Doctors Beatrice and Roger Granger were a fairly young couple living in Chalk Farm, London, England. They owned a successful dentistry practice in Central London and were very good at what they did. They were rather ordinary in looks, but beautiful in heart. They treated their patients well and always made sure they were comfortable. They were the kind of dentists that didn't scare people away, because of how much they cared about their patients.
Roger Granger was a kind and soft-spoken man, who enjoyed reading, cooking, gardening, and all types of theatre. Before dental school he went to a military academy and then he spent a few years in the army as a drill sergeant. Since then, he vowed never to raise his voice at anybody unless they truly deserved it. He believed in keeping an open mind and defending those who could not defend themselves. Roger loved his wife more than anything in the world and knew he was going to marry her since they first met in college.
Beatrice Granger was a kind and outspoken woman, who enjoyed reading, playing games, and watching movies. Before dental school, she lived with two wealthy parents who didn't quite have much time for her; she spent her high school years doing volunteer work and running charity drives. She was a firm believer that everybody had a voice that deserved to be heard. Beatrice loved her husband from the moment she saw him and he was her world.
Everybody who met Dr. and Dr. Granger believed that they were a lovely couple as well as lovely neighbors. They were so open and welcoming even the nosiest and snobbiest of people couldn't help but warm up to them.
They lived on Herbert Street, Chalk Farm, London. It was a beautiful, white stone terraced house with an olive door. Rather than a backyard it was a high walled garden with flower beds, a stone patio, and lovely wrought iron furniture. Roger spent a lot of time planting beautiful flowers so that every time he and his wife had tea, they were in their own little world. The top floor of the terraced house was their master bedroom and bathroom, the floor below also had a large, but not quite as large, bedroom and bathroom with a small office. The ground floor held their kitchen and reception area. The majority of the reception area was transformed into an elegant library with a display case for rewards and photos of accomplishments, the section by the window separated by a paper separator and set up as a parlor. The basement was their tv room with the laundry room tucked in a corner and a computer against the back wall.
It was lovely and absolutely perfect.
With their world finally in balance, they wanted to have a child. Beatrice Granger wanted to adopt, rather than try to bear one and Roger Granger readily agreed. They decided on the gender and age range, a girl between the ages of three and five, and they prepared the room on the second floor of their house for her.
They painted it a periwinkle blue and furnished it with beautiful, walnut furniture. They set up a canopy bed with pastel green curtains, a dresser with pink flowers painted onto it, a desk with a variety of drawers for her supplies, a vanity for when she got older and more independent on styling herself, and numerous bookshelves that she could fill in with whatever she wanted. A chest for toys was placed at the base of her bed and the little sitting area had a rocking chair, and a child sized table and tea set ready for use.
"What if we got her a puppy?" said Beatrice jokingly.
"Don't be ridiculous, love," said Roger, cracking a grin. "What if she's a cat person?"
One cold February their background checks had gone through and their paperwork was approved. Finally, finally, finally, they were allowed to go to the orphanage and find the child that was right for them. After that, there would be even more paperwork, but they didn't care as long as their little girl was perfectly happy.
Mrs. Smith, the woman running the orphanage, took them to the play room. "We have all sorts of children who would love a good home."
"It almost sounds like you're describing that pet shelter commercial," Beatrice muttered.
Roger bumped her with his elbow. "Honey, hush."
"Well, I'll be around when you decide," said the stern looking woman.
The children kept on playing like they didn't even notice two potential parents standing right there. Beatrice's heart ached thinking about how many times this might have happened for them. They either had to prove that they were worth being adopted or perhaps didn't think it worth trying to garner attention. Roger and Beatrice stood nearby studying each child. A curly redhead who sang while she played jump rope. A brunet boy in overalls who snuck a toy out from another kid's nose.
"Do we talk to one of them?" Beatrice asked, anxiously.
"I'm not sure, love."
A small hand tugged on Roger's pant leg. He looked down to find a small child with the biggest mess of curls he'd ever seen and wide, cognac eyes. She wore a rather large, red sweater and held her hands close to her chest, either from cold or nervousness, he couldn't tell.
"Hello," he said, smiling and kneeling down. "What's your name?"
"M-my name is…" she got a foggy look in her eye and a shudder ran through her. "Hermione."
"What a beautiful name," said Beatrice, kneeling down.
"Oh, you speak Spanish?" said Roger.
"Tu hablas español?" Beatrice asked.
"Sí!" said Hermione, eyes lighting up. She pointed to the bookshelf behind them. "Quiero ese libro, por favor."
Beatrice looked and saw the book the little girl was referring to. It was a chapter book by the name of The Little Prince. She pulled it down and handed it to Hermione. The little girl took it and ran over to the armchair nearby, pulling herself up and settling back against the worn out, sun-faded cushion. Both adults felt their hearts swell with love. She was the most beautiful child they'd ever seen with her big, cognac eyes, chocolate curls, and beautiful brown skin with faint freckles splashed across her button nose.
"Beatrice, I think we've found her." Roger said to his wife.
"Yes, we have."
They both went to talk to Mrs. Smith who was very excited that they found a child they'd like to adopt.
"What can you tell us about Hermione?" Beatrice asked.
Mrs. Smith frowned. "Ah, yes… She is four years old and was brought in early January. We don't know anything about her except that her birthday is September and we guessed the 19th. She wears a necklace that she won't let anyone touch. We think she's from Spain, but we can't find anything about her on their records… or anywhere to that matter. I must warn you she's rather… odd."
"What do you mean?" Roger asked.
"How do I put this?" said Mrs. Smith. "She doesn't act like the other children. She has three shirts that she likes to wear for starters. If certain foods touch she’ll pitch a fit. She doesn't get along well with the other children and there are some serious anger problems. She has some compulsive behavior and— well, I'm not sure if she'd be a right fit for you. She doesn't speak very much english and I'm concerned she might be a little slow, I'm sure you've seen her zone out."
"Are you trying to convince us to not adopt her?" said Roger, angrily.
"So what if she's different?" Beatrice added, growing rather defensive for the child. They hadn't even adopted her and already the mother's ferocity was showing through. "Lots of people are different. We'll… we'll work with her, right love?"
"Right," he said with a nod. "We'll do everything to help her adjust. But we won't push her out of her comfort zone."
"No. Of course not," Beatrice agreed. "I meant the social problems of course. People can learn those sorts of things… I want to talk to her again."
Mrs. Smith sighed and shook her head, but took them over to Hermione anyway. She spoke very slowly and very loudly. "Hermione. This is Mr. and Mrs. Granger."
It didn't go unnoticed that Hermione covered her ears and winced when Mrs. Smith talked.
"Hermione," Mrs. Smith said sternly. "Can you say hello?"
Hermione blinked. "Sí, pero hablar inglés es muy difícil." She swallowed. "I s-s-stutter."
Roger and Beatrice grinned. What an intelligent little girl. "Hermione. Would you like to be our daughter?" Roger asked.
She gasped and flapped her hands.
"I think that's a yes," Beatrice chuckled.
Hermione jumped out of her chair and grabbed onto her hand, bouncing up and down with excitement; her curls bouncing with her.
"Hermione, calm down and sit on your hands," said Mrs. Smith, sternly.
Roger scowled at her, took Hermione's free hand and began jumping with her much to the young girl's delight.
The woman asked them several times as they filled out the paperwork if they were sure they wanted a challenge like Hermione and each time their answer was the same: "We love her already."
Once the the last signature was scribbled. Beatrice and Roger made their way back to their new daughter. Hermione had her meager possessions stuffed into a tiny backpack. On top of her sweater was a hand-me-down jacket. She had no stuffed animal to call her own or even a blanket, but her eyes lingered to the book she was reading.
"Ready to go, Hermione?" Roger asked with a smile.
"R-r-ready aaas I'll ever b-b-be. Sí. Vamanos."
So, she stuttered with English, but spoke Spanish very well. Not uncommon when it comes to stutterers.Roger took the little girl by the hand and led her out to their car to take her home. From that day on, she would be known as Hermione Jean Granger.
Hermione let them lead her over to the car. A brand new, turquoise Ford Anglia. When she saw it, they noticed that she became scared and uncertain.
"It's alright," said Roger. "We don't live very far."
Beatrice repeated it in Spanish for her and she seemed to relax and readily crawled into the back seat.
"Thank God I took Spanish in secondary school and in college," said Beatrice.
"I wish I took it rather than French," Roger replied with a grin. “I guess she’ll just have to learn both. Hermione, Tu voudrais apprendre le francais?”
“Oui, je p-p-peux p-parle en francais.”
“We just got the most brilliant child in the world,” said Beatrice.
“That we did love,” Roger agreed. “How lucky are we?”
When they pulled up to their house, Hermione pressed her gloveless hands against the window and quickly pulled them back with a shudder. They would have to take her clothes shopping in the morning, but for now they wanted her to get settled in her new home.
Once out of the car, Roger and Beatrice each took a hand and led her up the steps to their house. Hermione giggled excitedly and bounced on her toes. Grinning, her new parents lifted her up into the air, much to her delight. They laughed and unlocked the door.
"Welcome home," they chorused.
Hermione gasped in delight as she took in the beautiful rooms decorated in jade green, turquoise, whites, and deep browns. Comfortable leather furniture, massive bookshelves filled with wonderful books of every subject, and the just amazing smell of spearmint toothpaste.
Getting caught up in her excitement, Roger and Beatrice gave her the tour of the house, including her bedroom.
"It's all mine?" she asked in Spanish.
"Yes, it's all yours," said Beatrice.
Laughing with disbelief, Hermione ran around her new room, examining everything she could and chattering excitedly in a mix of english, French, and Spanish. Beatrice and Roger watched her with giant grins.
After jumping on her bed a couple times to test out its softness, then leapt off and ran back to her new parents, embracing them in a hug. Feeling so much love in their hearts to the point of wanting to cry, they wrapped her up in a giant hug and kissed her.
It was that moment of pure, unconditional love that made them a family.
A few weeks later, Hermione woke up early and heard the voices of her adopted parents downstairs. She smiled and sat up eagerly. She liked them a lot. They were nice and spoke softly. They didn't mind that she didn't like hugs and they spoke to her in english and Spanish and were even starting her on French. She pushed the soft covers back and ran downstairs to greet them. They were both in their piyamas and had big smiles on their faces.
"Buenos días," they greeted her.
"Buenos días," she repeated.
"Now that we've gotten to know you, we want to spoil you rotten just this once," said Beatrice, gesturing to a small pile of presents.
She had presents! That was so kind of them!
"Gracias!" she said, throwing her arms up in the air.
"Wait until you see them first," said Roger with a laugh. "For your first present we'd like you to close your eyes."
Hermione covered her eyes with her hands. She heard her present before she smelled it. It snuffled and made loud licking sounds.
"Open your eyes."
When she took her hands away, she saw a short, squat little dog with fur like a toasted marshmallow. He wiggled his tailless butt when he saw her face and yipped with delight. He climbed onto her lap and licked her face.
Hermione squealed and wrapped her arms around him, burying her face in his soft fur.
"What are you going to call him?" Roger asked.
"Pongo!" said Hermione, thinking of the movie she watched the other day.
He dog seemed to like this. He barked once, then looked a bit startled when Hermione squeaked. He studied her a moment, wiggled his butt, shuffled his paws and made a soft "arf".
"Would you like to open your next present?" Beatrice asked.
Hermione looked up in surprise.
A lot more apparently. Since Hermione had nothing, they wanted to give her things she could call her own. A dog for starters to help her build emotional attachment and teach responsibility (with some help). She also received some clothes, all of which were soft fabrics, she got books and puzzles and puzzle books, games for all of them to play together, a small record player with records, of course. She was super excited over all of them and made sure to thank Roger and Beatrice enthusiastically. Roger took a few pictures of her reactions to frame later.
Finally, she came upon the last gift. She tore back the wrapping and looked at the cover of the book. It had a little blond boy on a little planet looking out at the stars.
"The Little Prince," she read aloud. "By Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Gracias! Muchas gracias!"
She gave them both another short, but loving, hug which they eagerly accepted.
Hermione didn't know who she was, or where she came from, but it didn't matter because there were two wonderful people in her life who loved her.