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It occurs to her, one morning, that something is off. There’s a sort of sticky, awkward feeling that she’s unable to shake off, unless she manages to distract herself with her books.

It’s not like there’s something that’s really wrong - it’s a perfectly normal week, actually. Work to do, books to read. She does her best to ignore it, hoping to finish up a new book.

As she’s reading, she realizes that the protagonist of her new book never states their gender. That idea seems comfortable; the world rights itself momentarily before creating a greater sense of disconnect as she dismisses it. There’s only two genders, right? While some wizards and witches choose to dress and hide their gender, they’re still a boy or a girl... right?

Hermione has research to do.

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She searches around Diagon Alley for a book that could help her, and finding nothing, attempts to troll through Muggle libraries until she has her information. It takes her a few tries, but eventually she happens on a book that seems to work. But... “transgender”? “Genderqueer”? The pronoun list at the end of the book confuses her, feeling awkward on her tongue.

“Ze,” she says, tasting the feel of the word on her tongue. She flips back to the list of ‘non-binary genders’ (there are more than two genders, then), going through the sections from A - Z. “Agender, androgyne, bigender...”

It’s a lot of information, but Hermione trudges through it.

Hesitantly, she tries on a gender. Genderqueer fits snuggly, comforting her and easing her sense of disconnect. “She” feels awkward, now, and with greater purpose Hermione flips back to the pronoun list. “They” feels too impartial and disconnected, and slips off her. “He” is the same.

It’s when Hermione - hesitatingly, slowly - tries on “ze” and “hir” that ze knows that ze’s made the right choice; like ‘genderqueer’, it’s a snug fit.

Ze returns the book on it’s shelf, heading back. The world seems a tad brighter, and little better, now that the sticky, awkward feeling is gone.