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“I don’t understand.”

Hamisch Lynch sighed as he rubbed his temples in exasperation. “Miss Granger, I know for a fact that the you’ve more than earned the distinction of being the brightest witch of your age. Merlin, you’re probably the brightest witch in the last hundred years at least. This isn’t a complicated concept.”

“I’ll thank you to refrain from badgering my student, Mr. Lynch.” Minerva McGonagall narrowed her eyes in a glare, smirking inwardly as her former pupil gulped nervously. “Furthermore, I would like to know why it’s taken so long for this information to come to light.”

“Well, it’s a long story-”

“I-I don’t-I don’t understand.”

Minerva’s eyes cut to Hermione, her heart nearly breaking at the lost expression on the young woman’s face.

“Mr. Lynch, if you please. Give us the short version.”

Hamisch swallowed convulsively again as he shuffled through the leather case in his lap. “As you probably know, I was recently made aware of some…misdeeds my former colleague engaged in.”

“You mean your boss was a Death Eater, yes we know.”

The lawyer scowled at Hermione’s harsh words. “Yes. Unfortunate business. However, I was made aware of a vault on the lower levels of Gringotts where he had stored certain sensitive  information at the request of You-Know-Who and his fellow Death Eaters. It’s taken some time to go through it all.”

Hermione’s hand trembled as he held a thick sheaf of parchment out to her.

“Am I to understand that you were not aware of the circumstances surrounding your birth?”

The young woman’s eyes narrowed as she glanced up at the paunchy older man. “I was aware that I am adopted, though I was never told anything more. One of the social workers from the agency told me once that there had been a box of things meant for when I came of age, but there was a fire at the storage facility they used and it was destroyed.”

“Ah, yes. That would have been the work of your mother’s husband.”

“My…my mother’s…husband?”

“Yes, nasty business, that. One of You-Know-Who’s most loyal Death Eaters and a close personal friend of my former employer.”

Hermione blanched, her face paling rapidly and he posture slumping quick enough that Minerva jumped to her feet and rounded her desk in a near panic. “My father was a Death Eater?!?!”

“No. Your mother’s husband was a Death Eater. Your father-well…”

“Is there anything more you can tell us, Mr. Lynch? Or are cryptic half truths all you can offer?” Minerva’s hand never stopped its circuit around Hermione’s upper back as she tried to impart a sense of calm to her apprentice.

“I have this-” The man reached into his bag and drew out a beautifully carved wood box. He held it out to Hermione, though she merely stared blankly at it. Minerva took pity on the lawyer and took it from him with a sigh. “She merely needs to use a drop of her blood in the lock and it will open. I apologize for any hardship I’ve brought to you.”

With a quick nod of his head, the man nearly ran from the Headmistress’s office and Minerva breathed a sigh of relief.

“Hermione, dear? I know this is probably a pointless inquiry, but are you alright?”

A moment of silence passed before the young girl turned her eyes toward her mentor. Tears glistened in the chocolate brown depths and her bottom lip trembled pitifully.

“No, I’m really very much not alright. I have no idea who my mother was and I have no idea who my father was and…I just-who am I now?”

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