As you know, we have been corresponding for the last few years. However, I believe the time has come for us to meet in person. I look forward to having a face-to-face discussion on Mendelin's fourth law of Transfiguration and how it contrasts with Howinger's Law of Anti-Matter, so that we might come to a conclusion once and for all. But mostly, I feel it is time to tell you my life story, a story I have never revealed to anyone, and it is of the utmost importance that you hear it, for whether you know it or not, you play a significant role.
Send me an owl back as to when you will be expecting me. I leave France tomorrow and should be in England two days after that.
Albus Dumbledore's curiosity was piqued. Adrian Black and he had been pen pals for the last ten years or so, and for him to want to meet in person took the old man by surprise, as Adrian had vehemently refused to for the last nine of those years. The headmaster took a deep breath and decided not to worry too much about it until he had met with his younger friend. After all, with Voldemort gone and Harry safe and sound in his seventh year, Albus had earned the right to relax from constant worrying and constant planning. It was time for him to enjoy his reprieve, to take in the little things in life that usually were drowned out when the pressure mounted too high on a person. That's why Albus had treated himself to a hundred new pairs of woolen socks, and a new stock of lemon drops. Yes, Albus would wait to worry about Adrian until Adrian gave him reason to.
Hermione sat studiously in the common room. She had just finished McGonagall's most recent essay on innate magic that wasn't due for a fortnight, and picked up her Herbology text, Overlooked Flora and Fauna: A Reference Guide, intending to re-read the next few chapters so she would be prepared for the next week or so. Now that she didn't have the threat of a looming war hanging over her head, the head girl could get back to doing what she does best: learning.
It did bother her that the entire wizarding world only saw her in one of two ways, that she was a brown nosing bookworm, or that she was one of the saviors of their world and deserved lavish praise. In all honesty, she was neither. Her desire to prove herself that she felt so strongly upon entering the wizarding world at eleven had completely diminished at the climax of the war, and all that was left of that was the desire to learn. She genuinely liked to learn, and to her there was nothing wrong with that. Why Ron and the rest of the world had to torment her for that she didn't know. The only one who really understood, to a degree, was Harry. Harry, the brother of her heart, the boy who had to grow up too soon, understood because he was the only one who really saw her. He understood where her desire to learn had grown from and he benefited from all that accumulated knowledge during the short-lived war. So to him, that strange quality that separated her from full acceptance by her peers, had saved his life. How could he deny her after she stayed by his side, his most loyal friend, his sister in every way but blood? He accepted her and loved her, and for that Hermione was truly grateful.
Coming back to the present, Hermione realized that she hadn't taken in any of the words before her as she was caught up in her thoughts. Sighing, she glanced at the clock above the fire. Seeing that it was really late, Hermione had a moment of panic, threw all her stuff into her book bag and climbed the stairs to the girl's dorm to try and get a peaceful night's sleep before she had to be up in five hours.
The next morning arrived earlier than anyone wanted. Hermione literally rolled out of bed, bringing the quilt with her and bumping her head obnoxiously on the nightstand as she went.
"Ugh! Stupid piece of furniture." She mumbled.
The day passed too slowly for Hermione's taste. She answered questions, helped her peers when they couldn't quite grasp the material, and verbally spared with a Slytherin or two just as she normally did, but for some reason the day dragged on. Harry and Ron walked back with her from dinner that night, both anxious for Quidditch practice that night.
"Hey, Hermione," Harry said, "You want to come watch us practice tonight?"
"Oh, I don't know, Harry," she replied, "I have more studying I want to get done. N.E.W.T.s are coming up you know, and they won't prepare for themselves."
"Are you still going on about N.E.W.T.s, Hermione? They aren't for another five months and you already know everything anyway. What's the problem with skipping on night's studying?" Ron chimed in.
"Well, if you must know, Ronald, these are the most important tests of our lives and they will--"
"Determine the course of our lives, affect our entire future, yeah, yeah, yeah, we've heard this speech twenty thousand times from you and from every bloody teacher in this place."
"You'd do well to remember it, Ronald Weasley, I apologize profusely for caring enough about my friends to want them to do well on the most important test they will ever take, ever." With that she rushed off ahead of them, shouting behind her, "Sorry I care!"
Ron turned red at Harry's glare. "Sorry, mate, she's just so sensitive."
"Oh come on Ron, are you bloody thick? She's stressed out to the max and on top of that everyone can tell she likes you, and--"
"What? Hermione likes me?"
"Yes, you idiot! She doesn't go around talking about it but anyone with eyes, ears, and a heartbeat could tell you that she does. So when you say inconsiderate things to her, she takes it twice as personal because it came from you" And with that, Harry rushed off as well, leaving Ron to barely make out his friend's muttered, "Dolt."
Albus Dumbledore's bushy eyebrows rose so high they were threatening to disappear into his hair. "What? Are you certain, Adrian?"
"Yes, Albus, I am very certain. I have proof, and my foster parents told me the entire story only omitting my father's identity." Albus prided himself on his ability to stay calm, but this was pretty hard to take in.
"So, I assume you would like to meet her and talk to her about it yourself?" Adrian's blue eyes twinkled, not unlike his companion's.
"Yes, Albus, it is imperative she is told before she goes. Cygnus and Penny expressed that fact most strenuously before their deaths. That should I want to live, I would have to tell her in 1998, no sooner and no later. Now is the time, Albus, from what I hear, she can handle it."
"I don't like this, my friend, but I will comply. I'll send for her."