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The Twelve-Foot Mountain Troll

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Has anything ever happened to you that you knew in that moment would change your life forever? I can only think of a few: the day I got my Hogwarts letter and found out I was a witch; the day Dumbledore died; the day of the final battle; my wedding day. But the one that stands out most of all is the day Harry, Ron and I became friends.

That might seem silly considering how many people I’ve seen die, how close I’ve come to dying myself, but it’s true.

~

Those first few months at Hogwarts were awful. I had worked all summer to learn everything I could. I had hoped once I got to Hogwarts everything would be different. I had hoped that I would make friends right away, easily, but I didn’t. I was even more lonely than I’d been at home, at least there I had my parents.

The girls in my dormitory barely acknowledged me. No one talked to me in the great hall, no one even wanted to be my partner in class.

~

I heard Ron groan that day when Professor Flitwick paired us up, but I hoped maybe, just maybe, if I helped him learn the spell, we could be friends.

I went looking for him after class to offer to help him practice, and that when I heard it, “It’s LeviOsa not LeviosA. She’s a nightmare honestly, no wonder she hadn’t got any friends.” He was making fun of me. I felt the tears begin to fall down my face as I turned tail and ran, his voice rang in my ears. I slammed open the door to the bathroom and toppled into one of the stalls, pulling my knees up to my chest. Other voices filled my head

“Know-it-all!”

“Goody-Two-Shoes!”

“Stuck up brat!”

“Go away, we don’t play with losers!”

“Hermie is a cry baby!”

I just wanted to be their friend.

I don’t know how long I was there before I heard another voice, “Who’s there? Hermione? Are you okay?”

I lifted my head and saw Parvati Patil peaking under the stall door, I glared at her, “Leave me alone,” I snapped. After a moment her face disappeared and I listened to her departing footsteps.

After a while longer, I swiped at my face and stood to brush off my skirt. I was planning to go to the owlery and send my parents a letter asking them to bring me home. I didn’t belong here. Sniffling, I opened the stall door, looked up and came face to face with a troll. I shrieked and tried to retreat back into the stall as its club came swinging towards me. I ducked and covered my head with my arms as the wood crumbled around me. Over the din I made out voices yelling my name, “Hermione!”

Scrambling over broken wood, I spotted a blur of red and black hair. Harry and Ron, I realized.

“Confuse it!” someone yelled.

“Oy, pea-brain!” came another shout.

“Come on, run, run!” I knew they must be talking to me, but I couldn’t move.

In a blur of movement, Harry took a flying leap and landed on the troll’s back as it began to flail around. All I could do was stare in horror.

Over the din I heard a shout of, “Wingardium Leviosa!” and I almost smiled as the troll’s club sailed from its hand, hovered for a second over its head before it plummeted, taking the troll down with it.

Harry scrabbled away and stood up next to Ron

“Is it - dead?” I squeaked.

“I don’t think so, I think it’s just been knocked out.” Harry replied, pulling his wand from where it was lodged in the troll’s nose, “Urgh – troll boogers,” he groaned.

A second later, Professor McGonagall rushed in and I felt my stomach sink with dread. She looked around in horror and exclaimed,

“What on earth were you thinking of? You’re lucky you weren’t killed. Why aren’t you in your dormitory?”

The boys exchanged nervous glances, I couldn’t let them get into trouble, then they’d really hate me. I piped up, “Please, Professor McGonagall – they were looking for me.”

“Miss Granger!” she looked shocked.

I hesitated for a moment, would the truth keep them out of trouble, “I went looking for the troll because I – I thought I could deal with it on my own – you know, because I read all about them. If they hadn’t found me, I’d be dead now. Harry stuck his wand up its nose and Ron knocked it out with its own club. They didn’t have time to come and fetch anyone. It was about to finish me off when they arrived.” Out of the corner of my eye I saw the boys’ mouths drop open. I had lied to a teacher and they knew it.

Professor McGonagall hesitated, “Well - in that case - Miss Granger, you foolish girl, how could you think of tackling a mountain troll on your own?” I hung my head, “Miss Granger, five points will be taken from Gryffindor for this. I'm very disappointed in you. If you're not hurt at all, you'd better get off to Gryffindor tower. Students are finishing the feast in their houses.”

Ashamed, I scampered out the door and down the corridor. A second later I heard voices behind me, “We should have gotten more than ten points.” That was Ron for sure.

“Five, you mean, once she's taken off Hermione's.” Harry that time.

I stopped and waited for them to catch up, a tiny bit of hope growing in my heart. When they reached me Harry smiled, “Good of you to get us out of trouble like that.”

I smiled back, the hope growing. “Mind you, we did save her,” butts in Ron and my smile falls. 

Harry gives him a look, “Mind you, she might not have needed saving if you hadn’t insulted her.”

We were all silent for a second, then Ron meets my eyes, and mutters sheepishly, “What are friends for?”

A smile broke across my face and I forgot all about the letter home.

~

Ten years later, I sweep the papers scattered over my desk into a neat pile, and sigh, I should probably put in a couple more hours work, but I can’t bring myself to do it.

Standing, I brush off my skirt and lock up for the night, then make my way through the twisting corridors of the ministry, nodding at the people I pass, but not stopping to talk. There are only two people I want to see right now.

I reach the Auror Department, and spot Ron and Harry throwing paper balls at each other and laughing. I roll my eyes and remember a similar scene years ago.

~

Harry and Ron were sitting in a corner of the common room playing exploding snap, when I knew they should be working on their transfiguration homework. Honestly, I thought, how do they ever get anything done? In the back of my head though, I wished I was there with them, it looked like fun.

A few weeks later, the three of us were sitting in that same corner, supposedly working on our potion’s essays, but the boys were throwing bits of paper at each other instead. It took everything in me not to tell them to stop, but our friendship was new, only a couple weeks old and I didn’t want to lose them; I’d never had friends before.

I must have failed to conceal my annoyance though, because a moment later they stopped and looked at me, “Sorry,” said Ron, “Are we bothering you?” I waited for him to add, “Then you can leave,” but he didn’t, instead he picked up his quill and studied his parchment, “How’d you start, Hermione?”

I smiled and helped them write their essays.

~

Now I tap lightly on Harry and Ron’s open office door, “Busy, boys?” I tease.

Harry looks up and smiles, “Hey, ‘Mione,” then glances at his watch, “You’re done early.”

I smile sheepishly, of course he’d notice that.

Ron and stands and walks over to kiss me, “Not that we’re complaining,” he murmurs into my hair.

I smile, “Yeah, I just … I don’t know … I wanted to see you,” I hesitate, a little scared they won’t remember, “Do you know what today is?”

Harry furrows his brow, “Halloween?”

I blush, “Well, yeah, but…” I trail off, I don’t want to have to explain this to them.

Harry and Ron exchange looks, and I can tell they’re racking their brains. I feel foolish, of course they don’t remember.

Then, Ron’s face lights up, “Today,” he says proudly, “is the anniversary of the luckiest day of our lives.”

I sag with relief and fling my arms around his neck, “Yeah,” I whisper.

Over his shoulder, I see Harry stand and move to join us, “Is this a couple only moment?” he asks.

“Of course not, you idiot.” I tease and reach out my hand to him.

He smiles, “We should find that troll and thank him for knocking some sense into us.”

“Actually, I think we knocked some sense into him,” jokes Ron, “You know with the club?”

Harry smacks him upside the head, “You know what I mean.”

Ron looks back at me, “Yeah, I do. Merlin, we were idiots, weren’t we?”

“Still are,” I reply, “But you’re my idiots.”

Ron sticks his tongue out at me, “Come on then, if Hermione can knock off work early, so can we. It’s our anniversary!”

“Ten years of the Golden Trio,” I add.

Harry groans, “Not you too? The newspapers are bad enough.”

“Oh, come on Harry! We saved the wizarding world, the least we should get is a cool nickname,” says Ron.

Harry rolled his eyes, “Be careful what you wish for, WonWon.”

Ron turns bright red, as Harry and I collapse into a fit of laughter.

When we calm down, I smile at my boys, “Thanks for saving me from the troll.”

They smile back, “Thanks for saving us the other two hundred times,” replies Ron.

And the three of us leave, side by side.