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Harry Potter: A Place for Misfits

Fandom: Harry Potter
Title: A Place for Misfits
Author: daydream11
Genre: General/Friendship
Rating: G
Written For: hh_sugarquill
Date Written: January 15, 2012
Word Count: 1,351
Character(s): Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley
Summary/Introduction: Harry, Ron, and Hermione were sorted into different houses. They befriend each other during their second year.
Author's Notes: This responds to the challenges "Anything inter-house. The Restricted Section, an open windown, a ripped robe." and "What if the Golden Trio were in different houses?"
Alternate Link: Here.

Harry properly befriends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger one cold afternoon in the library during their second year. He’s been bickering with Malfoy again over some stupid, petty matter he couldn’t even recall fifteen minutes later. The room had become too small to hold the both of them, two precariously-controlled tempers too near the edge to be controlled in a small space, and Harry had been the one to leave this time. Theodore is nowhere to be found when he leaves; he’s the only person in his house that Harry has graduated from “Last Name Only” status with, and while they are friends, sorta kinda, they aren’t close. He decides not to find him. Harry instead spends some time stomping around the grounds, barely managing a wave in Hagrid’s direction when they crossed paths, and sneaks into the kitchens for a cup of hot chocolate after he admits to himself that snow actually has slid and melted into his boots.

It’s Saturday, and Flint has cancelled practice because of a grueling all-day revision session Snape absolutely required him to undergo, so Harry trudges into the library. Madam Pince frowns when he scurries past, but he pays her no mind. He stops, frowning, when he realized that his favorite table has been adopted by Weasley. Harry has bittersweet memories of him, memories tinged by the distinct, if horribly familiar, feeling of betrayal due to circumstances out of his control. There aren’t any open seats at the other tables, so after a moment of hesitation he slides into one on the opposite side of and farthest away from where Weasley was.

Weasley is hard away at work, tongue darting out every now and then over chapped lips as he scribbles away on a sheet of parchment. He wears a Hufflepuff tie. Harry knows that he is painfully insecure, the only non-Gryffindor among his siblings, and somewhat unnoticed at home, too, overshadowed as he is by his older brothers and little sister. He hunches into his yellow-lined cloak, using it as a shield even as it brings a faint whiff of humiliation. There are textbooks and a couple of cheap Muggle notebooks spread out around him on the table. He writes a sentence or two down at a time before turning to any one of them. His notebooks are filled with diagrams and arrows, scratched out words and thick underlines under other ones, and scribbles in the margins. Harry knows enough about him that Weasley is an average student, solid at Defense and Care of Magical Creatures and “Acceptable” at pretty much everything else, so he attributes the thorough notes to much tutoring from his housemates. A girl sidles up to Weasley at that moment, and stands there staring at Harry.

“Oh,” she says after a pregnant pause. “Hello.”

“Hi,” he answers. Flushing, he busies himself with his own studying. He can feel her gaze on his person while he stares at his half-written Potions essay. Granger isn’t well-liked anywhere, not even among her fellow Ravenclaws, but Harry respects her because she’s brilliant, if arrogant about it, and generous with her help if anyone is willing to work hard. Harry supposes that Weasley’s notes have something to do with her, too, when she settles in next to him and they begin to whisper back and forth. She concentrates on Weasley’s work, pointing something out here and there, and Weasley gratefully, if with an occasional eye-roll, makes the suggested changes.

Harry is struggling to articulate how and why the usage of valerian in Sleeping Draughts and Forgetfulness Potions is different in either potion, when he hears Granger clear her throat. When he glances up quizzically, she asks: “I notice that you were, um, having a hard time.” She began nervously. When he doesn’t sneer or lash out, she finishes: “Would you like any help?”

Harry is about to answer, no, thank you, he’ll figure it out on his own in time. Then he remembers that Snape grades Slytherins harder than any other house, all while expecting better quality assignments as well, and that the essay is due in only three days. He nods and whispers, “Yes, please.” He moves his belongings down the polished wood of the table. Weasley watches them closely, Harry can tell, but since Hermione pays him no mind Harry doesn’t either. He finishes his essay within a couple of hours, thanking Hermione profusely all the while. Harry discovers that she can be quite gracious, too, and is surprised when Weasley offers to share a chocolate frog with him.

Harry likes them. He doesn’t get to hang out with them every day because of their three different schedules, but they exchange notes and find time on the weekends to work and play. Over time they become “Harry” and “Ron” and “Hermione” to each other, and when Hermione begins to fuss over his uniform, too, and when Ron sheepishly fibs to McGonagall about a Transfiguration mishap and lands in detention alongside him, Harry knows that he has finally found his honest-to-god friends. Once, in a match against Gryffindor, he finds them among his house mates, wearing matching green-and-gray knit caps against the spring chill. It was the sweetest, most genuine act of affection he had ever received, and he knew he would do almost anything for them if need be. They are three misfits, out of place in their houses, the world a little bit off-kilter when it comes to scarves striped green or blue or yellow. One day Hermione jokes that they ought to request transfers to Gryffindor, as it’s the one house all of them really wanted to be Sorted into, and Harry swears to himself that she wasn’t joking at all, that that was how it was supposed to be, should have been. Harry also wonders if they are stronger for it, anyway, the way things actually are. There’s no real way he can say. He is simply grateful that Slytherin isn’t all there is for him. It’s hard to get to know people in Slytherin when your dorm mates aren’t actual or de facto cousins, but with Ron and Hermione it simply doesn’t matter.

Second year ends with a train ride back to King’s Cross, just as it always does. Harry begins to journey to London with Theodore Nott and Daphne Greengrass. The three of them engage in small talk for some time before retreating behind a novel or a last-minute letter. Harry dozes off, and when he wakes up both of them are gone. Harry assumes that Theodore found Blaise and Greengrass her sisters, and chooses to gaze outside at the countryside speeding past. There’s a knock on the compartment door; Hermione and Ron occupy the seats Theodore and Greengrass had vacated sometime earlier. Hermione has already traded her uniform for blue jeans and a soft tee. She hugs her knees to her chest.

“Can you visit me this summer?” she asks softly. Harry has never quite told either of them about his family, but Hermione is sharp enough to pick up on those kinds of things, and so she figured out that Harry’s home life was a very negative one, even if he hadn’t actually told her anything. He’s about to say no, of course not, and then realizes that the Dursleys would be more than happy to send him away, long as he’s careful not to mention exactly how he met Hermione.

“I will have to ask,” he tells her carefully, and even in the nervous uncertainty she grants him a bright smile. Hermione grabs his hand and doesn’t let go until he and Ron carries their trunks and hers onto the platform.

Before they separate, the three of them share a hug and promises of notes. Harry leaves them with the sound of Hermione bossily instructing Ron how to use the Muggle post and a telephone: “You do not need to yell into the telephone, how many times must I tell you?!” It leaves him with a soft smile that his uncle glares suspiciously at.

That summer, Harry has something special to look forward to.

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