Author's note: This is my first attempt at a multi-chaptered fic. I just got this idea and ran with it. I'm really sorry if this story is too similar to anyone's; i haven't done it intentionally. I would like comments, whether they're flames or praise, because i need to be able to improve my writing! Thanks! Oh, if you haven't been living under a rock for the past however many years, you'll already know that Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling and not me, i can only wish. sniff.
Update: I recently made the decision to edit and improve this fic - making the chapters longer, putting some together and tweaking grammatical and spelling mistakes! The actual plot and all of the content hasn't changed - i've just improved and tweaked some of the structural errors! This first chapter is now chapters one and two of the old story put together.
Anyone who knew Hermione Granger knew that, in the face of trouble, she always managed to maintain her composure and keep calm. It was a trait which made her the most useful of the Golden Trio; she gave Harry a calm head, and made sure that Ron didn't lose complete concentration. It was often said that, without the sensibility of Hermione Granger, The Boy Who Lived would not have done so the second time around. Unfortunately, however, upon the occasion of her twenty first birthday, Hermione discovered something that threatened to completely destroy her well-known poise. The truth was, the famous muggle born companion of Harry Potter was, in fact, a pureblood.
Hermione stared at her parents who sat opposite her, wearing matching apologetic smiles. She didn't thank them very kindly for their timing nor their delivery; blurting it out over the kitchen table at dinner wasn't exactly the kindest way to discover that your entire life had been a lie. Hermione's parents were both aghast at the reaction that followed; they had never seen her so emotional about anything, and it was quite a shock when the table toppled over without so much as a shove or a flick of a wand. Hermione opened her mouth and shut it again, and she knew that she looked remarkably stupid, but what else could she do? Words seemed to fail her. All she really wanted to do was, very childishly, stick her fingers in her ears and scream "la la la" until her parents chose to leave her alone.
"Oh Hermione darling, please say something." Her mother pleaded; her eyes were a little blurry with welling tears, at which Hermione openly scoffed.
"I can't believe that you expect me to accept all of this so easily! It was such a shock to me, at the age of eleven, to discover that I was a witch. And then to go through the whole of my education with people wondering how I was so capable, when all I had were two silly muggle dentists for parents! Don't you ever think how much easier it would have been, for all of us, if I'd known the truth?"
"Of course!" Her father said sadly, shaking his head. "It was so hard, watching you struggle with the prejudice that was directed towards you! But it was for your own safety."
"My safety? I don't understand." Mrs Granger looked nervously over to her husband.
"Well, when you were born…Voldermort was just starting to stir his troops properly and we were worried. Our connections, our blood status…everything was pointing him in our direction, and we simply didn't want to be involved. The ministry was offering a service, albeit a very hushed up one, to some pureblood families who felt they were in danger, they integrated us into the muggle world with no little trouble, and we became the Grangers."
Hermione let out a shaky sigh and clenched her fists. She was trying her very best to summon every scrap of composure she had, but it was certainly difficult when faced with her parents. Up until then, they had only irritated her as far as ordinary parents irritated ordinary children, but now they infuriated her like no one else had ever done before. It was almost as if the people that sat before her then were completely different to the ones that had been there for the previous 21 years of her life. Suddenly, it struck her that something was particularly odd about what her mother had just said.
"Becamethe Grangers? What do you mean by that? Isn't it our name?"
"No," Mr Granger responded hurriedly, "My real name is Felix Giles Divitis, and your mother's name is Wilhelmina Divitis. We didn't want to change your name, so it is Hermione Jean Divitis."
Hermione made a sound that almost sounded like a cat being wounded. She balled her hands into fists, digging her nails into the palms of her hands, before letting out a shuddering sigh.
"I don't want a different name. My name is Hermione Granger, no matter how much you claim otherwise. Do you have any idea how difficult this will make my life? As if I hadn't had enough problems with the press and the ministry – now you add another lot of complications to the already speedily mounting pile!" She was screeching now, she knew, but hysteria was quickly overriding whatever sense of self-control she had previously had.
"I know darling, I know!" Mrs Granger said. "But we never expected back then that things would be quite so…well…complex. The only thing I can suggest is that you go to bed and get a little shut-eye."
"Yes, you need to prepare for tomorrow."
"Tomorrow." Hermione stated blankly. "Would you care to explain what's happening tomorrow, or will I have to wait until my thirtieth birthday to find that out?"
"Well, we have to make it official that we've returned, you see, so we'll be going to the ministry of magic tomorrow. Just to get our affairs in order; retrieve our wands and the keys to our Gringotts accounts, that sort of thing." Her mother said. "You'll be coming with us, as we'll have a press release to make."
"A press release?" It was almost as if they hadn't been listening to a word she had said. If there was anything that Hermione had grown to hate, it was the bloody press. Rita Skeeter and her gaggle of notoriously vicious paparazzi had firmly settled the notion in Hermione's mind, that not one newspaper was worthy of her time. Not even the Quibbler, however much Luna liked to claim otherwise; they were just as bad at printing salacious gossip and unfounded rumours. "I refuse to go to a press release."
"But you must!" Her mother gasped. "Darling, don't you understand? We were amongst the top wizarding families – Divitis is a famous name, you know! We were celebrities, known all over the world. It was a great tragedy when we went missing, and it is our duty to let the world know we're back." Hermione felt sick to her stomach. She'd heard such dross before, heard it coming directly from the mouth of her greatest enemy.
"That…you sound like the Malfoys!" She shuddered. "Why must I go through this? No one really cares about me, not anymore! Can't I just carry on being Hermione Granger, out of the spotlight?"
"No. I'm afraid we must present an image of unity – we need you to re-establish our place in society, Hermione."
"I can't believe this!" She growled angrily. "I can't believe you didn't tell me sooner! Why did you keep it a secret for so long?"
Her mother smiled somewhat sadly, before giving a nonchalant shrug.
"You've been rather busy, dear, fighting the man that we ran away from!"
That did it really, tipped her over the edge. She stood up quickly, putting her hands angrily on her hips. She had been fighting Lord Voldemort; she had been faced with a fierce enemy, thinking that she was a mudblood, only having a limited knowledge of the wizarding world. Her parents had been powerful, by the sounds of things, and they had run away. Where was the justice in that?
"That should make you even more ashamed." She spat, before turning and leaving the room. She made sure to slam the door behind her, even if it was rather adolescent of her.
As she led on her bed, surrounded by her cuddly toys and boy band posters from childhood, Hermione felt as though she could scream. Of all the places Hermione had expected herself to be on the evening of her birthday, it was not her childhood bedroom. Despite all of her hard work and determination, despite working her way through the ranks of the ministry whilst fighting prejudice along the way, had she really fallen back so far to spend the night there? It seemed that she had. And tomorrow she would fall even further and embarrass herself in front of the whole of the wizarding world. What would her friends think? Would it make any difference to them? She hoped it wouldn't for she had, after all, not truly changed. Hermione gave a frustrated sigh, as she fingered the lace on the edge of her quilt. She had always had the utmost respect for her parents, but having found out their reason for deserting their life in the wizarding world, she had lost it. It disappointed and angered her to hear that because her parents were "of noble stock" they managed to find a way to escape the terror that was Voldermort, and Harry's parents had been offered nothing, but left to their imminent death. Tiredness flooded her then, and she couldn't take the constant whirring of her brain. She had too many thoughts in her head, too many questions. Her eyes fluttered closed and she allowed sleep to overtake her. Tomorrow would no doubt, be difficult.
It truly was as horrific as she had been expecting it to be.
Her mother had burst into her bedroom, shaking her awake with an over-excited grin on her face. Hermione had tried her very hardest to wriggle her way out of going to the ministry, but her mum was determined. Thankfully, she managed to push her out of her bedroom whilst she got dressed, but it didn't stop her from shouting criticism and tips through the door.
"Hermione! Hermione hurry up, we don't want to be late! I hope you're looking nice because you will be in front of the whole wizarding press and we have an impression to make! I –"
Hermione walked into the sitting room wearing a pale pink summer dress and a simple pair of heels. She looked at her mother and her father, nodded curtly and then at down on the sofa. Her mother was looking at herself anxiously in the mirror and sighing. "I look so old, now, I'm sure no-one will be able to recognise me!"
"Oh mother!" Hermione snapped, "Can't we just get it over and done with, please?" Her patience was becoming thinner by the second. She could barely contain her irritation as her mother looked at her reflection in the mirror, and her father seemed to be mumbling to himself as though practicing a speech. Her father walked over to the fireplace clutching Hermione's Floo powder bag.
"A jolly good idea, come along Wil, Herm." Scowling at her father, she snatched a handful of the powder, threw it into the fire and practically screamed "Ministry of magic!"
Gracefully, she landed in the beautifully tiled hall of the ministry, which was bustling with people. She had had to request a day off that day, and she only imagined how awkward it was going to be when she turned up in the office, the very office that she worked in every single day, for a meeting with the man who employed her. She gave a frustrated sigh and rubbed her eyes, ignoring the thudding noise behind her that announced the arrival of her parents. She turned around to find them in a pile on the floor in front of the fireplace. Clambering to his feet, Felix was groaning.
"I haven't done that in such a long time!" He offered a hand to his wife, who was dusting off her clothes. "Now if I remember rightly, the department we need is on the fortieth floor. Is that right Herm?"
"Yes." Ignoring them, she tore off across the hall and skipped nimbly into the elevator, letting the doors close on her hurrying parents. She rested her head against the back wall of the lift and gave a sigh; it was a small victory, but it gave her a sufficient amount of satisfaction to see her parents left behind.
Her satisfaction was short lived as, by some bizarre stroke of luck, her parents were already at the main desk when she arrived. She looked at them quizzically, but didn't say a word, choosing to go straight up to the desk and speak to the man who was snoring in to a mug of coffee.
"Mundungus." She said, "Mundungus!" Growing irritated, she reached out and began to shake him. Even though she did this every single day, without it being any particular frustration, that morning it almost made her scream. Mundungus looked up at her blearily, his eyes bloodshot and his face covered in a dull shadow of stubble. He stank of some putrid cologne or another.
"Wha'? Wha'!" He frowned. "Hermione? What the bloody 'ell are you doing here?"
She chose to ignore his question, and instead folded her arms testily.
"What sort of impression are you making, sleeping at the desk? Honestly, Mundungus, I got this job for you, and you show your gratitude by falling asleep?"
"I don't remember ever asking you for a job, so I don't have anything to be grateful for!"
"Whatever; now is not the time to have this argument." She sighed. "We have an appointment with Zachary Joss, I know where his office is, obviously, but I just thought I'd clear it up with you." Mundungus straightened his ugly brown bow tie, and stared at her.
"One minute, didn't you take the day off?"
"Yes! Just…just sort it out please." The man waved his wand lazily, conjuring a piece of parchment. Pulling a face, he looked at Hermione and then at the paper.
"This here says that Mr Joss has an appointment with someone called Divitis. You're called Granger." Hermione felt her stomach turn, and the urge to run away overcame her. Instead, she stood up taller. She could do this; she had the bravery, she had the courage. She was a Gryffindor!
"No, Hermione Divitis. And these are my parents, Felix and…and Wilhelmina. Please, just take us to Zachary, you can ask questions later."
The office in which she sat was grim and unremarkable; the walls were plain, the material on the chairs made of a grey itchy fabric. Her own office, which was just one door down, was much more colourful and welcoming; but then, Zachary always preferred to keep his office business-like. Hermione's role within the department was possibly the most important, behind Zachary of course; she spent a lot of her working time speaking to the muggle prime minister, and sorting out paper work to integrate members of the wizarding world into that of the muggles. It was peculiar, to think that her parents' papers had once passed through this very office. She wondered what she would have done, if she'd ever come across them. But then was not the time to think about it. Hermione looked up from her knees then, and her eyes met those of the friendly, but dull, man whom she worked with every day.
"I must say that this is a bit of a shock…" he stated; his northern origin was present in his accent. "I had no idea that you…that…well, I'll just get your paperwork." He pointed his wand at his throat. "Mundungus! Get the Divitis paperwork in here, NOW!"
Hermione sighed, knowing that the paperwork would not arrive for a good few minutes. Zachary's face flushed red and he put his wand to his neck once more, "Mundungus! I WILL fire you!" With a pop, the parchment appeared.
"Good, now we can get started. There isn't really much to say, other than welcome back! Of course, all the necessary documents will be taken from the muggle government in due course…" He shot a look at Hermione; that would be her job, no doubt, at some point that week. "And they should then be moved back to our files. You'll find your wands that have been stored for you on the desk when you leave, and you can move back in to your estate tomorrow. Your key for your Gringotts vault will be with your wands too. As for Miss Gr…Miss Divitis, your last name has been changed on all paperwork. I do believe that the wizarding world has sent out all of its best reporters, and they're waiting for you in the lobby. Have the day off tomorrow, Bossy; I'll get Mariella to put your paperwork through. Bye."
Mr and Mrs Divitis were positively giddy as they took the elevator back down to the lobby. Hermione just stood huffily at the back, her arms folded and a scowl fixed on her face. At one point, however, she had to use her wand to put out a fire that her mother had accidentally conjured; needless to say, she wasn't pleased. Hermione could feel the elevator juddering to a halt, and winced as the woman's voice rang out announcing their arrival in the lobby.
"Now dear, put on a big smile and remember to look happy! Alright?" The doors slid open, and Hermione's eyes were affronted with the flashing of hundreds of cameras, all wanting a picture of her.
"How does it feel, Hermione, to know that your whole life has been a lie?"
"Did you miss the wizarding world Mrs Divitis?"
"Why didn't you tell anyone that you were going away?"
Hermione didn't answer anyone; she just let her mother take over. Instead, she stood still with a small fake smile on her face. All she really wanted to do was run away, but it would be easier to comply. For now.