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August 1, 1992, 2:00 PM, Flourish And Blotts Bookshop, Diagon Alley

Hermione Granger

She sniffled, her face still buried in her friend’s chest. The boy, bless him, didn’t push her away, only patting her back with the sort of gentleness she would expect from her parents.

Yes. She thought to herself, content to be in his presence.

Good things, however, were never meant to last.

Hearing the sound of a throat being cleared, Hermione quickly pulled herself from her friend’s embrace and turned to see Harry Potter, as well as two other men behind him. She recognized one as Sirius Black, but drew blanks on the other.

A single instant passed, and she was off, rocketing into Harry’s arms with a loud cry. “Harry!”

The boy, much like Adam, nearly fell over as he attempted to receive her charge with all the strength he could muster. She heard a snicker from Mr. Black, but didn’t care.

“Hi—” Harry tried to say and coughed. “Hi, Hermione. You’re squeezing— too hard, stop.”

Embarrassment rushed to her face, dying it red as she pulled away from him, but not before making sure to get an extra squeeze in. She had missed her friend, after all.

Her gaze quickly flitted to Adam, suddenly feeling quite unsure about the entire scenario. She had missed them both, she realized.

After everything that had happened in June, Hermione had been all over the place emotionally. It had taken a serious discussion with her parents before she even managed to find herself in a stable enough position to think about what happened with any form of objectivity— and even then, she couldn’t help but still feel annoyed about how Adam had dismissed her.

“We meet again, Miss Granger.” Sirius Black said with a nod, getting Hermione’s attention.

“Yes, Mr. Black.” She said, her smile growing a little strained at Sirius’ expression. “I—erm. I mean, Sirius.”

Mr. Black, for she never intended to call him Sirius within her own mind, nodded with satisfaction and a smile before looking around. “Your parents anywhere nearby?”

“Oh, um.” Hermione said, feeling lost for a few moments as she looked around. Within a few seconds, she found them and gestured in their direction. “They’re over there…”

“Oh, good.” He said before shaking his head and gesturing at the man beside him, who was wearing some fairly old, worn clothes. “Oh, where are my manners? This is Remus Lupin, one of my oldest friends. We went to school together.”

“Oh!” Hermione said, recognizing the name as she held her hand out, shaking his firmly. “Harry talked about you quite a bit.”

Though he never said the man looks ten years older than Sirius. Did they really go to school together? She thought to herself as she beheld the man’s shabby appearance; his clothes were threadbare and patched, and he wore a faded beige jacket that looked as if it had seen better days. His hair, strangely enough, was graying in places, not something she would have expected from a man his age; but then, people aged in all sorts of ways, didn’t they?

“All good things, I hope?” There was a bit of a smile on the worn man’s face, showing a sliver of boyish charm which seemed to shed years off of his frame.

Hermione decided that she liked it.

“Depends on the day.” Harry replied flippantly, earning him a light swat from the girl and eliciting a laugh from the two men.

“Nostalgic, isn’t it?” Remus said, sharing a smile with his friend.

“Yes. Yes, it is.”

What is?” Harry asked suspiciously, but the two men shook their heads simultaneously, as if they were in on some joke no one else was privy to.

“Don’t you worry about that, kid.” Sirius said before smiling at Hermione. “Glad Harry and Adam have got a friend to keep them in line— I’m going to go say hello to your parents before Harry kills me.”

Adam let out a little chuckle as the two men moved away, leaving the three kids alone to speak freely among each other. Hermione turned her attention back to Harry.

“How have you been, Harry?” Hermione said, smiling at the boy.

His reaction, however, was not something she’d expected. Harry looked at Adam for a moment. Hermione followed the boy’s gaze to see the nod the two shared.

“I’ll tell you in a bit?” Harry said, and Hermione frowned. “Let’s get our books first.”

“U—Um.” She said, unsure. “All right.”

Why did she have the feeling that, whatever it was Harry was going to tell her, she wasn’t going to like it? She shook the thoughts away.

My friends are here, and that’s all that matters. Hermione thought.

“How’d your summer go?” Adam cut in, giving her a way out of this awkward conversation.

“Oh!” Hermione took it gratefully and began to talk about her vacation so far. “We haven’t traveled anywhere in the mainland this year because my parents had a few seminars to go to this summer— but I did get to go to Alton Towers!”

“Um…” Harry said intelligently, looking over to Adam for answers. “That is…”

“Theme park.” Adam supplied offhandedly, rolling his eyes as he continued to look through the book he held.

“You—” Harry said, getting excited for a moment. “We were just talking about those!”

“Oh?” Hermione said, interested. “You’re thinking of going to a theme park soon?”

“No, no.” Harry said quickly, trying to explain. “Adam was just asking a Goblin if they ever thought of making a theme park of their own.”

Hermione sent one look at Adam. “…The mine carts?”

“The mine carts.” Adam confirmed with a small smile and a scoff.

“But the—”

“History, yes. They’re not allowed because of something that happened— I’ll be reading up on it, eventually, so don’t tell me.” Adam preempted her concerns, his smile widening. “And before you say anything more, I already said sorry to the Goblin, too.”

Mollified and more than a little bemused at how easily Adam was reading her, she held her hand out, sending an expectant look at the book in his hands.

The two made eye contact for a moment before Adam relented, handing the Defense Against The Dark Arts book to her.

“This is…” She said after flipping through the introduction. “The Third Year’s book for Defense?”

“I think it’s for all years. Or at least First to Fourth.” Adam said in reply, grabbing another two off the shelf— one for himself, the other for Harry. “Right, Harry?”

“I think so.” Harry confirmed, though didn’t sound very sure. “My list is still with Sirius. But I think I saw it listed there.”

“Okay.” Adam said with a nod. “Let’s go take it from him— and say hi to Hermione’s parents. I haven’t met them yet.”

Hermione felt a hint of nervousness go through her.

What if Adam didn’t like her parents? What if they didn’t like him? She knew her parents had told her to reconcile with the boy, but she wasn’t sure if their advice would change upon meeting him.

Moment of truth, I suppose. She thought to herself as she led the way to her parents, the two boys following suit. They stood with Sirius and Remus, exchanging pleasantries.

“Hermione.” Her father greeted her as she approached, his eyes moving to the boys behind her. “And your friends— Harry, it’s good to see you again.”

“Hello, Mr. Granger.” Harry replied, shaking the man’s hand. “How do you do?”

“Doing just fine, son.” Dan smiled at the boy before turning his attention to Adam. “And I don’t believe I’ve met you before, have I? Daniel Granger.”

She saw her mom glance at her, an obvious question in her eyes: is this him?

Hermione nodded in confirmation, and her mother only smiled in response before turning her attention back to the boy. The smile turned a little strained once she got a good look at his arm and face, her eyes flitting between the burn scars as well as his own mismatched eyes.

Hermione held in a wince, having expected that something like that would happen. She hoped that Adam hadn’t noticed.

Judging from the boy’s subtle changes in body language, however, it appeared that he had. Damn.

Still, Adam didn’t comment on it, much to Hermione’s relief. Instead, he extended his hand to her father, shaking it before going to her mother and doing the same. “Adam Clarke— or I suppose it’s Black now. Adam Black. Nice to meet you both.”

“Nice to meet you, too, Adam.” Emma said, her voice softening.

“The feeling is mutual, Adam.” Dan said, getting himself under control and trying to make it seem like he hadn’t been staring at the boy’s scars. “So, I hear you’re quite the prodigy at magic.”

“So people seem to tell me.” Adam said, his voice smooth and his smile forced. “I just do my best.”

Hermione resisted the urge to wince again— Adam was putting on a face because he didn’t want to make her parents feel awkward.

“Hermione’s extremely talented too.” He added, turning everyone’s attention to her.

“I— that is—” Hermione stammered, not having expected the stares. She latched onto what Adam said and said something similar. “I give it my all, but I could do better.”

She felt her father’s hands grasp her shoulders from behind. “That’s our Hermione.”

“We’re so very proud of her.” Emma added with a smile. “I’ll admit, we were a little scared a year ago when all of this was revealed to us; magic and wizards and witches— and flying brooms! But we couldn’t be more proud, now.”

Hermione blushed and resisted the urge to tear up in happiness at her parents’ words. Seeing Adam’s smirk, she sent him a threatening look, daring him to ruin her moment.

Wisely, Adam kept his peace.

“Have you got all of your books yet, sweetie?” Emma said, turning her attention to her daughter.

“Now, now.” Dan said, a knowing smile on his face as he addressed his wife. “If it’s anything like last year, we’ll probably be here for another thirty minutes, love. At least.”

“Daddy!” Hermione said, though her voice was dwarfed by the laughter which followed her father’s statement.

“Speaking of which.” Adam said, gaining her attention. “I still have to get my own.”

“Me too.” Harry said.

“I’ll help you, Harry.” Hermione said, gesturing at the small stack she already had. “I got most of mine already.”

“That sounds good…” Harry said before looking at her parents for permission. They gave him a nod and a smile in return.

“Where are you all headed after this?” Sirius said, looking towards Emma and Dan as the three kids broke off from the adults. “We could probably—”

“So.” Adam said after a few seconds. “I’ll go and get my stuff.”

“You sure you don’t want to tag along?” Harry asked, but Adam shook his head. He looked a little twitchy to Hermione, but she didn’t comment on it.

“No.” He said, his eyes flitting to the upper level for a few moments before he sighed to himself. “Best way to save our time is to split up.”

Harry only shrugged in response, and so his new adoptive brother went his own way, disappearing behind the bookshelves as he went in search of his books, leaving Harry and Hermione alone.

“He seems a little…” Hermione said, trailing off.

“I can’t blame him, after what happened.” Harry said as he grabbed his first book.

“‘After what happened’?” Hermione repeated the boy’s words, frowning.

“You really don’t know?” Harry said, eyes widening. “It was all over the papers. The Prophet especially.”

“I—” She said, faltering at the boy’s look. “I haven’t kept up with any Wizarding news over the summer…”

“Oh!” Harry said. “Oh. Yeah, that makes sense. Um…”

His expression darkened. “There was… An attack. In France. And we were there when it happened.”

Of all the things Hermione was thinking about, this was not it. Alarm and fear began to seep into her voice. “An attack?”

“Yes. It was supposed to be a summer retreat where we could all just relax and have fun at the beach— and I guess it was like that at the start.” Harry said, scrunching his eyes shut for a few moments before getting himself together. His pace increased, and he began to snag his required books without even looking through them. “But that night… It was really, really bad. Horrible.”

“Harry…” She said.

“I’m fine.” He said quickly— a little too quickly for Hermione’s tastes. “I’m fine.”

She opened her mouth to say something before closing it. A moment passed before she spoke again. “Are you sure?”

Harry looked at her, and then he sighed. “Well, okay, maybe not. But I will be. It was a very bad night, but Adam and I got out all right in the end. We’re just too stubborn to let something like this stop us.”

He’s uncomfortable. She thought, regretting ever asking him about this.

“Adam.” Hermione said, changing the subject slightly to give Harry some breathing room. She knew that, if she pushed him too far, he would pull away from her. “He seemed…”

“Twitchy? Looking for threats?” Harry finished for her.

“Something like that.”

“Yeah, he’s been that way ever since. I can’t say I blame him.” Harry said, stopping his mad rush to get books as he began to explain. “We were at a circus when it happened; one second we were watching a magical performance, the next, there was an explosion that knocked us off our feet. I hurt my head then— no no, don’t worry, I’m better now.”

Hermione bit her lip regardless of her best friend’s words. He continued to go through the events of what happened, glossing over the gruesome details to not let her worry, but Hermione could figure it out easily enough.

The two boys had gone through yet another set of horrific circumstances.

Wasn’t it enough that they were forced to deal with Professor Quirrell? Hermione thought with no small amount of frustration and despair. And now, this. No wonder Adam is so twitchy.

“I’m so sorry, Harry.” Hermione said, feeling guilty. “I didn’t know.”

While the two boys had been fighting for their very lives, she was out having fun at theme parks, gorging herself on ice cream and indulging in a few good books, among other things.

It chilled her to the bone.

Why did they have to suffer? Hermione’s heart continued to sink in her own guilt the more she thought about it. She couldn’t help but feel a sense of helplessness. She wanted to do something, anything to help her friends, but she didn’t know what she could even do in a situation like that, other than to offer her support and hope that was enough for them.

She gave Harry a hug, getting a new case of the sniffles. “I’m so sorry, Harry.”

“There’s nothing you could’ve done.” Harry immediately said, but he hugged her back regardless.

“Should you two really be doing this in a bookstore?” Adam’s voice came from around the aisle’s corner. The two broke off instantly, stammering, but Adam waved their words away.

“Adam, I’m so sorry.” Hermione said, taking a step forward.

“For?” Adam said, giving her a look of confusion. “Did you attack the village?”

“Well, no…” She said. “How did you—”

“I was listening in from the next aisle.” He waved her words away and pushed further. “Were you the one who killed all those people?”

“I mean—”

“I know what you meant.” Adam said, shaking his head in exasperated fondness. “We made it out in one piece; no permanent injuries.”

Seeing how the boy was looking left and right, expecting danger from every corner, Hermione did not believe that part. “Not all injuries are physical…”

“Hm. I suppose you’re right.” Adam said, nodding as he pushed off of the bookcase, making it wobble slightly. He stared at it for an instant before placing his hand against it to stabilize the piece of furniture before addressing Hermione again. “It’ll take time to fully recover from this— it’s only been a week, after all.”

“Harry said that…” Hermione said, hesitating. “He said that you had to kill people to defend yourself, Harry and someone else.”

Adam glanced at Harry for a moment, who shrugged helplessly. “He did, huh? Did he tell you exactly what happened?”

“No, he didn’t.” Hermione said quickly. “And I… I can’t possibly ask him to tell me something so horrible.”

Harry put his hand on her shoulder, comforting her.

No, you silly boy. She thought to herself in frustration. I’m supposed to be comforting you two, not the other way around!

Why were they so ridiculous?

“He’s right, though. I did kill.” Adam said, getting her attention again. “If you want, I’ll tell you exactly what happened— but later. Where there are fewer curious eyes and ears. Just know that it’s pretty gruesome.”

It was then that Hermione looked around, seeing a few people intentionally slowing down as they passed by their aisle. Are they seriously trying to listen in?

“So you see them, huh.” Adam said, confirming her thoughts. “Well? Rain check?”

“I’ll hold you to that.” Hermione said, but quickly added. “But only if you want to tell me.”

“I don’t mind.” Adam said and held his hand out for her. “I don’t really want to keep things from you— I never did.”

“I know.” She said, taking his hand and shaking it. “And that’s another conversation we’ll need to have, too, Adam.”

“…I suppose it is.” He said, smiling and gesturing at the small stack of books in his bag. “Are you two done getting your books?”

“Just about.” She said. “A couple more and—”

But that was as far as she got when a commotion was heard at the entrance of the bookshop. Voices were raised, shouting words of appreciation.

“It’s him!” “Yes!” “Mr. Lockhart!” “He looked at me!”

The three kids shared a look for a moment before heading to see what all the fuss was about. 

“Make way!” A gruff voice shouted over them all as the crowd was parted like the Red Sea.

Gilderoy Lockhart himself strode into the bookstore, resplendent in his robes of royal blue and gold. His blonde hair was perfectly coiffed, and his teeth gleamed as he flashed a dazzling smile at the adoring crowd.

Hermione felt herself smile, missing the looks her two friends gave her as she stepped forward, completely unable to resist trying to get a closer look at the handsome man.

Much like her, the other fans surged forward, eager for a chance to meet their hero, and the staff of Flourish and Blotts struggled to keep them in line. Lockhart seemed unfazed by the chaos, however, and made his way to the signing table with a grace and poise that only added to his already considerable charm.

On top of it were stacks of books titled “Magical Me”, which were an amalgamation of his experiences and travels in the Wizarding World.

“He’s so…” Hermione found herself saying before stopping when she heard a scoff. She turned to see both Harry and Adam not looking particularly impressed with the man.

Are they… jealous? She thought but dismissed the idea outright. It was ridiculous for them to feel that way, she reasoned to herself.

“It’s getting a little too noisy in here, so I’m going to get my stuff paid for and get out of here.” Adam said, and Harry followed. They pushed past the crowd, trying to get to Sirius.

The two boys didn’t get halfway through the crowd before Lockhart noticed them.

“It can’t be: Harry Potter?” Gilderoy said, and everyone turned their attention to the Boy-Who-Lived.

“Harry Potter!” The man who’d been shouting at people to make way reached his hand forward to grab Harry, only to find his wrist grasped by someone else.

It was Adam, and his expression was murderous. The entire room quieted, the crowd moving away from the three in alarm.

“Keep reaching for him. Go ahead.” Adam said, and Hermione swore that his white eye almost glowed. “See what happens.”

The man didn’t answer immediately, instead trying to get the boy to let him go. “Easy now, boy. You don’t want to cause any trouble, do you?”

“Trouble?” Adam said, tightening his grip on the man’s wrist as he attempted to pull it out of the boy’s grasp. “Oh, I’ve seen plenty of trouble in Phantasime, last week; so just try it!”

Whispers ensued.

“His brother?” “Harry Potter has a brother?” “What’s going on?”

“Now, now.” Gilderoy’s voice cut through the tension as he approached the three, the crowd parting to let him through. He placed his hand on the photographer’s shoulder, giving him a stern look, telling him in no uncertain terms to stand down. “We are all friends here, are we not? Which means we shouldn’t be grabbing other people without their permission.”

The photographer at least had the decency to look ashamed.

“Now, Mr. Clarke, isn’t it?” Gilderoy said as he turned to Adam. “Or is it Mr. Black now?”

“Whichever you prefer.” The boy said, letting go of the man’s hand and turning his attention to Lockhart.

“I do apologize for the behavior of my friend here.” Gilderoy said, gesturing at the photographer who was nursing his wrist. “He got caught up in all of the excitement, you see. I hope you can forgive him.”

Adam blinked and nodded, likely realizing the delicate situation he’d put himself and his brother in. “Sure. No harm, no foul.”

“It’s all right.” Harry added, looking around nervously.

“Splendid!” Lockhart said, gesturing for the two boys to follow him behind his table. “Come, I feel that I must make it up to you both!”

“There is no need, Mr. Lockhart—” Adam began but was interrupted.

“Nonsense!” Gilderoy said, pulling out his wand and waving it at his table, Summoning two stacks of books without saying a word. Adam’s eyes went wide with shock, but Hermione didn’t understand why— he could do the same, as well. “I know it’s likely not enough to fix the problem, but please, accept this gift as an apology: my entire set of collected works… Free of charge!”

“I— we can’t accept—” Adam tried to say, but the sound of clapping cut him off. Through the applause, Sirius exited the throng, joining his two adoptive sons’ side.

“I’m afraid you’ll have to forgive my boys, everyone.” Sirius said, flashing everyone a charming smile. “They’ve had a rough go of it recently.”

“Sirius Black.” Gilderoy said, giving the man a nod of greeting. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

As the two men began to fully defuse the situation, Hermione felt someone’s hand on her shoulder. It was her father.

“Quite the interesting boy.” Dan said in a light tone.

“You can say that again.” Emma said as she approached.

Did that mean that they approved of him, or not? Hermione couldn’t tell.

“Yes…” She said. “Yes, he is.”

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  1. Party Party

    I’m just gonna ask; is there gonna be romance between her and Adam or harry? Then again, Helena is probably up there in the options

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