Hermione grinned, skipping off the train and grinning, waving goodbye to the stunned group that had occupied the carriage, the twins the only ones who had the wits to wave back. Turning on her heel she headed towards a large group of people that had gathered around an impossibly huge man with the kindest eyes she had ever seen. Harry and Ron, the boys she had met on the train earlier, were standing in front of him, seeming to be chatting happily.

She spotted Neville in the middle of the group and wound her way through, taking his hand and squeezing it nervously when she saw the poor boy shaking.

"You okay there Nev?" Hermione asked kindly, tilting her head so her curls fell across her face as she looked at him, the mousy boy stuttering nervously.

"Y-y-yeah f-f-fine Her-Hermione," he tried to reassure her shakily, his clammy hands showing her otherwise.

"You can call me Mione Nev, it's what my friends do," she nudged him softly in the shoulder and swung their hands between them.

"I'm your friend?" Neville stammered, bowing his head to avoid looking at her.

"Of course you are Nev, now just stop worrying, if you didn't belong here do you really think they would have sent you that letter?" Hermione offered, prodding him gently in the side with their joined hands.

"No, no they wouldn't," he stood up a little bit taller and she smiled, grabbing his hand and towing him to one of the small boats.

They climbed into the front and two girls climbed in after them, smiling as they caught sight of the two. "Hello, my name's Hermione, Hermione Silver," she held out her hand and the two shook it quickly, settling down as the boat's started moving across the lake.

"Hannah Abbott," the smaller of the two girls introduced. She was petite with honey blonde hair and light blue eyes but when she smiled her entire face lit up.

"Susan Bones," the taller girl waved, her light red hair swaying as the boat lurched, blue eyes widening for a second.

"This is Neville Longbottom. He's sort of shy," Hermione pointed to the shaking boy beside her and wrapped an arm around his shoulders, running a soothing hand up and down his back.

"Oh crap!" a loud shout came from Susan as she leant over the side of the boat, a horrified frown on her face.

"What's wrong?" Hannah asked worriedly, scanning the red head for any injuries.

"My golden locket, the one my mother gave me in her will, it fell in," Susan cried, leaning even further over the boat and staring into the icy depths.

"One second," Hermione insisted, standing up and tying back her hair, stepping to the edge of the boat and diving into the water, her small frame disappearing into the darkness.

"MIONE!" Neville screamed, falling over himself as he stared into the water, eyes straining as he tried to find her.

"Is she mad?" Susan screeched, the two girls both watching with Neville for any sign of Hermione.

A loud gasp drew their attention to the other side of the boat and they turned just in time to see a large tentacle unwrap itself from around Hermione's waist as it deposited her into the boat. "Thank you," she chirped, patting the tentacle as it waved before sliding back into the ocean.

"Here," Hermione deposited a golden locket into Susan's lap, the red head staring at it in amazement.

"Thank you," she sobbed, crushing it in her fist and launching herself into Hermione's arms, the brunette hugging her awkwardly as she attempted to place her back in her seat.

"You're soaking wet," Susan noted when she finally sat back down.

"Yeah that would be because I jumped in the lake," Hermione shrugged and hung her head over the boat so she could wring out her hair, the thick curls bouncing back into place as she grinned at their stunned expressions.

"Let me see if I got this right. You jumped into a freezing cold magical lake, with no idea what lived in it to retrieve a locket for a girl you had only just met," Hannah said slowly, shaking her head in shock.

"Umm yes?" Hermione guessed, jolting forward as the boat docked, stepping carefully over the gap between the wood of the boat and the stone walkway.

"You're either mad or amazing, I can't seem to decide," Neville noted confusedly, hopping out of the boat after her and steadying himself against her arm.

"Oy you there, is this your toad?" Hagrid called, holding onto a small amphibian croaking loudly in his hands.

"Trevor!' Neville sighed thankfully, grabbing the toad from Hagrid and cradling it against his chest. The group moved forward after that, moving across dewy grass and stopping in front of a huge pair of oak doors. Hermione was still wringing the water from her clothes as she went, the water droplets making a trail behind her as she walked.

The tall man, who Hermione now knew was Hagrid, raised a giant fist and knocked three times on the castle doors, the sound could be heard echoing behind the doors. With a loud creaking sound the doors opened slowly, almost like they were in a horror movie, Hermione mused.

A tall, thin woman stalked through, her ebony tresses pulled into a bun atop her head and her willowy frame clad in emerald robes with intricate detailing. She appeared to only be in her late 40's but it was her eyes that ruined the image, they looked to be the eyes of someone who had seen a century pass and with the life expectancy of a witch Hermione thought this to be entirely possible.

"The firs' years, Professor McGonagall," said Hagrid and Hermione looked up into her stern face, instantly thinking that she would have to be very crafty to pull pranks off in her class.

"Thank you, Hagrid. I will take them from here." Her voice was sharp but warm and Hermione felt herself liking her unintentionally.

She pulled the door wide. The entrance hall was so big you could have fit the entirety of St Trinians in the room alone. The stone walls were lit with flaming torches like the ones at Gringotts, the ceiling was too high to make out, and a magnificent marble staircase facing them led to the upper floors.

They followed Professor McGonagall across the flagged stone floor to a small chamber off the hall, Hermione could hear the drone of hundreds of voices from inside another room and was instantly reminded of dinner time at St Trinians.

"Welcome to Hogwarts," said Professor McGonagall, turning to face them and starting as her eye caught Hermione's, looking shocked at the girl's drenched appearance. "What happened to you young lady?" she frowned and the students all turned to stare at Hermione.

She shrugged and smirked up at McGonagall, "I jumped into the lake to get Susan's locket back then the squid pushed me back into the boat." She said it so nonchalantly and the surrounding students stared.

"Well we can't have you dripping all over the floors now can we," McGonagall hid her shock and quickly flicked her wand, drying the brunette instantly.

"Thanks Miss, continue with your speech," she smiled charmingly up at the deputy headmistress and the woman started before nodding slowly, turning back to face everyone.

"Now as I was saying, the start-of-term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the Great Hall, you will be sorted into your houses. The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your house will be something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory, and spend free time in your house common room.

"The four houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Each house has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your house points, while any rule breaking will lose house points. At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the house cup, a great honour. I hope each of you will be a credit to whichever house becomes yours.

"The Sorting Ceremony will take place in a few minutes in front of the rest of the school. I suggest you all smarten yourselves up as much as you can while you are waiting." She cast a stern look over the gathered first years, the pupils huddled closer together than they normally would in an attempt to disguise their nerves.

Hermione snorted and led a shaking Neville off to the side, tugging him into a large hug. "Listen Nev, you are going to be fine. I've read up on this, all you have to do is put a hat on your head and it will tell you which house you belong in. I think you're going to do great Nev you just need to calm down," Hermione whispered into his ear, pulling back and smiling at him.

He grinned shyly back and she giggled. "Here," she pulled off a small pendant she had around her neck, looping the chain around his wrist and clipping it shut, the small St Trinians crest shown off against his pale skin. "This is my school crest, we are St Trinians, the defenders of anarchy and as long as you wear this we are behind you always," she smirked at his shocked look.

"You go to St Trinians, the all-girls school that's always across the news," he choked as she nodded.

"And now I'm behind you all the way," he sniffled and hugged her tightly.

"Thank you Mione," he whispered and she squeezed him back, turning around as a stream of ghosts flew into the hall, conversing as if the students weren't even there and floating through another wall, McGonagall coming out to call them in soon after. Hermione made a mental note of the ghost they were all talking about, Peeves, to seek him out later. He sounded fun.

She followed the group into the hall and stared up at the ceiling straight away, seeing the projection of the night sky and the thousands of candles that covered the entire hall. Awed gasps came from all around her and she felt the urge to join in as they came to a stop in front of the stage, a dusty hat on a stool in front of them. The hat's brim suddenly lifted as if it was a mouth and began to sing:

Oh you may not think I'm pretty,
But don't judge on what you see,
I'll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me.
You can keep your bowlers black,
Your top hats sleek and tall,
For I'm the Hogwarts Sorting Hat
And I can cap them all.
There's nothing hidden in your head
The Sorting Hat can't see,
So try me on and I will tell you
Where you ought to be.
You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
if you've a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You'll make your real friends,
Those cunning folks use any means
To achieve their ends.
So put me on! Don't be afraid!
And don't get in a flap!
You're in safe hands (though I have none)
For I'm a Thinking Cap!

Hermione clapped along with everyone else but her attention was divided as McGonagall informed them of how they would be sorted, her eyes scanning the staff table. She saw a head of thick black hair and shrieked with excitement, ignoring the annoyed look McGonagall shot her she pushed her way through the students, leaping on stage and jetting past McGonagall.

"SEVVY!" she shrieked, throwing herself into the potion master's embrace, the brooding man hugging her back tightly as he lifted her into the air, spinning her quickly.

"Hello Sunshine," he chuckled, the two ignoring the shocked gasps and loud whispers that erupted throughout the entire hall, placing her back on the ground gently.

"I didn't blow up the train," she announced proudly, the entire school, including the teachers were shocked to hear the normally emotionless potions professor laughing hysterically.

"Okay you were right, but to be fair you did burn the minister for education's car," he pointed out and Hermione simply shrugged, the stupid man had decided to close down St Trinian's. He had to be taught a lesson.

"Oh yeah, I dove into the Black Lake and the giant squid put me back in my boat," she grinned as he suddenly looked worried.

"Please tell me you didn't go looking for the mermaids."

"Wait there are mermaids, as in half human, half fish."

"No! Forget I told you that."

"Too late Sevvy, I'm going diving soon."

"I forbid it, and on that note you are not allowed to go looking for unicorns."

"Why not, I just wanna see if I can ride one."

"They would skewer you and before you say it the same goes for any other creature."

"Well then we have a problem. If I can't go looking for any creatures can I at least scale the side of the castle?"

"We already talked about this at Gringotts, no scaling anything that is taller than St Trinian's."

"So if I'm not allowed to scale anything how about explosions, I have some of Tara and Tania's C-4 explosives in my bag."

"Absolutely not! And I thought I told the first years not to give you anymore after you destroyed that tractor."

"I was simply wondering if it was possible to incinerate it. Besides I wouldn't practise anywhere I could hurt anyone."

"Stop pouting, you know that's not fair. Besides I expect all of the explosives on my desk tomorrow morning."

"Fine. How about a deal?"

"What kind of deal, I normally lose at these."

"I'll give you all my explosives if… you let me play with your potions whenever I want."

"Damn, with you around there won't be a potions lab left."

"Promise me."

"Fine I promise."

The entire school watched the proceedings with great attention, eyes widening when they followed the conversation. Severus and Hermione shook, the small girl giggling and skipping back down the stairs, joining her hands with Neville's and staring up at McGonagall, ignoring the many stares boring into her back, the red head twins amongst them.

"Hey George," Fred whispered, ducking his head closer to his twins and ignoring the sorting which had finally begun.

"Yeah Fred,"

"I think we need to recruit her,"

"Damn right we do, she's like crazy wicked,"

"I know, seriously explosions, diving for mermaids, scaling Hogwarts,"

"Told you, crazy. What I want to know is why Snape so nice to her,"

"Who knows but she seems to be a good judge of character, just leave that for now,"

The two drew back suddenly as they heard Hermione's name, their heads snapping towards the front as the small brunette flounced up the stairs, grinning madly around as she put the hat on her head. The hat seemed to meld with her head, something that had never been seen and her eyelids fluttered as if she was seeing something no one else could.

Hermione sat down on the stool, grinning at Neville who was sitting over at the Gryffindor table, flushing with pleasure before the hat settled down over her eyes.

"Hello there young heir," the whisper came from the hat and she felt herself relaxing, as if the voice was familiar.

"I should be. Your ancestors made me, and this entire castle. You have a connection my dear, you can speak to her, can't you feel her," the hat's voice was hoarse with wonder and Hermione felt her magic flutter within her, seeming to join with something much larger than her.

"That is Hogwarts my dear, the founders poured everything they were into this castle and she developed a consciousness of her own, this is your castle my dear and she will cherish you as if you were her own." A flurry of images suddenly appeared in her head, students milling through large halls, students dancing vigorously in that very room, warm beds and soft chairs in the winter. Grounds filled of soft blossoms and yellowing leaves, a lake full of life and wonder, centuries of comfort and pain, love and heartbreak, life and death.

Hermione gasped, her eyes flying open as she stared in wonder into nothing, the deep thrumming of Hogwarts magic suddenly in tune with her own, like she had been feeling it her whole life but never quite knew what it was. "Home," she whispered.

"Indeed dear, now I believe it is time for you to get sorted," the hat mumbled and Hermione could feel it riffling through every memory she ever had at light speed. "Interesting, very interesting. GRYFFINDOR!" the voice boomed through the hall and Hermione took it off, patting it softly and leaping off the stage, running over to join the Gryffindor table. The two redheaded twins moved over so she could sit between them, Neville directly across the table from her.

"Told you Nev, you just gotta be brave," she smiled and kicked him gently under the table.

"So what was with you and Snape?" Fred asked, leaning so he could talk to her face to face.

"He's my friend," she shrugged as if she didn't understand the question, looking up at them with golden eyes.

"Really I mean he's normally so… dark," George struggled to find the right word, staring down at the brunette between them.

"Well yeah at first but that's just it. No one ever really bothered to get to know him. Since they didn't make an effort why should he. I actually got him to go to an amusement park with me a few days ago, he ruled at the dodgem cars," she smirked at the reminder of the potions master smashing his small car into others with a vindictive glee.

"Snape?" "Really?" the twins chorused at the same time, sharing shocked looks.

"Yeah he's actually really fun but that could just be me," she acknowledged indifferently, smiling as Neville kicked her back under the table.

The feast was over sooner than she expected and she leapt to her feet, running back to the staff table so she could hug Snape quickly. "Be nice," she warned, squeezing his waist quickly before darting back to join the group of first years being led to the dormitories. She watched the Slytherins being lead towards the dungeons and instantly felt sorry for them, it had to be freezing down there, maybe she could get them some heated blankets except instead of electricity she could use magic.

As she pondered that theory she automatically followed the group, feeling the magic of Hogwarts guiding her as she walked, the staircases delaying longer than they should have to allow her time to get on, trick tiles failing when she stepped on them. She grinned as they came to a stop in front of a large portrait of a middle age woman who attempted to deafen them before letting them enter the common room.

She stared along with everyone else at the common room, spinning around to take in the full spectrum of the room. It was so warm and comforting, a fire roaring in the fireplace warming the room considerably. She sent a small portion of her magic into the castle with her thanks and a wave of love came back, cocooning her in the feeling for a few seconds before it passed.

"Okay boys to the left, girls to the right," the tall red head at the front of the group corralled them off and Hermione wondered if he was related to the twins, despite his mannerisms he looked an awful lot like the two second years. She followed several other girls into a dorm room and instantly grabbed the bed furthest from the door and with the best view of the grounds, poking her head out and breathing in the Scottish air.

"Gotta love magic," she sighed blissfully, tugging off her shoes and flopping back onto her bed.

"My name's Lavender, Lavender Brown," a slightly plump girl with mousy hair chirped happily.

"Parvati Patil, my sister Padma was sorted into Ravenclaw," the Indian girl introduced herself to everyone, pulling her nightclothes from her trunk as she did so.

"Fay Dunbar, I really have no idea how I got into Gryffindor," a dark haired girl stammered nervously, undoing her tie quickly and depositing it on her bed along with her cloak.

"Hermione Silver, St Trinian's girl and all around prankster," Hermione chimed in from her bed, already tugging at the buttons on her blouse.

"The St Trinians?" Lavender asked in shock and Hermione nodded, snickering quietly at their dumbfounded expressions.

"Well that explains the uniform," Parvati nodded along, quickly pulling on a long sleeve shirt and pants.

"Yeah we're not that big on normal," Hermione said simply, patting her bed as Felidae jumped up, meowing quietly as she changed into a sleek panther and curled into a ball.

"Holy shit! What is that?!" Fay cried, leaping up and staring with wide eyes at the now panther.

"Oh that's just Felidae, my Alluvia. She's one of the last of her kind, can change into any animal in the cat family. You might want to get used to it," Hermione shrugged, climbing into her bed and blowing out her light. "Night girls," she called as one by one the lamps extinguished.

"Night," the sentiment was echoed around the dorm, the heavy breathing of four sleeping girls following soon after. A soft smile appeared on McGonagall's face as she checked up on them later, the soft moonlight illuminating Hermione's face as she slept peacefully in her new home.