Harry Potter and the Magic of Music.
This is a Harry/Hermione story taking place in before attending Hogwarts.
Rating is K with the possibility of raising it to T later.
JKRowling owns the characters and settings. I only play in her sandbox and make no money from this.
A/N1: This is an experimental story for me. I'm not sure how far I'll carry it. I suppose it'll depend on the reviews or hits I get. Mostly it's an idea I had from someone else's story that intrigued me with Hermione as the musician. There are other bits in other stories that tweaked my interest as well. Let's just see where this goes. Only one chapter at this moment, but there will be more and time skips of a few years between chapters.
A/N2: This story is almost completely AU. Harry and Hermione meet for the first time before Hogwarts when they register for school in Greater Whinging. Later after Hogwarts they move to The Yehudi Menuhin School in Cobham Surrey. Harry for piano and violin; Hermione for violin and cello.
Chapter 1: Prologue and meeting.
"Freak, get down here! I've got a good mind to…" Vernon Dursley was in a bad mood and was preparing to take it out on a scrawny young boy. He'd just had a very bad day at work and unable to take it out on his underlings, chose his freak nephew Harry and maybe his wife if she persisted in trying to protect him.
Petunia had finally had enough. "Vernon, GET OUT! You're a bad influence on our children. Poor Dudders is hopelessly overweight and Harry is so scrawny that he's in danger of wasting away. I've put up with your bullying for the last time. I'm filing for divorce!"
Vernon gasped. "Petunia, Dudley is just a growing boy and the Freak doesn't deserve to live. You can't divorce me!" he suddenly said, lunging for his wife, his meaty hands grasping for her throat, who shrieked and bolted out the door.
She ran next door to Mrs. Number 6 and pounded on the door just as an enraged Vernon Dursley emerged from their house. Spotting his wife, he charged, only to be stopped when Mrs. Ambrose at Number 6 opened the door and ushered Petunia in, bolting the door. She had heard the frightened woman pounding on her door and correctly surmised that her husband had finally cracked. Vernon was known as a wife beater and bully and his son Dudley was learning to be the same.
Fearing the enraged man, she quickly dialed 999 and was directed to the police for assistance.
Vernon's rage was peaking when the constable arrived and he made the mistake of attacking him. A short rap with the constable's baton and Vernon was laid out cold with a broken nose having first been delivered a blow to his solar plexus, causing the grossly obese man to stumble and gasp for breath.
Petunia fearfully poked her face out the door, seeing Vernon handcuffed and unconscious.
An interview followed with Petunia and Mrs. Ambrose detailing what had happened. "Do you wish to press charges, madam?" he enquired.
"I don't feel safe anymore with him. Yes, I'll press charges," she replied fearfully.
Domestic violence was good reason for divorce and her case was quickly disposed of. Vernon, once he was released from jail, was awarded custody of Dudley, much to Petunia's dismay, but Harry was awarded to her. She'd tried over the years to shield him from Vernon's abuse and was only partially successful. Harry, although he'd been beaten at odd times, was grateful that his aunt had at least tried to protect him.
Petunia reverted to her maiden name of Evans and had it legally changed. Vernon was served with a court order prohibiting contact with Petunia or Harry.
As the pair settled into Number 4 Privet Drive after being awarded the house and a stipend to live on, Petunia pondered how to best help her nephew. They had a grand piano in the lounge room that Harry seemed to like. She'd brought it with her when she's married Vernon. Her mother had insisted that she learn to play it and although Vernon shunned it as too "girly", she played it when he was at work. Harry loved the sound and Petunia, emboldened, had taught him the rudiments of playing. It seemed that he had a natural talent and quickly picked up the basics and was soon expanding his repertoire. Petunia loved classical music and it seemed so did Harry. It was difficult at first but after diligent practice, now that his uncle and cousin were gone, he had surpassed Petunia.
Petunia wondered if perhaps Harry was a prodigy, as he seemed to pick up increasingly difficult scores much faster than could be expected. Now that they had more time to practice, Petunia was astounded at how well the lad played. Now came the hard decision. It would be hard financially, but she would see that Harry received a proper musical education. He would start primary school this autumn and that would leave time for her to seek employment to bolster their meager income. Vernon's support payments wouldn't last forever and the courts had not seen fit to increase them over they years. It had been hard, scraping by with barely enough to feed and clothe them and pay the utilities and taxes. There was nothing left over at the end of the month and now that Harry was starting school, it would be even harder.
At the Granger residence, Monica and Wendell Granger and their daughter Hermione were facing a very different situation. The Grangers had moved to Crawley from London a year ago to live a quieter life. The parents worked as dentists and earned a very comfortable living, even if it cut into their time with their daughter. Wendell took extra courses and became a dental surgeon while Monica worked part time as a regular dentist until Hermione was of school age and then was thinking she would be able to work full time.
Hermione, it seemed, was very musically talented and after trying several instruments found that she liked the strings. Initially, they had bought her a guitar, but that had lasted only a year before she graduated to a violin. As her talent grew, she found she preferred the deeper, richer sounds of the viola and cello. The cello was a bit big for her and it was decided that the viola was more suitable until she was older. Of course, her parents bought the best they could afford and were rewarded with a richness in their life that they had never known.
"Mum, do they have a musical program at West Green Primary?" she enquired.
"I don't know, but I'll check."
"If they don't, what will I do? I need to study and practice…"
"Don't worry sweetie, we'll work it out."
The next day, Wendell and Monica were in conference. "It won't work Wendell, West Green Primary doesn't have a musical program. Hermione needs to be challenged to progress and I'm afraid Crawley won't be up to the task."
"Well, on another note, I think we're finally able to afford to set up our own clinic. We can move to where there is a musical program," Wendell replied.
So began an exhaustive search for a school that had a decent musical program and was large enough to set up their own dental practice. A week later they had the answer.
"Greater Whinging Primary has a decent program and the town is large enough to set up a practice. It's in Surrey, so it's not that far and has rail transportation if we need it," Monica revealed one evening.
A week later they had moved and had purchased a nice home on the outskirts of town. The school was within easy walking distance and bordered Little Whinging a few blocks away.
Little did they know this was to be a very astute move.
Harry Potter was contemplating school starting and had asked Aunt Petunia if they had a musical course. His disappointment was evident when she regretfully informed him that they didn't at Little Whinging Primary, but if he didn't mind a bit of a walk, Greater Whinging did.
"How far, Aunt Petunia? I don't mind walking."
"It's just over a mile Harry. Do you think you can make it? We don't have an auto, so I can't drop you off."
Harry thought a bit, not quite certain how far a mile was. "Can you walk with me to see if I can make it?" he pleaded.
Petunia smiled, "Yes Harry, we'll go tomorrow, but I think it'll be fine."
The next day found the pair briskly walking to what Harry hoped would be his new school. If they had a musical department, he'd put up with a bit of discomfort. He did love the piano and wanted to learn more.
Hermione was just finished registering when a skinny boy with messy black hair entered to register. He smiled at the bushy haired girl and introduced himself politely.
"Hello, I'm Harry, are you registering too?"
Turning, Hermione looked at the boy. He was neatly dressed but had worn clothes and looked a bit tired, as if he'd walked a great distance. "Oh hello," she returned the greeting. "Yes, I've just registered for the music program. My name is Hermione."
Harry grinned; a fellow musician. "I'm registering for music as well, what do you play?"
Hermione smiled. Here was her first contact with a boy that seemed to like music as well. "I play the violin but I really like the sound from the cello, but it's a bit big for me. What do you play?"
"I play the piano," he replied. "You play the violin? Classical music?" he smiled again, green eyes almost glowing.
She'd started to reply when she looked closer at him. He had amazing emerald green eyes and got lost in them for a moment before answering. "Classical… umm, yes of course. You like classical music?"
"It's the best," he enthused. "I particularly like Camille Saint-Saëns' "The Swan" although I need a Cellist accompanist to play it properly. Usually, I play it with a recording running in the background. I suppose a violin would work just as well. Do you know it?"
Hermione smiled at his candor. "Yes, I know the piece, but you're correct, it's a duet and I don't have a pianist. Maybe we can team up," she shyly suggested.
His enthusiasm caught the attention of Monica and she looked closely at the boy. Here was a chance for her daughter to socialize a bit more. She'd always been alone, with no friends. As a child prodigy, no one understood her and since she didn't fit in with the neighbourhood children, she spent most of her time indoors practicing.
Petunia caught on at once. A young girl with a similar interest in music could be just what her nephew needed. None of the children in their neighborhood would play with him since Dudley was encouraged by Vernon to treat him badly and that meant bullying anyone that he tried to make friends with. She decided to introduce herself, mindful not to tell them too much.
"Hello," she said to the bushy-hared girl. "I'm Harry's aunt; is that your mum accompanying you?"
At Hermione's nod, Petunia approached the older woman. "Hello, my name is Petunia Evans and this is my nephew Harry Potter. It seems that our children have a common interest in music."
Monica regarded Petunia closely. Here was a friendly person that seemed to want to get to know her and Hermione. "I'm pleased to meet you Mrs. Evans, I'm Monica Granger and my daughter indeed seems to have found a new friend." She decided not to mention Hermione's odd unexplained behavior that manifested itself whenever she was upset. "My husband and I are dentists and we live in Greater Whinging."
Petunia smiled and relaxed a bit. Dentists were something she could not afford but were decent people. "We live in Little Whinging and I'm a stay at home mum that has recently divorced." No need to tell her about the circumstances.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Monica replied. She could see that the pair were poor and ashamed to admit it. Perhaps she could help a bit if Petunia wasn't too proud to accept help. "Has young Harry had his teeth examined?" That might be a way to break the ice.
Petunia blanched at the question, but knew the woman meant well. "Um, not recently," she extemporized.
"Well, I'd be happy to examine him for free if you can get him to our clinic," she encouraged. A young child, after all, needed dental care at an early age if they were to have healthy teeth when they grew up. She would talk to Wendell tonight and see what else they could to. She knew that single mothers sometimes fell on hard times.
Petunia smiled in appreciation and felt a wave of relief wash over her. Harry had never had a dental exam; Vernon would have never allowed it. "That would be most generous of you, there isn't any dentists in Little Whinging and I've not had proper transportation since the divorce."
Monica handed Petunia her business card for their office and offered to pick her up at her convenience if she wished. "You may ring me at the number on the card and I'll send my husband or I'll come myself."
Petunia's eyes misted over at the generous offer. She'd talk it over with Harry and arrange a time and date. "Thank you so much. I suppose I should leave you my number as well."
Harry and Hermione were busy comparing musical preferences. Both liked many of the same composers and liked to listen to orchestral recordings. Soon it was time to go and although the children hated to part, they knew they's meet again soon. Start of school was only a week away and both would probably be in the same first form classes. Hermione was slightly older than Harry, but would start together.
First day was chaos. Harry spotted Hermione first and wormed his way toward her through the crowded hallway. "Hermione," he laughed when he finally reached her. "What a zoo. Do you know where we go?"
She turned and hugged him. "Harry! It's good to finally see someone I know. We were assigned the same classroom when we registered; I think it's this way." She pulled him along, winding their way through the throng, heading unerringly to a classroom at the end of the hall.
The first week of classes didn't really seem all that interesting. The students were given an introductory lecture in the music class which was a bit boring as both Harry and Hermione were much further advanced than the rest of the class. The music teacher, a Mrs. Neat, explained that she would evaluate each student over the next week to see what talent she could discover. Due to the school's limited resources, each child was asked to bring their own instrument if possible. The school had some instruments, such as a piano and a basic wood wind set as well as drums.
Harry inspected the piano. It was a decent enough instrument, but certainly not as good as he had at home, but it would do. He couldn't see transporting his own piano to school.
Hermione, of course, would bring her own violin. She wouldn't want anyone else to touch her precious instrument. Her mum had paid good money for that!
When the class was tested for talent, there were a few children that seemed to have some raw talent and there were more that simply had no talent. When she got to Hermione, she was surprised. Hermione played beautifully and was obviously very talented. Harry watched and listened in awe as she played a piece he wasn't familiar with: Beethoven Romance Violin. The class listened in rapt silence as she played, caught up in the emotional piece. Hermione was in her own world as she played, completely wrapped up in the music as if only she existed at that time. After she had played, she seemed to snap out of it and looking around at the class who had stared unbelieving at her, she blushed and quickly went back to her seat beside Harry.
"Harry," she whispered, why is everyone staring?"
Harry gulped and replied, "That was incredible, Hermione. I've never heard anything like it."
Mrs. Neat approached, misty eyed and led Hermione to the front of the class. Children," she said, "now that's how a violin should be played and Miss Granger has captured the essence of the piece. You would do well to note the amount of work Miss Granger must have put in to play this piece so excellently. You may return to your seat and I next call on Harry Potter. He will play a piece of his own choosing on the piano.
Harry approached the piano and sat down. He would play this from memory; Greig Lyric Pieces Book II, Op.38 - 3 Melodie. The music soared in the classroom and Hermione saw that Harry indeed had talent to match her own.
Once he had finished, he frowned. The piano wasn't quite right. It was in tune, but it lacked something, there was no 'feeling' to it; as if it was shallow and had no depth. He would speak to Mrs. Neat about this.
Once again, the class was in awe. None of them could approach the talent that these two had demonstrated. The surprised Mrs. Neat could hardly believe it. Two child prodigies in her class. Obviously they would be held back here. She would see what she could do to advance their learning outside of class.
The rest of their school work proceeded apace, both learning at a prodigious rate. Both were top of their classes academically. Hermione usually beat Harry by a few percentile in most classes, but Harry did best in maths. Both challenged each other, leaving the rest of the students well behind. This did not engender friendship with the other students and attempts at bullying rose its ugly face. Harry protected Hermione and they always stuck together. Somehow, they were always able to escape when the bullies showed up. Both were fleet of feet and could easily outdistance their antagonists and the few times they were trapped, Harry seemed able to defeat his opponents in a fight. After awhile, they were left alone, but they had no friends.
Hermione and her mum would frequently visit Harry and has aunt. Petunia and Monica got on well and would listen as the children played and practiced together.
"Harry, can we play "The Swan" together today?" she asked.
"Sure," he replied. He sat and started the accompaniment as Hermione brought her violin to her chin. Soon the music flowed like liquid, through the house, the golden notes sliding easily from the pair. Harry had the easier part and the notes came easily. Hermione once again slipped into a near trance as she played, ever cognizant of the symmetry the music had with the perfectly paired instruments. Still, something felt a bit off. Hermione could feel it and wondered if it was perhaps the wrong instrument for the piece. She would ask Harry and her mum about it later. Perhaps a deeper instrument was needed; maybe a cello.
The older women listened enraptured as their children played. When they had finished, both looked at each other and decided to have a talk.
Monica started. "Petunia, I think we should talk to somebody. Somebody that can tutor them privately. They are much too talented to waste their time in music classes at school. Hermione isn't getting enough challenge there. She's already way ahead of anyone else except Harry."
"I agree, Monica, but I don't think I can afford …"
"Petunia, I'll help. We can't let this talent go to waste. Wendell and I can easily afford it and Harry plays so beautifully with Hermione, it would be a shame to separate them."
"I–I can't take charity, Monica. I know Harry and Hermione work well together, but we simply can't afford private tutors."
"I know Harry's an orphan, did his parents leave him anything?"
That question startled Petunia. She knew that James and Lily Potter had money, but that was in the magical world. She daren't inquire about that. Still, if somehow …"
"M–Maybe. Umm, I don't know."
Suddenly, things started moving in the house. Cups floated and danced as if in time to the music, there was a breeze that flowed through the house, and Petunia moaned. "Nooo, not now, please."
Monica paid attention. "What's going on, Petunia?"
Petunia hung her head. "It's Harry," she whispered. "Sometimes odd things happen when he plays and really gets into the mood of the music. Please don't tell anyone about this."
As the music reached it's conclusion, the cups settled back in their places.