A/N: Kia Ora
A/N: Kia Ora! This is my version of how Hermione Granger got to Hogwarts. A great big thank you to my beta reader, Night Zephyr, for all her encouragement and suggestions!
Letter From Hogwarts
The Grangers lived at the edge of a small village. Their large brick cottage was a picture of English country living. Vines crawled up the outside walls and the large neatly cut back lawn was framed with tall oak trees. The backyard was the perfect sanctuary for ten-year-old Hermione Granger, who preferred to curl up in a corner and read a good book than run around making noise like the other children in their area.
Mrs. Granger glanced out the upstairs window and caught sight of her daughter. Despite the vast size of the Granger's back yard and the bright sunny summer day, Hermione was sitting under a tree in the furthermost corner, a book balanced on her knees.
Mrs. Granger sighed. "Hermione, come in for lunch please," she called through the open window. Hermione closed her book, making careful note of which page she was on, and proceeded inside. "I really wish you wouldn't spend so much time on your own," Mrs. Granger confessed as they sat down to lunch.
"Hmm," Hermione murmured, helping herself to a sandwich.
"Mrs. Hammond's daughter is having a birthday party tomorrow. You're invited if you'd like to go." Mrs. Granger eyed her daughter waiting for a response.
"I don't know Mrs. Hammond's daughter," Hermione replied, frowning. Her mother had been struggling to get her to socialise more for years.
"You could still go. Maybe meet some kids your age," Mrs. Granger suggested.
"I know plenty of kids my age," Hermione replied. It was true. She'd gone to a local school and knew most of the other children in the neighbourhood, none of which she would call friends though.
Mrs. Granger sighed in exasperation, Hermione had inherited her father's stubbornness. "Fine. Fine, have it your way." She gave in.
"Have what, whose way?" Mr. Granger asked, walking into the dining room.
"Oh nothing, dear. Never mind."
Mr. Granger shrugged and dropped a bundle of mail on the table. "So how are my two favourite girls?" he asked, ruffling Hermione's hair as he sat down.
"I was learning about the birth of democracy," Hermione informed her father.
Mr. Granger raised his eyebrows. "During the summer?" he asked. "Thatís rather ambitious of you."
"What's this?" Mrs. Granger said, cutting into their conversation. She had been riffling through the pile of mail and had pulled out a thick, odd-looking envelope. "It's addressed to Miss Hermione Granger." She passed the letter to her daughter.
"Probably from the library," Hermione replied. Flipping it over she broke the seal and pulled several thick pieces of paper out.
HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY
Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock,
Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)
Dear Miss Granger,
We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.
Hermione finished reading and looked up at her parents. Neither moved. Finally Mr. Granger cleared his throat and held out his hand. Hermione passed him the letter. Underneath was a list of books and supplies and then a third sheet of paper titled 'Information For Those Of Non-Magical Descent'.
"M-must be some type of junk mail," Mr. Granger reasoned. He tossed the letter back to his daughter. Hermione could tell that was the end of the conversation, but couldn't help examining the letter more closely. Her curiosity had been roused and when Hermione Granger's curiosity was roused, there was nothing anyone could do to deter it.
Hermione seized her opportunity a week later. She and her parents were shopping in London and after lunch they had asked if there was something special she wanted to do. They had meant something along the lines of a trip to the cinema or the museum, but Hermione had no interest in either.
"Could we go to Diagon Alley?"
"Diagon what, dear?" her father asked as they walked out of the cafe where they had been eating.
"Diagon Alley. My letter said it's behind an inn called 'The Leaky Cauldron', it's right around the corner from here, and if we need any help we can just ask the innkeeper." Hermione said this very quickly so her parents couldn't interrupt.
"Now sweetheart, that letter wasn't real. It was just a hoax, someone playing a trick," Mr. Granger said softly. He gave his daughter a look that was riddled with pity. That made Hermione angry. Her father had never treated her like a silly little kid before. She folded her arms across her chest and scowled.
"Hermione, please don't be like that. We just don't want you getting all excited over something that isn't real. You'll only be disappointed," Mrs. Granger consoled.
"So you won't even try? It's not that far out of our way and I swear I won't get disappointed. Please? Could we just have a look?" Hermione looked hopefully at her parents. Finally her father sighed and nodded. Hermione shoved her hand into her pocket happily and pulled out the letter from Hogwarts.
A few minutes later Hermione led her parents through the door of a dark, dusty looking building. The images inside the building only confirmed their impressions from the outside. There appeared to be no electricity, the only light was from a number of candles on the tables and torches on the walls. The inhabitants were shrouded in darkness, many wearing hoods while the rest simply had their heads down, speaking animatedly with their companions. Mr. Granger stepped closer to his wife and daughter. Hermione felt his hand on her shoulder.
"Hello there!" a voice called from behind the bar. Hermione felt her father's grip tighten.
"Welcome to the Leaky Cauldron. Can I get you something to drink?"
"No. No, thank you," Mr Granger replied. "We're just passing through." He began backing towards the door.
"Ah, on your way to Diagon Alley, are you?" the innkeeper asked.
Hermione's expression brightened. "Yes!" she cried happily.
"Right this way." He led them round the bar and out into a small walled courtyard. "My name's Tom, by the way." He pulled a long wooden stick out of his pocket and tapped it on the wall. The bricks began moving, making way for a large archway into a long, winding street. Hermione's jaw dropped open as she stepped onto the cobblestone path. "Gringotts Bank is at the end of the street, there's Madam Malkinís for your school robes, you can get your potions ingredients over there and owl post just down on your right. Ollivanders, there, for your wand. Oh - and Flourish and Blotts of course, for your books."
"Books," Hermione repeated. She didn't need to hear anymore. She took off like a shot, heading directly for the bookstore.
Platform Nine And Three Quarters
Hermione spent the next month in a state of eager anticipation. Every book she had purchased in Flourish and Blotts was now well worn and every chapter had been memorised. Not only was there a stack of required books, but Hermione had also convinced her parents to get a wide range of others for background reading. She wanted to know everything there was to know about magic.
Whereas before, Mr. and Mrs. Granger had been hard-pressed to get Hermione to put down her book and talk to them over dinner, they were now struggling to get a word in edgewise. Hermione was so excited about finding out she was a witch, she couldn't resist informing her parents of everything that it would entail, and never missed a chance to remind them that Hogwarts was one of the most highly-regarded learning institutions in the wizarding world.
On the morning of September first, Hermione and her parents were at Kingís Cross station bright and early.
"Do you have your ticket, love?" Mr Granger asked.
"Oh yeah, it's -" Hermione fumbled in her pockets, "here," she handed the ticket to her father.
"Hmm, platform nine and three-quarters. Well, that doesn't make any sense," Mr. Granger proclaimed.
"Hold on." Hermione kicked open her trunk and pulled out her Hogwarts letter. "It says here, you have to walk through the barrier."
Mrs. Granger raised her eyebrows. "Walk through the barrier," she repeated, "how are you supposed to do that?"
Hermione shrugged. "Magic?"
"Uh, perhaps we should ask for help," Mr. Granger suggested, glancing around for a guard. Hermione bent down to close her trunk and gave a small scream when something green leapt inside.
"TREVOR!" a boy yelled, running up to her and grabbing the toad from her trunk. "GRAN, I'VE FOUND HIM!" Then he turned to Hermione and went bright red. "Umm, sorry, it's my toad Trevor, I keep losing him."
The boy's grandmother caught up to him. "Keep a tighter hold on him Neville."
"Hurry along or you'll miss the train."
"We've got plenty of time."
"Don't argue with me, Neville."
"That's better." Gran suddenly noticed the Grangers watching her, wide-eyed. "Can I help you?" she asked irritably.
"We -uh- Hogwarts?" Hermione stammered.
"Through the barrier, dear," Gran replied, pointing at the barrier right behind them.
"Through the barrier," Hermione repeated. She turned around and faced the solid brick barrier. "Through the barrier," she said again. Hermione reached out her hand and it went straight through the brick. "Whoa!" she cried, pulling her arm back.
"Now, dear, don't make a big fuss about it, you'll attract attention!" Gran said and with one hard shove she pushed Hermione through the barrier and onto the platform on the other side. Hermione stared in awe at the magnificent scarlet steam train billowing smoke in front of her and the large number of other students already on the platform. Some were already dressed in their Hogwarts robes and most were standing in small groups with their families. Neville slammed into her as he stepped out onto the platform.
"Oh, sorry," he said, helping her up, "I ran. Sorry about my Gran as well, she's like that sometimes."
"That's okay," Hermione replied once she had found her voice, "my name's Hermione, Hermione Granger."
"Oh, I'm Neville..."
"Longbottom!" a drawling voice finished. Hermione turned around to see a pale blond boy standing directly behind her. He was flanked by two other boys, both of whom were twice his size. "What are you - of all people - doing here? I didn't think Hogwarts took charity cases." Neville went bright red, but was saved a reply when his grandmother and Hermione's parents appeared behind them.
"Who was that?" Gran asked, as the boy quickly retreated.
"Malfoy," Neville explained.
"You don't let him get to you, Neville," Gran ordered.
"Come on, let's get your trunk onto the train."
Gran led the way to the back of the train. Hermione and Neville followed a few paces back and Hermione's parents trailed behind them, looking thoroughly bewildered.
"Who's Malfoy?" Hermione whispered to Neville, so Gran wouldn't hear.
"Draco Malfoy," Neville whispered back, "I've met him a few times in Diagon Alley, he's not very nice."
"I noticed that. What did he mean 'you, of all people'?" Hermione asked.
"Nothing, he was just trying to be mean. Gran's right, I just have to ignore him." They stashed their trunks in one of the compartments then hurried back out to say goodbye.
Hermione's mother gave her a big hug. "Now if you ever want to come home, all you have to do is call and we'll come pick you up straight away, okay?"
"Thanks, Mum." Hermione gave her mother a quick squeeze then turned to her father.
"Look after yourself," Mr. Granger ordered. Hermione nodded and threw her arms around her dad. "And talk to people, okay? Make some new friends."
"Okay, Dad." Hermione pulled away.
"Gran, I've lost my toad again." Neville announced.
"Oh, Neville," Gran sighed.
"Come on, Neville," Hermione offered, "I'll help you look, he's probably on the train."
"Alright." Neville waved to his grandmother. "Bye Gran, see you at Christmas."
Hermione gave each of her parents another quick hug before vanishing into the carriage. Mr. and Mrs. Granger stood on the platform for a few more minutes and watched the train pull out of the station. Mrs. Granger smiled at the small ginger-haired girl that ran beside it until it picked up speed and disappeared round the corner.
And the rest of the story - you already know!