Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any IP, trademarks, etc. etc. pertaining to HP. JKR owns them, I just play with them. (although I claim ownership of Alexander Nott as he's not the Nott Sr. mentioned in the books)
A/N: This is my other fic inspired by 'The Muddy Princess' by Colubrina. Only this time it starts in 2nd year, and Theo's father is a good man (his grandfather was the Death Eater). While 'Savior' answered what if Hermione learned in 5th-6th year that she was a Nott, this fic is about what if Theo's father wasn't a Death Eater and reunited his children sooner.
Now, there's no pairing for this story as of yet. It's really mostly about Hermione & Theo as siblings and Hermione's relationship with her biological family and how this would change events in the books so far (never say never, after all). Everything is canon up until the point at which this fic begins, and everything is AU in this fic (obviously). I'm also uploading the first two chapters together as I think they should be enjoyed one right after the other, no waiting.
Hope you enjoy!
It was a letter from his son that had Alexander Nott rushing up to Hogwarts. A letter from his son Theo about a girl, Hermione Granger, being in the hospital wing. Petrified by Slytherin's monster. He blustered and threatened his way to the infirmary to find the girl bedridden. As soon as he laid eyes on her he was furious. "What is being done to find that blasted beast?! What are you doing to save her?" He demanded of Poppy Pomfrey.
"Mr. Nott you have no business being here," Dumbledore said as he entered the room.
Alexander whirled on the old man, "My daughter is lying in that bed petrified and you claim I have no business here?!"
Dumbledore was dumbfounded. He swallowed thickly and blustered, "You seem confused, Mr. Nott. That is Hermione Granger."
"I know what her name is," Nott snarled. "My wife chose it." He tossed a document at him and sat down by her bedside, "Now answer my questions or go away. And I want my son brought up here."
Poppy hated people telling her what to do in her infirmary but frankly she was rather curious about the wait time for the potion and the lack of action in stopping the creature from attacking students. She would give Nott some leeway as he was asking the hard questions and there was no one else speaking up for these students. Poppy respected the headmaster but she was certain if it was a pureblood student more would be done to protect them. Albus was too complacent, she thought. "I'll have an elf get young Mr. Nott up here," she informed him. "Albus will have to answer your questions though," she added, walking to her office to call for an elf to get Theo. She'd leave those two men to it. Her only patients were the petrified children, ghost, and cat.
Dumbledore read the document. It was a birth certificate for Hermione Olympias Nott with her mother and father's names both visible. A wave of his wand verified the document was genuine. He gazed at the man. "I don't see how this is possible."
"Of course you don't," Nott snapped. "It's none of your business. Now answer my questions or my first call is to the school board of governors."
"The monster always manages to leave unseen after an attack," Dumbledore said, "and the mandrakes will take a long time to mature."
"You can get the potion to wake them up easily," Nott glared at the old man. "Yet you haven't. Would you have bought it if it was Harry Potter that was petrified? Or maybe one of the Weasley children?"
At Dumbledore's silence he had his answer. Nott gazed at his daughter to stop himself from throttling the man. She looked so much like his wife when she was younger but that only slightly calmed his temper, "Get out of my sight old man."
Snape arrived with Theo after Dumbledore had left, "Mr. Nott."
"Theo," Alexander smiled as he looked up to see his son.
"Why are you here?" Theo asked, confused.
"I would be nowhere else when my daughter is attacked," Alexander answered, gazing at Hermione.
"Daughter?" Theo's eyes widened. Snape blinked in surprise. Then he looked at Hermione. She did look like Aurelia Nott, now that he thought about it. The hair was probably the first clue. But he'd never put it together until that moment. "She's my sister?"
"Your mother and I were betrothed but I messed up and didn't cast the spell to prevent conception. She got pregnant. We decided to have the baby but smuggle her out of our world so our parents wouldn't find out. If they had…" He shook his head, "if they had learned of Hermione then your mother very well could have been killed. She had an aunt who also got pregnant out of wedlock. She was killed for it. So we hid the pregnancy from the world and when it was time, she took a 'vacation' but instead we went to the muggle world in Greece. She gave birth in a muggle hospital. Hermione was born and after a few days we could take her home. So I took Hermione into the muggle world in England to some muggles I had found several months prior."
Snape stood silently, taking it in. Then he spoke, "If Miss Granger, or rather Miss Nott, is pureblood then this monster hardly targets just muggleborns."
Theo stared at the girl who was his sister, "The monster keeps targeting people who irritate Potter. But she doesn't irritate him. Without her he'd probably fail all his classes." He looked at his father, "Why didn't you tell me about her?"
"The Grangers took good care of her. Loved her. It felt cruel to take their child from them."
"But she's my sister."
"You know now," Alexander said. "Severus I want her to have the potion immediately."
"Your daughter would want the others to wake up quickly as well," the potions master said. "She has a very strong sense of justice and equality."
Nott looked at the ghost of Sir Nicholas, "How the devil would you even give a potion to a ghost?"
"You can't," Snape answered. "For Sir Nicholas, I daresay it will simply take time."
"How quickly can you use your contacts to acquire the necessary amount?"
"Very quickly," Snape nodded. "It will cost you."
"Money is no object," he said, sitting down next to his daughter's bed and taking her hand in his. "I'm not letting my little girl down again."
It took Snape two days to acquire enough of the drought for every child & Mrs. Norris. Alexander didn't leave Hogwarts during that time, staying by his daughter's bedside. He wondered if his daughter could hear him in that state. In the hopes that she could, he told her about her mother and about himself and promised to never abandon her again.
Theo came by many times to sit with his sister, quickly wrapping his head around the fact that Hermione Granger of Gryffindor was in fact his sister. When Snape finally arrived the third morning after Alexander's arrival with the potion he brought Theo with him. Dumbledore was soon in the room, "I will not let you dose these children," he informed the Nott patriarch.
Alexander wasn't bothered. If Dumbledore wanted to invite public scorn that was his business, "Fine. My daughter is getting the potion whether you like it or not."
Dumbledore's eyes flashed in anger but he held his tongue and left the hospital wing. Sadly, the old headmaster was unable to stop Nott from dosing Hermione. But he could stop him from dosing the others and intended to do just that. They'd wake up once the mandrakes had matured and the drought could be created and that was that.
Snape administered the drought to Hermione and Madame Pomfrey monitored the girl's vitals. Silence fell over the room until Hermione let out a gasp and tried to sit up, "No no dear, stay down," Pomfrey said gently.
Alexander carefully pushed her back down onto the bed. "Relax sweetheart," he said, kneeling next to the bed as he pushed her down so that they were at eye level.
Hermione gazed at him. "I have your eyes," she finally said.
Snape and Pomfrey's eyes widened. They'd not expected her to be able to hear anything while petrified. Alexander's eyes widened but he smiled, "Yes you do. And from what I hear from Theo, you also have my temper. The intellect is all your mother though. She went to a school in the Mediterranean, being from Greece originally. Best in her year. She was taken from us far too soon."
She coughed and rubbed her throat, "I'm thirsty." Alexander poured her a glass of water from the bedside pitcher and, helping her sit up in the bed, he helped her drink as her hands shook when she tried to take the glass from him. Snape watched. It was not a sight unfamiliar to him. He'd been the one Alexander had turned to for help when Aurelia had fallen ill.
Hermione studied the man who was her biological father as she drank the water. She had known she was adopted since she was seven years old, but never had she imagined that she would be the daughter of a well-known pureblood family. Let alone have a brother just eleven months younger than her. For the past two and a half days since her birth father's arrival she'd had plenty of time to think and ultimately she found herself not averse to being a Nott. And she certainly wanted to get to know her biological family.
She wasn't so sure how Theo felt about it though. She'd never talked to him before so she wasn't sure of his views on so-called blood status or muggles. But Hermione doubted their father hated muggles if he'd opted to leave her with them to keep her safe as he'd said.
Alexander sat the glass down and adjusted her pillows so she could sit up in the bed, "You look so much like Aurelia. She'd be very proud of you. Smartest witch in your year despite not even knowing you were a witch for most of your life."
Hermione smiled, wondering how her biological mother had died but not comfortable asking such a thing so soon. "Mr. Nott, I need to examine your daughter," Poppy Pomfrey said gently. Alexander nodded and squeezed Hermione's hand before stepping back to let the witch examine her.
Since she'd only been out for five days total, the damage to Hermione was minor, much to Alexander and Theo's relief. "What about the others?" Hermione asked. She'd heard Dumbledore refuse to let them be treated but she didn't understand why.
"Professor Dumbledore will not permit them to be treated despite your father buying enough potion for all of them," Madame Pomfrey answered.
"But that's ridiculous," Hermione frowned.
"That's what happens to muggleborns," the mediwitch sighed sadly, "The headmaster claims guardianship as their parents are muggles and can't help."
"So I would have been stuck like that for months?" Hermione asked, eyes widening in horror.
"But for your father's intervention, yes. Even that Albus tried to block," Snape snarled. He didn't like the students being petrified any more than Poppy did but he was frustratingly powerless to intervene. "Do you remember anything about your attack?"
Hermione sat in thought, "I remember the eyes. They were big and yellow and…a flash of red. Not attached to the eyes. Just something I saw in the mirror." Her brow furrowed in thought as she tried to remember, "Red hair. It was red hair."
"So the perpetrator is a redhead," Snape said.
"Yes," Hermione nodded.
"Did the redhead say anything?"
"In Parseltongue," she said. "I remember thinking how odd because supposedly only Harry could speak it but the mirror didn't show their face. I think they must have been short because I didn't have the mirror aimed all that high."
The girl might have just woken up but she had to know something and this was the closest they'd come to discovering anything at all about the attacks so Snape pressed, "How short?"
Hermione frowned in thought. The potions master looked at Theo, who was average height for a second year boy, "Taller than Theo? Or shorter?"
Hermione looked at her brother. It was weird to think of him as her brother. Before he was just the quiet Slytherin boy who was really good in Potions and Transfiguration. "Shorter," she answered. "The hair was moving but it looked like it was long. Long and straight."
"Long, straight red hair shorter than Theo," Snape mused. There were only five or six students who fit that description, "Could you tell if they were a boy or a girl?"
Hermione was silent in thought as she thought about the hissing she had heard shortly before being petrified. "It was…it was a girl. The hissing from the human was higher pitched than the basilisk. Slytherin's monster is actually a basilisk. And it's been traveling through the school using the pipes."
"How did you come to that conclusion?" Alexander asked.
"Because Harry speaks Parsel and he's heard voices in the walls," Hermione explained. "So it had to be a snake. And you die if you look it in the eye directly but everyone's seen only its reflection. That's why I had the mirror out."
"Definitely your mother's intellect," Alexander beamed.
Madame Pomfrey gazed at the victims of the basilisk. "Severus, what if we asked Argus about Mrs. Norris?"
"The old man certainly couldn't complain," the potions master answered. "I'll go find him. No one is allowed to leave the infirmary without supervision," he added. "I think I might let slip in front of some gossipy paintings that despite the headmaster's interference in getting her treatment, Miss Granger is awake. That should start making things interesting."
"But then people will know Hermione is awake," Alexander frowned, "which means her attacker will know. That would put her in further harm's way, Severus. I can't allow that."
"She'll be protected," he assured the worried father. "Trust me, I know you're concerned and rightly so. But I think we should set a trap in which we control the environment. The perpetrator has been going after those who upset Potter. Since the girl she was found with has never even spoken to him, it is obvious that Miss Granger was the target. And since she hasn't upset Potter that means there was another motive behind the attack. Maybe Miss Granger is in the attacker's way. Maybe she sees Miss Granger as a romantic rival."
"The Weasley girl sent that horrid Valentine to Potter," Theo offered. "And she's always blushing around him when he looks in her direction."
Hermione gasped, "Ginny…but I don't understand why she'd go after me."
"You're the only female close to Potter," Theo answered. "It's like Professor Snape said. She sees you as a romantic rival. Killing you gets you out of the picture and since the Weasel is Potter's best friend, surely that means Weaslette can get closer to him in his time of mourning. Your death is her benefit."
"But how could she speak Parsel?" Hermione asked. Theo made sense, actually. But her question was the sticking point.
"Witches and wizards that can speak Parseltongue tend to hide it," Snape shrugged. "Being able to talk to snakes is seen as being dark. You might as well wear an 'I love Voldemort' t-shirt."
Alexander remained adamant, "You are not using my daughter as bait. She was nearly killed by that thing once. There will not be a second time."
Hermione was amazed at just how fiercely protective he was of her. "I want to help," she told him.
"I'm not losing you," Alexander frowned. "Losing your mother was hard enough. I'm not losing my children as well."
"What if you just followed her?" Theo asked his head of house. "At some point she'll lead you right to the basilisk," he reasoned. He didn't like the idea of his sister being bait either. It had been shocking to learn he even had a sister, let alone her being the muggleborn witch who was the best in their class and had been nearly killed by a basilisk. But since learning that she was his sister, Theo had become very protective of her. He'd punched Malfoy the day before when he'd been laughing about Hermione being in the infirmary. Theo had found that quite satisfying.
Theo had always been a loner. In fact, he only had one friend at Hogwarts; Blaise Zabini. So the knowledge that he had a sister, someone he would have a connection to, was really rather exciting. Theo looked at Hermione. She was studying him. Snape spoke, "You three can discuss options. I need to find Argus."
Once the three were alone Hermione gazed at the man who was her father, "I have so many questions…"
"I'm sure you do," Alexander nodded. "And I promise you that I will answer all of them as much as I'm able. But for now, I refuse to let you put yourself in harm's way to discover the identity of your attacker."
"What was it like being petrified?" Theo asked.
"I could hear everything," Hermione said. "And when you held my hand," Hermione looked at her biological father, "I could feel your hand in mine."
Alexander smiled and took her hand in his, "I am sorry we had to give you up. But Aurelia and I could not take you back from the Grangers once it was safe. We saw how happy you were with them, and how well they were raising you. A year or so after we had Theo she got sick and my time was spent caring for her the next two years before she died."
"I love my parents," Hermione said. "They have always been so great to me. You gave me a really happy childhood and a really wonderful life leaving me with the Grangers."
"I have kept tabs on you. After Aurelia died I decided to have her personal elf keep an eye on you and protect you if anything happened while you were at the Grangers," he admitted. "They raised you better than I could have ever imagined."
Hermione looked him in the eye, "I want to help stop the attacks. I don't want anyone else getting hurt. It's a miracle that no one has died yet."
"I'm not leaving you," Alexander frowned.
"You could hide," she reasoned. "The crow of a rooster is deadly to a basilisk. So if you could transfigure something into a rooster when the basilisk arrived…"
"Killing the monster who hurt my little girl is an appealing thought," he conceded after a few moments of silence. "I will agree only if I am present. I'm not letting anyone hurt you."
"What about me?" Theo protested. "I'm not leaving here while my sister is in harm's way. I'm your brother. I have to protect you."
"I'm older than you," Hermione pointed out.
"Only by eleven months," Theo responded, frowning. "I've heard loads of rumors about stuff that happened last year with a troll and then you going to face down You-Know-Who with Potter. And I know you've been up here already this year."
Hermione blushed, "I had an incident with polyjuice."
"How did you get polyjuice?" Alexander asked.
"I brewed it," she answered. At his incredulous look she explained, "See, Harry and Ron were convinced that Malfoy is the heir of Slytherin so to get into the Slytherin common room and question him I brewed polyjuice. But the hair I used was a cat hair so that was why I was up here."
"You thought Malfoy was the heir of Slytherin?" Theo looked at her, baffled by that reasoning.
Hermione shook her head, "No I didn't. The boys did. I thought he might know something."
"Why would Draco Malfoy be the heir of Slytherin?" Alexander asked. "The Malfoys are French. Merlin, the first one didn't even arrive in England until about a hundred years after Hogwarts was founded; by then Salazar Slytherin was dead. Draco's mother was a Black and the Black family didn't even exist when Slytherin was alive. But regardless, if either of those two families had somehow married into the Slytherin line they'd have been bragging about it ever since," Alexander added, "I know you met Lucius Malfoy before the school year began. Surely you saw how pompous and obnoxious he is? Does he seem the type to hide a genetic link to a founder?"
Hermione blushed, ashamed she hadn't thought about any of that. "Basically your friends decided Malfoy was the heir of Slytherin and behind these attacks that all conveniently go after people annoying Potter simply because they hate him. Then they roped you into helping them prove it because they're both idiots," Theo frowned. He despised Ronald Weasley and Harry Potter.
"There were much easier and less dangerous ways to find out if he was Slytherin's heir," Alexander shook his head. "I don't like you putting yourself in dangerous situations like this. The Grangers might not understand our world but I do."
Hermione bit her lip. If she were honest, she did depend on her parents not understanding things. She'd told her parents that the over 9 foot tall troll was about the size of a goblin, not wanting them to pull her out of school as she knew they would if they knew the truth. Alexander took her hand in his, "I will acquiesce to this but after this event, you are going to be much more careful. Twice in two years I've nearly lost you. I'm not going to allow a third time."
Hermione was surprised at how nice it felt to have him both scolding her and vowing to protect her at the same time. Although to be honest in the magical world she'd never really had that parental presence before. It felt good, her biological father caring about her safety. "I'll be more careful," she promised.
"Thank you," he said.