The Harry Potter universe and all the characters in it belong to J. K. Rowling. I get nothing out of this except enjoyment.
After I finished my last major story, Hermione's Plan, several readers suggested I try writing an AU Harry Potter story, or one that began at a different starting point. (All of my stories up to that time were post-HBP.) I had already decided that post-GOF was where I would most want the story to go in a different direction than the official books had, so I began working on the idea for this story. I waited until after book 7 came out to see if my idea might work as an alternative to the official story line, or if I would even want to continue to write Harry Potter fan fiction. I finally decided to give it a try, so this story will be a rewrite of books 5, 6, and 7. Interestingly, several readers have recently urged me to continue the story Trust, which was a rewrite of a few key portions of books 5 and 6. To some extent, this story shares some features with that one, but on a much more ambitious scale.
From my reading of other fanfiction, I have observed that one of the dangers of doing a rewrite is that the author tends to write page after page repeating exactly the same thing that happened in the original books, or worse yet, in the movies. I have tried to avoid this by using some techniques that I feel worked well in some of my other stories. Therefore, part of this story will be told through letters between Harry and Hermione, similar to what I did in my story Dear Ginny. And a great deal of the story that doesn't differ much from the books will be more concisely related through journal entries, similar to what I did in Hermione's Plan. (Hence the title – Notebooks and Letters.)
In addition, this will actually be a story within a story, told by a present-day Hermione to her daughter as she looks back through the letters and journals she has saved. I imagine many readers will be curious as to what happened to bring the two of them to their current situation. I'm afraid you will have to be very patient, as most of that information will not appear until late in the story. I got the inspiration for using this format from the movie, The Notebook.
Oh, and as you might expect if you've read my other work, this is a Harry-Hermione story.
Time it was and what a time it was
July 21, 2007
The woman with the long, curly brown hair clutched the book to her chest as she left the bookstore. Since she bore little resemblance to the girl who had played her in the movies, there was no chance that she would be recognized, but nevertheless she did not linger, and quickly made her way home. There she placed the book on the bookshelf with the six others. She would read it later when she had some time to herself. She sighed. This was the last one – it was finally over. Now perhaps the whole thing would die down.
A time of innocence
A time of consequences
Two years later
Hermione looked up and smiled at her daughter, although she had a pretty good idea of what was coming.
"You said we would read the story when I was older. I think I'm old enough now."
"I think you are too, Rosie. Come sit by me and we'll read the books together. Then we'll talk about them."
It took several weeks as they read during the evenings, but eventually they neared the end of the last book. Her daughter's mood had gradually changed during the story, from excited and happy early on, making comments about the foolish antics of the characters, to more somber and worried as the story turned darker, and now she was quite agitated.
'I've had enough trouble for a lifetime.' Hermione read with a tone of finality in her voice.
"Is that it?" the young girl asked anxiously. "Is that how it ends?"
"No, there's an epilogue," Hermione answered. "It's entitled, 'Nineteen Years Later'." She paused and waited for the bright girl to recognize the incongruity. It didn't take long, as Rose's eyes narrowed immediately.
"But that's not possible!" she objected. "It hasn't been that long yet."
"You're right, it hasn't," Hermione responded, but said no more, letting her daughter draw the obvious conclusion.
"But that means – she made it up?" the child concluded in surprise. Hermione smiled at the offended tone in her daughter's voice, a tone she knew would have been present in her own voice at that age, at the thought that someone would put something in a book that wasn't true. She nodded in confirmation.
"But, what about the rest of it? Did she make that up too?"
"Parts of it. The first four books were pretty accurate."
Rose thought back over the story, then looked up at her mother with a sly grin. "So, you really did go to the ball with Viktor Krum, and you really did snog him?
Hermione put on an affronted air. "I went to the ball with him, yes. You don't need to know about the other part."
Hermione laughed as she dropped the act and reached an arm around her daughter, hugging her to her side. "Don't worry, I wasn't a 'scarlet woman' or anything. It was just a simple goodnight kiss. I was so surprised I didn't even kiss him back."
The young girl folded her arms across her chest in satisfaction. Children were never comfortable with the thought of their parents kissing anyone other than each other. "Good." Then she frowned again. "And what about …"
"Like I said, a lot of the last three books were fabrication," Hermione interrupted to head off this line of questioning. "But yes, your mum and dad did kiss other people on occasion."
Her daughter wasn't satisfied with that response, but put it aside for now and turned her questioning to one of the other things that had been bothering her. "So in the sixth book when you were acting so weird?"
Hermione nodded, glad that the girl had picked up on that. "You're right, that wasn't really me. The story got further and further from reality as it went along."
"So the last book … how much of that was real?" Rose demanded.
"Well, we did spend a large part of the year roaming around the countryside living in a tent," Hermione allowed. "But a lot of it was changed. We weren't as clueless as she made it seem, and a lot of the things that seemed to just happen to fall together at the end we actually figured out earlier. Many of those 'convenient coincidences' were actually the result of research and hard work."
"Why?" her daughter asked. "Why did she change it so much?"
"Well, she had her own ideas about how the story should end," Hermione explained. "She was quite fixated on fate and had this grand messianic story in mind. She wanted to make it seem like things just happened to us without our understanding what was going on or being able to control it. Plus, from the point of view of telling the story, you don't want to give some things away until the end, so she couldn't put them in any earlier or it would have ruined the surprise ending." Rose frowned for a bit as she thought about this explanation. "Basically, if something sounded ridiculously implausible or impossibly contrived, it probably was made up."
"Like what?" the inquisitive girl wanted to know.
Hermione thought a moment and came up with a particularly egregious instance. "Well, for example, a person can't learn to speak Parseltongue just by hearing someone else speak it a few times. It's a talent you have to be born with, or have the power transferred to you somehow."
Hermione could see that this satisfied her daughter somewhat, but not completely, and continued. "As far as the romance was concerned, she had this idea of a fairy tale ending, where the beautiful princess sits in her castle and waits for the hero to rescue her and save the day. And she wanted one big happy family at the end. It rarely happens that way in real life. Love develops gradually as you get to know each other and begin to care for each other."
"But how was she allowed to just ignore the way it really happened?" Rose complained. "Couldn't you make her tell the truth?"
Hermione sighed. That decision had been made years ago, and she wasn't sure if she would change it even if she could. Perhaps it was better that the whole world didn't know how their lives had turned out. When they were preparing for the Horcrux hunt she had been trying to think of possible sources of cash. Moving her parents to Australia and setting them up with completely new identities had depleted most of her family's funds. Ron's family certainly didn't have any money to spare, and contrary to what some people thought, Harry wasn't about to inherit a fortune when he turned seventeen. He had plenty of Galleons in his vault in Gringotts, but extended traveling would be expensive.
She had come up with the idea that Harry's story might have some value as a muggle fantasy book. After contacting several book publishers she finally had one express some interest. They informed her that they were considering a story from an unknown author that was very similar to her tale. This author was a good storyteller but weak on details. In subsequent meetings they finally agreed to use Hermione's notes as source material. In return they gave her an advance of 5000 Pounds and a small percentage of future royalties. Harry had trouble believing that anyone would be interested in his story, but gave his OK when Hermione convinced him they had nothing to lose. Ron thought the whole thing amusing but also went along with it.
The author adjusted her storyline and the first book, about Harry's early life and first year at Hogwarts, was published soon after. It was successful, and the next three books came out in relatively short order. At this point the author balked. The books were selling beyond anyone's wildest imagination, and suddenly a lot of money was at stake. And she didn't like the way Hermione's tale had turned out, as it was contrary to her initial ideas for the story. There was a much larger time gap between the publication of the fourth and fifth books as these issues were argued. Finally Hermione gave in and let her do it her way, realizing that the contract they had signed would lead to that result anyway if they fought it in court. From then on the author used her notes only for the basic plot and technical details.
"When we sold the story to them we gave her the right to tell it whatever way she deemed fit," she explained to her daughter patiently. "We needed the money and had no idea that it would sell as well as it did. You have to admit that she turned it into a very entertaining story. And with it selling so well the small percentage we receive has turned into a nice income for us, which has come in quite handy over the years." A nice income indeed, Hermione thought wryly. A few percent of hundreds of millions of Pounds was still quite a lot of money.
The young girl conceded that point, but was still unhappy about not having the real story. Knowing that she was about to become inundated with a barrage of questions, Hermione interrupted with another suggestion to quell her curiosity. (And do what she had intended all along.)
"Look, why don't I tell you the way it really happened and that should answer most of your questions, OK?" Rose nodded and settled back on the sofa while Hermione left the room, returning in a few minutes carrying a stack of notebooks and a box of letters. She sat back down beside her daughter, lifted the first notebook from the pile, and brushed the dust off of it. On the cover bold letters in the handwriting of a young girl proclaimed, 'The Journal of Hermione Granger – Book 1'. Hermione smiled as she recalled how full of herself she had been at that tender age, to choose such an ostentatious title for her diary. She opened the notebook to the first page.
Long ago, it must be
I have a photograph
September 19, 1990
Today I learned that I am a witch.
Hermione flipped quickly through the pages, pausing on one that read:
I've been reading about the wizarding world in my new books. One of the most important events in recent history seems to be the defeat of a wizard referred to only as 'You Know Who' or 'He Who Must Not Be Named'. He must have been truly dreadful if people won't even write his name down. In any case, the most remarkable part of the story is that he was defeated ten years ago by a baby! I don't understand how that could be possible, and no one really knows how it happened. But the evil wizard was destroyed and the baby lived. In fact, they refer to him as The Boy Who Lived. Strangely enough, no one knows what happened to the boy, whose name is Harry Potter. The most interesting part is that he is my age, and if he's still living in Britain and comes to Hogwarts he'll be in my class. I can't wait to meet him!
A bit later there was a picture of her eleven-year-old self in her new wizarding robes and hat, standing between her parents.
"Mommy, is that you?" her daughter asked excitedly. "And is that Grandma and Grandpa?" Hermione looked sadly at the picture of the happy girl with her proud mother and father. Their relationship had been strained by the events of the war, and they had not been close since. They had found a new life in Australia, and were it not for wanting to see their granddaughter, they would not have had much contact with Hermione these days.
Hermione was brought back from her musings by Rose's giggle. "You really did have big teeth back then, Mommy."
"Hush child," she scolded with a friendly smack to the smiling girl's shoulder. "You just be glad you didn't inherit them from me." She continued flipping through the pages, pointing things out to her daughter, describing the terror of facing the troll in the bathroom that Halloween night, and the fast friendships that had arisen from that incident, Harry's first quidditch match, the growing suspicions about the Philosopher's Stone, and the final quest as the trio fought their way through the obstacles and challenges. She dwelled for a moment on the memory of her final parting with Harry after she solved the potions riddle, when she had thrown her arms around him, telling him he was a great wizard, and her unknowingly prophetic words. "there are more important things – friendship and bravery and …"
"Friendship and bravery and …" Those would become apt words indeed to describe the trio over the next few years, with that unspoken 'and …' hanging in the air, as time waited to discover what other feelings might develop between Hermione and the two boys.
Hermione picked up the second notebook and reviewed with her daughter the year that followed, beginning with the panic she felt when Harry and Ron didn't make it aboard the Hogwarts Express, the crash of the flying car into the Whomping Willow, (skipping over the embarrassing crush she had had on Gilderoy Lockhart), the mystery of the Heir of Slytherin and the Chamber of Secrets, the polyjuice potion brewed in a deserted bathroom.
"Mommy, why don't you have any pictures of what you looked like as a cat," teased the impish young girl. Hermione laughed and swatted her again, thanking the stars that Colin had not been allowed into the infirmary with his camera. Then she noted the large gap in the dates in the notebook that corresponded to the time when she had lain petrified in the Hogwarts Hospital Wing, followed by the entry describing how she had run into the Great Hall and jumped into Harry's arms. Afterwards she had gone back and filled in Harry and Ron's description of the parts she had missed.
The following year had been dominated by dementors and the fear of the escaped Sirius Black, but for Hermione it had also been the year of the time turner and the year her two best friends had stopped talking to her for almost two months. The notebook was filled with careful notes of where and when she had been with the time turner, so as not to inadvertently reveal the secret.
It also told the heartrending story of a lonely girl who desperately missed her best friends, and feared that their abandonment of her would be permanent. But they had eventually been reconciled and the year ended with the astonishing turnaround tale in which the alleged traitor Sirius Black had been revealed to be the victim while the rat Scabbers was unmasked as the real traitor, Peter Pettigrew.
During the summer before fourth year the next journal included some musings by the now fourteen year old girl about how her feelings might be changing toward her two male friends. At this point it was mostly speculation on how each one might be as a boyfriend, but in the section that described the dress robes she had purchased she was clearly hoping that one of them would escort her to whatever event required the formal apparel.
The description of the Quidditch World Cup was obviously written by a non-quidditch fan, as more space was devoted to Mr. Crouch's treatment of his house elf than to the match. The dominant topic, though, was the demonstration by the former Death Eaters and how it might be related to Harry's hurting scar, his vision, and the appearance of the Dark Mark.
The year that followed was the most eventful yet. There was a buildup of excitement with the arrival of the flying Beauxbatons carriage and the Durmstrang boat, but it all went crashing down in dismay when Harry's name came out of the Goblet of Fire on Halloween night. From then on it was an anxious recounting of Hermione's efforts to keep Harry alive through the three tasks, interrupted briefly by the drama of theYule Ball.
"Mommy, you looked so pretty!" gasped her daughter when she spotted the picture of Hermione in the periwinkle gown, on the arm of a scowling Viktor Krum. As the figures in the photo moved, Hermione kept shooting nervous glances off to the side, likely toward Harry and/or Ron, while Viktor looked at her, annoyed that he wasn't receiving her full attention.
"It certainly would have been nice if a couple of other boys had thought so," sighed Hermione.
"Oh, I think you know that they did," Rose objected with a gleam in her eye. "At least one did."
The year ended with Hermione's horrified account of the third task, her panic at the thought that Harry was gone when he disappeared at the end, and her immense relief when he reappeared, so overwhelming that it had made her dizzy. Relief that quickly turned to anguish when she discovered the terror that he had been subjected to, and the gut-wrenching news that Voldemort had been resurrected.
Finally, Hermione opened the fifth notebook, which began on the first day of the summer break between fourth and fifth years. This was where the story began to significantly diverge from the published account, and where she would now take up the tale for her daughter.
Today I kissed Harry.
Preserve your memories
They're all that's left you
A/N 1 – Acknowledgement – The lines that are scattered throughout this chapter are from the song, 'Bookends', by Simon and Garfunkel.
A/N 2 – The dates for this 'cover' story don't quite work out (Book 1 was actually published in 1997, which corresponds to the beginning of Year 7 in the Harry Potter timeline), but they're pretty close. I'm hoping readers will allow me a bit of artistic license to cover the discrepancy.