Chapter 1 : Exordium (The Beginning)
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Okay, so before you start reading I want you to know this is the third crack I've made with this story. I originally posted it a long time ago and then I deleted it and started again, and now I've decided to scrap it again. Except for those of you who read the last chapter I recently posted, this isn't really going to matter. But I am sorry for the inconvenience.
Anyway, this is a really emotionally triggering story. If any of you have advice on anorexia, bulimia, or writing advice in general I would love to hear it, just shoot it in a review or any other way you can get it to me, that would be great. Thank you!!!
The Granger family sat in a diner just off the entrance to King’s Cross Station, Hermione about to board her last train to Hogwarts. The air was still warm, the last touches of summer present amidst the looming autumn season. Hermione had settled in beside her parents and picked at the stack of pancakes she ordered. She blew at her coffee; relishing in the remaining time she had with her parents before leaving for her final year at Hogwarts.
They left a lot of time for breakfast, chatting an eating away until minutes before Hermione had to get on the train. “Okay,” she said, her face pressed against her father’s coat, muting her voice. “I’m going to be late. The train is leaving now.”
“I know, I know.” Her mother had that excited but also very worried look about her. The same look she got every year since Hermione started making the journey. “I just…. Oh, Hermione, I’m just so proud of you.” She hugged her again.
“Kid, you sure you don’t want to come back for Christmas?” Her father said. She looked at him, exasperated. “Hey,” he raised his hands up in weak defense. “Just checking.”
She hugged them both at the same time and her mother promised to send anything she might’ve forgotten and they’ll write everyday and say hi to Harry and Ron and Ginny and make another friend who’s a girl and yadda yadda yadda. “Mom, I have to go, goodbye. Goodbye.” Another quick one-armed hug and Hermione was off, her trolley in tow and another bag bouncing between her shoulders as she ran through the Station and braving the wall to Platform 9 ¾. She maneuvered her way onto the train and past other late students. She started the search for Harry and Ron.
The halls of the train were fairly empty, save for first years, and most of the doors were closed. Someone caught her eye at the far end of the car. She instantly thought it was Ron, but the figure wasn’t lanky as she was accustomed to with Ron, but held a sort of grace. “Malfoy.” He faced her and in a fit of kindness she decided to show civility. “Have you seen Harry and Ron at all?”
He seemed to have been overcome with the same demonic possession and pointed to one of the last compartments. She must have made a face because he questioned her. “You’re not usually so helpful, is all. Unless that’s not Harry and Ron.” Hermione quickly tried to erase the nasty, perverted image that sprang to her mind. Seventh years were disgusting.
“I was made Head Boy,” a fact he didn’t seem overly fond of. “My duties include directing idiots and being nice. Speaking of which, you weren’t made Head Girl.”
“I noticed,” Hermione said. “I think it’s a special type of Hogwarts racism.”
Draco shook his head and his fine hair, which desperately needed a trimming, fell into his eyes. “I don’t think so. It was a Hufflepuff they called. Melody…. I don’t know. Melody Something.”
“Turner,” Hermione said. “She’s on the Quidditch team.” He shrugged, still unable to put a face to the name. “Malfoy, I will probably see you later. So bye.”
She pushed passed him and went to examine the compartment. Harry and Ron both looked up at her and she was hit with déjà vu from years ago when she first burst into a compartment the boys had been sharing. They trio hugged and fell into the same steady rhythm that had been a constant for them for years. The ride to Hogwarts passed with a blur as Hermione, Ron, and Harry each got caught up on each other’s summers. They continued chatting, comparing schedules and gossiping until they were seated and digging into the first feast of the year. Ginny and Neville soon joined them as the newly appointed Headmaster gave the closing remarks.
“Furthermore, the Care of Magical Creatures class will be split into practical and theoretical courses, so students enrolled will have to edit their schedules accordingly.” Headmaster Snape glared at the mass. “I expect this to be done promptly, before the official commence of classes tomorrow. That will be all. Dismiss to bed.”
Hermione and her friends left the Great Hall. The castle was as warm and inviting as ever, the familiar halls and stairs rushing past as Hermione continued to talk through the Gryffindor common room and up into the girls’ dormitories. She continued laughing and joking with Parvati and Lavender.
“Have you noticed something?” Parvati twirled in front of Hermione.
“Your hair is shorter?” Parvatie shook her head. “Um…” Hermione was unable to rack her brain to see the difference in her friend. “You lost weight.”
Parvati squealed. “Yes! Yes. Yes. I lost fifteen pounds! Padma says it’s hardly noticeable but I dropped almost two full robe sizes.”
“Wow, Parvati, that’s great. Good on you.” Hermione said.
Lavender swore. “I forgot…crap. Yeah, Parvati, you look great except have you seen a small journal? I can’t remember if I packed it or not.” She started searching all around her bed, waving her arm madly. She hit something and it went sliding, bumping into Hermione’s foot, and flipping open to a bookmarked page. Hermione brought her leg under her on impact and bent down to pick it up. She saw Lavender’s messy scrawl on one side and a column of numbers lining the other. She closed it again and tossed it back to Lavender. “Thanks. I was seriously going to be so pissed if I had left it at my dad’s house. Annoying prat.”
“What is it?” Hermione asked.
“Just a food journal.” Lavender replied. “Keeps me on track.”
“Yeah, I kept one.” Parvati said. “I took it everywhere with me.”
“You wrote down everything you ate?” Hermione said. That seemed a bit obsessive to her.
“It’s really the only way to lose weight without, like, a program or trainer or anything. It just keeps everything in line so you know how much you’re eating.” Lavender jotted down some notes in it and threw it onto her bedside table.
The girls got into bed, the hour too late to continue talking and soon enough, Hermione fell asleep.
She woke early the next day, before both Lavender and Parvati and decided to get a head start with the bathroom. She showered and brushed her teeth and managed to get a comb through her hair. When she finished Lavender was still curled under her blankets and Parvati stood waiting. “I don’t think she has a class until eleven.” Parvati said.
She dressed quickly, pulling her skirt on over tights. She gathered her books and checked her timetable again, making sure she had it memorized before tucking it away for good. Lavender’s overflowing trunk caught Hermione’s attention and before she could roll her eyes at the mess she walked over to it. She bent over quickly and checked the size of one of Lavender’s robes. She also checked her skirts and sweaters. Except for a few choice items, they were uniformly the same, small as small can get, size.
Brushing it off, she made to leave again. But curiosity got the best of her and she dumped her books on her bed and bent to rifle through Parvati’s luggage. Most of the clothes were new, Hermione noted, still sporting the tag in most cases. Parvati had dropped to Lavender’s size. Hermione seriously doubted that was a coincidence.
Hermione grabbed her books and stalked to the Great Hall, feeling distinctly haughty.
Despite her early rise, she still managed to be the last of her friends joining the breakfast rush.
“I can’t see her anywhere.” Ron craned his neck, his eyes darting wildly around the Great Hall.
“What does he want?” Hermione asked.
“We’re in Care of Magical Creatures and we need to get out schedules changed.” Harry said, eyes scanning the Head table. “We need McGonagall.” Finally, she floated into the Hall and fixed their schedules. “What is Practical Care of Magical Creatures, anyway?”
“Yeah, and what is Theoretical Care of Magical Creatures? How can you, in theory, take care of magical creatures?” Ron asked.
“Theory just means medicine and stuff. Practical will be hands on treatment.” Hermione said. She couldn’t really bring herself to eat anything. In fact, she felt kind of weird. Not a weird where she might be sick, but more of a weird where she didn’t really know what to feel. Confused, almost.
“You’re not hungry?” Harry asked; fork piled with bacon and half way to his mouth.
Hermione shook her head. It felt like someone had stuffed a sock in her throat. “I’m just going to go to class. I think the bell’s going to ring anyway.”
Her first week was uneventful to say the least. Hermione’s classes were borderline impossible and she was concerned about her ability to pass any of them. Ron was already slacking and Harry was getting ready for Quidditch tryouts.
“There is no way you’re not getting on the team. You’re pretty much pro.”
“Thanks, Ron.” Harry smiled. “I just haven’t played all summer. I don’t know how good my game’s gonna be.”
“Are you practicing now?” Hermione asked. She had just got settled, her homework and quills scattered around her.
“No, Saturday.” Ron answered for Harry. “He wants to miss the first Hogsmead trip.”
“What? They posted that already? I didn’t think they’d do that for another month maybe.”
“Nope.” Harry said. He was sorting through his gear. “They changed a bunch of things this year. Snape made Hogsmead a weekly thing. Which is why it’s not that big of a deal if I miss it.”
“And did you hear about the Head Girl?” Ron asked, accepting Harry’s choice to miss the first trip to Hogsmead. Hermione and Harry both shook their heads. “She got busted skinny dipping in the boy’s Prefect bathroom. She got expelled. Apparently Snape was furious.”
Harry laughed. “She didn’t even make it a week. See kids,” he said, addressing them, “this is what happens when fame gets to your head. You skinny dip in a Prefect bathroom.”
“That’s not funny, Harry.” Hermione pushed him off the couch and Ron joined his laughing. “You two are so stupid. Who’s going to be Head Girl now?”
“They’re letting Malfoy choose the process.” Harry said.
“And by ‘process’ he really means Pansy.” Ron said. Of course, Hermione thought, because having two Slytherins in charge of the representing the student body is such a great idea.
Hermione ignored the hell-ish fact and started on her homework; tuning out the gossiping giggles of her friends as she worked through the assignments.
She finished everything after the common room had been empty for hours. Looking at her watch, she saw that it was almost three in the morning and she mentally patted herself on the back. Now she was caught up and she could spend the rest of the weekend reading ahead. Not a bad plan.
She slid gratefully into bed. The room was pitch black and sleep came quickly.
She woke up to strong morning light what seemed like minutes later. Pulling the curtains back, she was greeted by an empty room. Hermione stretched, her neck already straining after one of the most academically intense week of her life. But it was Saturday now and she was excited to spend the weekend with her friends.
She put her more casual clothes on, just pants and a sweater, and grabbed her jacket. As she scanned the room, something caught her eye. Lavender’s food journal was lying on her bed, reminding Hermione of something she had been thinking of all week.
If Lavender swore up and down on it, and it was what helped Paravati lose all that weight over the summer, then Hermione didn’t think that investing in her own food journal was too shabby of an idea. She had been hesitant to write anything in her school notebooks and she didn’t have a personal diary, so Hermione figured she’d shop for one in Hogsmead.
By no means did Hermione think she needed to lose a ton of weight, but a couple pounds wouldn’t hurt. And, anyway, it would be easy for her. As a self-determined and highly controlled individual, she didn’t think that dropping a few pounds would be difficult at all. And she’d look great for the next school dance.
There was a noticeable hop in her step that she couldn’t control as she left her dorm. Ginny was waiting for her at the bottom of the steps. “I was just about to come looking for you, Hermione. You missed breakfast.”
“Yeah. I finished all my homework last night.”
“I thought so.” Ginny and Hermione left the common room together, coats in hand. “Do you wanna go to Hogsmead with me? Ron already left with Dean and Harry’s practicing.”
“Of course I do.” Naturally, inviting Ginny along was second nature, but she thought keeping her journal plans to herself was a good idea.
“We need to stop by the bulletin board before we leave.”
“Why?” Hermione was already slipping into her coat.
“You’ll see.” Ginny said, leading Hermione as she struggled with her buttons. They walked passed the entrance to the Great Hall where a few students were still idling. Ginny pointed to the large bulletin posted by the front doors. It took a moment for Hermione to read it, and another moment for her to process it. “Malfoy posted it at, like, six this morning.”
It was a giant poster stating the nominees for the recently vacated Head Girl, who will be voted upon by the student body, and Hermione was on it. Voting will take place Sunday night. “Who nominated me?”
“Best I heard, Malfoy made all the nominations himself.” Ginny shrugged. “Anyway, lets go. We’ll catch an early lunch and be back for dinner, I think.”
Hogsmead was packed, students eager to take hold of the charming village before snow captured it. Hermione and Ginny ordered a plate to share in a quaint café and quickly started on their shopping. They mostly wandered, window-shopping, before an antiques store caught Hermione’s eye. “I’ve never been in here before.”
“It’s old and dusty, why would you want to?” Ginny said. She followed Hermione through the door, sucking on a drop that was making her tongue look and smell like a cherry. “You ever get that insatiable desire to make out with someone?”
“Like, this is the time, right now, to stick your tongue down someone’s throat and if you don’t this the moment will definitely be wasted?”
Ginny shrugged again. “Whatever.”
Hermione picked up a leather bound book sealed with nothing more than a strap. It wasn’t quite the awesome antique thing she wanted, but she liked it and it was small enough, dare she say, to take anywhere. She bought it and the girls’ left, making the trek back to the castle.
Students flooded the Great Hall, petitioning for their favorite nominee for Head Girl. Displays had been set up and certain nominees were strutting around. Hermione wanted to be Head Girl, kind of, but she didn’t know how secure she should be with the vote. She figured she had most of Gryffindor, anyway, but would that be enough? Or should she make a display, a platform, some buttons? Hermione thought all those kids looked like idiots anyway, but would not doing anything be better?
She was debating the best political action when Malfoy sat beside her and Ginny. Backwards, he rested his forearms and leaned on the table. “Granger, the spot is yours. These baffoons,” he gestured to the other nominees, “have done nothing but irritate me all day, so way to go. We’ll still have a vote, you know, democracy and whatnot, but I want you to know that I took most of the other girl’s off the ballot.”
He didn’t wait for a response but got up and sashayed to the Slytherine table where he took a seat like it was a throne. Hermione and Ginny giggled. “Congrats.”
“Why, thank you. I worked exceedingly hard for this.” Hermione started loading her plate up in a celebratory dinner. “Malfoy seems different this year.”
“Yeah.” Ginny said. Her mouth was full of food and she gulped it down. “He changed a lot over the summer, I think. I heard he didn’t live with his parents.” Hermione glanced in the direction of the Slytherine table. Most of the boys were crowded around him, being loud in the way boys are when there aren’t any girls around.
“It’s weird, I think. How all these boys we started school with are men now. Even Harry and Ron. I was taller than both of them up until third year, and I think I was taller than Harry until the end of fourth year.” Hermione zoned out, still gazing in Malfoy’s direction.
“Hermione,” Ginny shook her, “you’re staring.”
Shaking it off, Hermione suddenly pushed her half-eaten plate away from her. “I’m really tired, Ginny. I think I’m going to lie down.”
In the common room, Hermione found a secluded corner while everyone was starting dinner. She wrote down her food intake, guessing the calories. Her notes seemed weak and wrong. She knew she missed a lot of things, but she couldn’t remember the exact amount of sponge taffy she had Honeydukes and she didn’t know how many calories were in it anyway. She stared at the journal. She didn’t feel like she had eaten a lot today. Less than usual, that was for sure. But her count was still over two thousand. Was that normal? It was confusing, but Hermione knew everything was confusing if one didn’t have a full understanding of it. So she would study it. No problem.
Hermione untangled herself from the blanket she had thrown over her legs and marched down to the library. She shook the tired out of her head and studied. She read about the foundations of weight loss, the pros and cons of fad diets and what weight loss actually was. Eat less; weigh less, a pretty simple concept. In fact, weight loss in general was fairly straightforward. Hermione pulled another late night and had to sneak out of the library and through the empty halls just before two in the morning.
Hermione lay in bed, but sleep didn’t come as easily as it had the night before. She was making plans and drawing mental diagrams. Eat less; weigh less. Eat less; weigh less. Eat less; weigh less. She understood. In no time she would have a picture perfect body.