This chapter's piece is Beriot's concerto no 9 in A minor, 1st movement. Enjoy the read and the listen!
A blanket of stars embellished the windless mid-August night sky, giving the elegantly dressed masses a marvelous array of constellations many would spare a glance or two at before realizing they had an exciting event to attend.
Ladies in top of the fashion gowns and men clean shaven and dapper in their suits and bow ties made their way inside the stadium, and settled in the comfortable and fashionable burgundy seats.
The room buzzed with excitement and anticipation as the lights dimmed. They politely clapped as the orchestra members filed in, taking their seats in an orderly fashion. Violins, violas, cellos, and contrabasses were comfortable with their instruments nestled in their arms at the ready for their awaited battle, the heated exchange of emotions and music.
They were still waiting for a certain someone or two. It was then that they all stood as the conductor, a rather short balding man with a spring in his step, made his way onto his platform while bowing to the clapping audience and shook the hand of the lead 1st violinist.
He was not the last to enter; following him was a child, a tiny one at that, dressed in a tasteful, yet simple short flowing white dress fitting for the star of such an event, despite not seizing attention greedily. She held the neck of her small three quarter sized violin in one hand and her bow in the other and trailed behind the conductor without any visible nervousness.
It was obvious the girl had a reputation as the crowd's clapping became more upbeat at her entrance.
It was, after all, the frequently talked about prodigy's debut.
Shaking the conductor's hand and amused lead violinist's while fumbling with her bow, she lifted the instrument, playing the la string and tuning, the orchestra following suit. Once done, she turned to the audience with an unreadable expression, and shut her eyes, muttering something before exhaling and opening her eyes once again. Those in the front row couldn't help notice they were a distracting and captivating shade of deep chocolate brown.
Situating the violin under her neck and poising her bow, and readied herself. Her posture visibly straightened, and the atmosphere shifted around her. Other people unconsciously straightened with the mood, and some kids even leaned forward in expectation.
With a shared glance between concertmaster and conductor, the man waved his stick, beginning the symphony.
The orchestra played the prelude beautifully, setting the mood for the girl who lightly swayed with the melody. She then stilled, and with her turn coming, lifted her bow, brought it down, and played.
And so her fingers nimbly glided through the notes, sliding across the finger board during the double stops, ascending to the bridge and back effortlessly. Her vibratos not too excessive nor starved, her pauses timed perfectly, as were her dramatic crescendos and timid pianos.
Still there was something other than her technical perfection that mesmerized the audience. Her movements held a certain grace and tenderness mixed with confidence; every note she played expressed the tone of the music so vividly it was a story, a memory that enraptured the speechless audience. Even the restless children stopped and stared unabashedly at the swaying brunette whose stoic expression and closed eyes belied how emotional her music rendered everyone around her… it even affected the orchestra members and the conductors who waved his little stick more vigorously, if possible.
With a roaring crescendo, the girl vigorously waved her bow back and forth as she played repetitively shifting double stops that signaled the end of the capricious melody, the orchestra following suit in her zeal.
And all too soon, with a trill and perfectly hit double stops, it was over, the notes resonating across the huge stadium, ringing in the disbelieving people's ears.
It took them seconds to process it was over, for them to snap out of the reverie the girl had so skillfully charmed them into, but when they did, they gave them a standing ovation and cheered so passionately any passerby would believe there was a football game going on instead of a concert.
The orchestra member couldn't help but follow suit, after taking a bow and clapping for the child who bowed nervously, grinning with a reddened face while the conductor heartily shook her hand, and all bowed once more, faced with cheers that didn't seem to be dimming any time soon.
It was then, for the briefest of moments, that the brunette looked up at the blinding lights, her face losing its smile and turning dull, though no one was observant enough to catch it.
'Are you proud now, mother?'
She looked around fruitlessly around the ample sized ground floor of her home for a particular item she couldn't bear to part with, or more specifically, a certain creature, now getting on her nerves.
"Natsu, if you don't come here I won't be giving you any of my toast." She stated resolutely, smugly smirking when a pitch black cat with vivid sky blue eyes reluctantly trudged over to its owner, gracefully hopping onto the couch and then her shoulder, to which the wavy haired brunette scoffed before petting its silk smooth midnight coat and rubbing its large pointy ears with a wry smile.
"Now that wasn't so hard was it?" She muttered with a smirk, before turning to the door. She checked, feeling for her trusty indigo violin case strapped to her back, and satchel that contained a snack, some money, her uniform, her I pod and earphones, a notebook and a book, oh and her luggage she managed to shrink wandlessly after a couple of failed tries, along with her newly bought wand that felt more like a small bow to her than a tool for witchcraft.
Attaching her small farewell note on the fridge, Hermione Granger breathed in and walked out the cold house, taking a bus that would drive her to the train station.
Once there, she adjusted her faded lavender hoodie and with her hands warm in the pockets of her loose jeans shorts, she casually walked until she halted in front of the pillar at the end between platforms 9 and 10. She could afford to wait as she had some time left till 11 am. She leaned on the wall behind her, discreetly watching if anyone ran into the wall.
Her waiting was rewarded when a shy raven haired boy with goofy round taped glasses walked into it after sheepishly looking right and left, his owl resting leisurely in its cage on top of whatever meager luggage he had.
His face seemed familiar, for a second... she had definitely seen him more than once. Shrugging, she followed suit, now sure the witch with the pointy hat- and part time tabby cat- wasn't lying.
She calmly walked through the wall, greeted with an explosion of vivid sights and smells and overall bustling that breathed life into the previously dull station. She looked above her to see 'Platform 9¾' engraved on a sign in gold, and let a wry smile slip. She continued her relaxed gait and entered the bright red and gold painted train, shifting through compartments discreetly until stumbling upon an empty one, which she gratefully entered and sat by the window after unsheathing her instrument from the back and securely strapping it on the bars above for carry on baggage with a content nod. Her cat also hopped off and curled up on her lap for a nap, eliciting a small smile from the small girl.
Yawning, she rested her back on the comfy couch and opened her knapsack to fish out a notebook, specifically sheet music for a certain melody she found herself wanting to play the moment she set her eyes on it at the local music shop.
She was so immersed she hadn't heard the train's whistle blowing and the machine driving full steam ahead towards Hogwarts, until a lady outside yelled "Snack trolley!"
She glanced at her stomach and awoken cat- the former growled while the latter mewled, signaling it must have been around lunch time… though she only recently got used to having actual meal times, much to her chagrin.
Setting down the sheet music, she grabbed a turkey cheese sandwich and split it in half, setting the other in a napkin beside her famished cat that dug in immediately, while she nibbled distractedly, picking the sheet back up to complete her silent reading all the while humming the melody, travelling back to her own little world.
She was snapped out of her musings once again when the compartment door slid open and two boys sheepishly peeked in, a third one glancing from the outside, wearing a panicked expression.
"Hello...erm...have you seen a toad somewhere? It belongs to Neville and he lost it." The dark haired boy asked, avoiding her gaze after he glanced once and looked away blushing.
"Hey can you help us look too?" A red head asked while chewing on what seemed like a peanut butter sandwich.
"R-ron, she doesn't need to help us too, we don't need to bother her…" Harry seemed sheepish as he played with his hands.
"It's fine; I haven't seen it but I can help you look." She spoke in a low yet melodic voice, putting away the music sheet she noticed Harry glancing at more than once, which fueled her curiosity, before looking down at her sandwich and back at Ron's. She took a piece of it and extended her arm to the now confused ginger.
"Trade? I like peanut butter."
"Turkey and Cheese? No pickles right?"
She shook her head seriously, to which the red head nodded elated before taking a piece from it and merrily handing it to the content and brunette. She then gave a small wave to the nervous boy still standing outside the carriage and took out her wand. She hesitated for a second before muttering 'Accio Neville's toad' with a swish and flick, as Neville was pulled forward, the animal popping out from underneath the chubby faced boy's robe hood and into Hermione's expectant hands. She handed it to the flabbergasted boy with a small grin as he stuttered out a thank you and nearly ran away blushing furiously.
"Blimey that was cool! Where'd you learn to do that?"
"…I read a lot." was all she said as she shrugged and returned to her sandwich, sitting by the window once more.
"Y-you can sit here if you want, I don't mind." She spoke levelly. Discreetly breathing in and out to shake her nervousness off.
"Thanks." They complied after a moment of hesitation and plopped down on the seats facing her.
"I'm Ronald Weasely, and he's Harry Potter."
"I'm Hermione Granger."
Harry's eyes widened and he briefly choked on his breath.
'Could that be…her?' He sat down dumbly, his mind drawing a blank.
She didn't notice his reaction, having dived back into her music, to which Harry couldn't help but stare, thoughts whizzing through his head.
The minutes ticked by, filled with humming and slight boredom for the ginger.
After much fidgeting, he dared the question.
"…What sheet music are you studying?"
"Hm?" She looked up, her chocolate eyes gaining a spark both boys noticed for the first time.
"Variations in B minor for Beriot."
"…You seem familiar—"
"Of course he is! He's the savior of the wizarding world, the boy who lived! He's even got the scar to prove it!" Ron gestured wildly after gobbling the sandwich down, grinning with fascination at having met the hero from his books, much to the green eyed teen's embarrassment.
"R-ron, that doesn't count…I was one…I don't remember anything…"
Hermione responded with a confused expression, before recalling some books she leafed through at the fiction section of the wizarding library.
"Oh yeah… maybe that's where I saw your face…still, I'm sure it was somewhere else too…" She muttered the last part to herself, shrugging as Natsu yawned and hopped back on her shoulder.
Hours later, the boys bid her goodbye to change into their robes and she noticed Harry looking at her with part awe and part suspicion before exiting the compartment.
She changed into her robes too, amused with the wide, too big sleeves she enjoyed flopping around, before sobering at the whistle that signaled they were to arrive soon.
Taking out her miniature luggage and setting it on the floor, she waved her wand and enlarged it to their original size and gently took down her violin case, heading out once the locomotive came to a definite halt.
She walked silently in between the mostly taller students, took a boat with random kids that seemed nice enough, a rather tall curly blonde known as lavender- to be fair everyone was tall compared to her- a polite red head known as Hannah Abbot, and the ever shy Neville who greeted her with a meek wave. She gave a small smile and waved back.
Once done marveling at the lake's scenery and silently fretting over leaving her precious violin and Natsu with the rest of the luggage, she found herself staring up at the mesmerizing great hall ceiling where candles hung from thin air. She remembered from Hogwarts a history they had been charmed, and hoped they were also charmed not to drip wax all over them.
They halted in the middle of the room, facing a small wooden stall with an ugly bundle of cloths snugly sitting on it.
As soon as it started singing, Hermione sweat dropped.
'Make that an ugly voiced ugly bundle of cloths… a hat…I don't have to wear that do I? I do? Joy.'
Along the sorting, she saw Lavender get sorted into Gryffindor and Hannah into Hufflepuff.
When her turn came, she swore she heard one or two people gasp at her name, and was confused. She had to worm her way through the other students and finally take a seat, putting the old thing on.
'Hmm… quite the mind you're nurturing, haven't felt one as bright since Rowena…' Many, adults and students alike, leaned over the table shocked; a witch as clever as Rowena is unprecedented.
'And yet, your bravery rivals your mind! I never thought this much potential and magic would be stored in your pint of a body… you've got quite the heap of kindness and cunning, not too much ambition as much as passion… and oh?' At this rate, some stopped chatting with their friends hanging on to the ancient hat's unusual description, much to the witch's embarrassment at being the center of attention and offense due to the jab at her height.
The hat visibly sagged and if it could adopt a crestfallen expression, it would have.
'You poor child… you've gone through quite some—' Her body straightened and back rigid as if thunder had struck her, expression wary as she glared up to the appendage above her head in alarm.
"That's enough probing! Just pick my house, please." She hissed at the hat that nodded in resigned understanding. Some teachers arched curious and worried eyebrows, especially one eccentric headmaster.
'That settles it, you my dear, belong in GRYFFINDOR!' Said house cheered uproariously after a few confused seconds, greeting their supposedly prodigious new member.
The sorting followed with Penelope Greengrass sorted into Slytherin and Cho Chang sorted into Ravenclaw. Both were distracted and threw subtle glances at the oblivious brunette seated at the table of Red and Gold .
Hermione was thankful Harry's sorting took all the attention off her and onto the supposed 'Boy-Who-Lived'- the poor boy seemed so nervous he tripped walking to the Gryffindor table. Ron soon joined their ranks, both boys sitting a bit farther than her. She picked at her dinner distractedly, part of her urging her to finish at least what was on her plate, while the other just wanted to go to bed and hibernate, maybe discover this intriguing Victorian era castle too.
She reluctantly trudged up the dizzying shifting staircases, smirking amused at the speaking portraits, met the fat lady, went through another staircase, her legs now aching, and finally got to her dorm room. She was rewarded with the sight of her violin among other luggage and Natsu curled up on top of the indigo case. She smiled fondly for the first time that night and got changed, muttering a good night to her new dorm mates, Lavender and Parvati she believed were their names, before going out like a light on the comfortable and warm bed.
"She doesn't look much like a prodigy, does she?" Lavender spoke in hushed tones as to not disturb the slumbering occupant, while she folded and put away her new school clothes.
"Her entire sorting was pretty odd… you never know Lavender, it's still the start of the semester. I didn't know she was a musician though…" Both girls eyed the violin case.
"Oh! She plays the violin? That's so cool…" The blonde's eyes shone in slight wonder, having always admired the gracefulness that came with playing it.
"My mother says it's easier to play sad music than happy ones with it…" replied the girl of Indian descent, before both headed to their respective bunks and call it a night.
'Mama, why would you play this piece when the counterpart is joyful?' a tiny child with a brown bushy lion's mane for hair inquired, staring up at the graceful and peaceful lady she fondly called her mother.
'So you can get used to the sorrow of life, darling…' She sighed, her voice melodic and light, despite expressing such a bittersweet thought. She then grinned once more and lovingly ruffled her daughter's hair, spoiling her like a doting mother would.
'Are you happy I've suffered now, mother?'