A.N./: just want to say that I'm sorry and I "love you so much that it would be impossible to love you better", ten points if you can guess where that's from. I've skipped ahead two days so in all that time Hermione has been out of communication with her parents and Amanda has helped Hermione with some French words as well as daily wardrobe. The guest list was arranged by Amanda and others and some important things happen in this chapter so pay close attention ;). I know the French don't have a monarch, and they'd probably be very offended if I said they did so I'm going to go ahead and apologize for that. Just a reminder the outfit is my profile picture and the girl (Annie from BBC's Copper) is to remind everyone that Hermione is not yet 12.

Amanda stood in front of me in her gunmetal grey turtleneck dress whose sleeves didn't go past her shoulders, her ebony hair was braided loosely over her shoulder, her jewelry was a simple silver set of a bracelet, earrings, and low setting necklace with a silver rose head hanging from it. Her position blocked my reflection from me as I stood on the platform in the dress, shoes, necklace, and earrings Veronica had brought over a few hours before. Amanda then asked, "Are you ready Hermione?" In response I nodded my head and put my hands at my sides to stop fidgeting with them. Amanda stepped out of the way and I couldn't help the gasp that slipped past my lips at the girl in the mirror and I most certainly couldn't hold back how my eyes widened at the realization that the girl was me.

My hair had never looked like that, the curls looked like they fell effortless down my back reaching to the small of my back and the sides were pinned back to show off my professionally done makeup; airbrushed foundation with a shade of lipstick that matched my dress, though I didn't have on eye shadow or liner the mascara still made my brown eyes stand out. The long silver chandelier earrings almost dusted my shoulders, the chain necklace held a dark ruby pendant set in a design of more silver and reached just below the hollow of my neck.

The dress was exactly the color I had asked for; the material was bunched artfully from shoulders to my elbows where the tight sleeves stopped, the neckline was squared off gently from the top of my shoulders dropping down, till about halfway down my sternum. Underneath the neckline the silver embroidery swirled down the top half of my torso before stopping just where the dress had been pulled in at my waist; a thin silver path connected that design to the belt like one wrapped delicately around my hips. From there, the skirt of the dress flared slightly the bottom hem just barely brushing the wood of the pedestal, picking up the skirt I catch a glimpse of the 3 inch silver strappy heels with the red bottoms. It all looked so fragile like if I moved to quickly it would all jostle free and maybe that was the point, to keep me from moving at an "un-lady like pace".

"Is that really me?" I ask breathlessly, to no one in particular.

"Of course Hermione, you look beautiful" Veronica stated with a wide smile, smoothing down the trail of my dress.

"A true duchess" Amanda added straightening my necklace, "now you need to get down stairs to greet your guests", with this Amanda took my hand and helped me off the platform; before I allowed her to lead me out the door however I made sure to thank Veronica. Together Amanda and I walked down the hall to the staircase where she told me to wait until I had been announced.

X

I stood still until I heard the announcer's staff tap the wooden floor and his booming voice proclaim, "Her Grace, the Duchess of Burgundy".

With my right hand on the railing, just as we had practiced, I slowly made my way down the grand staircase to see the whole entirety of the party staring up at me. When I reached the bottom step everyone either bowed at the waist or lowered their heads, it was quite the sight to behold, after I return with the nod of my head the crowd goes back to their groups and whisper secrets that probably aren't even worth regurgitating to others; though they seem to enjoy the gossip. Personally, I was just happy I made it down the stairs without falling.

"Your Grace, may I introduce Lord Frederick Von Wilhelm of Germany" Amanda asks after lightly touching my elbow, and though I am enjoying the observation level that I'm at, I step down to meet a rather large man, particularly around the middle. He had orange hair and a full mustache-beard combination.

"Your Grace" He says making a rather weird bow from his neck but, because he had gone down so far, it should've started at the waist.

"My lord" I return with a shallow nod of my head.

"I ook foward to fewture relaytions with ooh, Your Grace" Von Wilhelm says in his thick German accent that makes the hair on my neck stand up on end.

"And I you, My Lord" I respond with another nod as Amanda guides me to another awaiting royal.

Amanda led me to a decidedly poufy elderly woman, with the likeness of a lilac tent draped over her form in an apparent attempt to appear voluptuous. The woman gave me a stiff curtsy as Amanda introduced her as the Dowager Princess of Castile. I ever so slightly bended my right knee in response and was surprised when the woman addressed me in perfect French!

From Amanda's brief lessons I was able to collect the gist of her statement, I was even lucky enough to be able to respond, "I am well, and you, Your Grace?"

"Quite well, Your Grace. I, however, am hoping you could speak with His Majesty, the King, on my behalf, pertaining to my permanent return to France, now that my husband has passed; your Grandfather was fighting for me but now that he has passed…" Here the Dowager Princess averted her eyes that I could see were misting with her sadness.

"I understand, and rest assured, Your Grace, I shall try my best." I answered quickly to save her any uncertainty.

"Thank you, Your Grace" The women replied smiling widely with her thick lips.

"The Dowager Princess is originally from France." Amanda whispered in my ear, so close I could feel her warm breath on the shell of my ear, "Now here is the Lord and Lady Malfoy and their son Draco from England."

"Your Grace" The platinum blond patriarch of the small family stated, taking my slightly outstretched hand and pressing his thin lips to it.

"My Lord" I respond wondering what the English were doing so very far from home; though I could be asked the same thing.

"May I introduce my wife Narcissa" here Narcissa curtsied lowly and I nodded shallowly, "and my son, Draco". The boy appeared to have bent in half when his father finished; I responded with the slight nod of my head.

"Draco is around your age, I believe, Your Grace" Malfoy stated subtly pushing his son closer towards me.

"How interesting" I respond, recalling Amanda's warnings that there would be people that would already be trying to secure a betrothal from me to their 'heirs', "Surely you haven't made such an arduous trip for me?"

Ignoring his wife's pinning gaze, Malfoy supplies, "When the great Duchess of Burgundy is the destination, no journey is too far".

I give them a small smile and nod as Amanda leads me through the crowd yet again. I meet a handful of dignitaries in various stations and positions, all speaking varying degrees of English, from an assortment of countries until another English family is in front of me: the Zabinis

"Your Grace" again the Patriarch acknowledges me first but this time it is the son that steps forward for my hand and kisses it, "My son Blaise, from what I am told is your age" and though his deep voice is more pleasing and subtle than the Malfoy's I can still hear the suggestion.

"So the same age as the Malfoy's son; do you know them?" Ask innocently, trying to gauge any bad blood between the two(already competing) families. Blaise glances to his father and though it clearly has, the Father asks as though the question hasn't affected him in the slightest.

"In passing yes, we are acquainted in a professional sense"

"Ah…" I say, my eyes flickering between all three people for a moment before Amanda informs me that we need to move on, as I make my excuses I barely catch the elder Zanbini wishing me luck but have no time to process it as I'm being lead from the groups of people as a central area is being cleared and my Uncle Henri stands in the middle of the new clearing.

Strands of music start up as he bows slightly and with his hand out he projects, "May I ave tis dance, Your Grace?". When my small hand slips into his he holds still until the count starts anew and he leads me into a simple waltz that Amanda had taught me in our practices. "They're all watcing you".

"I'm dancing in the middle of the room, of course they're staring at me" I remark quietly, trying desperately to keep the steps right in my head.

He chuckles as he spins me away, "If tat iz wat yoo want to belief", as we return to our standard positions he falls silent and for the next minute or so we dance alone on the floor until the music tapers off and we bow to each other. As the crowd respectfully applauds to both the dance and the band, Amanda leads me away again; this time to a rather small sort of sitting room and tells me to wait here.

With nothing else to occupy my time as the seconds stretched into minutes I allowed myself to rest in the chair farthest from the door that sat angled toward the crackling fire, it is one of two chairs flanking the love seat directly facing the hearth. Silently the door opened and a woman I had never seen before entered quickly, her long emerald dress swished against the ground and caught the firelight so that it almost glimmered.

Surprise lined eyes the same shade as her dress, "Are you Hermione Granger?" she inquires softly, I nod at the underlining Scottish brogue as I feel myself rising from the chair, she smiles tightly with her lips closed, "Your parents were supposed to be here before I arrived", the woman states taking a few steps into the room to place her hands on the back of the chair opposite me.

I stayed silent not wanting to disclose the riff that had been torn in my family a few days prior electing to instead watch the women; her high cheekbones, her slightly thin red lips, her dark raven hair that was swept up in low chignon, emphasizing her long porcelain neck, and pearl stud earrings that matched the string of pearls that laid across her collar bone in between the two thin straps holding up her dress. As the woman stood still, and I knew it could have easily been attributed to a pair of heels, she was rather tall, especially in the low ceilinged room. Before any more observations could be made the door swung open again and as they both turned their heads to look, my parents were ushered in followed closely by Amanda who closed the door before turning to the room, eyes quickly snagging on the woman.

"Lady McGonagall" Amanda addressed the woman with a bow of the head, with relief the woman returned the acknowledgment. I was glad for them distracting each other as I laid eyes on my parents for the first time in two days. My mother wore a rather plain black strapless dress that stopped at her ankles to show her black strappy heels, she had straightened her shoulder length blond hair and wore the same silver necklace with the small silver heart that she always wore, along with her dangling diamond earrings. Father wore a black and white tux and his shoes gleamed brightly from the firelight, had he not stood so close to the fire I doubt I would've noticed his silver cufflinks that I had never seen before; and though they wouldn't have impressed the other party goers, I had never seen my parents so dressed up. For the first time all evening I felt borderline gaudy in comparison to the rest of the room.

My mother was the first to step forward stopping only a few feet from my place in front of the chair. After a moment of looking for something to say Mom found it, "We tried to get to you, but they wouldn't let us in", I was floored and found my gaze boring into Amanda's from her place still by the door.

"You didn't wish to see them", Amanda replied to the unanswered question, and though I could still feel my head spinning vaguely two wires connected causing the spark in the back of my head: She worked for me… she could keep people from me…

"That doesn't give you the right to keep us from our daughter!" My mother shouted, rounding on the other woman, Lady McGonagall stood ignored in between the two.

"Jean", My dad warns, eyeing the woman in the emerald gown; having been raised on keeping appearances in check.

"I don't care John! That's my daughter and I don't care who hears it; they can't keep me from her!" My mom replies, eyes never leaving Amanda's.

"Mom", I whisper quietly; she still hears me though and turns towards me, all malice drained from her face. I don't say anything else as a take the remaining steps between us and throw my arms around her waist, my head burrowing into her chest, tears slip off my eyelashes as her arms wrap around my shoulders and her lips crash into the top of my head.

"I love you, I love you, I love you" she whispers over and over like a chant, and even though I know it's true I still feel a niggling sense of aggravation but I still respond how I always do after we fight:

"I love you too", as I pull back and then completely disentangle myself to embrace my father; he doesn't say anything and neither do I as we had both forgiven each other the moment the door opened. As I stepped from him I walked past the silent form of the Lady McGonagall to stop in front of Amanda who already has the handkerchief in hand. She silently wipes away the ruined mascara and then takes a step back, eyes taking in all of the rooms occupants.

"Lady McGonagall has something she needs to discuss with you all" Amanda states, all of our eyes snap to the woman in the room whom to everyone else had faded away though I hadn't stopped since she walked in almost 10 minutes ago.

Taking the announcement as her cue the woman cleared her throat before speaking, "Though I understand this may not be the best time, I had intended to speak with you a week ago before you unexpectedly left the country, and I am behind schedule", I shifted at her words and it felt odd that our families actions had any sort of affect on anyone else, "But there is something I need to tell you about Hermione".

"This isn't another title of nobility from some distant relative again is it? Because if it is I can tell you where to put it…" My mother warned pointing her finger at the woman.

Raising her left eyebrow, the woman pursed her lips before responding, "No, not exactly".

"Oh that's encouraging", My father remarks, his gaze flitting to me briefly before returning it to the woman.

Sighing gently Lady McGonagall said, "Perhaps you would like to take a seat". Sharing a look, my parents then sat on the love seat and I returned to the chair I had vacated earlier, Amanda crossed the room to stand behind my chair and Lady McGonagall's followed the movements with her eyes then sat in the remaining armchair. "Believe me when I say I have done this enough to know there isn't any easy way to say this but…." Here the woman's eyes left my parents and met my gaze, "Miss Granger you are witch".

The room was silent after her declaration only being broken by my parents laughter, "What type of joke…?" my Mother started, her laughter ending her question early.

"Are you kidding, or just insane?" My father asked wiping the start of tears from his eyes. Without a word the woman pulled up the hem of her dress exposing her only slightly heeled boots, so she just that tall, and pulled from her boot a wooden stick and with a slight wave and flick of her hand the sofa levitated a few feet into the air and my parents screamed before the woman could lower then back down and then silence rang through.

"Okay so you're a witch, what does that have to do with our daughter?" My Mom questioned vacating the couch and standing behind it as she waved her arms checking for wires while my dad checked the floors.

"Hermione is a witch as well" Lady McGonagall repeated.

"I can do that?" I asked wide eyed, my gaze flickering from her to the love seat.

"With time and practice" She replied, "Which you can get, along with instructors, at Hogwarts".

"Hogwarts?" My mother asks, abandoning her search for the source of the trick along with my father both returning to their seats.

"Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I am the Deputy Headmistress there; it's all here, in this envelope" She says taking a thick off white envelope with emerald ink on it from thin air. She floats it over to me while explaining, "It isn't addressed quite properly but I hope you can forgive that".

As the letter reaches me I look at my address in England with my full name written out, minus the title, before ripping it open and read aloud, "Dear Miss Hermione Granger, we are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry….." I skim through the rest to see the signature at the bottom; Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress.

"In essence it is a boarding school, nine months of the year you would attend the school starting September 1st, with breaks in the winter and spring along with the three months in the summer", The Deputy rattled off.

"Nine months out of the year?" My mom questions, my dad isn't far behind with:

"Away from us?"

The woman nods but before she can get any words out Amanda, who had been so quiet that I all but forgot about her, says "There is also Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, or private tutors".

"You knew about this?" My father asks, gaze taking in the woman as if for the first time.

"Yes, I attended Beauxbatons myself" Amanda replies unfazed.

"You're a witch?" I ask and at her nod my gaze returns to the Lady McGonagall.

"Beauxbatons is another option although, those with magic born in the British Iles generally attended Hogwarts" The woman explains.

"But she's French royalty" Amanda pushes back, her immaculate eyebrows furrowing.

"Would that affect her position?" My father asks looking between the two women that he in truth didn't know in the slightest and they were both trying to take away his only child; his little girl.

"It doesn't have to" Lady McGonagall replied carefully, "The schooling, officially lasts seven years; at any school".

To this Amanda nodded and added, "Though Beauxbatons is closer", this had my parents share a look.

Lady McGonagall quickly beat away her point, "Beaxbatons is in the Pyrenees Mountains, while Hogwarts is in Scotland. Though geographically position doesn't truly matter as wizards and witches have ways of traveling quickly that isn't determined by distance. In addition, personal tutors are far and few between, become very expensive very quickly, and can leave large holes in ones education". At that my parents stiffened, if one thing was true about them, they held education as one of the most important things.

"Hermione should go to Beauxbatons to learn French and start her ties to her people" Amanda pointed out, her accent flaring slightly.

"Don't I have a say in this?" I ask loudly, feeling ignored.

"Or she could not go anywhere, what would happen if we did that?" my father asked, ignoring me. Both of the women flinched at his question but only Lady McGonagall answered.

"When a witch or wizard is not taught how to control their magic it becomes… out of control, it's what we call 'accidental magic'; it's known to be practically harmless in children but the older we get the more dangerous it can be…." here she trailed off, hoping her point had been made.

"John, the last house" My mom says, speaking for the first time since the idea of losing her child for nine months a year came up, "The fire that we didn't know how it started; Hermione was four…"

"It's entirely possible" The Deputy answered the hidden question.

"What? That I… That I started the fire?" I ask with uncertainty.

"I wouldn't call that 'practically harmless'", my father states his eyes going back and forth between us all

"Compared to what it could turn into, that isn't too terrible" The woman told my father, "omitting a few special cases, it is majorly up to the guardians of the student to determine where the student attends; but do you have a preference Hermione?"

"I think I want to go to Hogwarts" I respond quietly, feeling rather childish for my earlier outburst, she smiled at me then, a proper smile with her teeth showing and my stomach did a weird sort of twist at it and I smiled back.

"What would we tell people?" My mom asked, her gaze locked on her husband's face.

"That's she's at boarding school", My dad replied simply.

"Will people believe that?", I ask Amanda hoping she will answer in the affirmative as I run through all the possibilities and every book on witches and wizards she'd ever read.

"That a minor has to attend school and due to her title the location cannot be disclosed?" Amanda returned and at my nod she continued, "They'll believe it."

"And due to the fact that your new appointment has already been spread across newspapers in France, Spain, and Italy, you had to go out of the country for your schooling. You won't be registered under your title at Hogwarts", The Deputy added gently.

"She could still easily attend Beauxbatons" Amanda argued.

"Will they know her there?" My mother asked, worry flashing in her eyes.

"Of course" Amanda replied and out of the corner of my eye I saw Lady McGonagall smile and in the next blink it was gone.

"It's settled then", my father said rising from the couch, "She goes to Hogwarts", I turned in time to see Amanda blanch, "Where do we sign?".

"No signing, just follow the directions on the second page and I will see Hermione on the 1st of September" They Deputy shook both my parents hands after she stood and nodded to me, even sparing a nod to Amanda.

"Wait!" I cry desperately finding a panic in me as the woman reached for the door handle, she stopped and turned toward me fully with questioning eyes, "Where… Where are you going?" I ask lamely.

She raised her brow for the second time and said, "Back to the school, you are not the only one whose situation called for a special meeting".

"Special meeting?" My mother asks before I can.

"Children without knowledge of the magical world require special attention, children that have other magical relatives and are aware of our world get only the letter" She explained.

"It's too late in the evening to travel, stay the night here" I say, feeling everyone's eyes snap to my form.

"Have you listened to a word I've said Miss Granger?" The woman asks and I shrink back slightly at the now very professional and distant tone of voice, but my gaze doesn't falter and at my lack of response she continues, "Wizards and Witches have ways of traveling quickly that isn't affected by distance. I will see you on the first."

"But I have so many questions!" I try again.

"After you read the letter I'm sure whatever remaining questions you may have can be directed to Ms. Bellamy" The Deputy responds glancing past me at Amanda.

"But what if she doesn't know!?" I ask desperately taking a few steps forward only to be met with stern walls of emerald.

"Then I will answer what I can once you arrive at Hogwarts" She states with underlying finality so that I almost don't say anything more, almost.

"But what if-" I try and ask glancing around at the air looking for a reason to keep her from leaving, but I suppose she has decided I've carried on enough and cuts me off, her voice still level and calm.

"Miss Granger! You will be well taken care of here, follow the directions in the envelope, go about your duties and should something be still troubling you after you get to Hogwarts, I will personally see to it that it is taken care of. Now I must go, I've already kept you for half an hour; I will see you on the first." With that the emerald woman walks from the room and closes the door behind her.

"She's right, you've been away from the guests too long. Mr and Mrs Granger, will you be spending the night here?" Amanda asks charging back into her role but I tune their plan making out as I grapple with an indescribable sense of loss at the lack of the woman's presence. Watching as Amanda scoops up the letter and envelope and I barely register as she guides me out of the room, apparently a decision was made, and back to the crowd of people that I don't know all here to congratulate me on something that I was born into.

And though I was introduced to a dozen more people and I could regurgitate all their names along with their title(s) and country/ countries, my mind was still on the emerald…. Witch. I was still in that room with her, listening as she subtly fought for me to attend her school. I was entirely amiable with the people, I shared a dance with all the 'eligible bachelors' at the party including the two English boys Draco and Blaise; Amanda told me they were both wizards that I would be seeing at Hogwarts, small world…

But there was just something about her…. Something I couldn't put my finger on but it was there, on the tip of my tongue. Maybe when I saw her again I could figure it out, my heart fluttered at the thought and I cursed under my breath, what's going on?

"Your Grace?" Amanda asks quietly, I shake my head and return to my thoughts, Minerva McGonagall ; there it was again, that damnable flutter, what was that? It had turned out to be another day that had turned my world on its axis but as I pictured her raven hair and her milky complexion along with those brilliant emerald eyes… there it was again!

Even my title hadn't left me feeling this lost, well at least I'll already have a question for her ; and try as I might I couldn't stop the smile from spreading across my face however it was attributed to the start of a new song and I was being pulled into another dance. This time I was slightly prepared for the flutter as the thought came up about dancing with Minerva McGonagall. My face burned and my dancing partner laughed but I didn't really care because I was still in that room, with her…..

AN: Wow this was a really long chapter for me and I'm hoping you enjoy it, I have no idea when the next update will be :( Buuuuuuuttttt….. Did you like it at least? And do you guys want to see the in depth school year or just snip-its of interactions between the "Main Characters"?