Important AN: I wanted to let everyone know that this story is under revisions. Because of this, I've deleted all of the old chapters and decided to start fresh again. Updates will now be posted shortly after they are on Checkmated! I did this to avoid confusion since the revised story will be different from the original as I add more chapters.
Since I wrote this story pre DH, you can consider this AU after HBP and anything that happens that follows plot in DH is purely coincidental.
Chapter One: Her Letter
The screeching sound of an alarm clock rang through 58 Elysian Way. A young girl, freshly eleven, stirred, moaned and then shifted, placing a pillow over her ears to block out the high pitched ringing. Much to her displeasure, the alarm clock didn't cease; it's beeping only became more frantic, urging the girl out of bed.
Grumbling incoherently, she poked her head out from an orange duvet. Messy red locks of hair framed her still child-like face. Her eyes, half lidded, shined a cocoa brown, a particularly lovely shade that was rich and warm. Running across the bridge of her petite nose and along her cheeks were dozens of freckles that seemed to come naturally for redheads.
Gathering the ends of her blankets in her hands, she rolled out of bed. With a loud thud, she slammed her palm on the off button, silencing the alarm at last. Then out she went from her room into the bathroom, her duvet wrapped around her like a cloak.
The bathroom was sparkling from a recent cleaning. It was large and well decorated with the scent of a candle lingering from earlier that day. A note lay on the ivory marble sink. Picking it up, she read:
I had to leave for work sooner than expected. However, I'm taking an early lunch. If you're up by then, get dressed and I'll take you out for a sandwich or something. There are clean clothes on my bed, in case you need them. See you soon.
If her mother were taking an early lunch, she would be home within an hour, which didn't leave her much time, forty minutes at best. Her mother wasn't an exceptionally patient woman, so Adele figured that it would be best if she took her shower as soon as possible. That way, she wouldn't have to hear her mother's lecture.
Before she hopped into the shower, Adele checked to see if her brand new body wash was in the cabinet. Looking on the shelf, she was disappointed. No manga-peach scrub in there. She wracked her brain for a moment. Where could it be?
Suddenly it hit her that she didn't put it away yesterday when her mother told her to. It would figure. Adele dropped her duvet on site and ran back into her bedroom to grab the elusive item no doubt still in the bag.
Sure enough the scrub sat in the corner of her room. As she strolled across the room, her eyes fell on the calendar. Beneath the date there was a small note written. It was Pamela's birthday. Adele was horrified. What kind of best friend would forget her best friend's birthday?
Jumping on her bed, she crawled across it to her nightstand where the phone sat. Picking it up, she quickly dialed the number and got comfortable against her pillow. It wasn't long before the girls were giggling and chatting away.
After a solid fifteen minutes, a beep interrupted the conversation about what a hottie Pamela's next door neighbor was. Adele was fully prepared to ignore it, but Pam told her to go ahead and switch over to the other line.
"Hello, love. I just called to let you know I'm leaving the office now."
All the color nearly drained from Adele's face. She had got so wrapped up in her conversation that she forgot about lunch with her mum. How was she ever going to have enough time to get ready now?
"Adele? Are you there?"
"What? Yeah, Mum, I'm here."
"What's wrong? Don't tell me that you haven't even showered yet."
"Of course I have! No need to worry. I'll be ready as soon as you walk through the door."
"That's my good girl. Alright, see you soon."
Adele quickly flipped back to Pam and explained that she had to go, but yes, she would be at the party that night. Hanging up the phone, Adele rolled off the bed, scrub in tow, and scurried off for the quickest shower she'd ever take in her life.
After her shower, Adele padded into her mother's room. There was always something about it that she loved. Perhaps it was because they had only moved from a dingy little flat into the grand house two years ago, which was quite a step up. They hadn't always been so wealthy.
In her first years Adele had lived with her grandparents. Then as time passed, her mother had found a job that paid a measly amount, but enough that the two of them could get a place of their own while she attended night classes at the local university to get her dentistry degree. Somehow they made ends meet, and shortly after graduating, her mother had been offered a spectacular job. Within the past year, she had even opened her own dentistry office.
A pile of clothes was placed neatly on her mother's bed. Discarding her towel on the floral duvet, she picked out an outfit.
In moments she had made herself presentable. She combed her tresses until they were nice and smooth, without a trace of bed head to be had.
With only a few moments to spare until her mother's arrival, Adele glanced at the pictures decorating her mother's room while she waited. The one she thought was most beautiful was of her mother during her youth. Her hair had been pulled up in an elegant fashion. Brown eyes glowed brightly, eyes that Adele knew to be the same shade as her own. Her mother wore a stunning blue gown. When Adele had asked her mother about the picture she'd been told that the picture was taken while she was at school, but made no effort to explain it any further.
Adele had always wondered where her mother attended school and had asked on several occasions. However, her questions were always evaded. It seemed that whenever she brought up things of that nature, her mother got nervous. The subject matter was quickly switched to something entirely unrelated.
Sometimes it felt like her mother was deceiving her by not speaking about it, like she couldn't be trusted with the information. So Adele went elsewhere to get answers. Good old Grandfather and Grandmum would surely explain to her what was wrong with her mum. Again, she was refused. They explained that her mother was just looking out for her best interest. Adele didn't care. She wanted to know and could be trusted. Her mother always told her how mature she was for eleven, so why couldn't she shed some light on her mysterious past? Just thinking about the situation infuriated her.
Returning her attention to the photos, Adele became a little sad. Despite the great number of pictures, one person was missing. There were photos of Adele and her mother in all stages of life, yet her father was nowhere to be found.
If there was one subject touchier than her mother's schooling, it was without a doubt her father. The fact that she didn't know anything about her mum's school years was something that she tried to accept for the most part, but it was quite another story with her father. Everyday she had to look in the mirror and see bright red hair and freckles. These parts of her were from him, she just knew it. No one on her mother's side of her family had red hair and freckles.
Since she was little she had been asking about him. Her mum was tired of her non-stop, rapid fire questions. She didn't even give her little bits of information; whenever Adele asked, the response was silence. Sometimes it was followed by a plea not to ask that again but mostly just uncomfortable silence. As time passed on, Adele learned that it wasn't worth making her mother upset and herself angry. Nowadays she would rarely bring it up.
The sound of steps echoed up the staircase and through the landing. Turning, Adele saw her mother standing in the doorway, smiling brightly. She was such a lovely woman. Adele hoped that when she grew up, she would look just like her.
"Good afternoon, love," she said, planting a kiss on her daughter's forehead.
"Afternoon, Mum," she replied, grinning warmly.
Adele had thought her mother was the coolest mum ever. While her friends' mothers were in there mid-thirties or early forties, hers was a youthful twenty-nine. She had given birth fresh out of school and raised Adele all by herself. When she was young, her mother would always play with her and was very active in all her school activities.
"Mr. Young asked about you today," her mother said, pulling two shirts out of the closet to choose from.
"Now, Adele, that's not very nice. I just can't understand why you don't like him. He's a kind man."
"You like him, don't you?" Adele asked, crossing her arms in front of her.
"Oh I don't know." She turned to the mirror, holding both garments in front of her trying to make a decision. Opting for the blue one, she continued, "Would it be so bad if I went out with him?"
"I like it the way it is now. We don't need anyone else."
"Am I ever allowed to have a boyfriend?"
"Maybe after I move out of the house."
"You're hopeless, love," she said jokingly before throwing her daughter on the bed and tickling her. "Do you know how long it's been since I've gone out with someone?"
"No," Adele managed to get out between giggles.
"Two years. You've scared them all away."
"I have not!"
"I have not!" Adele said much more seriously.
Her mum finally ceased the assault and smiled down at her daughter. Adele returned it.
"I love you, Mum. I don't want to have to share you."
"I love you too, honey, and you were never one for sharing." She got off the bed before helping Adele up. "Come now. You go down and check on the mail. I'll meet you there shortly."
Several letters had arrived through the mail drop that day. Adele picked them all up and began to shuffle through them as she made her way to the kitchen.
"Hermione Granger, Hermione Granger, and Hermione Granger," she huffed. "They're all for Mum again. Don't I ever get mail at this house?" she cried, before noticing a fallen letter between her sandaled feet.
Picking up a thick, yellowish envelope made of parchment with green writing written in beautiful penmanship, Adele's eyes grew wide upon noticing the addressee.
Miss Adele Winifred Granger
58 Elysian Way
A letter! It was a letter for her. The only letters she ever received were from her grandparents. This, however, was obviously not from them. Something seemed a bit off though. Her eyes were drawn to the upper right hand corner. There was no stamp. How could a letter arrive by mail if it wasn't properly stamped? But then again, what did it matter? Someone could have just dropped it off around the time the mail came. The most important thing was that she actually got a letter of her very own.
Turning the envelope over, she saw an elaborate coat of arms made of purple wax. In the center of the seal was the letter H, and it was surrounded by a lion, an eagle, a badger, and a snake. She had no idea what it could represent, but it was absolutely magical. It made her all the more curious to see what was inside.
"Who could this be from?" she thought aloud.
"Who could what be from, dear?" her mother inquired, picking up her own mail. "Bill, bill, and, oh look, a letter from Aunt Millie! I wonder how she's been fairing."
As a tearing sound filled the kitchen, Adele wondered if she should open her own letter. What would her mother say about her daughter getting mail from people she didn't know? Taking another look at the penmanship, she wondered if the sender had perhaps written to the wrong person. It looked too fine to be addressed to an eleven-year-old girl.
"What's that, Adele?" her mother asked, plucking the letter from her hands.
Watching her mum's eyes intently, Adele waited for a response. There was a particular lost look in those brown orbs that made the little girl think something was wrong. Never before in her life had she witnessed that look. Fear mixed with panic and longing was the only way to describe it.
Adele noticed the color drain from her mum's face. She watched as her mother's hand rose as if to cover her mouth but stopped midway when she felt her eyes on her. Adele knew she was struggling to act normal, that she was trying to get a grip on herself. For a long while she waited for her mother to say something, but it appeared that she was speechless.
"Mum?" she called, shaking Hermione's arm. "Mum, are you alright?"
"Of-of course. So sorry, dear." With a halfhearted smile, her mother pushed the letter back into her daughter's hands, her eyes glistening with tears. "Well, it's for you, now isn't it? Go on then, have a look."
Hesitantly, Adele looked up at her mother then back down to the letter in her hands. Why was her mother upset? For a moment, she wondered if she really wanted to open it. What would she find inside that parchment envelope?
Gently, she slid her finger under the lip and broke the seal. Pulling out the letter, she read:
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Dear Miss Granger,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment. Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.
"Witchcraft and wizardry?" Adele questioned, obviously baffled. She stared up at her mum, waiting for some sort of explanation.
Hermione stood there, watching her daughter intently. She had never doubted that this day would come. She went to Hogwarts and he went to Hogwarts. It was only natural that their daughter would go, too, especially since she showed signs early on of being a witch.
Adele was barely out of diapers before she was using magic. Things would break at random when her little girl was angry. Hermione had even caught a child's cup floating in mid-air when Adele was thirsty and held captive in her play pen one day. When these incidents began, she tried her best to make up excuses for all the phenomenon occurring around Adele. It was no easy task, especially when Adele got older and started to take more notice of the episodes.
Hermione knew the night her daughter burst all the upstairs lightbulbs during a storm when she was six that the time had come for her to make a decision. Would she raise Adele as a witch or would she live life as a Muggle?
A part of her was excited that her child was given the gift of magic. She thought of all the things she could teach Adele. But with magic came something that she wasn't ready to handle. Ultimately, it was that which kept her from speaking a word about it to her daughter.
She had made a lot of mistakes in the past. Things got out of control so easily that she often found herself wondering how she got into the mess in the first place. And by the time she wanted to undo what she had done, it was already too late. Hermione was ashamed about it. She felt horribly guilty about separating father from child. At the time, she didn't have the answers to fix it. In all honesty, she didn't have them now either.
By keeping the wizarding world from Adele's knowledge, there would be no questions about her father, no questions about who he was and what happened between him and Hermione, and no questions about where she could find him. Severing this link, she could assure herself that Adele would never be able to contact him.
Yet, there was this small part of her that thought having him by her side after all these years, being able to share in the experience and responsibility of raising a child, would fill that empty place in her heart. In that letter written so many years ago, she had assured her two best friends that she would indeed contact them when she felt she was ready. Adele going to Hogwarts would open that window of opportunity.
Was she really ready to be reunited with them? What would they think of her? What would he think of her? How would he feel about her taking his child away? She couldn't do it. At least, she couldn't do it now.
Hermione wanted more than anything to see Adele going to the school where she had grown up; however, there would be two conditions that went along with this. These conditions would ensure that her identity be hidden from anyone who might want to find out what had happened to her.
"I don't understand, Mum."
"When I was a girl about your age, I received a letter identical to the one in your hand. I had never heard of Hogwarts or wizards and witches. I believed them all to be fictional. You can imagine how shocked I was to learn that they are, in fact, real."
"You went to Hogwarts!"
"Yes. They were some of the best years of my life," Hermione recalled fondly.
"But that would mean that you're a witch!"
"You've picked up on that, have you?" she questioned with a wince.
"Mum, you never told me. How could you keep something like this from me?"
"I wanted you to grow up in a normal home. I wanted you to experience everything I did."
"I had a right to know," she huffed.
"I'm sorry," Hermione spoke, fighting back a few tears. She pulled her daughter to her and hugged her tightly. "Please forgive me."
"Don't cry about it, Mum," she replied, hugging her mother back.
Adele was crestfallen. How many more things was her mother going to keep from her? The more she found out about her mother, the more she realized that her mother was almost a stranger. She began to cry as she thought about how much she loved her mum the way she was. It was absolutely scary to think of her as someone else.
"You're right though. You had every right to know. I left that life eleven years ago, but I should have taught you about who you are."
"You left because you were pregnant with me, didn't you?" Adele inquired sadly.
"So you left a world that you loved because of me?"
"No, love, don't blame yourself," she said, noticing Adele's tears.
"But I'm the reason you left!"
"Adele, I left because it was my choice. I would never, ever wish you hadn't come along. I adore you. I loved you from the moment I found out I was pregnant. I was certainly afraid out of my wits, but I wouldn't have traded you for anything in the world."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm sure." Pulling her daughter into an embrace once more, she planted a kiss on her cheek and felt somehow relieved that the situation was out in the open. "Now, no more tears, pet. You're going to Hogwarts, after all."
"I can go?" she asked.
"If you want to, you can."
"I do! I want to go to Hogwarts!" Adele wiped herself free of tears and smiled.
"I have to wonder if you are even more enthused than I was when I first got my letter."
Adele wondered what it would be like at Hogwarts. What would her teachers be like? Would she even be good at magic? What type of people would she be friends with? Would their parents have gone to school with her mother? Had he gone to school with her mother?
"Mum, can I ask you something?" she asked.
"Did you meet my dad at Hogwarts?"
Hermione knew this was going to come up again now that Adele had found out about this whole other side of her. What was she going to tell her? Hermione certainly didn't want Adele to go searching for him, but she had every right to at least know the answer to that question.
"Yes, I met your father on the train to Hogwarts to be exact."
"Do you have any pictures of him? Can I see what he looked like?"
She wished her daughter would have left it at that. Why did Adele have to rub salt in wounds that were still fresh, even after all those years? It wasn't her fault, and Hermione knew that. She wouldn't snap at Adele; she would remain level headed. It was only natural that she would want to know what he looked like, and she felt like a bad mother for keeping so many things secret. But she couldn't allow guilt to waver her resolve.
"I'm sorry, but I can't let you see them. Your father and I parted ways years ago, and its best left at that."
"Adele, I want you to go to Hogwarts. However, there are a few conditions I have. My past is mine and mine alone. I don't want you to go digging around for pieces of it. There are reasons for this, so promise me you won't do it."
"That's not fair. What could be so bad that you don't want me to find out about it?"
"Don't argue with me."
"Also, I don't want you to offer any information about me. I'm sure there are several people who would like to contact me, but that's not possible. I'm not ready for that."
"What am I supposed to tell people when they ask about my mum? Do I just make something up?"
"Adele, please don't fight me on this."
"These rules are stupid though. Your past is part of my past. I want to know about you, and I don't want people thinking I don't have a mum just because I never talk about her."
"It won't be like that. Adele, you're just going to have to listen to me. I'm doing this for your own good. Now promise me."
"It's not like I have a choice."
"Don't be like that."
"Alright, alright. My lips are sealed and I won't go looking for anything."
"Thank you, love."
Adele was ecstatic to be attending the same school as her parents once had, and the thought of learning magic made her even more eager to go. She felt bad for her mum having to make a choice like she did eleven years ago, and even at her young age, Adele knew that Hermione had thought it was for the best. She wouldn't pretend like she was alright with the idea of being kept in the dark all this time. It upset her greatly. She wasn't about to forgive her mother entirely right now either. She needed her though, and she wanted her mum's support.
As for not digging up information on her father, well that wasn't going to happen. She felt a little guilty for lying to her mother, but she wasn't going to be sorry for trying to find out who her father was. She deserved to know the truth.
Focusing her attention back to her mother, she noticed another slip of paper in her hand.
"Oh, this is just the list of things you'll need for school." Hermione handed the paper to Adele, and Adele read it thoroughly.
"I can take a pet with me?" Adele asked, glancing up at her mother before reviewing the list once more.
"If you'd like," answered Hermione.
"What did you take, Mum?"
"I bought a cat my third year."
"You mean Crookshanks, the old cat that you had when I was a baby?"
"Yes, that's him alright."
"Will you buy me a cat, too?"
"If you'd like, I suppose that can be arranged," she replied with a grin.
"Uh, Mum?" Adele called, folding up the paper and neatly placing it inside of the envelope. "Where exactly will we buy all of these things? I don't recall seeing a witches' department store anywhere in London."
"We'll have to go to Diagon Alley, love."
"What's Diagon Alley?"
"It's a place where you can buy all sorts of magical things. I'll take a day off work next week, and we can go shopping."
"That'd be great!"
"However, I think we had our own outing planned for this afternoon, didn't we? Let me grab my purse, and we'll leave."
Adele watched as her mother walked into the living room. She clutched the envelope to her chest with all her strength. She was a witch! A full-fledged, wand waving, potion making witch, or at least she would be in a matter of weeks. Adele couldn't wait to go to Diagon Alley and experience magical life first hand.
AN: A big thanks to my beta, Pig With Hair, and to everyone who has stuck with this story. Look for chapter two in a week or so!