Calliope Nott had never been so excited in her short life. Having recently turned five, Father had said that she was 'practically a young lady now.' But, even better, Mother had pronounced that she was old enough to accompany herself and Aunt Cissa on one of their witches' days out. She just knew that she was very grown up now. Not that she minded staying home with Twin and her Dragon when they were younger. They were, after all, her favorite people. But she wanted to learn how to be a lady and for that she needed Mother and Aunt Cissa.
She'd known, since practically always, that they were the most beautiful, elegant ladies around. Not just because Father and Uncle Lucius said so, Calliope could see with her own eyes how pretty they both were and how all the other ladies of their acquaintance wanted to be like them.
So, she would learn how to dress and how to act, and what exactly happened on a witches' day out. And then one day when she was even more grown up she'd get to go to all the balls and parties on the arm of her Dragon just like Mother did on Father's arm.
The first thing they did on their day out was have breakfast in a fancy restaurant. Calliope didn't eat out often, which was okay because the elves at home and at Malfoy Manor made the yummiest food- she knew because she'd eaten at other estates and meals were never as good there. But it was fun to eat in a restaurant for a change.
She beamed with pride when everybody wanted to talk to Mother and Aunt Cissa, and even more so when they wanted to be introduced to her and she was complimented on her manners and on how much she looked like Mother.
They asked after the baby in Aunt Cissa's belly too. Baby Lyra, though nobody outside of the family knew what her name was to be. Calliope was excited about the baby, happy that her Dragon was going to have a sibling like she did. It wasn't quite as wonderful as having a twin, but she wouldn't tell him that.
She was also secretly pleased that the baby would be a baby for a long time still. That meant she would get her godmother and her mother to herself for awhile longer. By the time Lyra was old enough to do witches things with them Calliope would be able to teach her all about it. It was perfect.
They went shopping next, which was a little bit boring but Calliope did her best to be patient. She knew that if she acted like a baby she'd be made to stay home next time and she wasn't having that. The last thing she remembered was walking into a shop. She had been promised it would be the last one before they stopped at another restaurant for lunch where she would be allowed to order the desert of her choice as a reward for good behavior.
"You've been so good my Calla Lily," Mother had praised, carding her fingers affectionately through Calliope's curls, "Father will be so proud to hear what a credit you've been to our House with your behavior."
It was the last thing Calliope ever heard her mother say.
She woke up in a dark room on a cold floor. The only source of light was some weird contraption that Calliope had never seen before. A glass ball dangling from a cord. She decided to stay far away from it in case it was dangerous. She yelled for somebody, anybody, and it wasn't long before she was in tears.
She was in that room for what seemed like forever. She cried and screamed for Mother and Father, Aunt Cissa and Uncle Lucius; none of them had ever let her down before, and yet they didn't come. She cried for her Dragon and Twin, two people who were so much a part of her that she couldn't fathom that they'd truly been separated. She cried herself sick, and fell into an exhausted sleep.
She woke up again on a strange bed surrounded by stranger machines. The air smelled funny and the light was too bright. There was a woman wearing odd clothes sitting next to her bed. But at least she had a kind smile on her face.
"Good morning sunshine!" She said cheerfully, "we've all been waiting anxiously for you to wake up."
She wondered who the 'we' was that the woman was talking about, she didn't see anybody else.
"Before I call for your doctor can you tell me what your name is?"
She opened her mouth to reply but found that she couldn't, because she didn't know the answer, and that scared her so much that she forgot to ask what a doctor was.
They discovered over the proceeding days that she could answer very few questions. She knew that she was five years old, but she couldn't remember her birthday. She knew that she was British, but she couldn't be more specific than that. She knew that she had a family, or rather she sensed that there were people out there that she missed terribly, she just couldn't provide any information about who they were or what they were like.
It was as if somebody had wiped her memories, taken from her everything that made her, her. But, of course, that was impossible. That would be like magic, evil magic. No, there had to be a reasonable explanation for her memory loss.
'It must have been a terrible trauma,' she heard them whisper, 'to have given her such a bad case of amnesia.'
'But she doesn't have a scratch on her, and her scans are clean,' others whispered in return.
'Emotional trauma could do it, especially since she's so young,' they all eventually agreed.
There was something else they all questioned as well: who would just abandon a child like this? Because she was clean and well fed, there were no signs of abuse or neglect. She spoke with a posh accent and a rather impressive vocabulary for a five year old. She bore every sign of having been somebody's beloved daughter.
They plastered her face all over the news looking for any information as to her identity or the location of her family. But nobody seemed to know anything, it was like she'd appeared out of thin air. And nobody came looking for her.
On the fifth day a couple called the Grangers came to see her in the hospital where she'd awoken. They offered to take her home until her family could be found. When they asked her what she'd like to be called she'd just shrugged helplessly.
'How about Hermione?' They wondered, 'we always thought if we had a daughter we would call her Hermione. Just until you remember your name, of course.'
They were very nice and something inside her urged her to be polite to them. That things would be easier for her if she didn't resist them. So, she acquiesced, went home with them, and let them call her Hermione.
Just until she remembered. Just until somebody came for her.
Except neither of those things ever happened and 'Hermione' became her future as well as her present.
It was only in hindsight that she realized how lucky she had been. The Grangers were just supposed to be a temporary solution, a foster family. But they loved her like she was their own and after a year they started to talk about adoption. Soon she was not just 'Hermione' but 'Hermione Granger.' S
She tried to be happy with that, to love her new parents without pining for the family she'd lost, whose memory she didn't even have to treasure. In turn the Grangers were very understanding. They allowed her to mourn her old life the best she was able to given that she couldn't remember it, and they tried their best to give her a fulfilling new one.
When weird things started happening around her, her new Mum and Dad stuck by her. They took her to specialists, held her hand while she went through a series of scary and sometimes painful tests. They assured her that their love for her was unconditional, that she was theirs. They even gave up on the idea of adopting another child to be there for her.
They gave her a good childhood, if a rather difficult one. Without the memory of her first five years she had to relearn a lot of basic skills. Things any other British child would just know by aged five.
For instance, while she spoke French as fluently as she spoke English, as well as some Italian, and she knew the basics of playing the piano and note reading; she didn't understand any of the fixtures in the house. She didn't know not to touch a hot stove or to be careful of electric sockets. She often forgot to turn on the lights when she entered a room. Cars and the danger they presented were a foreign concept to her and she had to be supervised very carefully whenever they left the house.
It was a mystery on top of a mystery. But the doctors told them that the brain was an enigma and all they could do was work diligently on filling the holes in her knowledge.
But that, as well as her intense love of learning, set her apart from other children. And then there were the bizarre things that often happened when she was present, which scared more than one of her schoolmates over the years. So she spent her primary school days largely alone. She was seen as a bit of an oddity and was no stranger to being bullied. But she was loved, and that was enough to sustain her.
Then, on her eleventh birthday- or at least the day the government had assigned as her birthday, because they didn't know when it actually was- a stern woman in a pointy hat appeared on the Grangers' doorstep. She solved one mystery for them. There was nothing wrong with Hermione. In fact, she was special. She was a witch and she was invited to attend an exclusive boarding school to learn magic. Her parents worried about sending her so far away, but she just knew that Hogwarts was where she belonged.
That prediction turned out to be more correct than she possibly could have known.
Hermione accompanied Harry to the Ministry on his supposed rescue mission. Of course she did, it was her job to protect him- self-appointed though that job may have been. The hat had wanted to place her in Slytherin for good reason; she saw machination and manipulation when it was right in front of her face.
Which meant that she knew it was a trap. But Harry needed as many wands at his back as he could get, so she allowed herself to fall into it with him. She did her best to summon the Gryffindor within her as they flew to London, but she knew that they were in over their heads and she was terrified.
And then not only was it a trap, but Sirius wasn't even there. Surprisingly, the Hogwarts contingent held their own for awhile, at least considering that it was six school children against twelve fully grown witches and wizards. They were tossing jelly-legs jinxes and stunners against an arsenal of deadly spells from the Death Eaters. Voldemort wanted to deal with Harry personally, but the rest of them were expendable. She, especially, was just a pesky mudblood, these men and women would be happy to see her eliminated.
Sometimes it was a burden to have such a quick mind. It did not help her to be thinking all these things while she was fighting for her life. Harry, impetuous though he unfortunately was, made up for it by being able to think on his feet and was able to instruct them admirably.
She was thinking that they just might make it out of there alive when she made a critical error. She turned her attention away from a silenced opponent, forgetting for a moment that many fully qualified wizards could cast wordlessly. She looked up in time to see the sickly purple curse coming her way, but too late to do anything about it. She only had enough time to wonder if it would be the last thing she ever saw.
Author's Note: Well, there you have it, my new story. Two years ago today I posted my first story over here and I wanted to thank you all the wonderful support and love I've gotten since then with something new. Those of you screaming at me for starting a new WIP, this has been in the works for awhile, also 'A Second Look' and 'The Beginning of Everything' will both be wrapping up in the next couple of days. I'd love to hear what you think about this, I'll probably post the next chapter pretty soon to go ahead and get into the meat of the story. Thanks for reading and happy birthday, Hermione!