Hermione tossed and turned all night, fighting off dreams of James confessing his undying love for her. She protested to him that it wasn't right; that he was her best friends father and it was wrong wrong wrong. But, James wouldn't hear of it. Upon waking, doused in cold sweat, Hermione kicked herself mentally for allowing James to kiss her. Then she wondered why on Earth she had kissed him back. Of course, he was gorgeous, and very sweet - but she knew that it could never happen. They belonged to different worlds, different times and they had obligations to their futures. It would be unfair for her to let him give his heart to her, especially because she would be leaving soon; leaving all of this behind as a mere memory for her. Although she could deny out loud her feelings for James, she couldn't help but picture him inside her mind. His sparkling deep blue eyes, his genuine smile. His curious expression when his eyebrows cocked and furrowed. It was all so adorable. She couldn't shake him from her thoughts.
But then there was Sirius; his stone gray eyes boring into hers as if he saw something no one else could see. He was definitely handsome, but Hermione already knew that it was not going anywhere - no matter if she wanted it to or not. He was a 'ladies man,' which was not in Hermione's ideal of a guy. She wasn't sure why she was evaluating the guys, it didn't matter. She would be leaving soon, and they would not remember her - she would be returning to the exact moment of her Potion's explosion. It would be as if it never happened. The only person it would truly hurt would be Hermione, really. If you thought about it logically, it wasn't worth it.
At dawn, Lily popped her head into Hermione's room. "Hermione, classes soon! Let's go get breakfast so that you can meet everyone else," she said cheerily.
Hermione let out a low grumble and rolled from the bed. She walked lazily to the bathroom and preformed a quick clean up charm to make herself clear of the 'sleep smell.' Her hair was then tied into a loose ponytail at the top of her head, letting her curls hang slightly above her neck. When she finished examining her face in the mirror, deciding on no make up, she bounded down the stairs, robes billowing behind her, only to come face to face with James.
"Erm...Sorry," she said awkwardly. She felt his hands go immediately to her waist. Uncomfortable, she jerked away and walked to Lily, who was watching the man in the portrait above the fireplace perform countless comic charms. Lily was wearing a beautiful blue blouse and a black skirt that came to just above her knee. Hermione looked at her outfit strangely, and then looked down to her own house robes. "Where are your robes, Lily?"
"Oh," Lily giggled. "It's Sunday, silly. It's only the advanced Potion's people - not an actual class. We can wear whatever," she said curtly as she eyed Hermione's overly big robes. "Would you like to borrow something?"
Hermione nodded and watched Lily walk past and head up the staircase. James took the opportunity to try and talk to Hermione, make her see sense.
"Hey," he started lightly. "Can we talk?" He advanced on her, moving ever closer. When he reached her, she forced speech from her mouth.
"Please, James," she said with exasperation,” I've already told you--"
James' hand went to Hermione's lips to get her to stop talking. He moved his hand from her soft lips to her cheek, grazing her skin softly. "You can't resist me forever, love."
"Fortunately for me, I don't have forever. I have until Professor Dumbledore finds a solution to my potion," she said in a calmed tone. She was positive that he was right about not being able to resist him forever. "I think I can contain myself until then."
"Here's a green top," Lily said happily as she bounded down the stairs. She walked up to Hermione, where James had been standing before he jumped away at the sound of Lily's voice. "It will go wonderfully with your skin tone. And," she reached for a pair of pants that hung over her arm, "here are some corduroy pants for you. I love this outfit. It will look great on you." Lily smiled boldly, beaming at Hermoine. Hermione took the clothes from Lily gratefully and went to change.
After Hermione was changed, Lily and James led her to the Gryffindor common room to grab the other Marauders. They all headed to the Great Hall for breakfast. Everyone was watching Hermione with curious eyes. Surely students didn't transfer from a different school in the middle of the year. In everyone's minds, she must have an unusual tale to tell. The Slytherins all sneered at her as she made her way with the boys and Lily to the Gryffindor table. James muttered under his breath about the school rivalry back in these days, which Hermione told him was the same in her time too. Her worst enemy was a Slytherin. Food appeared on the plates in front of them, followed by a speech from Dumbledore.
"May I have your attention?" Dumbledore called to the Hall. "I would like to announce the arrival of a new student to Hogwarts. Her name is Hermione and she will be here for a while. Please treat her with kindness and help her wherever she needs it." His twinkling eyes met Hermione’s, and he smiled brightly. "She is here for the purpose of studying, like the rest of you, so you will see her in a lot of advanced classes." Hermione smiled widely - now everyone knew that she was capable. With the Headmaster mentioning advanced classes, everyone looked impressed. "Also, she will be your Junior Head Girl until her departure. She has the same authority as Lily Evans and James Potter, so mind your manners around her." His tone was calm and light, but he had a serious gleam in his eyes. "Now, enjoy your Sunday." He sat down behind the staff table and took a sip of tea, examining Hermione over his cup.
A long hearty breakfast and small inconsequential conversation later, Hermione and Lily were walking toward the dungeons for their Advanced Potions class. James went off to practice Quidditch, Remus and Sirius went to watch, and Peter went to spend time with his girlfriend, Bertha, from Hufflepuff. When Hermione and Lily walked into the potion's dungeon, Lily led her up to meet the professor that headed the class.
"Professor Slughorn, sir," Lily said sweetly. The man who was facing the blackboard turned to around to face the young lady. He gave Hermione to impression of an enlightened hippopotamus. He was chubby and had a very sincere all-knowing face. "This is Hermione Granger. She will be in advanced--"
"Oh ho, yes. The headmaster spoke to me of you, Miss Granger," he said airily. "There are some rules to this class." Hermione nodded in understanding, and the professor continued. "You work alone and follow the instructions on the board. Extra supplies are in the cupboard. No talking." Hermione, once again, nodded. "Let's just see how good you are then, eh? Please take this desk," he said as he pointed to the table between Lily and a skinny boy with long greasy black hair.
Hermione gasped as she looked onto her young potions master. He really did look miserable, but proud at the same time. His black eyes glittered as he watched Hermione walk to the storage cupboard. He was skeptical about this new girl, she didn't look so brilliant. When her arms were full of supplies, she laid them gracefully on the black table top and began to read the instructions on the board. Euphoria, she thought. Brilliant! I sure am lucky that Harry had those tricks up his sleeve to teach me and Ron. Professor Slughorn will be impressed.
A blissful smile crept up her face as she added all of the necessary ingredients to her cauldron. When her potion was brewing, as instructed on the board, she waltzed up to Professor Slughorn. She whispered a question, and stifled back a giggle at his amused face. He answered her by pointing a chubby finger to a rack that hung on the stone wall. He watched, with interest at the request she made, as she strolled to the rack and removed one tiny vial. Lily was confused by her lack of following the professors written directions. She scorned Hermione with her eyes and shot a look to the board. Hermione merely giggled and shook her head. It had once been her that would refuse to go outside of a book. But when she saw the result of Harry's potion, she couldn't help but admire instinct.
Black glittering eyes watched her add the secret oil, from behind a curtain of black hair. A small smile curved the corner of his lips as he said, "Brilliant," in a low hissing whisper.
Hermione turned to the source of the voice, a proud stance engulfing her body. Her professor-to-be was watching, fascinated by her sudden stroke of intellect. She looked up from the ground, just to see if he was still staring, and she found shining black orbs meet hers in a captivating stare. Intrigue was radiating from Severus Snape. Obviously he took potions rather seriously. Hermione grinned at him and began stirring her potion.
"Time is up," Slughorn boomed, clapping his hands together. "Let's see how well you have all done." He walked around the classroom, highly impressed by people who had brewed the potion correctly. He sniffed a few, grimaced at some and gave the thumbs up to most everyone. When he reached Lily, his eyes sparkled. He beamed at her and offered her sincere congratulations on a seemingly flawless potion. His eyes then slid over Hermione's potion to Snape's. "Fabulous, Mr. Snape! Nothing short of what I would have expected. Now," he said turning and quirking an eyebrow at Hermione. "Here is the instinct of a true potion maker." He tilted his head up to Hermione, and smiled proudly. "Tell us, Miss Granger, what did you do differently?"
She smirked and said, "Added essence of peppermint, sir."
"And why, class, would she want to do that? Going directly against one of the rules of the class, I might add," he said heartily as he drew a small chuckle.
"To cease the side effects of hiccups that often occur with the 'Euphoria' potion," Snapes monotone voice slithered. "Brilliant," he said admirably, locking another gaze with Hermione.
Everyone looked impressed, everyone except Lily. She looked slightly hurt at being showed up in class, by a new girl, whom she had befriended. She looked...jealous? Hermione felt guilty, but it had to be done. Proving her worth was something that she needed to do wherever she went. Snape's reaction made her feel less culpable. She offered him a soft smile when her gaze met his. To her surprise, he returned it with a true smile - something she had never ever seen.
"Five points to Slytherin for the knowledge of the extra ingredient," Slughorn said still bemused. "Ten points to Gryffindor for sheer brilliance."
A/N - Please please please leave a review and tell me how you like it. (I know that there are certain ships that could never never happen, but please remember that this is an AU---and you really don't know how it's going to end anyways.. LOL) Thanks and lots of love to you loyal ones and new ones out there!!! ~Jessi
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