Chapter 1 : Chapter 1
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A witch. That's what it had said in the letter. Eleven year old Hermione Jean Granger was a witch. She read it again:
Dear Hermione Granger,
It is our duty to notify you that you have magical abilities. In short, you are a witch.
We are also pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term will begin on 1st September.
Please be aware that as you are what we call 'Muggle-born', i.e. your parents have no magical abilities, a member of staff from Hogwarts will be arriving at your house this evening to answer any questions you or your parents may have. This person will contact us regarding your acceptance or rejection of your place.
Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
It was madness. Utter madness. Obviously somebody was playing a trick on her; not a very good one, she might add. Maybe it was her parents, after all, they knew she had been nervous for starting at her new Secondary School; St Anne's School for Girls. But then, no, her parents went dentists for goodness sake. They didn't play practical jokes, let alone on their eleven year old daughter. Who then? She didn't really have friends at the primary school she had just left. Sure, her classmates were nice to her, but they definitely weren't her friends. They thought she was...odd. She adored school and everything about it. She loved learning, the feeling of pride in herself when her work was completed, finally understanding how to solve a complex problem in maths; everything.
At playtimes and lunchtimes she would sit in her favourite corner of the school yard reading the latest book she had taken out of the library, taking her time to process each new sentence. The sun always seemed to shine on that particular spot; that's why it was her favourite. Hermione remembered one day in year five when there had been a sudden rain storm. Without a seconds warning the sky had turned black, the heavens opened and it poured. Rain fell in the playground everywhere other than in Hermione's spot. She had heard the clap of thunder and instantly tried to find a place to put her book, Moby Dick, so that it would stay dry. That was when she had realised she was dry. All of the other pupils had raced towards the school doors to get in from the rain, but Hermione, in her spot, was bone dry. It wasn't raining where she stood. Even as she ran to join her peers, she stayed dry. Of course when she got into the building everyone had wondered how she wasn't soaked through like everyone else. Odd Hermione Granger.
Remembering this instance Hermione realised how strange it had been. And that wasn't the only unusual thing to have ever happened to her. There was the time when she had gone on holiday to Greece when she was five and fallen into the deepest end of the swimming pool. Before she understood what was happening, she was standing at the bottom of the pool in water that was only ankle deep. Onlookers had sworn that the water had just disappeared, the hotel staff said that there must have been an issue with the pool draining system and it had come at an extremely fortunate time. Her mum and Dad still loved to tell that story to the present day.
Then there was last week's instance...Hermione still couldn't figure it out. She had been sitting in the waiting room where her Mum and Dad work, reading as usual. She was waiting for her Dad to finish work; her Mum had finished a while ago and gone to the supermarket, Hermione hadnít wanted to go and asked if she could stay and wait for her father instead. It was a particularly busy day and the waiting room was full. A baby in the corner was crying loudly, his Mother ignoring him whilst having a loud conversation with the old woman next to her (who was shouting back twice as loud). Two young boys were playing with the cars that had been provided to keep such children entertained in busy periods, crashing them into one another and making unnecessary 'crashing' noises. The phone was ringing and ringing but the young receptionist was nowhere to be seen. It was chaos; noisy, disruptive, disturbing chaos. Hermione couldn't help herself, she had been increasingly angry and it got too much...
"WILL YOU ALL JUST BE QUIET?!"
And they were. At first Hermione thought it was shock, then she realised that their mouths were still moving, but no sound was coming out. Their faces were stricken with confusion. Each looked to one another, panic starting to show. Hermione's Dad appeared in the doorway, obviously having heard her shouting. Petrified of what her Dad might say, Hermione ran out of the dentist surgery and into her house which was just next door. Her Mum, back from the supermarket was calling her name as she ran up the stairs and locked herself in the bathroom. It had taken an hour of her mum sitting on the other side of the door talking to her for Hermione to finally come out. By this time, her Dad was home and absolutely baffled as to why Hermione had left in such a hurry. Hermione came to the conclusion that he hasn't actually heard her angry outburst, and told her Mum and Dad that she had been feeling sick.
Even now, days later, she was expecting one of her Dad's patients to tell the truth about what happened; how she made them all stop talking.
Made them. Did she make them? Was it her that had done it? Was she a...witch? Hermione laughed aloud at the direction her thoughts had taken. She put the letter in her drawer and pulled out the latest book she had taken out of the local library. She loved the summer holidays...
Later that day, Hermione and her parents were sitting in the kitchen eating dinner. Her Dad was telling a story about a patient he had seen that day, her Mum laughed whilst Hermione tensed in her chair, as she always did now when he talked about work. There was a loud knock at the door.
"Who could that be? Are you expecting anyone?" her Mum, Angie, asked, looking at Hermione's Dad, Paul.
"Hmm, nope. Not that I can think of. Hermione, sweetie, can you get the door please?"
Hermione rose from the table, thankful for the distraction, and what a distraction it was. There, on her doorstep, was the most bizarre looking man she had ever seen. He was tiny, smaller than Hermione even. He had long violet robes on and a matching purple top hat. Whisps of white wiry hair were sticking out of the side above his ears.
"Miss Granger I presume? Hello," he squeaked, "my name is Filius Flitwick, I believe you're expecting me?" Hermione was baffled. Surely her Mum and Dad didn't know this odd man?
Seeing the confused look on her face the man explained further, "Minerva McGonagall sent me?" The name struck a chord...wait. That was the name on the strange letter. Surely someone hadn't taken the practical joke that far...
"Hermione, dear, who is it?" Her Mum and Dad were walking down the hallway towards her. Surely they would be able to figure out who was behind all of this?
"Ah, you must be Hermioneís parents. I'm Filius Flitwick. Minerva McGonagall sent me to explain a little more about the letter your daughter received and answer any questions you might have about the wizarding world and Hogwarts. I teach there." He smiled kindly at Hermione's Mum and Dad.
"You're...who sent you? What letter? And what on earth is Higswarts?!" Hermione's Dad spluttered.
"Young lady, did you show your Mum and Dad the letter you were sent?" Filius asked Hermione. She gave a small shake of her head. If this was a joke, it was definitely not funny anymore.
"Hermione? What is this man talking about? What letter?" Her Mum was looking at her suspiciously. Filius handed a letter to Hermione's parents, it looked just like the one she had been reading just hours earlier.
"I need...to sit down..." Angie Granger had turned very pale. She left the hallway, went into the living room and almost collapsed onto the sofa. Hermione and her Dad had quickly followed, as had Filius, despite his lack of invitation into their home).
After her Mum had calmed down a little, Filius spoke to Hermione and her parents again. "I completely understand how much of a surprise this must be for you all. Trust me, you're not the first Muggles to have gone into shock about finding out about us; the members of the wizarding world. Merlin knows you won't be the last!"
Not one of the three Grangers said anything in response, but simply stared. The eccentric man continued continued, "I'm here to answer any questions you have. I'll talk you through your school supply list and where to buy everything and also how to get onto the right platform on September First. That is...assuming you accept your place at Hogwarts, Hermione?"
"It's real then? Wizards, witches and magic? Hogwarts?" She whispered as Filius nodded enthusiastically. "Then yes. I'll go. I want to be a witch."
Her Mum and Dad wore identical shocked expressions. Hermione had finally accepted that this was no practical joke. Perhaps it was all the fantasy books she had read, but she always knew that there was something more out there; more than in the world she didn't fit in. She was different, odd Hermione Jean Granger. The girl who had made strange things happen. The fact that she was a witch made more sense the more she thought about it. She had butterflies in her stomach, a mixture of fear and excitement.
"Splendid!" exclaimed Filius. "I must say you were easier to convince than the last child I spoke to, poor Mr. and Mrs. Flinch-Fletchley were beside themselves when young Justin fainted! It was only when I turned their teapot into a banana that he believed me..."
"You did what?!" Mr. and Mrs. Granger said in unison, having found their voices again.
Filius Flitwick grinned. He reached into his odd robes and pulled out a thin wooden stick, waved it, mumbled something and the candles on the mantel piece were not only aflame but flying around the living room. They did three laps before settling back to their original places and, with another wave of the stick and some gibberish, they were extinguished. Hermione clapped politely. She looked at her parents sitting on the sofa opposite; small, amazed smiles were appearing on each of their faces. It seemed that they too were coming around to the idea of having a witch in the family.
Filius spent another or so with the family whilst Hermione bombarded him with questions. To her immense relief he had been able to provide her with an explanation for all of the strange things that had happened to her in the past, including the waiting room incident. To her total embarrassment, he told her that an wizard who worked for the ĎMinistry of Magicí had been sent to her father's workplace to modify the memories of everyone affected by her 'magic'...including her father. Once the full story had been explained, Filius reversed the spell on Paul, who looked absolutely baffled as the memory returned to him. Hermione felt better once it had been explained to her that this happened with every young witch and wizard but warned her that when she received her wand she must only do magic at school until she turned seventeen. She couldn't wait to go shopping, particularly to get her own wand. Her only hesitation was at the thought of running through a brick wall; for this is how one accessed the platform she would get the train to school from. She had been reassured, however, that this was completely safe.
Filius finally left with a promise to meet them in what he called 'Muggle London' that coming Saturday to show them where the Wizard shops were.
It had been a truly exhausting day. Hermione's had sent her to bed earlier than usual, presumably so that they could discuss the dramatic change their life was about to have. Hermione was thankful though. Filius had given her a book about her new school, 'Hogwarts: A History' and she couldn't wait to get into her bed and begin learning about the lifelong adventure she was about to embark on...