Characters aren't mine and belong solely to JK Rowling...

The day that Professor McGonagall came to the home of Richard and Helen Granger to tell them their daughter was a witch and that there was a school, Hogwarts, that taught magic to wizards and witches, their reaction wasn't exactly one of shock. They had known their daughter was special, that she was a witch from the day a woman, dressed in the strangest clothes and carrying a stick, showed up on their doorstep handing over her baby girl. The baby couldn't have been more than a few weeks old, and the woman never did tell them her name, or where she had come from. She'd just begged them to take her daughter, told them to keep her safe and vanished as quickly as she'd came.

Hermione had always known she was different from the other children in her primary school. She never had real friends like some of the other children, but she was a quiet and thoughtful child, if not somewhat cold and aloof. It was almost as if the other children could sense there was something different about her and teased her bookish nature and bushy curls. It wasn't until one day when a particularly mean older boy had grabbed her and accosted her and he'd ended up deaf, mute and blind, that the other children stopped bothering her. Whispers started that Hermione Granger was a 'freak' and soon there wasn't a single child who wanted to play with her or talk to her. So when the older witch came to her home and told her that magic was real, and there was a school where she'd learn to use her gifts she was relieved and excited. Finally she'd be able to be somewhere that would accept her, and she could fit in and have friends. But as luck would have it, those hopes were most cruelly and immediately dashed.

On the train ride to Hogwarts, Hermione had made what she thought was her first friend. His name was Neville and he'd lost his toad. She went around to the compartments, kindly asking if anyone had seen a toad, that a boy named Neville had lost his and she was helping him find it. One of the first compartments she'd entered had a small group of boys, all about her age. One of the boys had startling blonde, almost white, hair and the most striking grey eyes. He'd politely told her he hadn't seen a toad and then introduced himself as if she'd should've known whom he was. It seemed he was the leader of his friends. Hermione was polite and thanked them for their help, leaving them to continue her search. Later she came to another compartment with two boys, one with dark messy hair and the other with the brightest red hair she'd ever seen. Quickly she realized just who the dark-haired boy was...Harry Potter! The boy who defeated the Darkest Wizard of the age. Hermione fixed his glasses and hoped that perhaps they could become good friends.

When she'd reached the boats and saw the castle in the distance, she was overcome with excitement. She'd read Hogwarts a History several times before school started and eagerly memorized everything she could about her new home. Her father had bought her the book and she had been so impressed with everything she'd learned. When it came time to gather and await the sorting ceremony she saw the pale blonde boy again, trying to make friends with Harry Potter, but it seemed the Boy-who-Lived didn't want to be friends. Hermione thought it strange but kept to the background, glad that Neville had finally found his lost toad.

When the doors opened and she walked in, she'd noticed the enchanted ceiling and couldn't help reciting to the girl walking next to her what she'd learned in Hogwarts a History about the fact that it was magicked to look like the sky at night.

Finally the time came to be sorted, and Hermione had read all about the houses. She was convinced that Ravenclaw would be the best fit for her and eagerly awaited her turn. The girl next to her, Hannah Abbott has been sorted into Hufflepuff and a boy named Finnegan had been sorted into Gryffindor, when finally her name was called.

She approached the stool, trying to tell herself to relax. The red-headed boy from the train had whispered to the Potter boy something about being 'mental' but Hermione paid him little mind. She had read that houses were like your family, something that Professor McGonagall had reiterated before outside in the hallway. She was desperate for friends, and felt that she would finally be accepted for who she was. When the hat was placed upon her head, it wasn't but a minute before the word 'Slytherin!' was heard and Hermione paled a bit, listening to the polite cheers from her new house, while the others remained silent. She stepped down from the stool and stood with her shoulders back and walked as confidently as she could to her new house, not missing the look of shock and almost pity coming from her new Professor.

Hermione kept quiet as the sorting was finished and then Headmaster Dumbledore made the announcement for the feast to begin. Soon there was excited chatter all around her as the new students all seemed to know each other, while a few sent her questioning looks, noticing her silence. Soon the blonde boy from the train spoke up and addressed her in front of everyone.

"Hello again, I believe we met briefly on the train. I'm Malfoy...Draco Malfoy. You're Hermione Granger?" At this Hermione nodded, noticing the sharp and assessing look the blonde was giving her. He smirked and his other friends silently nodded amongst themselves as if they were sharing in some sort of private joke.

"I'm not familiar with the name Granger. You wouldn't happen to be related to the Dagworth-Grangers?" At this Hermione shook her head silently, not liking the look in the boys eyes and not understanding where this line of questioning was headed.

"So, you come from a magical family, yes?" The blonde asked again with feigned politeness. Hermione just looked at him dumbly for a moment and then responded quietly.

"I'm not sure what you are asking. Perhaps you should just ask your question directly."

The other first years around the table sat back silently in shock while the rest of the table quieted down, waiting to see what would become of this conversation.

"Very well," sneered the blonde, "Granger is not a magical family name, so your parents must be Muggles?"

Hermione realized at that moment that all hope she had to make friends was simply not meant to be. She looked at the faces of those sitting by her and saw the open looks of disgust and hostility on their faces. She'd read about Slytherin House in her book, but honestly hadn't given it much consideration. She wasn't from a magical family that she knew, so thought there was little chance she'd be put in Slytherin. Oh, how wrong she was!

She straightened her shoulders and looked the blonde boy directly in the eye and nodded. "Yes, my parents are Muggles, what of it?" She'd asked a bit harsher than she intended.

The Malfoy boy sneered at her in disgust and gave her the same look she'd seen her entire life from the children in her former schools. Hermione's heart plummeted and she knew there would be no chance of friends here.

"That is unfortunate," the boy said haughtily while the other students at their table just smirked in glee. "Usually only children from magical families get sorted into Slytherin House. Purebloods you see. We do have some half-blood students, but no respectable witch or wizard would ever be seen befriending a mudblood."

Hermione's eyes widened at the derogatory term, but she'd heard worse from her former school mates and looked back at the boy impassively. "Well I suppose it is a good thing I am here to learn, and am not worried about making friends then." Hermione retorted back just as coldly, watching the blonde's eyes narrow and his face redden in anger.

"Well that is fortunate for you, mudblood, because you will find no friends here." With that Draco Malfoy looked to the other first years and they all nodded along with him and ignored Hermione for the rest of the feast.

Hermione's food tasted like ash, but she was unwilling to show weakness. She desperately wanted to learn magic and wouldn't let anyone take that away from her. She would show them all that she was the smartest, best student and she would learn magic quicker than any of them. She didn't need friends anyway, she never had.