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Chapter 2 : Arrival
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“That’s Hermione Granger,” said a freckly first year to his friend “she’s best friends with Harry Potter! Part of the Golden Trio! I can’t believe she’s here!” His friend stood next to him looking up at Hermione with awe.
“I thought the Golden Trio were above Hogwarts,” said a nasty looking sixth year from Slytherin, her voice dripping with contempt “I wonder what Granger’s doing here? All alone too, by the looks of it.”
“You see her, Jimmy, that’s a real hero right there! Stopped you-know-who alongside Harry Potter! She’s part of the reason you’re allowed here” A third year from Hufflepuff told his younger brother whose eyes were as round a saucepans.
“The Golden Trio? You mean Potty, Weasel King and Miss Mudblood? You’ve got to be kidding me! I thought that whole Golden Trio nonsense had died down!” It appeared that Blaise Zabini had also returned to Hogwarts. And also sees me as less than nothing observed Hermione angrily. Some things never change no matter what.
Hermione ignored all these comments and walked pointedly through the hallway. When she finally reached the exit she told a deep, refreshing breath of the cold night air. She stepped onto the platform and let her eyes adjust to the slightly darker surroundings. Suddenly, she spotted a large figure emerging from the darkness. Desperately needing a familiar face she rushed over to it.
“Hello Hagrid!” Hermione said with as much happiness as she could muster. The large figure turned around his eyes resting on Hermione. The usually warm and kind eyes were mixed with shock and confusion.
“Hermione!?” Hagrid exclaimed, clearly bemused, “what are yeh doin’ here?”
“I’m finishing my education, of course!” she tried to smile and make it seem as if that was her only option.
“I thought for sure yeh’d stay with Harry……and Ron,” Hagrid said, still confused, “is everythin’ al’right between you lot?” He asked, a note of anxiety in his voice.
Hermione tried to hide the truth from her eyes, but found it hard to lie to Hagrid. “Let’s talk about it later, all right?” she tried to sound cheerful, but the strain in her voice was evident.
“Yea o’ course. Yeh’ve had a long train ride. Come by tomorro’ mornin’ and we can have a spot o’ tea” Hagrid smiled uneasily at Hermione.
“Sure! See you later Hagrid!” she said with a reassuring smile before walking off the catch the carriages.
When Hermione reached the carriages her eyes couldn’t help but land on the strong Thresals preparing for the long pull up to the castle. She wondered how many people could see the Thresals now. She hopped on one of the last carriages, joining a group of excited second years. They were laughing and chatting merrily when Hermione stepped in. As soon as they saw her, however, silence fell.
“Mind if I join you?” Hermione asked politely, her eyes scanning over them.
“N n not at all!” One of them managed to squeak “P p please sit down!” she said, wonder shining in her eyes.
“Thank You” Hermione said smiling again. She wondered how much longer she would have to pretend everything was all right, that she was all right.
The carriage began to move and the silence hung heavily in the air. Finally one of the braver looking of the second years spoke up.
“You’re Hermione Granger, aren’t you?” He questioned curiosity in his voice.
“Yes,” Hermione said rather curtly. She wasn’t in the mood to answer questions about anything that had happened last year.
“You helped Harry Potter beat….You Know Who!” another one of them squeaked excitedly.
Hermione sighed, “I helped Harry beat Voldemort, yes” she ignored how they winced at the name. It was time they stopped fearing it.
“Wow you’re a hero!” said one of the girls “Will….will you sign my hat?” she asked turning beat red.
Hermione looked at her amazed. Autographs? They want autographs? Just because I helped Harry? This is ridiculous! I’m not some bloody Quiddich star! But Hermione caught the pleading look on the girls face and decided against scolding them.
“Er….All right” Hermione said finally. “Do you have a quill?”
The girl practically fell off of her seat in excitement as she dug out a smooth black quill and a bottle of gold everlasting ink from her bag. Hermione took the quill and ink and signed her name on the little girl’s hat.
“There you go,” Hermione said handing back the hat.
A look of pure joy crossed the girls face “Thank you!” she cried out, as she broke into a huge smile.
Hermione then proceeded to sign the hats of the others in the carriage. When they finally arrived at Hogwarts, the group hastily thanked her before hopping out and showing off their hats to anyone who would listen. Hermione followed them out of the carriage and began to make her way through the large front doors of Hogwarts.
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