Summary: A look at Hermione's life from her father's point of view as she grows older, moves to Hogwarts, and gradually pulls away from him.
Author's Note: I was always curious about how Hermione's parents would react after they got their memories back. From that question came this story. I chose focus on her father because she's always seemed a bit more like a Daddy's girl to me, I'm not sure why but that's how it's worked in my previous stories.
Thank you to my beta Johnathan!
I am thinking about a sequel to this story, but I'm not sure when it will be written. My muse has turned to other things lately.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, but it's a fun place to visit.
A Father's Intuition
6 years old
He had to work late that night; the first time in over a month. The sky had turned from sun to showers by the time Dr. Granger locked the door to the dental practice he shared with his wife. As he drove home, fat drops of rain collided with his windshield and thunder crashed louder than his radio.
He heard rather than felt the squish in his shoes when he walked through the front door.
But the instant a little voice yelled, "Daddy," the squishing didn't matter any more.
Less than a second after his coat was off, she landed in his arms; a jump-and-catch routine that was instinctual by now. She giggled as he spun them both in circles.
After he had received the customary kiss on the cheek from his daughter and wife, his little Hermione turned her full pouting powers on him. "Where were you?"
"Now, I know Mum told you that Mr. Giles hurt his tooth and I had to fix it."
He laid a hand on her bushy brown hair, identical to her mother's. His girl was too stubborn to cut it short, and that will was all his.
"But I've been waiting all day to tell you," she said, wiggling so he would set her down.
"Tell me what?" he asked as he was dragged to her bedroom.
"You'd better go with her," his wife laughed. "I'll keep your dinner warm a little bit longer."
Hermione carefully positioned him next to her bed. Even in the dim light from her lamp, he could see the proud sparkle in her chocolate eyes. Eyes that he would have memorized even if they did not match his own.
She lifted her pillow. In a hushed, reverent voice she instructed, "Look."
There, in the exact center of the pillow's shadow, laid his little girl's first lost tooth.
His wide smile was her cue for the story.
"It fell out in school today. I took a bite out of my apple and the tooth stayed in the apple, just like you said it would."
"No loose tooth can resist an apple." They shared a laugh.
"Bedtime now. Hop in," he told her while reaching for the small book they were currently working through.
She took the book from him and opened it to the correct page. But instead of reading, she let out a sigh. She looked up at him, and not for the first time he was struck by the intelligence that lay just beyond her irises. "I was afraid you wouldn't be home before I fell asleep."
He took a deep breath, letting the warmth of that moment spread throughout him. "I promise I will always be here to tuck you in, my little Hermione."
***** 8 years old
8 years old
A tennis racket clattered to the ground while the ball slowly rolled down the court.
Dr. Granger stared with a crooked smile at his daughter. His little Hermione had been attempting to learn one of his favorite games for over a week now. Things usually came easy for her: math, science, history, English. She could handle it all…if it came with a book.
He walked toward her. Hermione's head was down. Wisps of hair from her ponytail tried to cover the angry tears filling her eyes.
"Hermione?" He touched her shoulder.
As she lifted her head to meet his eyes, all the anger faded into shame.
"I can't do it, Daddy," she squeaked. "No matter how hard I try, I can't hit the ball right."
"Oh, Hermione." He pulled her into his side for a one-armed hug.
"I'm sorry, Daddy."
He barely heard the whispered words. He knelt down to look into her eyes. "What do you have to be sorry for?"
Her lower lip quivered, unable to answer.
He tucked some hair behind her ear. "Darling, do you think you have to be good at everything? That your mother and I expect perfection from you?"
Her shoulders shrugged beneath his hands.
He lifted her chin, forcing her eyes to face him. "We only want you to be safe and happy. Nothing else matters."
A smile began creeping up his little girl's face. "Really?"
"I promise." He kissed her forehead. Her smile beamed.
"Now, are you having fun playing tennis? Do you want to keep trying?"
Hermione bit her lip, her eyes moving side-to-side.
"You can be honest with me. You don't have to keeping playing tennis just because I like it."
She released a held breath. "I don't want to play any more."
"Alright then, let's head home. If we hurry, we can help your mum with dinner."
***** 10 years old
10 years old
"Are you certain those new book shelves aren't too big for her?" his wife asked as she handed him a soapy dish.
Dr. Granger rinsed off the suds and toweled the plate dry. "She needed the extra shelves; you know they won't stay empty for long."
"But they fill almost the entire wall. They're taller than she is by two feet."
He laughed. "She'll grow into them."
"Daddy," the subject of their conversation called. "I finally chose my next book but it's too high for me to reach. Can you come get it for me please?"
"You'll have to wait a few minutes, Darling. Your mum and I will be finished with these dishes soon." Although he could not see it, he envisioned the pout she must have on her face. He knew that she would remain standing in front of the shelves, staring at the book she desired.
His eyes refocused to find a dripping bowl in front of his face. "Sorry."
They quickly washed the final dishes. In that time, not another sound had left Hermione's room.
"I'll put these away. You go get that book for her, she's waited long enough," said his wife with a knowing smile.
He forced himself to walk slowly and quietly down the hall to his little girl's room. He hoped to catch a glimpse of her waiting impatiently for the book. If he was lucky, she might even be tapping her foot.
As he stepped into the doorway, the scene before him was exactly as he predicted: her eyes were drilling into a book on the top shelf, she was biting her lip, and her right foot was tapping loudly on the wooden floor.
But that was where the expected ended.
Just as he was about to come to her rescue, the book came flying off the shelf and landed delicately in her hands.
She gasped in delight as he looked on in shock.
"Did you see that Daddy?"
When he didn't make a sound, she grabbed his hand and pulled him closer to the shelves. "Watch, I'll try to do it again."
He stared as her face became concentrated on another book. Seconds later it flew into her hands.
His voice returned. "Have you ever done anything like this before?"
"No, but isn't this great?" Her joy was too consuming for her to notice his confusion or his concern.
"Go get Mum, I want to show her too!"
Another book fell as he left the room. His feet dragged across the floor on the walk to the kitchen and his mind tried to sort through explanations for what he had witnessed.
As he took a breath to speak, an owl flew in through the window with an envelope attached to its foot.
***** 12 years old, end of 1
12 years old, end of 1st year
Over the past 10 months, Dr. Granger and his wife had only spent a few weeks over Christmas holiday with their daughter. He was going through Hermione-withdrawal. Their home was frighteningly empty without Hermione's chatter about whatever she had learned that day.
During the holiday, she had unloaded all the information she knew about the history of Hogwarts and magic in general. Hermione had mentioned wizard wars and the last great dark wizard, Voldemort, but assured both of her parents that he was long gone.
"And besides," she said, "Headmaster Dumbledore is the greatest wizard alive now so Hogwarts is therefore the safest place to be."
But even with these reassurances, a nagging worry in the back of his mind refused to leave. His wife insisted that there was nothing to fear. The uneasy feelings made Dr. Granger wish that he could read the wizard newspaper that Hermione received, but the owls would be too conspicuous.
Over the holiday, Hermione also mentioned two boys that she had befriended: Harry and Ron. Dr. Granger liked this talk of boys even less than the talk of evil wizards.
His wife would laugh whenever he scowled upon hearing the boys' names. She would whisper to him, "Your little girl will date eventually, and sooner than you'd like."
As the Hogwarts Express pulled into the station, Dr. Granger pushed all these thoughts out of his mind and focused only on the fact that he would be seeing his little Hermione again.
She embarked from the train with two boys, one of which she hugged good-bye. She yelled farewells to many others before finally spotting her parents. Dr. Granger was grateful that his sometimes-shy daughter was making friends, and for the moment he chose to ignore the boys she waved to.
"Dad!" she cried out, running up to him with a cart trailing behind.
She threw her arms around her father, but kept her feet firmly on the ground; the days of spinning hellos were lost.
Not until she was hugging her mother did Dr. Granger notice a small bandage marring his little girl's face. "What happened there?"
Hermione's hand reached for the bandage on her forehead, "Oh."
Dr. Granger thought he saw a brief internal struggle pass through his daughter's eyes, but a decision was made too quickly for him to be sure.
Hermione bit her lip slightly before replying, "I just had a little accident in the last potions class. Nothing to worry about."
Her father leapt on this immediately. "Do students often get hurt during your classes?"
Hermione's responding smile nearly met her eyes. "Occasionally, but the nurse is excellent. Really, Dad, I'm fine. Let's get home."
With the excitement of his daughter home for two months, Dr. Granger eventually forgot about the bandage, the bit lip, and the slightly empty smile.
***** 13 years old, end of 2
13 years old, end of 2nd year
Although they had visited the Hogwarts Express station multiple times now, Hermione's parents were anxious. They still felt out of place in this world that their daughter had found a home in. This feeling had only deepened when Hermione chose to spend the Christmas holidays at school instead of with her only family.
Dr. Granger tried not to resent the school or his daughter's choices, but he had now missed two of his little Hermione's birthdays.
He was prepared for the eventual separation from Hermione that a girl's teenage years usually bring. He understood that this separation would be more pronounced one she began attending a private school away from home. But he never expected how painful a lack of response could be. For nearly the last month there had been no contact from his little girl, who had previously sent at least one letter a week like clockwork.
His wife, who also felt the sting, tried to comfort him:
"She's probably busy studying for final exams."
"She's thirteen now. I'm sure she has better things to do then write us."
"I'm certain that the school would let us know if something serious was wrong."
The train pulled into the station. Dr. Granger held his breath as he searched through the throng of people of his long-lost daughter. He spotted her exiting the train arm-in-arm with the boys he had met before.
Like always, people called their goodbyes to her. This time, though, he sensed more urgency in their voices, and the boys seemed less willing to release their friend.
To dissuade the growing feelings of jealousy towards his daughter's best friends, Dr. Granger tried to remember why he was thankful to them. Hermione had told stories about them often over the summer holidays and in her letters. While they seemed to spend a great deal of time studying, the boys also made sure that she stopped to have fun. They were the only people who didn't see her as just a know-it-all.
Dr. Granger knew that before them, his little girl had been very lonely, much more than her letters home hinted at. Before their friendship had suddenly struck, he was close to insisting that she come home.
Hermione promised to send owls to each boy soon, and then her bright eyes and beautiful smile were on him, and once again he hugged his little girl.
"How were final exams?" her mother asked.
The classic pout graced her slightly matured features. "We didn't have any."
"Why not?" her mother replied.
Dr. Granger watched as the wheels turned behind his daughter's eyes while searched for something. He was reminded of a similar day a year ago when his little girl had trouble answering another question.
"A terrible case of the flu swept through the school. Everyone was sick so they canceled the exams," Hermione explained.
"Is that why you didn't write us?" Dr. Granger quietly asked.
Hermione sighed. "Yes, I was in the hospital wing sick with everyone else." She met his eyes again. "I'm sorry I didn't send you an owl."
Her mother swept her into a tight hug. "It's alright, Darling. I'm just glad that you're feeling better now."
As the family left the train station whole again, Dr. Granger found that he could not erase the memory of his daughter's eyes searching for an answer.
***** 17 years old, 6
17 years old, 6th-year winter holidays
Granger family tradition dictated that on Christmas Eve each member of the family was allowed to open one present. Dr. Granger had looked forward to this even more then Christmas morning when Hermione was a child. What gift would she choose to open first?
This year was even more exciting because it was Hermione's only Christmas at home since her first year at Hogwarts. Last year, Dr. Granger and his wife had planned a family ski trip over the Christmas holidays, but Hermione had canceled at the last moment by sending them a letter. She had decided to stay at Hogwarts to study. He had written back saying that of course they understood and they wanted her to do well. Inside, he was a heart-broken father.
Every letter Hermione had sent them, Dr. Granger had safely tucked away into a shoebox in his closet. When the Hermione-withdrawal was particularly agonizing, he would read through the letters. He preferred the ones from her first few years, when she seemed more like the little girl he knew. Some days he would go through all the letters, trying to pinpoint when his daughter had started to push herself away from him.
And now he stood at the doorway to their living room, watching a young woman who bared a remarkable resemblance to his daughter read a book on the couch. The book lay in her lap untouched as she stared into the fireplace, shadows from the flames battling for dominance of her face.
Her brow furrowed as her eyes analyzed an invisible problem. The wheels in her mind had grown more detailed and complex in the years since she was only 13.
"What are you reading?" His question so startled Hermione that she nearly dropped the book.
A slight upturn to her lips made clear Hermione's return to the present. "Advanced Ancient Runes. I'm trying to improve my translating skills."
"Is that all you have on your mind, Darling?" Dr. Granger pushed.
Fear passed through Hermione's eyes, like she had been caught awake past her bedtime with a flashlight and her favorite book.
"Of course, Dad," she flicked a switch inside herself, changing to the Hermione that Dr. Granger had unfortunately become very familiar with.
Dr. Granger tried again. "I know that you're older now and there is a lot happening in your life. All I've ever wanted is to protect you, to keep you safe and happy. I know that I can't make everything better, like when you were little. But if you need me, if there's anything I can do, I'm here."
Hermione took a deep breath. "I'm fine, Dad, really."
His wife walked into the room wearing a smile that only existed when they were together as a family. "It's time to open presents."
But Dr. Granger knew that the gift he wanted most wouldn't be under the tree.
***** 17 years, summer after the 6
17 years, summer after the 6th year
"Dad, you're home!"
His little Hermione enveloped him in a hug, as she had done at least once a day for the past few weeks. Dr. Granger thought again of how wonderful it was to have her back.
Since the end of school, Hermione had seemed to return to her parents in more ways then one. She had not opened a textbook since arriving. During the day, while Dr. Granger and his wife were at work, she spent time in a park nearby or at home cooking delicious meals for them. At night they baked cookies, watched movies, and were nearly finished with a 5,000-piece puzzle.
But no matter how grateful Dr. Granger was for this brilliant interaction with his daughter, he could not deny the bad feeling that washed over him when Hermione looked into his eyes.
It was the smile that still didn't reach Hermione's eyes, as though each joyful moment was inextricably linked with pain.
It was the sheen over her eyes, which seemed as though they would fill with tears at any second.
It was her gently avoidance of any talks connected to her best friends, school, or her future plans.
His wife jokingly called it "misplaced father's intuition".
But Dr. Granger couldn't shake the chill running down his spine.
The family ate dinner and finished the puzzle. While he contributed lightly to the conversation, Dr. Granger made a mental list of all the questions he would like answered by his daughter, even if he was scared to hear the truth.
That night when they went to bed, Hermione stopped and hugged each of them fiercely.
"I love you," she said with a ragged voice, and her shiny eyes.
As Dr. Granger lay down in bed he decided that tomorrow whatever barriers Hermione had built would come down. Tomorrow he would demand answers from his daughter.
But as we know, dear readers, tomorrow would change everything.