"Are you going to be alright," Mrs. Granger asked for the millionth time.
"Honestly Maggie," Mr. Granger sighed.
"I know, I know. I'm sorry dear," Mrs. Granger said looking at her daughter.
"It's fine mother, I know you worry," Hermione answered easily.
"It's just, we won't see you until Christmas."
"Margaret she'll be fine, our girl is a fighter, aren't you love," her father said ruffling the top of Hermione's head.
"Of course. I've already read my books for this year. I'm sure I'll do fine. I don't want to miss my train," Hermione said eyeing the solid brick wall warily.
"You are suppose to run at that thing," her mother said skeptically pulling Hermione a bit closer unconsciously.
"That's what her headmaster said to do," Mr. Granger said dismissively.
"Um, so you've got everything," Mrs. Granger asked look at her daughter.
"Yes," Hermione said going over her mental list again.
"Alright it's 10:30, I do wish we had rescheduled our appointments for this morning."
"Again Maggie she will alright. Our Hermione is made as tough as nails."
"I'll see you at Christmas, I'll send an owl when I get to Hogwarts," Hermione said ignoring her father's reassuring hand.
"Owl," Mrs. Granger asked.
"Yes, that is how the post is delivered," Hermione said excitedly.
"In that case, we'll be awaiting your owl sweetheart," Mr. Granger said with a hearty laugh.
"I'll miss you," Hermione said wrapping her arms around her parents' waist.
They immediately wrapped their arms around their daughter. The Granger family were proud people and tried not to show their apprehension at things unknown. They liked to learn as to not fear. This world was thrust upon them so suddenly. They had barely time to wrap their head around the new information. A world of magic, so hidden, it was under their noses. How many times had they used this very station as a form of travel, never a stay thought that their could be a passage way to another world.
"We love you very much, write to us as often as you see fit. Tell us everything," her father said letting go first.
"Please, be safe. Try to make friends," her mother said softly before also letting go.
Hermione aimed her cart at the barrier between platform 9 and 10. Her headmaster had said that a witch only had to walk through the barrier to get to the other side. He did suggest a jogging start if nerves were getting to her.
What if her headmaster were mistaken? What if she had no magic running through her? Would she crash? She would never be able to go back to her old school, not when there is so much to learn elsewhere.
Taking a deep breath, she ran to the wall. She saw in front of her a different sort of people. Everyone was dressed in the robes she had just purchased. There were owls everywhere. Sounds of popping from every direction. A pop near her made her jump and kick over her cart.
"Hey, are you alright," a voice said from behind her.
Hermione turned and saw a boy a little older than her with flaming, red hair. He was looking at her, worriedly.
"Um yes I'm alright," Hermione said embarrassed as she bet to pick up her trunk.
Of course she would make a total fool of herself in front of the first wizard she met.
"Let me help you," he said.
With his help, they managed to get the truck safely secured on the cart. The boy wiped his brow jokingly and smiled at her.
"I'm Fred by the way. Nice to meet you," he said holding out his hand.
"I'm Hermione," she said shaking his hand quickly. "I'm not normally a klutz, I swear," she said feeling her face heat up.
"Ah first year I take it," he said with a good natured smile.
"That obvious," she said nervously.
"You are doing fine. Now let's get this trunk onto the train," he said taking control of her cart.
"What year are you in," she asked curiously.
"I'm going into my third year, so you can learn from my many years of wisdom," he said cheekily.
"What are classes like first year?"
"You want to know about classes," he asked making a face.
"I would like to know what I'm getting into," she said haughtily.
"Oh are you muggle born then," Fred asked curiously.
"Are your parents wizards," Fred asked after thinking.
"No they aren't, is that a rare thing?"
"Not really. Is that why you are so nervous then," he asked as they finished shoving her trunk with the rest.
"I'm not nervous," Hermione said puffing up.
"Alright, you aren't," Fred said putting his hands up. "There's nothing to fear, come on let's find you a compartment."
Fred motioned for her to stay at his side. He kept looking over at her to make sure she didn’t get lost in the bustle of the crowd.
"So have you got any siblings," he asked as they walked.
"No, it's just me. So it was a bit hard for my parents to let me come here."
"It's understandable, it's a new world really, for you and for them. Must be terrifying. I have seven siblings myself."
"Seven," Hermione asked surprised.
"Ay, my older brothers, Bill and Charlie are out of school. My other older brother, Percy, is a fifth year. Then there's my twin brother, George. My little brother, Ron, he's a first year too. And then my little sister, Ginny, she's starting next year," Fred said ticking off his fingers as he counted his siblings.
"You've got a twin brother?"
"He's around here somewhere. He'll pop up eventually. Probably still looking at Lee's spider."
They continued to chat as they searched for a compartment. They reached on that was inhabited by a small plump boy holding a toad.
"Neville, how's your gran," Fred asked happily.
"She great, happy to finally see me off," Neville said with a nervous smile.
"This is my friend, Hermione. Mind if she stays with you, I've got make sure George isn't getting into trouble."
"Of course it's fine," Neville said glancing at Hermione before he eyes flew back to Fred.
"I'm sure you two will be great friends," Fred said turning from Neville to Hermione. "Neville is a good kid, just shy. I have to go, but I'll see you at the sorting ceremony. Just don't think too much and you'll be fine," Fred said with a bright smile.
"But if the hat laughs at me," Hermione asked out loud by accident.
"If it does, I'll burn it myself," Fred said simply. "Just breathe, you'll be fine," he said giving her a quick hug. "Now Nev, be nice," Fred said before giving Hermione a final look and running off.
"Feel free to take any seat," Neville said, even more nervous without Fred here.
"Thank you, that's a nice toad," Hermione said conversationally.
"His name is Trevor. Nan bought him for me when we got my robes. Are you a first year," he asked.
"Yea, so how do you know Fred?"
"His mum comes by to help Nan out sometimes."
"That's awfully nice of her."
"Mrs. Weasley is a really nice woman," Neville agreed.
"Are you a first year as well?"
"Yea, barely mind you."
"What do you mean?"
"Well my family are all wizards and witches. I hadn't shown signs of having magic until I was 9 and my uncle dropped me out a window. Before that everyone was worried I might be a squib," Neville explained looking at Trevor.
Hermione frowned trying to figure out which question to ask first.
"At what age do wizards show signs of magic?"
"7 is the golden number, some before, a few after. What age did you show signs of magic?"
"I don't really know," Hermione said thinking about it for the first time, "I mean once this girl was teasing me and a bird seemed to appear out of nowhere and chase her. I think I was 6."
"You managed to transfigure a bird from nothing," Neville asked shocked.
"I guess, I've done some other bits of magic once Headmaster Dumbledore told us I was a witch."
"Oh you're muggle-born. I've never met a muggle-born before," Neville said smiling.
They continued to talk about their home lives. Neville didn’t speak of his parents and Hermione didn’t ask. In her history book, she learned of a war that broke out when she was a year old. A lot of good witches and wizards died, it saddened her to think that Neville was one of the people effected. While they were talking a woman stop by to ask if they wanted any treats. Neville bought some and shared with her.
While they were eating, Neville realized that Trevor had escaped. By the time they had reached their stop, Hermione had met a few more first years, Fred's younger brother, and even Harry Potter.
"Neville," Hermione asked nervously.
"Yea," he asked as they followed the rest of the first years.
"Are there such things as giants?"
"Yes, but they are much larger than him," Neville said pointing at the large man named Hagrid they were following.
"Are you sure?"
"They wouldn’t let a giant work at Hogwarts, Hermione. That would be as absurd as Dumbledore hiring a werewolf," he said with a laugh.
Hermione held in the squeak that would have escaped her at the word werewolf. To cover her fear of the fact that she felt like she walked into a horror movie, she started talking about what she remembered reading of Hogwarts, A History. Over the summer, it quickly became one of her favorite books.
Walking into the castle was a real wake up call. She was really in a castle that people like her parents would not be able to see. She was vaguely aware of her mouth still moving as she looked up at the enchanted ceiling.
All the first years walked pass tables full of older students. She saw Fred immediately. Next to him was his twin. They looked extraordinarily alike. She knew it was Fred she saw first because he saw her too, smiled and waved. Hermione took a deep breath to calm down like he suggested.
Finally being seated in front of her new school, Hermione looked at Fred again before taking another deep breath. He gave her thumbs up before the hat slid over her eyes.
"Well hello there," a voice said.
"Um hello," Hermione thought confused.
"Ah there is so much intelligence. Such a thirst for knowledge. You'd do well in Ravenclaw," the voice said cooly.
"Um excuse me," Hermione thought meekly.
"Are you sure you'd like to be put in Gryffindor," the voice asked surprised.
"But in Ravenclaw, there would be others to help you with your need for knowledge," the voice bargained.
"I would like to be placed in Gryffindor," Hermione said certainly.
"Gryffindor," the hat shouted to the school.
Hermione bounded off the stool headed straight for Fred's table. He had left a seat by him open.
"How did you know I was going to be in Gryffindor," she whispered taking a seat.
"Third year remember, I am full knowledge," Fred said smiling.
"Full of dung more like it," George said looking Hermione from the other side of Fred. "I see Fred is making friends with fresh meat this year," George said with a smile identical to Fred's.
"I am a man with a big heart," Fred said dramatically.
"Big head he means, don’t worry, I'll be your Fred translator," George said.
Hermione's head was spinning at how fast Fred and George countered each other. She was sure she would get used to it.
The Hall went silent as the Hat sat on Harry Potter's head. When it finally shouted Gryffindor, her table erupted in applause and cheers.
"We got Potter," Fred said highfiving George.
"He's not a prize to be won," Hermione said frowning.
"Come on 'Mione, we know that, just an important thing," Fred said rubbing Hermione's shoulders.
Hermione decided to leave it at that and turn to the rest of the ceremony. Once the food arrived Fred, George and Hermione spent the rest of dinner talking. Once Hermione got the hang of the twins' form of communication she was able to keep up quite well.
"We'll see around tomorrow, you have a good night," Fred said as the older years were excused.
"Goodnight you two," Hermione said smiling.
Hermione had been staring at the curtains around her new four poster bed for what felt like hours. She looked at the alarm clock her mother had bought her and saw it had been exactly forty-three minutes. She always did have trouble sleeping in a place she wasn’t familiar in. Deciding she was probably not going to get a wink of sleep for another hour or so, she tiptoed pass her roommates' beds and went to the common room. She knows it was against rules to be out of the dorms pass ten, so she would only have an hour or so before she could get in trouble.
She was surprised to see a few students still up. They were mostly older students that were finishing summer homework or just catching up with friends.
"What are you doing up," a voice said from behind her.
"I couldn’t sleep," she said looking up at Fred.
"Yea, the first night is the worse. Oh give me one second, don't move," Fred said excitedly heading up the set of stairs that led to the boys' dormitory.
Hermione stood there awkwardly. Around her students were talking and laughing.
"Here," Fred said bounding down the stairs, out of breath.
"What is it," Hermione said holding out her hand automatically.
"Well, come here," he whispered walking to the most empty part of the common room.
Hermione followed him, confused.
"Okay, so when I got here the first night, of course I had George, so it wasn’t as hard as it could have been. It was still weird without my family near you know. So I had my mom owl me this," he said showing her a sweater.
"Did she make this," Hermione asked inspecting the sweater.
"Yea, she makes them during Christmas time. I 'accidentally' left all mine at home. Anyway it helped to have a piece of home, you know," he said pushing the sweater into her arms.
"This is so sweet, I don’t think I can take it," Hermione said shocked.
"Just take it, maybe it'll help," Fred said smiling at her.
She could see how red his face was, even though it was mostly covered in shadows.
"Well thank you Fred, I really appreciate it," Hermione said earnestly.
"Now off to bed with ya," Fred said puffing out his chest and sounding a bit like his brother Percy.
Hermione smiled at him and went up the girls' staircase. She opened her dorm room door as quietly as she could. She shrugged on Fred's sweater. It was ridiculously long on her. She hadn't realized how tall Fred was until now, the bottom of the sweater reached her thighs easily and the sleeves were almost double her arm's length. Even with all that, it was incredibly comfortable. Hermione climbed into bed and curled up so she was surrounded with the sweater. Sleep found her faster than she thought possible.