“Home sweet home.” She sighed heavily, glancing around the room with a jaundiced eye, before collapsing on her bed. She missed the warmth of her dorm, with its lush red and gold trappings, and the little trinkets and baubles that Lavender and Parvati had added to make it their own.
Her bedroom was simple, functional, neat, efficient. More like a guest room than that of a nearly thirteen-year-old girl. No posters adorned her wall; there was no colour or anything to give insight to the person living there. The only thing of note, actually, was her desk, which dominated the room even more so than the bed. Behind the desk was a floor to ceiling bookshelf, filled with texts better suited to a college student rather than a barely teenage girl.
Hermione pulled herself up with a groan, and went to her closet. Her father expected her to dress for dinner, which meant that wizarding robes and her school uniform would not do. As she prepared, wrestling her wild curls into a neat French braid and smoothing everything with a liberal use of gel, her thoughts returned to the events of the past school year, and her best friend.
Harry was an enigma, even after nearly three years of friendship. Like Hermione, Harry had grown up in the Muggle world, but he hadn’t known that he was a wizard until his acceptance letter from Hogwarts had come, whereas Mari had recognized the signs in Hermione at an early age, and with help from her mother, was able to properly prepare and deal with her daughter’s new talent.
The past year had been exciting; time turners, werewolves for Defence Against the Dark Arts professors, an escaped convict who turned out to be Harry’s godfather, and the daring rescue she and Harry had implemented when it looked as though Sirius would be executed for his crimes, though he was framed.
“I have some news for you, girl.” Her father announced abruptly when they were alone; her mother had retreated upstairs after a pointed glare from him. “I have set up an internship for you at the hospital. After you complete your exams, you are to report there immediately. It will be for the entire summer.”
Hermione’s eyes widened. “But sir!” She protested. “I’ve been invited to stay with the Weasleys next month – I thought perhaps – ”
She was cut off as he backhanded her, knocking her out of her chair and onto the cold marble floor of the formal dining room.
“You insolent little brat! How dare you question and interrupt me? You should be grateful.” He sneered. “Insufferable know it all and little snitch that you are, there’s no way anyone would willingly want you around, much less invite you to stay for the entire summer! Now, get up, and thank me properly.” He ordered coldly. “Young ladies don’t sprawl on the floor.”
She slowly rose, trembling, to stand up straight. Shoulders back, head up, feet spaced slightly apart, hands clasped neatly behind her, gaze set slightly to a point just over his left shoulder.
“I apologize for my behaviour, sir.” She said woodenly. “Thank you for the opportunity. I will endeavour to not be a disgrace to you or my mother.”
He scowled at her. “Very well. Go clean up, and then hit the books. Two hours, and then bed. Start with astrology.” He added, knowing it was her least favourite subject. “Dismissed.”