Biting her lip to suppress her excitement, Hermione Granger stepped into the Great Hall at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for the first time. She walked at the front of the group of eleven-year-olds and as her parents taught her, she kept her facial expression completely uninterested, so others would believe she had seen rooms that far surpassed this one in size and decoration. At the front of the hall, Hermione instantly spotted the old headmaster, his blue eyes sparkling as he took in the new students. Hermione had been warned many times that he was a complete fool and was to be avoided as much as possible.
The first years came to a stop near the staff table. Hermione ignored the women, McGonagall, as she began to speak and instead examined the other students. She smirked at the twitching boy with a toad in his chubby hand, scowled as a red-headed boy and his friend in glasses noticed her scrutiny and almost couldn't keep her eyes off of a light-haired boy talking to his two rather large friends. When that got boring, she started predicting what houses her classmates would be in. There wasn't a doubt in Hermione's mind that toad-boy would be in Hufflepuff. The red-head would be in Gryffindor, she realized, once she saw three more red-haired boys already seated there. His friend was a bit more challenging. He didn't look particularly smart, or brave, or cunning, yet Hufflepuff didn't seem to fit either. Ravenclaw for the twin girls, she decided, and Slytherin for the light-haired boy and his friends.
Finally, her name was called. She strolled purposefully forward; her face still emotionless, and sat on the wooden stool. The second the Sorting Hat touched her head, she heard its voice, "Not a difficult decision," before calling out, "Slytherin!"
Unsurprised, Hermione stood back up, noticing the two pairs of eyes following her as she glided confidently towards the clapping table. One pair belonged to a boy named Harry Potter, who was listening intently as his new friend, Ron Weasley, told him all of the evils of people in Slytherin. The other set of eyes were Draco Malfoy's, and he watched behind a mask of disinterest as the girl he had never seen before sat down at what would soon be his table as well.
Hermione accepted the greetings of her new house-mates with a small smile before watching the Sorting continue, wondering how her predictions would fare. It wasn't long before the light-haired boy was up at the stool. The hat cried out "Slytherin" just as quickly as it had for her. Knowing that if she caught his eye, her interest would be revealed, Hermione glanced away as he walked over. She had sat across from one of his friends; who had introduced himself as Vincent Crabbe, so it wasn't a shock when Draco Malfoy sat next to Vincent and the other friend, Gregory Goyle. Not able to tell if Draco was still staring at her, Hermione kept her eyes on the Sorting until a new voice interrupted her thoughts.
"Hey Draco. Hi Vincent, Greg," This latest addition to the table was the black-haired girl named Pansy Parkinson who had just been sorted. Once she was seated next to Hermione, Pansy turned to face her.
"Who are you," she asked, her tone a mix of curiosity and unfriendliness. Hermione pulled her eyes away from the Sorting of Harry Potter, the boy in glasses. She hadn't realized when she saw him earlier that he was The Boy Who Lived. He was quite unimpressive looking, for having defeated the Dark Lord as a baby.
"My name is Hermione Granger," she replied, trying to see where Harry was Sorted to.
"Well, let me tell you something right now, Hermione Granger," Pansy started, smirking, "In Slytherin, we all know each other. Our parents all know each other, our grandparents all know each other and yet none of us here recognize you. Nor does your last name sound familiar. Explain that, now."
Hermione let out a mocking laugh, "Not that it's any of your business, but my whole family has been in Slytherin for generations, probably much longer than your family. And really, my name isn't familiar? I hardly think that your diminutive-sized brain has enough space to keep track of every name you've ever heard. Besides, unless you can recall memories from ten years ago, you probably wouldn't remember that my family moved out to the countryside after the Dark Lord disappeared because the Ministry was trying to gather enough information to prove my parents' involvement with Him. You wouldn't remember that. But I'm sure your parents would."
All was silent at their end of the table for a moment, and although the talking continued at the rest of the table, Hermione was sure more people had heard her than she had meant to. Pansy shook off her surprise when another person joined their table.
"Hey everyone. Oh wait, who's this?" An olive-skinned boy sat down on Hermione's other side.
"Blaise, this is Hermione Granger," Draco started, "If you didn't already realize, Hermione, I'm Draco Malfoy. This is Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle. The rude one's Pansy--don't worry, you'll get used to her, and this here is Blaise Zabini."
"Quite a speech I heard on my way over here," Blaise told them, before staring at Hermione, "Granger, huh? I think my parents have talked about your father before. Said that he was lucky to stay out of Azkaban," Hermione nodded in agreement, "Apparently your house mysteriously burned to the ground before Ministry officials could get inside?"
"That sounds about right," Hermione replied, smiling.
Draco nodded briskly, "I remember that. They dug through the rubble for years. And when they finally realized there was nothing to find, my father couldn't stop talking about it. He said that your family was too smart to leave anything to chance and that the Ministry should have given up ages ago."
"I couldn't agree with that more," Hermione told them, "If they hadn't spent almost six years searching, we would have moved back sooner. Then you wouldn't have been questioning whether or not I belonged here, Pansy," Hermione finished, in an overly sweet voice.
"In Pansy's defense," Blaise started, casting a look at his seething friend, "her parents weren't too deeply involved," Hermione glanced over her shoulder, then shook her head imperceptibly, but it was enough to alert Blaise that he probably shouldn't expand on that thought, "if you know what I mean." He finished quickly.
"Look," Draco pointed up at the Sorting, also having noticed Hermione's warning, "Weasley's up. Ten Galleons says that the Hat tells him he's too dim-witted to be a wizard and that his acceptance to Hogwarts was all a big mistake."
Hermione groaned good-naturedly, "Tell me that's not a serious bet."
"I accept," Blaise cut in, "He'll be in Gryffindor just like the rest of his blood traitor family."
"I'm going to have to disagree," Pansy told him, "I'll say he's in Hufflepuff."
"Last chance, Hermione," Draco warned, smirking.
"Fine, fine," she replied, "I'm with Blaise. He'll go to Gryffindor."
"Alright, so. If he's Gryffindor, ten Galleons to both Hermione and Blaise, if he's in Hufflepuff ten to Pansy and if--"
"Yes," Blaise cheered, almost inaudible over the applause from the Gryffindor table, and lifted his hand for a celebratory high-five with Hermione.
"Pay up," Hermione ordered, grinning. She and Blaise exchanged grins, as Draco and Pansy counted out their ten galleons. As she waited, Hermione glanced over to see where Harry Potter had been sorted.
"Ah, Potter's in Gryffindor too," Draco stated, and Hermione spun back around to face him. He dropped the coins into her hand, "I can only imagine how obnoxious him and Weasley will be once they meet."
"Looks like they already have. They are talking to each other, Draco," Pansy pointed out, mockingly, also giving Hermione and Blaise their money. Draco shrugged, making the rest of them laugh.
Looking up, Hermione saw that the Headmaster had begun to speak, but it didn't seem like anyone at the Slytherin table cared too much.
"I wonder how many classes we'll have with the Gryffindors," Blaise commented, "Hopefully not too many."
"You have no idea how much I hope we have Potions with them," Draco smirked, "Professor Snape yelling at them all class would definitely be a highlight of my day."
Suddenly food started appearing on all of the serving plates. Vincent and Greg, who had been silent up until then, both mumbled, "Yum," before piling enough food on their plates to last for days. Rolling her eyes, Hermione grabbed a couple of chicken wings and filled her goblet up with water, before enjoying her first dinner at Hogwarts with her new friends.
After dinner, Hermione walked with Draco, Blaise and Pansy to the Slytherin dorms, being led by one of their prefects. Greg and Vincent were back in the Great Hall, filling their pockets with as much food as they could. How they were going to find their way to the dorms, Hermione had no idea.
"Alright," the prefect said, as they came to a stop in the dungeons, "the password is 'putus of cruor,' and we change passwords every week on Friday. Just find a prefect to learn the new password. Anyways. Putus of cruor." They followed the prefect through a tunnel, down a set of stairs and into the dimly lit common room. The room was filled with dark green and black couches and armchairs, and one large fireplace. Near the corner, there were dark wooden tables and chairs for studying, "Girls dorms are down those stairs and to the left, boys the same to the right." With that, the prefect strolled down another set of stairs.
"Come on, Hermione," Pansy called, grabbing Hermione's wrist and pulling her down the stairs. Hermione turned back quickly to wave at Blaise and Draco.
Their dormitory was long and with a few windows that were charmed to mirror the weather they would have seen if they weren't underground. Hermione's trunk was at the far corner, at the foot of the last bed, so Pansy pulled her own trunk over to the bed next to hers, moving away the trunk that was already there. Going over to her trunk, Hermione lifted open the top and pulled out a tank top and a pair of pajama bottoms.
Once she was changed, she sat at the edge of her bed, as Pansy was doing the same on her bed.
"So," Pansy whispered, a smirk on her face, "What do you think of Blaise and Draco?"