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The Rites

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As the golden cup's flames grew bigger, Hermione’s heart beat faster and she pleaded with it internally not to produce her name. She barely had enough time to study, sleep and keep Harry and Ron in line without this Rite interfering.

Of course, once she heard about how the castle's wards were strengthened with Sex Magik last year, she had researched and researched why that form of magic was woven into the protection wards. There was a reason Hogwarts was considered one of the safest places in the UK, and Hermione assumed it was an unspoken secret of its alumni that this was how it was achieved.

The Rites involved a witch being chosen from sixth year in each Hogwarts House. They would have to be willing and would need to consent to take anyone's virginity from the sixth and seventh year in their house and then engage in Sex Magik for their final two years at Hogwarts to constantly feed the power of the wards. No one was forced into the ritual- it was on a volunteer basis. But Hermione took issue with the consent from the girl who would be chosen as the Rite Initiate. What if she accepted and signed the contract but then didn't want to "perform" with an individual? What if she changed her mind after signing the contract? What if she got sick and couldn't continue for a long period of time?

Dumbledore had admitted Hermione to his office on a cold day in February when she worried herself sick over what would happen the following September. He let her look over the “Hogwarts Rites Contract” and patiently answered all her questions. Hermione decided to protest the following day when she was still not comfortable with the Rites happening in a place of learning, and how teenagers were expected to take part while the adults turned a blind eye. It felt very seedy and left a bitter taste in her mouth.

Hermione hoped no one would just try and placate her with “it’s just how it’s done in the wizarding world, you wouldn’t understand” spiel.

After an uncomfortable night sat on the cold ground outside Dumbledore’s Office, with the gargoyle rolling it’s stone eyes at her, Dumbledore emerged early the next morning with a decaying, one-of-a-kind book on the Founders which Hermione took with reverence.

“I’m sure I an entrust this book with you for a little while Miss Granger?”

At Hermione’s eager nod he continued, “That will answer your next questions and hopefully put your mind at ease. No one is being hurt, no one is forced and it is all for the Greater Good my dear.”

Hermione devoured the book, after casting a translating spell, and was fascinated with the tales from each of the Founders. She found an affinity with Helga Hufflepuff when she too wrote how she protested the Rites when the Founders researched how to protect their school from dark forces. However, it was Rowena Ravenclaw which wrote a very straight-forward explanation of why Sex Magik had to be used by the students studying in the school to help with the wards. In essence, the magic produced at the point of climax was so concentrated that they discovered that with placing certain runes into the foundations of Hogwarts, they could harness that energy and magic. The reason it couldn't be completed by the Headmaster or teachers within the school was based on youth. When a witch or wizard reached the age of 16, their magic fluctuates and then will regulate at the age of 17 when they reach their adult power.

The Rites only included students of the age 16 or above, with almost all turning 17 soon after taking part. Hermione was aware the legal age in the UK for consent is 16 years old, and even though it was 17 in the Wizarding World, the Rites needed to include students who were in the fluctuating stage at age 16, as the power boost could be phenomenal. Rowena did state that the Rite Initiate who would control and lead the Sex Magik had to be 17, as their magic had to be stable enough to channel the magic into the wards. It was also stated that the Initiate would have to be incredibly powerful and have a magical core that ran strong and deep. It was also Rowena that discovered that a witch would have to be the initiate. Hermione was relieved that it wasn’t born from a sexist agenda that it was a “woman’s place” to take this role or anything of the sort, but the fact that with the wards used, the magic favoured females to harness the energy.

Hermione had come to terms with everything over the summer, but now sat in the Great Hall, she felt a seed of anxiety now it was actually happening.

The last Initiate for Gryffindor had graduated, which was why Hermione was in Hogwarts a weekend early with the rest of the girls in her year. The other houses had another year before they re-elected, and Hermione cursed the fact if she had been in any other house then her year would not have had to take part.

With a collective intake of breath, the Gryffindor sixth year girls watched as Dumbledore plucked a piece of parchment from the cup. The girl's name on that paper was chained to the stipulations of the "Hogwarts Rite". However, it didn't stop the rest of sixth and seventh years finally being free to act on their repressed sexual desires with each other once they returned to Hogwarts. A clever bit of magic on the castle had repressed the sexual desires of those younger than sixth year, and also made everyone in the castle infertile until they graduated. Hermione dreaded the returned hormones that would assault everyone tomorrow morning and how it would change everyone in her year.

Realistically she wasn't squeamish over the subject of sex, or even that bothered about losing her virginity- she was however furious that if she was picked she would have to give up her time for the needs of her house. Whoever was picked could decline and the cup would choose again until someone agreed, but at least one person had to agree for the safety of the school. Obviously, there were already rules put in place about how they were requested by someone, favouritism, and sexual violence. She had read it all most thoroughly in the contract, but a selfish part of her just wanted anyone else but her to be picked.

Biting her fingernails and jostling her knee slightly on the bench, Hermione reflected how they addressed those that were not attracted to a female. She found their use of a mixture between polyjuice and spell very clever. If anyone wanted the Initiate to be male, the potion and spell would transform them into the male version of their self. Ingenious, but also a little awkward having a penis for the first time, she mused.

Hermione shook her head. No need to think about that unless she was picked. Because the odds were technically in her favour. She had 1:20 chance of it being her, and even though she seemed to attract the worst situations, she always got out of them. So she hoped her luck would not run out now. Plus she could always say no.

Turning back to Dumbledore she noticed him read the name on the paper and looked to address the anxious girls in front of him.

"Gryffindor's Initiate will be… Hermione Granger."

Everyone turned to look at her, as she sat frozen with a face of horror. And in a total un-Hermione-like reaction she viciously spat;

"Fuck".

Chapter Text

"Girls you can return to your common room now," Dumbledore announced.

Not making eye contact with anyone, Hermione stayed ridged on the bench as they trickled out.

"Miss Granger, would you come to my office please?" Dumbledore asked with kind eyes.

Hermione took a fortifying deep breath and rose to follow him out.

“Gumdrops,” he said to the gargoyle and proceeded up the stairs with Hermione trailing miserably behind him.

“Lemon drop?” He asked taking a seat behind his desk.

Hermione shook her head as she slumped into a chair opposite.

"I know this a lot to ask you Miss Granger, but let me assure you that this role will not impact on your studies or other duties as a Prefect if you choose to accept," he tried to reassure her.

"As you are aware, we get all participants to sign the Contract to ensure there will be no harm to you and so they can not speak of what happens during the Rites performed with you. Your identity is also hidden to those not in 6th and 7th year Gryffindor by a simple spell preventing those stated to become tongue-tied if they try to reveal you. You may wish to tell others yourself, as it does not keep you silent, but no one else can reveal you."


Nodding solemnly, she looked to Dumbledore to continue.


"Gryffindor's Initiate's room is connected to Gryffindor common room through a door to the left of the entrance. Your trunk will be moved there if you decide to accept so you can settle in. I just need to remind you that the Rites don't start until your 17th birthday on the 19th of September. Your health and safety are paramount to the school, and please come to me with any questions or concerns at any time."


Mind still reeling, Hermione could only nod.

“If you accept, I just need you to sign the Contract and then you can go back to your common room,” Dumbledore softly said and then withdrew a thick piece of parchment from his desk and held it out to her.

Hermione reached forward and grabbed the contract that was written out in beautiful calligraphy. Most of it she already knew, but she read it all again anyway.


Did she really want to do this? If she declined, the 6th year Gryffindor girls would have to reconvene in the Great Hall for the cup to pick again. It had to be completed today, as it was the only day of the year that the cup was active.


Hermione couldn’t find any other information about the Rites, apart from the Founders book, and she craved knowledge. A reason to accept was that she would discover all the secrets and gain knowledge. On the other hand, was the pursuit of knowledge worth this?


Hermione absent-mindedly accepted a heavy golden quill from Dumbledore and felt a pulse of magic tickle her hand.


A wave of soothing magic engulfed her as she signed her name. As the Rite accepted her, a small golden G appeared on her wrist.


Jumping in shock, Dumbledore answered her silent question; "It will disappear after graduation. The temporary tattoo acts as a panic button. If you don't feel safe for whatever reason during the Rites, it will alert me and the Professors immediately so we can locate you and come to your aid", he explained.


Trying to slow her racing heart, Hermione nodded and stood to make her way slowly to Gryffindor Tower, trying to come to terms with her decision.

 


 

Hermione entered the Gryffindor common room and a hush came over the room.

“To start the new school year before all the little snots return on Monday, I say we drink until we can’t stand-” Fred started.


“and dance until we break a foot!” George finished.


The room cheered and everyone started to move to their dorms to get changed and grab whatever alcohol they had sneaked in for the term.


All 6th years, and some 7th years, returned a weekend before the school year to acclimatise to the hormones that would flood their system in the morning when the magic lifted the sexual repression. The 7th year was free of the repression already, but Dumbledore allowed them to return early if they wished to support those taking part in The Rites for the first time.

Maybe a drink is what I need to take my mind off my new ‘responsibility’, Hermione thought and internally sighed.
She walked to a newly formed door in the corner, which would now be her room. It opened at her touch on the brass door handle- no one else could enter without her permission other than the Hogwarts professors and Dumbledore. No password, riddles or secret action required; she just had to announce to the room out-loud if she wanted someone to enter.

A large four-poster double bed stood to her right, furnished with white and purple cushions, and her patchwork home-made blanket hung off the end. The bed faced a large bay window, and it's diamond panelling cast beautiful shapes over the bed with the light from the burnt orange sunset. A door next to the window seemed to open on to a small balcony, but Hermione decided to explore that later. Directly across from the entrance was a desk, a large bookcase that stood empty, a set of drawers and a wardrobe. All the furniture was made of varnished oak and the corners of the wood were beautifully carved in swirl-like patterns. Not lingering on her room, Hermione made her way to investigate the door to the left of the entrance.

Inside was an extremely large white porcelain bathtub with ornate golden taps, a separate walk-in shower cubicle, and next to the toilet was a large marble counter which housed a white stone sink and a cupboard underneath. A mirror took up nearly an entire wall above the marble counter, and Hermione admired the soft lighting that came from behind the mirror’s edge.


Hermione was never a fan of harsh white lighting in bathrooms, as it wasn’t kind to her pores. The bathroom really was lovely, but the harsh reality of what had just happened crashed down on her.

Hermione splashed her face and leaned on the sink, gripping the edges tightly until her knuckles turned white. Hermione willed herself not to over-react. She could still be the Head Girl next year, she could still study and get the highest grades of her year. She just had to perform Sex Magik now and again. Grimacing, she turned away from her reflection.

Hermione shuffled back to the bedroom and fished through her trunk for a change of clothes. She decided on some faded ripped black jeans, a chequered shirt in red and black and a lacy black bralette to throw on underneath. Quickly changing she inspected herself in front of the floor length mirror next to her bed. Her breasts were on the small size, but perky, and she could get away with not wearing a bra if she was brave enough. Hermione moved her hands to her waist. She had a slight hour-glass shape due to her hips being wider than her waist, but it wasn’t obvious unless she dressed in certain clothes. Her bum was rounded, but not as full as she would have liked. Her stomach was flat, but she worried she still looked boyish without any pronounced curves that she saw in her female classmates. Her mother told her that she was a late bloomer and not to worry, she would probably mature at 21 as her mother had.
Sighing, Hermione decided to add a little eyeliner and mascara to her eyes. Having at least being blessed with clear skin, she didn’t feel the need to use foundation or any other products. Sometimes she would think she should make more of an effort with her make-up, like Lavender, but tonight was not the time for that. Tonight was about getting drunk enough she forgot about tomorrow.

Maybe it was self-destructive, maybe it was just stupid, but she was tired of being labelled as the up-tight Gryffindor who turned her nose up at any fun and avoided social interaction outside of Harry and Ron. Tonight she needed a break from herself and her mind.

Hermione opened the door to the common room to see the party in full swing already. Making her way over to the coffee table pushed in the corner, she grabbed an unopened bottle of fire whiskey and cracked it open. She took a swig and was still coughing when Harry made his way to her.

“Hey Hermione, we were all told before you came back to the common room. I’m sorry. Please let me know if you need me for anything,” he said earnestly while eyeing the bottle in her hand.

Her mind immediately went to how Harry could ‘help’, and her face grew hot with anger.

"I don't need your help, Harry," she answered marching off to the other side of the room where Lavender and Parvati were giggling over something. She knew he meant well, but she didn’t want anyone’s pity.

Parvati looked up as she neared and gave her an excited smile, “Hermione! Are you excited? The repression lifts in the morning, although I can’t do anything as I’m volunteering in the Rites. Oh sorry- I bet you don’t want to talk about it. Sorry, erm do you want to dance?”

"Yeah sure," Hermione shrugged and downed some more firewiskey from her bottle and tried to push the thought that Parvati would be someone she would be ‘performing' the magic with. She really didn't want to dwell on the fact some of the people around her now, she would have sex with. They would see her naked, they might kiss and at some point, they would climax and - No. She would not think about it now. Not tonight. She could feel the burn of alcohol in her throat and the alcohol was already relaxing her tense muscles and making her numb.


She followed Parvati and Lavender to the center of the common room where a large number of people were already dancing. Among the Gryffindors, she felt the bass of the music and rocked her head side to side as she leaned side to side. She was probably swaying stupidly, but she couldn't bring herself to care. She looked towards Lavender and Parvati and started to copy some of their dance moves.


Parvati slowly shimmed to the left and right, and as the beat got quicker she dragged Hermione directly in front of her and pushed her hips into hers with the music.

“Just go with the music,” she half shouted in Hermione’s ear.

Closing her eyes, the alcohol had begun to hit her and Hermione raised her hands over her head and slowly brought them down her sides.

Parvati's grin was large and she nodded along with the beat at Hermione. The song changed into something else and Hermione moved with a bit faster. To their right, a seventh year boy with auburn hair stood behind Lavender and put his hands on her hips to dance. He flashed Hermione a grin and lowered his head to Lavender's neck. She half-turned and captured his mouth in a searing kiss. Hermione felt like a voyageur so turned back to face Parvati who was now swaying her hips from left to right with the beat.


Parvati noticed Hermione's attention on her, grabbed her arms to put them around her neck. Together they dipped and moved together in synch while laughing. There was only the music and Hermione felt the calmest she had felt in weeks, if not months.

“I’m going to grab some more drinks,” Parvati slurred in Hermione’s ear.

After waiting for five minutes Hermione made her way through the crowd and spotted Parvati draped over another girl giggling in her ear. Hermione smiled in the direction of the dark-haired girl. For all she clashed with Lavender, Parvati was actually really nice and never made nasty remarks or joined in with Lavender's bullying.

Hermione finally made it to the outside balcony where she found a group of boys laughing surrounded by a plume of smoke.

“Can I have one?” Hermione asked walking up to them.

They turned around quickly with their hands behind their backs. Fred and George stood with Lee Jordan and three other 7th years she didn’t know the names of.

“False alarm boys, it’s only Hermione and she won’t stitch us up-” George spoke.


“-as she loves us too much to get us into trouble,” Fred finished, relaxing his shoulders.


Hermione rolled her eyes and asked again, “so can I have one?”


George laughed, “Sure princess, but have you ever smoked before?”

“Erm, no. But it’s just tobacco right?” Hermione asked crossing her arms and raising one eyebrow.

The boys laughed as Fred replied, "Yeah this time it is."


Hermione nodded and accepted a cigarette and leaned forward for one of the boys to light it with the tip of his wand.

"Not like I don't like this side of you Hermione, but you might want to take it easy on the alcohol and smoking," George said tilting his head to the side and giving her a small smile.

“Okay Dad,” she replied rolling her eyes and taking a drag on the cigarette.


She immediately started coughing when she inhaled. After a few more tries, she managed to take the smoke back without chocking and was hit with a wave of relaxation. It hit her faster than the alcohol had, and she slumped against the stone wall, slowly sliding to the ground and stretching her legs out.

Fred looked at her with a fond smile and dropped down to sit next to her, blowing his smoke away from her. George sat on her opposite side, while the other boys sat down in a rough circle around her. Hermione leaned her head back against the stone wall and blew her smoke up, as she stared at the starry night.

"It gets easier you know," George said to her.

Not sure if he was talking about smoking or The Rites, Hermione stayed silent. She could feel the bass of the music from inside vibrate on the stones behind her.

"Felicity, who was the last Initiate, took it hard, but she found a compromise of sorts and took it her stride eventually”, Fred continued.

Not wanting the conversation to sober her up, she grabbed Fred’s glass of firewhiskey and swallowed it in one gulp.
“Rude,” he muttered with a smile.

"Yeah I'm sure tomorrow it will all hit me like a tonne of bricks, but tonight I want to enjoy myself," Hermione replied looking intently at the twins.

"Well, you've come to the right people!" Fred grinned.


"Want another one?" George gestured to the cigarette which had burned down to a stub as they were talking.

"Yeah and then we'll dance."

George handed her another cigarette and lit it.

“Time for introductions! You already know me and Fred, the most devilishly handsome men of Gryffindor”, he added a wink and continued, “and Lee Jordan. This here is Sam, that’s Greyson and that’s Evan,” he said pointing to each one of them in turn around the circle as they gave nods of hello one by one.

"We'll look after you if you think you've had too much. Find any of us and we'll get you in bed safely and with a hangover potion," Fred continued and laughed as she rolled her eyes again.

She finished her cigarette and flicked it over the balcony.

“That’s a solid 10 points,” Fred said with a happy grin.

“What?” Hermione asked puzzled.

"You're one of us now so we have a point system for cool things. You get the most points for successful pranks though. Naturally, I and George have the most points, but don't let that stop you trying to beat us. We all know of your competitive streak," Fred answered with a wink.

Fred stood and held out his hand to pull her up and then proceeded to push her back into the common room. A song began that clearly, the boys recognised as they started jumping around and on top of each other. She laughed at their antics and she too jumped and stomped to the beat. She felt a warmth of camaraderie with these boys. Different to what she had with Ron and Harry- a more playful friendliness.


Fred was shouting the lyrics in George's face, as the boy called Greyson pulled Evan into a headlock laughing. Sam who was by far the tallest with dark brown hair and brown eyes, eyed her and made a come-hither gesture with his finger. Laughing, Hermione went to him and he grabbed her and hauled her up to his shoulders. Cheers went round from the common room and Hermione covered her face with her hands, forgetting she wasn't holding on. She tipped to the side as Fred's arms came out to catch her.

“See we’ll look after you,” he shouted putting her down on her feet.

Shaking her head and laughing, Hermione started dancing again. She was definitely drunk now. Coming back into the warmth of the common room, she felt loose and her inhibitions had all but vanished. She took off her shirt, leaving her in just her bralette, and secured it around her waist as she bounced around with her arms in the air.

Her eyes closed as she raised her shoulders up and down and stomped her black boots down to the music. She felt hands on her hips from a body behind her, but she didn't open her eyes. Deciding to just go with it, she initiated more contact by moving back into the body. The person brushed her tumbling curls to the side and rested their head on her shoulder as they rocked behind her. Hermione could smell fire whiskey and sandalwood and could see blonde hair from her periphery when she opened her eyes.


George gave her a thumbs up as he continued jumping around with Fred. Knowing whoever it was George trusted, made Hermione relax against the body behind her and carried on rocking side to side.

In the corner of the room, she could see Harry trying to calm a red-faced Ron from storming over to intervene.


She placed her hands over his on her hips and grabbed his arms to wrap them around her. She felt warm calloused knuckles, probably from playing Quidditch. Encased in his arms with his head nestled in the crook of her neck, she decided to see who it was. Not wanting it to get any further or to find out it was McLaggen, she moved forwards and twisted round to face him.

Greyson stood in front of her with a boyish grin. She grinned back and put her arms around his neck.

His sandy blonde hair was shaggy and grew long to the nape of his neck, and his gorgeous ocean blue eyes twinkled at her. He was broad, tall, and wore a plain black fitted t-shirt and dark blue wash jeans. It was too dark to see much else, but having met him outside earlier, she knew he was classically good-looking with a chiselled jaw, high cheekbones, and strong nose. He looked like one of the surfers she had spotted at Cornwall one year on a family holiday. However, she didn't know if he was only showing interest because she was the ‘chosen one', and that doubt started to eat away at the back of her mind.

“Do you want to get some air?” he asked.


Hermione nodded and Greyson held her hand to weave them through the crowd back to the balcony.


The cold wind hit her and she put her shirt back on and wrapped her arms around herself and leaned over the balcony turrets. Greyson leaned on them to face her.


“I know the timing is shit, but do you want to go to Hogsmeade with me next month? Like on a date?” he asked rubbing the back of his neck.

“Erm- I don’t think that’s a good idea. Now I've been chosen for the Rites, it’s kind of- awkward to date or anything like that”, Hermione frowned.

“I understand. Let me know if you need help with any of the lads. They shouldn’t cause you any trouble, but you never know. I’ll ruff them up a bit if they start annoying you,” he replied with a boyish grin, though it didn’t reach his eyes.

Hermione smiled softly, “thanks, I might take you up on that. I’m going to head to bed now, can you let anyone know that asks that I’m tired so I need to sleep?”

"Yeah of course," he answered with a warm smile.

Hermione exited the balcony and slipped into her room without anyone noticing. She flopped on her bed and toed off her boots. Not even bothering to undress, she grabbed her blanket and closed her eyes. The room was silent, but it didn’t help the ringing in her ears. Her mind was thankfully blank as she drifted off into a deep sleep.

Tomorrow she would deal with it all.



Chapter Text

 

Draco and the rest of the Slytherin sixth and seventh-year boys sat in their common room, awaiting Snape and the girls. Every year Snape would take the sixth and seventh year girls aside to have a "talk", although the boys didn't know what was said, the boys' "talk" was on the lines of- Don't let anything interfere with your studies, be discreet, always have full consent and never engage after using drugs, alcohol or potions.

Draco sat with Theo Nott, Blaise Zabini and a few seventh year boys around a warm fire, eagerly awaiting the night to begin. This year meant he could finally lose his virginity to the Slytherin's Rite Initiate. His father had enforced that losing his virginity in the Hogwarts Rites was a traditional rite of passage for all Slytherins. His own mother had been her years' Initiate, and it was seen as a great honour to be picked by the cup. It showed the girl had a deep connection to her magic, had control and her magic was powerful. His father reminded him frequently that the cup only chose the best.

Draco thought of the girl he would be losing his virginity to tomorrow night. Of course, he got to schedule with her first, his father had been in talks with her father and had successfully bribed him for Draco to jump ahead of the queue. After the Rite was completed, he was free to bed any witch he wanted as his repressed libido was finally released. Already he could sense the change in the boys surrounding him. The magic wouldn’t lift fully until tomorrow morning, and he was already panting with the hormones racing through his body.


“How long is this going to take?” Montague groused from a chair opposite him.


“I know mate, the sooner they get back, the sooner I can whisk Fiona off to my dorm”, Flint replied with a leer.


"Malfoy you've got first dibs with Rosalie yeah?", Pucey asked with a wink.


"Yeah I've got her tomorrow night", Draco replied with a smirk.


"Shame you have to wait until then. The rest of us seventh years have already done the Rites so it's just regular shagging for us now the repression has lifted. Why the fuck Dumbledore has the repression on during the summer holiday's I'll never understand", Flint sneered.


“It’s probably so you don’t knock anyone up before you graduate you idiot”, Marcus smirked back.


Before Flint could reply, the door banged open and Snape entered with the Slytherin girls. Draco tried to catch sight of Rosalie Fawley, but couldn't see her. Draco had watched her covertly last year after his father found out the identity of the Rites Initiate ahead of time. Rosalie had told her father it was her, and at his instruction, she told Lucius and Draco in person over the summer so the secrecy spell worked. She had long legs, tanned golden skin, golden blonde hair, blue eyes, and big plump breasts; he couldn't complain about losing his virginity to her at all.


“I need your full attention”, Snape’s voiced boomed as the girls took seats.


“Unfortunately Miss Fawley will not be returning to Hogwarts for the foreseeable future. Those who wish to take part in the Rites are to come with me and find out what this change means”.


Draco, Nott, Zabini, Crabbe, Goyle, Urquhart, Vaisey, and Higgs rose from the sixth year boys, and Pansy, Daphne, Millicent, and Tracey rose from the sixth year girls. They followed Snape into his office and took seats in the comfortable leather wing-back chairs surrounding the front of his desk. Snape settled into his chair and steepled his hands in front of him looking at the group.


"I have spoken to the Headmaster and, as you are all aware, the cup can only be used once a year so we are not able to pick another Initiate until next year as the news regarding Miss Fawley came too late for us to activate the cup again today. As the Rites include a legally binding contract, we can not allow anyone who is not picked by the cup to take the role. So unfortunately for this year, our Initiate will either be either Hufflepuff's, Ravenclaw's or Merlin forbid, Gryffindor's-"

At this, the group of students started to shout over each other.


“Enough!” Snape bellowed.


“The Headmaster will talk to the three initiates from the other houses in the morning, and we will find out which one of them is stepping in for us. They will be very busy this year, as they will still have to act for their house as well. You are free to not take part in the Rites this year and wait for next year, but remember the repressing magic will be lifted in the morning and you will need to stay virginal this school year to take part next year.”


Snape eyed them all one by one to emphasise this.


"Also if you all decide to not take part, Slytherin will be vulnerable for a whole year. The magic from our House in the Rites protects us, and without it, the lower levels of the castle are weaker. Of course, we are not expecting any attacks, but we can not afford to be lax on matters like this. The more of you that take part, the stronger we will be. Bear this in mind when you find out tomorrow who our new Initiate will be. That is all. You may leave and enjoy your evening."


Draco and his year mates rose and exited in quiet contemplation. It was kept confidential who the other houses' initiates were- only the House themselves knew who their Initiates were. The Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff Initiate would be seventh-years, but the Gryffindor girl would be a sixth year. Draco ran through the girls he could remember in his year in Gryffindor. He wouldn't mind if it was that Patil girl- though the thought of sleeping with any Gryffindors sent a shudder through his body.

The party was in full swing when they stepped back into the common room. The temptation was there to not take part and just have sex now, but he knew he could never defy his father without serious repercussions. Draco swiped a bottle of firewhiskey for himself and sat in the corner sipping from the bottle. Theo, Blaise, and Higgs shortly joined him with their own drinks, while Urquhart and Vaisey had disappeared to their dorms. Crabbe and Goyle were trying, and failing, to chat-up a brunette seventh-year girl.

Draco looked around and could hear people discussing why Rosalie was not coming back to Hogwarts. The suspicions included; she had got pregnant in the summer holidays or she had run away or the most bizarre, she was a secretly an undercover Unspeakable and had to be stationed elsewhere. Draco shook his head and rose with a nod goodbye to Blaise and Theo. Tomorrow he would find out the identity of the Initiate and proceed from there. Whoever it was didn't matter- he had to take part, or face his father’s wrath. Draco fell asleep with a deep sigh.


Tomorrow he would deal with it all.


 

Hermione woke up still fully clothed, with a parched throat. At some point in the night, she had kicked all her covers to the ground and had awoken upside down on the bed.

"Urghhh", Hermione groaned, grabbing a hangover potion from her bedside drawers, she had strategically placed there last night after Fred's advice. The fuzziness in her head dissipated and she realised the banging wasn't from her headache at all but from someone knocking on her door.

“Just a minute!” Hermione shouted.


She quickly jumped up and stumbled, before throwing the door open.

"Good morning Miss Granger, the Headmaster wishes to speak to you", Professor McGonagall greeted, glancing around the disorder of her room with an eyebrow raised.


"Oh, of course, I'll just go quickly change before I go to his office", Hermione rushed out flustered.


“No rush Miss Granger, just make your way there when you are presentable,” McGonagall said with a pointed look before leaving.


Hermione shut the door and raced to the bathroom and nearly shrieked at her reflection. Her mascara and eyeliner had smudged down her face, and she had a red mark on her cheek from laying on her wand all night. Hermione ran the water in the shower and stripped off her clothes. The boiling water helped to relax her muscles, and she ran through her shower routine in record time. Hermione brushed her teeth, tried to run a brush through her hair, threw on some leggings and an over-sized cream jumper and her favourite black boots and ran out the room, wand in hand.

 

She reached the Headmaster's office and gave the gargoyle the password and made her way up the stone steps, trying to catch her breath. Sat behind his enormous desk was Professor Dumbledore and seated in front of him was two girls. Behind Professor Dumbledore stood Professor Flitwick, Professor Sprout, Professor Snape, and Professor McGonagall. Snape sneered at her as she took a seat next to the two other girls, as it was clear they were all waiting for her arrival.

 

“Welcome Miss Granger. I have asked you three here this morning to explain a problem we have found ourselves in”, Professor Dumbledore said softly.


Snape snorted, but Dumbledore carried on.


"As you know the Hogwarts Rites are strictly confidential, but we are having to manoeuvre the confidentiality clause for the moment to ask for your help", he said looking at the three girls intently.


“You three are your Houses’ Initiates and unfortunately Slytherin’s Initiate is unable to return for her final year at Hogwarts, which means one of you will need to step into her role for Slytherin as well as carrying out your duties in your own House for the school year,” Dumbledore paused and gauged their reactions.


Hermione turned to see one of the girls looking like she might faint with horror evident on her face. The other girl was frowning before her face morphed into anger. Hermione left her face blank as she quickly thought through what they were asking of them.

“Sir, couldn’t you just pull a different Slytherin girls’ name from the cup?” Hermione asked calmly.


"Unfortunately Miss Granger, the goblet's magic is no longer available and we can't enter anyone else as the Slytherin's Initiate without its judgement", Dumbledore replied solemnly. "As you three are already deemed ready and worthy of your role and signed the contract, it is up to yourselves to decide who will be this years' Initiate for Slytherin as well."


Hermione turned back to the other girls and nearly recoiled at the frosty glare from the dark-haired girl to her left.

“I am not volunteering. I don’t have the time with my NEWTS coming up this year”, the girl spat to everyone in the room.


“Hermione, I know you don’t get along with the Slytherin House so I will do it”, the other girl spoke quietly with a wobbly smile.


Hermione remembered was called Dianne and was one of the kindest girls in Hufflepuff, who went out of her way to help anyone from any house.


However, one look at the brave Hufflepuff made up Hermione's mind. She couldn't let her take the burden when she clearly didn't want to do it.


“No Dianne, you have your NEWTS coming up too. I will do it,” Hermione said with a resolute nod. No doubt a lot of the Slytherins would drop out the Rites completely when they found out it was her.


Dianne quickly jumped up and rushed to Hermione to throw her arms around her.


"Thank you, Hermione," she whispered into her shoulder.

“Miss Granger are you sure?” Dumbledore asked leaning forward.


Hermione disentangled herself from the teary Hufflepuff and raised her chin and replied; “Yes Sir, for the safety of the school I will do it.”


"Very well. The secrecy spell will activate once you leave this office so you won't be able to reveal each other's identities. Miss Cole, Miss Deverill you may go", Dumbledore said to the other two girls.
Dianne gave Hermione one more thankful smile and left with the other girl.


“Miss Granger I just need you to sign your amended contract and you can leave”, Dumbledore said pulling her contract out a drawer in his desk and picking up the golden quill.


With a flourish, he wrote on the contract and Hermione watched as it glowed golden for a moment. He then handed it over to Hermione to read and sign.

She grimaced as she signed her name and felt the magic wash over her. Hermione glanced down to her wrist and curiously watched as an emerald S formed over the golden G already there. The gold and green intertwined to form a shape like a half-moon.


Dumbledore eyed the tattoo curiously and replaced the contract in his drawer.


"Never in the history of Hogwarts has there been one Initiate for two Houses, so we will monitor you closely. However, you may go enjoy the rest of your weekend Miss Granger," Dumbledore said kindly


Hermione got up and avoided the other Professors’ eyes as she left. She dreaded to think what Professor Snape’s reaction would be after she left.