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The Real Magic by goldensnidget92

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–The last trace of steam evaporated in the autumn air. The train rounded a corner … All was well.” - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, JK Rowling

The next morning Hermione got up early. Her father was taking the week off work to look after her, but she was already up and dressed, with a plan fully formed in her mind by the time he got up. She called to him to tell him where she was going before hurrying out of the front door and closing it quietly.

It was baking hot outside. Within minutes her sweaty feet were slipping within her sandals, and her bushy hair was sticking to the back of her neck. It wasn’t long until she rounded the corner into Jamie’s road. She had decided that she couldn’t wait any longer to speak to him and that whether Mrs Lovell had spoken to his father or not, she would make sure Jamie spoke to her.

Her resolve wavered as she neared his house, and for a split second she contemplated going home again. But she knew she wouldn’t be satisfied if she didn’t see him. She strode up to the door and pressed the bell, waiting with baited breath for someone to come. Eventually, after what seemed like a century, Mrs Lovell opened the door.

–Hello, Mrs Lovell,” Hermione said, before she could chicken out. –I wanted to talk to Jamie.”

Mrs Lovell looked pleased, but hesitated. –I have spoken to him, Hermione. But I think he’s still a little worried about what his father will say. Barry hasn’t had a chance to talk to him yet, but I’ve told him neither of us minds him being friends with you. I’ll just go and tell him you’re here.”

She turned and climbed the stairs to Jamie’s room, calling to him as she went. Hermione hovered on the doorstep, unsure of how to go on. What if Jamie didn’t want to talk to her? She couldn’t bear to think about that.

Mrs Lovell came back down the stairs, with Jamie following. –Do you want to come in, Hermione?”

–I actually wondered whether Jamie wanted to go for a walk or something,” Hermione replied, looking at Jamie. –If you’d like to.”

He looked at his mother before answering, as though looking for an excuse not to go. She didn’t speak. –Ok then,” he said, quietly.

–Have fun, you two!”

Hermione and Jamie turned and left the house. Neither spoke to each other until they were completely out of earshot. Hermione didn’t quite know what to say. She had planned everything, but now the time had finally come to speak to Jamie after months of silence, and she couldn’t find the words. But it was not she who spoke first. –I’m sorry,” Jamie mumbled.

–Sorry for what?” asked Hermione, astounded. –I’m the one who should be sorry!”

–And you are - you told me so for weeks. But I didn’t listen, and I’m really sorry that I ignored you.”

–It’s not your fault. I shouldn’t have made you read with me when you didn’t want to. You were only doing what your dad told you, and I don’t blame you!”

–Thanks,” he mumbled, not sounding quite convinced.

–You’re the first person who’s ever been friends with me. No one else stuck around long enough after they found out how different I was. Especially when they saw me do magic. I want to thank you.”

–Wait … what did you say about magic?”

Oops. The subject of her new-found magical abilities had been tugging at Hermione’s mind all day, suppressed only by her need to talk to Jamie. She couldn’t believe that it had only been a day since she’d found out that she was a witch. And now she’d just broken one of the most important rules in the wizarding world: do not tell Muggles. But she couldn’t lie to Jamie. Not after what they’d been through. He’d see straight through it, and she didn’t want to lose his friendship again.

–Actually,” she began, resolving to tell him. –There’s something I should tell you. I only found out yesterday, but it’s pretty important.” Although she was trying to be serious, she couldn’t keep the smile off her face as she confessed her secret. –I know you’re going to a specialist school next year, so it won’t make much difference to you, but I’m not going to the normal secondary school.”

–Where are you going?”

–A place called Hogwarts.”

–That sounds weird … why aren’t you going to the normal one?”

Hermione bit her lip, unsure of how to put it. Would he even believe her? –A lady came to see me and my parents yesterday. She’s Deputy Head of the school, and … she’s a witch.”

–Was she really horrible?”

–No, I don’t mean she wasn’t nice; I mean that she is a witch. She can do magic. And so can I.”

There was a pause. –Er … right. You can do magic. Um … what?”

–I know it sounds crazy. I’m not supposed to tell you, she told us not to tell Muggles.”


–People who can’t do magic.”

Jamie started when she mentioned magic again. –You are joking, aren’t you? There’s no such thing as magic.”

–There is.”

–Prove it, then.”

–I can’t. I haven’t been trained; I can’t use it whenever I want to.” Hermione saw that Jamie was still unconvinced. –Remember that time Lindsay Hannigan was teasing me? You came over and she threatened you. After that, something funny happened to her tongue, and she couldn’t speak anymore. That was me. I did it.”

–You never said!”

–I didn’t really want to. I didn’t know what was happening to me at the time. I couldn’t control it; I was scared of what I could do. But now I know.”

–You’re … a witch!”


They walked on in silence for a few minutes until they reached the local playing fields. A small group of boys were kicking a football around between some ramshackle goalposts, and there were children playing in the park, glorying in the wonderful weather. Parents sat on benches, watching as their children ran around each other, swinging on the swings, climbing ladders and zooming down the slides. It looked like a perfectly normal day. But Hermione wondered how many more she would see. How different would it be when she joined the magical community? For the first time, she felt a twinge of hesitation about stepping so willingly into the unknown.

–So, what did this woman say?” asked Jamie eventually.

Hermione launched into a long explanation, telling him about Professor McGonagall turning their coffee table into an otter, the presence of witches and wizards and, finally, about the fact that she would be staying their during term time. –I won’t really be able to see you except in the holidays,” she ended, quietly.

They sat down on a bench in the shade as Jamie mulled over the new information. –Where is this place you’re going to?”

–I don’t know. We’re getting more information soon, when I have to buy my school things.” She hesitated. –Jamie, you do believe me, don’t you?”

Jamie stared at the ground, a slight frown puckering his forehead. –It doesn’t seem like you’ve made it up. You can’t have made up all that; why would you?”

–So you do?”

–Yeah, I suppose I do.”

She breathed a sigh of relief. She hadn’t realised it before, but the worry of Jamie not wanting to talk to her, and then not believing her, had been pressing down upon her. Now she felt light and airy, as though she could do anything. Spontaneously, she plucked a daisy from the grass and held it gently between her thumb and fingers. She stared at it, not entirely sure that this would work, but somehow knowing what to do. She focused her mind on it, letting the flower occupy her thoughts, her being. It began to tug against her grip, and she let go, letting it hover in mid-air, turning lazily on the spot.

–How are you doing that?” Jamie gasped.

–I’m not sure,” Hermione answered as it dropped neatly into her lap. –You won’t tell anyone, will you, Jamie? I wasn’t even supposed to tell you.”

–I promise.”

–You can’t even tell your parents. If they ask what happened to me, tell them my parents sent me to a boarding school somewhere else.”


They sat together in silence, watching the crowd of children across the field. They were laughing and talking loudly, not appearing to know or care about the huge change that was going on only metres away from them. ”I’ll miss you,” Jamie said.

–I’ll miss you too. But we can see each other every holiday!”

Jamie nodded, but both knew that this wouldn’t be the case. Hermione was going somewhere Jamie could never follow, and no matter how much they pretended otherwise they knew deep down that this was going to be the end.

–Can I come with you? When you leave, I mean. I want to say goodbye.”

Hermione smiled, and felt tears pricking her eyes. –Of course you can.” Then, before she could say anything else, she heard a giggle in the bushes behind her, before two girls emerged, laughing hysterically.

–Hermione and Jamie, sitting in a tree! K-I-S-S-I-N-G!”

It was Lindsay Hannigan and her friend Rachel Hudson.

Hermione glanced at the girl, with her long, straight blonde hair tucked up in a perfect ponytail, and wondered why she had been so scared of her before. –Hello, Lindsay, Rachel,” she said, smiling.

Lindsay looked slightly taken aback at the warm reception, but soon regrouped her features into an arrangement of scorn. –Why’s Jamie going to miss you, Hermione? Is he going to Stupid School? Because he should. He’s stupid.”

Jamie coloured, but Hermione smiled benignly up at Lindsay. –Is that really the best you can come up with?” she asked politely. –Because if it is, perhaps you’re the one who should be going to ‘Stupid School’.”

Lindsay stared at Hermione in shock, unused to such scathing remarks being directed at her. Her mouth hung open, but no words escaped. Rachel turned to her, waiting for her to retaliate, but as the silence dragged on, she began to look scared.

–I wouldn’t stick around with Lindsay if I were you,” Hermione advised her. –She likes turning against others to make her feel better about herself. Who knows, maybe she’ll start being mean to you next.” Rachel glanced anxiously at Lindsay, whose face was turning pink.

–How dare-” Lindsay began.

–How dare I tell the truth?” Hermione challenged. –Because I’ve finally realised that I am so much better than you. Because I don’t care what other people think about me: I don’t rely on being horrible to others to get people to admire me. Because that’s not admiration. That’s fear. And if everyone’s scared of you, then they’re not your friends. Not really. And it’s not until you’ve got proper friends that you realise how powerful they are.” She turned to Jamie. –That’s the real magic.”

Lindsay was staring in horror at Hermione. Rachel had backed away, and looked like she was thinking about running across the field to join the others and escape the impending burst of fury that seemed certain to explode out of Lindsay.

But it didn’t. Lindsay’s cheeks turned red and blotchy, and she screwed her face up so that her eyes were tiny slits in the middle of her head. Hermione held her breath, waiting for the attack. And then a tear slid down Lindsay’s cheek.

It was followed by another and another, and soon Lindsay was standing alone between Hermione and Rachel, crying unashamedly. Hermione didn’t know what to do. She stared in shock at her once unconquerable enemy, and watched as she crumbled before her eyes. Lindsay’s nose began to run: tears and snot were melting into each other and smearing across her face. But no one did anything. Why wasn’t Rachel helping her friend? Of course. Hadn’t Hermione just said? Rachel was scared of Lindsay. She hadn’t expected her to break down like this, and she had no idea what to do.

Hermione couldn’t bear to watch Lindsay cry like this, knowing it was her fault. No matter how much she’d hurt her before, Hermione was determined not to stoop to Lindsay’s level. She fished around in her pocket and found a crumpled tissue. She crossed the patch of grass between them cautiously, held out her hand, and offered the tissue to Lindsay. Lindsay noted her action in surprise, and slowly reached out her hand to take it. –Thank you,” she snuffled.

Hermione hovered there in silence, unsure of what to do. –I’m sorry …” she began, but trailed off, not entirely sure what she was sorry about. That she had finally stood up for herself? That she had told the truth?

Lindsay raised her eyes to meet Hermione’s. –I’m really sorry,” she whimpered. –I d-didn’t think you cared.” She stopped, taking a few breaths to calm her tears, and gulping down a few hiccoughs. –You didn’t seem to care what anyone else thought, and I just wanted you to notice me.”

–Why did you want that?”

–Because I could tell you thought you were better than me.”

–No I didn’t! I was terrified of you; you were horrible to me. Why did you think that would make me think anything good about you?”

–You noticed me, didn’t you? But I’m sorry.”

–Yeah, well. It’s a bit late, really.”


–I’m not coming back next year. I’m going to school somewhere else.”

–It wasn’t because of me, was it?”

Lindsay gave a small smile. Hermione stared numbly back. –Forgive me?” Lindsay whispered.


They looked at each other without saying anything more. Hermione thought that Lindsay was truly sorry. Then Lindsay nodded slightly, as though she accepted that Hermione couldn’t forget what she had done to her so quickly, and walked away with Rachel.

Hermione felt almost in shock. She had made Lindsay cry. It didn’t feel good.

–That was amazing, Hermione! I can’t believe you did that! You beat Lindsay!”

–Yeah … I did.” She gazed after the two girls, wondering whether she should say something, forgive her. It would be her last chance. She watched as they neared the group of other children, but she didn’t do anything. She couldn’t quite bring herself to. It would be like admitting defeat, and didn’t she owe it to herself to finally win something against Lindsay?

But she couldn’t get the image of Lindsay’s tear-stained face from her eyes.


–Come on, Hermione, five minutes!”

–We can’t go yet; Jamie’s not here!”

–Well if he’s not here within the next four minutes, then we’re going to have to go without him.”

It was eight o’clock on the morning of 1st September, and Hermione was sitting on the front doorstep, her knees tucked up in front of her, and a tight knot squirming in her tummy. Jamie had promised he would come; he promised he’d say goodbye to her at the station! The seconds ticked away as her parents finalised the packing of the car. It had been a nightmare getting her trunk into the boot, but eventually they had maneuvered the heavy object in, and managed to close the door.

–Hermione, we’re going to have to go now!”

–But-” she began, and then caught sight of Jamie and Mr Lovell hurrying around the corner and into their street.

–Sorry!” cried Mr Lovell. –Someone forgot to wake up this morning! Are you going to be late?”

–Just in time,” said Mrs Granger.

–Alright, then, see you later, Jamie,” he said, giving his son a quick hug. –Have a good term,” he said, smiling at Hermione. She wasn’t sure, but it seemed like he was trying to make up for his behaviour towards her all those months ago.

She smiled back. –Thank you.”

–Right, come on, you two, we’d better get cracking,” said Mr Granger. –Thanks, Barry, see you tonight.”

–Bye!” Mr Lovell said, waving to Jamie.

The four of them clambered into the car, and Mr Granger reversed out of the small driveway and began to pull away, waving at Mr Lovell as he went. Soon they were speeding along the motorway, heading towards London.

–Thank you for coming, Jamie,” said Hermione, as they had all settled in, and her parents were talking quietly.

–It’s fine, I wanted to.”

–I don’t know how far you can come with me. We were told exactly where to go, but then I’ve got to walk through a barrier to get to the other side, and I don’t think you can come with me.”

–You’ve got to walk through a barrier? How do you do that?”

–They’ve put a special spell on it. I was reading about it in A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot.”

–Cool! Have you got any books with you now? Can we read them?”

–I’ve got one called Hogwarts, A History.”

–Can we read it together?”

Hermione rooted around in her bag, and extracted a large, leather-bound book which had an ink sketch of a large castle on the front. –This is it,” she said, pointing at the picture. –This is where I’m going.”

–Wow!” Jamie breathed.

She opened a page at random, and they began to read.

The ceiling in the Great Hall is bewitched to look like the sky outside. This was founded by Carmelina Hurtleberry in 1693. She was the Astronomy Professor at the time, and over one summer, was seized by the idea to inspire her students night and day. She therefore cast a complicated charm that essentially turned the ceiling into a reversed mirror, and which has never to this day been removed.

–Have you read that?” Hermione gasped. –It sounds

Jamie took a little longer, and then his eyes widened in awe. He looked across at Hermione. –I wish I was going.”

A pang in Hermione’s stomach reminded her of the fears she had been burying underneath the excitement of going to Hogwarts. She wanted to go, but she couldn’t help feeling scared. She wouldn’t know anyone. What if she couldn’t do magic very well? She had wondered over the summer whether people who came from wizarding families would already have mastered a few spells. It wouldn’t be fair if they had; she hadn’t had the chance.

On her trip to Diagon Alley with her parents and a small, wheezy old wizard who kept forgetting her name, she had barely been able to speak. She couldn’t believe just how real everything seemed. Just then, an idea struck her. She dived back into her bag, and pulled out her new wand. She still couldn’t believe she had one. She twirled the vine and dragon heartstring wand between her fingers, thinking.

–That’s not … a wand, is it?” asked Jamie in disbelief.

–Yeah, it is!”

–Can you do magic already?”

–I’m not sure …” She thought back to the books she had read. What had looked simple? She heaved her bag onto her lap, trying to remember whether she had any more books in there, but as she did so, one of the straps broke. –Oh noooo,” she moaned, before suddenly remembering something. She pointed her wand at the strap, and thought about what she wanted to achieve. –Reparo,” she said confidently, and the strap flew back and rejoined the bag.

Jamie stared in awe at what she had just done. Hermione felt elated.

–Mr and Mrs Granger! Did you see what Hermione just did?”

–No, what did she do?” asked Mrs Granger, craning her head around.

–She just magicked her bag - it was broken, and now it’s not!”

–Did you do that just now, Hermione?”


–That’s amazing! Can I see?”

–I don’t really know how to undo it.”

–Ok, what about this?” Mrs Granger ripped a piece of paper she was holding in half, and held it up to Hermione. She pointed her wand at it and thought hard about fixing it.

–Reparo!” The paper melded back together.

–That’s amazing, darling! Well done!” Mrs Granger cried.

–I saw in the mirror!” laughed Mr Granger. –I can’t believe
you just did that!”

They laughed, and the three of them competed for Hermione’s attention, trying to get her to do it again and again. As they entered London, however, Hermione became more subdued. She looked at her parents, and at Jamie, wondering what her life would be like without them. She knew she’d see them at Christmas, but she couldn’t yet tell how different things would be. What if she hated it? Would she be able to go home, and go to a normal school? And alternatively, what if she loved it so much that she never came home? What if somehow she forgot about her parents and her normal life … her life as a Muggle?

Jamie seemed to sense her apprehension, and smiled weakly. –It’s going to be strange not seeing you.” Hermione nodded. Then Jamie looked down at Hogwarts, A History. –I think this is going to be the last book we’ll ever read together. So every time you read it, think of me. That way, you won’t forget me. I know how much you love books, and even if everything else in your life changes, I know you’ll never stop loving reading. Like you said about friendship, this is just another type of magic. A more real type of magic. Because everyone can feel it.”

It took Hermione a while before she realised that she was crying. She sniffed, and wiped her eyes. –I’ll miss you too, Jamie. Thank you. I won’t forget you.” She leaned forward and hugged him tightly.

–I don’t want you to feel bad for me when you’re gone,” Jamie said. –Be yourself. People will like you if you just be yourself.”

–We’re here,” Mr Granger said. He slowed the car down, pulling into the side of the road right outside King’s Cross station.

The four of them climbed out, Mr and Mrs Granger struggling to remove the heavy trunk from the boot of the car. They crossed the road, and followed the flocks of people heading into the station. No one spoke. It was as though they all felt that this was the end, and yet they were trying to pretend that it wasn’t. But then they were there. A large plastic number nine looked down on them, hanging next to a large plastic number ten. –This is it,” Mr Granger murmured.

–Now, Hermione, we can’t come through with you. You’re going to have to go through on your own, remember?” said Mrs Granger

–Yes,” said Hermione, nervously eyeing the barrier in between the platforms. It looked horribly solid.

–Have you packed your toothbrush?” asked Mrs Granger, feebly trying to make a joke.


–Ok, well it’s quarter to eleven,” said Mr Granger. –I suppose you’d better go through.”

Hermione rushed at him, and threw her arms around his waist. –Love you, Daddy.”

–Love you too, Sausage,” he said, smiling sadly.

–Bye, Mum. I love you,” Hermione whispered, her head buried into the depths of her mother’s coat.

–And I love you,” said Mrs Granger, sounding slightly choked.

Hermione turned to Jamie. –I hope you’ll be alright next year.”

–I will be. Make sure you have fun.”

They hugged each other. –Don’t stop reading!” she whispered.

–Never. Thank you for helping me. If it wasn’t for you, I’d never be half as good as I am now.”

–Don’t be silly. You loved it enough. You’d have kept trying.”

–Ten minutes, Hermione.”


–Right. Here’s your trolley with your trunk. Have you got everything you need?”

–Yes.” Hermione felt her throat closing up, and didn’t trust herself to say more.

–Ok, you’d better go. Goodbye.”

–Bye. I love you all!” She turned, and walked slowly away, pushing her trolley across the smooth floor. Suddenly, she stopped and turned around. –Jamie!” she called. –If you see Lindsay … tell her … tell her I forgive her!”


And with that, Hermione turned and walked on, without looking back, without regretting anything. Her trolley cut smoothly through the non-existent barrier, and she was on the other side. She had crossed the line now, and there was no going back. She smiled to herself, and walked forward onto the misty platform.
Chapter Endnotes: If you've read this far, then thank you. I hope you have enjoyed reading my version of what happened to Hermione before Hogwarts. Reading, in my opinion, is one of the most powerful forms of magic, and I'm sure you feel the same.