One Saturday Hermione remembers that there was a girl who fell down a rabbit hole and wonders what happened to her after that. Madame Pince gives her the key to a small room where the books aren't full of spells and potions and Hermione recognises most of the titles on the colourful spines.
She misses lunch and dinner, and when Lavender asks her about it she says she filled up on bread-and-butter at a tea party.
Hermione has never been the sporty type so when she suggests to Harry at breakfast that it's perfect weather for croquet he just nods, confused but pleased. Later, leaning on his mallet at the fourth hoop he scowls at Hermione's careful swing, and wonders why he never noticed her perfect aim before.
Seamus, Dean and Ron are watching, and they flash Hermione the thumbs up whenever she snicks the ball cleanly through a hoop. At six, Seamus whoops, calling out, "Oi, Harry, that's twelve Chocolate Frogs you owe me now."
Hermione claps Harry on the shoulder when they're pulling up the hoops. She has a barely suppressed grin and a glint in her eye when she says, "Off with your head, Harry.
He thinks it's the most curious thing she's ever said.
Hermione murmurs a Cheering Charm, and the flowers stop their bickering and their insults. Alice tugs her down into a patch of snoring daisies and they fall, clumsy and giggling and breathing deeply in the strongly scented twilight.
The night feels tropical. Hermione wonders about that when Alice hooks her fingers under Hermione's knee, twitching in her sleep.
Although Ron is tickled when Hermione suggests a game of chess, he thinks he might just kiss her when she insists they use his beloved wizard set.
"But I thought you said that wizard's chess was barbaric," he prods, directing his king's bishop.
Hermione shrugs and counters with her white knight, taking one of Ron's pawns. "It could be worse," she wrinkles her nose, "and that pawn will never get to be a queen now, will it?"
"I love my love with an H," Alice says, and tells Hermione about the White Knight with the shaggy hair and the beehive strapped to his horse. "He has sad blue eyes and tried to make me cry the first time we met."
"I love my love with an H, too," Hermione says, and tells Alice about his bright green eyes. "And I love my love with an R." She smiles, and tells Alice about his red-hair and freckles. "He gets in the most furious tempers and he makes me laugh."
They play this game properly one night, sitting underneath a mushroom, but they only get to F. Hermione tells Alice about two boys with long fingers and naughty eyes. "They taste like burnt sugar and make me sleep in the middle."
Unfortunately Ginny sneezes right in the middle of a conversational lull, and the noise echoes around the hall. She blushes furiously when even the Hufflepuffs start giggling.
Hermione glares down into her bowl and tastes.
"Why," she snaps crossly, "is there always too much pepper in the soup?"
Crookshanks sprawls in the grass, tail waving erratically at the fading grin in the branches above him.
"Told you they're alike," says Alice, brushing the grass off Hermione's back.
"Yes," Hermione sighs at her cat, who is slinking off through the grass. "Right down to the disappearing act."
She stops suddenly.
"Alice, you did warn the Dormouse we're coming for tea, didn't you?"
"Holy cricket!" exclaims Alice, "I knew I forgot something!"
"Good grief, Granger," Draco sneers, "I can see I'm not going to have any trouble topping you in Arithmancy this term."
Hermione hurriedly covers up the idle scribbles on her notes.
He continues. "You don't even know what the four branches of Logical Arithmetics are?"
Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision, Hermione thinks, and snorts, because how very apt.
"Bugger off, Malfoy," she says pleasantly, glancing at Crabbe and Goyle. "Look, there's Tweedledum and Tweedledumber!"
"Miss Granger," Dumbledore says, "Madame Pince has asked me to speak with you."
Hermione flushes, and hopes the locksmith in Hogsmeade has kept his word.
"She thought it would be best if you had this," the Headmaster continues, and hands Hermione a book bound in green leather.
She is quite breathless, but when she finally manages to thank Dumbledore he just smiles and puffs on his pipe.
"Mr Dodgson was a great companion of my grandfather," he confides, "and I am afraid my forefather ended up eternally satirised as a caterpillar." He peers, twinkling over the top of his glasses. "I do hope you agree there is no family resemblance?"
Hermione is delighted.
Alice, being too small to hold a flamingo still without feeling very awkward, soon grew weary of the croquet game. "For what is the point of a game," she thought, "if one is too tired to to play it?"
When she looked around to ask permission to sit down, the Queen and King were nowhere to be seen. "It's three-sevens time," said the Four of Clubs. "Cream cakes and lemonade, but only if you're winning. Which you're not, so you can't."
"There's no need to be so--" but Four had already gone, slamming a door in the hedge.
"How utterly rude," Alice said to no-one at all, thinking she might follow the card and bring up the topic of Manners, but for as long as she'd been stranded in Wonderland she'd never taught a single creature about Common Courtesy, except the Cat, and she was inclined to agree with Hermione that it was more likely to be fear of Crookshanks in that particular instance than any instructional ability on Alice's part.
"I wonder." Alice hoped quite fiercely that the door would open out onto the chessboard, because it was a hot day and she could paddle in the stream if she took her shoes and stockings off. "Because she can come here, I really ought to be able to go there, and it does sound so terribly exciting--oh my!"
"What sounds so terribly exciting?" said a man, who was quite the tallest man Alice had ever bumped into, and she had to tip her head all the way back to look up at him. "Might I ask who you are and why you're in my storage cupboard?"
Alice frowned. "Which question would you like me to answer first, Sir?" she said, because she was definitely in a classroom, and Alice's experience of classrooms was that they were places where one was always on one's best behaviour or else one had to copy pages of the dictionary out neatly, and Alice was not fond of dictionaries that did not have pictures.
"Who are you?" said the man, crouching right down on his long legs so Alice could see that he had an interesting scar right across his face.
"Alice Liddell," Alice said, remembering to curtsey. "And it wasn't a cupboard from my side, Sir, it was a croquet match, but it was three-sevens time and I wasn't invited to cakes, you see. And is that a magic wand?"