AN: Sorry, this was planned out before HBP and has some inaccuracies. Like the history of Snape’s family, JKR’s twitchy handle of maths, and Dumbledore being straight. Oops. So this fic is officially AU.

The kids switch from informal to formal introduction to each other depending on if they are bragging, they feel as if they’re being slighted, if they’re talking about a person of the opposite sex, or if they feel camaraderie with the person they are talking about. It is not me being weird.

Bet you guys thought I was never going to update ;D




Hermione and Albus ran through the door of Greenhouse 4 and skidded to a halt in place beside a long wooden table.


“Ten points from Gryffindor!”


Hermione blinked as she took in Professor Snape. He was tall and had a familiar sneer, but that was where the resemblance with the Snape of her time ended. His ice blue eyes and gold hair were completely in contrast with the Snape she knew, not to mention the broad shoulders and handsome face. He wore gold rimmed glasses and brown robes. Hermione felt her cheeks turn pink.


“Must you cause a disruption wherever you go, Miss Dumbledore?” Snape threw her an ugly look.


“I apologize professor.” Hermione said, trying not to sound annoyed.

“You seem to be doing much of that as well. My only hope is that you won’t be as big of a burden as I expect you will be.”


Hermione felt her jaw drop as she stared at him, appalled. Well at least the Snape family temperament was predictable. You would hope that that would have been stomped out in several generations, but apparently that was too much to hope for.


“Since you seem to be so skilled in the construction of portkeys, why don’t you tell us the potions components, how they’re harvested, and how they should be treated in their third moon cycle?”


Hermione stopped herself before blurting out: ‘Are you barking?’


“20 points from-“


“A portkey requires valerian root, fresh dew from a daisy gathered at the full moon, three unicorn hairs, a feather from a griffin, two jasmine blooms, four dried mandrake leaves preserved in a stasis potion for two moons, and three quarts blackberry juice.”


Hermione paused to take a breath. Snape stared at her. She took that as encouragement to continue.


“The only ingredients that have a relevant third moon cycle are the valerian root and jasmine. They should be sprayed down with tears to magnify their potency. The feather must be given, the unicorn hair must be gathered from a juniper bush, the valerian root must be harvested with a silver shovel, the jasmine must be cut with a gold knife, and the blackberry juice should be no more than three hours old. The other ingredients have no harvesting restrictions.”


Snape blinked. Hermione allowed herself a small smile.


“Thirty points from Gryffindor for being a vexatious know it all!” Snape thundered.


Hermione glared at him. Albus’ features seemed carefully controlled. The other students seemed to be giving Hermione appraising looks. Thomas Hewson and Alfred Barker looked as if Christmas had come early. Alfred looked as if he were suppressing the urge to cheer.


Why on earth was he asking questions about potions and the creation of magical items in this class anyway?


Professor Snape began class as if nothing had happened.


After class Hermione found herself face to face with Thomas and Alfred.


“Thirty points well spent!” Thomas declared as he pumped Albus’ hand up and down. Alfred nodded fiercely.


Victoria Moss pushed her way past Hermione, giving her a fierce glare.


“Do not give that creature another thought.” John Sterling approached the other Gryffindors and nodded in the direction of the retreating Victoria. “That was spectacular. Gryffindor will be the talk of the school.”


“I am sorry.” Hermione gave Albus a glance. He was looking at her thoughtfully.


“We will certainly earn more points at the Quidditch game this evening.” Alfred assured her, his head bobbing excitedly. “You have nothing to fear excepting that tyrant’s temper.” He gestured back towards the greenhouse.


“Quidditch this evening?” Hermione looked at Albus.


“Oh, yes!” Christina Weasley exclaimed as she hurried over with Winifred Moss, who seemed to be far more amused than her twin sister. “Against Hufflepuff! It’s sure to be most exciting!”


“Wonderful.” Hermione gave a small smile. She never really liked Quidditch, but after so many unfamiliar things happening to her she was glad for a familiar distraction.


“And speaking of Quidditch, gentlemen, we will soon be late if we do not make haste.” Albus addressed his classmates cordially.


“Quite.” John Sterling snapped his silver pocket watch shut and slipped it into his red brocade waistcoat pocket. He bowed to the young ladies. “I wish you a pleasant next hour, ladies.”


“Just defeat Hufflepuff.” Christina demanded. “I have a galleon riding on the match.”


“Christina!” John looked scandalized. “Games of chance! I am appalled! What would your father say?”


The group of Gryffindors began making their way back in the direction of the castle. Hermione noted the walk was much harder when she was wearing bulky layers of clothing and was expected to carry her books in her arms. Some of the girls seemed to be carrying enchanted baskets. She would have to ask Albus about that later.


“It’s with Timothy Owens. He was saying horrible base things about the state of our team.” Christina looked annoyed. She stumbled a bit, but Albus offered her a hand to steady her and she gave him a look of gratitude. “And Father would understand. Mother would have me murdered in my sleep.”


“So you wagered a galleon?” Albus looked bemused. “Do you even possess a galleon?”


“She does!” Winifred looked at Christina with a smug look. “Saved all her Christmas tokens from her Uncle Reginald since her first year.”


“You’ve managed to save all your pin money?” Alfred looked at her in wonderment. “Do you think you could write correspondence to my sisters as to your secrets?”


“My father gave me a pin allowance, of course.” Christina looked at Alfred as if he were stupid. “I just figured it would be used… best elsewhere.”


“She thought she could save up for something to make her dowry more appealing.” Winifred stated plainly.


Christina looked horrified and turned a bright shade of red.


They passed into the courtyard of the castle. Hermione noted that it looked different, and not just the upkeep of the building. It looked like parts of the castle she was used to seeing were actually added later. She suddenly came to the conclusion that it would be a wise decision to keep a journal. She watched as Francis Bulstrode approached them.


“What could be more appealing than features more pale and bright than the stars in the sky?” John mooned in Christina’s direction.


“Dear Lord.” Christina muttered as she fumbled with her books.


“With a voice so bright and brilliant, the sun doth sing of its virtues!” John went on as if he were in a theatre and there was an audience. “Eyes so beauteous, one’s breath catches at the mere glimpse into such pools of liquid sky.”


“What on earth is that clod trying to convince you into doing for him?” Francis Bulstrode asked as he neared. He was smiling at Christina as if she were the only one approaching him.


“She’s just nervous about your upcoming nuptials.” Hermione quickly said. Francis looked up at Hermione. “You know the fuss that comes from planning weddings.”


“Of course.” Francis beamed down at her. Christina blushed more furiously, if that were possible. “You my dear, could show up wearing a muddied shift and twigs in your hair and still outshine everyone there.”


“You are most gracious.” Christina sniffed at the idea of being wed in a state of disarray.


They wound their way to the castle entrance way through groups of other students. The Gryffindor boys bid the girls a good next hour and they parted ways.


“You will like Madam Church.” Rachel Black sidled up to Hermione as the Gryffindor girls made their way through the bottom floor of the castle. “She has some most interesting ideas about how things should be done in a home.”


A few more Slytherin girls joined their group before they walked out a side door to the castle and Hermione blinked at what she saw in front of her.


There was a squat little blue house with a small red barn near it in a place where Hermione was used to seeing Hagrids hut.


Hermione followed the other girls into the house and blinked in surprise. The first room was much larger than the outside of the house led one to believe was possible.


A series of polished wooden planks hovered in the air in neat rows, chairs lined up behind them for the girls to sit in.


Hermione watched as the other girls looked admiringly at the planks, a few reaching out to push them only to find they were fixed in the air and no amount of pressure was going to move them.


“Take your seats, ladies.” A round, matronly looking woman with iron grey hair whisked into the room. She wore practical dark grey robes and a dark blue apron, her hair was arranged in such a pile of rolls and pins. Hermione thought her head resembled an extravagant, several layered sterling birthday cake. Small pewter wire rimmed glasses perched on the end of her thin nose.


Hermione was relieved to have Madam Church smile at her. At least she hadn’t managed to offend every member of the staff.


“Thirty points to Gryffindor for arriving in a timely fashion!”


The Gryffindor girls looked startled and gave each other glances. Then several began to smirk as Madam Church took the tops off several bushel baskets near the front of the room. A sweet smell that reminded Hermione of soap began to fill the room.


“The lavender patches are outside Greenhouse 4.” Christina murmured to Hermione. “She must have overheard your exchange with Professor Snape. She does not think much of his teaching style.”


Hermione instantly liked this woman.


“If we finish our lesson early we may spend the rest of the period making sachets.” She smiled at them.


Some of the girls oohed and aahed. Hermione was mildly bemused. She would have rather been taking an arithmancy class, but with all that was going on she decided she could do with an arts and crafts hour.


“So Miss Dumbledore…”


Hermione felt her back tense up. This was probably going to happen all week.


“You see the semi-permanent levitation spell in place in front of you. Explain Felar’s Anti-Gravity Theory and how it applies to wood based elements.”


Hermione smiled widely. She was going to do well if all her classes were like this.




“So, how did you find your Household Management class?” Albus peered down at her.


“It was wonderful.” Hermione admitted. She tossed a star shaped sachet at Aberforth who caught it and buried his nose in it.


“Thank you, this is quite lovely.” Aberforth tucked it into his robes and beamed at her.


“She made us all our house points back and earned us ten more!” Christina practically crowed. Several people turned around to glare at her but she continued bobbing excitedly.


“Did you now?” A dark haired Slytherin boy with startling green eyes and dark skin turned and gave her an appraising look. He had been standing near them and his attention had been caught with Christina’s outburst.


“Hannah Dumbledore, may I introduce Michael Long.” Albus said stiffly.


Long bowed slightly and Hermione bobbed.


“I heard about your trick in Herbology. I’m amazed Snape didn’t give you detention for impertinence.” His heavy lidded eyes gave him the impression of being sleepy or bored.


“Perhaps I was just lucky.”




Hermione shifted slightly. This boy seemed to be trying to size her up.


“And then to earn 50 points in Household Management?”


“Thirty of it was for showing up on time.” Hermione stated with an annoyed tone to her voice.


Albus burst out laughing. “She’d heard about Herbology already? Did someone send her an express owl?”


“It seems that she was harvesting lavender for our lovely sachets,” Christina showed Francis a pink heart shaped sachet and he looked at it admiringly, “When she heard Snape discard what little was left of his mind.”


“The Hufflepuffs are completely incorrigible this year.” Long shuddered. “I have no idea why you’d take a class with their head of house, Albus.”


“You know my thoughts on the segregation of students by house.” Albus sighed.


Hermione’s ears pricked up. She had never heard Dumbledore talk about his dislike for the sorting process.


“Just because you think the house system limits us doesn’t explain why you insist on trying to get along with hostile persons.” Long quirked an eyebrow at Albus.


“How do you think the houses limit people?” Hermione asked.


“I think if a person believed they are predestined to act a certain way because the fates have determined it that way, they tend to be narrow minded thinkers that never examine their potential.”


“Also, he thinks the hat should have sorted him into Ravenclaw.” Long smirked.


“If they’re the most intelligent than why do we carry the top marks?” Albus pointed out to Long.


“Because I’m more cunning and you’re not afraid to take risks or guess intelligently.” Long countered.


Albus shrugged. “Perhaps.”


Long snorted in a most undignified way. Some of the other students looked startled.


“Miss Dumbledore, may I hold your books as you walk to the lake?” Michael tried to bow politely as he shot a rude look to Albus.


Hermione panicked a little. What was carrying her books signifying? Would it cause trouble?


“We are going back to the tower briefly.” Christina took Hermione’s arm and steered her away from Long. “We will see all of you in a moment.”


“Shall I count you in for our picnic?” Aberforth asked eagerly.


“That would be lovely, thank you.” Hermione said quickly.


Aberforth bowed slightly and walked in the direction of the Great Hall followed by Michael Long and Albus, who waved goodbye at the young women.


“We will want to change before eating and going to potions.” Christina explained.


“Do we have time?” Hermione was startled. “And why do we have to change?”


“Potions aren’t until three o’clock.” Christina looked confused. “How long of a lunch did you get with your tutors?”


“An hour!” Hermione said, still taken a bit aback.


“I understand things must be quite regimented when you are the sole pupil.” Christina looked as if she felt sorry for her. “And potions can be a foul, messy class. We will want to change into something more practical. The only one that doesn’t is Victoria.”


“Why does that not surprise me?” Hermione giggled.


They made their way down corridors and climbed the stairs to Gryffindor tower. Hermione was pleased to see her clothing had been laid out for her. It did save her a lot of time and embarrassment, even though it still annoyed her to know house elves had done the work.


She stepped behind her changing screen and waved her wand at herself. Her clothing, along with her corset and bell disappeared.


The new dress was empire waisted, so it gathered under her bust and flowed to the floor. It was a pale gray color and felt quite soft next to her skin. As her school robes wrapped around her, Hermione wondered if Charlotte didn’t have the right idea by shunning the uncomfortable, fashionable undergarments altogether. No one could see anything under the voluminous fabric of her robes.


“Well, it’s comfortable, at least!” Christina came out from behind her screen smoothing her robes out. “It makes lunch by the shore more pleasant.”


“Why aren’t these used all the time?” Hermione asked as she swirled her skirts around her ankles.


“Because we’d get used to doing unladylike things because our ability to move isn’t restricted and won’t be used to proper clothing when the time comes to become accepted into society.” Christina sighed. “But, of course Charlotte thinks the whole purpose is stupid, Charity wears foreign dress, and Matilda is just lazy in the morning.”


Hermione chuckled. “No one ever checks?”


“Only if your parents enrolled you into the Young Witches of Society Program.” Christina made a face.


“What’s that?” Hermione would have to ask Albus about their families views of such things later. She didn’t know if she were enrolled yet. “And if that is so why don’t you have to wear a bell like Victoria does?”


“The bell is just fashion.” Christina wrinkled her nose. “I prefer a bustle, but they’re not necessary under robes since they are prone to billowing. Young Witches have an extra mark on our Grading Letter for Society. How we conduct ourselves, if our dress is exemplary, our command of the language, dance, poetry, piety-“


“You’re graded on ‘church?!’” Hermione laughed.


“Their view of piety has more to do with knowledge of bible stories and the ability to carry a tune.” Christina giggled. “Choosing a fashionable bonnet is always a good idea.”


“So there is a service on the grounds?” Hermione asked. “Or is it in Hogsmede?”


“A non-denominational service is in Hogwarts’ Chapel on the north side of the castle. Most of us go to that one because the Friar is quite nice and you have to get up early to catch a carriage to get to outside services.” Christina grinned. “Hogsmede has both a Protestant and Catholic church. You can take a Floo to a flower shop in a nearby Muggle town of you need to find a Church of England. There are members of the faculty in all places so you aren’t limited if you are in the Young Witches Program.”


“How thoughtful,” Hermione said because she didn’t know what else to say.


“There is also a tea once a month where we’re graded on the ability to converse properly with one’s peers or betters.” Christina made another face.


“It sounds as if you don’t appreciate their teachings,” Hermione said.


“Well, Francis and I share a common room, don’t we?” Christina pointed out. “For the Muggles that is the same as living together and that idea is scandalous. His mother was shocked to know we are allowed in close quarters, but when she was assured we are never alone she reluctantly agreed to allow him to continue his schooling. He knows my bad habits, he knows I’m unpleasant in the morning, he’s seen me fuss if my corset slips. I have a fiancée still! I do not see why we must be so inhuman to each other in public.”


“Inhuman?” Hermione asked.


“Well, perhaps that is not the correct word.” Christina pursed her pink lips. She and Hermione started out of the girls’ dorm. “But we are expected to act as if we are not people. Sometimes I think Charlotte has a better life than some of us. She acts as she likes and she’s still embraced by her family. Her people are allowed to be more impulsive and passionate.”


“Well, your family has always been seen as progressive, have they not?” Hermione asked as they walked through the common room and out the portrait portal leading into the castle.


“That is true.” Christina smiled. “They were the first to oppose the Restriction for Muggle Half-Breeds. Some would dare call us blood traitors for it. Some would call me the same for marrying Francis.”


“How vulgar.” Hermione gave a haughty sniff that would make Victoria Moss proud. “Would they have us all chinless and stupid?”


Christina snorted, a decidedly unladylike sound. “No doubt. I do think our world is safer, though. I have heard stories about London and some of the things I have heard are barbaric!”


“No doubt exaggerated a thousand times over before you heard it.” Hermione giggled.


“I have seen how men do that.” Christina admitted. “One poke in the nose turns into a riot by dinnertime.”


“I do not believe much of what I do not see.” Hermione admitted as they wound their way through stairwells and out into the courtyard of the castle.


“I wish I could do the same.” Christina admitted as they followed the path to the lake. “But if I ever saw half of what I have heard I would faint and be left at the mercies of deranged men with tortured souls!”


Hermione remembered what she knew about Victorian London and Jack the Ripper sprang to mind. “Perhaps you are right. But there are other Muggle towns with less terrifying reputations.”


“Francis says he comes from a fine place.” Christina said as they came over a small hill and looked down at the lakeshore. Small tables and chairs decorated the beach. Some students were grouped together under trees, their lunches and persons arranged on blankets of their corresponding house colors. “Country estates and farmers, mostly.”


Hermione spotted the sun shining off Albus’ red hair like a beacon. He was standing next to a table of sitting Slytherin boys. Michael Long was nodding in agreement with whatever Albus was saying and taking a sip of soup from a delicate white porcelain bowl. Hermione didn’t recognize the other boys. Two of them were brown haired and delicate boned. They could be brothers. A blond first year was digging into a piece of steak and kidney pie.


As Hermione and Christina approached them Michael jumped up from his seat and bowed. The other Slytherin boys rose, but kept their eyes on their bowl of soup.


“Don’t let us interrupt your meal.” Christina smiled at the Slytherins and all but Michael nodded graciously and went back to eating.


“Will you be joining us?” Michael asked as he pulled out his wand. “I will transfigure parasols so the sun will not bother your skin.”


“The Gryffindors are feeling primitive today,” Albus said with a smile. “We have a nice tree with a spot for fishing near the lake.


“Well, then I may come see you before I prepare for afternoon classes.” Michael said. “Good afternoon, Albus. Ladies.”


“Good afternoon,” Christina and Hermione echoed politely with bobs before Albus led them away to their spot near the lake.


“I think you have made quite the impression on Mr. Long.” Christina giggled at Hermione.


“He barely knows me.” Hermione said dismissively.


“Good afternoon!” James Williams called out as they approached a small group of trees near the shore. “I have acquired pillows for your bums!”


Hermione burst out laughing.


“James!” Albus said sharply.


“What?” The younger boy looked confused and scratched his head. The mop of unruly black hair on top of his slight, tiny form gave the impression that he was closely related to a chimney brush.


“You have acquired pillows for our comfort, not our bums.” Hermione laughed.


“And never talk about a ladies backside.” Christina added, peering around to see if anyone had heard.


“Why not? Everyone’s got a bum.” James looked at them innocently.


“Even cats have nipples, but they don’t make polite conversation.” Hermione added.


“Hannah!” Christina and Albus exclaimed. Christina started laughing and tried to hide her face behind a fan she had pulled out of her sleeve. Albus shook his head and put his hands on his hips.


“Oh!” James exclaimed. “I see.”


“The only way to get through is to be completely vulgar.” Christina rolled her eyes. “I give up Albus. We’ll just have to take him the way he is.” She smiled at James.


“I’ll get better.” James insisted. “People understand me when I talk now.”


“Indeed they do.” Albus smiled at the younger boy. “We’ll continue working at it.”


“Now let’s go see about these bum cushions.” Hermione smiled and took the younger boy’s arm.


James beamed as he escorted her to their picnic site. He managed to sweep all leaves and fallen debris from the trees away to make a clear path for Hermione to walk. He even transfigured a rocky bit into a series of steps easily maneuvered.


Hermione saw Francis jump up to take Christina’s arm from Albus as they came into view.


“Your bum pillow, Miss.” James said with a deep bow as he pointed to a pile of large gold brocade pillows on a burgundy and gold checkered blanket.


“James!” Winifred Moss cried out from another blanket near a tree where she was sitting with Charity and Amanda, who were wearing modest bonnets and looking appalled.


Hermione started laughing all over again in spite of herself.


“Do not pay them any mind.” Albus waved at her. “Today they have forgotten how to act in the company of decent people.”


Winifred gave a chuckle and reached out for a tiny piece of white cake on a white porcelain platter. The other girls shook their heads and grinned.


Hermione looked over the spread of food laid out for them on a centralized blanket surrounded by groups of students on their own blankets.


There was cold roast beef and plates of different cheeses. Piles of different types of breads arranged in pyramids. Plates of sausages decorated with parsley. Bowls of cold chicken legs. A bowl brimming with different fruits sat in the middle and small bowls of pickled things surrounded it. Potato soup bubbled in a cauldron. Platters of small cakes were at each corner. Piles of plates and silver were ready for students.


“I feel like a Saracen.” Christina said she settled on her pillow near Francis with a small plate of food.


“Quite decadent.” Francis remarked as he popped a pickled onion in his mouth.


“Lemonade?” Aberforth bustled over with a pewter pitcher.


“Yes, please.” Hermione smiled at him. He really reminded her of Neville. She tried to put thoughts of goats out of her head.


Aberforth pulled a ceramic cup out of an enchanted pouch attached to the pitcher and filled it for her.


“Well, you have managed to become the talk of the school.” Aberforth said with a smile as he passed her the cup.


“What?!” Hermione exclaimed.


“You have shown to be proficient in all the classes you have gone to thus far.” Aberforth plopped down next to her on the blanket, using a pillow as a table. “You managed to annoy Professor Snape and impress Madame Church. She is not an easy woman to impress.”


Hermione laid her plate of food in her lap and waved her wand at it, causing it and her cup to levitate so her hands could be free.


“I did my best.” Hermione said simply. “They were just lessons I happen to have learned already. There will be many more that I will not know, I am sure.”


“Undoubtedly.” Albus tucked a napkin across his lap and sipped delicately at a spoonful of soup. “But so far your debut has been a smashing success.” He looked at her over the tops of his glasses and winked at her.


Hermione felt her cheeks redden. “Well, I am glad to have contributed points to our… team?”


“Our House.” Aberforth corrected as he waved a chicken leg. “And the Hufflepuffs are bound to be raging about it.”


“I’m not in any danger, am I?” Hermione thought it best to clear up any question of how far inter house rivalries went in this time.


“Nah!” James waved a hand dismissively. “They wouldn’t dare. You’re a right proper lady. Now, trying to push Dumbles down a flight of stairs so he can’t play tonight, that’s more their style.”


“What?!” Francis abruptly turned his attention to them.


“I am sure it was an accident, Mr. Williams.” Albus said as he sipped at his soup.


“And I’m sure it wasn’t!” James said sharply. “I was watching them. They were all talking in a corner, and then they spread out. When you came through, they all came together around you on the stairs and you fell.”


“But no one touched me James.” Albus sighed. He swirled his soup in the bowl with his spoon. “Unless you saw anyone draw a wand I just tripped.”


“They’re all a bunch of nobblers.” James mumbled as he reached for a cake. “It’d do them well to get you out of the game, Albus. They’ve got you pegged for a pigeon.”


“He is quite right.” Francis said sternly. “You’re not to walk about by yourself until the game.”


“Don’t be ridiculous, Francis.” Albus frowned.


“The game is tonight.” Aberforth said with a mouthful of food. “I am sure you can suffer us until then.”


 Albus shook his head in resignation. “I suppose there are worse fates.” He chuckled at his brother and Hermione before going back to his soup.


“I think you will survive.” Hermione nodded firmly as she waved her wand and the chicken meat was separated from the bone on her plate. “Did you have any plans for the rest of lunch?”


“I was going to go to the library to study.” Albus said as he watched her. “Now it appears I must play host.”


“Nonsense.” Hermione said firmly as she picked daintily at her chicken. “I would like to go to the library as well and after we will walk to potions together.”


“Of course you are most gracious,” Francis chuckled. “But I was thinking more like the type of protection Mr. Sterling and Mr. Williams can provide.”


James cracked his knuckles and nodded.


“I will have you know I am proficient in dueling and can cast a full patronus,” Hermione said hotly.


“Are you really?” John Sterling perked up. “Would you be interested in joining our dueling club?”


“Don’t be silly,” Christina laughed. “Miss Dumbledore is a lady. Not one of you barbarians.”


“I would like to watch before I decide to participate,” Hermione said, biting back an instinct to join immediately.


“You may decide to stay away after you watch this lot fling spells at each other without rhyme or reason.” Christina snorted.


“I may decide to stay after all.” Hermione smiled sweetly. “I enjoy a good fireworks show and I am also proficient in healing.”


Albus and Aberforth burst out laughing.


“You lot could do with your own nurse!” Aberforth laughed. “Madame Collins would be much happier if she saw less of you!”


“Now, that’s not fair!” Francis protested. “That was an accident that’s not likely to happen again.”


“What happened?” Hermione asked Albus.


“Mr. Hewson sneezed at an inappropriate moment and set off a small explosion.” Francis muttered.


“You know the Hufflepuffs let that cat in the hall.” Thomas interjected from a blanket he was sharing with Alfred and Patrick. “Everyone knows how cats make me sneeze.”


“They’re dangerous, Albus.” Patrick said in a deep accent that sounded vaguely like Scottish that didn’t fit in his mouth properly. “You’d be well to keep the lass near you. Along with a blade or two.”


“I doubt it would come to that, Mr. Poole, but thank you for your concern,” Albus said, annoyed.


“You know how dangerous it is to have distractions when you’re learning to duel.” Alfred said seriously. “Someone could have died. This was not just some silly prank.”


“And you are worried about the dangers of London.” Hermione remarked to Christina as she finished her chicken and summoned a small bun from a decorative pile on the blanket of food.


Christina laughed at Hermione. “Hannah, you are right! No untamed urban sprawl has the dangers one will face in the halls of Hogwarts!”


“No doubt.” Hermione snickered as she bit into her bun.


“What?” Francis asked.


“Nothing, my dear.” Christina patted him on the arm.


Hermione finished her bun off as she watched Dumbledore take a small, tan, enchanted cloth bag out of his pocket. He started stuffing it with much more bread, cheese, and sausages than it appeared to be able to hold.


“If Holdsworth finds you with food in the library we’ll be planning your wake by morning.” James looked at the pouch dubiously.


“I will show great caution, I assure you.” Dumbledore tied the top of the bag with a flourish and offered a hand to Hermione.


“I do hope so. I do not think even you are talented enough to earn us back all the points you would be sure to lose us.” Alfred advised.


Hermione got to her feet and let Dumbledore lead her away from their group. Instead of going up to the castle, however, they walked along the shore of the lake until they came to a small cove, far away from everyone else.


“I was hoping to get to talk to you.” Albus said as he transfigured a fallen log into a couple of stools and a small table. “I know today may be disorienting and I wanted to make sure everything was going fine for you.”


“Am I enrolled in the Young Witches of Society?” Hermione blurted out.


“That would be up to father.” Albus frowned. “And it may not be such a bad idea.”


“You can’t be serious!” Hermione exclaimed. “Being judged continuously?”


“It’s is not as bad as that.” Albus said as he pulled food out of his bag. “You are supposed to have been home schooled and indulged. You would not be expected to know how to do anything besides perhaps some dancing.”


“Dancing?” Hermione said blankly.


“Perhaps not.” Albus said chuckling. “But they will be able to teach you what you’re expected to act like. You should talk to Madam Church if you have any queries about the program.”


“Talk to your father about it first.” Hermione said as she reached out for a piece of cheese. “I’d like to hear his opinion.”


“I will owl him tonight.” Albus said.


“I would appreciate it.” Hermione said. “And… thank you for all you’re doing. I don’t know what would have happened if your brother hadn’t found me.”


“You would be answering a lot of questions at the Ministry and probably be placed within the household of someone influential so they could protect you.” Albus said as he waved his wand and a sausage fell into bite sized pieces.


“Protect me from what?” Hermione asked.


“Anyone gaining knowledge of the future, more than our prophecies tell us.” Albus shrugged. “Anyone wanting to be more magically advanced than we are now. I imagine the discoveries made in the next century are groundbreaking.”


“The next century is an age of magical invention, not of advanced spell casting and reality weaving.” Hermione sighed. “And I’m afraid I’ve never been that mechanical. I wouldn’t be any use to anyone.”


Albus looked at her thoughtfully. “Tell me about Hogwarts.”


“Besides our dress being different, I’d say the students act the same.” Hermione crossed her legs and admired the buttoned up boots she had been given. “Courtship is very different. Arranged marriages have been all but stamped out. A girl could have many suitors before settling down into a household, or not marry at all. Her choices are broader.”


Hermione looked at Albus and he seemed fixated on her boot as well. They were quite nice, Hermione reasoned.


“So a woman may take lovers, not marry, and still maintain her standing?” Albus continued to stare at Hermione’s boot. “What about the bastards?”


Hermione stared at him blankly for a moment. “Oh! The contraceptive potion isn’t going to be developed for another 20 years!”


Suddenly she realized Albus was staring at her ankle and they were having a conversation that was completely improper to be having in 1857. She blushed furiously and flipped her skirts down over her footwear.


“Forgive me!” She said quickly. “It’s just that the boots are so pretty and our skirts are much shorter-“


Albus smiled over his glasses at her and his eyes twinkled. “What a liberating place, indeed.”


“I’m sorry.” Hermione said as she shook her head, her cheeks burning. “I don’t know how much I should really tell you. I probably shouldn’t tell you anything.”


“It is understandable for you to desire a confidant.” Albus said. “If I found myself thrown back to 1717 I think I would be disoriented and would not adapt to the incident as easily as you did.”


“I adapt to strange things well. My best friend is Harry Potter.” Hermione chuckled.


“Harry Potter?” Albus asked. “Who is he?”


“I’ll be sure to tell him you said that.” Hermione smiled at Albus. “He’ll think its hilarious coming from you.”


“Do you know me?” Albus asked, looking surprised. “I am that old? Am I an invalid?”


“Heavens no!” Hermione exclaimed. “And I know that’s probably one of the things I shouldn’t be telling you.”


“Well, you must like me at least. Otherwise you would not trust us so implicitly now.” Albus seemed satisfied with his own explanation.


Hermione just smiled to herself. At least he didn’t seem the type to pry.


There was a crashing in the bushes from behind them and Albus and Hermione whirled around with wands in his hands. Aberforth and James burst through the bushes, saw Albus and Hermione, and immediately put their hands up.


“You scared us.” Hermione said, her heart pounding. “After all your talk I expected an angry mob of Hufflepuffs.” She tucked her wand back up her sleeve.


“She’s quick.” James commented as if Hermione wasn’t even there. “Good.”


“What is going on?” Albus demanded.


“Stunner bomb went off in the library.” Aberforth looked annoyed. He and James walked to the table and helped themselves to the bits of food laid out. “You weren’t among the unconscious. For all we knew you were tied up and stuffed into a trunk somewhere!”


“I do apologize for causing any worry.” Albus said, giving a pat on the shoulder to James. “We are safe and sound.”


“We’re staying with you until your next class. Then stay there until we send some boys along to get you to dinner and back to the tower.” Aberforth looked at Albus sternly. “They would not dare try anything after that because so many people will be present.”


“There were many people in the library, were there not?” Hermione asked. “Were the bombers caught?”


“Some Hufflepuffs are being questioned by the headmaster.” James had a satisfied grin on his face. “Nigellus was last seen looking for the potions mistress.”


Albus winced. “Potions will be a trial if the headmaster is interrupting Professor Marigold’s leisure time for veritaserum.”


“I’m happy we don’t have to deal with her until tomorrow.” James smirked.


“I should go back and tell Francis you are well before he starts beating people for information to your whereabouts.” James grinned.


“And we should get back to the tower to get our things for potions.” Hermione said. She looked at Albus. “You can catch me up on what we are studying so our Professor will not be able to catch me unawares.”


“Doubt that, from what I’ve heard.” James snorted.


“We’ll meet you back in the tower in half an hour, James,” said Albus. “Telling Francis to calm himself would seem to be in everyone’s best interest.”


“Will do!” James said as he crashed back through the bushes.


Aberforth watched as he went, then turned to Hermione. “Has your day been tolerable so far?”


“I’m managing.” Hermione smiled at him. “I was telling your brother it was lucky you found me. It could have been bad if anything else could have happened.”


“It was fortunate indeed.” Aberforth said. “And to keep our good fortune I think it would be best to find our way back to the tower.”


“Fine.” Albus swept the food back into the bag and helped Hermione to her feet. “Back to tower, then.”