Chapter 6 : Hermione's Window Seat
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The one thing Hermione loved about her parent’s Muggle home was the large window seat in her bedroom. Well… it used to be large, but now that her older young adult body was sitting in it with her knees to her chest, it wasn’t large at all.
Despite her being all grown up, here she sat… in her favorite spot in the house with her temple resting on the window, dreadfully thinking… thinking… thinking.
It was the morning of New Year’s Eve and Hermione was already exhausted… emotionally exhausted.
As a child, she would sit there with the moon shining through the window lighting up whatever book she was reading when her parents thought she was asleep. She hated it when there was no moon, as she couldn’t read in the darkness.
She was surprised to still see the fingernail polish markings on it, thinking that her parents would’ve removed them by now.
As a little girl she would watch her mother blowing on her fingernails as if to dry them.
“Mummy, why do you always paint your fingers and toes?” little Hermione asked.
“So they look pretty for my prince… your daddy,” she replied in her nice ‘spit spot’ English lady dialect.
The little girl wanted to have pretty fingers and toes too, so one day she snuck into her mother’s room and climbed her vanity and sat on top of it, going through a decorated box of nail polish. She picked a happy pink color, hopped down, and went to her window seat.
Her mother made it look easy. But when little Hermione tried it for the first time, she had painted over her toes, flesh and all… and by the time she was finished, there was nail polish on the seat, on two walls, the window sill, and her cute little face.
Her mother had walked into her room to put some laundry away and out of the corner of her eye saw her daughter frantically fussing with something. She glanced at her and did a double take.
“Well aren’t you a pretty sight,” she said. “Stay right there. I’ll be right back.”
Hermione sat frozen in her spot hoping her mother was bringing something to clean up her smeared pink paint because no matter what she did, it wasn’t coming off.
To her shock and horror, her mother only brought in… her father!
Instead of help cleaning up, she now expected a good scolding.
He held in a chuckle so as to not hurt his adorable daughter’s feelings.
“Look at your pretty toes," he commented with a wide grin. “You have the prettiest toes that I’ve ever seen.”
And then he noticed the spots on her face… the wall… and the seat… and the window sill.
“And I think you have a great idea going here.”
He took the bottle of nail polish and with a few simple strokes, he painted a tiny pink heart on her sunny yellow wall, and then another, and then a few polka dots.
“There. Now you,” he offered, handing her the nail polish brush.
Hermione smiled at her father. He always knew how to make things better.
After adding a few of her own lopsided hearts, she asked, “Daddy, how do you spell Prince?”
He spelled it out to her as she brushed the letters on the wall and surrounded it by a happy pink heart.
“Someday, when I have a Prince, I’m going to look pretty for him,” she smiled.
Hermione’s mind rushed back to the present.
“Sorry, little Hermione, but I’m afraid you have no Prince to look pretty for.” She said sadly.
Her mind went to Christmas Day.
Someone, somewhere had done something wonderful to the entire Weasley household, Harry, and to her.
It had to be someone close to them, but no one was fessing up. It was maddening not knowing. She analyzed every person in the house and beyond twice… three times, but could not come up with a definitive clue as to who had arranged to give them all wonderful gifts and have them under the tree waiting for them to open on Christmas morning. Whoever it was obviously had some money and wanted to remain anonymous.
Whoever it was restored a sense wonder and joy to a family that otherwise wouldn’t have had any gifts to open at all on Christmas morning. It had been such a happy, wondrous surprise for each of them.
At the very least, she wanted to thank whoever it was for giving her something that she never thought was possible. She had wanted that book of poems ever since she found out about its unique magic. It was written in such a brilliant way that if someone read it out loud, they would unknowingly cast spells and curses. That’s why it was so unique… and why it was banned.
Hermione had wanted it because of its magical elements. She had no idea what it was truly about and wasn’t quite prepared for the content.
She was able to read a little bit of it on Christmas night and once again last night. She wanted to read it now, accept that it had been so sad that if she were any more depressed at the current moment, she just might hurt herself.
From her first read, she was surprised to find that the author of Delilah’s Black Book of Poems was not Delilah herself. Rather, they were written by an unknown man to and about Delilah and they weren’t just poems. Some were letters. Some were stories.
The first and only passage she read was about the author as a child, being in darkness so long, that one day… Darkness came and took his voice so that he could no longer cry.
It amounted to a child giving up on anyone ever listening.
It spoke of a child’s loneliness on the most heart-wrenching of levels, wondering if anyone would ever come… to play, to read to him, or to just sit with him awhile.
She recognized the first hidden spell. If she had read it out loud, it would’ve conjured the tiniest of candles, akin to the kind one would blow out on a birthday cake. It would’ve been the tiniest of lights for the tiniest of hands trying to make their way out of the dark.
It was so sad, she couldn’t read it. Not today anyway.
She wondered how Christmas had been so wonderful and joyous, but in three days time Ronald Weasley had ruined it by officially dumping her and getting back together with Lavender Brown.
She had just started reading more of her new book when Ron came in and stood in front of her.
“Hermione,” he said flatly.
“Yes,” she answered, not looking up from her book. “Just a sec…”
“No. Now!” he ordered, grabbing the book and snapping it closed.
“Give that back!” she demanded.
“Will you stop worrying about your blasted book and pay attention to me for once in your life?” he said rudely.
She gave a huff. “You have my undivided attention,” she glared. “Now what do you want?”
“I’ve decided to get back with Lavender.”
Hermione stood abruptly. Her full attention most certainly on Ronald Weasley at the moment.
“What? What about us? What about…” she began to question as if shocked.
“Please don’t try to talk me out of it. I’ve made my decision.” He stood looking down at her.
“And I have no say in the matter? This decision is all yours? That’s hardly fair.”
“I care for you, Hermione, but I need us to be friends. You know full well this isn’t working... not like it should, anyway.”
“All relationships have bumps in the road and issues to work out from time to time…”
“She’ll be here for supper,” he interrupted as his voice hushed. “You are a dear friend to me, Harry, Ginny... my entire family. You are more than welcome to stay here as long as you wish, just not as my girlfriend, you understand?”
“I’ll be gone by supper,” she answered quickly.
“I said you are more than welcome to stay."
“And I said... I’ll be gone by supper! Now give me my book."
“Fine, here. Have your precious book." Ron practically threw it at her before walking out.
Hermione packed furiously, only taking care to wrap her antique Christmas gift carefully.
Ginny appeared to be more emotionally upset about the breakup than Hermione. She hugged her best friend goodbye and asked, "Will you still come to the New Year's Eve party? I really want you to go."
"I highly doubt it," she uttered as she slammed her trunk lid down.
It was the last thing she said before leaving the Burrow to go to her empty Muggle house. Her parents were still on vacation and it would mean several lonely days spent doing who knows what to pass the time.
It was too quiet in the Muggle house all alone. She grew tired of the clocks ticking out of unison and the occasional train blowing its horn in the distance. It reminded her of the train to Hogwarts, so she enchanted their old upright piano so that it would play her favorite melancholy melodies that fit her mood.
She no longer felt like this was her home. It was merely her parent’s dwelling.
The clothes hanging in the closet and in the drawers no longer fit her, just like the window seat no longer fit her. For something to occupy her time, she went through everything in her room and put what she didn’t want into a box and headed for the local donation center.
Afterwards, she wanted to stop at a quaint old bookstore that she had loved. But much to her disappointment, it was now closed and boarded up. A huge national-chain bookstore had gone up across the street with a coffee shop inside of it.
She didn’t like the place. It was much too open and noisy compared to her old cozy favorite.
Standing in line to order a latte, she overheard two girls talking about a movie star that she’d never heard of.
And when a song that was new to her came on, a young girl next to her said, “This song is so over-played, I’m sick of it.”
Hermione began to feel out of touch with her Muggle world.
As she walked back to her parent’s home, a strange teenager pulled out of her neighbor’s house in such a hurry, he nearly ran her over. He rudely honked his horn at her impatiently as she crossed the sidewalk.
Clearly, new neighbors had moved in and seeing him driving a car made her realize that she would’ve had her license to drive by now. But instead, she had a license to apparate.
It seemed the Muggle world went on without her. For the first time, she felt like a stranger in a foreign land. She’d never felt that way before… the feeling of not fitting in with Muggle society came as a shock to her.
And now, sitting in her window seat, Hermione Granger felt stuck in limbo, between two worlds. One that she no longer fit into and one that didn’t want her in it.
Ginny felt terrible about her brother’s stupidity and had tried to fix Hermione up with a date for the party. All seemed fine until an owl brought a letter the very morning of December 31st that read…
I think you are great and all, but my parents have ‘blood issues.’ I won’t be able to escort you to the New Year’s Eve party. Maybe I’ll see you there. If not… see you back at school. Sorry.”
As she read it, Hermione’s hand slammed against a piece of furniture to steady herself, as her knees had unexpectedly buckled underneath her.
As if she weren’t upset enough over Ron, her blood status had just killed any chance of getting a simple date for New Year’s Eve.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” she shouted angrily. “Blood issues?!”
She shrieked as she found her feet and tore the letter into long strips, put the strips together, turned them and began tearing again and again until there was nothing left of the parchment except a pile of tiny confetti squares.
She didn’t want her new neighbors to hear her blood-curdling scream and call the Muggle police. So she grabbed the nearest throw pillow and covered her face as she let out a high-pitched scream so loud it actually damaged her vocal chords and caused her to be hoarse.
“AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” she screamed at the top of her lungs into the pillow. She came up for air to fill her lungs and then put the pillow to her face again as she screamed into it a second time.
When she was done screaming, she was so angry that she heaved the pillow as hard as she could against the couch, not really wanting to break anything.
Anger ran through her veins as she thought about the hateful meaning behind blood issues.
In the magical world it meant nothing more than unfair prejudice and bigotry.
In Muggle society it meant a real medical condition such as hemophilia, thrombophilia, sickle cell, or a host of other real blood issues.
She threw her fists up in the air wanting to punch someone. And if his blond-headed, evil-smirking face were in front of her, she would’ve punched him again, repeatedly… until she saw his own pure blood running down his blasted pretty face.
“Malfoy,” she voiced through gritted teeth and clenched jaw.
He hadn’t sent the letter, of course. But reading it felt like Malfoy had just slapped her clean across her face.
Deep down in her heart, she had always known that it wasn’t just him. It wasn’t like he made up the whole mudblood thing all by himself.
That letter was a harsh lesson that she didn’t want to learn…. a lesson and a terrible reminder that there was an entire society of people out there with the same prejudice views.
She wanted to put the blame on him, but it wasn’t Draco Malfoy this time.
Not him this time, she thought sadly.
As that fact hit her, she felt the heightened energy from her earlier temper tantrum drain from her body until she felt almost lifeless.
She wondered then how many more times she would be faced with blood issues in her life and it not have anything to do with Malfoy.
She thought of her would-be date. At least the guy was kind enough to owl her instead of being a no show and hurt her feelings even worse… as if it were possible.
So now, she was back on her window seat sitting, listening to the piano play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata for probably the tenth time.
Her throat now hurting, she contemplated blood status more seriously than she had ever before in her entire life.
How can a magical person be born to non-magical? She equated it to a Caucasian couple having a child with Asian eyes. It wouldn’t happen unless one of the parents had an Asian ancestry. Magic must be in her DNA somewhere along the line. There had to be a witch or wizard in her history. She desperately wanted it to be true.
Hermione thought she would go crazy just sitting there. So she decided once and for all that she would research her ancestry until she found the one witch or wizard in her history that proved that her magical abilities she’d been born with hadn’t just appeared out of nowhere.
She got up and went into the spare bedroom closet where her mother kept a few family heirlooms in a box that was labeled “Keepsakes.”
Hermione opened it, half expecting adoption papers to fall out of it and easily explain it all. But instead there were stacks of yellowed obituaries from Muggle newspapers, some funeral cards, very old photos, and an old marriage certificate that dated back to the late 1800’s. She was sure they had a family Bible somewhere with names of family members hand written in it. She found it, but it was hardly a history, as it only went back to one set of fourth great-grand parents.
She thought it best just to write all of the names on parchment for use later when she got back to Hogwarts, where she would compare her list to known magical families mentioned in library books.
When her list was complete, she had twenty-two names.
And just before she tucked the list into her trunk, she had one more idea.
She took out some parchment and quill and wrote a letter listing every name that she found. When the night sky had grown dark, she owled it, hoping it would bring some answers.
She carefully tucked the copied list into her trunk and piled the keepsakes all back into the box and put it back into the spare room closet.
Time had gone by fast while going through everything and she was now hungry.
She decided if she were going to stay alone in that Muggle house any longer that she would go insane. She had to go to that party just so she could hear someone's voice other than her own.
So with painful reluctance, she showered, slipped on the pretty peacock blue cocktail dress that she’d bought for the New Year's occasion, and did her hair.
Looking at herself in the mirror, she grew sad and actually practiced smiling.
Smile. Frown. Smile. Frown.
Sighing, she decided on minimal makeup… some lip gloss and mascara, only because she didn’t feel like going all out.
“Pointless,” she said to her reflection. “Absolutely pointless.”
As soon as she felt presentable enough, she gathered her matching blue purse, and took one last look in the mirror. And as she did, a voice came to mind… a voice from a few years back.
“Filthy little Mudblood,” she heard him say.
After a long sigh, she steeled herself and wondered if she would survive the night without a complete emotional meltdown.
But she would be fine, of course. Hermione was strong and would not give Ron the satisfaction of seeing tears escape her brown eyes this night, thinking they were all for him. She had bigger issues on her mind than Ron choosing Lavender.
She had issues with her blood that just might cause her pain for the rest of her life.
The party was enormous. With the help of a normally large home and a few tents, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Year students from Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Gryffindor piled into the place.
She was never happier to see so many people and listen to so much noise.
She mingled with friends and acquaintances and in general put up an excellent front... as if absolutely nothing was bothering her at all. Not Lavender annoyingly hanging onto Ron like an emergency life preserver and certainly not losing the night's date because of her blood status.
But she it felt though... the weight of her hurt pressing down on her shoulders. She swore if she were to step on a scale, it would prove she'd gained twenty pounds since reading that letter that very morning.
A few moments after she had the magical punch fountain concoct her favorite pomegranate and raspberry flavored drink for the fourth time, she found that she had been followed.
He came up to her and gently nudged her into a room for privacy.
When they were out of earshot from the rest of the party goers, she whipped around to face him.
“What do you want?” she asked curtly.
“I heard that you were supposed to be coming with a date tonight,” Ronald Weasley replied.
“Change of plans. What’s it any concern of yours anyway? Who or when I date is no one’s business but my own.”
“I came back here to say that I’m glad you liked someone, other than me. You need someone in your life, Hermione. I want you to find happiness with someone. I don’t care who it is.”
“Really? You don’t care who it is?” she questioned, knowing full well that even though they were no longer a couple, that he would completely freak out if he knew that it was Malfoy that was on her mind… of all people.
“Well I would hope that you’d have enough sense not to pick anyone from Slytherin House, so that leaves pretty much anyone else that I’d be okay with.”
“You are not my father and you will not tell me who I can and can’t be with, even if it’s the Slytherin Prince himself.”
“It bloody well better not be him! You were thinking of him and sticking up for that bastard at Christmas!” he accused in a gruff voice.
“Are you seriously going to stand here and be jealous of a relationship that does not even exist, when you dare give your sloppy kisses to Lavender Brown in my presence? At least you could go behind my back so that I wouldn’t have to suffer and watch! Who’s the bastard exactly?”
“Look,” he said, abruptly changing the subject. “We haven’t discussed this, but I need to tell you so that you can understand… Lavender needs me. That is why I’m back with her. You don’t need me. You are the strongest-willed, most resourceful, independent person that I’ve ever met.”
“Did you just say that you are not with me because…” she trailed off and put her hand to her head in disbelief at what he had just said.
“You give me compliments and tell me that those are the reasons why you chose her instead? Sorry, but I was under the impression that they were attributes. Not things that you turn down to be with someone that is weak-minded… someone who couldn’t make a decision to save her life, so she needs you to make it for her,” she huffed. “How noble of you to become her knight in shining armor,” she mocked, full of hurt and disappointment.
“Hermione… It’s not just that. When she’s with me, she’s with me. When you are… your head is always somewhere else and I constantly have to pull you back to where I am. You are either thinking of homework, or exams, or the latest book you are reading. You are anywhere, but with me. And at times, your mind seems to be... on someone else."
He looked into her eyes as if she were the one who dumped him. "As far as I’m concerned… you left me first.”
His comment infuriated her, but she wasn't quite sure what to say about that. Was there truth in his words? Had she neglected him so much that he felt abandoned somehow?
“Better get back to your needy, mindless Lavender before your absence causes her to have a bloody nervous breakdown.”
Ron chose to ignore her biting words.
“Our best times were as friends. I miss that, Hermione. Friendship... Remember?”
“You ask too soon, Ron. Right now I’m hating you more than I ever did Malfoy!”
Her voice began getting shaky against her will.
“And his foul name comes up yet again!" he said with eyes squinted in fury and accusation. "I know you’re not bloody serious.”
"Yes. You are right. He's been on my mind.... as you see, apparently he isn't the only one who thinks of me as a filthy mudblood."
He looked at her with curious concern.
"The reason I have no date tonight is because my date's parents did not think me worthy to be escorted by their son to something as simple as a New Year's Eve party. I got a letter this morning telling me, 'Sorry, but my parents have 'blood issues.'"
She looked at Ron with a heated scowl. "You dump me right after Christmas and now I can't get a date because of my tainted blood. What a Happy freakin' New Year I'm having!"
Ron's face and shoulders fell in response.
"Hermione, I'm so sorry," his voiced softened as he put a hand on her shoulder in an attempt to bring comfort.
But she picked up his hand and threw it off of her. "You have no right to touch me. Not anymore. And I don't want your pity."
He stepped back, but still looked at her with sorrowful eyes... as he would always and forever care for her.
"If you would so kindly, please leave me alone, Ron. I'd like this conversation to end now if you don't mind," she told him with a sound of defeat.
Realizing there wasn't anything he could do to make the situation better, he did what she'd asked... to be left alone. "I do hope you find someone, Hermione. You deserve better."
As the clock was ticking closer and closer to midnight at the enormously huge party, Hermione never felt more alone in such a crowded place. She knew what was coming soon… all the kissing. Ron with Lavender. Harry with Ginny. Even Neville with Luna most likely, and countless other couples.
She decided she didn’t want to witness the spectacle and be the odd woman out of place… and be looked down upon with pity when it was all over. It would be entirely too much to take, even with her Gryffindor bravery and strength.
Instead, she found a half-empty bottle of brandy wine and a glass from the kitchen and quietly snuck her way outside, unnoticed, to be alone under the stars. Once she was out in the cold night air, she decided not to bother with the glass.
She looked up into the vast darkness to find Draco, the star constellation in the northern sky. And just as she found it, she heard the muffled sounds of the party.
“Three… two… one… Happy New Year!”
She tipped her bottle to the sky.
“I wish you were here to argue with me, Draco,” she voiced aloud, remembering his mixed-signal staring at her.
“You are a cruel man,” she told the stars. “But something tells me that you wouldn’t leave me for the reason Ron just did.” And with that, she tipped the bottle and put it to her lips as if she were dying of thirst.
For the rest of the night, Hermione wondered what Draco was doing. Probably shagging the deplorable Pansy, she figured incorrectly.
Hello, my fellow Dramione fans! What a difference in "parenting techniques"... right? Well, we finally get a glimpse into what Hermione has been up to. Up next... Draco takes inventory of past lovers. You will NOT want to miss that chapter!
Hope you enjoy... I'd love to hear from you!
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