Disclaimer:The following is based on the works of J.K. Rowling.


Hermione quietly made her way into the house. She was home from tea with the Malfoys early, and she wasn't sure what her parents might be doing; however, her question was quickly answered as she walked past her bedroom door and heard her father shout her mother's name: "Celeste!" Hermione paused, since the shouting could only mean one thing: her parents must be fighting again. She sighed inwardly, for she'd been hearing their raised voices ever since she'd come back for the summer holiday, and she wondered what could possibly be causing this much tension between them. Against her better judgement, she leaned lightly against the door and pressed her ear to it, eavesdropping.

Her mother's voice said in a harsh, pleading tone, "We have to tell her, Stuart! She deserves to know!"

"The knowledge would crush her. She's such a good, honest girl." Hermione's father said in a tired voice, indicating just how long this fight had gone on.

"You think we should keep her in the dark forever?" Celeste asked accusingly.

"She's only fourteen!" Stuart protested defensively.

"Fifteen," Celeste corrected, "and I think that Hermione can keep secrets and still be a part of this family."

"She would hate us if she knew!"

"How do you figure that?" Celeste asked disbelievingly.

"You know what the Malfoys think of Muggle-borns," Stuart replied, and his voice took on a pleading tone. "She simply couldn't handle it."

"I think you underestimate her strength. She's braver than both of us combined!"

Stuart hit his limit, and he raised his voice as he retorted, "We're pretty brave, Celeste. We adopted a Mud-Blood!"

Hermione and her mother simultaneously drew sharp breaths, although for different reasons. "Stuart! You shouldn't…" Whatever Celeste was going to tell Stuart that he shouldn't do was cut off as Hermione stumbled backward in shock and loudly hit the wall behind her, sliding down it. As soon as she hit the floor, her mind began to recover from the shock enough to form one thought: 'Run,' but it was too late. The bedroom door opened to reveal her parents, whose looks of shock and horror perfectly mirrored her own.

Hermione felt tears start to sting her eyes. "Why didn't you tell me?" she asked in a quiet, choked voice. Hurt and betrayal overwhelmed her, and thoughts swam in her mind. 'Am I really adopted? Why didn't they tell me?'

Celeste kneeled down next to Hermione and gently pulled her into a warm embrace. "Sweetheart," she whispered, trying to find the words to continue.

"Why?" Hermione repeated, though her voice was muffled by her mother's shoulder.

Celeste drew a somewhat shaky breath before explaining soothingly, "We couldn't have children of our own, but you're ours now. We had to have a daughter, and we chose you."

Hermione heard the words, but she couldn't process them. The whole situation was too surreal. The earth continued its rotation around the sun, unaware that for one girl, the world had just ended.