Fine With Her
by Laura Smith

Hermione Granger had always thought there was something different about her. Not just because she was smarter than the other kids she knew, or because her hair was bushier, or because things just had this way of working out for her, or because strange things sometimes happened to her, but all those things combined and just the sense that there was something about her that just didn't seem to be the same as everyone else.

It didn't bother her as a baby, because she was a baby and wasn't really aware, but when she looks at pictures now, she thinks it was probably sort of strange to everyone that she was walking by the time she was seven months, talking at nine and reading at thirteen. Every picture of her after her first birthday seems to involve a book in some way, shape or form and she can't be sure, but she thinks the one taken at her second birthday was when she got the Oxford English Dictionary and the Encyclopedia Britannica. No one can remember, but she doesn't think there's anything else that would have made her look quite that happy.

When she first started school, she was younger than everyone in her class and they didn't really like her for that, thinking she was too young to be their friend. And then when she opened her mouth, as she inevitably did, they liked her even less, unless there was some sort of team activity where she could insure a win.

But she loved school and the teachers always tried to find something for her to do that was challenging, but nothing ever seemed to captivate her the way she thought it should. Nothing seemed to catch her interest or make her really think or wonder until she was sitting at the kitchen table one morning, getting ready to eat the very healthy breakfast her mother had made and an owl flew into the room and settled on the table in front of her.

There was more than one letter and more than one owl, she'd realized as another one flew into the kitchen, settling on top of the refrigerator and staring down at her mother. She thinks there was a shriek of surprise but it was all sort of lost somewhere as she realize the owl in front of her had a letter in its claws and it was address to her.

Hermione Granger, Third Chair to the left, Lancaster.

She'd taken the letter and held it, turning it over in her hands again and again. The owl had watched her with knowing eyes, occasionally glancing down at her plate. After a moment, she'd smiled and broken off a piece of bread, holding it out to the creature.

After that, it was opening and packing and learning and reading and there were more books than she'd ever dreamed about things she'd never seen, never imagined. There were suddenly challenges and new worlds to discover.

Her parents had taken her to London and she'd watched as they traded pounds for strange coins that clinked differently in her hands and pockets. She'd walked amongst Wizards and Witches, with pointy hats like in storybooks and wands that did real magic, green light fluttering like an ancient haze through windows.

She'd found her wand, redwood, 8 1/2 inches, dragon heartstring. Had felt the thrill as she'd touched it. Ollivander hadn't said much, simply smiled as if he'd understood something she'd figure out later and rung her purchase up, taking the strange money from her father's hands.

She'd bought robes and books and more books and supplies with names she could barely pronounce. She carried her things in a cauldron and felt sheepish and silly until she'd seen others do the same, so she'd straightened her spine and stood proudly, walked between her curious parents as if she knew what she was doing. Then she'd gotten home and read all the books over and over again until everything was committed to memory and everything was hers as if it had been her birthright.

She'd read her letter over and over again the night before school began. She'd repacked her trunk for maximum use. She'd fretted over the fact that she didn't have a pet or a familiar or anything other than a strange stuffed bear that her father had won her at a carnival one time to make up for the fact that he'd absolutely refused to let her have cotton candy.

She was going to learn to do magic. Spells would fall from her tongue, hexes from her fingertips. She was going to be something more. Something better. Something herself. She wasn't just a smart girl with no challenges. She was to be a witch.

She was different.

And, for the first time in her life, she didn't mind at all.


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