The Art of Friendship
by Aelyva

"It's no wonder no one can stand her. She's a nightmare."

The words echoed in her mind still as Hermione wept, sitting on the cold floor of the girls' bathroom. The harsh voice seemed louder now and she just wanted it to get quite. She knew she had no friends. She didn't need to hear it from that red-headed jerk.

She knew it too well.

Hermione Granger never had any real friends. Her old schoolmates immediately categorised her as a nerd the moment she had opened her mouth in class and kids on her neighbourhood found her passion for books weird. It hurt to be rejected by her peers but she found comfort in her books.

Dusty old books, the feeling of paper on her fingers and its smell. The anticipation of learning new things. So few people understood her passion.

When she received the letter announcing that Hogwarts, the best school for wizards and witches, had chosen her, excitement had overwhelmed her. A dream come true. She had read all her school books three weeks before the beginning of the school year. All the new things she would learn, all the new classes…and maybe, there, she'd be able to make friends. The people there would surely not reject her for being smart. She fantasised about all the conversations she could have with the students and the teachers.

But things didn't go as planned. They never really do.

When she met Harry Potter on the rain, she knew she wanted to be his friend. Not because everyone knew about him, not because he was the name on everyone's lips, but because he surely was an interesting person to talk to and he sounded like a strong wizard. She thought she could learn a few things from him. But each time they had met, his red-haired friend had made her lost her temper and brought out her bossy nature. She had wanted to get close to them, but they had pushed her away.

Rejected once again.

"It's no wonder no one can stand her. She's a nightmare."

Those words again. Did he have to be so cruel? Maybe. She supposed she'd been annoying them. They wanted nothing to do with her, but she hadn't given up. She wanted so much to have friends here, whom she could talk about anything magical related, but she tried too hard. Now everyone stayed away from her.

Just because she didn't have any experience in the making of friendship.

There weren't any books that explained how to make friends. Without books, Hermione wasn't as confident.

And so, she was crying on a bathroom's floor. Tears fell on her knees, wetting her robe, but Hermione didn't care. She shouldn't have raised her hopes too high. The fall was hard.

At least, the library was very big. She would have all the time to read half of the books during those seven years she would be here.

She slowly got up on her feet, wanting to refresh her face. Things happened fast after that. Before she knew it, a troll - she had seen enough pictures of them to recognise it - entered the bathroom and immediately glanced her way, his huge eyes penetrating right through her. Hermione froze. She couldn't think of anything to do. She couldn't remember what the books had said about trolls.

It then became confusing. She remembered backing to the wall. Then, the most surprising thing happened. Harry Potter and his red-haired friend saved her.

They thought about her and searched for her, to see if she was fine and they saved her. Or maybe they just happened to pass this way and decided to drop into the girls' bathroom to see what it looked like. It didn't matter. They saved her.

She didn't remember the battle much except that she was scared.

But they won.

That wasn't the important part though.

Not only did they saved her, but she also became their friend. It seemed facing a ugly troll brought people together. When you faced danger together, there maybe was some sort of bond forming.

So that was how you made friends.

Hermione still wanted to read half the books at the library though. Maybe they'd come with her…

Disclaimer: The italic phrase was taken from the first book.

Notes: That was my first Harry Potter fic. I wanted to write something short for starter. This idea poped in my head after I finished the first book (that I started reading not so long ago). I'm planning to write more HP fics, but until I'll feel comfortable with the fandom, I'll keep writing relatively short fics. Again, constructive comments would be very much appreicated.

Written: March 24, 2003