The Sugar Quill
Author: CornedBee  Story: Hermione Granger and the Philosopher's Stone  Chapter: The Letter From No One
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Hermione Granger and The Philosophers Stone

All belongs to Rowling except the various people in primary school.

The Letter From No One

The years went by and Hermione grew older. Her parents soon forgot the details of the incident on her first school day, but she didn't, not when she was reminded of it daily. Andrew might have been the first to call her names, but he wasn't the last. Hardly a day passed on which she wasn't mocked for her hair or anything else about her. Things got worse when her adult teeth came – her front teeth were unusually large and stuck out, which earned her the uncomplimentary nickname Beaver. The other children hid her books, tried to draw her chair from under her, tripped her up or tugged at her hair. Nobody wanted to sit near her or be in any sort of group with her. She was always the last to be chosen for the teams and excluded from everything the others did.

She covered it up by studying harder. During breaks, when the others were playing, she was reading the text books. Soon she was done with them, had learned everything there was to learn in first grade, so she went to the school library and got more advanced books. She could answer every question asked in class and often did so. She passed all tests perfectly and got all extra credit there was to get. It gave her something to do and made her parents proud. But it didn't cure her loneliness.

In fact, she felt she might have gone insane with all the teasing, had she not gotten back at her tormentors in mysterious ways once in a while. Amelia used to tug especially hard at Hermione's hair when they were out of the teacher's sight until one day a strand of hair came loose and wrapped itself tightly around her arm; she had screamed in terror, but when the teacher finally arrived the hairs were just hairs again, falling silently to the ground. Fabian, the boy who loved to pursue her after school, kept tripping when he ran after her. Hermione couldn't explain these events, but they always worked in her favour, something which her classmates noticed too, after a while. They called her freak or witch and ran whenever she got really angry. Even their parents shot her dirty looks whenever she met them.

Mr Harley was one of the few people who were nice to Hermione, but even he soon gave up trying to get Hermione accepted in class. Instead he encouraged her studies and tried to keep her out of the worst teasing. He couldn't explain the strange accidents any more than Hermione could though. His inquiries to her parents weren't successful either; they insisted that she had nothing to do with it.

All in all it was a great relief for Hermione when her years in primary school came to an end. She planned to go to a private boarding school for exceptionally gifted students. At the start of the summer she had taken the necessary exams to be accepted and had passed. She would miss her parents of course, the two people she could always rely on. On the other hand, the students at the new school wouldn't be so jealous of her; she would be able to make friends there.

Friends. She had watched the children in her class group together, always having fun or consoling each other when something bad happened. She had sat alone, showing nothing on the outside but wishing for the same, wishing for people who saw her as more than just another child. Instead they saw her as less.

She arrived at the boarding school. Signs directed her to her new classroom. She wandered the dark and empty corridors of the large building until she reached a closed door. Light shimmered through the gaps and laughter could be heard. She approached the door. It was her new classroom. She reached for the handle. The laughter got louder. She pulled the door open. Light flooded over her. The students turned around to see the new arrival. Their laughter stopped. The students were all wearing the same few faces. Half the boys wore Fabian's face, the other half wore Martin's, Fabian's best friend. The girls looked like Erica, who had sometimes poured water into her schoolbag, or Amelia. A single cry rose from the class.


Hermione woke with a start.

For a minute she lay there, fighting back tears. It wasn't the first time she had had this nightmare. The details varied, but she always came to her new school only to find it filled with the stupidest children from her old class. Her mother had told her not to worry. The new school would be the right thing for her, the nightmares would pass. She only hoped it was true.

The early morning sun shone into her room. Hermione stood up and pulled the curtains aside. It was beautiful weather outside, a few fluffy clouds on an otherwise bright blue sky. A bird flew past the window, slowly gaining height and flying north. An owl? That was very strange, owls were supposed to be night birds.

Hermione turned back to her room. The clock on the bedside table showed six thirty. Too late to go back to bed. She dressed and went downstairs to make tea. Maybe she could go on a bike tour with her father, it was his free day.

The noise of a roll of paper colliding with wood announced the arrival of the newspaper. Hermione went to the door and opened it. There the newspaper lay, next to a highly unusual letter. It was made of parchment, had no stamp and was addressed in green ink in a flowing script – to her.

Ms H Granger The Bedroom Facing The Garden 18 Shipston Road Swalcliffe Oxfordshire

She picked the letter up and turned it around. There was no source address, only a purple seal on the letter. It featured a coat of arms, made of a capital H surrounded by a lion, a badger, an eagle and a snake.

She took the newspaper and turned back inside, still looking at the letter. She was so taken by the letter that she nearly ran into her mother, who just came down the stairs.

“Oh, morning Mum,” she said absent-mindedly.

“Good morning Hermione. Why are you up so early?”

“Nightmare woke me.” She grimaced and added hurriedly, “Don't worry, it wasn't too bad. What about you?”

“Early appointment.” Jane yawned. “Want some tea?”

“I was about to make some.”

They went into the kitchen together where Hermione placed the newspaper and her letter on the table. Her mother filled the kettle and placed it on the stove. Then she joined her daughter.

“What's that letter?” she asked.

“I don't know. Didn't come with the normal mail though, it was lying next to the newspaper.”

“Looks like some weird advertisement.”

Hermione took the letter and broke the seal. There were four sheets of parchment inside. She took the topmost one and read aloud.

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 Ms 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, as well as some other information that you will find interesting.

Term begins on 1 September. A representative of the school will meet you on 28 July to introduce you to our world and help you obtain your equipment. Please make sure that you and your parents or guardians are available on this day as this might well be the most important appointment in your life.

Your sincerely, Minerva McGonagall Deputy Headmistress

Voices echoed in Hermione's head. Stay away from me, witch. Hey witch, where's your cat? She dropped the letter in disgust.

“A joke,” she said quietly. “Just a stupid joke.”

At that moment David appeared in the kitchen.

“Morning, sweethearts,” he said brightly. Then he caught the look on Hermione's face. “What happened?”

Hermione shoved the parchment over to him. As he read it his face darkened.

“Very funny,” he finally said angrily. “Who sent that?”

She shrugged. “It was dropped on the doorstep. There was no return address.” She thought for a moment. “It was addressed to my very bedroom, though.” She showed them the envelope. Her father studied it closely.

“Odd seal,” he mumbled.

Jane suddenly stood up.

“Sorry, I've got to go,” she said. She leaned down and kissed Hermione. “Just ignore it, darling. Don't let them get to you.” She kissed her husband too and left.

Hermione and David were left sitting at the table. Hermione idly turned the sheet of parchment over and over in her hands, not really looking at it.

“I hoped I was rid of them for good,” she suddenly burst out. “I hoped they would finally leave me alone.” She took snatched up the envelope and tore it apart, then crumpled the pieces up and threw them across the room.

“Hermione!” her father exclaimed.

She didn't listen to him. She took up the sheet of parchment. “Why don't they just mind their own business? What have I ever –” She had been about to tear the parchment in half but stopped dead. New words had appeared on it.

Please don't do that!

Hermione dropped the parchment in surprise. As it landed on the table more text appeared, as if written by an invisible hand.

Why don't you read the other sheets first?

She looked at her father. He was staring at the parchment too, his mouth hanging open.

“Er...” he said. “Let's follow this advice, then.”

Hermione took up the next sheet of parchment.

HOWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY Information Sheet for Muggle-Borns Dear Future Student of Hogwarts,

You are without doubt puzzled by the letter you just received. You probably think it's a joke, some elaborate prank by those who are afraid of the strange things that often happened around you. We can hardly blame you.

But have you never wondered about these things? You must have noticed that often, when you were scared or angry, things happened that you couldn't explain. Maybe you got out of a dangerous situation or you got back at someone who made you angry. And often, these things couldn't be explained. Maybe something changed colour or came alive for a few moments. No force known to you could have logically caused these things.

The explanation is as simple as it is unbelievable: you have magical abilities. You are a witch or wizard.

Don't dismiss this idea immediately. Of course it seems unbelievable, even ridiculous. We all know that magic is something from fairy tales. If there are wizards, why don't we know of them? They can't be hiding, after all.

Actually, we can and we do. Wizards have hidden themselves from non-magic people (usually called Muggles) for centuries. Spells that hide places from Muggle eyes or erase the memories of sightings of wizards or magical creatures have been a great aid in this. We hide because history has shown that it is rarely possible for wizards and Muggles to live side by side peacefully. Think of the witch-burnings of the medieval times.

Magic is an ability you're born with. If you're not magic at birth you'll never be. This is just one of the reasons why living together is so hard for wizards and Muggles; the Muggles tend to get jealous and the wizards arrogant.

You are Muggle-born. You are one of the few people (about forty or fifty a year in all of Great Britain) who are born with magical abilities to non-magic parents. This magic has shown itself only under great emotional stress, in uncontrolled outbursts. You need to learn to control this ability and use it in a controlled fashion. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is your best chance of doing so.

Hogwarts is a boarding school located in Scotland. In seven years you will receive one of the best educations available for young witches and wizards, concluding with the N.E.W.T. exams. Hogwarts will prepare you for your life in the magical world.

You can of course choose to reject the magical part of you. If you should do so we will be forced to erase your memories of this letter. Please consider this very carefully. Rejecting your magic means rejecting your very nature. Not to mention the other benefits you get from living in our world. Wizards and witches live longer than Muggles and we can magically heal many diseases believed to be incurable. Maybe one in a thousand people can use magic. You are one of those select few. It would be a shame to waste this talent.

Should you still not believe our existence we can offer one last attempt of convincing you. If you do not believe us then, you'll have to wait for the representative, a witch or wizard who will show you the secret places where you can shop for school equipment.

Look at the top of the letter, at the greeting. It is addressed to a “Future Student of Hogwarts.” You can command the letter to show your full name. The command is “Nomen.” Say this one word to the letter and it will obey, if you really command it. The command “Incognito” will undo the effect.

Hermione stopped reading. She looked at her father. He looked back at her.

“Go ahead,” he said. “What's the worst thing that can happen?”

Hermione swallowed. Her heart was beating very fast. She took a deep breath.

“Nomen,” she said, but it didn't come out as she had intended. Instead of a sharp command it was more of a squeak. Consequently the letter stayed as it was.

Hermione had learned some tricks to calm down from her parents. She got herself a glass of water and drank it. She forced herself to breath evenly. Then she sat back down. From the corner of her eyes she saw that her father was wearing his “I'm so proud of you”-smile, but she forced herself to ignored that, too.

“Nomen!” That sounded right.

The ink shimmered as if wet again. Then the precise lines started to move and flow into each other. Her father gasped. After a few moments they settled into new words.

Dear Hermione Jane Granger,

It took a while for Hermione to realize her mouth was hanging open. She had done it. She really was a witch. She had just done magic.

Memories flooded her mind. A stool broke down. A child opened a schoolbook only to find it completely blank. A large stone that had been aimed at her suddenly took a sharp turn in mid-air and hit someone else.

“So,” came her father's voice, interrupting her thoughts, “what about the other command?”

Hermione concentrated again. She could do it, she had just done it.


Once again the ink shimmered and moved around until it finally was back in the old pattern.

They sat in silence for a long time. It was David again who broke it.

“What are they talking about, these things happening?”

Hermione suddenly realized that nothing had ever happened at home. All these things had happened at school or on the way home and her parents had never been there. Except one time.

“Do you remember, dad, my first school day? The stool that collapsed? I think that's what they mean.”

David looked at her as if she had gone mad.

“You mean that really was you?” he asked incredulously. Then he laughed. “Oh my! If only Mr Harley knew.”

“Why?” Hermione asked. She didn't understand her father's sudden mirth.

He looked at her, his eyes twinkling.

“He said something, something like, 'Such a young girl simply can't break that chair.'”

“Oh,” said Hermione, now grinning too. “Well, I can't really blame him.”

David shook his head. “No, we can't.” He pointed at the letter on the table. “I think we're not finished with that yet.”

Hermione nodded and read on.

There is little left to say. As the first parchment should have informed you, a representative of the school will meet you soon to introduce you to the magical world. There is a lot to learn.

The next point is very important. By accepting your magical abilities, you are bound to the laws of the wizarding world. You must not tell anyone but your closest family, your parents and siblings, of your ability or the magical world. The school representative can help you should you need a good cover story to explain where you're spending your time.

The third parchment in the envelope is the list of your school supplies; the representative will show you where to get them. The fourth parchment is an information sheet for your parents or guardians. As such, it can only be read by adults and will look blank to you.

We look forward to seeing you at Hogwarts.

Yours sincerely Robert Roth Muggle-born Office, Department of Muggle Relations Ministry of Magic

David took the remaining two parchments and looked at them.

“This is obviously the supply list,” he said, handing Hermione one of the sheets. “So this must be my letter. Does it... does it really look blank to you?” He sounded very excited.

Hermione looked up from the supply list at the parchment he was holding out. It was definitely blank and she said so.

“Fascinating...” her father muttered.

Hermione smiled and went back to the list.

HOWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY Uniform First-year students will require: Three sets of plain work robes (black) One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar) One winter cloak (black, silver fastenings) Please note that all pupils' clothes should carry name tags. Set Books All students should have a copy of each of the following: The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1) by Miranda Goshawk A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot Magical Theory by Adalbert Waffling A Beginners' Guide to Transfiguration by Emeric Switch One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore Magical Drafts and Potions by Arsenius Jigger Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection by Quentin Trimble Other Equipment 1 wand 1 cauldron (pewter, standard size 2) 1 set glass or crystal phials 1 telescope 1 set brass scales Students may also bring an owl OR a cat OR a toad. PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT FIRST-YEARS ARE NOT ALLOWED THEIR OWN BROOMSTICKS

Hermione re-read the book list in fascination. She had read many books, but none of them had nearly as interesting titles.

She sighed. It was the twenty-sixth, two more days until she could actually get the books. She looked up at her father. His eyes were fixed on the parchment, but didn't move. Suddenly he seemed to notice her look at turned to her.

“Could you –” he started, “could you show me that name thing again?”

Hermione looked into his eyes. The earlier excitement was gone. Instead there was – something else, something she couldn't really identify, but it worried her.

“Alright,” she said and drew the letter to her.


It worked immediately this time. After a moment her name was once again written on the parchment.

“And the other direction?”

Hermione stared at her father. He sounded slightly hoarse, almost afraid.

“Dad, what's up?”

“Please, Hermione.”

She concentrated.


Moments later the parchment was back to its old state. David stared at it, his eyes wide open. Like a bird facing a snake, thought Hermione. That wasn't a comforting thought. Suddenly she felt the need to get away. She gathered up the parchment, except the letter to her parents, and stood up.

“I'll be in my room,” she said.

Her father looked up at her and nodded mutely.

Lying on her bed, Hermione found out, wasn't helping matters. She could hear her father walking through the house. Several times his footsteps stopped directly outside her door, only to draw away again. She started to really worry about her father.

When he once more wandered towards her room, she swiftly stood up and walked quietly over to the door. The sound of walking feet stopped. She pulled the door open to find her father jump back in surprise. No, she corrected after looking at him, in fright. His eyes looked haunted, pupils wide open, staring at her. His hair was ruffled and a little wet. His cheeks were flushed.

“Dad, what's up?” she asked.

David gave another start when he noticed her speaking to him.

“I – er –“ he stammered, “could you show me the parchment again?”


“Dad, are you okay?” she asked again in a flustered voice. Then she noticed a very red spot on his left hand. “What's that on your hand?”

“It's –“ he started, lifting the hand and looking at it, “oh, it's nothing. J-just an insect bite.” He didn't sound at all convincing, made worse by the fact that he hid the hand behind his back. “Never mind that I asked. I should prepare lunch.”

With that he turned and went downstairs. Hermione stood in the door frame, looking after him. Unconsciously she touched her left hand where her father had the red spot. Realization struck her like lighting. He had pinched himself, as if to wake from a dream. Her father thought he was dreaming. That explained his haunted look, the wet and ruffled hair – he probably had splashed water on his face – and of course his asking for demonstration. He didn't believe it was real. Hermione leaned against the door frame. Her father thought it was only a dream. She dragged herself to her bed and sat down heavily, head hanging down, her bushy hair falling like a curtain around her face. She buried her face in her hands.

Her dad didn't believe her magic was real.

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