When: Wednesday, July 29th around dinnertime
Where: Hermione's house
What: Sirius comes to talk to Hermione's parents about Hermione continuing to work in Diagon Alley.
Hermione sighed as she glanced at the clock. "Mum, just talk to him. It's not going to hurt anything for you just to listen."
"I highly doubt this Sirius fellow's going to change my mind, Hermione." She crosses her arms over her chest and and gives her daughter a stern look.
Sirius, figuring it wouldn't be the best idea to apparate into the middle of the Granger household, makes his way to the front door. He knocks soundly and absently runs a hand through his hair, making sure it's all in place. It wouldn't do any good to come here to help Hermione, and just end up scaring her parents, after all.
Hermione's father looks up at the knock and then back at his paper as Hermione moves to the front door and opens it, relieved to see you there. "Hello Sirius. Thank you so much for this."
Margaret watches Hermione approach the door and grits her teeth. She's angry that her daughter is being so stubborn when all she's trying to do is keep her safe. Not one to shirk off manners, however, she stands and walks a few paces towards the door. She forces a smile onto her face.
" 'lo, Hermione," Sirius replies with a smile, knowing this musn't be easy for her. Glancing around her spots Mrs Granger, and takes a step forward, extending his hand. "Hello, you must be Hermione's mother. Your daughter's told us so about you and your husband. It's always nice to see a family as close as yours.
Hermione returns his smile with a strained one of her own. Hermione's father finally puts down the paper he's read eight times and stands, almost relieved that someone else has come to take their share of his wife's bad mood.
"Ah, yes. Good to hear she's mentioned us at all," Margaret's tone is far too cheerful, as she's making a concentrated effort to keep from snapping at the company or anyone else. She takes Sirius' hand and gives it a curt shake. "Do come in, then."
Sirius inwardly sighs, realising this is going to be harder than he thought. He steps inside on Mrs Granger's invitation, and says a quick hello to Mr Granger. He'd like to begin the inevitable, but knows its best to do it on their terms. "You have a very lovely home," he comments, taking a look around.
"Henry Granger," he supplies, offering his hand to you as well. Hermione clears her throat quietly. "Can I get anyone anything from the kitchen?" She wants out of the situation, though she knows her mother won't let her sneak away, most likely.
"Thank you." She places her hands on her hips and this time her smile is quite genuine. Compliments are good, she'll take them without hesitation. Margaret turns her attention to Hermione. "Your father can take care of that. I've been doing nothing but argue with you the last few days, and I won't have you skipping out on this." She turns back to Sirius and gives him an embarassed look. "I'd rather we get this over with, Mister Black. I've a busy day ahead of me."
Sirius shakes hands with Mr Granger, giving him a reassuring, quick grin. "That's quite alright, I understand," he replies, nodding towards Margaret. "If you'd like, we could sit down and get right to it then. Whatever's easiest for you is perfectly fine with me."
Henry's more than glad to have an excuse to get out of there. "What would everyone like?" Hermione sighs and moves away from the wall, agreeing with her mother on getting this over with.
"Yes, have a seat," Margaret walks over to the couch and follows her own advice. "I'm fine, Henry. Nothing for me." She leans back, crossing her legs. "You seem like a nice enough man, Mr. Black. Don't get me wrong. I'm only looking out for my daughter's safety, and she's having trouble accepting that." She can practically feel Hermione glaring at her for that.
"Water will be fine, thank you," Sirius replies, lacing his fingers together as he rests his hands on his knees. He nods when Margaret speaks, knowing how she feels. "I understand, and believe me, I respect you immensly for keeping Hermione's safety your first priority. Harry's only my godson, and yet I feel the same way."
Henry moves off to the kitchen, and Hermione moves closer to them. "Mum!" she begins, exasperated, but cuts herself off, settling for just huffing as she moves to one of the arm chairs a bit away from Sirius and her mother and flops into it.
"I just.. I read that newspaper and.. Hermione didn't get her smarts from nowhere, you know." Margaret gives a bit of a smug grin. "It looks to me like my daughter is a.. a target of some sort."
Sirius inwardly winces, knowing this would come up. "Your daughter is an extremely bright, extremely promising young lady. With the Wizarding World being decidedly smaller than the Mug - pardon me, than the world you're used to, it's more heard of for one to take notice of exceptional students. And I won't deny that being a close friend of Harry will keep your name in circulation. However, Hermione is still a student, and is kept careful watch over at all times, whether she's aware of it or not. Which I'm sure she is," he adds, shooting a smile in Hermione's direction. "I can assure you that she has highly trained, very responsible adults keeping a close eye on her at all times, whether she be in the shop, in the Alley, or at school."
Hermione feels herself blush at the compliments. She's heard them before, but it's a bit different in this situation, and she returns a genuine smile. At the same time, she knows she's tried the same arguments with her mother and can only hope they mean more coming from one of the said responsible adults.
Margaret is still skeptical, but you do sound convinced of Hermione's safety. She swallows and realizes her mouth is a bit dry. "Highly trained in what, exactly? Hermione brought all these things up. It's not that I don't believe the two of you. I just don't see how being out there is any safer than here." It doesn't help that she's never seen this school, never met most of these folks Hermione talked about. "I do hate to be rude, Mister Black but really, you'll have to explain."
Sirius is silent for a moment, thinking of the best way to convince Hermione's parents, without saying anything he's not supposed to. "Everyone looking out for your daughter is a full trained wizard or witch, to begin with. Also, a good number of us are trained aurors." Remembering that word means nothing to muggles, he explains. "An auror is a type of law enforcement officer, similar to a degree to a muggle policeman. They are highly trained in defense, and qualified to take charge, should something ever happen. They're the best of the best."
Hermione sighs, a bit more relieved at the direction this conversation is going and that Sirius seems to be gaining more ground than she had.
Margaret looks from Hermione to Sirius. She can't really think of much of an argument against that. Except.. "Hermione says she can't actually do.. magic.. yet. That she's underage. What about that? What if something happened, and she was all alone..?" If Sirius' answer met her expectations she might just give. But that was her biggest worry. Sending her baby away was hard enough without extra reassurance.
"The laws on underage magic are meant to keep students from fiddling around too much on their own, while not under the supervision of a fully qualified adult. If you let them, I'm certain that most of them would attempt spells, and would end up blowing something or other up." Sirius smiles a little at that before continuing. "However, were Hermione to ever find herself in a situation where she was alone and in danger - as distant as that may be - she would be able to use magic to save her life. It would alert the Ministry, and someone would be in contact immediately, but she would be granted a pardon if it were within reason. And I know that Hermione would only use magic if the situation were dire."
Hermione sits up straighter in her chair, very glad now that she decided to ask Sirius to come talk to her parents, even if her father does seem to have gotten lost on the way to the sink.
Margaret leans forward on the couch and massages her temples, her eyes squeezing shut. Okay. If she could handle giving root canals, she could handle this barrage of information. She could handle an obviously sane adult killing all of her arguments in a few minutes' time. "About this.. job of hers." She sneaks a glance at Hermione - who looks immensely relieved - and finally looks up at Sirius.
"Hermione works for me and my- " he pauses only slightly unsure of their feelings towards gay men and their werewolf husbands and not wanting to ruin things after all, "partner, Remus. We own Flourish and Blotts, which is the UK's largest bookstore. In terms of the Wizarding World, of course. It's a very reputable business, and we have several trusted employees that are always around, and always keep an eye on each other. Usually Remus and I are both in the shop, and if not, one will watch over while the other leaves."
Henry finally returns from the kitchen with Sirius's glass of water. "There you go," he says, handing the glass to Sirius and taking a seat on the couch by Margaret.
Margaret raises a brow when Sirius pauses but says nothing. No use prying, really, not when you're assuring her that there'd be someone around to protect her daughter. She bites her lower lip in thought once you finish. "Well that's--" she cuts herself off when Henry comes in with Sirius' glass of water. Perfect timing, of course. When he sits next to her she takes up his hand and gives a squeeze. "So long as she's well protected, then." She nods and looks at her husband, then back to Sirius. She points her finger at him and adopts a stern face. "But if anything happens, I reserve all right to brain you one."
Sirius murmurs his thanks for the water, and can't help but grin a moment later at Margaret's reply. "No worries, if anything happens, I'll be waiting with my neck on the chopping block. Of course Hermione will be fine, so we can all breathe out that respective sigh of relief. I assure you, that your daughter is in the best of hands. And trust me when I say I am being completely and utterly honest with you."
Hermione smiles at her mother's threat, making a note to hug both her parents after this. She knows they've just been looking out for her, but she just felt her mum was being unreasonable. Henry squeezes Margaret's hand back and puts an arm around her shoulders.
"If I hear one more word about being frigid after this..." She shakes her head and smiles authentically. "Thank you for coming. Hermione said the same things to me, but really, hearing it from a sprog just wasn't enough." Margaret's face flushes and she squeezes Henry's hand one last time before standing. "I've got dinner to cook, Mister Black. . but if you'd like to say that's fine."
"Thank you, but I should go," Sirius replies, giving Margaret a charming smile. "Promised Harry I'd spend some time with him. But thank you, for letting me come into your home. I'm glad you're as open minded as Hermione is."
"We appreciate you taking the time to come talk to us, as well," Henry adds, getting to his feet as well.