CM here; I was curious about how Hermione was introduced to the magical world, and decided I could have some fun with it. Surely her parents had noticed all the strange things she did…and she is one powerful witch. We only see Harry being introduced to magic…and I figured Hermione would have a very special introduction indeed.
I don't own HP, otherwise Hermione would have more presence.
She had searched all over Little Winging for her husband, and when she expanded her search she had become exasperated when nothing came up and her worry only grew. It was after her last apparition (she firmly told herself that she would go home after this, and wait for him with the frying pan) she finally found him. Molly could only gape as her husband sat quite contently upon the muggle street bench, his eyes bright and his smile as effusive as ever while the little girl sat beside him and swung her legs – such a short little dear – as her parents fumbled and fretted a few feet away but refrained from drawing closer. She was stunned to watch the little girl examine her love's hands with the curiosity of every child in the stage of their life where anything was new and exciting; her Arthur smiled gently at her and allowed her to trace his palm lines, her lips whispering to herself as her eyes brightened up considerably and she was beaming up to him.
Molly hesitantly approached the couple still off to the side- like unwanted interlopers. She cleared her throat quietly and then whispered, "What is going on with my husband?"
The duo turned to her slowly, their shock dulling their reflexes and their faces slack as they took a quick glance to the park bench before the woman pursed her lips to keep from crying – her eyes were dewy and bright – and the man worked his jaw a moment before he had to close his mouth and crunch his eyes up to hide his tears.
Molly choked and turned her face politely away, only to find her eyes resting on her husband silently conversing with the strange child in that strange way he had about him. The little girl had no qualms responding in kind.
Her brown eyes twinkled brilliantly – gold in the sunlight – and her hands patted Arthur's hands in some game they needed no words for and continued their odd exchange of glances and gestures and touches. Finally, the girl tilted her head and laughed, crawling into his lap and settling herself quite comfortably there- her coltish arms not even reaching completely around his torso as she hugged him and snuggled into his loud muggle sweater. She sniffled quietly and then quieted, Arthur gentle as his whole demeanor softened and he tucked a wayward curl of chocolate behind a small ear.
The woman chocked and turned to her. "My name is Anne Granger, is that…do you know what he's doing?"
Molly gave her an odd estranged look, completely understanding how she was floundering. "I have no idea what's going on, my husband was depressed this morning and went for a walk. I'm Molly Weasley."
The woman nodded. "My husband, John, and I took our daughter for a walk…she's been out of sorts lately." She sniffled and leaned into her husband, his arm coming up around her shoulders to rub at her tense neck as he watched their daughter with this strange man.
Molly pursed her lips against her own tears, but she couldn't hold in her words. There was something strangely pulling about the two sitting on the bench. "My husband has been out of sorts with our children, and he's having a tough go of it at work; I had no idea anything was so wrong until he left the house so depressed. I've been looking for him since breakfast ended."
John hissed in a breath around the trapped sob; "Hermione gets home schooled because of certain accidents, and something went wrong after she came home from playing at the park."
Molly gently shook her head, unable to piece together what was happening, but she found herself drawing up shocked with the Grangers as the girl shifted contently in her husband's arms and murmured to them. "See; mummy, daddy. I'm not a freak."
Arthur let out a little choked sob and hugged her closer, "No, little firefae, you're just a very special little girl."
Molly absently drew the woman to her as she finally started weeping; her shoulder now cold with tears as she stared in shocked wonder at her husband and John fell to his knees and wept.
They slowly sat upon the other benches near the park entrance, eyes glued to the little girl giggling softly and playing with Arthur's weathered fingers as they tried to settle and clear their faces of the shock and tears. The woman wiped her eyes delicately, Molly used her handkerchief to dab at the tear trails on her own cheeks, and John Granger wiped his eyes gruffly on his sleeve before he got up and moved to kneel in front of his daughter as she sat in the strange man's lap.
"Hermione, catling, you know you're not a freak. Your mother and I love you very much."
The girl let her head fall to rest over Arthur's heartbeat, the man gently stroking her hair as he gazed at John with an inscrutable stare. Anne sobbed and once again fell upon Molly's shoulder, her eyes squeezing tightly as she clutched her apron.
"But daddy; the kids all say that, and you and mummy don't like other people seeing me."
John choked and closed his eyes. "Catling, that's not because we think you're a freak. We just worry that they'll misunderstand and take you away from us."
The girl's large brown eyes looked at him demurely, her lips pouting as her eyebrows furrowed in genuine confusion and hurt. Arthur's shoulders shook with a sob before he interrupted. "We should probably move this somewhere else. Your daughter doesn't need these muggles staring at her so oddly."
John flushed horridly but nodded his head and stood up, his hands absently gesturing in a direction they all took to. Molly fretted as she fell into place beside the two muggle parents, her husband happily occupied with the little girl holding his hand and skipping along beside him.
They ended up in a well tended home, Molly taking a seat in a vintage chaise lounge and watching as her husband sat on the floor near the little one. His hands were running through her unruly hair while she playfully poked each one of the freckles on his nose.
Arthur sighed and then looked up to them, his eyes dark and wet as he smiled. "You have a very darling little girl here; she's going to be a very brilliant witch."
The two parents jumped slightly, though they were subdued enough in manner to settle down cautiously with wide eyes and only one or two weary looks to their daughter. Anne licked her lips before she spoke, her head tilted at an odd angle as she refrained from looking directly at them. "A witch…?"
Arthur nodded strongly, his eyes smoldering. "She's special though, I reckon she'll make many friends and her magic will grow beyond anything seen before."
John shifted, his arm around his wife as he finally 'relaxed', though Molly thought she saw his fingers clench briefly. "You mean her…'magic' was causing all those accidents?"
Arthur gave him an inscrutable look before he nodded, "younglings have trouble controlling their magic when their emotions are running high."
Molly could literally see John swallow, his face contrite as he shifted forward to stare directly into his daughter's eyes. "Hermione," he stated softly, catching her attention as she smiled innocently and leaned forward as well. "We are very sorry we didn't believe you, but you must understand we still love you."
She smiled wider. "That's okay daddy, Mr. Weasley explained it to me, and he's very nice. He has one daughter you know, though she's younger than me. But his youngest son is my age! And Charlie gets to play with dragons!" Molly choked as she tried to laugh and sob all at once, wondering how her husband could have said all that in looks and staring at the bright young girl so comfortably sitting beside him.
A privilege to play with fire breathing beasts indeed, her parents had better watch out for her.
Molly was suddenly made aware of Anne coming back into the room, the tray balanced on her hands heavy with tea and biscuits. She settled this all with the practiced air of an experienced hostess, her smile polite but her eyes watery- especially when she handed her daughter a special cookie from the corner of the tray.
There was a general silence of strangers coming to realize they would be more than that come the end of their meeting, and the sounds of clinking teaspoons stirring in lemon and cream did their utmost best to fill in the gap. Hermione sat munching happily on her cookie while watching them with wide eyes- her movements precise as she systematically nibbled certain pieces of her treat and sipped her milk.
Molly swallowed before deciding to take the first step- "We have many children, but our youngest two don't see Arthur much. The two are either playing, or Arthur's working- and just the other day Ginny had a fit and yelled about him not being her real father." Molly choked and tilted her head desperately as she continued. "Ron isn't quite so vocal, but he watches people strangely."
Hermione snuggled into Arthur at this confession, as if to save him from the unconscious rejection of his own children, and Molly turned to watch him get the attention of this child when it was so hard for him to stay the attention of his own. They didn't understand him or his quirks now, and she could only hope that they would come to see what a loving, interesting man he was as they grew.
Anne sniffled, "We had to take Hermione out of primary school because she got into trouble a lot- she said they started things and then things happened, but logically it couldn't be true. But the boys were so roughed up- we have been home schooling her and she's so withdrawn." Her wide hazel eyes looked to Molly, "but now you say she's magic?"
John smiled wetly at his daughter, her brown eyes twinkling at him as she laughed- Arthur chuckling right beside her before they shared another eloquent glance between themselves. He spoke around thick tongue, his voice oddly subdued but steely at the same time. "My little Fizzy is magic, darling."
Molly laughed more freely this time, the sound not hindered by sadness or choked emotion. "I dare say she's more magical than some of the purebloods in the wizarding world."
Molly stuttered under their combined confusion, and the rest of the hour was spent explaining the complexities of their world to two muggles while their daughter finished her cookie and took out a reading book.
They were invited to dinner, Molly wavering briefly before she recalled that Mr. Lovegood had volunteered to look after her kids for as long as it would take (his eyes had held a solemn air usually absent from his countenance). As they settled in for the meal Molly was stunned, along with her husband (for once this day, she thought somewhat absently and grumpily) as Hermione accidentally dropped her glass to the wooden floor.
But the shattering didn't greet them, neither was it accompanied by the splattering of grape juice. Instead the cup hung suspended in the air, spinning slowly as if the magic holding it were a string and the wind was playing with it. The cup was angled slightly, but the juice still remained in it as Hermione's large dewy eyes looked at them in fright.
Before they could say anything her lips trembled and her face crumpled. She was suddenly rushing from the room in tears as her magic let the cup drop to the floor, the resounding crash breaking the adults from their stupor.
Arthur startled and stood, sharing an uneasy glance with John who had done the same thing. Both men nodded to each other and their wives and then went up the stairs together- quiet conversation held between them.
Molly drew in a deep breath as she turned to Anne, helping the woman clean up the mess with napkins and (truth to tell) a little magic. "Hermione has very powerful magic." She offered up to break the silence again, though she was starting to wonder if the surprises would ever stop coming.
Anne chuckled weakly. "Hermione's good at everything she does- sometimes we think she stays up late to read further ahead in her textbooks."
Molly gaped for a second before she smiled warmly, her spirit unable to deny the easy way the woman prided herself on her child no matter what was happening- Molly could understand that. "My eldest wants to be a curse breaker, he was always unusually perceptive- we didn't realize that he'd resorted to books because he wasn't getting enough attention due to his squalling twin brothers." Molly smiled and shared a telling glance with the woman, one that was gladly returned. "Sometimes I wonder if it was more lonely for him to have more siblings than not, but we've overcome this- now he's more relaxed when he comes home from school."
Anne gave her a curious glance as she started washing the dishes. "This school – this Hogwarts; will my Hermione be able to go there? I don't think we'll have enough money…"
Molly tutted and gently ushered her to drying the dishes, placing her hands into the soapy warm water to continue with the washing as Anne dried and put away. "Hermione could get in under sponsorship; and even if not, Albus Dumbledore – he's the headmaster – is a right fine gentleman and would be happy to help."
Anne turned back to her from putting away a plate in an upper cupboard. "Hermione's always been teased though, I don't think I want her so far from home if it happens again."
Molly handed her a rinsed dish and looked at her curiously, "Why was she teased?"
Anne blushed and furiously wiped at the droplets of water clinging to the bowl. "Her study habits, mostly. And her hair, it's been that way ever since the first…I really want to say accident, but that can't be polite." Her gaze drew away and Molly smiled more genuinely than she remembered doing this entire day.
"We usually call them outbreaks, but in your case that might be insulting. Did her magic take on any nature as violent enough to damage property?"
Anne blushed and then laughed. "She blew up a garden shed on the school grounds," but she sobered and turned a heavy gaze to Molly. "They gave her punishment," she looked down at her hand and reflexively closed it. "She kept on saying she didn't like being locked in there- but with normal…with muggle abilities she couldn't have been in there when it exploded, so we didn't believe her and gave her a grounding as well."
Molly had been stunned enough to attempt laughing when Anne began (a garden shed! That was more mischief than even her twins had managed without wands), but the fact that Hermione felt she had to blow up the shed because of bullying stilled her and a latent anger surged through her blood instead. This was the result of lax observation on the muggle world, where magic wasn't detected until the child was in their eleventh summer and therefore eligible for schooling. They were ignored other than that, and left to whatever outbreaks affected them and their way of life- ignorant and scared…as freaks.
Molly shook her head and gently dried her hands off before pulling the woman into a hug- "We'll call them magic fluxes then, shall we?" And she offered her a regretful smile.
Anne laughed and wiped her eyes. "That sounds good."
Molly nodded and moved to sit down with the subdued woman when they heard their husbands talking, more loudly and happily than they had been last time, while the thumped down the stairs. They came into the kitchen with much more relaxed faces, a small Hermione between them and swinging from both of their hands as she held them. The little girl stopped upon seeing her mother, and her face almost crumpled again before she was shuffling forward to stand in front of her lap.
"I'm sorry about your dishes, mummy. I'll try not to do it again."
Molly softened even more- what a darling little princess.
Anne smiled and drew her daughter into a hug- "That's just fine darling, as long as you didn't hurt yourself it'll be okay."
Hermione finally smiled fully, and Molly laughed quietly at her bright straight teeth and chipmunk cheeks.
John settled next to his wife with a smile, Arthur doing the same- and Hermione squirmed into the high chair with a little struggle before she was triumphant and smiling at the extra cookies set out.
Arthur was lit up- like he usually was when talking about muggle things and Molly rolled her eyes with fond exasperation. "Molly! You should see the switches and the elestisticy!"
John smiled indulgently at what appeared to be her husband's slight, but he had the same curious light to himself her husband did, and Molly realized with a dawning horror that the two men would be unstoppable together. "Anne, you should see his magic! He can light up his wand instead of having to use electricity! He can even levitate things with a spell like Hermione can without!"
Arthur nodded vigorously, his floppy red fringe shifting along his forehead – he really needed a hair cut, Molly thought in an effort to distract herself. "And he has a little gadget he uses to-"
Hermione giggled quite loudly, her hands covering her mouth inadequately as her cheeks dimpled and her eyes crinkled. "Daddy and Mr. Weasley stopped on the way down to talk about the tools from the shed, and I had to tell them you'd be waiting for them so you could do the adult talk."
Anne laughed quietly, her face softening as she pushed one of her daughter's curls away from her face and behind her ear- Molly smiled when another thick curl fell forward to take its place.
The conversation drifted into comfortable places, curiosity welcomed and answered as well as reciprocated on both sides- little Hermione smiled and watched them with a quietness that surprised Molly and made her a little uncomfortable. The Weasley matriarch was used to mischief and shouts, children fighting for attention or fighting each other.
Instead Hermione only spoke when spoken to, and she waited patiently with a curious expression when she had her own question.
Molly shifted, and as she surreptitiously watched the child she was startled when the girl's face suddenly went blank. She must have jumped because the three other adults looked at her before following her gaze to the limp child, Arthur gaping while the two Grangers looked distinctly uncomfortable under their combined shock.
John firmed his face and gently pulled his little girl onto his lap, wrapping his arms about her form as he gave them a heavy look.
Arthur stammered before he smiled tentatively. "Does that happen often?"
Anne sighed and smiled, her fingers stroking her daughter's hand as she held it caringly. "We aren't sure how often it happens when she's alone, but usually we catch it once a month."
Hermione suddenly mumbled and shifted, her eyes fluttering open before she sat up perkily. "Daddy! There's a little boy like me! But his family's not nice at all! They actually call him a freak! But we know he's just magic, right?"
John smiled indulgently at his daughter; Arthur remained gaping (though his eyes were crinkled into happy crescents and he leaned forward to listen to the girl child).
"And he's really nice! He'll be my friend at Hogwarts, don't you think? That will be nice, we can protect each other and he won't tease me about my hair because his is almost as messy!"
Molly gazed at her in astonishment before focusing confused eyes on Hermione.
"Oh? And what will you do when he's your friend."
There was a pause and her face scrunched up in thought, a little sun freckle prominent on her nose as she stared down it at the table. Then she grinned. "I'll stand by him no matter what! And he'll like me for helping him whenever I can!"
"But what will he do for you?" Arthur questioned fondly.
She blinked at him in confusion, and Molly's eyebrows rose as her meek voice spoke out, "He'll be my friend," and it sounded more like an enquiry to them than an assertion on her part.
Molly held in her tears as the parents sobered and hugged their darling child. Their lips speaking sweet everything's against her hair as they wept and Arthur stared on sadly.
This child was more than deserving of that friendship.
Molly prayed that she would get it.