2nd September 1998
"Shut up Malfoy!" Hermione screeches as Draco laughs at her face, redder than Ronald Weasley's hair. "I hate you! You're nothing but a ferret!"
Her eyes began to water as she realises it was no longer just about Malfoy, but the fact that it was not true.
"Don't push your luck Granger." His voice hisses. "You never know when something might go wrong."
He was mad. Granger had never spoken to him like that before. She'd cop the blow and move on. But something was different. She was no longer the innocent Gryffindor princess. Over the summer holidays something had happened to her. Something she didn't want to tell anybody.
It had been 4 months since the Battle of Hogwarts. People were still mourning the losses which had been given in order to defeat Voldemort.
There was no danger. No two faced professor, no petrifying snake, no loose criminal, no deadly contest, no Voldemort, no Half-Blood-Prince, no more threats. The wizarding world was no longer in danger from a dark wizard, at least not for a couple of decades at least.
Hermione had decided that it was best to head off to Australia in order to find her parents. She was determined to get them back, for at the time she was an orphan. She had no parents and alas no one besides her two best friends to lean on.
She has initially travelled to Sydney as that seemed to be the most appropriate place for them to go but after searching everywhere and finding not a trace she decided to search elsewhere.
Instead of just apparating to each place she decided to make a road trip of the journey. She began in Sydney working her way down the East coast towards Melbourne.
Each town and city she stopped in she spent a few days searching for even a glimpse of her long lost parents.
When she finally got to Melbourne it had been a good 2 weeks on the road. She was enjoying the muggle travelling lifestyle as since she had become a witch she had no opportunity to indulge in such trivial things.
Hermione spent at least a week in Melbourne taking in the sights and trying out different cuisines and cultures. She continued to travel until reaching Adelaide where, when she took a small detour she was able to swim with sea lions and dolphins. This took a spot as one of the most amazing experiences of her life.
She had a feeling they were located on the East coast but she could not let herself miss out on the experiences she could experience inland.
She cycled around Uluru and swam in the hot springs of Mataranka. She swam with crocodiles in Darwin and stood next to termite mounds taller than her 5 foot 4 inch height.
She felt uncontrollably free.
4th August 1998
When she finally came to rest on the Sunshine Coast hinterland, she realised that this was finally the place. The place where her parents had been dreaming of living since forever.
She travelled up through the winding roads of the hills stopping only once to take in the spectacular views at Mary Caincross Park. The mountains stood on the horizon, a story of love, abandonment and pain.
The legend of the Glasshouse Mountains in Aboriginal told stories runs as so - Now Tibrogargan was the father of all the tribes and Beerwah was his wife, and they had many children.
One day when Tibrogargan was gazing out to sea, he perceived a great rising of the waters. He knew then that there was to be a very great flood and he became worried for Beerwah, who had borne him many children and was again pregnant and would not be able to reach the safety of the mountains in the west without assistance.
So he called to his eldest son, Coonowrin, and told him of the flood which was coming and said, "Take your mother, Beerwah, to the safety of the mountains while I gather your brothers and sisters who are at play and I will bring them along."
When Tibrogargan looked back to see how Coonowrin was tending to his mother he was dismayed to see him running off alone. Now this was a spiritless thing for Coonowrin to do, and as he had shown himself to be a coward he was to be despised.
Tibrogargan became very angry and he picked up his nulla nulla and chased Coonowrin and cracked him over the head with a mighty blow with such force that it dislocated Coonowrin's neck, and he has never been able to straighten it since.
By and by, the floods subsided and, when the plains dried out the family was able to return to the place where they lived before. Then, when the other children saw Coonowrin they teased him and called "How did you get your wry neck - How did you get your wry neck?" and this made Coonowrin feel ashamed.
So Coonowrin went to Tibrogargan and asked for forgiveness, but the law of the tribe would not permit this. And he wept, for his son had disgraced him. Now the shame of this was very great and Tibrogargan's tears were many and, as they trickled down they formed a stream which wended its way to the sea.
So Coonowrin went then to his mother, Beerwah, but she also cried, and her tears became a stream and flowed away to the sea. Then, one by one, he went to his brothers and sisters, but they all cried at their brother's shame.
Then Tibrogargan called to Coonowrin and asked why he had deserted his mother and Coonowrin replied, "She is the biggest of us all and should be able to take care of herself." But Coonowrin did not know that his mother was again with child, which was the reason for her grossness. Then Tibrogargan put his son behind him and vowed he would never look at him again.
Even to this day Tibrogargan gazes far, far out to sea and never looks at Coonowrin. Coonowrin hangs his head in shame and cries, and his tears run off to the sea, and his mother, Beerwah, is still pregnant, for, you see, it takes many years to give birth to a mountain.
It was a beautiful story but it could not deter her from her quest to find her parents.
She travelled a small time inland and came across Conondale, Kenilworth and Witta. Searching each place in order it wasn't until the last that she finally found a trace of them.
Hermione followed the winding roads towards what seemed to be the back corner of Witta. A small one way road took her further into the bush until she finally found the place.
It was a beautiful mansion. 3 stories high with vines growing all up the walls. The old fashioned windows were wide open allowing a breeze to pass through the entire house.
She hesitantly walked up the dwindling path towards to what seemed an enchanted pair of double doors.
Hermione raised her had to knock but the door swung open and she peered down to view a house elf with a huge grin on her face.
"Mistress Aletha has returned!" The house elf squealed in delight. "I am Poppy mistress. I must inform the Master of your return!"
Without saying a word, Poppy snapped her long fingers and disappeared.
Hermione stood awkwardly in the entryway unable to think straight enough to move. That was until she heard a thunder of footsteps head down the staircase towards her.
Her brain finally kicking into action she moves back outside onto the porch and waits for her two parents familiar faces.
But, they didn't come.
Instead, a man with a defined face and wavy black hair stood with his arm around an elegant women with pin straight dark red hair and sky blue eyes blocked most of her view past the hallway.
"Aletha." The woman's voice whispered in what seemed to be complete and utter shock. Her eyes widened and she stepped out of the mans grip to step forward.
But before she could her legs crumpled underneath her and she went tumbling to the ground.
"Laina!" The man's voice exclaimed catching the older woman just before she hit the ground.
Hermione went into auto pilot. She quickly entered the house and helped the man steady the woman in his arms.
"Come with me to the living room." His voice, stern with worry commanded her. She nodded and followed behind quietly.
The man carefully fit the woman down on the couch before swiping her hair away from her eyes.
"Laina? Laina, sweetheart. You need to wake up." His voice rumbles, his hand running up and down her arms.
Hermione stood awkwardly to the side taking in the scene before her. It was obvious that he cared deeply for the woman as something had gone wrong and she was all he had left.
"I can go, if it's a bad time." She mumbled, wringing her clammy hands together.
"No. Aletha. Sit down. As soon as your mother has woken we shall explain everything." He said sternly, motioning to the other lounge and then turning back to the woman.
Hermione was confused. For one, she was being called a completely different name. Secondly, she was inadvertently been told that these were her parents sitting right before her, yet she had never seen them once in her 17 years of living. And lastly, she was in an enormous mansion that was absolutely stunning.
Gosh she missed her non complicated life.
While she was trying to string what she'd learnt in the 5 minutes she had known these people the woman who was known as Laina awoke.
"Alex, is it really her?" Her soft voice asked the man as they both watched her furrow her eyebrows and bite her lip in confusion.
"I believe so Laina." The man's voice now gentle spoke to his wife. "She seems to have some of your tendencies, including biting her lip."
The two adults began laughing and it snapped Hermione out of her daze.
"I'm sorry, but who are you exactly? I'm Hermione Granger by the way." Her voice was strong as she help out her hand for them to shake.
The woman shook her head and grabbed her hand pulling her onto the other couch and then she was engulfed in a hug.
"And your professional behaviour." She spoke to the man which sat on the other side of Hermione.
Awkwardly Hermione distangled herself from the hug before jumping over to the other couch alone, not missing the glint of sadness that appeared in the woman's eyes.
"I'm sorry. I should have introduced ourselves first." Her voice was calm and she sent Hermione a small smile. "I'm Laina Elswood and this is my husband Alex."
"Yes, well that doesn't explain why my trace for my parents brought me here." Hermione's voice says snappishly.
"Well, you see Hermione, we are your parents. And your real name is definitely not Hermione. Always hated that name. Why on earth did we pick it again Alex?" The woman's face scrunched up in disgust.
"Because, if we were to act like muggles then we needed a name that no one would suspect." He says grinning cheekily.
"What the hell is going on?" Hermione's voice says yet again.
"We are your parents. We lived in Britain for 17 years staging as muggles. We saw you leave on the 1st of September 1991 to go to Hogwarts. We heard all of you tales about Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley. We have been with you every day. Just not as our true selves." Laina's voice says calmly.
"So you're saying. That your my parents. That you've been living under a glamour charm for 17 years. That my obliviate didn't work. And that you knew and just decided to move to Australia?" Hermione's, or should I say Aletha's voice drips with anger as she lists everything off. "And not to mention you two are witches? Oh hell no."
"Oh hell yes." The man's voice says.
"Fine. Then explain to me why I look nothing like you." She says smugly.
"The Elswoods are a line of what are to be believed descendants of the founders themselves. It is thought that somewhere along the line, a member of the Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin house entwined and a child was born with unreasonable power. It is thought that this only happens every 10 generations. And it just happens to fall on you. As a child we cast a glamour charm over you to keep suspicions off you. As soon as you come into your powers, a month after you turn 19 you shall appear as your true self." Alex explains not leaving a detail out.
"Well shit." Hermione mumbles. "That's what, 46 days away?"
"Yes, and in the 27 days before you have to head off to Hogwarts we will teach you everything we know and give you books that you can read about it." Laina's voice calls out.
"Well then. Shall we get started?"