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Chapter 1: An Owl comes a' knocking
Somewhere remote in the forests of Devon
A brown, curly haired woman stood in the doorway of an ancient cottage; her hair fluttering in the springtime wind. Her honey brown eyes surveyed the foliage in front of her and she frowned unable to find what she was most looking for.
“Miaa, it’s time to come in now, I’m making dinner.”
A little blonde haired girl raised her head from her position on the ground; a bunch of daffodils grasped tightly in her hand. The woman smiled as the little girl ran giggling to herself, her baby blue eyes alight with happiness.
As the girl reached her mother she raised her hand gripping the daffodils, thrusting them into her mother’s face. “Daffies! For you!”
Hermione smiled as she looked down at her daughter. She took the flowers gently from Mia and smelt them. The blonde sweetheart smiled and waited expectantly. Hermione looked down and she grinned making her daughter giggle. “They smell beautiful darling, now come on in and wash up while I make dinner, and no more playing outside its getting dark.”
Mia nodded and ran into the cottage, heading straight for the bathroom up the stairs. Hermione shook her head smiling and glanced at the beautiful view before her. ‘Another day in paradise...if only he could be here to see it...' She sighed and caught the silent tear that slid down her cheek before closing the door to the tranquil seen; she had a little mouth to feed.
It was as if Mia had known what Hermione was thinking, because she came bounding down the stairs her freshly washed hands waving in front of her.
Hermione grinned and open her arms for a hug which Mia leapt into with a grace of a ballet dancer.
"I can see! Fancy helping me in the kitchen then?"
So what adventure did you have today?” Hermione looked at her daughter as she shovelled meatballs into her mouth one by one. Her eyes which were the clearest of blues, glittered in the pale light and Hermione felt a surge of emotional love for her baby girl.
Mia pondered the question for a second and bit her lip, her eyes upward as if she could think about her answer better that way; a typical trait of her mother’s before she lowered her gaze back to her food.
“I don't think they'll like me telling you.” Even for a five year old, Mia's speech was beyond her years. She pushed her spaghetti around her plate; her eyes focused on the swirly pattern that the sauce made.
Hermione watched the serpentine pieces of pasta slither around the last surviving meatball, a slightly concerned expression on her face.
"Why wouldn't the fairies want you to tell me?"
The little blonde shrugged her tiny shoulders and scrunched her nose up; a sign that she was uncomfortable, "Because you'll be angry with them."
Hermione tucked a blonde curl behind her daughter’s ear and replied "I promise I won't be mad... with you or them.” She brushed her little girl's rosy cheek and smiled when Mia snuggled into the touch. Her tiny hands grabbed Hermione's slender one and pulled her close so that she could whisper gently into her mother's ear.
"They were teaching me how to make the flowers grow...with magic!" She giggled mischievously at the look of shock on Hermione's face. True to her word, the Gryffindor Queen did not scold her child which encouraged Mia to explain, in depth what else had happened that day.
Hermione listened intently and 'oohed' and 'ahhed' in the right places, while secretly a cold fear was spreading inside. Six whole years had passed since she had left the wizarding world behind and in those six years she had managed to raise her beautiful daughter. Even as a baby, Mia's magic had blossomed and in the last couple of years, the Brainiac had told her about the world where staircases moved and brooms flew.
However, she never expressed any magic of her own and secretly, she feared using her natural abilities.
Hermione glanced at the wooden box nestled on the edge of one of bookshelves, her honey gaze lingering at the silver framed photograph positioned next to it. It was her favourite; she was standing with Ron and Harry when they finally finished Hogwarts. The laughter that all three possessed made Hermione’s heart swell with happiness and at the same time, deep sorrow.
“Mummy, why are you sad?”
Hermione turned round to see Mia looking curiously at her. She had a sixth sense when it came to human emotions; especially for someone so young. Hermione reached over and lightly pinched her daughter's nose.
“I’m not sad sweetie, I’m feeling a thing call melancholy, it’s when someone feels comfortable sadness because they are remembering something good but it’s no longer happening.” She looked back at the photo and a flood of memories rushed to her mind of that day.
Graduation Day for Hogwarts Seventh/Eight Year’s
“Hey Hermione smile for the camera!” Hermione turned around to see Ginny holding up a big enchanted Polaroid camera into her face. *Flash* “Haha gotcha!”
“Gin-nny!” Hermione snatched the camera playfully from her best friend’s hands and hugged her. The pair were still laughing when Ron and Harry appeared with Neville and Luna.
“Hey, I hope you're not trying to steal my girlfriend little sister!" Ron split the girls apart by grabbing Hermione mischievously around her waist before swinging her into his arms "I think you owe your boyfriend a very big kiss seen as he managed to graduate school even after he screwed up nearly all the answers on every test," He raised his face to hers, his eyes closed and his lips puckered; he looked ridiculous. Hermione fake grimaced before smothering his face with the palm of her hand.
He opened his eyes in surprise and watched as his girlfriend grinned evilly, "Well when I see him, I'll be sure to give him the smooch that he deserves!" She yelped when he bit her finger playfully before the lowering her to the ground; his arms wrapped firmly around his waist.
“Aw’rh look at that” The next thing that the pair new was they were being enveloped in a bone crushing hug by Hagrid. “I kne’w you too would get t’gether ev’tually”
“Hagrid you might want to put them down, I think your stopping their blood circulation; look Ron’s going purple” Harry pointed at the Redhead whose face was turning an impressive shade of puce that would have made Uncle Vernon proud.
“Oh’er sorry” Hagrid put them down gruffly while trying to stop the giant sized tears from falling.
"I jus can't believe yur leaving! I rember the day I brought ya to Hogwarts!" He withdrew a giant sized handkerchief from his pocket and blew.
Harry went up to the half-giant and hugged him around the top part of his legs.
Hermione, Ron and Ginny joined in while Neville and Luna stood arm in arm happily watching the embrace.
“Oh Hagrid, we’ll still visit,”
“Yeah we’ll still come for those rock cakes that we love so much.”
“And we’ll even bring presents for you and ‘witherwings,' please don't cry” The trio and Ginny all looked up to see their favourite giant swelling with pride.
“I love you guys” There was another massive bone crushing hug, before Hagrid mumbled an excuse about some of the decorations that were falling down in the Great Hall that needed his attention; his hand wiping at his golf-ball sized eyes.
Ron put his arm around Hermione and smiled. “Looks like we’re on another adventure. A very special adventure.” Hermione beamed up at her boyfriend and kissed him lightly on the cheek, “Yes we are.” Harry rolled his eyes at his two best friends in mock embarrassment, "Hey that's enough of that!" which made the other two laugh. Hermione went to poke her best friend in the side for his cheekiness but with his Quidditch reflexes he caught her hand and wrapped her arm around his waist instead.
The three looked up to see Ginny holding the camera again; capturing the heart-warming moment between the three best friends.
Harry groaned, “Gin! You know how much I hate having my picture taken!”
Ginny poked her tongue out at Harry playfully, before replying, “Well, you didn't mind me taking your picture when you had your shirt off last nig-" She screamed as Harry lunged at her and quickly began to run towards the Lake where the Squid was being tickled by a couple of third years; Harry not far behind her.
That was one of the happiest moment of Hermione’s life and it was also one of the last times that she and her friends were together.
Back to present day
Hermione smiled again at her daughter and noticed that she was beginning to get sleepy. “I think it might be time for bed.” As if on cue, Mia made a small shaped O as she yawned.
“Yep definitely time for bed.” Gently, she placed her hands around her daughter’s body and lifted her into her arms while being careful to not jolt the nearly sleeping form. She crossed the living room picking her way through the mess of toys, and clutter towards the staircase to daughter’s sanctuary. She sighed and shook her head, knowing full well that she was going to be spending half the night cleaning it, ready for another onslaught the next day.
She climbed the staircase expertly with the five year old nestled deeply into her shoulder before opening the yellow door leading to Mia's bedroom.
The bedroom itself was beautiful and quaint for her little girl and like the entrance, was covered in yellow. It was Mia’s favourite colour and she demanded that everything she owned be yellow or yellow orientated. This meant Hermione usually spent ages finding the perfect present for birthdays and Christmas's; something that represented her daughter perfectly. Yellow teddy bears, yellow curtains, yellow toys, yellow clothes, yellow bedsheets and pillows, yellow wardrobe and a yellow carpet; yellow everything.
It was really Hermione’s fault. She didn’t want her baby to have a typical pink room because she thought the colour was very sexist, but due to Mia’s bright ability to remember everything she sees, she remembered that her original nursery colour was yellow and it meant that ever since then yellow had to be in her life.
Looking down at her daughter's sleeping form she smiled affectionately and realised that the child would have to be put to bed with her clothes on instead of her pyjamas, otherwise she would have to wake Mia up and that was a recipe for disaster. Pulling back the bedsheets she placed her daughter gently between them and quietly crept from the room.
When she reached the bottom step of the stairs, she gazed around at the never-ending mess.
“What am I going to do about this place?!” She glared at the strewn clothes and toys that were decorating her comfortable living room as if they had a personal vendetta against her. She had hoped for a quiet night reading a book by the fire, but with this much mess she wouldn't see her bed until the early hours of the morning.
Like earlier, she spied the little oak box that sat along her bookshelf; it seemed to pulsate with the knowledge that something precious was held inside. Crossing the living room she picked up the little box and opened it with the tiny key that she kept hidden within her golden locket.
Inside was the 10 and three quarter inch Vinewood wand that chose her all those years' ago in Ollivanders' wand shop.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve used this.” On opening the box came a musical chime that made Hermione remember the happy melody that played the day her and Ron engagement party. She felt the happy tears form in her eyes as she remembered him swinging her around the dancefloor, his movements goofy and over confident until he had tripped over his own feet and face planted the ground.
Gingerly, she picked up the wand and was gasped. The rush that she had first felt in Ollivanders surged through her whole body, welcoming her home. It was as if the wand had been waiting for her; waiting to be complete again. She lazily flicked the wand towards the living room and was only half surprised to see that the mess that was there only moments ago, disappeared. She grinned feeling the power of magic reverberate through her body and realised she missed it, she missed being the Greatest Witch of her age.
Her hand danced again in the air, the wood firmly gripped in her fingers and she watched as it glowed with happiness at being used again. It knew what she wanted done and within seconds a fiery phoenix was suspended in the air.
With another flick, a battered copy of pride and prejudice drifted from the bookshelf and landed neatly in her outstretched hand.
She was almost saddened to place the wand back in the little box and lock it away but she had vowed to never use magic in this life with her daughter. Not after what had happened…not after losing Ron forever. Hermione shook her head trying to rid the images away and placed the box back on its shelf. Picking up the shawl that was elegantly draped over her favourite armchair, she placed it over shoulders and turned to the dog-eared first page. Nothing beat the flowing words of Jane Austen.
It wasn’t until Twilight when Hermione finally decided that it was time to go to bed. She unfurled her tanned legs and stretched, slightly worried at all the cracks that she heard as she got up. Oh well, guess that’s what you get from having a little troublemaker as a child; always keeps you on your toes.
Placing her book on the coffee table so that she would be able to read it later, Hermione turned towards her the staircase, already thinking of the soft, cotton sheets awaiting her.
*Tap Tap Tap*
Hermione turned at the noise and noticed a Barn Owl at her window. Her eyes widened and inwardly she scolded herself for using magic.
Glancing towards the staircase to see if the tapping had awoken her sleeping daughter, Hermione tiptoed carefully over to the living room window and opened it to let the bird in. Attached to the Owl’s ankle was a letter.
“How? After all this time, how could they have found me now?"
Untying the letter from its leg, Hermione gave the bird some oats that she left by the window in case there were any wild birds flitting around. “Here you go.” The Owl pecked at the oats gratefully and flew to perch onto the back of one of her dining chairs so that it could clean its feathers.
Hermione smiled as she remembered Hedwig doing the same thing so many times over in the past before looking down at the unopened letter. The envelope looked aged, but it was the messy handwriting which made her heart flutter with fear.
What if they’ve found me? What if they come here! What if they tell my parents where I am and then they come and take me back home! Oh god please don’t let it be bad.
With shaking hands, she opened the letter. It read;
We’ve placed a tracking charm on your wand hoping that one day you will use it so that we will be able to find you…well not us anyway but this Owl. We don’t know if you’ll ever get this message but it was a chance we had to take.
Personally, I hate the fact that you’ve left and that I can’t see you every day; your my best friend and losing you like this is awful. I know what happened is too hard for you to ever get past and that you loved him so, so much but this is no way to leave the situation! You have to face the world some time and we all want to be here with you when you do.
Please come home...please.
Hermione let the tears fall. She looked at the date in the corner of the parchment and noticed that it was dated shortly after she had left the world she loved and the people she treasured. The letter was five years old. This Barn Owl had to wait five years for a tracking charm to finally work so that it could fulfil its task.
“Oh Harry, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for leaving you and Ginny and Neville and Luna and –“She stopped short as she realised that there was no one else to list. Her tears fell freely and fast as she reread over the letter from her oldest friend.
Hermione turned around quickly to see Mia rubbing her eyes questioningly. She must have sensed Hermione’s sudden change in emotion and it awoke her. Hermione smiled at her and reached out her arms for a hug. Mia stumbled into her mother’s embrace and curled up in her warmth. Hermione smelled the almond scent that always seemed to stay in her daughter’s hair and cried. Mia touched her mother's face and wiped away the free-falling tears.
"It's okay Mummy."
Hermione sniffed and hugged Mia close, her heart filled with ultimate love for her daughter. She rocked her small body back to sleep, the slow motion soothing not only her child but the pain inside of herself.
The pair stayed there like that for the rest of the night; snuggled up on the loveseat sofa, hugging tightly for warmth. The Barn Owl that had brought the letter to Hermione flew over to the chair where a patchwork quilt lay. Using it’s talons, it picked up the quilt and placed it over mother and daughter with a soothing hoot. With that it flew back to its position on the chair and fell asleep in its wing.
“Mummy? Mummy wake up it’s breakfast time!” Hermione felt the nudging of her daughter and started to murmur incoherently. Mia became impatient with Hermione’s sleepiness and started to poke her in the cheek. “Mum-myy!”
Her poking became deeper before Hermione was rudely awoken by a sharp stab. “Ow! Mia, what was that for!” She rubbed her bruised cheek to see her daughter glaring at her from underneath her blonde bangs. “You wouldn’t wake up!”
Hermione rolled her eyes and knew that the girl had unfortunately obtained Hermione’s impatience and stubborness. “Okay, okay I’m up now, so what do you want for breakfast sweetheart?”
Mia smiled and shouted, “PANCAKES!!” Hermione laughed at her daughter’s exclamation, knowing full well that it was what Mia had every morning.
Picking her up and whirling her around in the air, she replied “Pancakes it is then.” The little blonde giggled with delight and gave her mother a quick peck on the nose, “Yay!”
Hermione smirked at her daughter’s happiness and placed her in her chair, it was then that she noticed that the Barn Owl from last night was still perched on the back of her dining chair; its eyes wide with wonder. She stroked it lovingly and was happy to see that it rolled its head into the pet.
“What a beautiful bird,” she murmured and it hooted in agreement.
“Mummy, why is there an Owl in the dining room?”
Hermione turned to see her daughter watching the moment that she was having with the Owl, her eyebrows raised questioningly.
Hermione smiled and said, “You know I’ve told you about the Wizarding World where mummy used to live before you was born?”
Mia nodded. “Well, this is how we send messages, we use Owls. We also have them as pets if we want them as one.”
Mia got up from her chair and cautiously petted the Barn Owl. “Can we keep this one as a pet?”
Hermione looked at the Owl, pondering her daughter’s question. Any normal day Hermione would have said that the mother and daughter did not need an Owl and that he was better off in the wild, but after the previous night of emotional turmoil, the brunette could almost sense change was coming.
Looking back at the Owl she replied, “Well, if doesn’t have an owner then I suppose we could, he’s very beautiful. We have to make sure it doesn’t have a family already though.”
Mia looked up at her mother in wonderment. “How?”
Hermione stroked her daughter’s cheek and gave her a quick peck. “We ask it.”
“Does it understand?”
Hermione laughed and nodded. “Well, sort of, Owls are very intellectual and this one seems especially intelligent.” She turned to the Owl and stroked it feathers, wondering how the best method would be to figure out if it had an owner or not. She went for the most obvious.
“So, Mr Owl, do you have an owner?”
The Owl cocked its head to one side, staring at Hermione intently with its yellow eyes.
The next thing Hermione knew it had shook its feathers which Hermione remembered from one of her books that it meant no.
She turned to her daughter and grinned widely. “Nope he doesn’t, shall we ask him whether or not that wants to stay with us?”
Mia nodded vigorously.
Hermione stroked the bird’s feathers lovingly, and asked, “Do you want to stay with us?” The bird stared for a moment longer and then rubbed up against Hermione’s fingers. She smiled and then gave Mia the thumbs up.
Mia jumped for joy and started bouncing around the room. “Yay, yay,yay!” All of sudden she stopped and looked up at her mother in shock.
“We need to give him a name!”
Hermione bit her lip and looked heavenwards, similar to the look that her daughter used the night before. “How about… Shadow?” The bird twitched and rubbed against Hermione’s fingers which made her laugh. “I think he likes it.”
Mia giggled and started dancing around the room again. Hermione went to the box which held her wand, opened it up and flicked so that the pancakes started magically making themselves. Mia grabbled her bear and started playing up at the table, while Hermione looked everywhere for a spare bit of parchment, Shadow watching her intently. She gazed back at him and said,
“I think I need to write back.”
Hermione grabbed a piece of parchment sticking out from a drawer underneath her bookshelf and found a pen lying around on the countertop.
Tapping her lips with the top of her pen, Hermione thought about how she was going to write back.
It’s been five years since your letter, and yet I’ve only just received it; my fault not yours. I didn’t want to use magic ever again, not since that…that day. I know it must have been hard for you and Ginny and I didn’t plan to stay away from the pair of you but I didn’t know how to return after what happened.
After leaving, I had responsibilities that didn’t concern anyone but me and I needed space to recover from what happened in the past so that I could carry on with my future. I feel terrible that I left you, you are my best friend and you have always been in my thoughts since I left, you and Ginny.
See the thing is, I couldn’t come back to you, to my family, because something happened after that day that has changed my life completely for the last five years. I became pregnant. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and she is my world. These last five years I’ve been looking after her and teaching her everything I know. Her name is Mia, and she has kept me on my toes, but I wouldn't change a second with her; she is my life.
I feel terrible for not keeping in contact with you and I know that I should have but I really needed time to heal.
If you’ll let me, I’d like to meet up with you, and Ginny, and maybe I can even bring my daughter with me.
Your best friend forever and always,
She reread over the note and nodded to herself. Looking over her shoulder she watched as her daughter played happily by herself, and knew she was right; things were going to be changing very soon.
A/N: Well this is the beginning of my new story and hopefully the first chapter has made you want to read on. Please read and review so that I can improve my writing. I know there's no mention of a certain blonde yet but don't worry he'll be around soon.