Despite having a very clear focus for her life, it didn't solely rely on her destiny or the Potter boy. Hermione had truly been looking forward to going to Hogwarts and learning as much as possible. She had grown up in a house of magic just to be stripped down to nothing. She was now surrounded by it again and had every intention of becoming the best witch possible. Of today's classes, she had potions, one of the many classes she was happy to be taking. Her excitement pushed her to start her day early and make it to Professor Snape's classroom early in order to have the best seat. Her morning was marred, however, by realizing that her teacher had assigned seating. She ended up having to move a row back, but in the end, it worked out well. She had been seated next to Potter.
He took one look at her desk and surveyed everything on it —her two notebooks, her quill in its own little stand, two ink pots, and a roll of parchment. Hermione knew that she had to play nice with him, but Merlin, did he have to be so obvious with his gawking?
"Looking forward to class, are you?" Harry spoke. Hermione raised her haughty little chin and nodded.
"Of course. Potions is a wonderful subject. There are so many to learn and all with extraordinary uses."
"Sounds like you're well aware of the subject matter," he pointed out. Hermione had just taken out two potions books from her rucksack. She glanced at them and merely shrugged.
"Just in theory. Naturally, theory is a far cry from practice. Until then, I'd be happy to teach you what I've learned so far."
"Er…right. Sure, I guess."
Hermione smiled brightly at that and faced the front of the classroom just in time to hear the beginning of Professor Snape's welcome to the class. It was filled with his warnings to his students about what to do and not do in his class (all common sense, truly). When he was finished, his eyes were set firmly on her classmate.
"Why, Mr. Potter," Snape drawled. "Our new celebrity… Tell me, Mr. Potter, what would I get if I added powered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"
Hermione had read about that just under a month ago and her hand shot up in the air to provide what was sure to be an exceptional answer. She almost laughed when she heard Potter's pitiful, "I don't know." Snape resisted an eyeroll and continued on with his questioning.
"Too difficult for you? Well, let's try another. Where would I find a bezor?"
Hermione's hand was already in the air, but this time she stretched it a bit further. She didn't even have to read about this one, for she had been taught this by her own mother. Yet again, Potter was clueless.
"I don't know, sir."
"I see. How about another then? What is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?"
A bit more difficult of a question, but Hermione still knew it, and she was almost out of her seat by now, bursting to answer. Snape wasn't paying her any mind, but with laser focus on the bespectacled boy, he merely smirked and said slyly, "Clearly, fame isn't everything, is it Mr. Potter?"
"Clearly, Hermione knows," Harry sniped. "Why don't you ask her?"
Hermione almost put her hand down. Quick. Sassy. Unexpected. Perhaps there was more to this boy than she originally thought. In the meantime, she could at least provide the correct answers. And so, without waiting to be called upon, she let the responses flow.
"Please, Professor. The Draught of the Living Death, a powerful sleeping potion, is what you would get if you mixed asphodel and wormwood. Of course, the fresher the ingredients, the more potent the potion. A bezor can be found in the stomach of a goat, and monkshood and wolfsbane are part of the same plant. It goes by aconite, sir, and it helps make a potion to make a werewolf's transformation more bearable. It also—"
"—Silly girl, did I ask you for those answers?" Snape icily rounded on her. Hermione was completely taken aback and instantly dropped her hand.
"—ten points from Gryffindor."
Hermione snapped her mouth shut. She now had Gryffindors glaring at her for the loss of points and Slytherins snickering and laughing at what her actions had caused. Draco, too, was among that number, and she felt herself scowl hideously at him. At least he had the decency to acquire some shame in the form of averting his eyes. Hermione chose to spend the rest of the class being a model, quiet student to avoid more hassle. By the end of the class, everyone cleared out quickly —students to other classes and Snape to his office. The only other student who hadn't rushed outside apart from Hermione was Draco.
"Ivie —ah, Granger…"
"Don't," Hermione grumbled as she piled her things into her rucksack. She looked up at Draco briefly with anger in her eyes. "You laughed at me."
"It wasn't at you," Draco countered. "It was just the situation. Were it anyone else you would've laughed too."
"Yes, well, it wasn't anyone else. It was me and you did the laughing."
"Oh, come on, what do you expect? I'm a Slytherin, you're a Gryffindor, and our Houses hate each other. Things like this are bound to happen. Especially when it comes out that you're a muggleborn," he added in a whisper. Hermione wanted to fret with him, but in the end she knew he was right.
A long sigh escaped her some seconds after before sadly nodding. "I'm sorry. I know that you're only doing what you have to do."
"Just like you." Draco paused for a moment before glancing at the door. "I should go. I've got class —you too."
"I will. I just have to see Professor Snape, first."
Draco bid her farewell while Hermione slung her bag over her shoulder. She wasn't sure where Professor Snape's office was, but she did see which direction he had gone to and followed her gut. Eventually, she made it to a large door and knocked. It took a few seconds before she heard the lazy drawl of her teacher who granted her access. He didn't seem surprised to see her, albeit perhaps annoyed.
"How may I help you, Miss Granger?" he asked without looking up from his work.
Hermione could have beat around the bush, but Draco had been right. She had a class to get to. So, without much fanfare, she came right out and said it. "You were mean to me today. Why?"
Snape looked up then and internally sighed at the little girl who had been conflicting his life ever since Elena and Lucius had told him about her and her future destiny. Ever since he had promised to be on her side while she attended Hogwarts and to give her any help she needed. Snape hadn't at the time, nor had he yet, told Dumbledore about Ivanna Rosier and what her future held. Why? It wasn't his place. His guilt over keeping her a secret had waxed and waned over the years. Waxed every time the Headmaster displayed some sort of act that acknowledged his trust in him. Waned because Ivanna was not the professor's problem. It was Voldemort. Still was, as a matter of fact, and he always would be until the old wizard was satisfied that the Dark Lord was gone for good.
He snapped out of his thoughts and narrowed his eyes. "Aside from the fact that I'm not supposed to have prior knowledge of you? It is common knowledge that I favor Slytherin House. You are not a Slytherin."
Hermione huffed and crossed her arms. "That's hardly fair."
"Life," Snape said harshly, "is not fair."
The brunette scowled and she rudely turned on her heel to leave his office. Her hand was on the doorknob, ready to turn, when her godfather's voice captured her attention once more.
"Your answer today was perfect, albeit rather wordy. Succinct responses, Ivie. Succinct."
"Hermione," she corrected without looking at him, "and thank you. I'll do better."
"You're welcome, —and it's Professor Snape to you."
Hermione could have potions all day —almost any class really, but flying wasn't one of them. Merlin, did she hate the idea of flying. Draco had tried several times to get her on a broom, but it had been a failure ten times over. Whether it be sliding off the end, or falling to the left or right, flying a broom was not her forte.
"You look nervous there, Granger," Draco called from one side of the field. She was used to his taunting where a broom was concerned, and she knew very well that it was real and aimed at the girl that he knew his entire life, not the persona she was pretending to be.
"He's a bit of a mean one, isn't he?" Harry mumbled. Hermione's instinct was to defend Draco with all of her might, but she bit back her tongue and took a deep breath.
"Yes, it seems so."
"Of course, he is," Ron chimed in. "He's a Malfoy. His family is one of the nastiest purebloods out there. If he was nice it would be scary."
"Do you even know his family?" Hermione asked as gently as she could. "If you don't, you're being a bit judgmental."
"You're a muggleborn, so you wouldn't know," Ron rebutted. "Everyone knows his dad was a member of You-Know-Who's army. They're terrible people."
"What's a pureblood?" Harry suddenly asked, quickly diffusing Hermione's pending anger.
"It refers to wizarding lineage," Hermione answered Harry's question. "Families that have witches and wizards in them through the ages. That's what makes their blood pure."
"Not literally," Ron interjected. "Purebloods like the Malfoys just think that they're better than everyone else when they're not."
"You would think that, wouldn't you?" Hermione scoffed. "Being one of the lesser pureblood families yourself."
Ron's ears instantly turned red. It could have been from embarrassment or rage, but still the color suited his hair. "There's nothing wrong with my family. How did you even know that we were purebloods anyway?"
Hermione swallowed. "I so happened to read about pureblood families in a book, thank you."
"Of course, you did," Ron tutted before murmuring a derisive, "…such a swot."
Hermione's glare made him shrink back, but luckily for him, and perhaps herself, nothing more could be done before class began. They were to be commanding their brooms and hovering. Despite hating being on a broom, she wasn't completely inept. Uncle Lucius taught her the basics while teaching Draco. As a muggleborn, however, she wasn't supposed to be that good, and so she faked it. Everything was going swimmingly until she began to hear a commotion. That boy with the toad was doing a lot more than hovering. She watched in a mix of both horror and amusement as he took off. Every student's eye was on him as he went up, took a sharp nosedive, went up again, and even threw in a couple of swirls. It was no match for Madam Hooch as she tried to stop him, and soon the broom was flying off without him and she and the rest of her classmates watched him fall to the ground.
Hermione winced when she heard a distinct crack. Surely, he had broken something. With a shake of her head, she determined that if this was what his lessons were going to be like in other classes, this Neville boy was going to be an awful student.
"And this is why you empty your pockets before you fly," Draco snickered as he picked what Hermione knew to be a Remembrall. He was right, of course. Such a shame that a couple galleons didn't trickle out of the boy's robes as well, but then again, he looked like a peasant.
"Give it here, Malfoy," Harry said suddenly. "That doesn't belong to you."
Hermione's attention turned to the Potter boy, and while she was attempting to remain to be an impartial bystander, it was hard. This boy… He was turning out to be an interesting enigma. Not one bit of magical prowess aside from that bit with Voldemort which solidified his fame, yet the sass and chivalry that he displayed made him quite the spectacle. She wouldn't go as far as to say that she admired him, no, but it was safe to say that he was capturing her attention. Especially since both he and Draco were up in the air. He eventually managed a catch for that Remembrall that was worthy of a Seeker. Hermione couldn't help her smile.
"Who does he think he is?" Draco huffed in a hushed tone. Hermione sighed deeply as she leaned her head on her hand, trying her best to get a head start on the assignments given to her that day, but failing miserably.
She was in the library with him, Blaise, and a boy named Theo she had been introduced to in a previous class. It was probably an unwise gathering, but her "blood status" had yet to be discovered, and so it didn't seem very harmful not to mingle. Even being a Gryffindor, despite the not-so-great history between it and Slytherin, didn't have an effect on her temporary friendship with them. It seemed like all they needed was Draco's approval. Hermione glanced up at Draco who was still fuming. Merlin forbid she ever admit his sway was real and make him feel like a king.
"At least he got in trouble for it," Hermione said lazily. "He deserves it after flying so close to windows. If you're going to do something stupid, you'd better do it well."
"Too right," Theo nodded with a half-hearted turn of his book page.
"Yeah, well, he'll get in even more trouble tonight, anyway," Draco said smugly. His words were enough to make Hermione lose interest in her text and a bushy brow got lost in her hairline.
"I beg your pardon? What's that supposed to mean?"
"Simple. Detention. I ran into Potter and his ginger stowaway earlier. Challenged 'em to a duel tonight —not that I'm going. And I so happen to know that Filch likes to patrol the specific corridor I told them the duel would be. They'll be scrubbing trophies for weeks."
"Ah, nicely done," Blaise laughed. "That'll teach them."
"It would," Hermione agreed. "Sad you won't be dueling them for real. You could probably teach them a thing or two."
"Appreciate the belief in me, Granger."
Hermione sat in Charms next to the Weasley boy while in a not-so-pleasant mood. As it turned out, he and Potter didn't get in trouble for being out past curfew. As a matter of fact, they had an adventure they hadn't anticipated —or so she overhead as she feigned sleep in the Gryffindor common room. She had come down after they had left, hoping to overhear tales of their misfortune, but instead she got something more. Something about a three-headed dog. Could there really be something like that hidden in the school? If so, Uncle Lucius would be very interested to know about it being on the school board and all. However, she would keep that to herself. Besides, who knew what other goodies these boys might lead her to? Potter was already becoming such an exceptional exception to the rule what with getting his own broom and all as a first year. Naturally, Draco was livid.
However, not as annoyed as she was having to sit next to this dunderhead of a Weasley and his utter catastrophe at spell-casting.
"For Merlin's sake, you're going to take someone's eye out," Hermione chided as she put out her hand to stop the boy's ridiculous wand movements. "Besides, you're saying wrong. It's Levi-O-sa, not Levi-o-SAH."
"Oh, well, if you're so perfect, why don't you do it then?" Ron challenged. Hermione smiled. She would love nothing more than to show this boy a thing or two, and so she performed the spell —perfectly. Aside from doing the spell flawlessly, her joy sparked from seeing him so disgruntled.
At the end of class, she gathered her things methodologically, following the students out. It was on the way back to her room that she heard Weasley complaining about her. While it could've been anyone, she heard him mimicking her pronunciation of the spell they had practiced.
"Merlin, I can't stand her!" Ron continued. "Granger's such a Know-It-All when she's just a muggleborn who didn't know anything about magic until this summer. What is her problem?"
Hermione's eyes narrowed to slits, her cold stare hard enough to bore a hole into the back of his head. There was nothing wrong with being knowledgeable. It wasn't her fault that he was an idiot. With an angry huff, Hermione hurried her steps, making sure to brush into his shoulder for good measure. She halted her steps, however, when she spotted Draco and his friends up ahead. Hermione gulped. Weasley's mouth was loud and his voice carried, and it was in this moment that she knew it was over.
"Muggleborn?" Blaise said with a brow cocked. "You're a muggleborn, Granger?"
Hermione could feel herself tremble, but she lifted her chin with all the false pride in the world as she answered, "I am. What of it?"
"Nothing," he replied smugly. "Just looks like we're all going to have to use a cleansing charm to get the mudbldood stench off of us. Right, Draco?"
Hermione's eyes locked with Draco. She saw him take the smallest breath, but it was the only giveaway he made before his face schooled into one of malice.
"Good one, Zabini. It's a good thing being a mudblood isn't contagious. We'd all be in trouble."
Draco's quip earned him a roaring laugh and pats on the back. Hermione would have congratulated him too, if it was okay for her to do. Instead, she faked hurt and walked away. The truly sad part was, she didn't have to fake it as much as she thought.
Author's note: So many good bits in here, but I loved Potions class the best I think! Thanks for all of the support on this fic you guys! :)