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Hermione is taking a long time with her knitting today, because she is having some particular trouble with the heel of this sock. Every time she tries to go a little faster, it seems like she misses something and it goes wrong. It's really frustrating.

So she's even more relieved than usual when the weetiny owl taps at the window. She lets Pig in quietly, letting him land on her desk for a rest after she's able to get the letter from him. She opens it and sits down to read.



Dear Hermione,

I haven't heard from you since you got to that school, so I was writing to say hi. I made the Quidditch team. I'm the keeper. I think this may be our best season yet. Percy's a git. The DADA teacher is a cow. She's not actually teaching us anything. Harry's in a right state. But we're getting updates from Sirius, so at least that's something.

Anyway, talk to you later.

Ron



Hermione stares at the letter for a minute, jaw dropped. She's not sure which part to be upset about first, so she settles for being irritated about everything at once. And while she's not certain she should be doing this, she goes into one of her drawers, removes a small cloth bag, and sets off in search for a good fire.


She thinks about searching the dorms, but she really doesn't want to be overheard, so she wanders back to the Three-Toed Sloth campfire. She starts the fire there, and reaches into the bag to add some Floo Powder. Not sure exactly how specific she should be, she tries for very. "Hogwarts, Gryffindor Common Room," she says, and when she's ready, she sticks her head into the fire.

This is weird.

She hears her name before she sees anyone, and it's Harry who says it. A second later he's kneeling in front of the fire, and then Ron joins him. "What are you doing?" Harry asks her.

Hermione can't really see, so she asks, "Is anyone else there?"

"No," he says. "Did something happen?"

Hermione looks right at Ron and says, "There are certain things that shouldn't be said in letters out of the castle!"

Ron looks both shocked and wounded. "What?"

"Snuffles!"

"...Did I mention him?"

"Yes!"

"Oh."

"And also, you can't admonish me because you haven't heard from me when I have been sending letters and you haven't written me back! And that goes for both of you!"

Both boys have the decency to look chagrined. "I only just got your last letter yesterday," Harry protests.

"I sent quite a few before that!"

"It has only been about a month," says Ron. "And a half..."

"Not for me," she says. "Whatever happened with these... dimensions, it's still August for me. And I haven't heard from anyone since May my time."

"But it's only October our time," Ron insists.

"That's still a month and a half," Hermione fumes at him. "Ginny's at least written me back, Viktor hasn't had any problem-"

Ron doesn't look happy. "You're still talking to him?"

"Shouldn't I?"

"Well, he left?"

"I left, too. Or is that why no one can bother to write to me?"

"Well, if you're so busy with Vicky, why are you complaining?"

"Um," says Harry finally. "Sorry, Hermione."

An apology helps a lot, actually. "It's fine, just... know for next time, all right?" she says, trying not to seem too hurt. She does a pretty good job. "And what you said about this Umbridge woman... That probably shouldn't go in letters, either."

"Didn't think about that," Ron admits. "But I didn't say anything bad. Just that she's not teaching us anything."

"Which is true," Harry points out. "She seems more interested in giving me detention for being honest."

"You should see the book she has us going from," Ron tells her. "You'd throw a fit."

"Can you send one to me somehow?" Hermione asks suddenly.

Ron frowns, but Harry says, "I think we can find a way. I might just send you mine."

"No more detentions," she tells him sternly. "Be on your best behavior."

"You don't hear the things she says! You'd be yelling back at her, too!"

Hermione sighs, because no she wouldn't. "You were on trial this summer, Harry. If she's working for the Ministry, you don't want to upset them more."

"She's evil, Hermione," Ron tells her seriously.

Considering Voldemort, Hermione doesn't think the word should get thrown around like that. She keeps that thought to herself, though, and says quietly, "Any news on Hagrid?"

Harry shakes his head. "Not yet."

"Let me know when he returns? I should be getting back, this is very uncomfortable."

"It looks that way," says Ron, who's tilting his head at her. Hermione has to wonder what she looks like.

"If we want to talk to you, where should be... I mean, where are you?" Harry asks.

"I'm at the Three-Toed Sloth campfire right now, but I'm not around there," she says. "Actually write me, or have Ginny do it at least, and tell me when. I'll come here at that time. Does that work for both of you?"

"Yeah," Ron says.

"Thanks, Hermione," Harry tells her.

She smiles, wondering if they can see that. She may be a little self-conscious now. "Send me that book," she says. "Soon. Goodbye!"

Ron and Harry say quick "bye"s back, and Hermione finally stands up away from the fire, extinguishes it, and starts walking back to the dorms.

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Hermione Granger

December 2011

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