My story is one that many normal teenage girls can attest to. Well, almost. If normal teenage girls can make things soar across their rooms with the flick of a wand, or recite whole books as easily as they can the alphabet, or wake up one morning to find that they are not who they believed they were for seventeen years of their lives. If that's what normal teenage girls go through, then, yes, I'm sure that they can relate to my experience.
To understand the full meaning of my tale, I feel obligated to inform you that I am the smartest witch in my class; no, I am the smartest student in my class. I am also best friends with one of the most famous wizards of our time. My parents are Muggles, a characteristic that a certain arrogant, pompous ferret loves to torment me for. I don't really care as much as I let on to, because I beat that poor excuse for a human being on all of our exams, so the difference of our blood means nothing. If he wants to use it as a way to feel superior to me, that's fine, because we both know that I will always be better than him. My name is Hermione Granger, and this is my story.
The sun streamed through the open window, a solitary beam of light landing across my face. Of all the places, I thought bitterly. Now that I was awake, the chances of falling back to sleep were slim to none. Grudgingly, I got up and yanked the curtains closed. To a stranger, it would seem I was not much of a morning person, and perhaps it was true.
I crossed my room to examine my reflection in the mirror, groaning in frustration as I did so. Now, you may be thinking that I was self-conscious and hated what I saw, but you are mistaken. I had changed over the summer, drastically at best. Curves that I never thought I had were suddenly blatantly obvious, in the best possible way, of course. My skin had darkened, and I suspected that spending the majority of my time in the park reading a book had contributed to this. But what was most shocking, was what was happening to my head. In just a few short days, my hair had darkened almost five shades, so that my golden brown hair was now nearing black. My frilly waves had tamed to become gorgeous ringlets that hung down to just above the small of my back. My eyes—oh, Merlin, my eyes—had gone from a boring shade of hazel to bright, honey-brown with golden specks. I've never been an expert on looks, but I did know that changing that much over such a short period of time was not normal. That's why I groaned, because there was definitely something wrong with me.
Yawning, I left my room and stumbled downstairs into my kitchen, and immediately noticed three empty coffee cups sitting on the table. That was odd; my parents don't usually drink coffee, as they are dentists. My mother only drinks it when she has her girlfriends over, and my father absolutely refuses the "teeth-rotting junk" under any circumstances. I shrugged it off, figuring my mother has company. There was a basket of muffins on the counter, no doubt from one of her friends, and I took one and warmed it with my wand. I sat down to eat it and reached for the newspaper that lay unread on the table. This was another oddity, as that was usually the first thing my dad did in the mornings.
I heard the front door open and my parents' voices lingering the hall. They sounded strained, almost arguing with each other. As they got nearer I tried to decipher the words from their conversation, but the wall between us made it too muffled to understand. The door to the kitchen swung open, and my dad entered, my mum walking in his wake and speaking rather urgently.
"I see no reason not to tell Hermione, she's going to find out sooner or later."
"Tell me what, Mum?" I eyed my mother curiously. Finally aware of my presence, my parents stopped talking and looked up at me. My mother gaped at me as if she was horrified by what she had said, before averting her gaze hastily and walking towards the sink. After minutes of silence from both of my parents I huffed loudly.
"Fine," I said, glaring at my dad. "If you two want to hide something from me, go ahead. Just don't expect me to talk to you."
I turned to walk back up the stairs, but then I finally heard my mother's voice tentatively sounding from the sink. I smirked to myself as I thought about how easy it was to manipulate my parents into caving so quickly. I could probably give that ferret a run for his money.
"Honey," Mum was saying. "Please, we promise that you will know soon enough. We can't talk about it now, but soon—very soon—we will."
Curiosity had gotten the best of me, but I didn't let it show. Instead I continued up the stairs and shut my door closed with a sharp snap. I dressed quickly, threw my hair into a pony tail, and rummaged through my drawers for a quill and a sheaf of parchment. Concentrating on my destination, I turned on the spot, appearing moments later under my favorite tree in the park two blocks from my house. This place gave me solace and comfort; no one ever came here so I could apparate in and out without fear of someone spotting me.
I spent the better part of an hour in the shade of the tree, replying to the letters that I had received yesterday from Harry, Ron, and Ginny. With a small pang of jealousy, I pictured them all at the Burrow, laughing and playing Quidditch or Exploding Snap without me. Then I laughed at myself, knowing how petty and childish that was, especially since I would be there with them in three days.
Pulling myself to my feet, I decided that I would walk home. It was a nice walk, and I was not yet ready to leave the comfort of the fresh, warm summer air. When I arrived at my house, I entered through the kitchen door and found my parents sitting at the table. I was surprised to see the steady flow of tears streaming down my mother's face and the anticipation in my father's. They looked up at me as I walked in, and my mum immediately stood up and embraced me tightly.
"Mum, what's going on?" I asked once she had released me.
"We have been talking," my father replied. "It's time we told you the truth."
Confused and curious, I merely nodded as my father gestured to the seat across from him. I sat down and he folded his hands on the table in an almost business-like manner. I looked from him to my mother, who was leaning against the sink with her arms folded across her chest and looking at me apologetically. It was she who spoke next.
"You see, Hermione, dear, your father and I—" she stopped, looking as though she had said something forbidden. She glanced at my dad for help.
"Well, that's just it," he said painfully. "I am not your father."
"What!" I shrieked. Of all the things that they could have said, this was the last thing I expected. I glared at my mother, not bothering to hide my anger. "You had an affair! How could you? How could you do that to him? To me?"
My words had an odd effect on my parents: they started laughing. Yes, they had the audacity to laugh at me, at my confusion and my hurt.
"Hermione," my father said once he had calmed down. "No one had an affair. We love each other, and nothing like that would ever happen."
This only served to heighten my confusion, and I looked at my mother questioningly.
"When we got married," she started, with a little more confidence than before. "I went to the doctor for a check up and to see if I was healthy enough to start having kids. He told me I that I was infertile, and that the only way I could be a mother was through adoption."
The impact of what she was saying hit me like a bullet to the chest and my mouth dropped to the floor.
"So, what you're saying is that I'm adopted?" I laughed, refusing to believe that it was true. They merely nodded, and I scoffed at them. "No. No. There is no way in hell that you are telling me the truth. I am a Granger. You guys are lying."
Of course, I understood that there would be no reason that someone would lie about something like this, but it was the only way that I could make sense of it all. You don't just tell someone that their entire life has been a lie. What did they expect from me? To immediately accept the fact that the two people who had cared for me and raised me were not my real parents?
"Hermione, we went from orphanage to orphanage trying to find a child," my father said. "But we couldn't settle on anyone. Then one day we were visited by a couple who had heard we were looking to adopt. They told us that they had a baby daughter and thought that we would be the perfect parents to her. They didn't tell us much except that it wasn't going to be permanent. We accepted, knowing how much it meant to them. We knew that the day we would have to let you go would be the hardest day of our lives."
I shook my head, aware of the tears welling in my eyes.
"No," I choked, my hoarse voice barely above a whisper, and ran up the stairs to the solitude of my room. Not even seconds later I heard a knock on the door.
"Hermione, please," came my mother's pleading voice. "Please let me in. You have to understand that we wanted to tell you, but we couldn't."
"Ha! Why couldn't you? Thought it would be better to lie to me my entire life?"
"No," she said, desperation in her voice. "Your birth parents requested that we didn't tell you until the day you would return to them."
I yanked the door open and glared at her incredulously.
"The day I would return to them?" I shouted. "What the hell does that mean?"
The tears returned to my mother's face as she looked down at her feet.
"They came this morning," she said, a small sob escaping her lips. "They're coming to get you later tonight."
"What?" I screamed, any ounce of dignity I had gone as I threw my hands in the air. "You have got to be kidding me. You tell me—completely out of the blue, I might add—that you aren't my mother and expect me to run off with people I have never met and call them my family? You're insane. That's the only possible explanation I can think of."
I shook my head again and folded my arms across my chest. I know I was being childish and stubborn, but I refused to believe that not only was I not the daughter of who I thought to be my parents for seventeen years, but was being taken away by two complete strangers. It was utter insanity and preposterousness.
"I am not insane," my mother replied in an dangerously calm voice. "This is the truth. This is reality. You can sit in here and refuse to face it, or you can come to terms with it and accept that this is your life, whether or not you want it."
With that she stalked out of my room and closed the door behind her. How dare she be angry with me? I'm the one who should be doing the stalking. I'm the one who should be upset. Who is she to think that she can spring something like this on me and expect me to accept it? It's like being told that the sky is not really blue, that it never has been, and to look up and see that it's red. You'd think you were the butt of some very cruel joke, not the victim of reality.
I huffed and collapsed onto my bed, catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I went. I sat back up and examined my reflection. So many damn changes! I cursed and threw myself out the door.
I found my mum back in the kitchen, her head buried in her hands.
"Ok, so assuming for a moment that it is in fact true that the two people who I thought to be my parents were lying to me my entire life," I said, causing her to look up at me in surprise. "And assuming that I am, in fact, adopted, who would my birth parents be and does my sudden change of appearance have anything to do with it?"
My mother merely smiled knowingly and stood up to wrap her arms around me.
"Your change in appearance has everything to do with it."
I sighed and looked up at the ceiling in frustration.
"And?" I asked, trying to keep my voice calm.
"And your birth parents will be here shortly, and they can fill you in on everything else," my mum said, hugging me tighter as her eyes welled up with tears.
I spent the rest of the day in my room, attempting to read my book and forget everything. Needless to say I failed miserably. Curiosity and anxiety were weighing me down like the hundreds of books that I carried around at school. I've never done well with anticipation, and I swear I think I paced a hole in my carpet. Finally, I heard the doorbell clang and practically ran down the stairs. I stopped on the bottommost step as I heard voices in the hall, my heart pounding furiously against my chest.
Moments later the kitchen door opened and my mum stepped in, followed by a gorgeous couple who, much to my sheer annoyance, looked just like me. The woman was skinny with curves in all the same places as I had. Her hair was as curly as mine, though it was jet black. Her jaw lines bore so much resemblance to mine that I had to be a fool to not believe that I was related to her. The man had the same eyes as I did, the same pensive expression and observant nature. He was tall, lean, and built with the same tanned skin that I had so recently acquired. They were both amazingly beautiful and together, they had a mesmerizing effect.
When the woman saw me her eyes immediately welled, and I was shocked when she threw her arms around me and wept openly. The man smiled at me and put one hand on my shoulder and the other around his wife's waist.
"Oh, my," the woman said, her eyes never leaving mine. "She's beautiful."
"I'm sorry," I said, almost laughing. "This is too ridiculous. I'm going to lie down and wake up to find this is all some hilarious dream. It's been fun, but it's time to get back to reality."
I was about to storm back to my room when the woman spoke softly.
"No," she said. "This is reality. We are your birth parents. You belong to us, and we belong to you."
"That's bullshit," I said, forgetting my manners and forgetting the fact that I had scolded Ron on numerous occasions for using profanity. "I am a Granger! I don't care what you say. I don't even know your name, why should I listen to you?"
"First of all," she said, showing the same determination and confidence that I had earned my reputation for. "You will not speak to me in that manner, I am your mother whether you accept it or not. And secondly," she paused, pulling out two pieces of parchment and handing them to me. "This is why you should listen to me."
I looked at the papers, one was my birth certificate, and the other was a certificate of adoption. I looked down at my name and gasped.
"No," I breathed, looking up at her. "You're—"
"My name is Madeleine Zabini, and this is my husband Damon."
Obedience, loyalty, and honor: three crucial qualities a noble Pureblood must possess in order to be worthy and successful. It was demanding and exhausting at times, all of these expectations and judgments pressuring you to achieve admirable triumphs. With the right friends and the right enemies, however, I have found that it is easier to hold true to your blood. I was fortunate, for my family was never officially in league with the Dark Lord, even though we supported him—well, pretended to. If we would have denounced our support of Voldemort, we would have been labeled as Blood Traitors and in as much danger as Mudbloods. Therefore, I associated myself with only Purebloods, and it became second nature to hate those whose magical bloodline was faulty.
Naturally, when my parents told me to protect her but gave me no reason for it, I was hesitant. Doing so would tarnish my reputation as a Muggle-hating Pureblood, therefore making me just as vulnerable as she. To disobey, however, simply was not something that a Pureblood would do. Fortunately, it was easy for me to watch out for her while maintaining my dignity. Of course, I still disliked her, but I found that you didn't have to like a person to protect them. I never thought that years later, my parents would be sitting before me telling me something like this. I never imagined that the true reason I was assigned to her was because she is my sister. Who would have thought that a know-it-all Gryffindor would be related to Blaise Zabini?
The lights, damn it, turn off the bloody lights! I thought, groaning into my pillow. In some distant place outside of my head I heard my mother's voice. She was saying something to me, but my mind was still too exhausted to function normally, and I couldn't translate the words. I grunted to show that I had heard her, the lights went out again, and I heard my door close.
Some time later, maybe an hour or two, I awoke again and couldn't bring myself to fall back asleep. Reluctantly, I pulled myself from the comfort of my bed and stumbled towards the bathroom. I turned on the shower, breathing in the steam and allowing it to envelope me before stepping in. The warmth woke my senses, and my body slowly followed. By the time I wrapped a towel around my waist I was completely conscious and no longer in my sleepy state of half-wakefulness. This was my usual morning routine, and it worked for me.
I quickly dressed and went downstairs to eat breakfast. At first it seemed odd that my parents weren't already up, but I then remembered my mum telling me something in the early hours of the morning. Concentrating hard, I tried to recall what she had said, but could only remember a few choice words: "Granger," "sister," and "back later."
And then it came to me, and a rush of anticipation and excitement coursed through my newly awoken body. Today was the day that I would be reunited with my twin sister. Surprisingly, I had recovered from the initial shock that came with the news. For a while, I remained in denial, because it was easier to refuse the truth than to accept the fact that someone who I had been taught to hate, I was now supposed to love. Now, however, I had settled on the fact that I may not have hated her as much as I wanted to believe I did. No, in fact, I admired her. She was always so strong, determined, and confident. Sure, she was bossy and harsh, but always within reason and only because she stuck to her morals and convictions, a feat no Pureblood could ever achieve. It wouldn't be so bad, having her for a sister, and I was rather thrilled with the prospect of showing her a whole new way of life.
Almost as soon as these feelings washed through me, a wave of mangled guilt and amusement crept in. My friends were coming over today. I had not told anyone about her, as I wasn't quite sure how they would handle it. I'm still not sure. Draco hates her, but I know that he's really only jealous of her. If there is anything he hates more than Mudbloods, its losing. To have a Mudblood beat him, well, that's just unacceptable. I think he feels the need to remind her that she will always be below him, no matter how intelligent she is. He feels threatened, and will do anything to consolidate for this rare weakness of his. She acts as though it hurts her, and her friends defend her, but I can see through it. She's only humoring him. She knows how he really feels, and she pities him for it. That only makes me admire her more, and I cannot wait to see how my best friend will react to her. I have a slight suspicion that he will feel threatened in an entirely different way. I see the way he eyes her. He's never been one to be discreet about these things, and I cannot fathom how she doesn't notice. I'm not even sure that he notices. Or if he does, he ignores it, and pretends that its second nature. Which, in his defense, it is. Today should be interesting, and I'm sure the rest of my summer will be as well.