Hermione and Ginny spent a decent portion of their day in Tomes and Scrolls. Afterwards, Hermione went with Ginny to Spintwitches. Not once did she mention her reader during their activities for the day. She still planned on doubling back to the Three Broomsticks before leaving just to double check. The book didn't have a letter and she refused to believe that suddenly her reader was not interested. Every so often she would solemnly admit that Ginny had more than likely been right. She shouldn't have gone there immediately after arriving. But she had been so eager and ready to get more information that she could not resist.
At some point the girls ran into Ron and Harry. Harry opted to buy everyone something to snack on from Honeydukes. There was no real reason behind it because Harry did that sometimes just because he felt like it. Just as we walked inside Ginny made a comment about Honeydukes being a funny place to lunch.
Everyone laughed. Hermione sort of chuckled while keeping her eyes on her feet. Being with all four of them always felt a little off since she wasn't as good communicating to multiple people; bloody hell, Hermione could only communicate with one person through letters effectively. Everything else she did would barely get passing marks. Instead of feeling to pitiful about her social skills and the travesty of not having a letter from her reader she fell in line and finally followed her friends inside.
Everyone handed Harry a bunch of items that they wanted, Ron had handed at least seven different treats he liked to the poor guy. Hermione felt awful watching him stand there with arms full of snacks so she offered a helping hand with a smile on her face, "You are too nice to everyone sometimes."
"You're not!" Ron shouted from behind her. Her face molded into the usual expression of displeasure whenever Ron picked on her. Harry nudged her gently with his elbow while chuckling to himself. Over the years she liked to believe that Harry and Hermione bonded so well that they didn't even need to speak sometimes to understand each other. They came from Muggle backgrounds, regardless of blood status, so they had quite a lot in common.
"You know he cares about you. He just doesn't know it yet." Hermione wasn't entirely sure she would like to know what Ron showing affection was like if this is how he treated her when he was moderately fond of her. That would probably be a nightmare!
After about ten more minutes Hermione and Harry meandered to the checkout desk with at least two pounds of sweets; that was the result of Fred and George showing up and cashing in, of course.
As soon as the treats were disbursed outside of the shop Hermione felt a weird tingle in the wind. She immediately turned round and round looking for the source. Harry and Ron had long stopped paying attention to her strange dance, as she'd done it off and on during her third year when she first started using the time turner to get to classes. Sometimes she would come a little too close to her other self in the school and she'd feel it. This feeling was the same somehow, but not really the same as if it were her feeling. She hadn't used the time turner even though she carried it on her person all the time.
Stepping away from the group she reached into the pocket of her jacket and found that her time turner was still there. But her other pocket which had been empty feels heavier. She checks it and finds there is a folded piece of paper in it. As she begins to unfold it she sees the handwriting at the top and immediately gasps excitedly.
Her reader had found a way to get the letter to her after all! So she had thrown a wrench in his plan, as Muggles would say. No guilt washed over her, though, because this was simply the greatest way to receive a letter she could imagine. She pushed it back into her pocket. As she did so the tips of her fingers grazed something at the bottom, something cold.
When she pulled it out she found it was a silver ring with a snake on it. This gave her the house in which her reader was sorted. Hermione's heart sunk a little realizing now that her reader was a Slytherin. Of course, not all of the Slytherin boys were terrible. Take Blaise Zabini for example. He wasn't nearly as terrible as the rest of them. She'd heard that he was quite the ladies' man and he dated quite a wide variety of girls. Different races, different houses, different backgrounds. Blaise didn't strike anyone as being prejudice the same way some pureblood wizarding families were, like the Malfoys.
A mixture of dread and thrill bounced around in Hermione's chest. She put the ring back in her pocket before anyone had a chance to see her messing with it. Ginny announced that she and Hermione were going to go back for a quick drink at the Three Broomsticks before going back to Hogwarts. The boys all were already heading off on their own mission, though, and left the two of them to their own devices for the remainder of the afternoon.
"So you think your reader stole your time turner so that he could get his letter to you?" Ginny asked as she opened her third chocolate frog package. Hermione shrugged since it was just a theory for now. She had no true way of confirming that her reader had done it but everything she knew suggested that this is what had to have happened. The letter was sitting the middle of the table waiting to be read.
"I think it is a very real possibility. Professor McGonagall assured that I was the only student who had one. We had to get permission from the Ministry to even have it so someone else had to have used mine." Hermione was holding it in her hands cautiously. She had told Ron and Harry about it, out of necessity, back in her third year. Telling Ginny came casually when she pulled her reader's letter out at the Three Broomsticks.
She reflected back on when she first received the item. That entire year was her worst nightmare but despite how badly she wanted to part with the magical object she simply couldn't. It would allow for her to achieve more academically and had kept it. Hermione never overextended herself the way she had in her third year, but she certainly took extra classes where she believe it feasible.
"Well, why don't you read it before we go then? There's no way we can pinpoint who might have done it. We passed too many people today to recount every close encounter." Ginny was getting a bit short, but part of it might have been that Harry could be seen outside with Ron pointing over at Cho Chang. In the meantime, she did exactly that. The letter was unfolded and her eyes fell into the familiar pattern of obsessive reading.
I apologize for not having this letter ready with the book. To my credit, you came way too early. I was preparing to write this when you came into the Inn. Regardless, I had to think on my feet. Even though I was not pleased with how I got the book to you I am rather impressed by myself on managing to get the letter to you.
Rumor had it some time ago that you use a time turner to get to all your classes. If you're half the woman I think you are I expected you would have it on your person. After sitting at the carriages moping for nearly an hour I decided to go back into town and try looking for you and your trinket. I was able to swipe it from you on your way into Honeydukes. Having read up on the time turner in the past, it wasn't difficult to use it. I wrote my letter quickly and went back far enough that I could get the letter in your pocket just as you were walking out of the shop with your friends.
No more wondering, as I am sure that you were. Aside from your timing, I woke up late this morning and had to reformulate everything anyway. I meant for you to get the book at the counter with my letter inside and a hint from Madame Rosmerta about my appearance. Instead, I've left my ring with you. It tells you which house I am in which narrows the pool of people down significantly.
I would love to read another book, but perhaps something lighter? After evading sleep relentlessly last week I would love to have something funnier and quicker to enjoy so that I don't black out from exhaustion. Everything you've sent me so far has been brilliant, so please do not misunderstand my request. Same place as usual?
Well, wasn't that convenient? Hermione got the answer she was looking for, albeit the same answer she'd already concluded on her own. An answer is an answer regardless so she didn't pout much on the matter. She simply looked at Ginny and nodded. The letter was placed where it belonged properly, in the cover of "Man in the Iron Mask." Hermione and Ginny finished their drinks quickly afterwards and headed back to Hogwarts to relax for the remainder of the evening.
Saturday nights were a hit and miss when it came to Hermione's dorm. Either everyone came back or none of them came back. This was one of those Saturday nights that many of the girls dared to wander the corridors after curfew, and others dared to go further than that by staying in a boy's dorm; Hermione dared not judge them for their decisions, though. At the end of the day each person had their own ideas and choices to make and she wouldn't dream of telling someone else off for breaking the rules. At least, she didn't anymore. Hermione quickly found being a prude did not earn her very many friendships. So now the only people she poked at for breaking rules were her closest friends.
Hermione had gotten into her pajamas and was rereading each letter from her reader. She had a tiny bit of a crush, the slightest attraction, to her anonymous reader but then she learned that he was from Slytherin. How did she end up in a situation where she could potentially like a guy that had the very high potential to be from a family that would never accept her? Hermione someone, in spite of her brilliance, found herself in these strange, compromising situations. She let out a heavy sigh as she scanned the request from the most recent letter.
A lighter read? He would appreciate something funnier. She had just the book for him, if that was the case. It was one that she'd seen her dad reading before she left. In fact, Hermione had been craving something along the same lines as well recently. Getting out of bed and fetching her 'book' purse, she reached her arm deep into the back. It was one of the only paperback books she'd had in there so she felt around until she found it. Once she was sure she'd grabbed it, out came "Lucky Jim."
Hermione knew very little about it other than the fact that her father found it hilarious. It was her understanding that it was about a man with job he doesn't like and a boss he can't please. She'd asked her mother if her father was displeased with his job at the office but she laughed kindly and shook her head, assuring that there was no way the Dr. Granger would ever leave their dental group. Regardless, Hermione asked for it last time she wrote so that she could read it on the train ride back home, assuming she could return home for the holiday.
She walked back to the desk with book in hand and sat down with her eyes staring out the window. For a few minutes she second-guessed whether she should even continue with this strange charade with a stranger who should probably hate her. Not to say that she should be hated for her blood status, being Muggle-born was hardly something to hate someone over. However, Hermione knew how the pureblooded families of Slytherin were from experience and she did not want to continue doing – well – whatever it was that she was doing – if it meant at the end she would feel and look like an idiot.
I must admit that I have not read this book yet. My father was reading it just before I came to Hogwarts this term and I had plans to read it closer to the holidays. It would my pleasure if you got to read it first. Please tell me if you liked it and whether you believe I would find any amusement in it. Keep in mind that not all my standards are as high as the ones I hold academically.
Also, allow me to be overcautious this one moment, if you will. I will probably sound mad, or desperate, or both, but I am dreadfully concerned that as a Slytherin house student you are doing this to spite me. I understand I am a Muggle-born witch and that may make me less than human to your family but that is completely inaccurate. I am a person. I have feelings. I am truly very fond of you and if this is a joke then stop now before you do irreparable damage.
There was nothing else to do when Hermione was finished writing her letter so she grabbed a robe to pull over her shoulders. She may as well put the book in the library now since she won't be able to sleep at all. Not with all the worry she had in her head now.