Hello! These are brief oneshots on scattered topics, crossposted from my blog so I can have them all in one place. I'll post one a week until I run out.

Without further ado, here's the first prompt fill:

Hermione + siblings and their reactions to magic (I don't remember if she had siblings I think she was an only but still write a story about it pleeeaase)


Hermione Granger's older brother was a bully, and a saint. If he had been one or the other, dealing with him would have been easy. It was the combination of the two that made life complicated.

He didn't bully Hermione, of course. No — Titus adored his little sister with the sort of enthusiasm that suggested deep envy. "She's smarter than me already," he told everybody in year 5, "and she's only seven."

It was true. Hermione was smarter than him already. Titus, however, had his own advantages: he had been blessed with gold-kissed skin and the sort of youthful smile that wouldn't have looked out of place in an advertisement for children's dental care. He was polite, hardworking, and generous, with good marks and a knack for football. In short, he was a saint.

But he was also a nightmare.

Those in year 5 would have told you that Titus Granger should be a judge, or perhaps an executioner, when he grew up. The boy did not bully people for the fun of it. The boy bullied those he perceived to have done something unforgivable.

One day, Eric Janeway yanked one of Sarah Cresswater's braids. The next day, Eric Janeway came to school with a broken finger.

Anabel Rosing told the whole school about a crush that another girl had. In response, Titus went through the exhausting and irritating process of determining Anabel's own crush; he then hung a sign on her back that read, I Love Nick Harrington. She wore it all day before realizing it was there, and by then, it was far too late.

Once, during break, Jill Hunting kicked Rolland Howard in the shins during a game of football. Jill took the football, and instead of helping Rolland up or even stopping to ask if he was all right, she dribbled the ball to the opposing net and scored. Nobody really knew what Titus did to Jill after that, but she abstained from all future scrimmages.

Titus was the avenging angel of the schoolyard, a bizarre mixture between lawmaker and revenge artist. Everybody loathed him, and was terrified of him, and Hermione Granger realized this gradually, rather than all at once.

The older students gave her strange looks, sometimes. Whenever she saw her brother during break, she noted that people steered clear of him. In fact, people steered clear of her altogether. She wondered why she was having so much difficulty making friends — were they really that put-off by her personality? — but eventually, the truth trickled down to her in Year 3.

Hermione felt betrayed. Never one to avoid a topic she cared about, she asked Titus the next day, as they walked home, "Titus, why do you bully people?"

He laughed. "Bully? Who said I bullied people?"

"Sara Antwerp. And Gray Heatherton. And —"

"All right, all right." He scowled. "I don't bully anybody. I do what's fair."

"That's subjective."

"You and your big words."

"What I mean is, how do you know it's fair?"

Titus shrugged. "I just do. Look, Sis, do you know who Newton is?"

"No."

"We just learned about him. He's a scientist. He says, for everything that happens, there has to be an equal but opposite reaction."

Hermione folded her arms. "Are you the opposite reaction, then?"

"I think so," Titus said. "Besides, you always do what's right. Why does it bother you, bad people getting what they deserve?"

Hermione searched for an answer, but couldn't come up with one. That frustrated her.

Her response was to read philosophical books on morality that were thicker than her wrists. Even she, conqueror of thick books, struggled with some of these. Understanding the simple fact that morality differs around the world, and even within societies, is the first step toward understanding your righteous mind, said Haidt. It is the business of the very few to be independent; it is a privilege of the strong, said Nietzsche.

But when she finished reading her books on morality, the world simply seemed more complicated than before, and people were still afraid of her brother, and he was still a bully — and other things had started to happen besides, things that drew her attention far more fully than nebulous questions of morality.

Halfway through Year 3, she received poor marks on an assignment. In the wake of her horror and anger, all the chalk in the classroom plummeted to the floor at once, splintering like bones.

At the start of Year 4, she tripped off a playground platform. Rather than hitting the packed dirt, she found herself landing in a thick pile of grass that had definitely not been there before. As soon as she got up and brushed herself off, it was gone.

Hermione wasn't one to let this go unquestioned. She researched supernatural abilities in real life, strange occurrences, magic. She found nothing, which frustrated her almost to tears. There had to be some sort of explanation, but books — for the first time — failed her.

Either way, she knew she was different.

When she was in Year 5, Eric Janeway nicknamed her. Eager Beaver, he called her, not for her persistence, but for the teeth that were getting more and more protuberant as time went on. Hermione had always been shunned — ignored for who her brother was, and mocked for what her interests were — but this nickname escalated things to the point of being practically unbearable.

She ignored it with mulish determination. She reassured herself with the knowledge that she was doing Janeway a favor by not telling her brother. This made her the bigger person, right?

She doubled down on reading as people walked by her, snickering about beaver teeth. She held back hot tears in the bathroom as people tugged her frizzy hair and dashed away.

Deep down, she wondered what good it was being the bigger person, if being the bigger person just meant that you felt stamped beneath a crowd of smaller people's feet.

Then, one day, Titus found out what they were calling his little sister.

Hermione caught him cornering Eric Janeway behind the school building during break. "Stop!" she said. "Titus, stop!"

Titus looked at her with disbelief. "He's bullying you, Hermione."

"I know that," she said. "Don't you think I know that?"

"Then why —"

"It — I just — let people handle it for themselves, why don't you!" she burst out.

Titus cocked his head and was quiet for a long moment. "Why don't I?" he said, finally. "Because people do this all the time, Hermione. They'll wait for things to get better, like you. They'll get hurt, like you. They'll let themselves be walked over, like you have, in the name of being better people than the people who are hurting them." His eyes hardened. "And that's not better enough for me."

Then he punched Eric Janeway in the eye.

Janeway crumpled against the wall and began to cry. Titus rubbed his knuckles and walked over to Hermione.

"Well?" Titus said.

Looking at her brother, Hermione was startled by the conviction on his face.

"Do you understand?" he said. "Do you at least understand why I do this?"

"I don't know," Hermione said, her voice tiny, her thoughts churning.

The next day, at break, Hermione was sitting on a bench, reading. She sat beside Cathy Richards, a doughy, glasses-wearing girl who was snacking on a muffin.

Anabel Rosing, passing them, shot Cathy a derisive look. "Fatty Cathy," she hissed, before going back to her phone.

Something hot lit in Hermione's chest. She looked up slowly. Her fists tightened on the edges of her book, and her teeth clenched.

And Anabel Rosing's phone shattered in her hands.

She screamed and dropped the mess of glass and metal. She stumbled back, her eyes brimming almost instantly with tears.

Hermione glanced around the schoolyard. People were turning toward the commotion.

And not far away, her brother stood against a tree, shock slathered onto his expression. He had seen the entire thing.

As Hermione met his eyes, his shock was replaced slowly by a grin.

Hermione looked back down at her book, her heart beating just a little faster. There was a tingle in her fingertips. There was a glow in her chest. Satisfaction. Retribution.

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fin


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-Speech