For Harry, it was quite simple--but what about Hermione? A first-year
No wonder no-one can stand her--she’s a nightmare, honestly. .
. . She must have noticed she’s got no friends.
Hermione Granger stared into her trunk, her hand still on her neatly
pressed school robes. She’d thought nothing could get the memory of that
mountain troll out of her head, but Ron Weasley’s words were doing it
quite effectively. A little strange, because it had been those words that
had sent her into the bathroom in the first place.
What on earth, she asked herself for the hundredth time that
morning, had prompted them to come after her?
Hermione sniffed loudly as she started to get dressed. She was grateful,
of course, quite grateful--and really, Ron should thank her that
she’d taught him Wingardium Leviosa so effectively in class that he’d
remembered it in a time of panic--
She hadn’t done her homework.
Hermione stared wide-eyed at the stack of blank, empty parchment,
the books she hadn’t so much as looked at last night. There wasn’t
time--oh dear oh dear. She wasn’t looking forward to Professor
McGonagall’s disapproval, after her mad lie of the night before (what
had she been thinking? Could take on the troll, indeed!) and her
loss of five whole points. She didn’t want to lose the professors’ approval--it
seemed to be all she had right now.
When she’d first come to Hogwarts, she’d been so sure that it would
be different here--people would like her for her clever mind, the
way her dad had always assured her would happen someday. She’d pictured
herself as part of a large, brilliant group of friends, doing things together--eating
meals, studying, debating, reading. It had been such a relief when
she’d gotten the Hogwarts letter--at last she would be with people like
her . . .
But instead, witches and wizards were just the same as Muggle girls
and boys. All Parvati and Lavender cared about was giggling and gossiping
and being silly. All Harry and Ron cared about was Quidditch and their
silly broomsticks and mucking around. She’d taken to spending all her
time in the library, just like grade school.
Hermione sat down on the lid of her trunk with a thump. The
horrid thing was, she would’ve almost liked to be friends with those particular
two--not Parvati or Lavender, they were just hopeless--but Harry and Ron.
Harry was Muggle-raised, just like her, even if his mum had been
a witch and his dad a wizard. She would love to have someone else around
to talk about all the strange new things in the wizarding world. And Ron--she’d
seen Ron playing chess with Harry, and she loved to play chess.
She was certain she could take him. And he might even have a mind under
all that carrot-on-fire hair--some of the things he’d said to her, while
they’d been nasty, had been rather nastily clever, too.
She looked at her watch and flew up from the trunk, snatching her
bag on her way out the door. If she didn’t hurry, she was going to completely
miss breakfast, and while she would have skipped it, she’d skipped dinner
the night before too, and her stomach felt very hollow and clenchy. She
hadn’t been able to eat anything substantial after the troll.
She was running too fast to brood on her way down the staircases,
but when she got to the Great Hall, she realized it was filled to capacity
as all the students had trickled in. She was among the last--no handy
open areas of bench for her to settle down on with her books.
Percy Weasley would make a spot for her, but the thought of sitting
by Percy again was unspeakably depressing. It reminded her too much of
her teachers, always making room for her at the lunch table--"Move
aside, now, Hermione needs to sit,"--because nobody at her grade
school wanted to sit by her.
"Oi! Hermione! Where d’you think you’re going, then?"
Her head snapped up. It was Ron Weasley, the git, with a mouthful
of buttered toast. "To eat breakfast, if it’s quite all right
with you," she said frostily.
He said thickly, through his mouthful--pig--"Over by Perfect
Percy?" He turned to Harry, sitting across from him. "I don’t
understand girls, do you, Harry?"
"For your information, your brother is quite--" boring
and stuffy, but she really oughtn’t to hold that against him "--intelligent."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Mum tells us all the time. Fine,
then, if you prefer his company to ours."
Her mouth dropped a little open, but she shut it again right away.
Their company? Was this some horrible joke on Ron’s part?
"Did you oversleep?" Harry asked, looking up at her. "We’ve
been saving a spot for you all morning."
"You--?" Harry wasn’t nasty enough to joke like that, she’d
thought. "Um--yes, a little. The excitement, I expect."
Ron said impatiently, "Are you going to sit, or what?"
She sat, in a daze, and he passed her the plate of toast he’d been
feeding off of.
"Eat up, or we’ll be late to our first class--wouldn’t want
that on your reputation, now would you?"
It was the kind of thing he always said to her, sneering and sardonic--you
do it then, if you’re so clever--but something was missing, and it
took her a moment to realize that it was the hard edge. He was--
He was teasing her.
"I’m never late to class," she said loftily, taking
her first bite of toast. Euphoria gave her the bravery to say, "And
if I have anything to say about it, neither shall you be."
"We’re in for it now, Harry," Ron said to the other boy.
"We’ll be prefects before we know it, the three of us."
Harry laughed, and Hermione ducked her head, smiling over her next
bite of toast.
The three of us. She liked that.
"Look," Harry was saying to Ron, "I still have troll
bogies on my wand! They won’t come off--"
"Eurgh!" Ron exclaimed. "Disgusting!" He sounded
Hermione leaned over. "I’ve got a Scouring Charm you can use
on that . . ."