"Friendship is like a violin; the music may stop now and then, but the strings will last forever."
December 25, 1981
"...that's the jingle bell, that's the jingle bell, that's the jingle bell rock!"
Hermione awoke as the song finished on her alarm clock radio. She listened to the radio newscaster speak.
"Good morning, everyone! It's eight o' clock on Christmas Day! And as a tribute to this giving holiday, the next song will be "The Christmas Shoes" by Bob Carlisle. This is Sunny 104.5, bringing you your Christmas favorites..."
The other song began to play as Hermione threw her covers off and went into the bathroom. She grabbed her green and yellow footstool from beside the door and put it under the sink, standing on it. She grabbed her toothbrush and squirted some toothpaste on it, carefully brushing her teeth. She spit the toothpaste out and washed her mouth out, stepping off her stool and setting it next to the door once more. She then smiled brightly and ran out of the bathroom, down the stairs, toward the tree.
"MUMMY! DADDY! IT'S CHRISTMAS! AND MY BIRFDAY! WAKE UP! WAKE UP, WAKE UP, WAKE UP!" Hermione screamed, looking around.
She heard her parents get up and saw them stumbling down the stairs. They walked over and sat next to their daughter, giving her sleepy smiles. But something was missing. Hermione smiled mischeviously.
"Exskweeze me a moment," and Hermione dashed up the stairs to her older brother's old bedroom.
She poked at the door and it creeked open, revealing a sleeping Jeremy. Hermione smiled again and tiptoed to the side he was facing, putting her face really close to his. Her brother's eyes sprung open.
He screamed, "GOTCHA!"
He grabbed a squealing Hermione and pulled her toward his chest. She giggled while they settled down.
"Happy birthday and christmas," Jeremy said to his little sister, hugging her and kissing her forehead.
"Hurry, Jeremy! We have to open presents!" Hermione squealed again and got off her brother, grabbing his hand.
"Wait, wait, let me wake up Esther." Jeremy walked around the bed and smiled down at the beautiful, angelic face of his wife. He gently stroked her cheek, seeing her smile and her beautiful eyes flutter open. Jeremy leaned in close.
"Happy Christmas, dear." He kissed her lightly.
"Happy Christmas," she said after they had broken apart.
Hermione squealed in disgust, "Ewwww!!! Lovey dovey, lovey dovey!"
Esther and Jeremy smiled, Esther getting out of the bed. Hermione grabbed Jeremy and Esther's hands, "Come on, guys! It's Christmas! And my birfday!"
She pulled them downstairs, plopping them next to her parents. They wished each other a 'Happy Christmas'. Hermione was grabbing presents left and right, throwing them to their respectful person. She didn't recognize full words yet, but she did know how to read names and a few words. She then let them open their gifts while she opened her's.
For christmas, Santa had given Hermione a princess dress, a wand, a tiara, a pair of princess shoes, and gift cards. For her birthday, her parents had given her clothes, a doll from Jeremy, and a box with big holes in it from an unknown person. Hermione stared at the box, trying to figure out what it was. She didn't see Jeremy, Esther or her father smiling, or her mother paling in the background. She lifted the top of the box and out popped a scruffy, orange cat! She squealed in delight and pulled the cat from the box, giggling as it 'meow'ed. She then remembered that her parents, Jeremy and Esther were in the room, and showed them the cat.
"So, what're you going to name him, Joie?" Jeremy asked.
"Uhh...Jerry! No! Bob! No! Uhhh...Crookshanks!" Hermione exclaimed finally.
"Crookshanks?" Heather asked, raising her eybrow.
Mr. Granger took the cat into his arms and he and Esther smiled in approval, petting the cat, "Crookshanks. I like it!"
Heather scowled, "What about Carrey? Or Jack? Or Sammy? Why Crook-" Jeremy cut her off with a glare.
"Because she chose the name and I'm sure she's grateful this unknown person gave her anything at all. Let's leave it at that, mother."
The mother and son began glaring at each other while Ernest and Esther helped Hermione clean up the paper. He then picked her up and they took her into the kitchen to make breakfast for themselves and the rest of the family. Jeremy and Heather came in a few moments later, Jeremy sitting across from Hermione, Heather at one end of the table, and Esther next to Jeremy. Their kitchen was nice, fairly large. There were oak cabinets and a tile floor. Appliances that would be in any kitchen were present. The table was small and mahogany, seating eight people.
Ernest set Hermione's favorite breakfast on the table, chocolate pancakes, whipped cream, orange juice, toast, and peanut butter. Jeremy took the plate to fix it to Hermione's liking. He coated the pancakes in peanut butter and then cut them up, gathering the pieces into groups, squeezing whipped cream over the groups to make a smiley face. The family ate and drank happily, Ernest, Esther, Jeremy, and Hermione making faces at each other. They only stopped when Jeremy stuck two pancake pieces over his teeth and Heather scoffed, leaving the table. Once the other four had cleared the table, Ernest suggested they do what Hermione wanted until her party later.
"Well, the party's at three. What do you want to do until then, Joie?" It was 9:30 in the morning.
"Let's go to the park!" Hermione said and they went upstairs to get dressed.
Jeremy followed Hermione into her room and let her pick her clothes. She picked out a light blue, long sleeve shirt and little jeans. Jeremy then helped her into her snowpants, helping her with her big winter coat, gloves, and hat. He then went over to her dresser to get her a few pairs of socks.
Hermione's room was decorated to look like the sky. Her walls were gray and misty, the paint on the walls shaping clouds. On her ceiling was one large storm cloud with the sun poking out from behind it. Her bed was antique looking, along with the rest of the furniture in her room. Everything was either blue or gray to fit in with the theme of a storm. Her carpet was electric blue, her curtains on her window, gray.
Jeremy helped Hermione into her three pairs of socks, and glanced out the window. He smiled at all the snow. He helped Hermione down the stairs and found their father decked out in winter gear.
"Coming, Jeremy?" Ernest asked, opening the front door.
"Be there in a moment, dad," Jeremy smiled, winking at his dad.
The door shut and Jeremy pulled out his wand, flicking it at himself and muttering a dressing spell. He stuffed his wand in his coat pocket and ran outside, catching up to his father and sister. Esther had opted to stay behind and get ready for the party.
'If only Kaylie were here. Damn, mum. She needs to tell Hermione. Especially before I do...' Jeremy thought.
After an hour and a half of playing in the snow, Hermione and her brother had been murdered by their father. In a snowball fight. Both kids lay in the snow, panting for air, and Jeremy wondering how their dad had won against two people. Mr. Granger hovered over the two kids, the younger catching snowflakes on her tongue while making a snow angel.
"Okay, Joie. It's eleven o' clock. We've got four hours. What do you want to do now, birthday girl?" her father asked.
"Bowling!" she yelled and got up, stepping all over her snow angel.
Ernest nodded and helped up Jeremy. They walked on the sidewalk, about fifteen feet from where Hermione was skipping and singing.
"Stay close, Joie!" Jeremy yelled.
"Trying to be the father now?" Ernest asked, a smirk on his face.
"She's just so young. She's only five! She feels like my own kid. She just relies on you and me. Mum's not exactly very open to letting the little tike express herself..."
"Don't talk about your mother like that! She deserves nothing but respect from you and your sister!"
"I know. I'm sorry dad. It's just, why did she have to act like that at breakfast? We weren't doing anything wrong!"
"She's just stressed. You don't need a reason for her behavior. Let her be herself. Now, we shouldn't be talking about this. It's Joie's birthday and we need to take her bowling. Let's go."
Ernest helped his daughter into her carseat and the got in the driver's seat. He drove them over to Barney's Alley, which was ten minutes away. He paid for three-and-a-half hours of game time and two lanes. They needed one with bumpers for Hermione.
They bowled a total of eight games. Two with Hermione versus both, two with Hermione versus Jeremy, two with Hermione versus her father, and two between her father and her brother. The first two games they played, they helped Hermione and let her win. After that, every game was won by her father. Even the games when Hermione and Jeremy versed, their father won. Hermione had gotten tired halfway through and Ernest took over, winning the games.
Soon enough, it was 2:30. They had thirty minutes to get back to the house, dress in fresh clothes, and be ready to greet the guests. Ernest quickly dragged them to the counter, paying a small fee for the lanes and shoe rentals, then they went to the car, where they headed back to their house. Once inside, Jeremy helped Hermione get out of her snow clothes and she ran downstairs. Jeremy flicked his wand a few times, muttering a few more spells, and he was in his day clothes, his and Hermione's snow clothes dried and put away. He twirled his wand for a moment, a smile on his lips, then tucked it away and walked downstairs.
At three, many families had piled in the door. A few of Hermione's aunts, uncles, and cousins were there, and lots of kids she didn't know. Except Draco, of course.
When Draco arrived, Hermione ran towards him, crashing into a hug and sending them both to the ground.
"LUKE!" she giggled, smiling and hugging him.
"Hi, Joie," he answered, crawling out from under her.
Ernest then led her around to introduce her to the other young kids.
"Hermione, this is Blaise. She's five like you!" Ernest told her.
Hermione nodded and smiled brightly at the girl offering her hand, "Hi!"
Blaise smiled and shook Hermione's hand. Hermione studied her. She had shoulder-blade length black hair, and the most peculiar eyes. They were lavendar! Her skin was very pale and she was wearing a long sleeve, purple shirt with a rhinestone star in the middle, and black jeans. Hermione smiled at Blaise once more and her father led her to another group of kids.
"Hermione, this is Neville Longbottom, Seamus Finnegan, and Dean Thomas. They're all four."
"Hi!" they chorused.
Hermione looked to Neville first. He had flat, brown hair, lots of freckles, and two really big front teeth. He was wearing a black sweater and some grey sweatpants. Seamus was african american, like Dean. He had really curly hairs that were really short and really close to his head. He had eyes that shined like sapphires. He had his right bottom vampire (A/N: canine) tooth missing. He wasn't bad looking for a four-year-old and a "Gappy" as Hermione and Draco had named people who were missing teeth.
Dean looked almost like Seamus, but a little chubbier. It wasn't something you could notice instantly though. And Dean was taller than any other kid at the party. He had dark, dark brown hair and grey eyes that looked like diamonds. He was wearing a blue t-shirt with jeans.
Hermione smiled at all of them and the adults rounded up the kids for some games. They played "Pin the tail on the Donkey", hit a pinata, played a few hand games like Miss Mary Mack, then began to play some board games. It was 6:30 and Hermione was looking for her mother. She wanted her to see the pretty picture she had made. As Hermione turned the corner into the kitchen, she found her mother, and not with the person she expected.
Young Hermione watched as her mother was snogged and felt up by Dave Finnegan, Seamus's father. Her little mouth popped open in confusion and shock and her eyes widened as she watched a man she barely knew, inch his hand up her mother's shirt. She heard her mother moan and watched as her hand moved towards the tip of his pants. Hermione gasped lightly, confused scared, and angry. She saw Mr. Finnegan's eyes pop open and he pulled away from her mother, motioning to her that someone else was in the room.
Heather sighed and straightened herself, Hermiong having run away from the scene before her mother turned around.
"I think your daughter saw us," Dave said, moving as far from Heather as possible.
Heather grinned, "Only her? Oh, I thought it was someone else! Well, then we can pick up where we left off."
Heather advanced on Dave, but he backed away, "You're married. I'm in a relationship. We shouldn't be doing this."
"Aww, come on, Dave! Don't you remember our days at Hogwarts? By the lake, and in the forest..."
Heather smiled seductively and kissed Dave again, trying to relive those memories with him.
He broke away from her, "I fell for it then, I fell for it now, but I won't fall for it again. I love my girlfriend, not you. I wasted too much of my life on you, and what we did a moment ago was a complete mistake. Nothing can rekindle that old flame again."
"Not even this...?"
Heather breathed in his ear, the way he always liked it. Dave said nothing. She began kissing him from his ear down to his collarbone, sucking on the spot that always made him moan. Dave suppressed the urge and stayed quiet. She then put her hands on his shoulders, sliding them down his still toned chest, dragging her fingernails over his abs and resting them on his waist band. Dave gulped, knowing what she was going to do. He was beginning to sweat a little, and felt himself start to shake with suppressed urges. She traced her finger along the waist, letting her nail scrape him ever so lightly. She then slid her hand down his outer thigh and drug it upwards, letting it rest next to his zipper. Dave was getting very hot and light headed inside, but held his ground outside.
Dave grabbed Heather's hand before she went too far and pushed her away. Heather scoffed and Dave walked out of the kitchen. It was 7:00. The party ended in a half hour. She sighed and did her best to fix herself before returning to the party.
Hermione had been very quiet since she saw her mother and Mr. Finnegan kissing. How could her mom do that? Didn't she love her husband? That was another question on her mind, should she tell her dad? She decided not to, thinking it might make her dad mad. She snapped back to reality when she realized a cake with five candles on it was in front of her. She saw all of the guests staring at her and realized they had finished the birthday song. She made her wish and blew out the candles, her mother cutting the cake. Once everyone had finished eating, Hermione said goodbye to Blaise, Seamus, Neville, and Dean. The Malfoy's had stayed behind much to Hermione and Draco's delight. Even Brigit, Celeste, and Eric were there. She'd heard so much about them from Draco during school.
"Kids. We want to see you in the Living room," Lucius said, walking back into the other room.
The kids, who were being thoroughly entertained by Hermione, went out into the Living room and sat on the floor.
"Okay, kids. For Christmas break, we're going to America!" Narcissa announced.
The older kids whooped and danced with each other. Hermione, having heard of America from Jeremy, and Draco, having heard of America from Narcissa, jumped around and held hands while spinning.
"We're going to Amayica! We're going to Amayica!" Draco sang.
"It's A-MER-ica, silly!" Hermione corrected. "We need to pack!"
"Already done! We just need to get to the airport and get on the plane! But the flight doesn't leave for five hours, so why don't you kids get some rest?" Ernest said, watching as all the kids laid on the floor.
Within ten minutes, everyone was asleep but Heather. She didn't want to go to America, personally. She didn't want to have to spend that much time with her family. She barely wanted to spend time with them in their own country, let alone one thousands of miles away! She watched the clock for four hours. By the beginning of the fifth hour, she saw her husband stirring. She quickly slumped and pretended to sleep, wondering if he would wake.
As it turns out, Ernest did wake up. And when he saw the time on the clock, he did a double take before screaming, "EVERYBODY UP! WE'RE GONNA MISS THE FLIGHT!"
This scared everyone awake. They were confused as to why Ernest was hopping up and down and poking at some of the kids to wake up until they read the time on the clock. Lucius and Narcissa jumped up, pulling their sleepy kids to their feet and screaming in their ears the problem. Soon enough everyone was awake. Lucius, Narcissa, Celeste, Brigit, and Eric got into one car while Heather, Ernest, Esther, Draco, Hermione, and Jeremy got into the second. They drove to the airport as fast as they could, pulling right up to the doors like taxis and pulling their luggage from the trunks, leaving the cars in the taxi lane. Ernest led the way, pulling Hermione, who was holding Draco's hand, with him. All the luggage was carry-on, so no one had to check anything.
Ernest looked at the airline desk and saw the line of at least a hundred people. He smiled as he remembered that he had gotten the boarding passes online and had printed them out long before they left. Once they got up to the third floor and started heading to their gate, they saw the line for security. There were six security lines, each with two hundred people in them. Ernest groaned and hopped into one of the lines. He checked his watch. The flight was in 45 minutes. It would take much longer than that to get through security. Ernest waited patiently, and a few nice people let him slide in front of them since they were running so late.
Once the Granger's and the Malfoy's had finally passed through security, there was ten minutes until the plane departed. Ernest took off in a sprint down the long stretch of the third floor, managing to keep Hermione and Draco attatched to him. He heard the Malfoy's and the rest of his family behind him and led the way for them. They finally reached their gate, E26. The person behind the desk was removing the plate from the grate behind her. It read, 'New York, New York, USA'. Ernest groaned again and ran up to her.
"Please! Please for the love of god! Tell me we didn't miss the flight!" Ernest cried, leaning against the desk and panting heavily.
The attendant looked at him with a caring expression and sighed. She looked to her computer screen and began typing. Lucius came up next to Ernest. The attendant had a worried look on her face.
"We did, didn't we?" Lucius asked softly, placing his hand on Ernest's shoulder.
The attendant looked up at them with a sad expression,
Sneak Preview of Chapter 4:
"Come along, dear. Aunt 'Cissa and Draco are already in the classroom."
Hermione beamed. True, she had seen Draco just yesterday, but it felt like it had been forever since then. Hermione began dragging her mother to the little hallway that held the doors for the kindergarten classroom, and the two first grade classrooms. Heather was taking too long in moving, so Hermione let go of her mother's hand and ran down the little hall, having no clue which room to go to, and bolting inside the first door. Room 102.
"Luke?" she called over the loud children of the room.
"JOIE!" she heard a voice yell, and turned to the right. She spotted a platinum blonde head with a small body attached to it, jumping up and down while waving his arms wildly.
"LUKE!" Hermione screamed and ran towards him, dodging four and five-year-olds, their parents, and toys. They collided and fell to the floor laughing.
"C'mon! Take him out again, Joie! I know you can do it! I've done it!" Draco persisted. He had successfully removed Greg from the tank to his hands without moving a muscle. Hermione, on the other hand, was having some trouble. Whenever she tried to bring out Greg, only the glass from the tank would disappear, while Draco could get Greg to fade out of the inside of the tank, and fade into his arms.
Hermione focused again, crossing her legs and holding her arms out to catch Greg, if he appeared. She focused on the spell, Slebhac, and whispered it aloud. She immediately felt her arms grow heavy and a loud hissing noise fill the room. Hermione opened her eyes and saw Greg tangled in her arms. She squealed happily and then bit her lips in terror. Greg hated squeals. The snake immediately curled into a ball, sliding from Hermione's hands and in front of her. The snake hissed angrily and snapped at her if she moved in the slightest. Hermione's eyes shifted to Draco who was staring wide-eyed at Hermione and Greg.
*in this chapter, it's not that Hermione usually doesn't remember practicing the spells, because the muggle part of her mind erases the magic when she leaves their home.*
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