I am combining some earlier chapters so the story isn't so choppy. Chapters are unchanged, excluding some connective tissue between some scenes. Thanks for reading :)
It was a perfectly normal day, in a perfectly normal English home, with perfectly normal people going about their perfectly normal tasks, until suddenly it wasn't.
Minerva McGonagall knocked primly on the door, sharp raps that demanded an answer. Spectacles perched on the bridge of her nose, framing her kind yet serious brown eyes.
The door was opened, revealing a genially smiling woman with bouncing curls and laughing blue eyes. "May I help you?" she asked, confused yet polite.
"Yes, Mrs. Granger, you may. I am here to see your family, particularly your daughter, Hermione."
The smile on Mrs. Granger's face slipped a little, worry beginning to show as the strange woman on her front porch spoke her daughter's name. "Are you from the school? Did she do something else?"
"Yes, I am from the school, but not the one she is currently enrolled in. And she has done nothing but be born."
Mrs. Granger's hand fluttered to her breast.
"I think I may need to come in to fully explain, Mrs. Granger."
Hermione sat demurely, her hands clasped in her lap, and inquisitively inspected her acceptance letter. McGonagall had watched the girl closely since they had been introduced. Hermione had the same bouncing curls as her mother, but they were in a raw, untamed frenzy. Instead of happy blue eyes, careful amber eyes like gold and coffee had quietly watched McGonagall right back. There was an intentness to her gaze that McGonagall saw rarely among her young students, but one she could swear she had seen before. Something about the girl piqued the old witch's senses, but she couldn't decide what it was.
Mr. and Mrs. Granger were asking many pointed questions about Hogwarts, magical society, and magic itself. Hermione occasionally broke in to ask a rather well-spoken query, but mostly she remained silent, content to listen to the answers McGonagall gave her parents.
"I will escort Hermione to Diagon Alley tomorrow morning. One of you may accompany her, but I ask that it only be one of you. Muggle parents tend to get very distracted on their first view of magical life, and one parent is easier to keep track of than two." What McGonagall did not say was that in general, one muggle was much easier to keep an eye than two, and easier to keep away from the inevitable sneers of purebloods. Hermione's mother put a hand on her husband's knee, and offered to go herself. Hermione's father looked relieved. His hazel eyes were pinched in stress, blonde hair mussed from the hands he had run through it. McGonagall noticed that Mrs. Granger seemed rather calm, accepting the influx of information gracefully. McGonagall was pleased the calmer parent would be accompanying the new student; stressed muggles were much more likely to garner unfriendly attention.
"Professor McGonagall," Hermione formally questioned, "muggleborns appear at random, yes?"
"That is correct."
"Is it possible for muggleborns to actually have some blood lines that trace back to wizarding families? Are normal children ever born to witches that intermingle with the muggle population? Assuming the genes for wizarding traits are passed down to all of their children, even if the traits are dormant, it is possible for the genes to activate several generations after an intermarriage, resulting in an apparent muggleborn."
McGonagall blinked at the child. "It sounds supportable," she said slowly, "but I know of no study that proves it. Science and magic typically do not mix well."
Hermione frowned slightly, a small crinkling between her brows. "I see," she said, nodding her head.
Perhaps this one is for Ravenclaw, then, McGonagall thought.
McGonagall stood, bidding the new students and her parents farewell until the next day, as the questions tapered off. "I imagine you have a lot to discuss," she said, looking between the family members. "It is certainly a surprise to discover things that you have always believed to be false are, in fact, true. If you have any further questions, please make note of them, so we may discuss them tomorrow. Until the morning," she said, leaving the Granger's to themselves as she was shown out the door. The moment it clicked shut with grim finality, Hermione's parents both looked at her.
Mr. Granger sank into his chair, trembling slightly. "Hermione, go upstairs, please. Your mother and I have a lot of things to talk about."
Hermione frowned at her father. "I must leave the room for you to discuss my future?"
"Please, love," her mother pleaded quietly.
Frown still in place, Hermione went upstairs. But only because her mother had asked.
Daniel Granger looked at his wife. Emily Granger stared back at him, cautious. "I had hoped you were wrong."
"Me too," she said, sitting down next to him. "It certainly would have made her life easier."
He remained silent, contemplating the immense change. "This will make her into a monster," he said.
"Don't say things like that!" Emily Granger snapped. "I don't know why you are so convinced our daughter is evil or psychotic. She's just extremely intelligent and mature, perhaps a bit too serious, especially for her age."
Daniel Granger snorted rudely. "She's high-functioning, but that doesn't give her morals, Emily. She has so far spent her school years without friends, and we both know it's because she doesn't even care to make them in the first place. She's cold, Emily, like a snake."
Emily Granger furrowed her brows into a deep scowl. "She has morals for God's sake, Daniel! She's only an eleven-year-old girl. And you know she has her moments, she's not cold all the time! You've seen her when she flies into a rage or— "
"That's exactly the problem. Her tantrums- and don't argue, you know they are temper tantrums- always end in some sort of violence!"
Emily pleaded, "She just can't control her temper yet, it doesn't mean— "
"She takes things too far!"
Emily Granger couldn't disagree, even as her face flushed in anger. Her daughter had been in trouble many times in school, sometimes resulting in expulsion, despite her obvious brilliance. Hermione was serious and studious for a young girl, and did not allow other students to bully her. What worried the Grangers was how Hermione chose to handle her fellow students when they treated her poorly. So far, no conferences with faculty or fellow students had resulted in an improvement with her chosen means of defense, or, as it usually was, revenge.
"She doesn't have the best control right now over her temper, but she has morals, Daniel," Emily sighed. "I'm scared too, okay? Magic seems so limitless. But Hermione is a good girl."
Daniel ran a hand through his hair. Grey was sprouting at the temples, which he insisted was only platinum blond. "I know, I know. I'm just scared of what she is capable of."
"I am too," Emily Granger whispered, looking down at her hands.
They sat quietly. "I suppose this shows just how much of him she has," Daniel murmured. "A witch. Bloody hell."
"Language," Emily said weakly, not really meaning it. There were no dirty words in her home; she was careful to ensure her family spoke properly. But if any time called for a curse, this was it. "We always knew there was a good possibility. And we've seen the accidental bursts of magic so many times now-"
"I had hoped they were all flukes, but I shouldn't have fooled myself," Daniel muttered darkly. "Stupid of me, to wish for the impossible."
"She's still our little Hermione," Emily whispered. "Our little girl."
"As much as she can be ours," Daniel said, before standing and leaving the living room, Emily watching him sadly.
From her spot on the stairs, Hermione stood and quietly went into her room. She knew how her father felt about her, scared and proud of her abilities all at once. She could admit that she was certainly different from the other eleven year olds she knew, not including the magic.
Books had always been her source for entertainment. Not dolls or dresses, but literature, words on paper that explained the things she wanted to know. She was worlds above her classmates; she had already skipped a year. It made people nervous. She was an abnormally precocious child that sometimes did unexplainable things.
Sitting on her bed, Hermione drew the letter from her pocket. The gold embellishment gleamed in the late afternoon sunlight filtering in a window, gilding the graceful curves of black wax. Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Strange things had always happened around Hermione. Computers never worked correctly, the insides melting as soon as her fingers touched the keyboard. Nothing could tame her wild hair, be it heat or scissors. And occasionally, things just happened to people who made her angry. Her thoughts had manifested themselves in dangerous or amusing ways.
It all made sense now. The questions she couldn't answer in her books, the things she had disregarded as fanciful, all came together in an acceptance letter.
Hermione had good control over her emotions, but excitement and anxiety crept onto her face. An entire world was at her fingertips to explore, filled with new knowledge and opportunities. But how would it actually be? It was totally unknown, and that made Hermione nervous. But she was much more excited than she was anything else.
McGonagall had been undoubtedly impressive, wielding her wand with confidence and grace. Hermione's fingers closed around an imaginary wand, imaging the smooth wood against her skin, the rushing power. Tomorrow couldn't come soon enough.
For now, she had some familial research to do. She intended to search old family records for signs of magical relations, in support of her theory.
Quietly, Hermione left her room, feet muffled by the thick socks she wore to sneak around. The hall closet opened with hardly a hush, and she reached in to grab the box that stood at the top of a neat stack of filing cabinets. She had delved into her family records before, two years ago, interested in the history behind her name. But now, she was looking into her family with a scientific angle; surely, there would be some odd notation to indicate a witch or wizard in the line, a strange last name she could cross reference once she had access to a magical library.
Reentering her room, locking the door behind her, Hermione spread the materials from the box over her floor. Sketchy genealogy trees, lists, certificates, and notes gradually took shape as she began to organize them. She looked briskly at her matriarchal lineage first.
Her mother's maiden name had been Miller. No indications there. She thoroughly inspected each document, jotting down possible leads on a legal pad balanced on her knee. It was all disturbingly mundane. The names, years, and certificates all checked out, no oddities detected. Well, her great-great aunt Margery seemed morbidly interested in the occult, but that meant very little when Hermione compared it to the religious beliefs of the time.
Shoving a thick sheaf of curly hair behind her hair, she moved on to her patriarchal lineage. No names stuck out to her as she methodically checked each hastily scrawled tree. Looking at the pictures of her father's family, she was struck by how little she looked like her father-
She had never considered that.
Quickly, she pulled her parent's marriage certificate out in front of her. Her parents had been married the 20th of June, 1981.
She had been born the 19th of September, 1979.
It didn't mean anything concrete. It was not abnormal for couples to have a child together prior to marriage. But it certainly explained quite a bit, including those parting words: as much as she can be our daughter.
Hermione had assumed he figuratively meant that this new life would steal her away from her family. But thinking back, she thought she could remember a slight emphasis on the word "our."
Was her father not her true father?
All but in biology perhaps. Her mother was most assuredly the woman who had carried her to term; Hermione had seen pictures of a glowing Emily Granger (Miller?) with a hand resting on her rounded middle. But now, Hermione couldn't recall a single picture with her father before the age of two. Surely she would remember any such pictures now that she was actively thinking about them? But she couldn't.
Quickly, Hermione repacked all of the dusty documents and hid them away under her bed. The more she thought, the more she believed Daniel Granger was not her father, which made her wonder if her true father was actually a wizard.
She decided not to ask her mother. Her mother was currently in a delicate state after the professor's visit, and questions like the ones brimming in Hermione would only worsen the home's overall mood.
How had she never realized it before? It felt so obvious now that Hermione was actually wondering. Her mother was thirty years old, young for a mother of an eleven-year-old. Her father was ten years her senior, already an established professional by the time her parents had married. None of the dates fit together correctly. Was it possible she had intentionally overlooked the obvious signs, content with the easy way out?
No. Hermione would always choose truth over ease. For some reason, she had just never considered the indications lingering in her home and her features. Once she had seriously noticed it, it was like a curtain had been drawn from over her eyes, and all the signs became clear.
Slipping from her spot on the floor, she padded over to her vanity mirror. Hermione was not prone to narcissism, but her mother had found the little dresser enchanting, a pale ash wood of graceful lines and a shining, angled mirror. Carefully, she inspected her face, comparing it to the photo of her and her parents that was wedged in the mirror's frame.
She had the same riotous curls as her mother, although her own were more prone to be a chaotic mess. Emily Granger's eyes were blue, milky cornflowers set beneath arched brows. Daniel Granger's eyes were hazel, sunlight dappled forest beneath wispy blond brows. Hermione looked into her own face, tiger-eye stones of streaking amber and brown, set beneath serious, thick brows. Her matriarchal grandmother had had the same eyes, so different from the pale blue of her daughter. Hermione had seen photos of her grandmother, amber eyes framed by thin glasses, irrefutable proof of blood ties.
The bones of her face were distinctly different from both of her parents. She looked more delicate in comparison, with a slim, defined jaw and lifted cheekbones. The childish pudginess of her face had yet to fade, so she would need to compare again in several years so mark any differences. Perhaps she would begin to look more like her mother's angular beauty, or less likely, would gain her father's broad structure.
Bodily, her mother was curvaceous, and her father built like a rugby player. Her body was unformed, having not yet touched puberty, but she already could see marked differences. She was much willowier than her petite mother, built with longer legs and less heft. She and her father had nothing in common.
Hermione swiped a thumb over her father's face, wondering. It would not change her affection for him if he wasn't her biological father. It would certainly explain his reticence toward her. But she knew he loved her as much as he could, even if she was not his own.
Yet, she would not be displeased to learn of her biological father, despite her affection for Daniel Granger. Immense curiosity pricked at her brain, imagining from her dissimilar characteristics what such a man could look like, be like. Did he pursue knowledge as she did? Was he magical like she was? She had many questions and no way to find answers.
Perhaps the magical world had something like a directory. Certainly, Hogwarts had a yearbook of some sort. McGonagall had told her family that the British magical world was very small, with only perhaps fifty students per year in the entire school. It would not be too difficult to research magical families and compile a list of men who looked tangentially similar to her. However, if her biological father was a muggleborn, it would be markedly more difficult to find out about his family, as she doubted anyone would keep records on muggle families.
Satisfied with her planning, Hermione noted on her growing list of questions to ask McGonagall about record keeping in the magical world. It would likely be a lengthy project to discover the truth of her heritage, but Hermione had never been frightened from an intellectual pursuit before.
McGonagall retrieved Hermione and her mother at precisely 9:00 am the next morning. Cheery Saturday light highlighted the trio as they made their way through London to a particular seedy establishment. Emily Granger looked nervous to be in such a gloomy place, clutching her small bag to her side, as McGonagall strode into the pub. Hermione confidently followed her future professor, bolstered by McGonagall's courage.
Patrons watched them curiously, eyeing her mother's anxious face and clenched hands. "Muggles," she heard one whisper to another, gesturing at her mother. "Odd creatures, those."
Hermione frowned at the slight on her mother, but McGonagall was waiting at a brick wall. With a snappy glare, she turned her attention away from the grubby patrons and watched avidly as the witch tapped her wand to particular grimy bricks. Once she completed the sequence, Hermione watched in amazement as the bricks began to shift, cobbling themselves into an archway. Through the doorway lay an entire new world.
That very liminal moment, the revelation of Diagon Alley to a muggleborn witch, made magic oh so real. This was no longer an elaborate prank, an insane scheme: this was Hermione's future. The boundary had thinned between her muggle life and her magical life, and one footstep would break the taught skein that held her back from her potential.
With a deep breath, Hermione stepped onto the cobblestoned street. Her world shuddered and then resettled into a new configuration, unfamiliar to her. She grinned.
"Firstly, your muggle money must be exchanged for legal wizarding tender," McGonagall said, gesturing to a large, vaulting structure. "I must warn you: the bank tellers are rude and unfriendly, especially to muggles, or unknown witches and wizards."
Hermione privately thought that a bank teller could not be worse than vicious children.
There errand within the bank was quickly handled. Exchanging muggle currency for the odd magical one was not often done, but it was common enough that Gringotts had a special desk devoted to expediting the process. As soon as the two witches were done, they left the bank and set about on their next mission.
"Is that a book store?" Hermione asked. She could see books stacked behind the shop windows, and her soul lurched in that direction.
"Yes, that is Flourish and Blott's, the next stop after robe fittings," McGonagall answered.
Hermione wished to see the books as soon as possible, but it would not do to annoy a future professor. Quietly, she followed the witch into Madam Maulkin's, accompanied by her stunned mother. While her mother had certainly taken the news better than her father, she was still overloaded by the influx of new information. Since Mrs. Granger had seen the goblins in Gringotts, she had been operating on lesser brain functions. Hermione might have been in a more similar state had she been any less excited.
Madam Maulkin gestured hurriedly for Hermione to step upon a low platform before bringing out colored bolts of fabric. "What do you need? School robes?"
Mrs. Granger looked anxiously to McGonagall, who quickly offered her thoughts. "I would advise buying at least four sets of school robes, a set of traditional dress robes, and one cloak. Winters at Hogwarts are very cold."
Madam Maulkin began to measure Hermione, sparing no time to avoid pinning her with needles. Hermione found the entire process tedious, but she remained patient. Books were coming next.
"You're likely to be a tall one," she murmured, sticking a pin in her mouth as she draped fabric over the young girl. "I rarely see girls so tall as you at such a young age."
"Her father has some height to him," Mrs. Granger said.
Daniel Granger was certainly not short like his wife, but he was by far not tall. Hermione crinkled her brows in thought. Could her mother be slipping up due to the stress of the day? Was Emily Granger thinking of Hermione's biological father?
Madam Maulkin finished the measuring (and infernal pinning) and assured the Grangers the robes would be delivered within the next three days. Mrs. Granger remarked it was rather fast for handmade robes to be completed and Madame Maulkin balked, correcting that she used magic, not muggle ways! McGonagall quickly gestured for the family to follow her from the store before Hermione acted on the venomous glare directed at the shopkeeper, and then lead them across the way to a small shop with books filling every window. Hermione could barely contain herself at the sight, her ire fading as her fingers tingled at the feel of imaginary pages.
"Now, Hermione, we can't buy out the entire store," her mother said, sensing her daughter's excitement. "You may choose five books that are not a part of the curriculum, but that's all. Only five, Hermione," she warned deaf ears.
Hermione Granger had already disappeared into the stacks.
After immediately locating her school books, Hermione let her fingers run across the varied spines, carefully inspecting each embossed title for the most interesting topics. Unfortunately, to a precocious muggleborn on her first trip to a magical bookstore, every title held a magnetic allure.
Snapping herself from a daze, Hermione decided to consider her options logically. Firstly, she needed to be able to defend herself. Secondly, she needed a book on wizarding culture and society, and a directory of families, if one existed. That left her room for at least one book to enjoy for herself.
Quickly, but with much thorough thought, she found two books on spells for defence. Humboldt's Tome of Most Conniving Hexes and A Starter's Guide to Tricks, Charms, and Galore hit the front counter, awaiting purchase.
"Professor McGonagall," she queried, "does there exist a book on prominent wizarding families and culture? Or perhaps a catalogue on current wizarding families?"
McGonagall started, surprised by the question. Yes, this one was definitely a Ravenclaw, for she could imagine no reason other than curiosity a young muggleborn student would express interest in wizarding families. "There is one book that comes to mind, a magically-updating collection of prominent wizarding families. You may need to ask Mr. Botts for a copy, as usually they are given to families upon the birth of an heir, not for usual sale."
"What about magical culture?"
"I do not know if there are any books on that," the older witch responded, "but it would not hurt to look."
Hermione frowned. It was a severe oversight of magical culture to withhold itself from literature when muggleborns would enter society completely blind. She would rather have some knowledge on the societal niceties of wizards and witches before entering Hogwarts, but it was looking as if she would have to rely on an on-the-go education. She wasn't incapable of learning the ins and outs of a new culture, but she wished she at least had a reference book.
"Don't waste your book opportunities on reference books, dear," Mrs. Granger said. "Get some that you will enjoy."
Hermione blinked at her. "I enjoy all books, mum. But I'll keep that in mind."
Mrs. Granger sighed as Hermione disappeared back into the stacks. Sometimes she worried about her daughter's fervent studying; maybe it stunted her social skills, which would explain her troubles in normal schools. At least it would do her some good, since she was entering a new world with absolutely no base of knowledge. She was building from the ground up, and any extra bit of information would help.
Hermione methodically inspected the overstuffed shelves, the old vanilla of parchment rising from the pages of many, many volumes. She would find her book to enjoy first, and then ask Mr. Botts about a reference book for magical families. Humming to herself in pleasure, she plucked a book on famous magical figures and skimmed the first chapter. She treated many books thusly, searching for one she would enjoy many times over.
After quite a bit of happy browsing, she finally located one book for pleasure, and the best she could find on wizarding society. The Best Spell Theories of Morgan La Fey and Varied Customs in the Magical World. Her fingers already itched to learn about Morgan La Fey, a witch so famous she had bled into muggle society, but she would force herself to crack open the alluring, but slightly less interesting wizarding customs book first. She wouldn't be able to hold herself back for long, though.
"I'm ready, mum," she said, emerging from the depths of the store. McGonagall and her mother had been in quiet conversation.
"Do you want to ask the store owner about that book, dear?" her mother asked.
"Surely a pureblood in her class will have one she can borrow," McGonagall said, standing as Mrs. Granger purchased the four books. "There is no need to order a special copy, which would be undoubtedly expensive and time consuming."
"That sounds perfectly reasonable. Right, love?"
Hermione suspected they had discussed this between themselves as soon as she was out of hearing. "I suppose," she said agreeably. She was slightly annoyed at being outmaneuvered, but McGonagall was correct. However, Hermione was less positive about getting along with other students well enough to request a lend. Her experiences with other children her age had been less than ideal.
They exited Flourish and Blott's, Hermione immensely satisfied despite not locating a registry. Perhaps the Hogwarts library would have one she would use for her studies. It was not a major setback so long as she could find one she could use. And maybe she could even find yearbooks at Hogwarts, in the most ideal situation.
"Now, for your wand."
She snapped to attention, all thoughts of her current project fleeing her mind. Her wand!
The wand was what distinguished a witch from a muggle. Through a wand, she could work real magic. A wand was a tool to create the most marvelous feats either world had ever heard of or imagined. A wand was her key to the greatest discovery of her lifetime, her heritage as a witch.
They stepped up to a store front with clear windows and a flourishing sign reading Ollivander's. Hermione's insides shuddered in excitement, even more so than when she had seen the bookstore.
Entering the store, Hermione gazed in fascination at the slim boxes lining the shelves, wands waiting to be chosen, wielded. An area concealed behind her breast bone burned in anticipation, ambition and pride flooding her. This was her heritage, her right as a witch! She felt a new surge of excitement to learn.
"Ah, I sense so much potential in you, witch," a rasping voice called, heralding the approach of a genially smiling man with wispy white hair. "Passion, ambition- yes, I think dragon heartstring will be appropriate for this one."
"Mr. Ollivander," McGonagall said, "this is Hermione Granger."
He peered closely at her sharp eyes, seeing behind the childish façade of chubby cheeks and awkward teeth. "I may have just the wand for you," he said, reaching behind his counter. He withdrew a slim red box, lifting a skinny brown wand from a bed of black velvet.
Hermione lightly gripped the wand, the wood feeling awkward in her hand. "Give it a wave," Ollivander said, watching her carefully. She obeyed, dragging the tip through the air. She nearly leapt in excitement when white sparks trailed from the wand tip.
"Hmm," the wandmaker hummed. "A good response, but I feel as though there is a wand in here that will answer you thousands of times as brilliantly."
Ollivander brought out many different wands, and Hermione waved them all obediently. Some trailed colored sparks, and others flew from her hand angrily. He hummed each time, noting the wand's responses each time he plucked a new one. "A moment," he finally said when he expressed displeasure as her twelfth wand impaled itself in the ceiling. He strode into the very back of the store, rustling around boxes out of site from the three women.
"Does this usually happen?" Mrs. Granger asked McGonagall.
"Some times are more difficult than others, but I can say I have never seen so many wands react so violently," the professor said, warily eyeing the wand quivering threateningly in the ceiling.
"Oh," Mrs. Granger said, her cornflower eyes wonderingly nervously over her daughter.
"For an old student of mine named James, one wand caught fire. He didn't have to pay for it, of course, but it fascinated Ollivander for years afterward. It is rumored also that the headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore, set fire to Ollivander's grandfather with a wand he tried."
Mrs. Granger looked at the wand in the ceiling in terror.
"However," McGonagall said, amusement lurking in her voice, "the most interesting time by far was when a young Mr. Sirius Black had a wand backfire so hard that he couldn't speak for three or so hours, he could only bark like a dog. His mother was mortified."
Mrs. Granger froze in terror, and McGonagall reflected that muggles were not so amused by magical mishaps as a witch would be.
"Sirius Black?" Hermione said, her brow quirking. "Interesting that he barked like a dog, when his name is the constellation of the dog."
"Yes," Mrs. Granger said weakly. "That is interesting."
Hermione looked to her mother in concern, but was distracted by Ollivander's return.
"Do not worry, child," he said triumphantly. "I have found your wand!"
Excited by his tone, Hermione eagerly grabbed the wand he held out to her and swished it through the air. The response was immediate: a brilliant jet of silver flame gilded the front counter, dissipating without leaving a single black scorch.
"Excellent!" Ollivander crowed, the most activity McGonagall had seen from the elderly man in many years. "That is the most effusive response from a wand I have witnessed in decades."
"That was certainly a new one," McGonagall murmured, watching Hermione with a new gaze.
Hermione grinned, smoothing the wood beneath her fingers. This was her wand. This was her wand! A long, dark wood decorated with intricate vine relief.
"Vine, 10 3'4ths inches, dragon heartstring. Yes, vine wood is for those who seek a greater purpose, and have hidden depths to their personalities. Paired with the dragon core, this wand is incredibly powerful. Use it wisely, dear Hermione," Ollivander said gravely. "I do not enjoy giving powerful wands to those who would misuse them."
"I never misuse my things, Mr. Ollivander," Hermione rebutted. "I always know exactly what needs to be done."
"Within reason," her mother was quick to add.
The three women, their business in Diagon Alley concluded, left the magical world. Hermione had become attached to the magical side of London very quickly, so their departure left her eager for the start of school. Her new professor joined the Granger women back at their home to impart some more instructions.
"Classes begin in nine days, Mrs. Granger," McGonagall specified. "Hermione needs to be at Kings Cross Station, platform nine and three-quarters, at precisely 8:00 am. The Hogwarts Express will depart at exactly 8:30 am, not a moment sooner or later."
"That platform exists?" Mrs. Granger asked incredulously.
"Yes," the professor answered seriously. "Simply push your buggy through the stone wall of gate nine, and you will find it thusly."
"Magic is able to change the consistency of stone?" Hermione queried. "Or is an illusion?"
"The magic used to create the gate was put in place long ago," said McGonagall, pleased by the astute question. "It is an illusion, but not in the sense that it is an illusion of a brick wall to fool muggles. The illusion not only creates the insubstantial wall, but acts upon the minds of muggles so as to make them look away from the wall, uninterested in it. It is very clever, careful magic."
"Hmm," Hermione hummed, thinking. A spell like that would be incredibly useful to use on things like her rooms or possessions. A spell that not only create the illusion of something else, but tricked people into looking away. Placed on something like a key hole, Hermione could perform the spell to make the key hole look like the doorknob so people could not actually unlock the door, and then also make it so no one noticed the key hole at all if they thought to try something else. Although perhaps she was overcomplicating a basic principle? It was definitely something to consider, later.
McGonagall left, and Hermione turned to go to her room to begin reading and packing her supplies.
"Hermione, sweetheart," her mother said, causing Hermione to turn on the stairs and look questioningly at her mother. "Let's have a quick chat, okay?"
Irritation prickled her at being interrupted from her new studies, but it was soon displaced by curiosity and affection. Hermione deeply loved her mother; she went out of her way to please her, and enjoyed spending time with her. Her father loved her, but her mother adored her. Emily Granger never withheld a word of affection or a hug. Daniel Granger was much more stoic, prone to gruff advice and awkward squeezes. Hermione had always attributed her father's lack of loving affection to his gender and temperament, but her prior wonderings at her parentage had made her consider other reasons.
Perhaps Daniel Granger felt slightly uncomfortable raising the child of another man? He had never expressed any bitterness within Hermione's hearing. He also did all of the average fatherly things: he scared off young boys, encouraged her to speak her mind, grounded her when necessary. But he seemed almost detached from his parenting, as if he was playing a role temporarily, and soon he would act out something else.
She didn't allow her parents' disparity to bother her; she had her mother wholly. She was devoted to her mother absolutely.
"Yes ma'am?" Hermione asked primly, settling on the couch beside her mother.
Mrs. Granger inhaled deeply. Her daughter was frighteningly intelligent and had a will of iron; she had to tread carefully when imparting some less than ideal advice. "I just wanted to discuss your new school with you. At previous schools you have been... less than kind, to the other students or teachers who have angered you. Maybe at this new school, Hogwarts, you can try to be more approachable. I would hate for you to have no friends, dear. I know how smart and capable you are," she expressed tenderly, pulling her daughter into a hug. "Others may not understand that as well. But don't let your peers' misunderstandings keep you from reaching out, or allowing others in. Do you see what I'm trying to say, love?"
Hermione nodded into her mother's shoulder, letting herself sink into the warmth of her body. She hadn't thought until now, but what she would do without her mother? Who would care for her like Emily Granger did?
"I understand, mum," she responded, the words muffled by a sweet-smelling shoulder. "I'll try my best."
A comforting lie was better than a harsh truth. Hermione would treat her peers as she always had: useful and not. Those she would defend and those she would offend.
"Good," her mother said, patting her back. "Now go look at those books like you're aching to do. I'll bring your dinner up later after I talk about our day to your father."
"Yes ma'am," Hermione said, before trundling up the stairs to inspect her new books. She had a lot of reading to do in nine short days.