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Chapter 8 : The Last time to see them. The Last timt to here from them.
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"We will remember the Grangers for being great employers, amazing landlords..."
"We hope that their daughter Hermione will follow in their footsteps..."
"May we never forget our friends..."
Hermione was tired of hearing the people speak at her parents funeral. Hearing them made this whole ordeal seem much to real. Everyone was looking at her like she was going to break, and seeing Harry made her want to break down. Breaking down, though everyone expected it of her, was the last thing that she would do. Harry believed that her parents deaths were that of Death Eaters, and that in being his best friend their deaths were his fault. She knew that this was for the best, but it didn't make the pain or hurt go away every time that she looked into his eyes. He was trying to be a comfort to her but right now he seemed like a burden, and it wasn't his fault.
Looking around at people also hurt. She felt like she was doing something terrible maybe even giving the Dark Lord a since of accomplishment. This would hurt Harry and that man didn't even have to lift a finger. Hermione finally found Draco, and was relieved when he didn't look at her with pity. He was the only male Slytherin there, and one of the only people who didn't look at her with disgust. Instead he looked at her with a sense of understanding. Hermione had broken down and told him about the lie she was to live.
After Draco and Hermione had returned home Draco had asked an elf to bring them some tea in the Orange Room. Entering the room Hermione didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. It was the same as home, and she instantly remembered her last morning with her parents. After she had settled down, the laughing had won bringing with it some tears she noticed Draco. He was glaring at her.
"Would you care to tell me what in Merlin's name just set you off?" This caused her to laugh again before she told him.
"heck I'll even bet your room is three doors down to the left covered in green." she finished truly astounded by how much alike this house and her home were.
"Green and black."
"Well I had hoped it wasn't green and purple like mine." she replied and that set them both off again.
"Those colors are truly horrible together you know." she had agreed where he might see it that way. Then they fell into a silence as the elf brought them tea and biscuits
"So if you are as rich as I believe you to be how can you be such close friends with Weasly?" Draco asked after some time.
"Because he saved me. You know about the troll? Well there's that and he also saved me from Lupin as a werewolf, and he is really sweet at times and funny and..."
"And he eats with his mouth open, slurs, spits slugs, and is completely obsessed with Brown. Now I see that I was wrong you aren't just friends with him you like him as well."
"What?! No I don't." Draco refused to respond, but he did stare her down. "Okay fine maybe I do. But it doesn't matter because he doesn't know who I am, or what I am. Heck he can hardly see that I am a girl!" Hermione finished, and Draco found this to be a great time to roll on the floor laughing.
"Man that must really suck!"
"It does," Hermione decided to ignore how sarcastic he was sounding. "And now there is another part of me he won't ever be able to know about."
"How my parents truly died." Hermione gasped when she realized what she had just said.
"What do you mean? Hermione you can tell me remember I can't hurt you even if I wanted to. Which by the way I don't. You've been through enough."
"My parents died in America in a car."
"And why can't he know this?"
"Because Albus wants everyone to think that Death Eaters killed them."
Hermione was snapped out of her thoughts by people getting up. They were laying her parents down in their final places. She didn't understand the term resting places, they were in heaven with God. Though she wasn't sure if she would ever make it there. Albus motioned for her to come and speak with him and Minerva, but Snape stopped her. "I think that you should read this letter now, before you decided who you want to remain as your guardian." Hermione knew that he was right.
When she turned around the lawyer was before her. She took the letter and then froze. She really didn't want to read it. Professor Snape took her elbows and led her to a bench away from the crowd. "Would you like me to read it to you?"
"Please. I'm afraid that I wanted this all week, but now I can't open it."
Professor Snape put up a silencing spell and then began to read her last form of contact from her parents.
Raising you has been a joy. No it has been the most amazing experience of our lives. Watching you grow up, seeing all of your achievments both of us are so proud of you. You are the daughter we would have wanted if your mother could bear children.
Yes you heard correctly I am sorry that it came out this way. When you turned 17 we were going to tell you. Though you are not our biological daughter we loved you very much. More than any of your friends parents could ever love them.
Your mother would like you to know that the Krum kid fancies himself in love with you, but he is not your destiny. Yes this letter is rather recent. You have just told your mother that for Harry you can't go with us. We are both so glad you aren't here for your mother has just seen our death dates.
Now this may come as a bit of a shock but the Grangers are and have been for many centuries squibs. We are from the families of Parkinson, Zambini, Malfoy, Weasly, Avery, Bush and even a Nott or two. You see each squib is married to the next Granger this is how we truly are so well off.
Hermione we wish that we would tell you who your real parents are, but your mother says that you are to find out by yourself. Oh yes and she also wants you to know that we understand that a young man about 15 years younger than me is your current guardian. Your mother wishes for you to keep him as your permanent. Your mother is not certain about who he is but knows that your two destiny's are intertwined. And their is a third string that is currently very thin but has grown a bit thicker and will soon become more entwined than that of the young man reading this. Keep your eyes open for friends and enemies our Dearest Hermione. Sometimes you can't tell them apart until the end. And once you find who they are keep your friends close, and for goodness sakes keep your enemies as far away as possible. Do not believe anyone who would say to keep them closer than your friends for those who say it are your enemy.
Now we must end this letter we understand if you ignore all of it since we told you that you were adopted. We love you,
Our Dearest Hermione,
From your Loving Parents
Mum and Dad
Jean and Richard.
Hermione tried to turn away from Snape to hide her tears, but instead he turned her towards himself and enveloped her in one of his first freely given hugs since he was 16. Severus allowed her some time before he asked if she thought she could handle the others. Hermione just looked up at him for a minute. In that minute Severus believed that he saw the truth in Hermione. He believed that he could see the weakness that this letter brought forth in her. Knowing who her father was Severus wondered how she would react when she found her birth parents. Would she join her father? Would she remain by Harry's side? Which side would he himself choose? And what of this third string? Who was it? Was it a boy or a female? Was it one of his Slytherins? Was it Minnie? Severus allowed Hermione the time to nodd that she was ready before he spoke to her again.
"I am sorry Hermione, but Albus wants to speak with you alone. He is going to try to press you to make a choice on your guardianship." Severus lifted her head when she dropped it to avoid his gaze. "I understand if you don't want me to be your Guardian, but please remember what your mother said. And please don't make this decision based on what you think will happen to me. Remember that with me you will have the protection of my rank within both groups. With Minerva you will also have her protection, but just within the Order. I also believe that she will do what Albus wants her to do."
"Professor Snape, shouldn't we all do what Albus wants us to do? He is our leader after all." With this she got up and Severus lifted the spell. In but mere seconds Albus was by her side glaring at Severus.
"You have some nerve you know" Minerva was saying. "Hiding her from us like this."
"I believe that I am still her guardian Minerva, until I sign the paperwork saying that I release her."
"Which you will do immediately after she declares that she doesn't want you as her guardian."
"Certainly. If that is her wish."
"Enough you two. Please allow me some time alone with Miss. Granger."
"Professor. If it isn't to much to ask for I believe that my guardian and my lawyers should be involved in this little chat. Some very disturbing news has come out that needs to be handled first." Albus couldn't find anything to say to this so he just nodded. Wondering why he couldn't read off of her what was going on. "Very well Professor Snape would you please go and find Mr. Johnson?"
After he had left Minerva spoke up. "Hermione, would it be okay if I was involved in this chat? After all I may very well be your guardian soon and I would like to know as much about your situation as possible."
"Of course I would never have meant to leave you out Minerva." Around this time Snape arrived back with Mr. Johnson. His assistant must have left for the office already. "Okay then where should we have this little chat?" When nobody answered her Hermione took a moment to think about a place that was quiet enough to suit their needs plus a place that would be okay for muggles and wizards. "Well then I guess that we should all go to The Grange. We will be able to speak there. Mr. Johnson please allow for Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall to ride to the Grange with you. Professor Snape and I will meet you there." Before anyone could argue Hermione turned and walked away.
"Well then I believe that we will be seeing you at The Grange. Until then." And then Severus followed Hermione. When he caught up with her neither of them spoke. He just walked beside her allowing her some space.
Little did either of them know they were being watched. Voldemort had arrived as soon as Ablus had left. Minnie had been keeping watch as the nanny Jane. Some of his followers had watched the funeral as guests. The Malfoys had went as governors of Hogwarts, and their son Draco had went because he felt that Hermione would need someone there who knew the truth. Tom wished that Hermione would decide to make Severus her true guardian. He knew that Albus would use Hermione against him. Hermione would be used as a weapon since as far as anyone knew she was simply the mudblood best friend of Harry Potter. A perfect weapon against the Dark Lord since she alone could prove that Muggle Borns are smart enough to beat pure bloods.
Tom knew that no matter which side his daughter would be on she would decide the war. he knew that he couldn't kill her, and any of his men that did he himself would kill. Tom watched Hermione and Severus walk away. He knew that soon they would disappear. Unlike Albus, Tom knew where Snape's true alliegiance lied and that was with Snape himself. He could tell that Snape was shifting now. If Hermione decided to keep Snape as her guardian then Snape's true allegiance would lie with Hermione. He started to sway that way when he changed his will to protect her from Albus. When he made Lucius and Narcissa swear to never allow Tom to use her in any way that could destroy who she was if something happened to him. Tom wasn't sure is Severus knew what was happening to him, but was very glad that the child he decided was worth his life turned out to be his. Tom watched as Draco approached the couple.
"Hermione," Draco said right before they apparated away. "Please can I speak with you?" Hermione looked up at Snape and he told her that it would be alright but they needed to leave soon. "Listen Hermione, as you know I am sorry about your parents. The Grangers are long cousins of mine as I am sure that you know. I, myself, just found this out from my parents. Apparently it is some sort of secret. I am amazed that after a long line of squibs you were born with magic. Your magic is much stronger than any that I have seen in the child of a squib. Much less of two squibs..."
"Draco please stop my parents were not squibs."
"I was adopted. I have no idea who my real parents are. I could still be a muggle born, heck I could even be your sister for christ sakes."
"Thats all that you can say?"
"What did you want Draco."
"Well actually mother wanted me to ask you something. She wanted to ask if you planned to keep Snape as your guardian." Hermione didn't answer she just glared." Umm, because if you did then I was to open in invitation to the Manor whenever you felt a need to be away from Hogwarts."
"And how am I supposed to leave Hogwarts whenever I feel the need to chat with your mother?"
"Well Severus could let you use his fireplace of course. Or you could send an owl and she could retrieve you. Also have you thought about the Christmas Holidays?"
"Look Malfoy I understand that for one night we didn't kill each other, but that was because I was tired and you weren't aloud to harm me. That doesn't mean that I want us to be friends. I will be spending Christmas with the family that I have left. The Weaslys. Goodbye Draco." With that Hermione turned and walked back to Severus. She nodded her head and together they disapparated to The Grange.
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