everyone, for your encouragement along the way.†
And a million thanks to my fast, kind, and thorough beta
reader, Zsenya!† =)
††††††††††† "Hermione, I have another box!"
††††††††††† Hermioneís head snapped up at the sound of her motherís
voice.† "Coming, Mum," she called, rifling quickly through
the box sheíd just carried down from the attic.† She and her mother
were taking advantage of a lazy Saturday afternoon to do a bit of summer
cleaning in the attic, and it was Hermioneís job to sort the contents
of the boxes into organized piles.†
††††††††††† This particular box was filled with photographs,
and Hermione knew that her mother would have to go through these.† None
of these faces looked familiar.† She lifted a stack of photographs and
stared into the faces of an old man with a large mustache and pipe,
a laughing woman, a little girl, and a . . . Hermione paused and went
back to the photograph of the girl.† Brow knitted, she studied it for
††††††††††† The little girl had red hair, curled adorably into little
ringlets that framed her face.† She wore a green dress and smiled up
at the camera, eyes closed, clutching several daisies in her hands near
her nose, as if inhaling their scent. Her nose and cheekbones were sprinkled
††††††††††† Hermione grinned.† "Mum?"
††††††††††† "Yes, dear?"
††††††††††† "Where did you get a photo of Ginny Weasley?"†
Hermione turned the photograph over, but there was no name or date.†
It also struck her as strange that Ginny Weasley would appear in a non-magical,
still photograph.† There could be no doubt, however, that the toddler
††††††††††† "A photo of whom?" her mother called back, raising
a small cloud of dust as she looked down from the attic.
††††††††††† Hermione climbed the stairs and handed the photograph to
her mother.† "Thatís my friend, Ginny Weasley," she told her
mother.† "I was just wondering how on earthó"
††††††††††† "No, darling, this is a picture of my best friend,"
Mrs. Granger replied.† "She does look remarkably like Ginny, though,
doesnít she?† Do you know, when I saw Ginny that day we went shopping
for your supplies, I thought she looked familiar?"
††††††††††† "So this girl was your best friend?" Hermione
††††††††††† "For a few years," her mother explained with
a smile.† "She lived next door for a short time, then her family
moved again.† We were as inseparable as two five-year-old girls could
be," she said wistfully, placing the photo into her pocket.† "Your
grandfather took that picture.† I had just picked those flowers for
††††††††††† "Itís uncanny how much she looks like Ginny,"
Hermione mused.† "But it was silly, really.† I donít even know
what Ginny looked like before she was eleven.† Iíll get that other box
††††††††††† Several hours later, the small family sat together at dinner.†
Mr. Granger expressed his pleasure at the progress that they were making
in the attic.
††††††††††† "We should be done tomorrow," Hermioneís mother
replied.† "Itíll be lovely to have everything up there organized.†
And you never know what youíre going to find!† Why, today, Hermione
found a picture of Lily."
††††††††††† Hermioneís fork paused in mid-air.† "Who, Mum?"
††††††††††† "My friend.† The little girl in the picture you found."
††††††††††† "Do you . . . er, do you remember her last name?"
††††††††††† "Evers," replied Mrs. Granger.
††††††††††† Hermione exhaled and almost laughed at herself.† To think
that her motheró
††††††††††† "Pardon me, Evans. †It was Evans."
††††††††††† Hermioneís jaw dropped.† "Your best friend was Lily
††††††††††† "Yes, but why do you look so pale, Hermione?† Dear,
are you ill?"
††††††††††† "No, Mum.† Erm.† Where did you put that picture?"
††††††††††† Mr. Granger was looking confusedly at his wife and daughter
as Mrs. Granger replied, "Oh, somewhere.† There were a lot of photographs
in that one box.† Hermione, I wish youíd tell me whatís bothering you."
††††††††††† "Mum, Lily Evans was Harryís mother!" Hermione
††††††††††† "That mate of yours with the scar
on his forehead?" her father asked.
††††††††††† "Yes, Harry!"
††††††††††† "Are you certain itís not a coincidence?" asked
Mrs. Granger.† "Iím sure Lily Evans is a common enough name . .
††††††††††† "But Harryís mum had red hair," Hermione insisted,
her supper forgotten entirely.† Neither of her parents looked convinced.†
Hermione thought for a moment, then asked, "Did Lily have any brothers
††††††††††† "Well, now . . ."† Mrs. Granger looked thoughtful
for some moments.† "Yes.† She had a sister.† A horrid sister.†
I only met her once or twice."
††††††††††† "Her name?" Hermione managed to croak out.
††††††††††† Mrs. Granger laughed.† "Her name was Petunia!† I remember
now, because I always teased Lily about their flower names . . . Her
mother loved gardening, and even gave me a lovely little flower book
for my birthday."
††††††††††† "Oh, do you still have it?"
††††††††††† "Somewhere, possibly.† Are you sure weíre speaking
of the same person?"
††††††††††† "We must be," said Hermione excitedly.† "Harry
has to live with his nasty aunt and uncle . . . and his auntís name
††††††††††† "Perhaps Harry would like to have that photograph,"
said Mrs. Granger generously.† "And I do have other things lying
about here and there.† When her family moved, Lily gave me a letter
and a locket.† Iím sure Iíve spotted the locket somewhere recently.†
And her mother gave me several books and wrote me the sweetest letter."
††††††††††† Hermione beamed, imagining the look on Harryís face.† As
soon as she could get away from the table, she bolted to her room and
pulled out her quill and parchment.
††††††††††† You will never believe what happened
today!† My mum and I were cleaning out the attic, and I found a photo
that looks just like your sister.† But wait, you wonít ever guess!†
Itís Harryís mother!!!† She was best friends with my mum when they were
just little girls.† Mumís going to try to find some more things she
has, like a locket that Harryís mum gave her, and some books and a letter
that Harryís grandmother gave her.† Do you think I should tell Harry
now, or wait and see what we can find?† Oh, Iím so excited!† Itís almost
like reading Hogwarts: A History for the very first time!!
††††††††††† Hermione woke Pig,
who was still almost comatose from having to deliver a box of Chocolate
Frogs from Ron. †The poor little owl didnít look pleased
when Hermione sent off the letter.
††††††††††† The following day yielded
more treasures than Hermione could have wished for.† At breakfast, Pig
arrived looking miserable.† Two letters in twenty-four hours was a little
too much, even for a hyper owl like Pig.† Mr. and Mrs. Granger watched
with their usual mixed fascination and befuddlement at this method of
delivering mail.† Hermione smiled as she unfolded the parchment to read
Ronís messy scrawl.
††††††††††† First off, how many times have you read
Hogwarts: A History?† I personally think that once is too much
for anyone with anything resembling a LIFE.† The fact that you may have
read it more than once troubles me deeply.† Second, that is so cool
about Harryís mum!† I think you should find as much stuff as you can,
then give him a big surprise.† You should wait till we get back to school,
because those nasty people might take everything away from him.† And
you should give it to him when he can look at the stuff alone, cause
he might start crying or something.† What do you mean, the picture looks
like Ginny?† So anyway, who else have you been writing to this summer?†
Itís not that important, really.† I was just wondering.
††††††††††† Hermione smiled, refolded
the letter, and put it in her pocket.† "Mum, are you ready to go
up to the attic?"
††††††††††† Mrs. Granger raised her napkin to wipe her mouth.† "Certainly.†
Iím a little excited about all this myself!† I looked around for this
yesterday evening," she said, producing the photograph of Lily
Evans.† "I think thereís a lot more to find!"
††††††††††† A few hours later, mother and daughter were sitting cross-legged
on the attic floor, both going through boxes and boxes of trash and
treasure.† Hermione opened one box and looked up quickly, wrinkling
her nose †at the dust that flew into her face.† When the
dust cleared, she looked over at her mother, whose thick brown hair
was gradually falling from a clip as she sifted through the contents
of a box.
††††††††††† Hermione smiled, feeling suddenly grateful
for her mother.† This made her think of HarryóHarry, whose mother had
died for him.† She knew that her mother would do the same, but was thankful
that sheíd never had to.† Her eyes welled, but she blamed that on the
dust.† "Mum?" she murmured.
††††††††††† Mrs. Granger did not look up, but replied, "Mmmm?"
††††††††††† Hermione swallowed.† "Iím . . . Iím so glad I have
you," she said softly.
††††††††††† At this, Mrs. Granger did look up.† She bit her lip and
stared at her daughter.† "Oh, sweetheart."
††††††††††† "Itíll be so nice . . ." Hermione paused as her
voice caught.† "Itíll be so nice if we can find some of these things
for Harry."† With a renewed purpose, Hermione gave a few sniffles
and returned to her work.
††††††††††† Their efforts werenít rewarded for another hour, when Mrs.
Granger said, "Hermione, I found some things.† Here is Mrs. Evansí
letter."† She handed the yellowed paper to her daughter, who took
Dear Rose . . .
††††††††††† Hermione looked up, puzzled.†
††††††††††† Mrs. Granger chuckled.† "Her nickname for me."
††††††††††† Iím sorry we have to leave the neighborhood
so soon after arriving here, especially when Lily has such a true friend
in you.† But Harry has to . . . ††
††††††††††† "Harryís named for his grandfather,"
Hermione murmured.† ††††††
††††††††††† "I noticed that," Mrs. Granger
replied.† Her eyes sparkled.† "Keep reading."
Harry has to go where his job takes him, I suppose.†
Watch out for my small garden for me, wonít you, dear?† I know you are
very young.† Your mother might be reading this letter to you.† But I
want you to remember us.† I have a feeling that your path will cross
Lilyís again, though I canít know how.† Your friendship is something
special, the kind that lasts forever.† Goodbye, dear one. †
††††††††††† Hermioneís hand fell into
her lap as she stared at her mother.† "Harryís grandmother was
Virginia?" she said in a voice that was no more than a whisper.
††††††††††† Mrs. Grangerís eyes shone as she replied, "Weóall
the neighborhood childrenócalled her Mrs. Ginny."
††††††††††† Hermione could not swallow the lump in her throat.† She
wanted to hug Harry, and she wanted to ki . . . hug Ron.† "Is there
more in that box?" she asked.
††††††††††† "Oh, yes."† Mrs. Granger reached into the box
and held up a small heart-shaped locket.† Hermione took it with trembling
fingers and opened it.† Inside was another picture of Lily Evans, smiling
up from the tiny photo with flaming hair and bright green eyes.† Hermione
snapped the locket shut and put it with Mrs. Evansí letter.
††††††††††† "What else?" she asked eagerly.
††††††††††† No more of the items were quite as intensely personal,
but there were several childrenís books, as well as the childís gardening
book that Mrs. Granger had spoken of already.† Memories of more than
thirty years past came to Mrs. Granger, and she told Hermione the story
of how Lily had come to give her each book.†
††††††††††† Hermione ached to give these things to
Harry, but knew that Ron was right.† She should wait until they got
back to school, or wait to see if Harry went to the Burrow at the end
††††††††††† They tidied up the attic and stood looking
at their handiwork.† Mrs. Granger suddenly raised her hands to her face
and started crying softly.
††††††††††† "Mum!" Hermione exclaimed, embracing her mother.†
††††††††††† Mrs. Granger stepped back a little and asked the question
she must have been aching to ask for some time.† "What . . . exactly
. . . happened to Lily?"
††††††††††† Hermione swallowed and told her mother everything she knew
about Lily Evans, which wasnít much.† How she had gone to Hogwarts and
befriended four mischievous young men, finally marrying James Potter
and having Harry.† How she had died begging for Harryís life.
††††††††††† "And this person who killed Lily . . . this is the
same person youíve been frightened of all summer?"
††††††††††† Mrs. Granger enfolded her daughter tightly in her arms.†
"Hermione, you have made us so proud.† I want you to be careful
this school year.† I couldnít bear to lose you."† She drew a deep
breath and tried to regain her composure.† Smiling broadly through her
tears, she said, "I want Harry to have every one of these things.†
Lily would be furious if she knew that I kept them from him.† And Lily
had some temper, let me assure you."
††††††††††† I know Iím sending you two owls in one
day, but I forgot to tell you that I was just kidding when I said youíre
disturbed for reading that book all the time.† And itís none of my business
who youíve been writing to this summer, but if you wanted to tell me,
I wouldnít mind that much.† You can just send Errol and Pig back together
if you want.† If you want, you can write me two letters and give one
to each owl.† I donít want to have to read all that much, but it would
make sure one owl wasnít jealous of the other one.† Anyway, you know
what Iím trying to say.† I hope you find a lot of things for Harry.†
Let me know.† Itíll probably take a really long letter to tell me about
everything you find, wonít it?† Thatís okay.† Itíll be a nice break
from reading Hogwarts: A History. †
P.S.† Iím not really reading H: AH. . . . But I donít
think thereís anything wrong if some people like to read it.