Just an idea I've had for a while.
It was the 19th of September 1999 when seven year old Hermione skipped happily down the stairs, sporting on her jumper the badge of honour marking yet another milestone in the young child prodigy's life.
"Don't call her that." Her mother, Jane Granger, had teased her husband when he first started calling her his little child prodigy. "You'll give her a complex, I swear!"
In fact it probably had since Hermione had quickly taken to reading books vastly beyond her age group, and began putting various types of books such as encyclopaedias on her Christmas list. It hadn't stopped her father John Granger in the least; if anything it had encouraged him.
"Here she comes, my little child prodigy!" And Hermione loved it.
Which was why on her seventh Birthday Hermione was skipping down the stairs with a stack of presents in her hands which were remarkably all shaped like varying sizes of books. Her Dad had already left for her Grandparents' house, where they were getting a small party ready for Hermione who, despite not having many friends, loved her family with all her heart.
She was just dumping her presents on the living-room table when she heard it.
"You can't see her, I won't let you!" An angry voice yelled from the kitchen, her Mother's voice. "I've told you this already! You're not screwing up her life like you did ours!"
Hermione's ears pricked as she crept to the living-room door and peered round the corner at the kitchen. Oblivious to the little girl watching them three adults were standing around a table in the kitchen, staring each other down, seeing who would be the first to crack.
On one side were Hermione's Aunty Alice and Mother. Despite being twins the two sisters didn't resemble each other in the slightest. While Aunty Alice was small and slightly plump with short curly black hair, Jane was average height with a skinny frame and the same bushy brown hair that she'd passed on to her only daughter.
Despite their differences in appearance however, both shared identical looks of rage on their faces as they faced down the man standing opposite them. After a moment gawping at the scene Hermione realised the man was none other than her Uncle Jack.
A man who Hermione lived in awe of, although she rarely saw him. The few occasions she had they'd always been interrupted by the arrival of her Mother and her insistence that he had somewhere else he ought to be, much to Hermione's irritation.
Hermione had always had the feeling her Mother disliked her brother and the argument was nothing short of proof. In fact Hermione would go so far as to say her Aunt and Mother loathed the man with a passion, although Jane looked more pained while Alice was purely livid.
"I'm not stopping." He insisted, looking incredulous. "I just came by to give her a birthday present! Surely I can do that much?"
"Oh yes, because the presents make it all better don't they?" Alice snapped. "Make it up for all the things you missed in our lives..."
"Your mother wouldn't let me see you Alice." Jack reminded her, he was obviously trying not to get angry. "What else could I do to make it up to you? To show you I still cared?"
"It doesn't matter." Jane cut in, grabbing her furious sister's arm. "I don't want you seeing her, and that's enough. I don't want her being caught up in your line of work Dad!"
"Dad?!" Hermione yelped, turning all three adults' attention onto her, as she walked up to them. "Did you just call Uncle Jack 'Dad'?"
"Hermione!" Jane yelled, running towards her at once, her arms outstretched. "Hermione, go upstairs..." But Hermione ignored her, and walked past her, her eyes fixated on the black haired handsome man staring back at her with... awe? Pride?
"Now look what've you done!" Alice snapped in the background, but Jack ignored her as he walked up to Hermione, and pressed a small package into the young girls' hands.
"Happy Birthday sweetheart." Jack said, beaming down at his granddaughter, his first grandchild.
"You're my Granddad Uncle Jack?" Hermione asked, looking bewildered. "How is that possible?"
"Don't be silly." Jane said, her voice pitched higher than usual as she put her hands on Hermione's shoulders. "We were just kidding, we knew you were there all along, it was just a little birthday trick..."
"Mum, I'm not stupid!" The little girl argued, acting older than she was as always. "I heard you!"
"I'm older than I look." Jack explained. "I won't explain it to you in full now, as it's complicated and I barely understand it myself..."
"But you will one day?" Hermione asked, looking up at him hopefully.
"If your Mum agrees, then yes."
Hermione glanced at her mother, the expression on her face told her she'd never agree, but nevertheless Hermione grabbed his hand.
"Stay." She said. "Please stay Un- I mean, Granddad."
"Sweetie, we've got to go to your party." Jane interrupted. "Your dad's waiting!"
"You told me we've still got an hour." Hermione said, reminding her off their conversation shortly before Jack had arrived. "And it's my birthday, I'm meant to share it with my family! Isn't that right Granddad?"
Both Jane and Alice began glaring at Jack, trying to force him into making his excuses and leaving, but Jack surprised them both by laughing, and picking up his seven year old grandchild.
"Of course it is Princess! As the birthday girl everything you say goes!" Jack said, taking Hermione into the living-room. "And we're going to make the most of it!"
From that moment on Hermione forgot about being her Daddy's 'child prodigy'.
She was Granddad's little Princess now. Somehow she preferred being a Princess to a child prodigy,
Jane followed them both into the living-room, watching Jack to make sure he didn't overstep his newly formed boundaries. Just because Hermione wanted to spend time with him on her Birthday, it didn't mean she'd let him tell her everything.
Alice stood in the doorway, scowling. Of the two sisters, she clearly despised her father the most.
"Why aren't you old like my other Granddad?" Hermione asked, touching his face with interest.
Jack opened his mouth to reply.
"Dad, please." Jane warned. "She's only seven."
"I know." Jack said with a sigh. "But what am I supposed to say? What variation of the truth can I possibly give?"
Alice and Jane looked at each other. It was true, how could Jack tell her?
"I'm smarter than I look." Hermione stated, pouting at their reluctance to tell her. Once again Jack laughed.
"I've no doubt you are." He said. "But even so, you're still just a child, and you should enjoy your childhood without burdening yourself with the troubles of adults." He sighed. "One day you're going to miss this part of your life."
"I doubt it." Hermione said, pouting.
Jack laughed again heartily, before hesitating.
"I'm immortal." Jack said.
"Dad." Jane warned.
"Immortal?!" Hermione asked, gasping. "But that means... you can't die!"
"Blimey, you are clever!" Jack added with a chuckle. "I don't age either, hence why I don't look as old as your other Grandfather."
Hermione's jaw dropped.
"Bu- But that's impossible!"
"If there's one thing life's taught me, it's that nothing is impossible." Jack said with a chuckle. "And don't you ever forget that Princess, NOTHING is impossible."
"But... how?" Hermione asked, her expression bewildered.
"A dear friend of mine brought me back to life." Jack said. "But she couldn't control her new powers, she brought me back forever."
"Could I..." She hesitated. "Could I be immortal too? Since you're my Grandfather..."
"Don't be silly Hermione." Jane cut in. "You're normal." The way she said normal made Jack wince and Hermione flush with anger.
"You say it like it's a bad thing!" Hermione retorted. "Well it's not, I think Granddad's extraordinary!"
E-x-t-r-a-o-r-d-i-n-a-r-y. Hermione's favourite word, firstly because it was long and difficult to pronounce, which she loved to use in front of adults to get them to treat her older than her age. And secondly because it fit her Granddad perfectly.
He was an impossible thing, and the most extraordinary man she'd ever met.
"Thanks Princess." He said, beaming at her. "But your Mum's right, you're not immortal. It's just me. You couldn't be, since your Mum isn't."
"What if it's skipped a generation?" Hermione wondered. "What if...?"
"I hope to God there is no what if." Jack said honestly, Hermione taking in for the first time the sad and pained expression on his face.
"Immortality is not all it's cracked up to be. Life's hard, and mine's one that will never end." He shifted slightly. "When you're immortal, time doesn't stand still. If anything, it speeds up. Colours fade around you, scenery changes and fades away, and people you love grow old and..." He hesitated.
"Die." Hermione mumbled sadly, finishing his sentence.
"Yeah." He whispered, rubbing her shoulder gently. "So many people on the other side, and no way to get to them."
Hermione wondered why her Mother didn't interrupt, being as strict as she had been before, but when she looked up she saw that both Alice and Jane were staring at Jack with awe and pure longing. Hermione never understood it at the time, but when she was older she'd think back and realise that Jack had shared more with her at that very moment than he had ever been able to share with his two daughters, and it was this that had made them stop in their tracks.
"Oh Dad." Jane said, the resentment gone from her face.
Something sad in her voice told Jack he'd said too much on what should be a happy occasion.
"Maybe I should go..."
"No! Stay!" Hermione pined, throwing her arms around him and holding him tightly, her eyes welling up. "Please! Please please please!"
"Hey, hey..." Jack soothed, wiping a tear out of her eye with his thumb gently. "What's this? Tears? On the Birthday Princess? This won't do."
He picked her up and whirled her around once quickly, making her giggle, before setting her down gently.
"I'm sorry sweetheart, I've got to go." He said. "But I'll come back and see you soon."
"Promise?" Hermione asked, looking up wide eyed.
"Promise." He said.
And that's where it all began.
Right! I'm not entirely sure where this is going to go yet, and I've got exams coming up so I can't promise any immediate updates (although it would be a good excuse to get out of revising maths...)