Characters: Hermione and Bethany Granger.
Notes: This is a one-shot from the point of view of Hermione's mother, Bethany Granger, because I've always been curious to see how a Muggle parent would react to the goings on of the wizarding world, and eventually, the wizarding war. It has extracts from various modern-day Muggle songs, and I really, really, hope you enjoy it.
"She lives in a fairy tale,
somewhere too far for us to find;
forgotten the taste and smell
of a world that she's left behind.
It's all about the exposure, the lens, I told her -
the angles are all wrong now,
she's ripping wings off of butterflies."
-Paramore, Brick by Boring Brick
Bethany Granger was a kind-hearted, head-strong, artistic dentist whose only goal in life was to see her daughter happy. In some ways, she felt she had succeeded. In others, not quite.
Her daughter had left her, to live out her fairy tale in a place too far for them to find. Of course Bethany was happy for her - who wouldn't be? Hermione was intelligent, brave, controlled - and though neither woman would ever admit it, the complete opposite of her mother.
Because though Bethany Granger was wise, she was no doctor, no top student, and things like books failed to please her. Though she was fiercely loyal, and trustworthy, and protective, she wasn't brave, in all sense of the word.
Scared, more like. Timid.
And she had a terrible habit of jumping into things headfirst, taking risks, acting on impulse - and though, on some occasions, this had turned out for the best, that was not always the case.
And Bethany did most definitely not feel brave when she realised that her daughter, her beloved Hermione, her Shakespearian queen, had forgotten how to use the toaster.
It was only a momentarily lapse, she knew - buttons and dials were not prominent in her daughter's world, she knew that too. But Hermione had almost forgotten the ways of a world that she had long since left behind.
"Smile for me, darling!" Bethany called. Her daughter was back, and just staying a week at her parents' - her last week - before moving into that nice, red-headed boy's home. Hermione had been resting in the back garden, soaking up the rare rays of the English sunshine, reading a book that Bethany did not know how to pronounce, let alone describe.
"Mum," she groaned, but smiled appealingly anyway. It was a little too fake for her mother's liking, but she had long since grown used to her daughter's reluctance at having her picture taken.
"Oh!" Bethany called, her hand flying to her mouth. "Quick, Hermione, hold out your hand, and pinch your forefinger and thumb together. That's it, left a bit... perfect. Hold it there... yes!" The old-fashioned camera from Bethany's old childhood snapped, and Hermione blinked.
Bethany pulled back with a smile, and waved the picture casually through the summer air.
"All done! Look, it looks like you're holding the butterfly."
"Oh," Hermione said casually, and then flashed a smile. "That's nice, Mum. You did such a good job with the garden as well, the flowers... it all complements each other."
Bethany tilted her head to look at her daughter. Hermione, despite her cleverness and her quick-witted mind, sometimes forgot how well one knows one's offspring. "What's wrong, honey?" She asked, and Hermione winced. She had obviously been trying to think up an excuse, and had been caught out too late.
"Don't give me that, Hermione Jean Granger," Bethany warned, brandishing her camera. "I'm not as stupid as I look."
She looked horrified. "No, Mum, of course I don't think that!" Bethany silently raised an eyebrow, a talent she had had since she was young, and Hermione's shoulders slumped. "I just... I expected it to move." The poor, older woman froze.
She shook her head to clear her thoughts, and strained a smile. "No, it's expected, dear. Anyway, photography is all about the exposure, the lens," she told her daughter, raising the camera.
"It's beautiful, Mum," Hermione insisted. "The colours and textures are really - really great."
"The angles are all wrong," Bethany muttered, more to herself than her daughter. "It wouldn't win any awards." She smiled. "Do you want some ice cream, darling? I have some in the pantry." Hermione mumbled an affirmative, and, getting inside, the woman leant against the doorpost.
She took another look at the picture - plain, not as vibrant as in real life - and sighed. It looked as though her daughter was ripping the wings off of the butterfly, rather than holding it.
Bethany Granger kind of wished that her photographs could move.
"I'm gonna paint you by numbers and colour you in;
If things go right we can frame it,
and put you on a wall.
And it's so hard to say it,
but I've been here before -
Now I surrender up my heart and swap it for yours."
-Ed Sheeran, Lego House
"How about," Bethany Granger started, looking at her five year old, little girl with frizzy pigtails and wide, chocolate eyes, "we paint a picture. What about paint-it-by-numbers? What about that?"
"We don't have any paint-it-by-numbers, Mama," Hermione replied, looking morose. "But if we did..."
"I'll make one," she said, nodding and already drawing a pencil from her case. "How about we draw a character?" Bethany's grin became wicked, and she motioned for Hermione to lean in closer, as if telling some secret. "What about... Queen Hermione?"
Hermione giggled, and pushed her straight fringe out of her eyes. "I'm not a queen!" She protested, still smiling at her silly, silly mummy. Bethany grinned back.
"Ah, but there is a Queen Hermione. I'll draw her, and add some numbers, and you can colour her in, hmm?" Hermione nodded, and swung her small legs back and forth under the table. "She has to have curly hair, of course. And a crown and the most beautiful dress."
"Definitely," little Hermione agreed. "And a staff. The princess in our storybook has a staff."
"A staff it is, your Majesty," Bethany said, adding in her daughter's requirement, and the little numbers. "Have you got your paints?" At the shake of Hermione's head, she laughed. "Well, go and get them. And be quick! Queen Hermione doesn't like to wait."
A few minutes later, Bethany was watching the girl sticking her tongue out gently concentration, bent over the piece of paper and colouring avidly.
"Was Queen Hermione beautiful, Mama?" Hermione asked, peering at her drawing, and leaning back to look at the wonky lines and dashes of colour.
Bethany laughed, and nodded eagerly.
"The most beautiful, darling," she replied, smoothing down her daughter's frizzy locks with dainty, paint-splattered fingers. "Just like another Hermione I know." Two chuckles, one high and one higher, echoed around the small, Devonshire kitchen.
The picture was eventually framed, and put on a wall.
It was later, years later, when Hermione came to say goodbye and Bethany took down Queen Hermione from the wall, thinking avidly that she had been there before.
She had choked on the words - goodbyes to her Hermiones - and surrendered her heart, broken, for her daughter's.
Bethany painted Queen Hermione again - less beautiful, more real this time - but her face was harder, braver, more like that of Shakespeare's Queen and the daughter that had now left that the little girl who painted by numbers at the kitchen table.
Bethany Granger almost wished that she could have a Jean, or an Emma, or a Lucy, rather than her Hermione. Almost.
"Long were the nights,
when my days once revolved around you.
Counting my footsteps,
praying the floor won't fall through, again.
And my mother accused me of losing my mind,
but I swore I was fine."
-Taylor Swift, Dear John
Now, to be frank, Bethany had never really understood the Wizarding world. Of course, she understood that they had wands, and magical creatures, and that there was to be no magic outside of school, restrictions on who exactly they could tell, and so on. However, when it came to the politics... well. Bethany got stuck.
She kind of knew who Harry Potter was. Harry Potter was a nice boy, a kind boy, a suitable-to-date-boy, but that was as far as she got. All this Chosen One and Boy-Who-Lived business confused Bethany to no end, and Hermione seemed reluctant to explain it to her.
However, Bethany understood this much: her daughter was in danger. Her daughter risked her life just living.
Long were the nights that she stayed up, and wished for Hermione's safety, her happiness.
She had heard what Ron and Harry had gotten up to, if only in passing, and she suspected that things were even more sinister than they sounded.
"After the chess match and poor Ron..." "During my time in the Hospital Wing, and of course, poor Ginny..." "After our little trip, er, back in time and what with poor Professor Lupin..." "What with poor, poor Cedric..." "Oh, and after Sirius, poor Harry..." "We were just in pieces after poor Professor Dumbledore..."
These were only snapshots of her daughter's world, one which Bethany could not even hope to know, and still they frightened her. She didn't want to know what happened to those "poor" people.
She hoped her daughter wasn't included, for both of their sakes.
"Just for a while, Mum. I'll be back, I promise. We'll make it work. I won't be able to stay in contact, but..."
"But what, Hermione? But I'll have no idea where you are; whether or not you're in the country? Whether or not you're alive?" Hermione and Bethany both winced.
"You've lost your mind," Bethany said affectionately and with a small smile, but it quickly turned into a grimace. She sighed, and turned her gaze downwards. "You're too young. You can't save everyone, Hermione, even if you appear to try."
"I'm fine," Hermione replied shortly, and Bethany looked anywhere but at her.
"I have to do it, Mama," her daughter pleaded, though she already knew that Hermione's mind was made up. She may have gotten her smarts and her looks from her father but, dammit, she got her stubbornness from Bethany.
"Why, honey?" She asked, like butter-wouldn't-melt. "You owe me that, at least."
"Harry needs me," Hermione eventually answered. "Ron needs me. The world needs me, Mum. They understand that as well as I do. You have to accept it; I'm not a little girl anymore."
"But you still are to me!" Bethany growled, knocking over a chair. "You're still my little girl; why can't you understand that? You're not supposed to worry about things like this; you're too young. Why does it have to be you? Surely there are more qualified men and women to help Harry?"
"But Mum," Hermione whispered, looking her mother directly in the eyes, brown to blue, "why does it have to be Harry?"
And unfortunately, Bethany had no answer to that. Bethany Granger didn't have the answer to a lot of things, and unfortunately, her daughter's happiness was one.
"I have seen peace; I have seen pain,
resting on the shoulders of your name.
Do you see the truth
through all their lies?
Do you see the world through troubled eyes?
And if you want to talk about it anymore,
lie here on the floor.
Cry on my shoulder,
I'm a friend."
-James Blunt, Cry
"And then Harry... Oh, Mum, it was horrible. He was distraught and just terrified. We were all just watching the stands, and poor Mr Diggory just flew down the steps and Cedric was just lying there, pale and cold, and Harry was draped over him, screaming..."
Bethany wasn't completely sure what had caused this incident to occur. She knew that in the Wizarding World, accidents happened, but a student was dead, and her daughter was in the middle of it.
She understood a few phrases from past conversations, though You-Know-Who was mentioned rather frequently. And Bethany really did not know who.
Nobody had told her.
From what she had gathered, her husband knew more than her on the subject of Wizarding politics. Bethany had opted to sit out on Professor McGonagall's talk at the end of Hermione's second year, and was now regretting it immensely.
Because her daughter was distraught, and scared, and Bethany could not comfort her because she didn't know why.
"Darling, darling," Bethany said, petting Hermione's hair like she used to when she was young, "calm down. Breathe. Just... say whatever you want to say, okay? I'm here."
Hermione seemed to calm at these words. At just fifteen, from what Bethany could gather, she had seen peace like no other - more often than not at the end of a new school year - and pain beyond all Muggle imagining.
And everything rested on the shoulders of Hermione Jean Granger.
"And they just don't see the truth through the Ministry's lies and I don't have the heart to tell Harry because he hasn't seen the papers yet," Hermione gushed, and Bethany drew circles on her back, flinching at the knots in her daughter's shoulders.
Hermione saw the world through troubled eyes that were much too young, and much too wise, and much too bright.
"Talk to me," Bethany pleaded suddenly, gripping her daughter's shoulders in some type of motherly desperation. "Please."
Mother and daughter, muggle and witch, child and adult, laid on the floor, Hermione crying on Bethany's shoulder in the show of emotion they had both been waiting for.
And she listened. She didn't talk, didn't ask for an explanation as to exactly what this tournament was - it sounded perfectly medieval - or ask why Viktor hadn't captured her daughter's heart, or demand to know what kind of school this was.
Bethany knew that Hermione would never be able to answer, because even now, she was protecting her mother. And dear God, it should've been the other way around.
"Time stands still; beauty in all she is.
I will be brave;
I will not let anything take away
what's standing right in front of me.
Every breath, every hour has come to this."
-Christina Perri, A Thousand Years
Salvation came in the form of an envelope.
It was a rather plain, albeit official-looking, envelope. Bethany vaguely remembered staring at it blankly, as though waiting for it to explode or some other such nonsense.
She kind of wished it had.
At long, long last, Bethany was whisked away from nightmares of finding her daughter in the bath with the water rising though the taps are turned off, or daymares of finding a boa constrictor playing in the same daughter's crib.
Memories of lamps breaking and crayons flying across the room, grass growing and hair straightening, and one frightful moment when Hermione wished she could fly.
For so long, Bethany had been so scared.
And for a moment, just seeing her daughter standing in a strange shop with a strange man with a strange look on her - even then - beautiful face, time stood still. There was beauty in all that she was.
The wand she raised was full of power, of twisting vines and so many mistakes.
Bethany swore she would be brave, braver than any witch or wizard, even seeing her only daughter in robes instead of the prim uniform of the girls' school down the road that Hermione got accepted into.
Her heart broke, just ever so slightly.
She swore that she would not let anything take away what was standing right in front of her; her daughter, young and whole and free. Every moment had come down to this.
But Bethany had already lost Hermione.
"Hogwarts, Mum. Doesn't it sound great? I'll have to read a lot to catch up - Mum, do you think they'll know I'm Muggleborn? They've probably been learning spells since they could walk. I'll have to practise. Should I read Hogwarts: A History, Mum? I think it'll be handy. All of their parents went to Hogwarts; they'll know it all already-"
Bethany never did find out who "they" were.
"Lost but now I am found;
I can see but once I was blind.
I was so confused as a little child,
Tried to take what I could get,
Scared that I couldn't find A
ll the answers, honey."
-Lana Del Ray, Born to Die.
"Get out! Get out! Who are you? What do you want? Get out!"
Monica Wilkins prided herself on being a very level-headed woman, though she had moved to Australia on a wild whim and decided it was just one of those moments you had to have in your life. But I digress. Monica, at that current moment, was not feeling particularly level-headed.
"Mum, it's me! The charm should've worked by now..." The woman, or girl, she couldn't tell, standing in her house muttered. She had bushy hair, bright brown eyes and the saddest expression Monica had ever seen.
"I have no daughter!" She yelled desperately.
"Mama," she sobbed, reaching out towards Monica. Suddenly, images were thrown at her, images that had long since fractured and hidden in the depths of her mind.
Hermione holding a butterfly in their garden in England, a painting-by-numbers of a queen named Hermione, her daughter leaving on a particularly rainy Sunday, possibly never to return, fifteen year old Hermione sobbing out her broken heart to the mother she never really knew, a Hogwarts letter containing so few answers and so many questions.
Monica Wilkins - no, Bethany Granger - remembered.
"Hermione," she whispered, twirling a curl of hair around her fingers. "My Queen Hermione."
She rushed into her mother's arms, sobbing apologies and thanks and promises and mindless nothings that meant more than any words. Her daughter was back.
Bethany had been lost - so very lost - in a country she didn't know with a ghost she couldn't remember. There had always been something pressing on her mind, some worry, some guilt that she could never explain. But now she was found. Hermione had come for her.
She remembered how Hermione had always come home for the holidays so confused, trying to make each moment count as though she wouldn't live through many more.
She knew now that her daughter was scared that she couldn't find all the answers.
"It's okay, honey," Bethany cooed, stroking her daughter's hair, singing a forgotten song into her ear, trying to calm the child who was no longer there.
"I'm sorry, Mama," she whispered back, shaking and quivering, "I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have left. I should have protected you. But Harry and Ron needed me, and Mum, it was carnage. So many are dead, and we won, but..."
"It's okay," she repeated against her daughter's cheek. "You came home. You found your way home." And in some way, she tried to fix her.
Bethany realised that Hermione didn't look quite so lost anymore.
"Lights will guide you home,
And ignite your bones,
And I will try to fix you."
-Coldplay, Fix You.