The puzzled expression on her mother’s face told her that further explanation was necessary. “There’s a man in our—the Wizarding world with ideas similar to Hitler’s.
“You’re talking about genocide?” Mr. Granger asked, blinking behind his frameless spectacles. They reminded Hermione a bit too much of the goggles he wore when cleaning teeth.
“Essentially.” Quickly rehearsing something in her head, she spat out the remaining explanation before she forgot it. “He wants to glorify himself and rule with a master race of people whom he believes to be better than everyone else. And all the rest, they –are expendable.”
“And this boy, he was Jewish?” Hermione looked at her mother, puzzled. How could a college graduate miss the analogy and head strait for the concrete? Her conscience frowned; that’s probably where she got it from. After all, she could be like that sometimes. But that was not the point.
Seeing the look on Hermione’s face, Mrs. Granger amended her comment. “You know what I meant.”
“He got in the way.”
“Mrs. Granger spoke again, tutting appropriately just beforehand. “That’s awful. I just don’t understand how anyone could kill a child. Has he been arrested?”
Hermione was unsure how to proceed. The fact that a lunatic like Voldemort was running amok in the world would not sit well with her parents. Still, she wasn’t sure if they grasped the concept entirely. “The police are looking for him; he is on the run.” This was Hermione’s first blatant lie. The ministry refused to believe that Voldemort had once again come into power; they were certainly not hunting for him, and, from all the books she had read about Voldemort’s first reign, the idea that anyone had him on the run was simply laughable. Still, this explanation would make living with her parents much easier.
“Well that’s good,” her mother sighed. “He’s not near your school?”
“No, the boy…” here Hermione paused. That boy had a name: Cedric Diggory. Somehow, though, sharing his name seemed wrong. “He was killed far from the campus. In another country.”
“Well that’s a relief.” Now Hermione began to feel nauseous. A relief for whom?
“You’re school has security?”
“Heavy security.” Her father nodded at Hermione’s steady reply.
“I’m sorry. I don’t feel hungry anymore.”
“Well you have to eat. I want you to be healthy. You can’t stop taking care of yourself because of this boy’s death.”
Shrugging, Hermione turned and walked up the stairs to her room. Collapsing onto her white-eyelet comforter in frustration for what felt like the thousandth time that day, Hermione closed her eyes and wondered to herself how a person could hear so much and not listen to a word. Yet, she reasoned, it just wasn’t fair to accuse her mother of so much. Ron often was guilty of the same, but she reasoned, in Ron, it was tolerable, almost endearing. But in her mother, it was aggravating and impossible to bear. Hermione didn’t understand why.
Hermione, with all her book smarts, was beginning to understand something countless others before had come to know: the generation gap.
They had entirely missed the point, along with her emotional state. Their sympathetic looks, however they were meant to reassure, calm and comfort her, did nothing but enrage her. Sure they meant well, but they were not there when Harry brought back Cedric’s body and time stopped. They were not at the funeral. Cedric was to them another statistic that they might see on the news.
Hearing footsteps on the stair, Hermione bolted upright and stared hard at her door. She didn’t feel like being disturbed. And she didn’t feel like climbing off her bed to lock the door.
With a click, the lock secured itself.
Hermione’s eye’s widened in fear. Had she done that? How could she have? She didn’t say a spell. She didn’t use her wand—it was lying just inside her trunk. Gulping, Hermione attempted to force her pounding hart back inside her ribcage. She was going to prison, she knew it. An owl would be arriving any minute. Stiffly Hermione turned her swimming head toward the window.
The impending Ministry owl wasn’t the only thing that bothered her. She had never lost control of her magic before—even from her beginning days at Hogwarts, she had always completed everything that was asked of her with success. Why now was she losing control?
She didn’t know what to do. Obviously she had wanted the door locked. Maybe she was in control. Maybe...
She didn’t dare believe.
Hermione suddenly brightened—she would write to Harry. He had had an official warning last year, even if it wasn’t his fault. And he wasn’t reprimanded because everyone thought that Sirius Black was out to kill him. But just as quickly as the thought occurred to her, she dismissed it. She could never bother Harry with something so trivial after what he had been through.
Then there was the selfish part of her. Her pride simply wouldn’t take the hit. Hadn’t she scolded Harry for the very same thing two years before? But never mind that.
Now that her heart slowed and she was thinking more rationally, she reasoned that a Ministry owl would have arrived by this time had she actually broken the law. After all, Alohamora is a Grade 1 spell. And I am allowed a certain amount of freedom to complete my homework… Sending the window one last glance, Hermione slid off her bed and walked over to the door to her bedroom. She turned the handle and unlocked the door just before locking it again herself with her own hand directing the cool metal.
Then, settling in the window seat, Hermione pulled out one of her school books and began to read. Crookshanks, who had been hiding under her bed since their arrival, hopped up onto the blue cushion and curled into a ball under the cove made by Hermione’s bent legs.
And in the case of—
“So what did you do all day?” her mother walked into the room after arriving home from the office and perched herself on the edge of the couch where Hermione sat reading her Ancient Runes book.
“Read,” she replied simply, no taking her eyes off of the page. In ancient times--
“Your father’s still there,” Mrs. Granger continued on as if uninterrupted. He told me to come home and spend some time with you. I’m going to make dinner so we can all eat together.”
“Great.” Hermione said. Her voice, however, showed less-than-moderate enthusiasm after being interrupted for the second time.
“What do you think I should make?
Hermione gripped top of her book. “It doesn’t matter to me. Whatever you decide will be fine.” Her voice was now completely flat. Still, her mother plowed on.
“If you’re hungry now, I could cut up an apple for you.”
“No thanks,” she bit the inside of her lip and shifted her book so as to draw her mother’s attention to it. “I don’t want to spoil my dinner.”
“Well, I could share it with you.”
“If you like,” was her only reply. Her mother got up from the couch and moved toward the kitchen. With relief, Hermione turned her eyes once more to the pages in front of her. In ancient times the primary--
“Oh!” exclaimed Mrs. Granger, turning around to speak to her daughter once more. Hermione snapped her book shut, creating an echo in her cavernous living room. “I almost forgot.” Her mother disappeared around the corner, but Hermione didn’t dare return to her reading. Instead, she set the leather-bound book to one side and swug her legs off of the couch. When Mrs. Granger reentered the room, she carried a cardboard box in her arms, beaming as if it were a birthday cake.
“I found this for you to keep all your notes in. I know you don’t like to throw them away.” Hermione looked scandalized. Don’t like to throw them away?
“All my classes are accumulative. I need everything. I’ll take them back to school with me in September.”
“Oh, of course you will. I just thought that you could put them in this nice, sturdy box for the summer.”
For what seemed like the thousandth time, Hermione sighed. “I’ll just keep them in my trunk. Mum, Ron asked me to go and stay with his family this summer. Harry’s going too, and, well, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley asked me for the middle of the month.”
“This month?” Mrs. Granger’s face fell.
“Yeah,” Hermione chose her words carefully. “His parents are working with some of the teachers at our school to try to catch the man who killed Cedric. They’ve set up a…safe house for us to stay in while we visit.”
“Oh, that sounds… nice. And you want to go?”
“Yes.” Hermione looked at her mother dead on. “It’s not that I won’t miss you, it’s just, Harry needs us and—”
“Yes, after everything that’s happened…”
“Of course. I understand” Somehow. Hermione doubted that very much.
Seven minutes later, Mrs. Granger returned carrying slices of apple in a green bowl. The way her mother handed her the dish prompted Hermione to speak. “Mum.”
Mrs. Granger turned. Hermione sighed. “I don’t want to leave for the holiday with us like this.” Not the most eloquent of speeches, but she reasoned it’d have to do.
“I’m just worried about you, Hermione. I’m your mother. It’s natural that I want to take care of you.” As if to prove this maternal instinct, Mrs. Granger fitted herself onto the space between the end of the couch and her daughter.
“I know,” replied Hermione. “And I appreciate it, but you also need to realize that there are certain things I’m going to need to do. And I’m going to do them in my own way.” Mrs. Granger opened her mouth to interrupt, but Hermione held up a hand and pressed on, “I love you mum. I always will, but I’m growing up.”
“You’ve always been mature for your age,” Mrs. Granger managed to squeak in.
Hermione smiled in acknowledgement. “You have to trust me to make my own decisions and allow me to choose what I want to do with my life. I’m not going to muck things,” if I can help it, she finished to herself.
“I do, trust you, Hermione. We just want to help you. Me and your father.”
“I know.” Hermione decided to finish the conversation. Arguments of this kind just tired her out. She could see that her mother was right, or at least trying to be honest. She was not, however, listening or attempting to understand Hermione’s viewpoint. Thus, the argument would continue and end with the two in a worse state than before.
Conceding, Hermione recognized that going back to the satiation policy worked best for her parents. “Speaking of help, do you want some for dinner?”
Mrs. Granger brightened. “You can help me cut vegetables.” She rose, the formal couch hardly moving as she did so. “We’ll finish our apple in the kitchen.” Her mother turned. “You too, Crookshanks. Maybe if you’re lucky you’ll catch a cube of beef.”
As her mother handed her a wooden chopping block and a knife, Hermione couldn’t help but think how the conversation might have gone differently with someone like—Mrs. Weasley? But Mrs. Weasley was not her mother. Ron, Ron didn’t…
“Watch what your doing!”
The knife had slipped precariously close to her fingers.