A Taste of Loss (G; Hermione/Daphne, other Slytherins; 656 words): Slytherins and Gryffindors don't mix.
One of the benefits of having a Time-Turner, Hermione found, was friendship. While studying in the library, Hermione noticed that Daphne Greengrass was often there, as well, and as she also knew that Greengrass often checked out the same books as she did, she began sitting near her. Eventually, Greengrass noticed her and invited Hermione to share her table.
"How do you get your hair so curly?" asked Greengrass, after they'd chatted enough to feel comfortable together.
Surprised, Hermione replied, "It's just a mess this way. I was wondering how you got yours to be so sleek."
Greengrass scribbled something down on a scrap of parchment and handed it to her. "It's a potion."
"Oh, thank you," Hermione replied, breathing in the warm scent of vanilla. "Nice perfume."
Greengrass raised an eyebrow. "Perfume?"
"Oh, er, I thought you were wearing—never mind." Hermione flushed. "Thanks for the name of the potion."
Greengrass smiled and turned back to her book, and that was the end of that . . . except that it wasn't.
Hermione kept noticing Greengrass in places other than the library, found herself looking for her, in fact, although she didn't quite understand why; she just knew that she wanted to see her.
When she woke up one cool September night sweating and feeling . . . awkward after sharing a kiss with Greengrass in her dreams, she didn't know what to think. She avoided her by studying in the common room for the next few days. Eventually, however, she realised she couldn't concentrate as well there as she could in the library, so she returned.
"Glad you're back," Greengrass whispered, as Hermione sat down across from her.
"Well, you mentioned that today was your birthday, and I was afraid I wouldn't see you."
"You . . . you wanted to see me?"
"I did." Greengrass pulled something from her robes and pressed it into Hermione's hand.
Hermione shivered. "Chewing gum?"
"Clove-flavoured—I find it helps me to concentrate. I thought you might like to try it."
"Thank you, Greengrass. That was thoughtful of you."
"Happy birthday, Hermione."
Hermione blushed. "Thank you, Daphne."
Daphne beamed at her.
I think you're pretty, Hermione thought, surreptitiously watching Daphne from under her lashes as Theodore Nott approached their table.
"Hey, Daph, you want to study with us by the lake?"
"Oh, well . . . ." Daphne looked at Hermione.
"Er," said Nott, "I'd invite you, too, of course, except Malfoy's out there, and—"
"He's an arse," Daphne said.
Hermione smiled tightly. "That's all right."
"See you tomorrow, Her—Granger," Daphne told her, gathering her books and walking away.
Hermione sighed at Daphne's change of name. Slytherins and Gryffindors don't mix, do they?
She looked down at her hand, which she'd closed as Nott had approached them, and opened it, staring at the gum and wondering if Nott would give Daphne a hard time for having been sitting with her.
Ron and Harry would never let me hear the end of it if they knew, but Daphne's nice, and . . . and . . . .
Hermione pulled a stick of gum from the packet and slowly chewed it until it was soft, trying to decide what it was that she was trying to decide. At last, she rose and gathered her books, too, and hurried outside.
They're probably studying by the lake, she told herself, heading that way. There's nothing wrong with being friends with a Slytherin, and I'm not going to let anyone's disapproval ruin my friendship with Daphne!
As she approached the Slytherins, however, Malfoy noticed her, leaned over to Nott to say something, and everyone, everyone, laughed. Her eyes stinging, Hermione kept walking around to the other side of the Black Lake and forced herself not to cry—or to leave before she'd chewed away all the clove flavour in her gum.
She didn't look for Daphne on her way back inside, and she studied in the common room for weeks afterwards—concentrating only on her books . . . and the flavour of cloves.
It tasted of loss.