DISCLAIMER: I do not own Harry Potter.
Celebrating! A one-year-old recovered from COVID 19 in my country!
I know, the number of cases and deaths are increasing, but this is a new hope for me.
And that's why I'm updating! :)
Thank you for the wonderful reviews!
I can't believe we've reached this chapter!
September 2, 1974
(twenty-one years ago)
Hermione stared at the class schedule Professor Flitwick had just handed to her. Potions with Hufflepuffs meant that Slytherins would be sharing the class with Gryffindors.
Meaning, he's going to be Lily's partner once again, she thought. And Transfiguration with Gryffindors! Great! The last thing I want is to be in the same room as Lily, and her admirer and his gang.
But Frank and Remus would be there, a part of her mind countered. I guess I'll talk to Alice and ask her if I could sit with Frank throughout the year.
She poked her black pudding with a fork. They were now in fourth-year and Hermione swore, she noticed her father and Severus talking seriously in the shed at the back of their house.
What did they talk about? she wondered again.
"You're not eating."
Hermione was startled at the voice. She dropped her fork and turned around, only to meet the disapproving look on her best friend's face.
"Are you feeling well?" he asked, the worry was evident in his tone and he even moved closer to place a hand on her shoulder.
"I'm fine. Just... thinking," she replied.
"When did you ever stop thinking?" he teased. "Let's take a walk?"
Hermione smiled rather sadly and got up from the bench. Sev picked her bag and held her hand.
"I spoke with Frank earlier," he started as they were walking to leave the Great Hall. "I asked him to be my Potions partner for the entire year."
Hermione perked up and she looked at him.
"You look so pleased," he teased again.
She looked away and turned to the path they were taking. "Well, I think Alice and I are going to be partners this year and it's just wonderful that the four of us could study together, you know."
"Uhm," Sev agreed.
"I will be sharing Transfiguration class with the Lions, you know," she said conversationally.
"Tell me if Potter and his gang bother you. I'll pay back in Potions."
She frowned but smiled. "How?"
He gave her a playful smile and pulled her closer to his side. "Let's just say, I've learned how to cast non-verbal jinxes from Toyin last night which I could use to make those Gryffindors' cauldrons explode," he whispered to her ear, his warm breath fanned her skin.
Hermione's heart fluttered and she smiled rather bashfully. "Thanks," she replied without looking up. "You will teach me, won't you?"
"Of course I will. But let's focus on brewing the potion for our friend first."
For the past months, since they have learned about the Aconite Potion, they had been experimenting, but their finished product always turned into dark brown colour. A perfect Aconite Potion should be mustard in colour.
"I think the problem was the way we were stirring the potion. I have thought of a different hand movement."
"And you will teach me and let me brew with you again, right?"
"Yes to all, you silly witch," he replied with a chuckle and sealed his words with a kiss on her temple.
"Are you and Sev dating now?" inquired Amelia the moment Hermione made it to the seat beside her Ravenclaw friends in their Transfiguration class.
Hermione turned to Amelia and Alona (who was sitting at Amelia's other side) rather bashfully.
"Oh, Merlin, she's blushing!" giggled Alona.
"We're not yet dating," she admitted in a whisper.
"Not yet?" shrieked Amelia. Thankfully, Professor McGonagall had not entered the classroom yet. Ravenclaws always go to their classes at least five minutes early. That had been a tradition, according to the upper-class.
"Shh!" she silenced her friend. "He hasn't asked me yet. But..."
"But what?" asked Alona interestedly. She even leaned forward.
"He... kissed me earlier."
"Aww!" The two girls cooed.
"On my temple," she said promptly.
"What?" asked Alona with a frown. "Why?"
"Maybe he's waiting for the right timing," quipped Amelia. "Sev always gives you something on your birthday. Maybe he has something prepared."
"Or maybe Sev will ask you out before the first Hogsmeade trip," said Alona dreamily. "You have to have a makeover on your first date!"
"Puckle and Snape? Dating?"
The three Ravenclaw girls turned their heads to the arrogant voice. Sirius Black, of course, was sitting behind them. His back was resting on the back of the wooden classroom armchair, arms crossed over his chest and his legs were stretched in front of him.
"That's right. Two ugly-toothed swots. They belong together," Black commented with a sneer and beside him, Peter Pettigrew snickered.
"Hey, that's not nice!" exclaimed Amelia who stood up and glared at Black. "Don't you dare insult - "
"Oh, please, Bones. I can say whatever I want," Black rolled his eyes. "And right now, I want to say that I am sure you fancy me. You're standing up for Puckle because you want my attention."
"You, arrogant bastard!" said Alona angrily. "Didn't your pureblood mother teach you the right manners? Oh! Where have I been living? Right, your dear mother sent you a howler three years ago for being a disgrace to the House of Black, just because you were sorted into Gryffindor. Of course, she's displeased and sweet, perfect Regulus is now her favourite."
Sirius Black stood up and pointed his wand at Alona. "Shut your filthy mouth, Goldstein! As if I don't know anything about you. You're a descendant of that American Muggle-cock lover Queenie Goldstein who eloped with an ugly, useless bloke and Newton Scamander's sidekick. Your great-great-grandfather was nothing but a half-blood bastard."
Professor McGonagall's voice boomed. Hermione anxiously turned her head and saw their strict-looking professor approaching with great displeasure in her face. Hermione ducked her head.
"Fifty points from Gryffindor for insulting your classmate and using horrible words. Detention with Mr. Filch for a month!" she said angrily.
"But Profess-" Sirius Black tried to reason. Hermione heard fear in his tone.
"I have caught you insulting your fellow students many times already, Mr. Black, and you never learned," the professor cut him off. "We shall talk about this tonight in my office. Sit down, all of you!" she reprimanded.
"Hey, thanks," Hermione whispered to her friends.
Alona and Amelia gave her fond looks. Professor McGonagall started the lecture, pacing back and forth in the aisle, making sure that Sirius Black was in his 'best' behaviour. They were taught how to transfigure a hedgehog into a pincushion.
"Now, work in pairs," she told them. Hermione turned to her Ravenclaw friends, but someone approached her.
"Hey," came Frank's voice. Hermione looked up to his friend. "Partners?"
She nodded without hesitation and Frank pulled a chair to her side. "Don't mind what Black said. I'll get back to him for you," he whispered.
Hermione smiled at her friend and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Thank you, but don't get in trouble for me."
"Oh, Hermione, you're a lovely person. You're asking something impossible," he grinned.
Frank went to the professor's desk to get hedgehogs for the two of them. They spent the first two minutes practicing the wand movement and incantation. Then, with just one wave and incantation, Hermione was able to transfigure the two brown hedgehogs into tomato-shaped pincushions.
"Wow!" Frank exclaimed. "Brilliant, Hermione!"
Hermione's cheeks warmed at the compliment and when the entire class turned to them because Frank got their attention.
Professor McGonagall approached them to check her work. "Excellent work, as usual, Miss Puckle. I hope you would consider a career in Transfiguration in the future. Although, I have heard from your Head of House that it is your dream to be a healer."
"Thank you, Professor. Yes, it's in the family, Professor. My parents are health workers in the Muggle world and my sister is studying to be one as well."
"Pity. I would've loved you to be my Apprentice in your seventh year. But I am sure you will make an excellent healer because of your fondness for Charms and Potions." Professor McGonagall gave her an appraising look and told the rest of them to continue working.
Hermione blushed furiously at the professor's words. Professor McGonagall was very strict and didn't have time to tolerate silliness from anyone, not even from the other staff members. Praising her students was also a rare thing the professor would do.
Hermione spent the remaining time teaching Frank the proper way to transfigure the hedgehog into a pincushion.
Hermione felt someone glaring at her. She looked around the room as casually as she could. On the left side of the room where most Gryffindors sat, she saw Lily glaring daggers at her. She cocked an eyebrow when their eyes met and Lily looked away.
"What is it, Hermione?" asked Frank.
She shook her head. "Lily's glaring daggers at me," she whispered back.
"Oh. Well, she used to be the best in our class for three years. At least, in our class. She had no idea that you're the best in our year."
Ah. Is she jealous of Professor McGonagall's praises?
"Of course, she's jealous," Frank said again as if reading her mind.
September 9, 1974
(twenty-one years ago)
"I find myself absolutely displeased. Out of twenty students in this class, only three of you had managed to perfectly transfigure hedgehogs into pincushions!"
Hermione ducked her head at Professor McGonagall's thundering voice. Only her, Alona, and Amelia had perfected the task.
"Misses Puckle, Goldstein, and Bones, do me a favour and tutor your classmates," said Professor McGonagall, sounding tired and disappointed at the same time.
"Yes, Professor," the three of them chorused.
Professor McGonagall divided the class into three groups and assigned each of them a group. To Hermione's disappointment, Potter was in the group she was assigned to tutor.
She did her best to ignore his stare. She turned her attention to the other five students in the group and taught them the proper wand movement first and then the incantation. After half an hour, it was Potter's turn to learn. She gave him a blank look.
Potter gave him a curt nod and pulled his chair to her side. He did not say anything but mimicked her wand movements.
The bell rang and Professor McGonagall gave them homework.
Hermione turned to face James Potter.
"Thanks for today," he said rather bashfully.
Hermione nodded politely.
"And sorry for what my best mate said last week. He's a prat, but he's a good friend."
Hermione nodded once more and slung her bag to her shoulder. "See you around," was all she said. Frank was waiting for her by the door and offered to carry her bag but she politely refused. They walked to the Great Hall together.
September 15, 1974
(twenty-one years ago)
Hermione could not find Severus and Alice in their usual spot in the library. She checked her wristwatch. It was one o'clock in the afternoon - the time of their agreed meeting.
Perhaps they are looking for books, she thought, so she decided to walk in between bookshelves to look for them. After scouring the Muggle and Transfiguration sections, she finally found her two friends at the back of the shelf of Daily Prophet clippings. But they weren't looking for something. They were talking in hushed tones, making her frown and walk towards them to ask them what they were up to, but she stopped in her tracks when Alice spoke. She hid behind another bookshelf.
"I don't believe Evans, Sev," Alice confessed and she shook her head. "I trust Frank and Hermione completely."
"Evans is nothing but an attention-seeking brat," came Sev's voice. He sounded annoyed.
"Do you think we should tell Hermione?" asked Alice.
"Tell her that Evans cornered you to say that Hermione was flirting with Frank in Transfiguration? You could, because you never suspected her in the first place. We should be honest with her."
To say that Hermione was shocked was an understatement. How dare you, Lily! She shrieked inwardly. Me, flirting with my friend's boyfriend? Flirting with someone while in class? I would never -
"So, are you going to tell her too about what Evans told you?" asked Alice. "As you said, we should be honest."
Hermione heard Sev inhaled sharply. "I want to, but I don't know how to tell her properly. 'Hey, Hermione? Evans asked me if we could go to Hogsmeade together because you were flirting with Frank, but I said no because I believe you, of course'. She will still be pissed. Her birthday is coming up and I'm planning to ask her finally."
"Oh, yeah. I'm gonna kill Evans," said Alice angrily.
Hermione sighed in relief. Her two friends should not be worried. She was a big girl and she could handle her feelings well. So, she revealed herself. "Hey, you two."
Sev and Alice looked startled and they turned to her direction with wide eyes.
"When are we going to murder Evans?" she asked casually.