i. Hermione sits on the edge of her bed and stares at her hands. It's good to be home. It is, but... But her parents don't know anything about magic, not really. It's all a wonderful little dream to them, but for Hermione magic is the reality. Home has become the dream. Coming home in the aftermath of Voldemort's rebirth feels a bit like going to sleep in a burning house.
She can almost feel the hours slipping away. Wasted.
She tries to read, but she can't concentrate. What's Harry doing? What about Ron? Will Fudge come to his senses? When will Voldemort strike? Where? What is Dumbledore doing to prepare for it?
She would write, but she has nothing to say.
Dear Harry, I'm worried. Are you?
Dear Ron, Do you think Harry is all right?
She wouldn’t bother the owls with such a waste of parchment.
ii. She waits, sitting on the sofa in front of the telly and watching a horribly predictable show where everything always goes back to normal at the very end. No matter how awful things get in the middle, nothing ever changes. She flips it off in disgust and watches her mother instead.
Her mother is knitting a sweater for the next door neighbor's baby – due next month. She hums to herself as she works, the needles clicking gently as she throws the thread. She looks up at Hermione.
"Did you know knitting hasn't changed in thousands of years? The Egyptians knit. I think it's fascinating, that constancy."
Hermione ponders this, and is tempted to point out that while knitting itself might not have changed, its function has–women now can socialize over an activity which used to be a necessity—but she doesn't. If she's learned anything in her four years at Hogwarts, it's how to recognize when the truth will not be appreciated.
"Will you teach me?" she asks.
iii. She's rubbish at knitting, really. There's no intrigue in it for her. No problems to solve or hidden secrets to uncover. The repetitiveness is incredibly dull, but it gives her hands something to do while her head is away with Ron, Harry, Dumbledore, Fudge, and... Voldemort. Mostly with Voldemort.
iv. It reminds her of before, knitting—before Hogwarts, before magic, before Harry, Ron, the Weasleys, Voldemort... It's the first new thing that she and her mother have shared in four years. She feels a twinge of guilt at that, if only because she knows that she doesn't regret it. She couldn't change the past, even if she wanted to, but part of her feels like she should want to. She doesn't.
Hogwarts is home, now. Magic is life.
Her mother gives her a beginner’s hat pattern, and by the time she leaves for number twelve, Grimmauld Place she has an uneven, slightly squashed hat to present to her mother, who pulls it on with great gusto and kisses Hermione goodbye.
As soon as Hermione's at school again, she starts knitting with magic.
Hermione knows her hats are awful. That's why she gives them to the house-elves, because, really, she's giving the elves their freedom. The hats are inconsequential. She could order hats for them, of course, as knitting is one of the few things that is more expensive to do yourself, but she won’t. Her knitting gives her something to do besides send letters to her mother stained with tears and the truth.
Hermione sits with her quill and ink, the words that she wishes she could write floating around in her mind.
Dear Mum, Voldemort’s back and Harry’s always angry with me and Ron and I argue all the time and I don’t know what to do. We’ve got this awful teacher for Defense Against the Dark Arts who won’t teach us anything and we’ll be sitting ducks, mum, if we don’t learn to defend ourselves now. The Ministry’s trying to pretend that everything’s all right and I don’t know if they’re going to wait to see more bodies before they’ll do something. Harry got a week’s detention today for screaming that Voldemort was back in the middle of class, and it was stupid for him to do but he’s right, you know. I’m just so scared, mum, because sooner or later Harry’s going to do something stupid and brave, and I’m going to go with him...
She knows that those words will never see the light of day. She won’t write them, and her mother would never understand them. Instead, she does the same thing she always does, and pens the words her mother wants to hear.
Dear Mum, School is going well. I’m happy with all of my classes, save Defense Against the Dark Arts. It’s still a dreadful bore. I only hope that the professor keeps up the tradition and leaves at the end of the school year—and that we get a better one for next year
I’m managing my workload all right, though prefect duties are naturally taking up a good bit of my time. It’s worth it though, to help keep the school safe.
I’m also still working on my knitting. You’ll be pleased to hear that I’ve finished five more hats since I arrived. I’m much faster now than I was before...
For Christmas, Hermione gives her mother a Gryffindor scarf she knit herself. On Boxing Day, she asks for advice on the best type of sock yarn, and in the middle of the conversation slips in the question of whether she might, if it's really all right, if she might go to number twelve, Grimmauld Place for the rest of the holidays instead of staying to ski.
i. After Hermione is injured and Sirius dies and the ministry finally acknowledges that the world is at war, Hermione goes home with her parents, picks up her needles and begins to knit. It's a perfect diversion because it gives her an excuse to sit still, which saves her the trouble of coming up with a reason for her inability to walk very far without wheezing. Idly, she remembers what her mother told her, last summer, about the Egyptians and constancy. She thinks of third year, when Ron and his family visited Bill in Egypt. She remembers a book she read once, before Hogwarts, which was full of snide references to the "curses" the Egyptians left on their tombs. She sets her knitting down and turns to face her mother.
"Mum, there's something I need to tell you..."
ii. There is, perhaps, something to be said for constancy, something to be said for dwelling on the past, but Hermione doesn't know what it is. She has a future, uncertain as it is, which isn't here, and she doesn't intend to waste her chance by sitting here with clicking needles and pretending that things can ever go back to the way they were when she was ten and wizards were the stuff of legends, not the people you argue with at breakfast. As much as she hates it, she can't escape the thought that this might be the last chance she has to tell her parents about the war. The last chance before McGonagall or Dumbledore turn up on their doorstep to tell them that somewhere along the line, their daughter went from knitting "wooly bladders" to saving the world.
If it comes to that, she'd rather have told them herself.
A/N: I got the inspiration for this fic when my mother was teaching me to knit. It struck me as slightly odd that someone of Hermione’s personality would take to knitting quite as keenly as she seemed to in the books. So I thought it might fit nicely if she learned from her mother, and used it as a way to feel close to her mother because there is so much in her life that she can’t share.
Therefore, I dedicate this fic to my mother.
As always, many thanks go to my wonderful beta Mari. She’s always so kind and patient with me—I’ve no idea how she does it. *hugs Mari*
B/N: It’s very easy to be kind and patient when the author is talented and dedicated to her work and her readers. You’ve got a talent, occlumens. Keep on using it. It is by far MY pleasure to work with you. J