Chapter 1: Prologue
It had been 2 days. 2 days since Cedric had died and it felt like the world had gone to shit. Hermione was back home, sat in the living room. How do you tell your parents a psychopath is back and the whole family is in danger?
“Come on, Hermione. I thought you were telling us why your ‘magic’ school shut early? You weren’t expelled, were you?” Her Dad said, evidently already exasperated with the situation. Hermione rolled her eyes, her Dad had always been skeptical about Hogwarts especially since she couldn’t show him anything she had learnt there.
“No, Dad. It’s just hard to explain, ok?” Both her Mum and Dad stared at her expectently. She began to explain everything. Right from the beginning of first year. Silence. They both must have been in shock. After what felt about half an hour her dad broke the silence.
“Hermione, can your Mum and I have some privacy?”
Once she was in her room she let the tears fall. She had no room to complain really. Her situation wasn’t that bad. Not compared to loads of kids her age. Not compared to Harry. Her parents had never purposefully hurt her. She had just never felt like she belonged in the family. Personality wise they were all quite similar. Quiet, independent, practical and intelligent. However, something wasn’t quite right. Maybe it was just that they didn’t look alike? They all had brown hair, that’s where the similarities ended. Her hazel eyes contrasting with their blue eyes. Their paler skin contradicting her olive skin tone. No that couldn’t be it, recessive genes could make all those things possible. She just never clicked with them. She felt like they’d never loved her. They’d looked after her and spent time with her, but the love was never there. Then the news of magic came when she was 11, which made the split between the family more obvious. Hermione now spent most of her holidays at the Burrow. A situation everyone seemed to benefit from.
She could hear mumbles of quiet arguing downstairs. Another eternity seemed to have passed when soft footsteps travelled up the stairs.
“We’ve decided we can’t take the differences between us anymore Hermione.” Her Mum stayed silent and refused to look up from the floor as her Dad continued to speak.
“And now your existence is putting our lives in danger. We can’t take it anymore Hermione. So, we need to tell you a secret. As you know, we struggled to have children for years. A friend from America ended up struggling with relationship issues so we offered to help her and she came to live with us for a few months. When she got here she told us she was pregnant and didn’t know what to do. She had hoped we would adopt her child. We agreed to it and she disappeared back off to America. She has kept in touch until about a year ago. Now I know you feel it too, we’ve never had a connection and now you have put us in danger. We can’t have you in this house anymore so you have a choice. You can either run to your magical world I’m sure this Weasley would take you in or you can go to your biological family in America. We called them and your biological older brother is happy to take you in.” The person she had thought as her Dad finished this paragraph as calmly as he would if he had been reading a boring article in a newspaper. This news was more than she could bear and his blasé attitude only made it worse. Years of pent up rage bubbled over.
“How dare you. My biological mother must have trusted you both to escape here and she must have trusted you to love me as if I were your own. At least your wretched attitudes finally make sense. You’ve never made me feel welcome and hiding behind your pathetic excuse that I’m not biologically yours is despicable. I will find my family. Now, get out” Hermione practically growled.
Once they had left the room Hermione collapsed on the bed. Confused and exhausted, her tears fell even harder.
Chapter 2: America
Hermione had never felt so scared in her entire life. Her flight that her ex-parents had payed for had landed. She was just hoping this mysterious brother, Paul, would actually show up. That would be a great end to a crap week, stranded in Seattle, Washington. She held in a deep breath for a few seconds. At least her luggage arrived promptly. The wait was killing her one minute at a time. Pushing the trolley, she looked at the people waiting.
A little sign saying Hermione greeted her. She didn’t know what she had been expecting but the man in front of her certainly wasn’t it. He was supposed to be 18 but he looked around 25. He was looking around frantically and obviously hadn’t noticed her yet. She gave him a wave and she couldn’t help feeling relieved when she saw his face light up. He ran over and gave her a hug. It was weird, he felt warmer than he should be. He pulled back and put his hand out.
“Sorry, I probably should have mentioned that I’m Paul before I attacked you with hugs.” Hermione couldn’t help giggling at his sheepish look as she tentatively shook his hand.
“It’s fine, I’d guessed you were from the sign,” she assured him. Paul nodded his head and they both went quiet as the awkwardness of the situation set in. He took the trolley towards what looked like a very loved car. It was a black ’67 Chevrolet Impala.
“This was Dad’s.” Paul explained as she stared in awe.
“Was?” Paul hesitated and looked at her confused.
“Did your adoptive parents not tell you anything about your family here?”
“No, I didn’t even know anything about you all till they kicked me out and sent me here 2 days ago.”
“OK, well… erm, this is gonna be a long journey then but I’ll try to answer any questions you have.” He said.
“Thanks,” Hermione said as they got in the car, “So… What are our parent’s names?”
“Fucking hell, they didn’t even tell you their names?” Paul’s face had turned furious. He took a few deep breaths and then said, “Mahkah and Zoe.”
“Mahkah sounds different?”
“Yeah, it’s a name from our tribe. Oh, shit you won’t even know about that, will you? We are Native American, from the Quileute tribe. Our reservation is called La Push near the town of Forks.” He grinned at her.
“Wow I wasn’t expecting that.”
“Yeah, well, as your parents…”
“Ex-parents.” Hermione cut in and Paul couldn’t help but chuckle at that statement.
“Yeah well, evidently they haven’t told you anything that I asked them to explain when I spoke to them on the phone. Erm, Dad died a 4 years ago, he had cancer. After that Mum fucked off, said she couldn’t handle ‘it’ or whatever. So, I’m sorry. I know you were probably hoping for a happy reunion, but it’s just me left.” He was staring intently at the road in front of him at this point, avoiding the girl sat next to him. Hermione took a minute to process this. He was right, she had been hoping for a big happy family reunion. What was she supposed to do now? Then she realised something.
“Wait, so you’ve been on your own since then?”
“Yeah, I sorta slipped through the net at that point. Although I’m kinda happy about it. I didn’t want to be moved out of La Push. It’s where my life is.” Hermione tried to keep the conversation about La Push for the rest of the journey. He seemed to be very passionate about the reservation. While he talked, she decided she was happy, even if her parents weren’t going to be there, she hoped she had gained a brother today.
“This here is home.” Paul said pointing at the house on front of him. Hermione looked over. It was beautiful. A small cottage next to a stream near the forest. The house looked as beautifully cared for as the car was. However, it wasn’t so perfect that it looked intimidating. It looked cosy, warm and welcoming.
“I work for the council so it doesn’t pay very well, I usually have food at Sam and Emily’s house. Sam is essentially my boss but he’s more like my best friend. Their house is just down the road so if I’m not here and you’re hungry just head down there. I was thinking we could go there tonight so you could meet them. There is always someone there so don’t think you’re intruding. I have some snacks here as well though so feel free to help yourself.”
Hermione nodded, attempting to take in her surroundings. It was so serene and quiet. She’d only ever lived in London or Hogwarts. Both were ridiculously busy all the time. Paul took her suitcase as they both walked in. There was even a little porch with a chair swing on it. It was like a dream to her. She had to ask.
“Has this house always been this pretty or did you change it?”
“Well, the house got run down while Dad was ill so I’ve been saving up and doing it up a room at a time. I finished it around 6 months, I’ve done the work myself with some help from friends. But, its mostly been redone around photos that I have of what the house looked like before Dad got ill.”
“When did he get ill?”
“He got a diagnosis around 6 months before you were born. It’s why Mum decided to run away at the time.” Hermione gaped at him. She couldn’t believe it. When her ex-parents had told her there were relationship issues she never expected it to be like that. She’d expected arguments.
“What did he do while she was away?” They both sat on the sofas in the lounge.
“He kept looking after me, he was a true fighter.” Paul looked proud. “He was in and out of hospital for over 10 years. He never gave up even in the last moments. I just wish Mum would’ve been more supportive. It was all too much for her; Dad, me, the house and giving you up. She just ended up going drinking all the time. But we had the community. Especially the Black and Clearwater family, they were really helpful. Then after he died she found another guy and left me here, I haven’t heard from her since.”
It went quiet again.
“Shall I show you around the house.” Hermione nodded. She felt like he was hoping for her to become family just as much as she was. It was all a lot to take in. He stopped at her bedroom and noticed her yawning.
“I’ll leave you to unpack and have a nap. You’ve had a long few days. Is it OK if I knock on your door about 7 then head over to Sam and Emily’s?”
“Yep, sure. See you later.”
Hermione’s head was buzzing and she finally allowed herself to think through what had happened to her parents as she was unpacking. She felt ridiculous, how could she mourn people who she never knew? She lay on the bed attempting to sleep but she couldn’t. She couldn’t help thinking that Paul was perhaps the strongest person she knew.
Downstairs Paul called Sam asking him to come over for a bit. Once he got there Paul let everything he was holding in burst out.
“They didn’t fucking tell her Sam. I’ve just had to explain the entire shit show which is my life. To someone who I am hoping to become close to and I’ve just had to trust her with everything.” He looked over at Sam who was grimacing.
“Well at least you didn’t phase mate what did she say?”
“She was nice at least. I could tell in the car she just tried to keep the conversation on me and the tribe after I told her about Mum and Dad. Then when we got home, I explained everything a bit more and it just went quiet. Did you know she didn’t even know she was adopted till 2 days ago? I have no idea what she is thinking and no idea how to make it all better. I still don’t even know why she was kicked out.”
“She seems to be trying to take it all in and now she should be distracted by the pack at my house for the rest of the day anyway. Are you sure you don’t want tonight off?”
Paul shook his head, “Nah, I need a run tonight.”
“Don’t worry too much. She sounds like she’s taken it pretty well and you know Emily. Emily will feel a need to look after her tonight. I’ve got to go on patrol now but if you need anything, howl.” Paul chuckled at Sam’s cheeky grin as he left the house.
A few hours later Paul knocked on Hermione’s door and they made their way over to Sam’s place. Emily must have seen them. As soon as they were 20 yards from the house she ran out and gave Hermione a hug. Paul rolled his eyes.
“Hermione, this is Emily. Emily, this is Hermione.”
“Well, I can certainly see the resemblance between the two of you. Come on inside, before everyone else steals all the food. I made them wait for you both.” Hermione instantly started saying that everyone needn’t wait for them in almost a panicky tone as Emily pretty much dragged her inside. Emily instantly reminded Hermione of Molly Weasley with her motherly tones especially as she walked into the kitchen and 5 men stared at her from a table which had a mountain of food on it. Emily’s scars intrigued Hermione though. They looked like they had been caused by some sort of animal with three jagged lines crossing one side of her face. If she’d been in the wizarding world she would’ve assumed they were caused by a werewolf.
“Hermione, this is Embry, Jared, Quil, Jacob and my fiancée Sam.”
“Wow Paul you must’ve missed out on the lucky genes, she’s much prettier than you.” The man named Embry wiggled his eyebrows. Hermione giggled.
“Shut up, Embry.”
“Just ignore the bickering Hermione, it’s honestly like looking after a pack of wolves in here.” Emily said pulling Hermione towards a chair as Paul took the chair opposite. Everyone else was giggling at what Hermione assumed was some sort of inside joke.
“Emily, pleeeeeaaaasssseee can we eat now?” Quil said. Emily gave him a glare.
“You know guests go first in this house, if you have a problem cook your own food.”
“He wouldn’t last a day he would’ve killed himself via some horrible food poisoning.” Jacob said grumpily.
“Hey, I’d last longer than you.” Quil replied.
“Is that seriously the best comeback you can come up with?” Jacob said. Jacob, Quil and Embry carried on bickering as Emily encouraged Hermione to eat. Once the boys started to eat Hermione understood why Emily had made them wait. She thought Ron was bad. These boys didn’t just consume food, they demolished it.
“Emily, do you cook this much every day?” Hermione asked, in awe at the rate the food was disappearing.
“Yep, it’s pretty much my job now.” She said glaring at the men on the table obviously trying to get them to slow down and show some table manners. An action which was mostly ignored as the boys concentrated on the food.
“Do you need any help? I don’t really have much to do here yet and I’d like to be helpful especially if I’m going to be eating here most of the time.” Emily blinked her eyes at this offer and then said, “Of course, just come over whenever you feel like helping.”
Hermione kept quiet for the rest of the meal choosing to listen to the chatter at the table. It was like a huge family the way they interacted with each other. It was incredible. She finally felt she might be somewhere she could belong.