The Pretty Slytherin
Hermione approached the refreshments table, where Crabbe's date was stading alone.
"I know you. You're the leader of the organization know as the D.A., right?"
"Yes, that's me. Well, Harry, taught us the classes, but I guess I convinced him to teach us, so in a way..no, he's the leader."
"But you put a spell on the parchment that caused that Edgecombe girl's face to become covered in spots, so I just assumed…"
"Yes, I did, but Harry was the leader."
"I guess he was. I heard that the Inquisitorial Squad caught a few of you once. My boyfriend was part of the Inquisitorial Squad."
"You're dating Crabbe, right?"
"I prefer to call him 'Vincent.' But yes. Why do you ask? You're not jealous, are you?"
"J-jealous? Of you with Crabbe? That's insane."
"No. Because I spend a lot of time with Draco, as Draco is a friend of Vincent's. You two do have some history together, right?"
Hermione sighed. "Yes, we have some history together, but no one is really supposed to know about that."
"Okay, I'll keep my voice down. I love hearing about how you and him and how you were covered in pancake batter once and he licked it off you…"
"Shhh!" Hermione said, putting her finger to her lips. "No one knows about that."
"Except for Draco, Vincent, and the other disgusting one whose name I can't bring myself to say."
"Look, I don't know who you are. We've never seen you around before," Hermione said.
"My name is Ruthie Camden. I just started this year. I was homeschooled before I came here. Mom and Dad thought it'd be best for the family to learn magic in our manor. And besides, you're in Gryffindor, and I'm in Slytherin," Ruthie said, rolling her eyes.
"Oh, right. We wouldn't know anyone from there."
Hermione and Ruthie both looked down at the ground for a moment, before the former asked, "You're not in Pansy Parkinso's gang, are you?"
"Pansy? Ick, no. She looks like a pug. I even tried to talk that pretty girl—Daphne Greengrass—out of being part of her gang, but she wouldn't listen to me."
"Good. I just didn't want to assume that all Slytherin girls think alike."
"But you do assume that, Hermione," Ruthie said. "Just because we're all purebloods doesn't mean we're all anti-Muggle or anything."
You're dating Vincent Crabbe," Hermione said. "His father is one of the biggest anti-Muggle born people around."
"She means that literally," Ron said, coming over. "He's the thickest Death Eater I've ever seen, for sure."
"Guys, you don't get it. Vincent is a good guy. Deep down, all right? He's a sensitive, romantic soul." Ruthie's eyes sparkled. "Only the loss of the love of his life could drive him off the edge."
"and you believe you are the love of his life?" Hermione asked.
"Yes," said Ruthie. "I am." She stared Hermione down, and Hermione stared back. Then Ruthie stormed off.
Cho walked by but when she saw Hermione at the refreshment table, she dashed away.
"You know, I don't like seeing Harry alone," Hermione said, biting her nails.
There was a pause before Ron said, "Neither do I."
"They were staring at each other like a couple of vultures," Ron said.
"I don't too much care what's going on with the girl Crabbe is dating, thanks."
"I think Hermione likes her. Or doesn't like her. Or something. Anyway, I'm afraid that she might invite her to hang out with us."
"Why would she do that?" Harry asked.
"To get you to recover from Cho and your…splitting up. Over that Miss Spotty."
"I don't need Hermione to set me up with anyone. Especially someone who is Crabbe's leftovers."
"Hermione just thinks that since it's been a year since Cho and you fell apart, that you could use some female company."
"Not with a Slytherin girl."
"They hate Muggle-born wizards, for one thing. And blood traitors, too."
"Hermione thinks it's time that we put all our hate behind us and focus on some inter-House bonding."
"We can do that with Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws," Harry said,, standing up and pacing. "Slytherins hate the other three houses. Just because she's pretty doesn't mean she's any different."
"Well, you can let Hermione introduce you two or you can choose not to do so."
"What would you advise?"
"Look, I'm not the best person to turn to for advice," Ron said. "But I suggest letting Hermione at least introduce you two. She really cares about you, you know. In a brotherly sort of way."
The "brotherly" thing was Harry's issue. Not with Hermione, no. Never with her. She was like a sister to him. That was certain. But Ron had to protect his actual, living, blood sister, Ginny, from Harry, when her hair and her perfume and the way she flew around the goalposts on the Quidditch pitch…Harry loved her. He did not see how a Slytherin girl could change that. She couldn't. Could she?