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30 Shades of Brilliant by What contented men desire

30 Shades of Brilliant

What contented men desire

Copyright: What elements of this story that I own, and are not the property of anyone else, are licensed CC-BY-NC-SA. That means that you can take anything in this story, up to and including the whole thing, and use it however you like, as long as you promise me three things:
1. You will link back to me (preferably to my author page)
2. You will not make money off whatever you do
3. You will share your work under these same conditions

Happy birth month Hermione!

So this is a thing I'm going to try: Every day for the month of September, I'm going to endeavor to put up a short little story answering one of the questions from the Tumblr/forum prompt "30 Days of Character Development." Don't hold it against me if I don't quite make it, but I'm going to do my best.

The first question is "Describe your character's relationship with their mother or their father, or both. Was it good? Was it bad? Were they spoiled rotten, ignored? Do they still get along now, or no?" Enjoy!

"Hermione will be here soon." Sarah Granger announced, placing the hastily-written letter on the counter and giving the delivery owl a treat, plucked from the bag that had for some years been kept by the window for just such a purpose.

Her husband, sitting at the kitchen table doing the daily crossword, gave an approving nod. "I hope she stays for a bit," He commented absently, "Aha, 'Great Yarmouth.' She spends so much time with those Weasleys, we hardly get to see her anymore."

"You can't begrudge her for having friends, John." She admonished.

He frowned. "No, never; but every summer she's here for a few days, and then she's off again. She's even stopped coming home for Christmas."

"She's growing up." Sarah replied simply, smiling despite herself at her husband's attitude.

"She's growing away, more like." He retorted, setting down his pen. "We're becoming less important, Sar, we're becoming less like her. I love her, no matter what live she chooses, but I wish we could be more of a part of it."

Sarah nodded sadly. "She's not our little girl anymore. I always knew she'd grow up, pursue other interests. I just never thought she'd be so far out of our reach."

"I never wanted her to go to that school." John commented, running his hands through his short hair. "After six years, I barely recognize her anymore."

"I know." Sarah answered. A memory struck her, and she smiled. "D'you remember the first time she came home for Christmas?"

Despite his frustrations, John couldn't help but smile back. "Of course. She was so excited; couldn't stop talking about her best friend Harry Potter."

"It was the first time I'd seen her excited about anything other than books."

"Or otters," John laughed, and Sarah laughed with him. "She cares about that boy, rather a lot."

"She does," Sarah agreed. "Do you think she would have found him if it wasn't for 'that school'?"

John swatted his wife, but gently, and with a smile. "No need to rub it in."

"I'm just saying…"

"I know."

The two fell silent, lost in their respective thoughts. John was thinking about the times he had missed with his daughter, barely being able to watch her grow up, gradually becoming less and less of a presence in her life until he didn't know her friends, her interests, her life - except what she told him on the rare occasions she was home.

Sarah was thinking the same, but also of how Hogwarts had replenished Hermione's zest for life, something that had been sorely lacking ever since Year Two when Masisie Lambert, who Sarah had thought would be her daughter's first friend, had told the whole school about Hermione's love of water-dwelling mammals, earning her the horribly unfair nickname of 'Beaver.'

The ringing of the doorbell interrupted both of their thoughts. "That must be her," Sarah declared, and indeed it was, and there was a great deal of hugging and back-patting as the Grangers got re-acquainted with their daughter. "I hope we can convince you to stay for a few days," Sarah told her daughter in a mock-stern voice. "You've been around so little lately, your father and I have barely had a chance to admire the young woman you're growing into."

When Hermione replied only with a weak smile, both Sarah and John knew something was wrong. A look passed between the two parents, instantly communicating instructions from each to the other. "I'm going to put on some tea; would you care for some?" John asked, disappearing into the kitchen when Hermione nodded.

Sarah, meanwhile, led her daughter to the sitting room and sat beside her on the sofa. "Hermione," The older woman began in a soothing voice, hand on the young woman's back. "I know there's something wrong; you know you can tell your father and I anything, right?"

Sarah was more than shocked when her daughter, the paragon of strength, who hadn't cried since the age of four, suddenly cracked, right there on the sofa, tears streaming down her face. "Sweetheart!" Sarah exclaimed, pulling her daughter tightly against her chest. But Hermione pulled back. "Hermione, what's the matter?"

"I'm so sorry mum." The young woman answered, her voice damp and broken, as she pulled an all-to-familiar strip of wood from her sleeve.