Chapter 1: Hermione's Surprise:
"Hmm...Potter, that is definitely NOT a satisfactory Draught of Peace. Potter!" Snape sneered as Harry glared at him over his potion, which was green instead of turquoise blue and was bubbling.
"Yes," Harry answered through gritted teeth.
"Look at the board." Harry looked up at the board.
"What does step three say?" Harry bit his lip and began,
"Add powdered porcupine quills."
"Yes, a very SIMPLE step, indeed. And what did you do?"
"I added the quills before the Syrup of Hellebore."
"Yes, Potter, you did. And so 10 points will be taken from Gryffindor for your utter stupidity." Harry did not say anything. Snape flicked his wand lazily and muttered, "Evanesco." Harry's abysmal potion disappeared. Suddenly, the bell rang, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione scrambled out of the classroom with the rest of the swarming crowd so that they could complain about Snape's torment.
"That stupid git! That evil--" Ron started.
"Harry, you should have been more careful, BUT," Hermione emphasized but at the look on Harry's face, "I said BUT! BUT Snape should not have taken points away for that. And your utter stupidity! You're NOT stupid." Hermione looked serious.
"Thanks, Hermione," Harry said dryly, "but I don't think Snape agrees with you." Hermione nodded.
"Did you see Malfoy?" Ron chuckled. "I don't even think he was listening to your little squabble. He started dozing off, and then he started snoring and drooling. I almost hexed him, but I don't think I'm as accomplished in the Bat-Bogey Hex as Ginny is." Harry laughed, but Hermione stayed quiet. Her insides had this odd sensation. It wasn't unpleasant, but it was odd. At Ron's remark, something had risen up inside her, and for a moment she wanted to smack Ron across his smiling freckled face. Shaking the feeling off, she changed the subject.
"Er--are you nervous about the exam in Transfiguration tomorrow?"
"No. I'm gonna wing it." Harry yawned. "I'm so hungry. What's for dinner?" They were entering the Great Hall, which was packed with chatting, giggling, and shouting students. When they sat down, Ron's eyes lit up.
"Ooh! Turkey!" He grabbed a turkey leg and stuffed it into his mouth. Harry ate and ate, but Hermione ate very slowly, and by the time they decided to walk back up to Gryffindor Tower, she had barely eaten anything.
"Are you OK?" he asked her.
"Yeah, I'll tell you later," she whispered back. She didn't want to say anything in front of Ron. When they got up to Fat Lady, Harry said, "Pine." Her portrait swung open, and they all clambered into the common room. Ron stretched and said,
"I'm going to bed. Comin', Harry?"
"Er--one sec." Ron nodded and climbed up the stairs to their dormitory. Harry and Hermione made their way to a corner of the room where it was deserted.
"So, what's up?" Harry asked calmly.
"Well..." Hermione hesitated. Should she tell Harry? Yes, she should. "Well, I think I'm in--in love." Hermione looked scared.
"OK, great. So why do you look so scared?"
"Because I'm afraid people will--"
"Laugh at you?"
"Who is it?"
"Who are you in love with?" Hermione's eyes widened. She inhaled deeply and replied,