap I told you about last year. That stuff works wonders underneath the fingernails.

Ew. Gwen, I have a confession... I never actually used it. I got Professor Flitwick to teach me a Scouring Charm instead. Sorry.

Ah well. To each her own.

Yes. Oooh, just a second, Iíve got to help Neville Ė heís trying to do a Stripping Charm and thatís not meant to be used on skin!

 

HQoW

It makes me so happy when I can do something nice for somebody, and it makes me even happier when it gets noticed. I mean, of course Neville noticed, they were his fingernails, and of course he said "Thanks, Hermione, youíre the greatest," like he always does. But Ron and Harry just sat and watched me clean him up, and then, when Neville went off upstairs, Harry said, "Whereíd you learn that one, Hermione? We havenít gotten to it in Charms, have we?" I said no, and then told them about last year, when I had all that ink under my nails from all that extra class work. I told them how Iíd gone and gotten help from Professor Flitwick so I could keep clean. Ron shook his head and said, "You know, I reckon you work harder than anybody in this school, and still you come up with time to do stuff like that. Iíll never know how."

And now I feel warm all over, and my stomachís jumpy.... and I canít look at him. Iím not in the mood to tell you what Iíve discovered about elves, if you donít mind.

I donít mind.

I was going to go upstairs and work on elf rights, but now I just want to stay down here with.... my friends.

Well you donít have to write just now Ė why donít you go talk with him?

I donít really want to talk, I just want to sit by him, and I guess Iíll write awhile because I donít know what to do with my hands. But I donít really have anything to write, either.... Gwen.... Iím just losing it. Thatís what this feels like.

I know.

I swear there are a million pins and needles sticking into me and he didnít even really do anything.... I just canít make myself sensible... I should just go to bed, but I canít bring myself to go upstairsĖ tell me something, tell me a story, distract me!

Well... thereís always... would you like me to teach you a powerful spell?

Oh, yes, please, teach me something. Thatís the best distraction ever. What spell?

A very distracting spell. Amora Primus. Have you heard of it?

No! Tell me, tell me.

Very few people have heard of it Ė itís a powerful invocation Ė it only works under the rarest of circumstances, and it was only performed successfully once during my lifetime.

What kind of spell is it?

Roughly translated, the spell means "First Love".

Gwe - en!!!! Youíre never going to distract me that way....

Shall I stop?

NO!

All right then. Youíve heard in fairy stories, I suppose, of the magic power of Loveís First Kiss?

Yes, in Sleeping Beauty and Snow White and things. The prince comes along, and.... Gwen. Youíre not going to tell me thatís real?

Amora Primus is the spell behind the legend. Itís the most forceful of the four basic kissing spells. The other three are rubbish in comparison Ė childís play Ė the kind of seducing spells that donít mean anything in matters of the heart. This one only reveals what already exists, and the only opportunity to perform it comes at the moment of a loverís near-death.

Oh! How does it work?

Well, suppose a witchís true love lies unconscious and perishing Ė suppose that help is too far off, and itís almost certain the man will die in moments. That is when the witch can place her wand-hand over his heart and invoke "Amora Primus" just before kissing him. If the invocation is successful, her kiss will restore him to life.

However.

It only works once. Once you have uttered "Amora Primus" with magic behind it, it will lose its meaning, and you can never perform it again. So itís imperative that you choose the moment wisely- this is one reason itís rarely performed, people are afraid to waste their chance. Also, you must be absolutely certain that the person who lies dying is your one true love Ė your only match. If he is not, then the spell will go into reverse.

You mean Ė

Instead of restoring the man, he will be killed instantaneously Ė this is the other reason itís almost never used. People are afraid to hasten their sweetheartsí deaths. Theyíre also afraid to find out that the person they think they love is not their one and only mate.

Ohhhhh.... thatís amazing, Gwen.... but then if it succeeds, you know beyond all doubt that the man is your only match.... how roman tic....

Yes, it is. Itís the most romantic spell on record, if you ask me.

And does it work only for women, or can men perform it, too?

It can be performed by either witch or wizard. Any other questions?

Yes, one more thing. Who was the one person in your lifetime that accomplished it properly?

It was I myself.

You!!

Yes. That was the day Ė that was the day that Lancelot discovered I was a witch Ė and all my fears were quelled, because I thought he would hate me when he found out.

Oh Ė oh, what happened?

We were... it was... well, thatís another story.

No it isnít!

Oh, yes it is. Some other time. Period.

Oh, all right... but how brave you were Ė you risked it when no one else would! and it worked, so you really knew that he was your.... oh, Gwen, what a wonderful spell!

It was quite a moment. Have I sufficiently distracted you?

Well, youíve certainly given me something to think about... Can I tell it to Ginny?

Certainly. I think people ought to know what their options are, in the event of an accident. Just warn her of the consequences of using it out of turn. Iím sure you two will be the only girls to know about this spell in all of Britain. Itís ancient magic, and probably long out of practice. Iím not sure. We were all taught it in my day, but I havenít heard it referred to in at least two hundred years.

Goodness, two hundred years Ė OW!

Whatís wrong?

Ron just kicked me in the shoe! Hang on a minute.

***

Unbelievable. He wants to know what the second ingredient is in a Dehydrating Potion, because weíre supposed to write up a summary of the recipe before we try it in class.

"Honestly, Ron Ė youíve got the book right in front of you!"

"Yeah, but whatís the point of wasting time? You know it, donít you?"

"Iím not going to tell you if you canít look it up!"

"Well, we know who your friends are then, donít we?"

"Whatís that supposed to mean?"

"You helped Neville with the toad guts."

"Thatís different!"

"How?"

"It just.... it just is!"

"How?"

"Well, it wasnít homework!"

"It was detention stuff, thatís almost homework."

"Youíre impossible."

"Yeah, so whatís the second ingredient? Come on, youíre making this a lot harder than it has to be."

!!!!! Do you see what I have to put up with? Iím going to find Ginny, and tell her about Amora Primus. If I stay down here, my romantic mood will be entirely spoiled. Never mind, it already is.

Ah yes. Reality.

Gwen, your reality certainly sounds like it was a lot nicer.

Oh, Hermione. One day Iíll tell you a story to make you eat your words.

Sure, fine. Iím going to tell Ginny that her brother is the most irritating person in all Britain.

Yes. Did you tell him the second ingredient?

Of COURSE not!

Good. Goodnight, my dear.

Goodnight.

 

HQoW

September 4

At last! Iíve finished the manifesto! Do you want to hear it?

The manifesto? What are you talking about?

Well, I need a statement, donít I? If Iím going to do what you said, and rally people to my side about elf rights, then Iíll have to explain to them why itís so important, so Iíve written up a credo for the group. Our heading is, "Stop the Outrageous Abuse of Our Fellow Magical Creatures and Campaign for a Change in Their Legal Status". Iíve done it up on a sheet of parchment. Now all Iíve got to do is put the heading on fifty badges, but Iím going to leave that until tomorrow, as itís too late tonight. But would you like to hear the basic idea?

Yes, please.

All right. First Iíve written a summary of elf history Ė pretty much the same thing I told you the other day. And then Iíve written:

OUR SHORT TERM AIMS:

  1. To secure house-elves fair wages
    1. Obtain holiday and overtime compensation
    2. Legalize a standard minimum wage
  1. To secure house-elves fair working conditions
    1. Introduce pension plans
    2. Guarantee sick leave
    3. Outlaw physical and verbal harassment in the workplace

OUR LONG TERM AIMS

  1. Amend clause three of the Code of Wand Use, which states that "No non-human creature is permitted to carry or use a wand", to exclude the elf species.
  2. Appoint an elf to the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.

So, what do you think?

Very well thought out, I must say.

Thanks! I canít wait to show Harry and Ron tomorrow Ė when Iím all done with the badges and Iíve got a collecting tin, then Iíll be able to move this project out of the library and into the houses. Iíll charge two sickles to join the campaign Ė thatíll fund the leaflets Ė and Iíll make Ron treasurer and Harry secretary.

My only big worry is that Ron wonít bother joining, since he thinks that elves are happy being stepped all over. But Iím not giving up on him, I know I can change his mind Ė if I just explain it, heíll come around.

And if he doesnít?

Why? Donít you think he will? Heís got to have an ounce of sense in there somewhere Ė Iíll find it Ė Iíll make him. Anyway, heís treasurer, so heíd better get used to it. I canít do this all by myself, and Iíve helped the two of them on hundreds of things. Now Iíve just got one other little problem.

Which is?

Well, "Stop the Outrageous Abuse of Our Fellow Magical Creatures and Campaign for a Change in Their Legal Status" doesnít fit on the badges. I donít know how to shorten it. S.O.A.O.F.M.C.C.C.T.L.S. doesnít even fit on there.

Itís also rather difficult to remember. What you need is a slogan. Something short, catchy and memorable. Canít you think of any other way to summarize your cause?

Er.... not off the top of my head. Maybe if I took out "Outrageous"?

Well, no. I was thinking, scratch the whole heading, and think of a completely different way to say it. Try to do it in five words or less.

Okay..... Stand Up for Elfish... no. Elves are People... no. Non-Human Rights... oh, Gwen, this is hard. Hang on.

Start it with something like, "Campaign for the..." or "The _______ Society of _______". Think about it. Just mull it over, and youíll come up with something.

Well I have to come up with it by tomorrow after dinner, thatís when Iím doing the badges. But all right, Iíll see what I can come up with. "Society for the ______." I like that. "Society." All right, thatís a good start Ė thanks, Gwen.

Anytime. Let me know what you come up with.

I will, tomorrow! ĎBye, Gwen!

 

HQoW

September 5

Brats, theyíre both brats. I canít believe theyíre calling it "spew". Itís S Ė P Ė E - W. S.P.E.W. Not "spew". I should have known theyíd be immature Ė Lavenderís right, Ron canít be serious about anything important, and I donít even have time to be mad about it because Sirius is coming back and now Iím too worried for him and for Harry to get angry about S.P.E.W.

Slow down! Iím way behind Ė S.P.E.W.?

Yes, I managed to do it Ė itís the slogan Ė Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. S.P.E.W. Isnít that perfect? And it fits on the badges, and itís great. If they wouldnít call it "spew" it would be even better. Why must everything important be reduced to a joke with them?

Well... the letters do spell spew.

Hmph!

Iím sorry, Hermione, but... well... what do you want me to say?

So what if they spell spew? What does it matter, when it stands for something real?

Itís just that people are going to have a hard time wanting to wear badges that say spew.

S Ė P Ė E Ė W!!!!!

Right. Sorry. But you understand what Iím saying, donít you? It has nothing to do with you Ė I know youíre mature enough to wear your.... unfortunate acronym. But canít you put something else on the badges?

No, theyíre all done! Oh, I could just scream.

Donít scream. Calm down, itís going to be all right, youíll be fine, itís only a name, and people will get over it. Iím sure youíll be able to convince everyone that itís the effort toward freedom that really counts for something. I know you will. Youíve worked very hard, and Iím proud of you.

Hmph.

Really, Hermione. Itíll be all right.

Yes, it had better be. Iíll make everyone see. They have to see. Itís too much, going to meals three times a day and knowing that all the time, underneath the floors, these poor creatures are being taken advantage of, and Iím a part of that Ė oh, Gwen, itís so rotten.

Youíll help change it. Look what you did for Buckbeak! Youíre a champion of the less-fortunate, I have utter faith in your ability to make a change.

Thank you, Gwen. Youíre always such a comfort.

I hope so. Now, back to that other thing you said Ė Sirius is coming back?

Yes. Remember Harry wrote him about his scar hurting? Well Hedwig finally came back with the reply today. Sirius said that Harryís scar is the latest in a series of unsettling reports that have reached him, and heís coming back and going into hiding nearer to Hogwarts Ė we donít know where Ė but close enough that he can be on hand if something happens. Harryís furious Ė he thinks now Sirius will be caught, and itíll be all his fault for complaining that his scar hurt. Heís terrified of losing his godfather, now that heís finally found him. I would be, too. I wish Sirius would stay in hiding far away... but then I also think itís good that heís coming, because I donít feel right about all the funny things thatíve happened Ė like the Dark Mark and the Death Eaters.

And Harryís scar.

Yes, and Harryís scar. Itís like a direct link to all these other things, and it scares me. Sirius said for Harry to go to Mad-Eye Moody if it hurts again. He said that since Professor Moodyís here, heíll be reading the Dark magic signs, even if nobody else is. Thatís what Professor Moody used to do, as an Auror - and he was one of the best Aurors ever. They say that half the cells in Azkaban are full because of him. I believe it, now that weíve had class with him. What a nightmare of a lesson he gave us today, Gwen. He frightened everybody.

Why? What did he do to you?

Nothing to us. Itís what he did to these three spiders. He performed the Unforgivable Curses on them. First he put the Imperius Curse on one and made it do tricks, everyone was laughing Ė and then he said, "Youíd like it, would you, if I did it to you?" Everyone got very still. No, we certainly would NOT. Thatís the curse those Death Eaters were using to contort the Muggle family in the sky, at the World Cup. That would be perfectly awful. It gave me the shivers Ė Gwen, I hope... nobody ever tries that on me.

Theyíd better not.

Yes. Then Professor Moody took out the second spider, engorged it to the size of a large hand, and put the Cruciatus Curse on it. It crumpled into itself Ė it looked like it would have screamed if it had a voice. It was awful to watch Ė and it really disturbed Neville. He was white and clenched Ė I havenít seen Neville look like that since last year, when that dementor came into our compartment on the Hogwarts Express. He was completely undone, just watching the spider get tortured. Heís very sensitive.

But the worst was last Ė Professor Moody asked if any of us knew the third curse and I said yes. Avada Kedavra. Everybody flinched. And then Professor Moody pulled out the last spider....

Avada Kedavra Ė itís just a couple of words and a flash of green light. And thatís... it. Dead. Harry just stared. Thatís how his mum and dad were murdered, just like that, just that fast. How awful for him to see a creature die just the way they did. I was watching him, and watching the spider, and trying to imagine what he must be feeling Ė but I never can. Itís hard to know, with Harry. He doesnít let on at all. Moody said to him after class, "It seems harsh maybe, but youíve got to know. No point pretending." Harry just acted like he was perfectly fine. He always does.

Neville didnít though Ė he was truly disturbed, couldnít string a sentence together. After Moody had made sure of Harry, he took Neville to his office for tea. Neville looked pretty scared to go with him, but later on, he told us that Moody had given him "Magical Water Plants of the Mediterranean" to read, because heíd heard from Professor Sprout that Nevilleís really great in Herbology. It cheered Neville up a lot to hear that. He doesnít get a lot of compliments about his class work.

That was very sympathetic of Professor Moody.

Yes, itís something Professor Lupin would have done. I guess Moodyís rather perceptive, what with that magical eye. Itís so weird, that thing. It rolls around in the socket like a cue-ball and it can see through wood, and the back of his head, and everything Ė he scared Lavender by seeing through her desk and catching her looking at her Divination horoscope under there. I imagine he can see through the very walls.

Oh, no. Gwen. You donít suppose that eye of his can see through clothes!

Iím sure it absolutely canNOT.

Yes, youíre right, Dumbledore would never let... still it seems like if he can see through wood.... you know what? Iím not ever going to think about that again. But Iíll say once more that it would be highly appreciated if next year, Hogwarts hired a NORMAL PERSON TO TEACH US. Oh, I should just give up. Iíll have freed every elf in the world before Dumbledore hires an ordinary witch or wizard.

Speaking of elves, do you know what Ron said? Aside from making fun of my badges and calling my organization "spew", he actually said, "Hermione, open your ears. They. Like. It. They like being enslaved." I mean, is he insane? He canít really think that! Heís too smart to think that Ė I know he doesnít act like heís smart, but he is. Ugh, why wonít he grow up?

Patience.

Are the elves supposed to have patience? Oh, never mind, itís been a long day and Iím worried about Harry and Sirius so Iím getting snippy. I have to go to bed. Iím starting my campaign tomorrow, and whether Ron and Harry like it or not theyíre going to wear these badges and canvass the other students. And if they wonít help, then Iíll do it by myself. See you later, Gwen. Goodnight.

 

(Ron Rants)

//
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