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The Once and Future Queen

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Hello guys!

The story's idea had been playing in my mind for a while now. I love beautiful and intelligent women with power, so this story basically revolved around that concept. Also, I was deeply inspired by the song 'Everything I need' by Skylar Grey, the soundtrack from movie Aquaman, which I had yet to watch.

I have been reading a lot of beautiful fanfictions here and everywhere with a focus point on Hermione Granger and was inspired a lot by their writings. If you see at any point in the storyline looked familiar or the same as any other stories, please, the credit goes to them. I couldn't exactly pinpoint who or which story and author, as I've read a lot and sometimes got mixed up also, but I have no intention of stealing their work.

This will be a femslash story, with Hermione as the focus. Multi-pairing with some smut scenes. It will be super dark with heavy mentions of physical violence, rape, self-harm/abuse and g!p that revolve around the female lead. Please don’t read if you can’t handle those themes. I don’t want to be held responsible. Thank you.

I already have the major plotline ready and am hoping to be able to update consistently. Pardon me for my other schedule with studies.

I am not good at English nor at writing, hope you’ll pardon me for my mistakes.


Born on the wrong side of the ocean
With all the tides against you
You never thought you'd be much good for anyone
But that's so far from the truth

I know there's pain in your heart
And you're covered in the scars
Wish you could see what I do

'Cause baby, everything you are
Is everything I need
You're everything to me

Baby, every single part
Is who you're meant to be
'Cause you were meant for me
And you're everything I need

You can say I'm wrong
You can turn your back against me
But I'm here to stay
Like the sea
Should keep kissing the shoreline
No matter how many times he pushes her away

And everything happens for a reason
It started passing in the skies
I used to question who I was
But now I see
The answer's in your heart

Everything I need - Skylar Grey


Prologue – The Untold Prophecy

"Morgan!"

A man shouted as he ran down the castle's corridor into the Queen's personal chamber, only to be halted in his motion as he saw the figure lying on the large bed in the spacious room. With hesitant steps, he moved over to sit next to the Queen's weakened body.

"Morgan, what happened to you? Who did this?" Tears filled his eyes upon seeing the state of his Queen. She looked so thin and pale, her skin was turning greener with every passing second.

"Arthur, my brother. I was poisoned by your wife, Guinevere. I figure my time has come, brother," the Queen whispered with a slow intake of breaths.

"WHAT!? How dare she?!" Raw anger shot through Arthur and his hand moved to take out his sword from its sheath. "I swear I will annihilate her," he spoke through gritted teeth.

"Arthur, wait! Please."

The man huffed but took his seat back next to the Queen and held her pale hand. His eyes wavered as he looked at her. "Dearest sister, can't you heal yourself? You're the greatest healer in the universe."

"I can't, Arthur. It has taken all my remaining magic to be able to speak with you for the last time.” Morgan panted with her every last breath. “I have told you before about this, remember? We can't live forever; our time will come. But fret not, brother, for we will see each other again." She moved her shaking hand to cup her brother's cheek.

"I have seen our future, Arthur. With you by my side and my soulmates there for me, I will live and rule our world again. There shall be nothing to defy us when the time comes. But until then, do what you must. Find them."

With the remaining magic left inside her body, the Queen blew cool breath air towards his face. Warm feeling tingled on his skin and reside in his heart. Arthur knew what it was that the Queen did to him. Since Merlin had told them about her prophecy before, they had been talking about it — a prophecy of a certain future. No matter how far in the future it may be, he will have to play his part.

And so with the last of breath released, the Queen was covered with green colour on every inch of her skin. She closed her eyes and plastered a soft smile on her lips as her skin deteriorated. In the blink of an eye, only ashes remained on the large bed. Though it pained his heart so, Arthur knew what he will be and to achieve in the future. Nevermind whether it was a curse or a blessing, it was only he that will have this memory for the future to come.

"Until then, my sister."


The one with the power to rule the world will be born
She was the queen in the past and she will once again be one

She is born noble and pure, yet hidden amongst the dirt
A gem amongst the snakes, A beauty hidden by scars

Mended pain through knowledge and understanding

Tossed between two sides, betrayed, tortured, broken and battered
In between her life and death, will her power be awakened

Touched by her five soulmates, only then will they be complete
The Blacks, the Veela, together with the tabby cat

With the power of dark, light, modern and ancient, nothing could defy them

She will be fair, She will be just
And together, they will rise
As one.

 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 1 – Introducing Hermione Granger

Love is not when you want or need to be with them every second of the day
Love is when the time you spend with them is perfect,
and the time you spend apart is equally as good.

Love is not when you depend on them and your whole life revolves around them
Love is when they are a perfect addition in your life.

It doesn't make everything else seem perfect
it makes everything else bearable and manageable
They help you grow as a person
and make you a better person and feel better about yourself and life in general.

Love is not when you hate saying goodbye
Love is when you see 'goodbye' as the possibility of saying 'hello' all over again.

Love does not cover their flaws
Love does show their flaws for all they are
But you love their imperfections because it makes them who they are
And you love and accept them for who they are.

Love grows and encourages growth
Love is not perfect but it is always close

Love
Real true love
Is the best thing that will ever happen to you.

(By butterflyx in UrbanDictionary)


So what does love have anything to do with Hermione Granger?

The answer is, it is the only thing that she lacked in her life.

To love, and to be loved.


September 19th, 1995

Every year, the date had been marked as the day of her existence to the world and this year was her 16th. For many years now, she had been wondering the meaning of life and how did love fit in the description. But she had yet to be able to understand her purpose of living.

Maybe if she had been loved by her parents, she would have grown to be a grateful daughter.

Maybe if she had acquired love from friends, she would have people standing by her side and for her to be closed with.

Maybe if any of her teachers loved her, she would have been more honest and trustworthy.

Maybe if someone would love her unconditionally, she would have been able to love herself eventually.

Alas, she had no parents, no friends, no teachers cared about her. And certainly, no particular someone would love her being. She was alone, but she was fine with it.

Tonight was a peaceful night. There was no howling from werewolves, no rustling of leaves, and no sound of footsteps can be heard. She was sitting near the Black Lake alone, underneath a starry sky and she felt calm and soothing.

For the past four years, she had spent the same night at the same spot she had always sat. Her eyes gazed towards the black sky as her mind wandered to the memories she had for the first earlier years of her life.

She used to have loving parents. Both of them were dentists and they had their own dental clinic in a muggle town in the suburb part of London. She had always been doted on for being an only child. Her mind had always been eager to learn new things and she always loved to help her parents, thus she was always attached to their side even when they went to work. When she was not permitted to do certain things, she would be given books to read.

And books were her most favourite companions.

Those days were the happiest she felt in her life, but they were so far away in the past now.

Things started to crumble during her life in primary school.


She had always been a bookworm and her passion for reading was known to many. She would always be found sitting in her school library during breaks or free time. On every holiday, she would spend her time in the town's library if she did not go to her parent's clinic. She was not really a sociable person, but she was fine with it.

It was a nonsense, really, to be mocked and bullied because of her intelligence and passion to read. She was at the top in every exam and she had always answered any question asked with perfect wording. Just because people envied her academic achievements and could not top her rivalry, she had to be cast out and tormented by her bullies. She had never told her parents about it because she did not want to burden them with petty issues that she could handle, or at the very least were bearable.

So she burrowed herself in more books. They did not only gave her various knowledge, but they also gave her the solitude she sought. Her mother would always be happy to purchase more when she asked for it.

The first time she felt something that akin to power was when she was powerless.

The bullies had called her out during a break one day and started calling her names. She felt indifferent towards them thus she acted nonchalantly but they became upset with her lack of response to their verbal insults, so they started to act physically towards her. It was a one-versus-seven match and was totally unfair to her. She did her best in shielding and protecting herself, particularly her head because she loved her brain more than anything. Yet they did not stop and as she felt pain coursing through her entire body, she could feel something akin to dark energy pulsing in her vein.

She felt immense power from deep within her as her mind cursing them to stop the torments. She had heard the sound of broken window glasses from behind her and lots of screaming from her front. Her eyes were red with fury as she looked up to the bullies who were shivering and shaking in fear. She watched as pieces of the broken glasses were levitating in between her and the bullies, pointing specifically towards the group of cowards. They were screaming and shouting and she knew other people could hear them.

Soon, footsteps can be heard and she saw teachers and other students coming near. They gasped upon seeing many broken windows glasses shattered around her — no longer levitated. The teachers questioned but the bullies were shouting, and — not surprisingly — she got new names that day.

"Freak!"

"Witch!"

"Demon!"

Well, those did not sound so bad, to be honest, and definitely way better than 'bookish' or 'worms'.

The teachers ushered them to the principal's office and told him what they saw. The Principal was a kind old man who resembled Father Santa with his loving smile. He dismissed the group of teachers and asked the students to explain the situation in details. They shrieked at him as they told him of her 'freak power' with the omittance to their bullying behaviour towards her.

When it was her turn to say anything to defence herself, she just shrugged her shoulders and sat straighter in her seat, squaring her shoulders in defiance. She could feel the residue of the power within her — it was quite addicting — but she let it slide as it would not be good for her to indulge in it.

The bullies were dismissed without any further repercussion but her parents were called in. Before long, her mother and father were there, sitting in the seats on each side of her. The headmaster recapped the stories that he had heard and told them about her defiance in speaking anything in her defence. Her mother looked at her with concern in her eyes while her father had gotten furious at her disobedience and both of them insisted on her to say anything but she did not even budge.

She was suspended from the school for a week, but she did not mind at all.

She spent the week trying to make sense of the power she had felt before — its origin, causes and symptoms. She researched through various libraries and read through many books but had only managed to come up with one common answer — magic.

She had magic inside her — magic that she did not know anyone around her ever had. She felt special, unique even. She read more on the characteristics of magic and had tried to immerse herself in the feeling of magic running through her being.

Her mother had told her before about how magical it was that every time she got hurt, the wounds would instantly be healed. She never realised and thought much about it but then, as she recalled the feeling of pain she got from the bullies, she realised the pain subsided soon enough.

She remembered many books she had read about Morgan Le Fay — a powerful dark witch — and wondered if she had the same power as the legendary woman. She thought of what could happen if she becomes as powerful as her.

She subtly asked her parents if they had ever felt such power but was disappointed in their answers. Maybe she was the only one in the world to have it. The thought made her wonder if she was born with a purpose in life or maybe she was destined for greatness? She laughed at her thoughts because that would be impossible, as she was only a bookworm.


Words spread around and people had started to avoid or distance themselves around her family like a plague and her parents were the casualties. She never had an outburst of her magic anymore and had tried to control it, even if there were minor mishaps happened from time to time. She was able to levitate things when she willed for it but that was about much she knew of what to do with her magic anyway.

Her father had changed significantly and he would chastise her if she was caught using magic in the house. He was starting to get emotional and mental from all the harassments from people surrounding them. He started drinking and became more physical towards her, sometimes even calling her a 'witch' himself. There were a few times when he was heavily drunk and he said some nonsensical words.

"You were never our daughter"

"We never knew we picked up a witch from that house"

"Why did a witch had to be our daughter?"

She failed to ignore herself from wondering the same things. Why was she the only one amongst them that has the ability? Were they her real parents and if not, then who? Where did she come from?

Her mother's health had deteriorated each day and she became weak at trying to stop any of her father's violence towards her. Hermione asked her mother for the truth and she was initially reluctant to tell her, but she eventually gave in.

They had chosen her when she was a month old from a foster house. The only thing they knew about her was her name, Hermione, and her birthdate. Nothing else was known and nothing else mattered to them, so they adopted her and she became a Granger.

It pained her to get to know of her story in that situation. She had wished that they would have trusted her and had they told her earlier, she would have accepted it with an open heart.

What hurt her more was coming back from school one day only to see her mother's lifeless body in the bathtub, a knife in one hand and open slits at her left wrist. The tub was filled with thick, deep red blood mixed with water. In her state of shock and panic, she screamed aloud and accidentally let her magic burst strong thus shattering all the glasses inside the house. Her father came home and handled everything while she hid in her bedroom.

It was supposed to be her 10th birthday.

Shaken, she sat on the floor in her bedroom with her back against the bed. Her knees were drawn up to her chest and she cradled her head in her arms. She was trembling as she broke down, sobbing and crying violently until she could not breathe and passed out. They had a funeral for her late mother two days later but not many people come and no one sent her any condolences. Her father had gotten drunk and inebriated, and he beat her senseless as he blamed her.

She did not even realise the bank account book and a letter on her study table until later.


They were left by her mother before she chose to kill herself. She still kept the letter until now and would always read it on the night of her birthday every year since. Tonight, she would read it again even though she already had every word memorised. A soft breeze was enveloping her, not warm but not so cold either — it was perfect. She reached into her pocket to retrieve the letter and her wand lit up with 'Lumos' as she pointed at it.

My dearest child,

I love you from the moment I first laid my eyes on you. You were beautiful and adorable, your eyes shone so brightly with curiosity and wonder, your mind so brilliant, your heart so kind and full of love, and I’m always proud of you. You’re every bit of a daughter I have ever wished for.

I’m very sorry for being a weak mother. I’m sorry for not being able to protect you. And I am deeply sorry for choosing the path that I take. I left you the account under your name, which I have been saving for your future. I know it will never be enough, but I hope you will one day forgive me from the bottom of your heart.

No matter what people call you, you are my Hermione. Be the Hermione that I am always proud of.

Be you.

Loving you till the end of life,

Mother.

She reread it a couple of times before folding it and returned it in her pocket. Her adopted mother may have been the only one who loved her dearly, but her love was weak enough that she was willing to end her life instead of standing by her daughter's side.

Her father, on the other hand, he had lost himself to his own demon.


-rape scene ensues-

On one summer day in the year after her mother's death, Hermione was sitting in the shade under a lonely tree in the backyard of her house. It was a fine summer evening and the sky was in a lovely shade of yellow and orange as sunset was approaching the horizon. Her bushy brunette hair was untamed and she was quite small and skinny and on the brink of unhealthy thin.

As she was so absorbed in her reading, she had not heard her father who was calling for her from inside the house. She only realised when she heard footsteps approaching near and as she looked up, her body instantly froze in fear.

Her father was red with rage and he looked like a savage beast. He grabbed her hair and yanked her up, she moaned from the pain. They were so close that she could smell the alcohol from his breath.

"What the hell have you been doing? I have been calling your name many times!" He pulled her hair hard and she groaned.

"I'm sorry, I was reading!" She gritted her teeth as tears welled up in her eyes.

"Reading again? You foolish girl!” He hit her cheek once. “Where is my dinner? How many times do I have to tell you that I want my meal every time I come home! Do you think reading can help you now? You stupid, ungrateful witch! You deserve punishments." He dragged her inside the house and her feet rushed to follow as her head hurt from being pulled by the hair.

"I'm sorry! I promise I won't do it again. Please forgive me, father." She tried to plead but was thrown roughly onto the sofa in the living room and she let out another moan from the pain. She then heard the sound of a belt and instantly knew he had taken it off to deliver his 'punishment'.

"You dare call me father?!” He shouted at her face. “Listen, witch! I’m not your father and I don't have a witch who brings bad luck and ruins our lives as a daughter! You." Smack! "Are the reason." Smack! "For my wife's." Smack! "Death!" Smack! He punctuated every word by whipping the belt over her body.

Hermione became a mess of tears, screams and bruises. "I'm sorry! Please, stop... Don't hit me, please..." Her pleas fell on deaf ears. She tossed and turned but could not run as she was trapped on the sofa.

He whipped and whacked until he felt satisfied, and he threw the belt away. He held her cheeks in both his hands and wiped away her tears. Hermione was confused at the sudden turnabout of demeanours.

She was still panting hard as she dared to look at him. He was looking at her but was not really seeing. His eyes were dark and hollow and he smiled at her so sweet that it made her felt sick to the gut.

"Why are you crying, pretty girl? Who dare make you sad?” He said in a sickly sweet tone. “Mmm, aren't you such a doll. You look so good to be eaten and I am so, so hungry, girl. What are you going to do about it, hmm?"

Her eyes widened with shock and instantly filled with fear. "NO!" She turned to run away from him but he was quick to grab her roughly and pinned her back on the sofa.

With a strength of a demon, he ripped her clothes apart until barely anything covered her fair skin. He grinned ferociously at the fright he saw in her eyes. While pinning her wrists above her with one hand, he slapped her cheek hard with his free hand and she could feel the taste of copper in her mouth.

"Don't move!" He shouted and she whimpered.

He stood up and pulled down his pants and boxer, and he moaned as a hand went to jerk his dick off. The sight of him made her felt like throwing up. She braced herself, spat at him and ran away from the room, but she did not get far when he managed to grab one of her legs. She fell down on the stairs and hit her forehead. Letting out a groan, her head throbbed in pain as blood trickled down from an open wound.

"Oh no! Look at the blood, you dare dirtied my floor! Why you love being dirty, don't you, dirty whore!" He inched closer to her and deliberately licked the blood.

"Please, stop... No no no no..." She wailed at him in disgust and fear.

"Mm, you taste so sweet, my dear. I wonder if you taste sweet anywhere else."

He forcefully kissed her lips and pushed his tongue into her mouth but he hissed in pain when she bit his tongue hard enough to draw blood. He slapped her cheek again, then bit on her shoulders and his hands pinned her wrists above her head again causing her to scream in pain. She had been so fragile from the lack of malnutrition and his beating had made her more feeble. He bit and sucked hard on her chests and abdomen and he laughed upon seeing the bruises he made.

With a quick move, he impaled her and moaned when he felt her tightness. She let out another cry at the pain she felt as her womanhood was being torn apart. He thrust fast and hard while he focused on his twisted pleasure and she choked on her strangled cries. He started to move faster when he felt the climax nearing and with her remaining energy, she channelled her magic from inside her core. Her magic blasted from all over her body and threw him off towards the opposite wall. Light surrounded her body for a few seconds before darkness enveloped her. Too tired to even breath, she ended up passed out on the blood-stain stairs.


Hermione still remembered the traumatised incident as if it happened just yesterday but it actually happened on the day before she received the acceptance letter to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Four years had passed since then but she still shuddered at the memory.

Her heart now pulsated fast as her breathing became quick and shallow. Her hands were trembling as she reached for her small blade hidden in her enchanted pocket. Pulling it out, she glanced at her arms that were both full of lines marring her skin.

She then pulled up her pants on her right leg and with a still trembling hand, she forced the blade tip into her calf. Blood gushed out as she was drawing a fresh line. She bit her lips until she felt the taste of copper in her mouth, biting back a groan until she was done. Tears leaked out from her eyes and rolled down her cheeks at the pain she felt.

She let go of the blade full with her blood and took deep breaths to calm herself down. Soon enough she saw the wound healed and closed up by itself. She cast a quick 'Scourgify' to clean the wound and the blade before she tucked the item back into her enchanted pocket. Finally, she cast a glamour on herself to hide all the wounds she had.

Satisfied and feeling relaxed, she stood up and stretched her body while feeling the pain in her leg turning numb. She chuckled at the memory when she thought of being special but now she knew that there were apparently a lot of people in the world who also had magic like her. Maybe she was no one, after all, she simply was just a 'bookworm witch' now. She shook her head and started moving back towards the dungeon to rest for the night.

'Happy birthday, dear self.' Her smile seemed painful and forced.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 2 – Gryffindor or Slytherin?

It was a bright Saturday morning and students were allowed to go out for Hogsmeade outing. Hermione had been looking forward to the day as she had been wanting to buy new quills and parchments. She woke up early to avoid meeting with other students, went to bath and made quick work on getting ready. The weather was getting colder as the year was approaching the end, so she settled with her long jacket and beanie.

She went for a quick breakfast in the Great Hall, sitting alone and with a book while students started to fill in the room. Soon enough chats and waves of laughter broke the early morning silence. She ate while she read but her eyes kept darting towards her wristwatch as she was feeling anxious. She did not make eye contact with anyone although people would just ignore her most of the time.

When the time came and they were allowed to leave, Hermione walked out of the Great Hall but only to stop as she came face to face with a certain Transfiguration professor, Minerva McGonagall. She sucked in a breath as she looked into the green eyes that seemed to be darting around before they settled on her. The professor appeared to be hesitating about something.

"Hermione…"

Hermione did nothing but ran away when she heard the whisper of her name. She needed to get out of there fast before she lost herself again. She would not allow herself to get a relapse this early.

She walked at a fast pace through the school gate towards Hogsmeade. Her breathing was quick and hard, and only when she arrived at Scrivenshaft's, she took deep breaths and relaxed as the smell of books, quills, and parchments gave her the tranquillity.

She took her sweet time going over some books and picked up one or two which she had not read yet. She went to stock up on quills and parchments next. After she had done paying, she decided to visit Madam Rosmerta at the Three Broomsticks Inn.

"Oh, look at that. Isn't it the filthy Mudblood!"

Hermione stopped in her track and saw the infamous Draco Malfoy with his cronies. Figured, not even one day she got to be free. She sighed dejectedly and crossed her arms in defiance.

"What do you want, Malfoy?"

"How dare you speak to me, you filth!" Draco snarled at her as he closed in.

Hemione did not budge nor show any fear but she merely raised one eyebrow at him.

"You dare look at me like that?" Draco grabbed her jacket and pushed her to the nearest building wall, resulted in Hermione hissing at the pain in her back. He clenched his fist and made a move like he wanted to punch her in the face, but he did not. His companions laughed behind him as they thought that she was cowering in fear.

"Are you that brave to punch a girl, Malfoy?" Hermione whispered lowly at him as she saw how shaking his hand was.

A second later Draco laughed and let her go, causing her to fall down to her feet. Before he walked away from her, he threw a glance as he said, "I don't want to stoop low to your level."

Hermione growled as she tried to gather herself. "What do you mean, Malfoy?"

Pansy Parkinson sneered at her. "Already forgotten your level? Well, let us recall them. A Mudblood..."

"Slut!" another chimed in.

"Dyke!"

"Whore!"

"Murderer!"

"A filthy trash like you has no place in Slytherin!" They all laughed as they walked away and followed behind Draco.

Hermione stood up straight and brushed herself off from dust. It would do no good to lose herself even if the temptation was high. It was quite a surprise that she managed to get away easily this time. Usually, she would have received harsher insults or some beatings from her fellow Slytherins. Maybe it was because they were outside the castle that they did not want to make so much scene.

Hermione remembered the sorting she had when she was in the first year.


"Ah, Your Majesty! Come back to redeem yourself, aren't you? Hmm… Now, where shall I fit you? In the Ravenclaw where your intelligence and wisdom lay true? Or in Hufflepuff, for the patience and kindness you hold? Alas, they will not give rise to your potential. So where to now, hmm?"

Hermione waited patiently as the Sorting Hat was criticising her traits. Why did it address to her as 'Your Majesty', she did not know and she realised that no one had heard it.

"Or maybe the Gryffindor, where their bravery and courage stand high?" It turned her head towards the table of Gryffindor students.

"Or perhaps the Slytherin, where they are dedicated to achieving great things?" Then it swung her head to look the opposite side towards the Slytherin table. The hat went silent for a few seconds before it shouted loud and clear,

"Slytherin!"

Gasps echoed around the whole hall and she heard one that clearly came from Professor McGonagall who was in charge of the sorting ceremony. Hermione went to the house table and sat graciously with her shoulders squared. She could hear people whispering and muttering about a 'mudblood' in the wrong house.

"SILENCE!"

The headmaster's voice echoed throughout the hall and people went silent again as the ceremony continued. Hermione looked up at him and threw a small smile as he did the same to her.

The feast started and a lot of food appeared out of nowhere. Her eyes widened in awe and she could never get tired of magic. She filled her plate and saw a slick blonde hair boy was glaring and sneering in her direction, but she paid no mind at him. Hermione knew him, Draco Malfoy. She heard him when he introduced himself to the famous boy-who-lived, Harry Potter. She ignored him and glanced towards the table of teachers instead. Most of them were talking among each other and she observed them one by one.

Hermione's eyes lit up when they connected with Minerva's and she beamed at the professor. However, Minerva looked at her indignantly before she broke their eye contacts. Hermione was taken aback and felt heartbroken by the demeanour, but she decided not to dwell on it. Her eyes continued their path towards other teachers.

When her eyes met with Professor Snape, they unknowingly started a staring contest. He stared deep into her eyes as if he was searching for something, but she had no idea what. Hermione, on the other hand, stared at him curiously and not knowing as to why he triggered an unfamiliar feeling inside her.

The students were directed to their dorms after the meal and she was placed in the same dorm as Pansy Parkinson, Millicent Bulstrode, Tracey Davis, and Daphne Greengrass, all equally first year as her. Fuck.

"Oh, what a low blow to be sharing the same dorm with the filth!" She heard one of them mocked.

"Whatever shall we do, Pansy? Shall we bleach her dirty blood?" Someone else chimed in.

"I'm sure no amount of bleach can cleanse the filthy Mudblood." They all laughed at her.

Hermione's own blood was boiling inside but she tried to restrain herself from any outburst. "What the hell is your problem?" She growled and bared her teeth at the group.

Pansy who seemed to look like their leader, slapped across her cheek hard that she could feel the metallic taste of copper in her mouth. She turned to look at her as eyes slit open with fury and her hands clenched at the side trying to rein in the anger.

"Know your place, you filth! If you dare speak to me like that again, I will make sure you will regret it for the rest of your life!" Pansy barked in Hermione's face and spat at her feet.

Hermione set her anger free and went to grab Pansy's hair, who in turn, grabbed hers. They started pulling each others' hair, screaming and shouting in their faces. The other three girls pulled them apart and Millicent held her in her big arms. Her strong grip left bruises on Hermione's arms and Pansy came to her and slapped her again and again before she kicked her in the shin.

The prefects bolted into their rooms and separated them before they brought the girls to the professor's quarter and met with Professor Snape, who at that time, had Minerva and Albus Dumbledore as his guests. As the Head of Slytherin house, Professor Snape reprimanded them in front of the other two professors.

"Already making a ruckus on their first night?"

Hermione heard Minerva said with a tone of disappointment, and there was a disapproving look on her face. She stared at Minerva with wide eyes that portrayed the hurt she felt inside. The pain in her heart dimmed any other pain she felt on her body from the blows she received earlier.

Hermione did not answer when being asked what happened or why she attacked Ms Parkinson. Of course, they would hold her responsible as she had looked the least affected by their little quarrel. Her bruises had almost diminished and only a small cut remained on her lower lip. She held her head high and not even bother to answer because she knew no one would believe her words and no one would side with her. She had nothing to prove to them and it was her own mistake to give in to her anger.

She should have known better.

"20 points will be deducted from Slytherin for the display of violence." Severus' stern voice matched the look in his eyes as he stared at the girls.

The group of girls gasped in shock and looked at Hermione menacingly. She merely shrugged her shoulders and walked back towards the dungeon after bidding 'goodnight' politely to the three professors.

Hermione's life had gone haywire since then.


Hermione arrived at the Three Broomsticks Inn and her eyes darted around. There were not many people in the establishment as it was still early in the day. As she saw Madam Rosmerta tending by the bar, she walked to her to say hello.

"Hermione! Oh, I've missed you so much, darling."

They embraced and Hermione kissed the owner on her cheeks. "I've missed you too, Ros. Sorry I haven't visited in a while." She sent a guilty smile at the woman who cared a lot about her.

"It's fine, it's fine. Go on, take a seat. I'll be right along with your butterbeer."

"Thank you, Ros."

Hermione smiled and went to take a seat at the furthest corner where it was quite hidden from others' view. She took out her book that she brought and went to read. After a few lines in, Rosmerta was sitting opposite her with a glass of butterbeer. Hermione thanked her, took a sip and sighed wistfully.

"So how are you, really?" Rosmerta gave her an affectionate smile.

"As fine as I can be, I guess." Hermione shrugged as she did not know how to respond to that question.

Rosmerta reached for Hermione's hand across the table and gave a light squeeze. "Do they still bother you? Or hurt you?"

Rosmerta was among a few people who knew of Hermione's situation in Hogwarts. She had witnessed on a few occasions during when Hermione was beaten or harassed outside of Hogwarts. She had also heard the rumours that spread around Hogwarts concerning Hermione but she did not pay attention to it because Rosmerta trusted Hermione. It was a wonder as to why she easily trusted the girl and how did she become affectionate with her but maybe it was not so much to be wondered about.

Hermione worked part-time at the inn during the summer of her second year. She had sold the house that was inherited to her from her adopted muggle parents when her father died in an accident on one night while he was intoxicated. She had spent the entire summer living in one of the rooms in the inn and her days were spent working on various tasks given to her by the lovely landlady. Sometimes she would sweep the floor or tidy up rooms or work in the kitchen but she was never allowed at the bar as she was still underage.

Hermione's friendship with Rosmerta was blossoming each day and the woman cared for her as a mother would. She had never felt more grateful to have someone as close as the older witch.

"They still do but it's nothing I can't handle." Hermione waved her hand while she spoke. "In fact, although the insults were still there, the harassments appeared to be lessened. I guess people had become bored with me."

"Well, tell me their names so I could, I don't know, maybe put something in their drinks later if they decide to come here." Rosmerta grinned and they both laughed at the threat. "You didn't come here last summer. Where were you?" Rosmerta's thumb rubbed soothing circles on Hermione's palm and it gave her the sense of calmness.

"Oh, you know. I was here and there…" Hermione grinned mischievously.

Rosmerta raised her eyebrows and her mouth agape in faux shock. "Hermione, you naughty girl! Come on spit it out now. I want to know juicy gossips." Rosmerta grinned with excitement.

"I am not supposed to tell you this but I know I can trust you." Hermione paused to look into the older woman's eyes. "Well, I stayed at a place where I can help someone in brewing and stocking up potions to be supplied to St. Mungo's." She finished lamely and looked down at her hands.

Rosmerta beamed and squeezed Hermione's hand. "That is so admirable, Hermione. I'm so proud of you."

Hermione could not stop herself from beaming with pride at hearing the compliments since such a gesture was scarce to her.

"Is that person someone I knew?" Rosmerta smirked and raised her eyebrow. She pulled her hand and crossed her arms at her chest.

"May...be…" Hermione drawled out her word and sent her own smirk to match.

"As long as you do what makes you feel happy, I'm happy for you, darling."

The smile Hermione received radiated with the warmth from the landlady. It touched her heart deeply and tears pricked at her eyes. Hermione recalled the memory when she was first lovingly embraced by the witch.


It was during the summer when Hermione was working and staying at the inn. On one of the first few nights, she was dead tired from the works she had done prior in the day. She had forgotten to lock the door and her glamour had been put off for the night but she did not hear the knocking and was jolted awake when she heard a gasp coming from across the bed she was in.

Rosmerta came in to send Hermione's clean clothes and was not surprised to see the girl was sleeping. She heard no answer when she knocked and entered as the door was not locked nor warded. What surprised her was when she wanted to cover the girl with a blanket, she saw the lines that marred the skin on every part of the girl. Hermione was wearing a tank top and shorts, so a lot of her skin was on displayed. Her skin was full of scars and it pained Rosmerta to see them.

The awakened girl covered herself with the blanket and she looked frightened. Rosmerta went to sit on the bed and tried to take Hermione's hands but the young witch flinched at the touch. Rosmerta had asked if someone had hurt and scarred her like that but Hermione shook her head and said it was her own demon.

Rosmerta hugged Hermione tightly and whispered love and safety words and promises. She still kept true to her words and that was why Hermione was able to trust her. Rosmerta had become loving and caring and doting on Hermione as a mother would. It was a pleasant change in the dynamic of their friendship.


"By the way, I haven't seen Mina in a while too. Do you have any idea of her whereabouts?" Rosmerta's voice broke her trance.

Hermione froze at the name she had not heard for years. Mina was the first love she had. The first person she had experienced a real kiss. The first person she had laid her heart open to. The first person to give her butterflies in the stomach every time she heard her laugh or saw her smile.

But Mina was also her first heartbreak. The first person to hurt her emotionally. The first person to reject her feelings and betrayed the connection they had. All for what reasons?

Because they had a wide age gap and Hermione was a child, also for another obvious reason she tried to not think about. What nonsense! Was a child not allowed to fall in love? What was Hermione to do when it was her first time to feel that way towards someone albeit the position they were in? Was it wrong for her to want to pursue it somehow?

Hermione felt her heart constricted as it was becoming hard for her to breathe and tears started to pool in her eyes. Her right hand was unconsciously scratching her left arm while she bit her lip to restrain herself from doing anything worse.

Rosmerta watched Hermione's movements and realised her mistake. She immediately grabbed the girl's arm and pulled her towards a private room. Hermione was shaking and her hand was still scratching that red marks started to appear but no sign of blood had drawn yet.

"Hermione! Hermione!" Rosmerta shook the Hermione from her stupor. "Look at me! Hermione!" Brown eyes looked at her and she saw the fear of losing in those eyes. "Breathe with me. In… Out… Slowly… You can do this, Hermione." Hermione followed her breathing pattern and slowly started to calm down.

"That's it. Take deep breaths, slow and steady." Brown eyes started to feel with life again.

Hermione relaxed her shoulders and sluggishly leaned against the wall before she fell to her feet. She pulled her legs to her chest and buried her head in between as she started to sob uncontrollably.

Rosmerta sat down and pulled Hermione into her arms. She rubbed Hermione's back and ran her fingers through Hermione's hair while cooing, "it's okay, it's alright," repeatedly. The sagged girl emptied her dam of tears that she seemed to have been holding up for years.

"I'm sorry, Hermione. I didn't mean to hurt you like this,” she said in earnest.

Hermione let go of the embrace but did not keep a distance between them. "It's alright. It's not your fault, Ros. I guess I've been keeping it for years." Her hands wiped the tears away.

"Why did she leave you, Hermione?" Rosmerta asked as she had been wanting to know for years.

Almost at the end of the summer during when Hermione worked and stayed at the inn, Rosmerta found the girl on the floor of her room as she was crying and holding a small blade in one hand. It was a tragic sight to see and never in Rosmerta's life had she felt so strongly in wanting to protect someone from anything. She inquired the cause to have given rise to such incident but Hermione merely said that she was dumped and Mina had left her, never to be seen since.

Not wanting to prolong the silence from the girl, the older witch continued, "have she ever contacted you since then?"

Hermione shook her head slowly, "I can't say, Ros. I'm sorry," her eyes pleading for understanding. How could she tell Rosmerta of the secret that was shared between Mina and her? She could never betray other people's trust no matter how much they hurt her. Mina was just, not who she was. Or maybe she was. It was complicated.

Rosmerta nodded and rubbed Hermione's arms. "You are strong, Hermione. I have never met someone stronger than you are. And you are the kindest, most understanding and loving person in the world."

Hermione looked down at her hands. "I don't know, Ros. I haven't really been 'cleaned' for a while now. Sometimes it's just so easy to do it, to forget about the pain in here." She clutched her chest where her heart lay beneath.

"Hermione, it's okay if you can't control the urge sometimes. You can't control everything in your life and no one can. But remember that you have someone who loves you, or at least remember me. I love you, darling, but it pained me to see you hurt yourself like this." Rosmerta lifted Hermione's chin and looked deep into the brown eyes to convey her feelings.

Hermione nodded slowly as she said, "I can't promise that I'll stop, but I promise to restrain myself more."

That made Rosmerta smiled warmly. "That's all I'd ask for." She wiped any remaining tears on Hermione's wet cheeks and tidied the messy brunette hair and she made them look presentable again.

"Thank you, Ros."

"No need to thank me. Now, let's go down before I lose my customers." Rosmerta chuckled and Hermione smiled sheepishly.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 3 – The Best I Could Ask For

Tuesday rolled around and there was a month left before the Christmas holiday. Hermione was standing on the corridor of the seventh floor hiding in the shadow. She was under the disillusionment charm that she cast on herself while waiting for someone. Hoping for that person to come.

This morning, she subtly but intentionally bumped into a certain blonde girl in a hallway before going to class. As she helped to pick up the girl's books, she slid a paper amongst them before returning them to the girl while muttering her apologies hastily. Knowing the girl would soon realise the folded paper, she bolted into the class.

Meet me on the seventh floor in the left corridor tonight after dinner. Don't tell anyone.

She really hoped that the girl would have read the message and trust her to come alone. Soon enough, light footsteps were heard.

"Hermione?" A soft voice called. Hermione released herself from her charm and walked out of the shadow.

"Luna. You came… Alone?" She asked, her voice sceptical.

Luna Lovegood nodded and plastered her dreamy smile. "You said not to tell anyone, so I don't."

"Come, it's not safe here." The brunette motioned for the blonde to come closer as she was pacing along the corridor, back and forth, a few times. Luna only smiled in amusement, fingers toying with her hair end.

Suddenly a door appeared on the wall. Hermione opened the door and walked in, trusting Luna would follow her from behind. Luna walked in, closed the door and looked around the room in amazement.

The room had a large space with few pillars for support. There was a fireplace at one end, and Hermione went to light it up. There were a few statues made of wooden boards, that resembled the shape of a human scattered around the room.

"Hermione? What is this place?" Luna’s soft voice echoed.

"This is the Room of Requirement. A room where one can only enter when they have a real need for it. This room can only transform into whatever the person needs it to be at that moment. He or she must be specific about what they need,” Hermione explained.

“For example, I wished for a room where I can practice for spells, hence here we are." She finished, hands gestured around the room to emphasised her words.

"I see. And why am I here, Hermione?" Luna looked at her with wonder in her eyes.

"Luna, you are close with Ginny Weasley, are you not? That means you are somewhat friends with Harry Potter, right?"

"Oh yes, Ginny had introduced me to him and her brother before. But why?" Luna said, her head tilted to one side in confusion.

"Look. I don't want to impose and I don't want to bother you, but you are the only person I can talk to about this.” Hermione paced around as she talked.

“Last time during Hogsmeade outing, I overheard Harry and Ron talking. They were upset and quite angry with Umbridge for not teaching the DADA class properly. Though I hate to admit, I agree with them. They want the real practical lesson of defence against the dark arts. And Harry,” she stopped pacing and looked at Luna.

“You know he said he met Voldemort and the Death Eaters, right?” The blonde girl nodded. “If what he said is true, it won't be long now for the war to come.” Hermione looked straight into Luna’s eyes, her body screamed seriousness as she tried to make sense of the brilliant plan she came up with.

“So I think it would be suitable for you to suggest this idea to him — get a number of students who believe in him, or in his cause, whatever, and use this room to practice to defend themselves. Harry is already famous, what with him being the boy-who-lived and all that, so I'm sure it won't be a problem for him to gather followers. And since he was the one who had met with the dark side, he'd know how to defend against them.”

She started pacing again. “But, be sure to keep it a secret. Never tell anyone that I'm the one who gives you the idea, and keep the practice a secret from Umbridge too. I hate to see if she catches any of you and Merlin knows what she'll do."

Hermione finished with a long deep breath. Luna looked at her in her own weird way like she had grown two heads.

"Why don't you tell him yourself, Hermione? And why can't they know who came up with the idea?"

Hermione laughed out loud. "Luna, I'm not sure if you understand our predicament. I am a Slytherin. They are Gryffindors. I am not particularly fond of the two Weasleys, no hard offence, but we really don't get along at all. Please, just don't tell them it was me. Tell them you came up with it. Get the credits, I don't care.” She shrugged her shoulders, proving that she did not really care about it.

“Look, this room can be anything you want it to be. See this? The statues can also help you practice duelling or fighting. It can help you improve your skills tremendously." Hermione made her point by sending hexes, stunning spells, even some 'bombarda' and 'incendio' towards the oncoming statues. Her movements fluid like dancing in the air.

"I understand, Hermione. Will you be joining us if we are to proceed with the idea?" Luna's eyes were full of hope, only to be disappointed at seeing the brunette shaking her head no.

"That would be impossible, Luna." The blonde pouted. "I am not needed, and I'm sure Harry can lead you all very well." Hermione sighed and Luna smiled sadly.

"When you guys manage to gather some people, tell me because I will need to give you something before you start the first practice. Don't speak to me, don't try to befriend me, and never reveal our meeting to anyone. I don't want you to receive the same treatments as I do.”

"But how can I tell you if I can't speak to you?"

"You are a Ravenclaw, Luna. I'm sure you'll find a way. I have faith in you." Her voice stern to convey the meaning behind her last sentence. Luna understood and started to skip out of the room after bidding her goodnight. She stayed for a bit more under the pretend to practice some spell, but mainly because she wanted to let loose of some steam.


On the following Sunday, Hermione received delivery by owl during lunch. It was the latest publication of The Quibbler. She immediately knew who it was from and what did the delivery mean. She acted nonchalantly and continued eating while reading the magazine.

Leave it to Luna to send such an obvious but clueless message. Hermione smirked before she morphed her face in disdain. "This thing is nonsense!" She hissed loudly, capturing attention from people in the hall. She looked at the magazine in disgust before throwing it into the dustbin as she walked out of the hall.

Later at night, she had another meeting with Luna in the Room of Requirement, except this time was not like the last time. The room was different in the sense that it looked like a living room instead of duelling room. There were a sofa and a coffee table in front of the large fireplace.

Neither of them sat on the sofa. Instead, they sat on the floor covered by a soft fluffy rag. Hermione pulled out some items from her bag and showed them to Luna.

"This is an enchanted parchment. Make them write their names, and whoever betrays your group will have repercussion." Luna looked at her worriedly, so she added, "nothing serious. Just a jinx that would cause the betrayer to remember their deed for a long time." Or maybe for the rest of their lives.

Luna nodded and smiled, seemingly happy with the explanation. Then the brunette handed her some galleons, to which she looked at her curiously.

"These galleons had been cast with protean charm. Give them to Harry to distribute among those who signed the paper. It is linked with each other, so when Harry decides on the date for the meetings, the coins will be heated to alert them, and dates will be shown.

Just explain to him what he must do — point the wand on one coin and transfigure to show the dates on the coin.” She did it to one of the coins as an example. “Remember, don't tell anyone about my involvement in this. You can tell anything you want to them about the paper and coins, but nothing of me. Convince them that the idea and all these come from you."

"How can I trust you with this, Hermione?" Luna's tone was not one of accusation but requesting for clarity.

"Simple, you don't. But trust your gut, your own judgment. I won't make any vow, but I promise to not betray you."

She smiled upon seeing Luna nodded her head and sent her dreamy smile back. She put the items into a small box and handed it to Luna.

"You are a strong woman, Hermione." The girl looked at her with amazement in her eyes.

"I'm nothing like what you think, Luna, and that's the end of discussion." She sighed.

They parted ways afterwards.


Last class for today was potion and it combined the Slytherins and Gryffindors. Hermione sighed. She had not been looking forward to this.

She sat at the back of the class, alone, while other students were pairing up among them. Hermione never really cared, she had mastered many kinds of potions and school works were just a mundane task for her. She decided to forego the class and read up on an ancient magic book instead. She did not want to skip the class though.

People were ignoring her. It was a weird peaceful time, but she was grateful nonetheless. Her peaceful time was short-lived when she was smacked at the back of her head, by none other than Professor Snape himself. She heard snickers and giggles from other occupants in the room. The man snatched her book and looked at it.

"The Ars Notoria— pray tell, Ms Granger, which class are you in now?" He asked with his stern voice.

"Potion class, Sir," Hermione mumbled.

"Then why are you reading a book about ancient magic and not making your potion instead?" Arms crossed over his chest as he glared at the student.

'It's too easy,' she thought to herself. No way in hell she was going to say it aloud. "I don't want," she said instead, voice barely above a whisper.

"I beg your pardon?" He looked at her menacingly, eyes sharp and cold.

"I said, I don't want to do it," she spoke in a louder voice and crossed her arms defiantly.

The professor smacked her head again. "10 points from Slytherin for the disobedience! And detention today, Ms Granger. Make sure to finish the potion before the class end and an essay by the end of the week!" He said before he left, the ancient book confiscated.

'That's in two days!' Hermione huffed and saw that the Gryffindors — especially one Ronald Weasley — snorted and laughed at her. The Slytherins were glaring, probably mad for the points deduction. She smirked at them all and proceeded to make the potion with ease.

15 minutes left before class ended, she handed in her finished potion. The professor merely raised his eyebrow and awarded 15 points to her for being the first to finish the potion, and perfectly too. She went back to her seat and started to do the essay part, which was also easy. But she did not have enough time as the class ended and students started to walk out of the classroom. She packed her stuff and went to the professor's desk for detention.

With flickered of a wand, he closed the door, warded it and put on the silencing charm around the room. He put his head in his hand on the table and sent her his usual annoyed look.

"Ms Granger. Why on earth would you display such behaviour?"

"Well, it was fun, wasn't it?" She shrugged and grinned at him.

"Fun? Hermione, are you daft? You know I don't like to hurt you." He sighed.

"Oh, what's this? Is Professor Snape going soft on a student? If someone knows, you could lose your face, Sev." She mocked playfully at him, to which he smacked her again albeit softly.

"Don't you dare, Ms Granger or I'll make you drink the Veritaserum and send you to Minerva." He faux scowled before he smirked at her mischievously.

She gasped, hands flew to cover her mouth, "you wouldn't dare!"

"Oh, try me." He challenged. They both laughed at their banter.

"But seriously though, I know you are bored with them. Harry's a snob, Ronald is an ass, and your godson, Draco, he's a sucker — always want to hide behind your back. Even when I defy you, I still top them all." Hermione grinned smugly.

"Language, Hermione. I can't object with you, but doesn't mean I have to admit it." He smiled at her and she took a seat next to him. "Is there something on your mind, Hermione? You know you can trust me, right?"

Severus’ face was full of concern, and he had always been able to see through her. Other than Madam Rosmerta, Severus Snape was one of the few people she could trust wholeheartedly. He had been with her through thick and thin, as much as he possibly can while maintaining his facade as the most serious professor in Hogwarts, among other things.

She smiled affectionately at him. "I just want to talk to you about the Christmas holiday. Do you mind if I stay at your house again? I love helping you with the potions. And we could celebrate Christmas together?" she asked nervously.

"Of course, dearie. How many times do I have to tell you? My house is yours too, feel free to stay there anytime.” He smiled at her but his face quickly morphed to frown. “Wait, I was invited to the Christmas ball at Malfoy Manor on the Christmas eve. Oh, I'm sorry Hermione, I'd hate to leave you alone at home."

"It's fine, really, don't worry about me. We can still have the Christmas day together, right? Though I might be gone in the evening. I'm planning to see Tonks too."

She furrowed her eyebrows and wondered if Nymphadora Tonks would agree on meeting her on the Christmas. She had yet to send any letter to the auror.

"I know, why don't you accompany me to the ball, as my plus one? We could use some glamours, makeup or charms on you so that people won't recognise you."

Hermione thought that it was the worst idea he could ever come up with. She, a Muggle-born, setting a foot inside one of the most renowned pureblood families in the Wizarding World. That would be a death wish. She looked at him like he had grown horns on his head and tails at his back. But she could not deny herself from feeling the excitement as he was.

"Are you crazy? Won't there be You-Know-Who attending the party? What would you even say to them?" She indulged in the idea — the worst idea.

"Hmm, let's say you are a distant cousin I have from Switzerland. Your parents had to travel to Asia for business purpose, and you wanted to stay somewhere less cold for a change in scenery, so you will be staying with me." He tapped his chin with a finger while he was thinking of the logic of his excuse.

"Okay, that's quite sensible. Any idea for a name?" Her eyebrows furrowed in concentration at the insane plan.

He grinned at her. "Regina Haysiyet," he said, his eyes shone brightly with mirth.

She snorted at the suggestion. "Queen of dignity? What the hell, Sev?" She laughed at the ridiculousness. It did make a good name though.

"What? It suits you. So, you agree to come?"

"I don't know, Sev. The idea itself is challenging and interesting. But with You-Know-Who and the Malfoys there? It will be the death of me." Even though she let out a heavy sigh, she could feel butterflies in her stomach as she thought about meeting the one person who would certainly be there at the Manor. Her heart skipped a beat as the image of that person flashed in her mind.

"You just have to stay by my side, I'll cover you. Please? It's a good opportunity to learn about their culture." Hermione knew he meant 'their' as in the purebloods'. She could not deny her intrigued mind and her growing interest in the pureblood community. What better way than to learn it by experiencing it firsthand?

"Fine, you win. I'll go with you, but as a compensation for my life, you will treat me to a new dress. I will want to wear the most expensive and beautiful dress when I die." Hermione smirked at the man.

"Oh, stop being so dramatic. I'm sure we can pull this off. But don't worry about the dress, I'll pay for it." He waved her off.

"Good, I'm counting on it. I'm going to find a dress that can make even the Ice Queen melt." She grinned with giddiness, and there was a glint in her eyes.

"The who?"

"The Ice Queen, Sev. Madam Malfoy, Narcissa. Are you living under the bridge?" She looked at him sceptically.

"Of course I know who the Ice Queen is, silly.” He playfully ruffled her head. “What I meant to say is why would you want to impress the Lady Malfoy? Is there something I don't know about between you two, hmm?" His tone was playful and he smirked when she caught the double entendre in his words.

She found him annoying but the flush rising up her neck and cheeks said otherwise. "Oh, shut up! Can't I appreciate beautiful women? Plus, it would be beneficial if I get to be in her good grace."

"Of course, for future benefits!" She smacked at him a few times and hid her face in her hands. The colour on her face can compete with the trademark colour of Weasley's hair. He shook with laughter, genuine laughs, and she too joined him afterwards.


She had spent the remaining night helping Severus with marking the students' essays. It had felt good to be laughing and making jokes with him, and she was sure he felt the same too. He had been unable to show his true self at the school due to his persona, but Hermione was grateful to have the chance of knowing the real him.

During her third year, she had been at the worst point of her life in Hogwarts. There were some worst rumours spread about her around the school. She became a shut-in — never talked to anyone, not even teachers. She spent all of her time in the library, and would only go out for occasional shower and classes. She even foregone meals most of the time, only eating once a day at most.

Due to the lack of self-care, one day she passed out during the potion class. Professor Snape had cancelled the class and brought her in his arms to the infirmary. She remembered he said that she was so thin and as light as a feather. He covertly stayed with her until she had fully recovered. Even though sometimes Minerva would come and visit her, she ignored the witch.

From then on, he had always made her stayed behind after class or demanded her to come to see him after the last class finish. Not every day, but often enough that she found him more annoying than he already was. He would feed her with so many foods and slowly but surely her body started to fill in.

Sometimes she felt so pressured and pissed off at him that she would lash out at him. She felt the dark energy from within herself, but she never would want to seriously cause injury on him. She threw hexes and spells but he reflected them successfully every time. He would stay by her until she calmed down, as she cried in front of him at seeing the mess she made. He easily had them repaired with a simple 'reparo' and everything went back to normal.

She kept having the relapse but he would be there by her side. She would lash out at him, break things with or without magic, even hurt herself to feel the physical pain. He would either stop her or let her be, but he was always by her side. It went on for months.

One day, she was so tired of everything, and he pulled her into his arms and pat her back. He did not say anything and it was enough for her. Hermione was grateful to have a man who did not look down at her nor take advantage of her. They embraced until he let her go and looked her in the eyes.

"Come to my house for the summer holiday; you can stay as long as you want. No one knows of the place and I won't be there all the time, so you don't need to worry about anything," he said.

"Why?" He did not say it with any malice, nor she got any bad intention coming from him.

"I need someone to help me in making potions. I run supplies for St. Mungo's, and you are the best I could ask for."

"Okay," she easily agreed.

How did she go from 'insufferable know-it-all' to 'the best I could ask for'?

And so she had spent the whole summer of the year 1994 and 1995 staying at his house, helping him in stocking up on potions. She had nowhere else to go; her muggle house had been sold prior. Although she could go back to working with Madam Rosmerta, she did not want to risk to face the person who rejected her. She was not ready, and she felt safe at Severus' house.

True to his words, he was not at the home most of the time. But the few times he was there, she did not find it uncomfortable at all. He had taught her Occlumency, the one thing she had wanted to learn but was not able to due to no partner to practice it with. It was tough, it was mentally and emotionally draining but she persisted. Even though he had seen every memory of her past, she trusted him to continue with the lesson. Days turned to months and in the two years she had known him, she had grown fond of him.

He was kind and protective. Despite his lack of humour, she still found him funny enough. They would argue and banter with each other, but she liked the easygoing life they shared. He did not do anything malicious to her, never forced or coerced her to do anything she did not want to do, and she trusted him.

From then onwards, he went from ‘Professor Snape’ to ‘Severus’ and eventually ‘Sev’ now.

He was a good friend, like a brother she never wished she would have.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 4 – Morgan Le Fay

The school holiday finally arrived and every student had been looking forward to going back to their respective families. Hermione no longer had one but she was still looking forward to the holiday, specifically to the upcoming events.

During the course of last week, she had received a reply letter from a certain auror, Nymphadora Tonks, who had agreed to meet with her on Christmas evening. Tonks was so excited and had, in fact, invited Hermione for a sleepover at her parents' house. Hermione had replied back in earnest, not wanting to impose on the family but Tonks had none of her excuses.

Most students had packed their luggage and were prepared to depart to Hogsmeade station, and Hermione was relieved when all her roommates had left the room earlier. She did not want to deal with Pansy and her gang today, or possibly ever but that was too much to ask for. She sighed as she remembered that she probably will see them at Malfoy Manor on the Christmas eve.

Speaking of the Christmas party event at the Malfoy Manor, Draco had extended his invitation to all Slytherins in their batch, except her. They had been mocking her about being a left out but she ignored them. They did not need to know about her plan.

On her way out of the school entrance, she had been pulled back in and dragged by someone to a secluded hallway. It was none other than Minerva McGonagall. Figured. Hermione let out a defeated sigh and looked at her wristwatch. She still had some time to spare but she needed to make it quick.

"May I help you, Professor?" Hermione asked politely. She could never bring herself to hurt the woman albeit verbally.

"Hermione, where will you be going for the holiday? Who are you living with?" The older witch asked but her tone was stern and dubious.

Hermione did not like it one bit. "Where I go and who I socialise with, it's none of your business, right?" Her own voice was strict.

"It is! I am your teacher and—"

"A fact I would hate to be reminded of," she interrupted and scoffed at the woman who left her heart shattered not once, but twice.

"Hermione…" Minerva's tone changed to low and pleading, her eyes were watery. It made Hermione’s heart clenched in pain.

"No, Min. Please don't do this.” Hermione's own eyes filled with unshed tears but she withheld strong. “You have made it clear about where you stand and I respect that. It was not easy for me because you were my first rejection, my first heartbreak."

Minerva's tears started to roll down her cheeks. "Please forgive me…" she continued pleading.

Hermione looked around and was glad to see no one was near and can notice their presence there. She moved her thumbs to wipe Minerva's tears away before she moved closer to the woman and whispered in her face, "I have long forgiven you, Min. I just need some time." She kissed the woman on her forehead. "Merry Christmas, Minerva."

Hermione left the woman and hurried towards the station. She was the last to board the Hogwarts Express train and found an empty booth. She promptly sat near the window and let her familiar, Crookshanks to sit on her lap. Speaking with Minerva had evoked feelings left suppressed for a long time. She felt the urge to inflict pain but she had been better at controlling it.

Remember people who stayed by your side. Remember Rosmerta, remember Severus.

Hermione looked outside the moving train as she took deep breaths and felt herself calming down. Until a certain Weasley came barging into her booth.

"Oh look, the whore is alone. Mind if I sit?" He did not wait for an answer and sat close to her side. His arms circled her shoulders.

"Go away, Ronald." Hermione pushed him away hard.

"Mm, feisty today aren't you, slut? Playing hard to get?" He moved in closer again and forcefully kissed her ear and neck.

"I said. Go. Away!" Hermione pushed him with enough force that his back met with the wall of the booth.

Ron stood up and growled at her. "A dyke like you need the dick to set you straight!" He punched at her face and gripped her shoulders hard.

Sensing the distress of its owner, Crookshanks hissed and jumped over to the boy. He scratched on Ron's face and gripped hard at his head with his sharp claws, causing Ron to scream in pain as he grabbed the kneazle hard to pull it away from his face. Crookshanks let go but continued mewling angrily at him. Upon seeing the red marks and drops of blood on his face, Hermione laughed and saw Ron glared at her and her familiar before he stomped out of the booth.

"You'll pay for this!" He snarled before he left.

Hermione continued laughing as she picked Crookshanks up and snuggled in his fur. "Oh my hero, my saviour. Thanks, Crookshanks. I owe you my life."

Minutes later, Harry Potter and Ginevra Weasley came barging in.

"How dare you hurt my brother!" The red-haired girl shrieked.

Hermione flinched at the high pitch tone. "He deserves it." She merely shrugged her shoulders without a care in the world.

"What did you do to him?" Harry asked but his tone condescending.

Hermione smirked at them. "I didn't do anything."

"Then explain how did he get the blood and red marks on his face?" Ginny continued with her shouting.

Hermione flinched again. 'The girl really needs to know how to tone down her voice.' "Crookshanks, explain what you did to them, please." Hermione playfully asked her familiar as to mock them.

"What did he ever do to you?" Harry asked.

"Honestly? He harassed me." She spoke as a matter of fact.

"You must have seduced him, you whore!" Ginny grabbed her robe and pulled Hermione up. Her face was red with fury as she held tight on the robe.

"Go on, you know I am more than just a whore to all of you. What else is there — slut, dyke, murderer, Mudblood?" Hermione stared at the red-haired girl defiantly. She would not back out from this.

Ginny slapped her hard that her lips split and she could taste the blood at the corner of her mouth. Hermione growled and glared at the girl, ready to bounce back but she controlled her anger. Harry pulled Ginny away from her, good move.

"Why would Ron harassed you?" Harry asked confused.

'Wow, he really is a dimwit.' Hermione sighed inwardly. "Why don't you ask him?"

"Oh, don't you try to act innocent. You seduced him just to hurt him. You think of him as a toy and played with his heart!" Ginny went forward with the accusations she had heard from the rumours.

'I'm getting tired with this nonsense.' 

In a flash, Hermione pinned Ginny to the door with her wand pointed under Ginny's chin. The girl gasped and her eyes widened in shock while Harry immediately pointed his wand at the brunette, ready to do anything if need be.

"I am not going to hurt any of you but listen to me. I'm only going to say this once." Ginny struggled against her grip but Hermione pressed herself closer.

"Listen! Your precious brother, Ronald, was the one who started all of those rumours. Why do you think he did that, hmm? And out of all, only one is true. Yes, I'm a lesbian and no, he is not my type.” Hermione pressed even closer to the younger girl and spoke in her ears.

“So you tell me, Ginevra, why would I waste my time seducing him and play with his heart like a toy? There is no benefit to me at all. In fact, I would be glad to seduce you instead of him." Hermione whispered the last sentence in Ginny's ear with a pure unadulterated voice and saw the change of colour on Ginny’s face.

She smirked and hid her surprise well. "Now, you go back to the pity party of his and asked him for the truth. Whether he tells you or not, none of them is of any concern to me."

Hermione let Ginny go and went back to sit by the window. She clenched her quivering hands, not wanting anyone to see her in her vulnerable state. When the two left without a word, she let out a long breath and ran her shaking hands in her hair. Crookshanks jumped back on her lap to which she was grateful. Running her fingers through his fur was a kind of meditation and gave her serenity.

The serenity was brief as she apparently had another uninvited visitor. 'Why does the train ride today feel so long?'

It was Luna who came and sat opposite her. Hermione tried to ignore the blonde girl who was studying her. She continued scratching behind Crookshanks' ears while he slept on her lap.

"Did you kill your parents?" Luna blurted out after a moment of silence. Hermione froze and felt Crookshanks stirred from his sleep. She stared at Luna and saw only curiosity in her eyes. Luna may be weird but she was an honest person.

She took a deep breath before continued to look out the window again. "No, I did not kill my parents." She paused and saw the bobbing of Luna's head from the corner of her eyes but then she continued, "however, whether or not I was the reason for their deaths, that remains with the dead."

Luna tilted her head to her side. "Have you slept with a teacher?"

"No, I have never slept with any of the professors." Yet.

"Are you still a virgin?"

"No, I'm afraid not," Hermione smirked.

"Did you sell yourself for money?"

"Hmm, why would I do that when I have enough money for myself?" Hermione asked in return.

"Are you really a lesbian?"

'This girl is so honest and straightforward,' Hermione mused to herself. "Yes, Luna, I am a lesbian and proud of it." She winked at Luna and chuckled at seeing the blush on Luna's face.

"Why do you not like a man or a boy?"

"Men are fools and boys are plain stupid," she said as a matter of fact.

Silence engulfed them as Luna nodded and went to read her book. Hermione appreciated the end of 'twenty questions' game and reached for her own book to read. They sat in silence until the train arrived at Kings Cross station. Luna went out first but after she bid goodbye and Christmas wish to her. Hermione liked to be among the last to exit the train.


Hermione made it safe to Severus' cottage and plopped down onto her bed. She had been staying in the same room since the first time she came there. It had an overview of the backyard and was located very near to the back door. She could easily go out to the back whenever she felt constricted.

Severus had warded the house from any outsiders, not just muggles. Only people with his permission could come and go through the house. Even his floo was sealed most of the time. That was why she felt safe here. She had never felt bored in the house. She would either spend her time brewing and stocking up potions or reading in the backyard. Severus had plenty of books with a variety of genres she could read.

In fact, there was one book Hermione had liked so much and never got bored reading it many times. The title was 'Morgan Le Fay: The Once and Future Queen'. The book looked quite old and thick like an ancient journal. The story was interesting but the ending appeared to be hanging as if there should be a continuation of a series. She had asked Severus once about it but he only said:

"There is no continuation to the story yet, but maybe one day there will be. Who knows?"

The story was about the tale of Morgan Le Fay's life, who was the Queen of Avalon, from the moment she had met with her half brother, King Arthur, the ruler of Camelot. During the time, there were rumours that she had been trying to kill him or be a seductress to tempt him and make him commit adultery on his wife, Guinevere, or attempted to get the Caliber sword owned by the king and many more.

Morgan was a very powerful dark witch and a foe of Merlin. She had done many evil deeds but the moment she met and knew about her brother, she slowly changed. She valued his life as much as she valued hers. He was the only sibling she had left after all her sisters had died. Arthur was a good man and she had tried to do better for him, even befriending with Merlin.

One day, she had a vision of the future. Merlin had also told her about a prophecy he had regarding her and the future — where she will be reincarnated and able to be reborn anew and she will have Arthur by her side, along with her future soulmates. They will stand together in protecting and ruling the world or maybe her kingdom. But the story ended with her dying by ancient poison and she was not able to heal and save herself from her death.

Hermione wondered if the tale was true and if the powerful witch will one day be reincarnated. Will Hermione be able to witness the reign of a new Queen? What would that be like? Will she be as dark as Lord Voldemort or will she be someone who stands on the equality and justice of all creatures?

No matter, the focus now should be on the impending war of Voldemort versus Harry Potter. As long as Albus Dumbledore, the most powerful wizard still existed, Voldemort would not be able to win. Would he?

All those thinking made Hermione more tired so she took a nap. She woke up later in the evening and went downstairs to prepare for dinner. The basement consisted of the kitchen, a spacious dining room with a table for eight, and the apothecary, where several cauldrons were located and shelves full of potions and the potion ingredients.

A house elf appeared out of thin air. "Miss Hermione, would you like Lori to prepare for dinner?" She was wearing a simple pink gown and her hands on her stomach.

"It's okay, Lori. I feel like cooking today." Hermione smiled politely at the elf.

Lori pouted at her mistress, "Lori can cook for Miss, Lori likes to cook."

"I know, but would you be okay if I cook tonight? Please?"

Lori nodded defeated. "If you say so, Miss. Does Miss need any help? Can Lori help Miss?"

"I'll be fine, Lori, thank you for asking. Would you be so kind as to ask Severus if he will be coming home for dinner tonight? But please don't mention my name if he's with someone else. " Hermione inquired since she did not see the man in the house.

"Very well, Miss. Lori will go to Master Severus now." The elf immediately disapparated with a click of her fingers.

Hermione went about to cook dinner and while she was cooking, the house elf reappeared and told her that Severus will be coming home soon. Lori was a house-elf that Hermione insisted Severus to hire rather than owning her and he easily agreed.

Later while she was eating, Severus popped up into the house and shouted her name. "Downstairs!" She howled.

Severus came down and went to plate the dinner for himself and sat near her. "How was your train ride?" He asked, his body posture straight even while eating. He looked quite tense as if something was bothering his mind.

"Eventful as usual. A coward Weasley sobbing behind his best friend and sister. Nothing I couldn't handle." Hermione waved her hand.

He snorted. "Typical."

"You looked tense. What happened?" She looked at him who seemed hesitating before answering her.

"I had just come back from meeting with Dumbledore. It seemed Mr Weasley had been attacked in the Department of Mysteries."

"By You-Know-Who?" Hermione raised her eyebrow.

Severus shook his head. "His snake, Nagini."

"Wow, is he still alive? How did you know?" She was shocked by the news.

"Dumbledore told me and asked me if I knew about the attack, to which I answered the truth, I had no idea at all. Not everything that the Dark Lord does, I will have the information.” He said as he was chewing his food.

“Regardless, it was Potter who had the vision in his mind of attacking Mr Weasley and he immediately alerted the Order members. They are now safe in a safe house and I should be bringing them the potions to cure soon." He continued eating at a fast pace that it was a wonder he did not choke.

"Were you in distress because the Order accused you or because they are doubting you?" Hermione had finished her meal and was nursing a pumpkin juice.

Severus let out a heavy sigh. "Neither. Dumbledore asked me to train Potter in Occlumency since he seemed to have a mind connection with the Dark Lord."

Hermione chuckled. "Ah, I see. That will be quite troublesome indeed." She nodded her head.

"Enough about me. What are you planning to do this holiday?"

Hermione shrugged her shoulders. "Hmm, the usual stuff, I guess. Reading, brewing potions for you and maybe do some research. There's something that had picked my interest." She said the last part with an upward turn of her lips.

Severus raised his eyebrow and looked at Hermione with curiosity. "What is it?" He had finished eating and sipped on the red wine he had poured earlier.

"Just something about curing someone who had suffered permanent mental spells damage."

Severus accidentally sprayed the wine he sipped onto Hermione's face, who merely waved her hand and the mess was instantly cleared. He looked impressed as he dabbed his lips with a napkin. "Sorry. You don't mean—"

"Yes, maybe, I don't know. I haven't started anything yet and I certainly don't want to give any false hope to anyone, especially not to Neville." Hermione interrupted and finished lamely.

Severus nodded. "Tell me if you need help." He smiled warmly and received a grateful smile in return. "Are you still sure about going with me to the Malfoy Manor for Christmas party?"

Hermione furrowed her eyebrows at the change of topic. "Yes. Why? Should I not?"

Severus shook his head. "No. It’s good if you are still going because I have already informed Narcissa about you. Well, not exactly you, per se but about the distant cousin thing."

"Ah, no time to back off then. How did she take it?" Hermione moved closer to him as she was excited to hear the news.

"She was intrigued of this 'distant cousin' that I suddenly seem to have. I merely told her that we were not really in touch and haven't been for a while as you were really very little since the last I met you. She seemed to buy it though so I guess it will be okay. We can pull this off, I'm sure." He grinned at Hermione, feeling equally as excited as her.

Hermione felt gleeful, "well then, I guess we better start on those charms and disguises soon because I'm going to do the dress shopping possibly in the next two days."

"Where will you go shopping for the dress? Madam Malkin's?"

Hermione snorted. "Nonsense. Madam Malkin won't have what I'm seeking for. I'm thinking more of Twilfitt and Tattings." She grinned at him as his jaw dropped.

"No way. Narcissa always shop there!"

"All the more reason for me to go there." She winked at him.

"Girl, you got guts! Alright, we'll start on the disguise tomorrow. I need to go bring the potions now. Thank you for the lovely dinner." He kissed on her forehead before standing up and sent the dishes to the sink.

"My pleasure. Goodnight, Sev!"

Hermione went upstairs to start with reading before going to bed later. Tomorrow and the days to come would be fun, dared she hoped.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 5 – Christmas Eve at Malfoy Manor

The most dreaded day had arrived. Today was the Christmas Eve, which meant the Christmas Ball event will be held this evening — soon — at the Malfoy Manor.

Hermione had been living in anxious as the day was nearing. Severus and she had managed to come up with an acceptable look for the event tonight. He had commented on her try out on several different looks, saying sentences such as 'not enough aristocrat' and 'look more royal' too many times to count. He focused mostly on the face part while she improved her body figure quite a bit by herself.

She settled on changing her hair colour to black, making it straight with curls at the end, where she pulled them back in a tight ponytail so the curls beautifully danced down her neck.

Her skin had the colour of tanning, not too much but enough to shadow the pale of her skin. Her hollowed cheeks were no longer, they were a wee bit puffier but still thin to be called chubby or plumpy. Her nose a little sharp instead of the usual cute button nose and her pink lips soft but plumper and looked healthier. Her eyes remained the same, she would like to be able to retain at least that part of herself, except they were shinier and looked full of life.

She donned a beautiful velvety pure white off-the-shoulders dress and black high heels to match. A shining white pearl necklace was placed around her neck. She charmed her lithe body to be a bit in full figure so the dress hugged her curves deliciously. The dress also had a slit on the front left up to the middle of her thigh so her toned leg was on the shy of playing hide and seek.

All in all, she dressed to impress.

She went out of her room and met with a slack-jawed Severus. "You look stunning!" She blushed and clutched her purse where her wand was hidden inside.

"You look... the same," she countered.

Severus looked exactly the same as always. He never really cared about his outfit much. Except for this night, Hermione had asked him to forego his black robe that always seemed to sweep the floor. They had an argument but eventually, he gave up and reluctantly agreed.

"Ready, Ms Regina Haysiyet?" He offered his arm for her to grab. She nodded and proceeded to do just that.

"Of course, Severus. Lead the way."

The gut-wrenching feeling came as they disapparated away.

They were standing near a pair of wrought-iron gates of a large manor that were surrounded by high hedge running off to the distance. They could see an overgrown tent possibly in the garden of the manor. Lights illuminated the darkness that seemed to surround the manor and music could be heard even from the distance.

Hermione gasped upon the sight and came upon the reality of the situation. 'This is it. Tonight may be the last night I'll live. Everyone will know who I am. Everyone will be disgusted when knowing the Muggle-born that they hate will be present. I'm going to die, I'm going to die.' She was deep in her panic attack that she didn't realise her hand had been gripping hard on Severus' arm. Her free hand were clutching her purse tightly across her stomach.

Severus noticed the change in demeanour and made an effort to calm her down. He pulled her into his arms, careful of her appearance, and rubbed her back soothingly while whispering calm words. She seemed to come back to her senses and breathe deeply. Severus let her go and pulled her chin to look into her eyes.

"Do you want to go back?" He kindly asked her, letting down his mask briefly.

Hermione shook her head and smiled at him, "I can do this. I don't want to waste all this." She gestured towards her body. They both chuckled and he put his facade back on.

"Don't leave my side and if you feel uncomfortable, tell me. Don't wait or keep it to yourself." He spoke in a stern voice, and she nodded with understanding.

They started to walk through the gate, and Hermione felt the wall of magic when she passed through it. It seemed they had cast wards around the area and it was possible that she had been allowed entrance as Severus' guest. She wondered if the wards had intended to repel Muggles and Muggle-borns as she did not feel any rejection towards her, considering the blood she had.

They moved towards the tent where music had become louder and clearer as they got closer. They were stopped by a certain young blonde Malfoy who noticed of their appearances.

"Good evening, Godfather." Draco went to shake Severus' hand.

"Good evening, Draco." The boy looked at his godfather's side and was awestruck at seeing a beaut he had never seen before.

She smirked at him. Her face not betraying the pride she felt inside her chest.

"Draco, meet my cousin, Ms Regina Haysiyet. Regina, this is my brat of a godson, Draco Malfoy." He introduced them both.

"A pleasure to meet a lovely lady such as yourself." He took her right hand and kissed the back of her hand.

"Oh, Severus. Why would you call such a handsome gentleman, a brat? A pleasure to meet you too, Mr Malfoy." She winked at him playfully but her heart felt like vomiting.

'Oh, I'm so good at acting.' It made her laughed inside upon seeing the self-centred and bratty boy acting all good and gentleman kissing her and tried to impress her. He was such a hypocrite.

Severus tried to hold back his laugh but could not stop his snort. "Where are your mother, Draco?"

"Mother and father are talking to Mr and Mrs Greengrass. Allow me to lead you both to them." He seemed to not be able to stop staring at her as he spoke and led them away.

Hermione could easily saw Narcissa Malfoy even from the distance. She was beautiful in her elegant soft blue dress robe that brought out her blue eyes and hugged her curves deliciously. Her blonde with black streaks hair was pulled up in a tight bun, making her looked every bit the Ice Queen she was famously known as.

It looked as though Narcissa had also sensed her presence even before they were near to each other. The older witch was looking at her from top to down, back to top, all over her until she settled looking in her eyes again.

Hermione's heart was beating uncontrollably in her chest, and it was a wonder that she had not fallen down yet as her knees were getting weaker with each step she took. The trio stepped close to the little group who had stopped their chatting.

"Pardon me for the interruption mother, father, and Mr and Mrs Greengrass. Allow me to introduce Ms Regina Haysiyet, cousin of my godfather."

It seemed that Draco was quite taken on her, to make himself introduce her to the group instead of Severus. If the said man was taken aback by the gesture, he did not show it, but he simply raised his eyebrow and a small upturn of his lips in amusement. Hermione did not make any eye contact with Narcissa as she plastered a charming smile to the group.

"A pleasure to meet you, ladies and gentlemen. Please, call me Regina."

She extended her hand to shake with the lot, both the men kissed on the back of her hand while introducing themselves and complimenting her, to which she blushed slightly. Then she went forward for a cheek-to-cheek kiss with the Greengrass matriarch as she had read in a book about pure-blood customs. Draco introduced her to the two sisters, Daphne and Astoria. She was glad to see that even Daphne could not recognise her. She felt at ease and hope that her disguise tonight would not be discovered.

Suddenly the family took their leaves, saying they wanted to have a chat with other guests, while Draco took both sisters away to his group of friends. He promised to introduce her to them later. Lucius wanted to speak with Severus in private, possibly about the matter regarding their dark circle.

Severus looked at her, his eyes steely but she saw the flash of concern in them. He meant to ask if she would be okay to leave her with Narcissa alone. 'I'll be fine.' She said to him through their minds and he was surprised, but quickly masked his expression. 

'Okay, don't hesitate to call for help. And don't do what I wouldn't do!' Off he went. Hermione mentally smacked herself for his joke.

"So, Ms Haysiyet, was it?" Narcissa's voice broke the awkward silence.

"Oh, where is my manner? Forgive me, Lady Malfoy. It is such a pleasure to meet with you." She went to kiss the older witch on both her cheeks, slightly different kind of kiss compared to with Mrs Greengrass just now. She ignored the electricity coursing through her skin at the touch of her lips against the smooth skin of Narcissa’s.

"Thank you for having me, even though it was rude of me to invite myself to your event. You have a magnificent manor and garden. As stunning as the owner herself." She knew she was rambling and she blushed, her heart was beating erratically and she was glad the music was able to hide the sound from reaching the woman's ears.

Narcissa caught her rambling and blushing and raised her eyebrow, her lower lip was between teeth to bite back the amusement she felt. "Thank you, Ms Haysiyet. You look not so bad yourself. Can't say I'm not impressed." She looked at the girl up and down again, could not deny the strange feeling she had towards the stranger. She could only remember feeling that way towards one person — a person whom she could never be associated with.

"I totally could not defeat you in this department, or any department for the matter. You look like someone who would be successful in everything." Hermione smiled embarrass and tucked her stray hair behind her ear. She was flirting with the beautiful witch, and she could not stop it, damn it!

"And you appeared to me as someone who is intelligent and confident in herself. I'd like to invite you for a tour of our extensive library, but only if you would be interested in it. You are allowed to say no if it's not your cup of tea."

Narcissa saw a small fire lit up the girl's eyes and was glad to have made the offer. She did not know why she felt the need to bring the girl to her library, a place where she spent most of her time in, her personal space.

"I would love to, Lady Malfoy." Hermione smiled excitedly. It was a dream come true for her to be allowed in the Malfoy Manor's library since she knew they had more books than the library in Hogwarts. She had read the ranking that was once written in the Daily Prophet, and Malfoy Manor's library topped many.

As if on cue, Draco came to her mother’s side and looked between them. "Mother, may I ask for permission to bring Ms Haysiyet to my friends?" His smile was genuine and full of love towards his mother.

"The permission is not mine to give, Draco. Ask the lady herself." Narcissa's smile was equally affectionate and full of warmth. It was undeniable to see the love she had for her son, her only heir.

"Ms Haysiyet, may I introduce you to my friends?" Draco smiled at him and offered his arm for her to take. He really thought highly of himself, but she nodded nonetheless and politely took his arm.

"Well then, Ms Haysiyet, I will come for you later for the tour I have promised. Enjoy your night!" Narcissa smirked before she walked away with sway in her hips. Hermione managed to catch a glance of it as she was dragged away by Draco to a group of her fellow Slytherins.

"Guys, this is Ms Regina Haysiyet, the one I told you earlier. Ms Haysiyet, meet Pansy Parkinson—" the girl looked quite green with envy, probably at seeing her and Draco.

"Millicent Bulstrode—" who did not really give a damn about anything.

"Tracey Davis—" who looked at her in awe.

"Daphne and Astoria Greengrass, who you have met earlier—" they both smiled at her.

"Blaise Zabini—" whose head held high and eyes looked down on her.

"Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle," they both had their arms and mouths full of pastries. They were as worse as Ronald Weasley when they ate.

Hermione tried to hide her feeling of disgust and pent up loathe she felt since her first year being bullied by them. It did not do good to give a bad ‘first’ impression.

"Nice to meet you all. Please, call me Regina." She sent a friendly smile and waved her hand gracefully.

They all exchanged pleasantries, awkward and all. The boys were fools, she did not really need to act much to fool them, just threw some flirty comments or gestures and they were almost kneeling at her feet. But the girls were tough to crack, especially Pansy. However, complimenting them on their appearances and looks really did wonder, and soon enough they warmed up to her.

A new song started up in the background, Draco took the chance to ask her for a dance. "May I have the dance, Regina?"

She did not want to. She wanted to reject him and shooed him away. But she could not. Luckily for her, Severus came to her rescue.

"I believe I owe her first dance, Draco. Would you do me the honour, milady?" He bowed his head slightly and extended his hand. She chuckled and accepted the gesture. They both went to the dance floor and he started to lead.

"Everything alright so far, Regina?" He whispered close to her ear.

"I hope so. The brats didn't know me. And Draco, he's totally different. I feel like I want to vomit." They continued to dance, their face did not relay the feelings of the conversation.

"I think he has a teenager's crush. What about Narcissa? Did she notice anything?" Severus twirled her around and while doing so, her eyes caught up with the said woman, who was watching her intently.

There was a look in the woman's eyes that Hermione could not decipher. But she felt her body growing hot and burning to her core. She came back in Severus' arms and added more sway to her dance steps to make it sexier. Severus caught her intention and raised his eyebrow, but he totally supported her.

"I don't know, Sev. There's just something about her and I would like to explore more." She blushed at the smirk on his face.

"You're playing with fire, dear." As the song reached the end, he tilted her back parallel to the ground and she grasped hard at his hair. To the others watching, the pair were quite seductive and had just displayed a very sensual dance.

"I know. But I'm not me if I don't like to play with pain." She smirked at him as he pulled her back up. They were both panting and trying to keep themselves straightened out. The crowds cheered and clapped and Hermione was blushing furiously.

So she went to the cocktail bar and grabbed a glass of champagne before standing at a secluded area. 'I think I can make an exception for tonight'. She sipped slowly while trying to calm her heartbeat. The crowd had gone about to their business and Severus had gone somewhere again.

Suddenly she felt a presence behind her back, not too close but she could feel warmth radiated from the body. She felt goosebumps erupted on her neck. A smell of rich and sweet fragrance entered her nose, and she immediately knew who it was.

"You danced so well, Ms Haysiyet. It's as if you are trying to entice someone." A breathy voice whispered in her ear. The silkiness of the voice sent tingles through her spine. She clutched the champagne glass tight in her hand, careful not to break it.

"Lady Malfoy," she greeted and turned around. The intense look in the woman’s eyes took her breath away. She could not speak of anything else — neither could she breathe properly — as she saw the lust in the woman's eyes. It burned her inside and her own eyes started to darken.

"So, how about we proceed to the library, Ms Haysiyet?" And just liked that, the intensity had died down. She knew the feelings were still there, but it was suppressed. Hermione shook her head to get out of her trance and agreed to follow the woman.

Narcissa led her into the huge manor through the front entrance. The interior was as Hermione had guessed, large hallway dimly lit and sumptuously decorated. Pale-faced portraits lining along the walls of the entrance hall and a grand staircase stood in the middle. They walked up the staircase and turned left to the west wing, stopping in front of a huge gold decorated door and the lady owner led her inside.

Hermione gasped upon entering the room. The library was expansive and had two floors full of shelves with a vast amount of books. It was even larger than Hogwarts'; she could not see the end wall. A corner of the room was decorated as a lounge, with a big fireplace and several sofas and plush carpet covering the floor.

This was heaven. Hermione had found heaven, and she could die here. Her slack-jawed gave away her astonishment and excitement of being there, and Narcissa chuckled at seeing the look on her face.

"Make yourself at home." The blonde witch said before she proceeded to sit at one of the sofas. She called upon a house elf and asked him to bring some tea and snacks for her and her guest.

Hermione took her own sweet time wandering around the spacious library and immersed herself in the feeling of textures from different books and her favourite smell of parchments. She could get lost in here for ages and she would not even mind one bit.

She went back to the other occupant and took a seat on the opposite of the blonde. Crossing one leg over the other, the amount of skin of her leg was exposed through the slit in her dress. She caught Narcissa's eyes wandering on the display of skin and the lick of her dry lips. She cleared her throat and startled the woman.

"Would you like some tea, Ms Haysiyet?" Narcissa attempted to hide the blush forming on her neck.

"Yes, with two sugars, please." The woman handed her a cup of tea and she thanked her.

"What do you think about the library, Ms Haysiyet?" Narcissa asked as she sipped on her own tea.

"It was lovely, Lady Malfoy. I believe I had died and gone to heaven, or simply lost in the wonderland." Narcissa raised her eyebrow at the catch of phrase. She simply smirked and changed the topic.

"Honestly, I never knew Severus had a cousin before. He had never said anything about you."

'Here it comes.'

"The same goes for me too.” Hermione shrugged to make herself appeared nonchalant. “My parents had to go to Asia for their business, but I told them that I wanted to travel somewhere less cold but not as hot as the place they were going to visit. So they told me about Severus — a distant cousin I apparently had — and we started changing mails. He seemed to be kind and I can get what I wanted."

The lies had come easily to her, but it was still quite logical and believable. Hermione hoped Narcissa would buy it.

"Somewhere less cold? Where do you live?" Narcissa looked intrigued, so maybe she had taken the bait.

"In Geneva, Switzerland. We have our own wizarding world over there, just like here in London." The woman nodded her head.

"How are you finding London so far? Is it up to your expectation?"

"Of course! London is so lively compared to our place. I wished to visit other places too, but it seems that my excitement had diverted towards the lovely library that you have, Lady Malfoy." Hermione winked unabashed.

"Oh please, this is nothing much. But I do take great pleasure in my collections. I spend as much time in here compared to the other parts of the manor." Narcissa's eyes wandered around the vast room.

"Why is that, Lady Malfoy? Surely you have other places or activities that you find enjoyable, rather than being cooped up in here reading?"

Narcissa looked at her hands, seemingly hesitant to answer the questions. She was the Ice Queen, damn it! But the girl appeared to be able to read her easily.

Hermione saw the emotions running through the blonde's eyes, and decided not to probe more. She stood up and moved closer to the older woman, her hand touched that of Narcissa's.

"May I have this dance?" Narcissa raised her head and looked into the girl's sincere eyes.

"But there's no music," she said with a frown.

Hermione grabbed her hand and pulled the woman into her arms. She snapped her fingers, and suddenly soft music echoed around them. Narcissa was shocked, eyes widened at the display of wandless and wordless magic from the girl.

Narcissa moved closer to Hermione, putting one hand in the girl's and another on the hips, leading them through the music. Her skin tingled at the touch of the girl's hand on her shoulder. The young witch's breath hitched at their closeness.

"You never fail to impress, do you, Ms Haysiyet?" Narcissa's eyebrow raised and a smirk was plastered on her lips.

"I'm honoured, Lady Malfoy. But please, call me Regina." Hermione beamed with a chest full of pride.

'Yes, everything has gone well tonight.'

"Regina, huh?"

Narcissa twirled the girl around and closed their distance, her front met with the girl's back. Her hands circled the girl's stomach, and she could hear the heavy breathing coming out of the girl.

They kept swaying to the music.

Hermione intertwined her left hand with the woman's right hand on her hips, her right hand went up to touch the woman's neck. Her head fell on the shoulders behind her, every movement between them felt sensual to her. She felt the swell of breasts pressing into her back and warm breaths on her skin. She bit back a moan as she felt a soft pressure on her pulse point.

Narcissa kissed the girl's neck and up to her earlobe before she whispered, "but you're not Regina Haysiyet, are you?" She felt the girl stilled, and she continued with the doubt she had since earlier this evening. "In fact, I know who you really are." She grinned as she felt the girl had frozen completely.

Hermione's heart was beating even faster than before. Her eyes widened as the moment she had been dreaded, finally arrived. She tried to school her features, and slowly turned her body facing towards the older witch, taking a step back to create a distance between them. Her body had missed the warmth of the blonde woman already.

"I don't understand what you mean?" She tried to say in a calm voice, though a bit shaky.

"I said, you are not Regina Haysiyet, and I know who you really are." Narcissa stepped closer and Hermione stepped back, maintaining the distance.

She felt the fear and dread filled her heart. She needed to get away, now! Her back met the wall. She cursed inwardly.

"Who I really am?" She stuttered. Her whole body was shaking.

"Yes. You are Hermione Granger. A filthy Mudblood in disguise." Narcissa's scowled and looked at her in disgust.

Hermione's eyes widened in shock. "What— How?"

"Strangely enough, the only person who had ever evoked these feelings in me was you, Ms Granger. Since the moment I saw you for the first time in Diagon Alley years ago, I have yet to understand them and why. Why does it have to be you?"

Hermione could totally understand and relate to what Narcissa was saying. But what she did not understand was how Narcissa could see through her disguise? Maybe the witch was powerful enough to have that skill.

She jumped when both Narcissa's hands were on either side of her head. She was trapped! And Narcissa seemed to be getting closer to her.

'Severus! Help me!' She screamed in her mind.

"So I decided to indulge in your little game and waited to see when you would cower. But alas, you managed to up the game instead." Hermione froze as Narcissa was inching closer to her as she spoke.

'Severus! Please come now!'

Narcissa whispered in her ear, "but my dear, oh how ravishing you look tonight. You look as though you are willingly ready to be eaten." Her hand moved to touch the exposed skin of Hermione’s thigh.

Narcissa chose the wrong words to provoke the girl as Hermione suddenly screamed "NO!" and pushed her away. The girl went to her purse and searched for something. Her eyes and movements looked frantic, and Narcissa had her own wand ready in her hand.

Hermione pulled out a small blade instead. Her eyes no longer had the shine in them, but were filled with fear and loss. She looked like she was lost in her own world. She did not look at the blonde witch as her grip on the blade tightened.

The library door opened and Severus halted in his steps. He watched between the two witches, trying to grab a sense of the situation. Narcissa looked alarmed and confused, but Hermione was almost losing herself. He rushed towards the young witch.

"Hermione! Hermione, look at me!" He whispered harshly. He did not really care if the older witch heard him.

"No! Stop! Don't come closer!" Hermione pointed the blade at the two people she could see in her vision, but her mind could not register them. In her mind, the memory from the past came haunting her, taking her sanity that she was trying to grab.

"Hermione! Look at me! It's me, Severus. Please, Hermione, I am not him!" Severus wanted to grab the girl but she was still unable to recognise him. He could not risk what would happen if she lost control of herself, or yet to her demon.

"Stop! Nooo!"

"Please Hermione, come back to me..."

Hermione recognised the voice that kept calling her name. She slowly came back to her senses, realising where she was, and what had happened. She broke down at the thought of losing herself to her demon, to her dark past. She found Severus' pleading eyes and let out strangle cries.

Her knees gave in and she felt down to the floor. Severus immediately caught her and pulled her in his arms. He threw the blade away and lifted her up; her hands clutched on his shirt and she hid her head in his chest, wanting to feel invisible to the world.

"Let's go home."

Severus moved past the stunned Narcissa and rushed towards the front gate of the manor. They were grateful to not have any more encounter along the way, and he quickly disapparated them from the area.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 6 – The Told Prophecy

A ten-years-old Hermione was trapped on the stairs in a house. A dark figure was hovering over her, trapping her to the stairs and pinning her wrists above her head. The figure looked like a ghost with an inhuman face. Its eyes were big and hollow, and they were as dark as a black hole. It has no nose but its mouth was so wide that she felt like her soul could be sucked into it.

"Aren't you a pretty little thing? You look so good to be eaten!" It said with a voice so croaky and rough near her ears.

"You freak! Insolent witch!"

She screamed "NO!" as loud as possible, her eyes closed as she tried to get away from the looming figure.

When her eyes opened again, she realised that she was still trapped but the surroundings had changed. She was no longer ten-years-old, but fourteen. She was trapped in Hogwarts, on the astronomy tower where there was no one but only her and her captors. Her captors looked the same as the dark figure from before, except for the fact that it had multiplied in numbers.

"It's Levi-OH-sa, not Levi-yo-sa. You think you are so clever, aren't you, Mudblood Slytherin!"

"I heard she's trying so hard to impress the teachers because she wants to bed them!"

"Of course she gets good grades, she sleeps with the teachers!"

"Her parents were dead. I heard she killed them to sell their house!"

"I saw her kissing with a woman during summer. She's a dyke!"

"She's a whore too! I heard she sell herself for money."

"Slut! Be careful with your boyfriends, guys, she breaks their hearts and plays with them like toys!"

There were so many voices that kept repeating the words which had been haunting her life. Her body quivered with strong emotions and she felt so lifeless. She became a mess of tears and blood.

"STOP! Stopppp!"


Severus woke up to the sound of screaming and immediately jumped off the bed to rush to the source. He saw Hermione was screaming in her sleep and was thrashing about in her bed. She must have been having a nightmare.

He went to grab the young witch's shoulders and shook them, "Hermione, wake up! It's just a nightmare, Hermione!" He tried to wake her up.

Hermione woke up with a start. It was dark and she could not make out where she was. Her eyes blinking but as she saw a figure looming over her, she backed away and pulled her knees to her chest.

"No! Go away! Don't come close!" She screamed and hid her head in her knees, her hands crossed over her head as if trying to protect herself. She was trembling in fear, her body rocking back and forth.

"Hermione, it's me, Severus,” the man pleaded softly. “You just had a nightmare, Hermione. It's safe here. You are safe here. No one is going to hurt you, Hermione, I promise." Severus continued to plead to let the girl recognised his voice.

Hermione heard the pleas and slowly raised her head. She finally took in the familiar surrounding and saw her favourite man with his hand hanging in front of her, as he waited for her to initiate the touch. She jumped into his embrace and sobbed hard on his broad chest while he rubbed her back and raked her hair. She felt safe.

"Would you like some tea?" Severus asked after he felt Hermione had relaxed in his arms. Hermione nodded and he wiped her tears away before he pulled her up and off the bed. They made their way to the living room and he let her curled up on the sofa, giving her the space she needed.

Severus called for Lori and asked her to prepare tea and also to bring the Calming Draught potion. Lori empathised her Mistress’ state of distress and she immediately disappeared and reappeared soon enough with the items asked. Severus thanked her before he poured the tea for both of them; Hermione seemed to be staring outside the window.

They sat in silence; minutes turned to hours. He did not dare to ask anything if the girl was not willing to share and Hermione appreciated his understanding.

"It was the rumours. I thought I was able to forget them or let go of the past, but they kept haunting me back." Hermione's low voice became loud in the silence of the night.

Severus had his head laid against the back of the sofa, his eyes opened as he stared at nothing on the ceiling. "Something must have triggered them. Was it Narcissa?"

Hermione nodded even if Severus was not able to see it. "She knew who I was."

"I should have known." He sat up straight and took the girl's hand in his. "I'm sorry, Hermione, for putting you through all that."

Hermione watched as his thumb rubbed the back of her hand soothingly, it calmed her. "It's not your fault for what she said, Sev." She shook her head at him.

"It is my fault for leaving you with her when I promised to never leave you and to protect you. It is my fault for bringing you there in the first place. I regret putting you in danger like that." Severus looked down and his eyes betrayed the emotions he felt.

Hermione squeezed his hand and shook her head. "No, Sev. You have been protecting me for years and I know you try your best to keep your promise. You have done wonderfully, in fact. It was my own stubbornness to follow my heart as I have always done. Totally not your fault, but thank you for coming to get me before I lose all my senses and let the demon take over."

Hermione shivered at the thought of what might have happened if she let her demon lose control. Will Narcissa still be alive? Will she herself still be alive? Nevertheless, she did not want to think about the 'what ifs' and was grateful that nothing bad had happened.

"You have a very big and kind heart, Hermione, and you will not easily lose yourself to your demon. You are a very strong and powerful woman." Severus pulled her into his arms and rubbed on her arms. Hermione did not know what to say so she just let the silence engulfed them again.

The morning sun came out of the horizon and both did not fall asleep afterwards. Severus suggested her to go for a bath while he went downstairs to fix them breakfast.


After her long and satisfying bath, Hermione came out of the room with a wrapped box in hand. She went to the living room with the intention to put the box under the Christmas tree that they had, but when she saw Severus sitting in the armchair and was reading the Daily Prophet, she decided to just start the day with their gift giving.

She walked straight to the man and kissed his cheek. "Merry Christmas, Sev!" She handed the box to him and received a smile in return.

Severus took off the wrapper carefully and opened the box. From inside the box, he took out a thick woollen muffler and grinned at Hermione. It was coloured in black and two shades of green — a true Slytherin style — and had his name embroidered at the end with a small image of potion next to his name. He wrapped it around his neck and found that he liked the comfiness it brought.

That was not all, he then took out a pair of shiny black shoes. He had been wanting to buy a new one but did not have the time to go shopping by himself and it seemed that Hermione noticed it and went to buy for him instead.

"You didn't have to, Hermione. But thank you." He told her and the girl merely shrugged in reply. He wore the new shoes and liked the feel of them wrapping his feet. "When did you buy all these?" He asked and gestured towards the thoughtful gifts.

Hermione grinned and said, "remember when I went for the dress shopping? I had enough time to buy some gifts for you and other people."

Severus went to hug the girl and kissed on her forehead. "Thank you, Hermione. And Merry Christmas to you too." He pulled out a small box from the pocket of his robe and gave to her.

Hermione looked at it before her hands went to unwrap it. Her eyebrows raised as she held a velvety blue box, the kind of box that usually held something precious and meaningful.

"Are you proposing to me, Sev? Because if you do, I would hate to say that I can't accept it." She playfully nudged his shoulder, and he snorted at her.

"As if. I know your taste already, Hermione. Just open it."

Hermione pulled the box open and saw a shiny platinum ring with an engraving on it. She took the ring out and noticed that it was attached to a thin white gold chain necklace. She inspected the engrave that sort of had the symbolic coat of arms; a shield in the centre with two swords crossed at its back. On the shield was a red apple with a crown, and surrounding the shield were another five red apples.

"Severus, it's beautiful! What is this?" Hermione looked at him in awe as she felt a tug in her heart and her intrigued self had already become interested in the ring.

Severus took the ring with its chain from Hermione and sat down on the sofa, the girl then joined beside him. He traced his finger on the insignia and let out a deep breath before he said, "you might not believe this, but this ring was made and owned by the ruler of Avalon, Queen Morgan herself."

Hermione’s jaw dropped to the floor.

"Do you remember 'Morgan Le Fay: The Once and Future Queen'?" Severus looked at Hermione even though he knew she had already read it many times. He saw her nodded her head but her eyes portray the confusion. "Can you recall the prophecy that was written in the book?"

Hermione nodded again, cleared her throat and recited a certain section in the book.

"The queen from the dark will be born anew. Though born in the pure, she will be hidden in the dirt. She will have the beauty and the mind with the most knowledge. She will be cast aside, and she will be torn apart. In the brink between life and death, she will meet her five counterparts. Only together then their souls are complete. The queen from the dark will be born anew. Side by side, they will rule what is theirs."

Severus nodded his head and showed her the insignia. "The Queen made the ring and drew this insignia after she had heard of the prophecy. Look, the royal apple was to represent Her Majesty. The swords and shield, can you guess who they belong to?" He asked as he returned the ring to her.

"Her brother, King Arthur?" Hermione tilted her head.

"Correct. And the five apples? They represent her soulmates," He said.

Hermione's mouth went wide again as she took in the information. She loved the story and had always wished to be able to meet the Queen herself if she was to be reincarnated. She never thought it would be real but the existence of the ring that was given to her, made it all felt so surreal and real all the same.

Given to her? 

But Hermione was no queen. It did not feel right for her to accept this important and precious ring that held so much meaning to it. "But Sev, why did you give it to me? If they are real — the ring, the tale, the prophecy — surely the Queen herself would want to have the ring back. And where did you even get it from?"

'Oh, Hermione. You can't even figure it out yourself, can you?' Severus thought to himself. "I can't tell you where and how I got it but I think you are the right person to keep it until the right time comes. Plus, you love reading the book so I thought you would appreciate the gift." He faux pouted at her.

"Oh, Sev, I love it! It is so beautiful, and I feel so honoured to be trusted with holding such a precious ring. Would you be so kind as to put the necklace on me?"

Hermione pulled up her hair and turned her back towards him. The moment he clasped the necklace and the ring fell to her chest, she felt her magic riled up before an immense amount of calmness washed over her. She turned back to the man and hugged him tightly, "thank you, Sev!"

They went to eat the breakfast he had made earlier but her fingers could not stop playing with the ring, tracing the engrave every time. The day was spent with them working with potions together.


Hermione woke up from her nap and noticed the time was now four o'clock in the evening. She washed her face and went to get ready for her evening plan. She will be meeting with Nymphadora Tonks in an hour as they had planned, and the auror will then bring her to her parents' house.

Anxious filled Hermione’s heart as this would be the first time for her to meet with them. She opted out with simple jeans and a long sleeve shirt with a sweater and a denim jacket to complete the look since the Tonks family was living in the muggles neighbourhood. She made quick work with packing her sleepwear and another pair of clothes in her enchanted small sling bag before she went out of her room and saw Severus who was reading in the study.

"Are you sure about going out tonight?"

She heard him asking with concern laced in his voice and eyes. "Yes, Sev. I have already made the plan for weeks. I'll behave, I promise," she smiled lovingly at him.

"What if you have another nightmare?"

"Let us hope not. I will try not to think about anything that can trigger it."

"You really are stubborn, do you know that?" Severus huffed at her persistence.

Hermione merely chuckled and went to kiss him on his cheek. "Thank you for worrying about me when I don't even worry about myself."

"Yes, yes, you insufferable git." They both laughed.

"You love me for it." She teased him while grinning happily.

Severus hummed in response and smiled at her, his eyes filled with love at the girl. "Stay safe," he reminded her.

Hermione left the house via floo network and appeared on the Diagon Alley. There were not many people here and most shops were closed too on this occasional day but will probably be resuming their operations tomorrow.

Soon enough Hermione saw a woman in bubblegum pink hair was walking in her direction. The woman accidentally tripped on her walk and almost fell down but quickly straightened herself. She then turned around and scowled at the nonexistent thing that was hindering her walk.

Hermione giggled at her clumsy friend's antics and waved her hand. "Tonks!"

Nymphadora Tonks beamed when her eyes met Hermione’s. "Wotcha, 'Mione! How have you been? God, I've missed you!" Nymphadora Tonks got closer and they hugged each other.

"I'm fine, thank you. I've missed you too, Tonks. Oh, Merry Christmas!" Hermione was beaming with joy.

"Merry Christmas to you too, 'Mione! Come on, let's go home. Mom and Dad have been excited to meet you." Tonks grabbed Hermione's hand as she pulled her into a side-along apparition.

They appeared in a secluded area of a Muggles neighbourhood. Hermione followed Tonks as she approached a nice looking two-stories house, and her mind recalled the memory when she first almost went to the house a couple of years ago. They went inside the front gate and through the small garden only to stop by the front door.

"Welcome to the Tonks' house!" Tonks said joyfully.

As Tonks went to grab the door, it was suddenly opened from the inside and she almost fell down again. Except she did not because she was stopped by a pair of hands holding her upright.

"Watch it, Dora." A man's voice greeted them.

“It’s your fault, Dad, you scared me,” Tonks said and went to hug him. The pair of daughter and father chuckled.

"You must be Hermione Granger. I'm Ted Tonks, Dora's father." The man was quite tall with fair hair and a big, round belly.

"Nice to meet you, Sir. I'm sorry for disrupting the family time you have on this special day." Hermione said politely as she shook his hand.

"You will find that you are very welcome here, Ms Granger. Every good friend of my daughter is welcomed to our house. Come in! Make yourself at home." He led them both inside the house and into the living room. Tonks grabbed Hermione's hand and they sat side by side on the sofa, with Hermione in the middle and Tonks at one end. Mr Tonks was sitting in another armchair.

"Oh, let me go get Mom. She must be in the kitchen." Tonks jumped and went out of the room.

Hermione let her eyes wandered around the room; it was simple with only a few pieces of furniture decorating the room but it felt warm and cosy. There were a few picture frames placed above the fireplace but Hermione could not make out the images from the distance.

"You have a very lovely home, Mr Tonks." She smiled at the patriarch.

"Thank you, dear, but it was all thanks to my darling wife. She's the one handling the decorations and stuff. If you know my daughter, you'll know that most of her clumsiness and messiness come from me." He joked and they both chuckled.

Hermione heard voices coming from the entrance of the living room and watched as Tonks was fussing with a woman who she assumed to be the pink haired girl's mother. The woman walked into the room with a smile on her face and her eyes landed on Hermione's.

Time seemed to freeze the second their eyes met. Hearts skipped a beat and strange feelings evoked from inside them as they stared at each other. Hermione heard the soft gasp coming from the woman and almost let out one herself.

She saw the woman accidentally released the tray full of cups of tea and snacks to the ground, but Hermione instantaneously caught them in the air with her wandless and wordless magic. With a careful and deep concentration, she slowly moved them towards the coffee table in the centre of the room and let out a deep breath.

She looked around and saw the three occupants were looking at her with wide eyes and mouths agape.

Uh oh!

"Woah, that was so cool, ‘Mione! What a fast reflex! Do you play quidditch? You should be a chaser." Tonks commented excitedly and sat beside her again.

Hermione blushed and played with her fingers. "Sadly, I fail at flying, Tonks," she replied lamely. Hermione felt a dip in the sofa next to her and saw the woman sat gracefully at the other end of the sofa, near to the armchair where her husband was.

"I'm sorry, Ms Granger. Believe me, I usually am more careful than that.” Hermione smiled nervously at the woman, her heart beat rapidly inside her chest as she could smell the woman’s perfume.

“It’s alright,” she stuttered.

“My name is Andromeda. It's nice to finally put the face to the name as Dora had been talking about you for years," Andromeda said with a grateful smile on her lips. She had a beautiful fair face with a sharp jaw, light brown curly hair and a pair of soft brown eyes, and she had lovely nude colour lips. Hermione was transfixed at the beauty of the woman.

"Hermione Granger, a pleasure to finally meet you — both of you, Mr and Mrs Tonks." Hermione's instinct kicked in and she went to kiss the woman on both her cheeks.

She remembered Tonks once mentioned about her mother's background before marrying her father. Andromeda was from a pureblood family — the Black family — and a sister to Bellatrix and Narcissa.

They both seemed to freeze for a second or two as they felt the electricity that was running through their skin. Andromeda jolted back to reality and offered them the tea and snacks. The group chatted about and Hermione learned more about the Tonks family.

All while she tried to ignore the butterflies running through her stomach and the tingles she felt from the close proximity between her and the older witch.


Throughout the night, Hermione had heard about Mr Weasley's condition. She had forgotten to ask Severus about it but Tonks seemed fine with telling her. Tonks also told her that Harry Potter was currently living with the Weasley's family at the Order's safe house, even though Hermione knew she was not supposed to know about it.

"Hey, Tonks?" Hermione called her friend's name as they were lying in Tonks' bed after they had settled for the night.

"Yeah?"

"Do you still remember our first time meeting each other?" Hermione looked at the auror who blushed and laughed as she recalled the memory.

The first time Hermione met Tonks was during the summer when Hermione was working at Madam Rosmerta's. Tonks had come in one night after she had just finished with her auror training for the day, saying that she was exhausted and wanted to get drunk to release her stress. Hermione had served the girl a light snack and was forced to accompany her since there were not many people in the establishment.

They chatted throughout the night and got to know each other. Hermione learned that Tonks was a good person, kind and hilarious. Tonks had told her the many obstacles she faced in her training to become the auror, to which Hermione replied that she had no interest in becoming one.

True to her words, Tonks managed to get herself heavily intoxicated. Hermione did not think the girl could go back home, thus she brought her up into the room she resided in the inn. She transfigured the auror's clothes into comfortable sleepwear and let her slept on the bed, while she herself slept through the remainder of the night on the sofa instead.

Hermione woke up the next day to the sound of Tonks throwing up the content of her stomach. She gave Tonks a glass of water but Tonks was still groggy and confused, she did not know where she was and how had her clothes changed. Tonks panicked as she thought that she had done something inappropriate to Hermione on the night before but she could not remember anything about it. Hermione decided to use the chance to tease her, saying things like Tonks had taken her innocence and she even had fake tears running down her face. Tonks' face paled at the obscene thought, so she apologised profusely and had promised to take responsibility for her action.

Hermione had laughed out loud before telling Tonks the truth, to which Tonks joined in on the laughter. They went for breakfast together and had Madam Rosmerta joined them. Before they were separated, Tonks promised to keep in touch with her and she had kept to her promise until this day.

"You were a sly fox, 'Mione. Still are. I can't believe you tricked me into believing that we had sex together!" Tonks rubbed her face as she laughed at the memory and Hermione giggled beside her.

"'Mione, have you ever met my mom before?" Tonks suddenly changed the topic after their laughter had died down.

Hermione felt the butterflies in her stomach at the mention of the older witch. "No. Why?"

Tonks hummed and said, "Nothing. I just thought that maybe both of you had met before since Mom had been acting so weird tonight. She has always been prim and proper, careless was never in her dictionary.” Tonks looked deep into Hermione's eyes as she tried to figure out the mystery. “And I noticed that she had been staring at you throughout the night. She tried to be subtle about it but failed terribly."

Hermione’s eyes fluttered briefly before she looked up at the ceiling. "I don't know what to say, Tonks. I'm sorry but trust me, tonight was the first time I saw her." She sighed.

Tonks let go of the matter and bid her goodnight. Soon enough Hermione could hear the calm breathing and little snoring from the metamorphmagus.

But sleep had not come to her.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 7 – Payback Is A Bitch

In the silence of the night, Hermione was deep in her thoughts about her life up until now. One could say that she had been through many difficulties as she grew up. She had been thrown around by many people since she was a kid and no one wanted to befriend her. No teachers wanted to take her seriously and her parents were not her parents, for they had thrown their lives away because of her.

She was lucky to have Nymphadora, Madam Rosmerta, and Severus in her life. They were the only people who could accept her, flaws and all. They were the only people who loved her and would stand by her and she will forever be grateful. Then her thoughts ran in circles between Minerva, Fleur, Narcissa, and Andromeda.

Hermione remembered the feeling of falling in love with Minerva as she watched the woman's sweet smile and heard her genuine laughs. She loved the soft touches coming from the woman. She remembered feeling the butterflies in her stomach and the throbbing of her heart as they looked into each others' eyes. She remembered the smell of ginger newts and firewhisky associated with her.

Hermione remembered the compassionate look in Fleur's eyes as they were talking with each other. She remembered the secret nights' conversations and the stealing gazes from across the room. She remembered the Veela’s warmth and the feel of skin meeting skin. She remembered the feeling of her heart melting as she watched the French girl reached her peak. She remembered the smell of salty sea air and sweet French macarons on the Veela.

Hermione remembered the steely gaze from the opposite end of a shelf in Flourish & Blotts. She remembered the small distance on the benches next to the quidditch pitch. She remembered the silky voice whispered in her ears. She remembered Narcissa's icy blue eyes that were turning black with lust. She remembered the feeling of their bodies fit together. She remembered the smell of old books and sweet daffodil coming from the Ice Queen.

Hermione now thought of the feeling of heat and electricity as her skin touched with Andromeda. She remembered the effort of trying to maintain her breath when in reality, she could have died from being choked by nothing. She remembered the intense look that was sent to her from the woman. She remembered the smell of fresh laundry and home-cooked meals associated with the witch.

Hermione could not understand her heart. How could she have such intense feelings towards multiple women, yet they did not feel like simple infatuations or girl crushes to her. Was it even normal or was there something wrong with her? She needed to understand what was happening to her, maybe she should talk about it with Severus or Rosmerta. Perhaps they could give her some insights.

Hermione hated herself for having questions with no answer and she wondered if she could find the answers she sought in any book. She had read plenty of books and thought that she should have encountered one or two about the matter by now. Alas, she felt stressed out and decided to go get some fresh air.

Hermione got off the bed and went down the stairs while trying to make as little noise as possible. As she was making her way to the front door, she heard a small noise coming from the living room. She tiptoed to the room and saw Andromeda Tonks sitting on a sofa with one hand was holding a photo frame and the other hand was tracing on the photo.

Hermione's breath hitched as she saw the tracks of tears on the woman's cheeks and she noticed the whispered sobs coming from her. Even when crying the woman was still beautiful. Shaking her head from her thought, she realised she had been intruding on a private moment, but she could not bring herself to move away. Instead, her heart insisted on her to go and comfort the woman from her misery.

So Hermione walked closer to the matriarch without making any sound. She slowly lowered herself close to the older witch and pulled her into her arms. Her heart started to pick up the pace but she ignored it as it was not the right time to indulge in her feelings.

Andromeda did not hear anyone coming and was honestly surprised when suddenly the seat next to her dipped and she was engulfed in someone's arms. The body spooning her was small and lithe, hence she recognised whose immediately.

She wanted to pull away, but she could not deny feeling comforted by the warmth and slow rubbing on her back. She hid her face in the girl's neck and her hands went to grip the girl's back. She took in the smell of new parchments and freshly mown grass, and something dark but equally heady.

Feeling bold, Hermione pulled the woman closer and raked her fingers through the light brown hair while sometimes scratching the scalp. She felt confused by her own actions but at the same time, she felt weirdly normal for doing this to the woman who she had just known for not even a day yet.

She tried to maintain her breath but it was quite difficult to do so as she felt the warm breaths and subtle brushes of lips on her neck. She was sure Andromeda could hear the loud thump of her heart from their current position.

After a while, they slowly pulled away from each other and Hermione wiped the tears on wet cheeks. They were both lost in each others' eyes — neither minded the small distance between them — until the sound of thunder broke their trance. They jumped apart and Hermione created a larger distance between them. Previously, she felt wrong for intruding but now she felt like she should retreat from the room.

"Forgive me… for intruding your privacy. I'll get going now." Hermione stood up and turned away, but she stopped when long fingers caught her wrist. She looked at the captor.

"Please, don't go."

Andromeda's soft pleading voice tugged on her heart, so Hermione nodded and sat close to the woman again. She played with her own fingers as silence engulfed them until she saw a movement from her side.

Andromeda was tracing her fingers on the moving photo of three girls, where the eldest in the centre looked about 11 years old while the youngest was about 7 years old. The eldest with black wild curly hair was wearing the Hogwarts robe.

Hermione recognised the middle and youngest sisters immediately. The middle sister was the exact copy of the eldest except for her light brown hair and soft brown eyes shining through. The youngest had a straight blonde with black streaks hair and piercing blue eyes. Hermione knew they were all the famous Black sisters.

"Do you miss them?" She asked softly, but then she knew Andromeda's fresh tears were enough as an answer. She squeezed Andromeda's hand as a mean to deliver the understanding and compassion and strange enough, love, towards the woman.

"They will never forgive me…" Andromeda's voice was full of regrets and pain that sliced through the girl's heart.

"One day they will see the love. They will understand." Hermione silently promised to make her words come true. One day, she will make sure it happens.

"Who are you, really, Hermione Granger?"

Hermione let the woman go and laid back against the sofa as she frowned and sighed deeply. "I don't even know myself anymore." She wanted answers for herself but she was clueless and did not know where to search. She felt frustrated with herself and she hated it.

"Tell me more about this, please?" Hermione looked at Andromeda and gestured towards the photo.

Andromeda nodded as she recalled the stories of her childhood. They both spent hours talking with each other.


Hermione woke up to the sound of clattering in the kitchen and she noticed that she had fallen asleep next to Andromeda on the sofa. Her head laid on the woman's shoulder and she seemed to have snuggled into the older witch's side.

She pulled away slowly, and the woman stirred in her sleep before she laid still again. Hermione laid her down gently on the sofa and conjured a blanket with her free hand to cover the light brown haired witch. She then went into the kitchen and saw a clumsy Tonks was trying to make breakfast but failed terribly, so she took over and asked the pink haired girl to sit in a chair.

"Wotcha, 'Mione. You sleep okay?" Tonks asked with a grin on her face.

Hermione blushed and nodded. "Were you watching?"

Tonks seemed to catch the meaning of her words and nodded. "I woke up and realised you weren't in the room. So I rushed down and saw you and Mom together. You both looked peaceful in your sleep so I didn't want to disturb."

Hermione went to boil water to make tea and cracked some eggs to make scrambled eggs for breakfast. Then she proceeded to fry some bacon strips and a few slices of bread were left in the toasters.

"You guys weren't shagging or snogging, right?" Tonks asked and made a gagging noise.

Hermione playfully smacked the girl's head. "No, Tonks, we didn't."

"Good, good. I don't want to imagine," Tonks said as she bobbed her head.

"Your mother is married, Tonks. I am not a heartbreaker," Hermione said in a straight tone, but then she bit her bottom lip as she realised the insinuation of her words.

"Ah, I see. It's because she's married, eh?" Tonks raised her eyebrow at the brunette while her lips showed an amused smile.

Hermione glared at her friend, "Tonks… Don't you dare-"

"Good morning, girls! Such a lovely smell, what do we have here?" Ted came in followed by his wife, who was trying to tame the mess of her hair. Andromeda looked up and her eyes met with Hermione's. They both shared soft smiles and light blushes painted their cheeks.

Unbeknownst to them, Tonks was watching their every move.

Andromeda went behind Hermione to grab some plates from the cupboard above them and she gave a dish plate to Hermione to fill it with the breakfast assortments. The sight of them moving in sync with each other looked very domesticated. Not a moment later, four plates were filled with toasts, eggs, and bacon strips, and cups were filled with tea.

Andromeda went to sit beside Ted, while Hermione sat next to Tonks, opposite to the older witch. They made light conversation while they ate until suddenly Hermione felt a soft brush along her calf that had her choked on her food and coughed. The movement on her leg stopped momentarily but did not seem to pull away.

"Are you alright, Hermione?" Andromeda's voice showed faux concern.

'Oh, you bet, you sly witch!' Hermione glared at the beautiful but cunning woman. "Yes, of course. I'm sorry Tonks, what did you say?" She turned back towards her friend and ignored the sly smirk she saw from the corner of her eyes.

The soft brushes continued and sent tingles up her core but she did not want to let the woman know. She tried hard to act normal, to ignore and to contain the shivers that ran through her body. After quite a while, the movements stopped altogether and Hermione let out a breath of relief, but she also felt a bit sad at the loss of heat when the foot pulled away.

"Oh, I just remembered! Tonks, may I ask you for a favour?" Hermione asked as she suddenly recalled something in her mind.

Tonks smiled warmly at her as she said, "of course, ‘Mione. I would do anything for you, my dear friend. What is it?"

Hermione smiled sheepishly in return. Ted had excused himself from the room and Andromeda had stood up to wash the dishes but was somehow reluctant to leave the girls.

"Do you think you can access the age register in the ministry? I have been using a time turner for a while now and would like to know if it has any effect on my real age. Could you please check it for me?" Hermione batted her eyelashes as she made the request.

Tonks chuckled and nodded her head. She patted the brunette's head and said, "sure! I'll let you know as soon as possible."

"Thank you so much, Tonks! I owe you one." Hermione squealed excitedly as she hugged her friend.

"You owe me nothing but I'll cash in if I have anything I want from you." Tonks winked and they both chuckled. They finished their meal and washed the dishes afterwards.


After she was done with the shower later, Hermione readied herself to leave and to continue with her day. She pulled out three gifts and made her way downstairs to the living room. She gave one gift to the Tonks patriarch — it was a black leather belt.

"I wanted to buy you a vintage wine but due to me being underage, I was still not allowed to. Sorry," She said and smiled sheepishly at Ted.

"This is fine, dear, thank you very much! Sorry that I don't have any gift for you but please, do come again anytime! You are such a darling to all of us," Ted winked and pulled her in for a hug.

Hermione stood frozen at first but then realised that Ted was not the same as the other men. In fact, he had shown nothing but kindness and was like a fatherly figure to her, so she hugged him back.

Then she went to give a handmade woven friendship bracelet to Tonks. "It's a friendship bracelet," she said as she showed another one on her own wrist. Tonks' was black and yellow and hers was black and green. Both had the shapes of hearts on them.

"Why is mine black and yellow?" Tonks asked in confusion.

"Because you were a Hufflepuff?" Hermione replied equally confused. She had thought that Tonks would like those colours since she was a Hufflepuff.

"If it is a friendship bracelet, I should wear yours and you should wear mine, 'Mione. Then people can know that I'm your friend and you're my friend, silly." Tonks said with a logic that she had not thought of before.

"You're right. Sorry." Hermione giggled and took off her own bracelet before she tied it on Tonks' wrist. Tonks did the same to her and they embraced tightly. "I'll go meet your Mom before I leave," Hermione said. Tonks nodded in return so she left to search for the older witch.

Hermione found Andromeda sitting in the small library they had in the house with a book in her hands. She cleared her throat to get the woman's attention.

Andromeda looked up from her book and saw the young witch smiling and blushing at her. She smiled back warmly and beckoned the girl to sit with her.

"Are you leaving now?" She asked and Hermione nodded. "Why so soon?" Her eyebrows furrowed. Did she make Hermione feel uncomfortable?

Hermione played with her fingers as she said, "I have somewhere else I need to go to. Sorry, Mrs Tonks."

"Andy."

"Pardon?" Hermione tilted her head in confusion.

Andromeda tucked the stray hair behind the girl's ear, cupped her cheeks and looked into her eyes. "Call me Andy, please," she said softly.

Hermione bit her bottom lip and felt a blush rising up her neck. "Andy,” she whispered softly. She swore she could see and feel the shivers on Andromeda’s body.

“Here, this is something for you. I didn't know what you like but I hope you can accept this.” She ignored the warmth on her face and handed a box of gift to the woman.

Andromeda opened the gift and saw a beautiful and shiny white gold bangle that was filled with shapes of 'S' and diamonds scattered all around. Her eyes widened and her hand covered her mouth at the sight.

"Hermione, this is too much for me!" She looked at the brunette, whose smile dissipated and was replaced by a sad look on her face.

"I see. I was being presumptuous, please forgive me. Just…keep it." Hermione stood up and turned to leave with a heavy heart. Her steps faltered when she was suddenly engulfed in an embrace from behind.

"I'm sorry, Hermione. I haven't received such a precious gift for a while. It must have been expensive for you, isn't it?"

Andromeda's voice was shaking in her ear so she slowly turned around to face the woman. Her hand cupped the woman's cheek as she expressed the sincerity in her voice, "nothing is expensive to match the beauty of the wearer. I bought it because I can and because I thought you might like it. Forgive me for assuming."

Andromeda leaned into the touch, her hands fell to the girl’s waist. "You assume right, my dear. I love it, thank you. Mind putting it on me?"

Hermione beamed happily and took out the bangle before she put it around the woman's right wrist. As she put the clasped on, she instinctively pulled the wrist to her lips and kissed it, just a shy near her gift.

She heard a gasp coming from the taller woman and her head raised to see the darkened look in Andromeda's eyes. Her own eyes darkened as she switched between looking at the eyes and the nude lips that seemed to be getting closer and closer to her own lips.

Hermione's heart was beating fast and she could feel the blush covered her neck and face now. Feeling bold, she closed their distance and kissed on the corner of Andromeda's lips. Her lips lingered for a few seconds before she moved further in towards Andromeda’s ear and whispered in a breathy voice, "payback for this morning." She finally let the stunned woman go and threw a wink at her before she hastily left the room and met with Tonks, who was waiting for her at the front door.

'Payback really is a bitch.' She grinned and they left the house.


Hermione stood in Diagon Alley, just around the corner where Diagon Alley met with Knockturn Alley. Tonks had left her a minute ago and she decided to go to Borgin & Burkes to search for something that might provide help to her research.

As she was walking, she looked up at the huge white distorted building with tall and big pillars — the Gringotts Bank. She did not know what caused her to look at it this time since she usually just ignored it.

However, as she looked at the entrance of the building, she saw a familiar figure from the distance. A certain silvery-blonde girl with a pair of dark blue eyes was standing on the stairs in front of the bank.

'Fleur! Fleur is here! My Fleur!' 

Hermione could not believe her eyes but her heart was jumping with happiness and longing at seeing the Veela she had come to love. As she was about to go and call the girl's name, she was halted in her movement. Her feet seemed to be rooted in the ground and her voice failed to come out of her mouth.

The sight before her eyes left her speechless. Fleur was approached by a man with ginger hair — William aka Bill Weasley. The man intertwined his fingers with Fleur's and Fleur just let him. They were talking, smiling and laughing at each other as they walked down the stairs and along the Diagon Alley.

They walked past Hermione but neither noticed her. Hermione’s eyes fixed on the pair as they seemed to be in their bubble of happiness. She felt a crack in her heart — it was awfully painful — but what she saw next broke her heart in two.

The pair stopped in their track and Hermione watched as they got closer to each other. Bill's hands went to circle Fleur's waist as Fleur's hands went to his neck. Hermione did not want to see what was coming but she could not look away, as her sight was glued to the pair like her feet were glued to the floor.

Lips met as they kissed each other. Fleur was kissing Bill, or maybe Bill was kissing Fleur but she reciprocated.

The world around her seemed to freeze as her vision only consisted of the kissing pair. Her mind was screaming in denial and her heart was now shattered to pieces. It was so painful that even breathing was hard for her, and she could not even stand.

She fell to her knees.

Finally, she was able to look away from the couple as she tried to grab herself, to whatever sanity she still had. The sound of her falling on the street evoked chaos among the crowd around her.

"Hermione?"

She tried to stand as she heard a soft voice calling her name, but her vision was so blurry and she could not see clearly. She tried to push herself up from the ground but her body was shaking terribly. She had never felt so weak.

"Hermione!"

Hermione heard the same voice calling her again and again, and she felt a grip on her arm helping her to stand. She cleared the blurriness from her eyes and saw her perfect angel was looking at her with so much worry, concern and love in her eyes. There was also guilt in the beautiful dark blue eyes.

Fleur was calling her name. Fleur was holding her up. Fleur who had just shattered her heart was looking at her with so much worry, concern and love in her eyes. And she knew that Fleur knew what she had seen; the French girl realised her mistake and she felt guilty about it.

Oh, Fleur.

Hermione started sobbing on the street and fresh tears leaked out from her eyes again. She pulled away from Fleur's grip and ran away somewhere, anywhere. Her vision was blurry again and she tried hard not to bump into someone.

Fleur caught up with her and pulled her into a secluded street. Hermione let Fleur tried to wipe her tears but they just can’t stop. She let Fleur embraced her but she could not stop herself from crying. Her own shaking hands were clenching on her side.

"Hermione… I'm sorry…" Fleur's voice broke and her eyes were watery as they were filled with pain and guilt. It was enough to stop Hermione's tears and to let her put aside her own pain. She focused on the French girl, who once was her lover.

"How long have you come back, Fleur?" She asked for clarifications.

"Since I graduated," Fleur answered. That meant half a year ago.

"How long have you been with him?" Hermione furrowed her eyebrows.

"One month after I started working at the Gringotts." Fleur tilted her head down, guilt was written all over her face. "Hermione, my love, I'm sorry you found out this way. But I needed time, I needed to find answers."

"Is that why you never answered any of my letters?” Hermione said, her voice raised a level. “Was I just a fling to you, Fleur? Was I some sort of a joke?" She whispered dejectedly as she did not know what to make of all that had happened.

Not another heartbreak…

"No! Hermione, please understand. I love you, that much was true. But I don't understand myself — about my feelings — and I needed to find some answers." Fleur pleaded as she grasped Hermione's hands tight. They were both a mess of tears now.

Hermione let Fleur go and cleared her tears away. Whatever should she do, she did not know. She did not even understand herself, her heart and her own feelings. She sighed defeatedly.

She wiped Fleur's tears before she looked into the dark blue eyes, searching for her soul. "I understand, Fleur. I will not stop you from searching for your own happiness.” She cupped Fleur’s cheek. “I can see that Bill loves you and if he can give you what you seek, I will never stop you from him. Don't let the chance go to waste and especially don't let him go for someone like me."

"But Hermione, I love you. You are special to me," Fleur was pleading again.

"Thank you, Fleur, but you’ve made your choice clear. I hope you’ll remember that I love you and always will. You’ll never stop being someone special in my heart. Goodbye, Fleur." Hermione kissed Fleur's forehead one last time before she walked away.

She did not look back — no, she could not. Her heart had been broken to pieces once again and she wanted to get away from there, to go anywhere. This kind of situation made her really wished that she would be able to disapparate. It will be the easiest and fastest way to go to other places. Her vision foggy now as she tried her best not to bump into anyone.

Only that this time, she managed to bump into someone. The figure was taller than her, and soft arms held her tight so both of them would not fall to the ground. Hermione’s eyes raked over the blonde and black hair that was pulled up in a bun before they met the icy blue eyes that were piercing into her shattered soul.

"Narcissa…" She whispered.

She watched as different emotions were flashing through the woman's eyes — from shock to confusion, to worry to something akin to love, then it went to confuse again before the look hardened and the eyes turned to its usual iciness.

Hermione pulled away from Narcissa and ran away. There were too many emotions running through her right now and she could not handle all of them at once. Finally, she made it to the Muggles side outside of the Diagon Alley and she immediately called for the Knight Bus which came a few seconds later. She boarded it and headed towards Hogsmeade.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 8 – Future Career Talk

January had come sooner than she thought, and Hermione had been trying so hard to forget about her recent heartbreak. She understood Fleur's reasoning of trying to find answers since she had felt the same. She had her own puzzles that were still confusing and mystery to her.

She had gone to Rosmerta after the heartbroken incident. She told the basics of the event that happened and Rosmerta had been so kind to comfort her and offer some wise words such as —

"falling in love is like eating chocolate. It can taste sweet, it can taste bitter but the bittersweet feeling is what makes us human as we crave for it. We just have to endure the bitter taste before we get to the sweetness."

Rosmerta had insisted on Hermione to stay at the inn until the school started, to which she had agreed. Hermione immediately owled Severus; the man was worried sick about her but was also grateful that she was safe and was staying at the inn. He had Lori transferred her luggage from his cottage to her bed in Hogwarts and Rosmerta had ensured that she would not do things such as hurting herself again. Hermione was surprised that the thought did not even cross her mind despite the painful aches she felt in her heart at times.

Hermione was able to meet with Severus in private after a few days of school had resumed. She told him every detail about her encounters with Andromeda and Fleur, not leaving anything out. He had listened to her and offered her warmth and comfort.

She also told him about the problems which had been bothering her — specifically her heart problem and her love issues. However, Severus had simply dismissed her as he said, "you are not ready for the answers yet, Hermione."

‘What was up with that? Does he knows what I’m searching for?’

Hermione tried to probe and force him to tell her but he remained hardheaded and did not say anything anymore. She felt disappointed, hurt and betrayed by him so she had been staying away from him for a while now.

She knew it was wrong for her to think and felt that way but she could not see his reason. She could not understand and it added more to the questions she had. She was called 'the brightest witch of her age' for a reason, but not knowing things put her in the dark and she did not like that.

She will need to apologise to Severus, but not now. Not yet.

Hermione was in the Great Hall for breakfast along with some other students and as usual, she did not pay them any mind. If the Slytherins or Gryffindors would come to disturb her peace as they had always done, insulting or beating her, she would not really care. She had too much on her plate right now to really give a damn about trivial matters.

While eating, an owl came flying to her and she managed to catch her mail before they fell on her plate and make a mess. It was the Daily Prophet and a letter from Nymphadora Tonks. Hermione pushed her plate aside and went to read the letter first.

Wotcha, my favourite Slytherin!

How are you?

I have finally able to get what you were asking for. I managed to get some help within the ministry and looked at your age record. You are now officially 17 years and 5 months old, just a year older than what you were supposed to be. Congratulations, 'Mione! Let's have a drink together sometime, alright? My treat!

By the way, news has spread about a mass breakout from Azkaban and I've been working my arse off. I'm tiiireeeeddddd~

Please take care of yourself. I love you.

Stay safe!

Tonks.

Hermione could not stop herself from beaming as she read the happy news — she had finally reached the legal age in the Wizarding World! She would finally be able to learn to apparate as there was no more trace placed on her. She would need to ask Severus for help as well as tell him about the news, and maybe apologise to him too. She sighed, folded the letter and put it aside.

She picked up the Daily Prophet next and read the latest news. It was true — the main page showed an article about the mass breakout of many Death Eaters from the Azkaban prison. She read the newspaper from front to back but then her eyes settled back on a certain photo published in the newspaper.

It was a moving image of the most famous Death Eater — a female Death Eater — whose hands were trapped in chains as she stood in a prison cell. Her curly black hair was wild and while her hollow eyes and sunken face showed the malnutrition and lack of sleep, she was screaming in madness.

It should have been scary, creepy and fearsome, but Hermione felt captivated instead. She could see the depth of darkness and pain in the woman's eyes, and it tugged hard on her heart. Why did she find this woman mesmerising instead of being afraid of her? Who was she?

Bellatrix Lestrange (nee) Black

Andromeda's and Narcissa's sister. The eldest Black sister. The one who Hermione recognised as wearing the Hogwarts robe in the photo she saw at Andromeda's house. The one who was laughing wholeheartedly with both her sisters snuggling by her side. The protective eldest sister who had now become famous with madness and was considered as deranged?

Hermione found that hard to believe.


February came and Hermione had yet to meet with Severus personally. She had been missing the man so much and had tried several times to meet with him but he was super busy. While being in both sides of the war, training Harry Potter with Occlumency lessons, and bullying the junior students, he did not have much time to spare for her or even more to take care of himself. She could see him becoming thinner as time went on.

February also meant Valentine's Day, a day for lovers to express their love. Hermione remembered having a small celebration of the day with Fleur in the previous year. She also remembered her love for the Transfiguration professor — although they had never celebrated the day before — and how strong her feelings towards Minerva still were. She also remembered the attractions and confusing feelings she felt towards both Narcissa and Andromeda.

Hermione had been occupying the library most of the time — as always. She had read and reread many books but still could not find anything that can help her in solving the mysteries she had. Due to the news about Death Eaters hanging out around Hogsmeade and near to Hogwarts, there were strict rules forbidding students from going against the already imposed rules, such as wandering alone at night, going to Hogsmeade alone, and many more. It meant that Hermione was under constant surveillance now and she hated it.

She wanted to break something apart, so she secretly went to the Room of Requirements and practised on her spells.


March came and Hermione had become more and more frustrated each day.

The pink toad that was Dolores Umbridge had asked her to join the Inquisitorial Squad as her fellow Slytherins did. Her immediate but polite refusal had resulted in her having detention and punishment from the pink toad. She had been on the receiving end of the first 'Crucio' in her life and was forced to write 'I'm a filthy Mudblood' many times with the Black Quill. Luckily for Hermione, her magic was able to heal the wound faster than Harry's. Pity the boy.

Severus was still busy with giving the wonder boy a private Occlumency lesson. She missed the man so much.

The divination professor, Sybill Trelawney had been sacked from teaching by the pink toad. Hermione did not really like the professor, who mocked her in the class once and thus she decided to drop the course off. However, she also thought the seer did not deserve the cruel treatment from the pink toad, who thought so highly of herself.

Hermione watched as Minerva tried to comfort the seer, and she had always loved the kindness and fierceness of the woman. Fortunately, Albus Dumbledore came to the rescue and saved the seer from the pink toad, even though he could not save Sybill's job.

The centaur, Firenze was hired to replace the seer witch. Hermione liked Firenze as he was always so kind to her whenever she met him while venturing inside the Forbidden Forest. Firenze had always spoken about stars and planets and their alignments and Hermione thought that he would be a good divination teacher. She felt sad at the news of him being banished from his herd though.


April arrived and the Dumbledore's Army was busted by a Ravenclaw student named Marietta Edgecombe. Due to her betrayal, the word 'SNEAK' was written across Marietta's face from the jinx Hermione had put on the signing paper before. Harry's voice was easily heard as he berated at the betrayer, while Luna covertly threw her a look of respect.

Albus Dumbledore had suffered the consequence when he was told to resign from the Headmaster position and leave Hogwarts. The pink toad Umbridge was replaced as the Headmistress by the ministry, much to everyone's hatred. The annoying Inquisitorial Squad members were awarded for their achievement of catching the rebellions.

It left a bad taste in Hermione’s mouth since she was the one who suggested the idea in the first place.


May was considered pretty eventful for Hermione's life.

She was asked to meet with Minerva for her career plan and advice. Hermione went to the professor's office at the scheduled time and knocked on the door. She was greeted with a warm smile on Minerva’s face and was beckoned to come inside. As she stepped in, she immediately heard the sound of lock and felt the set up of wards and silencing spell surrounding them.

Hermione knew that she was trapped right then and there, and she would not be able to go out of the room without Minerva's permission. Shrugging, she sat on the sofa facing the big fireplace and let out a resigned sigh.

"I see now that you have been abusing your power as the Deputy Headmistress, Professor McGonagall."

Minerva gasped in shock at the accusation, "what do you mean?"

Hermione looked at the woman and said nonchalantly, "well firstly, Severus said you insisted on talking to me about giving the career talk. Isn’t it weird? I mean, he's my Head of House, shouldn’t he be the one in charge of me?"

Minerva looked guilty at the soft accusation. It was true — she did insist to Severus on meeting with Hermione on the account of giving her the career advice, using her title as the school's Deputy of Headmistress as an excuse. It was the only way for her to be able to talk with Hermione in private; she could not think of any other way.

“And one more thing,” Hermione continued, prompting Minerva to look at her. “What’s with the lock and all the wards and spells? Afraid I’ll run away, don’t you, Professor? Whatever do you intend to do to me, Min-er-va?” She teased in a light tone and smirked at the light blush painting the woman’s neck.

Minerva schooled her features and spoke in a business-like tone. "Ms Granger, thank you for coming tonight. As you have already known, we are here to discuss your career choice in the future before you will proceed into your 6th year and so may I ask, have you given any thought about what you want to do or achieve in your life?" Minerva asked as she sat next to the brunette.

Hermione let out a heavy sigh at the use of her surname. She took her time watching the small fire ignited in the fireplace while thinking deeply. It had been a few minutes or so before she started to speak, and Minerva had been nothing but patient with her.

"For many years of my life, all that I have been thinking about was suicide—" she heard a gasp from her side, "—and to just die because I have nothing that is worth to be living for."

"Hermione…" a whimper came from Minerva.

"Will you please let me finish?" Hermione glanced at the woman and saw the bobbed of her head. "Thank you." She smiled gratefully and let out a deep breath.

"As much as I wanted to kill myself, my own body wouldn't let me die. I can hurt myself, I can inflict as much pain as possible but my magic would heal any wound immediately. All that was left were the scars — the proof that I tried to end my life.” She instinctively wrapped her fingers around her wrist, but her eyes remained on the sparks of fire in the fireplace.

Minerva was sitting in silence as she listened to every word Hermione uttered. She knew it was not easy for the girl to open up with anyone, much more to the person who had once hurt her feelings. But it still pained her to think about how much Hermione wished for her life to end.

“I grew up with love but then I had lost love. I found love in another form but then I lost them again. I keep falling in love and lost them.” Hermione’s hand was shaking as she talked, so she tightened her grip on her arm.

“Even though the happiness I could grab at a time was short, I am still grateful to be given the chance to experience them. And so I have come to the conclusion to start living my life to the fullest.” She let out a long deep breath.

“I want to and will grab any opportunity of happiness if I feel like doing it. I’ll fall in love, I’ll make friends, I’ll do things that could make me happy, and I-I want to make people happy too.” She smiled sheepishly as she glanced at the woman next to her.

“To answer your question, yes, I have thought about what I wanted to do in the future. There are plenty that I want to achieve — I want to do more research and help more people, spread love and joy and happiness especially towards those who were unfortunate, to bring justice and equality and change unfair laws. There is just so much that I want to achieve, but I will do things one at a time. Nevertheless, I just have to make sure that I survive the impending war and finish school with an O in every subject."

Minerva’s face was wet with tears as Hermione stopped talking. Hermione looked so happy at that moment, and Minerva sobbed as she felt guilty for ever causing pain the girl’s life. She felt the movement on the sofa as Hermione shifted closer to her. A pair of hands tucked her hair behind her ears before they cupped her cheeks and wiped her tears away.

"Hermione… I'm sorry…" She whimpered and looked down at her lap.

Hermione lifted her chin and looked into her eyes. "Min…"

Minerva let out a strangled cry at hearing the pet name. Her beloved pet name coming from her beloved's mouth. Her body shook with strong emotions.

"Min… I am no longer the same child that you met years ago. I have changed and I have become stronger. I learned many things to survive this harsh world and I never regret any of it.” Hermione held Minerva’s hands and squeezed them tight.

“So please, don't you ever regret and feel guilty for leaving me because I learned something from it. And like I said before, I have already forgiven you since a long time ago, so should you. Forgive yourself so we can move forward with our lives. It doesn't mean that I will forget the love I still have for you."

Minerva threw herself into Hermione's arms and hid her face in the slender neck. "I love you so much, Hermione. So damn much that it hurts!"

"I know, Min. I know. Love does hurt, doesn't it?" Hermione felt the older woman nodded on her shoulder. "Do you really love me, Min?"

Minerva pulled back and looked deep into Hermione's eyes. "I really love you, Hermione. I have never stopped loving you and I have never loved anyone this deeply before."

Hermione smiled and kissed on Minerva's forehead. "Can you still say that you love me even when I tell you that I love someone else too?"

Minerva looked taken aback at the question. "Is it the same love as you said you still have for me?"

Hermione's smiled dissipated as she nodded her head. "I may love them as much as I love you, Min."

"Them?" Minerva stood up in disbelief. She pondered on the question she had never thought of possible before. She had been hoping that Hermione would still love her after all this time, but the thought of sharing her love with someone else?

“Who are they?” She heard herself asking.

"Min…" Was all that the girl said. Minerva saw the despair in Hermione’s eyes.

"Please, Hermione, tell me who they are,” she pleaded.

Hermione shook her head and curled in a ball as she held herself on the sofa. "I can't say yet, Minerva." She could not stand another rejection now or her body would convulse on the spot. She trembled as she tried to rein back the fear of rejection.

Minerva was in a dilemma as she looked at her lover. Will she be able to still love Hermione even if the girl love others just as much? Or will she be able to continue living her life without the girl? She shook her head, pulling herself out from the doubt. She knew she should not have doubt Hermione's love for her.

"I understand, Hermione. I will still love you even if you love others. My love to you will never change, my love."

Hermione looked at Minerva in shock. "Do you really mean that, Min?"

Minerva would never pull back on her words as she got to see the gleam and happiness that were palpable as seen on Hermione's face. She nodded her head and her heart jumped as she was suddenly engulfed in a tight embrace, warmth spread through their bodies at the contact.

"I love you so much, Min!" Hermione shouted in joy and she kissed Minerva on her cheek. "I love you!" Another kiss on the opposite cheek. "I love you very much!" A kiss on the forehead. "I love you so, so much!" A kiss on the lips had Minerva gasped.

Both of them had their hearts beating hard in their chests as they shared the longing kiss. The kiss had been overdue, and Minerva moaned as she poured her emotions into the kiss.

Hermione pulled away and saw the unshed tears in Minerva's eyes. She then pulled the woman in her arms again so Minerva could hear the wild beating of her heart.

"Do you want to know a secret, Min?" She whispered breathily near Minerva's ears.

“What is it?” Minerva mumbled into Hermione’s chest. She inhaled the girl’s smell that she had missed for a long time. Never again she would let Hermione go from her grasp.

Hermione chuckled at her clingy beloved. "I have finally reached the legal age, Min. I’m a few months left to reach 18 years old."

Minerva sat up straight and looked at the girl with wide eyes while her mouth was hanging like a gaping fish.

Hermione giggled and asked, "do you want to know how?" Minerva nodded her head furiously.

"Thanks to the time turner that you gave me, I have been using it quite a lot for my studies and it gave me the advantage to my age."

Minerva opened her mouth again. "Wait—What? How do you know I was the one who gave you the time turner?" The woman could not be more surprised.

Hermione rolled her eyes at her lover, "really, Min? That's what you get from what I said?" Minerva playfully slapped her arm.

"Okay, okay. Severus told me, alright? He knew not many people own a time turner and he basically told me it was yours. Satisfied? It doesn't matter how he knew or whatever, the fact now is that I have reached the legal age. I'm legal now, Min. Do you understand what that means?"

Hermione looked at Minerva with a sly smirk and twinkles in her eyes. Minerva caught on the innuendo and she blushed profusely.

Hermione moved closer to the older witch and pulled Minerva's hat off her head. She then released the long hair from the bun and let the hair flowed freely behind the woman's back. She moved on top of Minerva's lap, taking the woman's hands and placed them on her hips. Both the witches' hearts were beating wildly as they had never been in this position with each other. It felt close, warm, and sensual all the same.

"Can you take off your glamour, Min? Please…"

Minerva nodded and flicked her wand to take off the glamour she cast on herself. Her hair changed to dark brown colour, her sharp eyes, pointy nose and nude lips complement to the beauty that she was. She looked younger than how she normally was. Minerva bit her lips as her face flushed with embarrassment and she looked down to hide her face but Hermione stopped her.

"You are so beautiful, do you know that?" She heard Hermione's compliment and her heart fluttered with love.

They closed the distance between them and soft lips met each other. Neither stopped even with the electricity jolted through them. Eventually, soft kisses turned passionate. Hermione pressed herself more into the body below her and took charge. Her hands went to scrape on Minerva's scalp and neck and as Minerva let out a moan, she grabbed the chance to let her tongue slip into Minerva’s mouth.

Tongues clashing and Hermione bit on Minerva's lower lip to relish control. They finally pulled apart as oxygen became scarce. Hermione went to kiss Minerva's jaw and bit on her neck.

"Fuck!" Minerva's moan was loud and sounded delicious while her hands grabbed on Hermione's back.

Hermione kissed and licked on the small mark she made and continued kissing and licking up Minerva's neck to reach her ear. She bit on the earlobe and licked the shell, Minerva's moans, curses and the tight grips behind her back sent shivers straight down her spine and settled in her core. Hermione could feel the painful throbbing of need and want as well as the wetness pooling in her knickers. As Minerva raised her own hips, their cores met each other and both let out loud moans.

Hermione went to kiss Minerva's lips and their tongues were duelling again. A moment passed until they finally let go with a 'pop'. Foreheads laid against each other as both were panting heavily and their darkened eyes were filled with lust and love.

Hermione wanted to kiss the soft lips again but there were words she needed to say to Minerva, who had her hands in Hermione's hair as she held onto both her wrists. "I love you, Min,” she said. Minerva wanted to reply but was stopped by a finger on her lips.

“Our age gap had never been an issue for me, so please, don't limit yourself to age. Know that I have never stopped loving you, never ever doubt that. We will take this slowly because as much as I want to take you right here and right now — oh, believe me, I do — you are still very much my professor and I am your student. And we are both still in Hogwarts. I don't want to jeopardise your career, do you understand me?"

Hermione said with a stern voice and a serious look in her eyes that caused Minerva to wonder who was the teacher and who was the student now; who was the older and who was the younger between them. Hermione had grown up so much into a very mature, wise and beautiful woman without her realising it.

Minerva smiled and nodded her head as her hands went to tidy up the girl's bushy hair that had become messy due to their rendezvous just now. She had never felt happier than she was at the moment and only Hermione could make her feel this way.

They had to say goodbye as Hermione had to leave for the night but before she left, they shared a few more lingering kisses and looks. Hermione reluctantly let the woman go as she went back to the harsh reality of life and to the puzzles she had yet to solve. How can her heart fill with so much love for so many people at the same time? Even when declaring her love towards Minerva, she did not feel any less love towards Fleur and the attractions she felt towards the two Black sisters were still going strong in her heart.


"Amortentia is the most powerful love potion in the world… Amortentia smells different to each person, according to what attracts them."

Hermione was studying for her potions exam even though it was not in another month, she had gone ahead and studied on more advanced potion books she found in the library. She encountered a chapter on Amortentia and wondered if she should try it.

Not to drink it, but smell it.

The love potion was a dangerous — and maybe illegal potion — so she would have to brew it in secret. Maybe she could use the Room of Requirements again as no one would be using it anymore since Dumbledore's Army had been caught last month. Yes, Hermione decided to work on the potion this weekend since students were allowed to go out to Hogsmeade. Fewer students meant less disturbance for her.

Saturday came and Hermione went up to the Room of Requirement after she had finished with breakfast. She brought along her cauldrons and the ingredients needed for brewing the love potion in her enchanted bag. She set up the cauldron and started brewing immediately. It took hours to finish the potion and by the time it was done, Hermione realised it was almost dinner time. She felt proud of herself to be able to finish the potion perfectly. She took a deep breath and let it out before moving closer to the small cauldron.

At first, Hermione smelled freshly mown grass before it changed to the lovely smell of new parchment and quill. She knew there were both things that she liked. Then the smell changed to ginger newt — Minerva; and then to sweet french macaroons — Fleur, and then to sweet daffodil — the narcissus, Narcissa; and finally changed to fresh laundry — the smell she knew coming from Andromeda.

But alas, the smell did not stop after that and Hermione managed to catch a sniff of something akin to smoke, like wildfire in the forest. 'Who was it? What did it mean?' She had no idea. 

'Arghh, this complicated things!' She pulled on her hair in distress. She wanted to find answers but instead, she was met with more questions!

She quickly cleaned and tidied her stuff and left the room, her legs moved with one purpose in mind. One intention. One direction. One person who could possibly hold the answers to her miseries.

Severus Snape!

Hermione managed to catch Severus in the potion classroom before he went out for dinner — which she actually should have gone for, too. She barged into the room with purposeful strides in her steps and a menacing look in her eyes.

Slamming the jar full of the love potion on his desk, she hissed at him. "Explain!"

Severus saw the potion and raised his eyebrows at her. He raised his wand and locked the door, as well as putting wards and the silencing spell. Hermione glared at him and crossed her arms over her chest.

"Did you drink it?" He asked. Hermione shook her head no.

"Did you smell it then?" She nodded.

"Tell me what did it smell like?" He asked and beckoned for her to sit on a seat next to him as she always did.

Hermione sat down and furrowed her eyebrows in concentration. "At first, I smelled the fresh grass and new parchment and quill, something I know that I like. Then I smelled Minerva, Fleur, and oddly enough were Narcissa and Andromeda, and I thought it stopped there. But no, there was this weird smell, like fire or something smoky."

Severus hummed and nodded his head in understanding. He looked at Hermione in the eyes, his own earnestness made Hermione agitated and she felt guilty. He did not deserve this; he should not be forced to say something he did not want to.

"What do you want to know?" He said.

Hermione pondered about all the questions she had in her mind, all the things that had confused her. She thought of the bad things that happened in her life. She thought of her fate of being in the wrong house despite her blood. She thought of the possibility of falling in love with five people. Suddenly something clicked in her mind — about a certain book, a certain story she had read.

Severus saw the millions of questions flashing through Hermione's eyes. He knew he could use Legilimens to look into her mind but he would not betray the girl's trust. If Hermione was as bright as she was claimed to be, then she will know which question to ask.

"Am I the reincarnation of Queen Morgan?"

She really was the brightest witch ever. Severus smiled and felt proud in his chest. He wanted to give points to the Slytherin for asking the right question, but he could not abuse his power.

"You may or you may not be, as you say, the reincarnation of Queen Morgan." He simply answered her but with more riddles it seemed.

"What do you mean? It's either I am or I am not, right?" Hermione's furrowed her brows in confusion.

Severus shook his head, "it's not as simple as that. Yes, you may have the criteria as told in the prophecy but you have yet to fulfil the prophecy itself. Remember this line?

Though born in the pure, she will be hidden in the dirt.

Do you know what does it mean? Can you be sure that you were born a pure-blood? Also, you have yet to awaken the power you deemed to have if you insist on implying yourself as the reincarnation of the Queen. And lastly, you don't know who I am, do you?"

"What do you mean? Who are you?" Hermione asked, flabbergasted.

"If I say I am King Arthur, would you have believed me?" Severus said in a straight tone. 'I'm sorry, Hermione, it really is not the time for you to know the truth yet. I can only delay you for now,' he mused apologetically to himself.

Silence engulfed them as Hermione registered the information. She looked at Severus and noticed that his eyes were shining with nothing but truth. He had never betrayed her and would always keep to his promise; he always protected her, so there was no way he would lie about all this, right?

"Yes, I would believe you. But it was a lot for me to take in. I can't even believe myself if I am the Queen's reincarnation. I don't deserve her." She scrunched her nose at the thought. The Queen definitely deserved someone better than her, for she was just a lowly peasant equivalent to trash.

Severus took Hermione's hands in his and rubbed her knuckles softly. "Fate and destiny have been set before a person was even born, Hermione. Let fate run its course, you can never rush it. The time will come for you to get the answers that you seek and when it does, the ring will answer them for you."

Hermione pulled out the ring necklace that was hidden in her shirt. She traced on the insignia again before nodding and looked at Severus who smiled warmly at her.

"I'm sorry for not being able to assist you now, Hermione, and I’m so sorry for neglecting you for months. I can't believe Potter is seriously a dimwit! He was still unable to finish his Occlumency lesson and I'm so tired to deal with him any longer. What's with Bella and the other Death Eaters coming back now, I have to keep up with my facade. It's exhausting!"

Severus had never rambled or complained so much like this and Hermione found it refreshing — and amusing, but she would never tell him that. It was another side to him that she was glad to witness, but she noticed the man had really become quite thin. It must be super hard for him to manage himself between two sides and on top of that, he had to handle troublesome students.

Hermione wished she could help to reduce his burden, so she called for a house elf and asked him to bring hearty meals for the two of them. Soon enough, there were two plates full of food on the desk. Severus looked at her and smiled gratefully.

Hermione kissed on his cheek and smiled apologetically at him. "It's not your fault and I understand your situation. I was the one who threw a tantrum at you and I regret it. I'm sorry, Sev. Oh, I missed you so much." They chattered and bantered with each other as they dined.

"And I miss you too. How have you been faring so far?"

Hermione told him about how Umbridge had punished her with the Black Quill when she refused to join her underlings. He went berserk at hearing the pink toad dared to hurt her precious girl but she managed to calm him down.

She told about the 'career talk' that she had with Minerva and blushed as she recalled the memory. Severus smirked at her and asked for details but not too much. He certainly did not want to know the explicit. She told him about what she said to Minerva, what she wanted to become; Severus totally supported her decision and was all proud of her. She beamed with pride.

"And oh, I've been meaning to tell you this since January! Tonks managed to check on my age registry and she found out that I am actually a year older now. I'll turn eighteen this September." She dabbed her mouth with a napkin and grinned at him.

Severus' eyes widened in surprise and he congratulated her. He grabbed a bottle of firewhisky which he hid inside the classroom and made a toast to them.

"To the future!"

Hermione clunked her glass to the man's and said the same.

"To the future!"

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 9 – Fight for the Prophecy(-ies)

A month had gone by and Hermione had been granted peace. It was the end-of-year and O.W.L.s exams season and people had been studying hard for them. Honestly, Hermione could have answered them with closed eyes and still be able to get perfect marks but she did not want to be overconfident and ended up making careless mistakes. She had been anxious to finish the exams and to proceed with the holiday as her research had been abandoned for a while now and she wanted to get it going.

The fifth years were undergoing their final O.W.L exam — History of Magic — in the Great Hall. Pink Toad Umbridge was their invigilator and she had a giant grand clock in front of them to display the time, but the ticking noise it made was very disturbing. They still had about another half an hour left but Hermione had finished answering all the questions. No one was allowed to leave the hall though so she decided to take a nap instead.

As she was about to doze off, they were disturbed by another noise from outside the hall. The noise was annoying and it irked the Pink Toad. All of a sudden, the hall's door opened and two ginger-haired Weasleys came flying on their brooms and were making a ruckus. Exam papers were flown everywhere, no one knew which was whose anymore. Hermione let out a resigned sighed at the sudden chaos.

Umbridge was shocked and irate at them, she went out of the hall to reprimand the twin. Everyone else followed them and watched as the hanged decrees by the door were now crashing on the floors. The twin had now flown outside to the spacious clocktower courtyard and displayed more of their special fireworks. The Pink Toad was red with fury but there was nothing she could do. Students from various years had come out to join the celebration and cheers, even Professor Flitwick secretly did his own fist pump. Hermione could not help herself from not joining the joyous occasion but her celebration only lasted for a short moment.

As she turned back and wanting to find her own solace, she was met with the sight of Harry Potter falling to the ground. He looked weak and his face had turned pale. His close friends immediately surrounded him and tried to calm him down. He was spouting nonsensical words such as Voldemort was torturing Sirius in the Department of Mysteries, and he was determined to go there to save his godfather now.

Hermione wanted to ignore him but she could not. That boy was a dimwit who could not even successfully learned Occlumency with Severus. With a sigh, she strolled to him and told him that it was obviously a trap. Voldemort would not be so foolish as to capture Sirius Black and torture him in the Department of Mysteries. Sirius was not someone from the ministry and certainly had no reason to be tortured there unless if Voldemort wanted to lure Harry in. Voldemort must have had many other places he could use as torture chambers and the ministry was certainly not one. Definitely a trap.

Harry was not just a dimwit though, he was stubborn and hardheaded too. It took him a while to register her logic and cooled down. Hermione suggested for him to use the floo to check on Sirius’ whereabouts and his friends agreed albeit begrudgingly. Luna sent Hermione her signature dreamy smile. Harry started running to make the floo call while his friends followed behind. Hermione had no reason to follow them but Luna grabbed her wrist and motioned for her to follow. Hence she ended up following them with reluctant steps and resigned sighs.

Harry came back from the fireplace after a while and informed them that he could not reach Sirius as he was not at Grimmauld Place. 'Must be the safehouse that Severus and Tonks mentioned before,' Hermione thought to herself. Ron and Ginny were glaring and blaming her for coming up with the idea and Harry went mad as it seemed her idea had delayed them from saving his godfather. She backed up to the door when out of nowhere, Umbridge came with her fellow ducklings — the Inquisitorial Squad members. Severus arrived after them.

Harry, Ron, Ginny, Luna, Neville, and along with Hermione were immediately being captured by each member of the Pink Toad's squad. Hermione was being held by none other than Draco Malfoy himself, who clutched at her uniform collar and his wand poked at her side.

"Gotcha, filthy Mudblood!" He sneered at her but she merely glared back at him.

Severus was looking at Hermione worriedly under his steely gaze but she assured him that she will be fine. How did she end up in the mess anyway? She should have known better than to interact with the Potter boy since he was known for his adventures and the messes he was in with the Weasleys throughout the school years.

Things that happened afterwards were at a very fast pace, or at least that was how Hermione felt anyway. Pink Toad Umbridge accused Harry of contacting Dumbledore through the floo and she asked Severus to provide Veritaserum, the man replied nonchalantly that he did not have it and would take time to brew one. Then Umbridge wanted to use the Cruciatus Curse on the wonder boy but Hermione quickly intercepted her by mentioning something about Dumbledore making a 'weapon' for the boy — which was obviously a lie but no one had to know. Umbridge seemed to believe it anyway, so Hermione and Harry brought her into the Forbidden Forest where they met with Grawp-the-giant and later the Centaurs. Umbridge being her proud self had said things that made the Centaurs mad at her and they took her away, leaving both the young witch and wizard to return to the castle.

"Wait, young witch." A centaur called out and both Harry and Hermione turned to face him. "I have seen your constellation, the time will arrive soon for you to receive what you sought. My family and I are looking forward to meeting the new you. Farewell, now." The centaur bowed his head graciously in Hermione's direction before he backed away and disappeared deep into the forest.

Harry sent a curious look toward Hermione, while she merely shrugged her shoulders and was seemingly clueless as to what had just happened. They made their way back to the castle to meet with the others, who by that time, had already stunned, disarmed, jinxed, and ran away from the Inquisitorial Squad members. They regrouped and Luna suggested for them to ride the Thestrals to the Ministry of Magic. Hermione let out a groan because she hated flying more than anything.


By being caught up in the moment, it explained how Hermione had ended up with the Dumbledore's Army members — Harry, Ron, Ginny, Neville and Luna — in the Department of Mysteries. They had tried entering a few chambers and were finally currently standing in the Room of Prophecy, the place where Harry had said that he saw Sirius being tortured. The snobbish, dimwit and self-centred Harry finally realised that it was all a trap as there was no one in the hall but only lots of shelves and endless prophecy orbs. Harry led them all to a specific shelf according to the vision he saw, but no one realised that one of them was missing from the group.

Hermione

The said girl heard a soft voice called her name from afar. She stood still and tried to determine if she heard it right but then she thought maybe her mind was playing tricks. The place was eerie with all the darkness that she could not make out where is where. She started to follow the others but her step was halted again.

Hermione

This time the voice was louder than before but she did not hear it through her ears. It was all in her own mind. 'Did someone use 'Legilimency' on me?' Hermione shook her head and continued walking.

Hermione

She heard it aloud this time and decided not to ignore it anymore. Figuring out where the voice came from was like searching for something with a clue of 'hot or cold'. When she walked in a different direction and further from the voice, it became softer but when she walked in the right direction, the voice calling her name became louder and clearer. Hermione had lost sight of the others — not that she minded — but they did not even care about her anyway.

She stopped at a shelf where the voice became the loudest — almost like a shriek — and saw one of the many orbs was glowing brightly. She went to it and the voice stopped chanting her name. She checked on the parchment paper that was attached to the orb and was surprised at seeing not only her name but also the list of names on it.

C.V.T. to S.T.K.S.

Morgan / (?) Hermione Shafiq/Granger

And

Minerva McGonagall

Bellatrix Lestrange (nee Black)

Andromeda Tonks (nee Black)

Narcissa Malfoy (nee Black)

Fleur Isabelle Delacour

'Hermione Shafiq? Blimey! Is that my real name?' 

Hermione was beyond shocked and confused, cold sweat was running down her forehead. Her intrigue mind won over her confusion and slight fear because even when she knew that she ought not to touch the orb, her heart seemed to always want to sate her curiosity. Against her rationale, she picked up the orb and an unfamiliar voice whispered in her mind.

The one with the power to rule the world will be born
She was the queen in the past and she will once again be one

She is born noble and pure, yet hidden amongst the dirt
A gem amongst the snakes, A beauty hidden by scars

Mended pain through knowledge and understanding

Tossed between two sides, betrayed, tortured, broken and battered
In between her life and death, will her power be awakened

Touched by her five soulmates, only then will they be complete
The Blacks, the Veela, together with the tabby cat

With the power of dark, light, modern and ancient, nothing could defy them

She will be fair, She will be just
And together, they will rise
As one.


'Bloody hell! Touched by five soulmates — the Blacks, the Veela, and the tabby cat?' 

Hermione's feelings were in turmoil. She was horrified but still confused, terrified and beyond belief, her feelings indescribable. She felt like she had finally found the answers she wanted but can she believe this? She needed clarification. Decided not to ponder, she quickly resized the orb and hid it in the enchanted pocket of her jeans.

Hermione wanted to make her way back to the others but her mind was still hazy with the aftereffect of listening to the prophecy. She was surprised but silently grateful when a pair of hands encircled her waist, subconsciously keeping her from falling to the floor. One of the hands was holding her tight while the other was poking a wand underneath her chin.

"Hello, beautiful stranger. What are you doing here all alone?" A smoky yet sultry voice husked in her ear and sent shivers down her back. 

'A woman,' Hermione thought. The hand that was holding her tightened its hold and Hermione could feel the swell of breasts pressing into her back. 

'Oh, definitely a woman. She must be beautiful as her voice was sexy.' How could you think about whether or not the woman was sexy or beautiful right now, Hermione?

But she could not contain her moan and the shivers that run through her spine. They were not lost to the woman as she chuckled from behind her. Another shiver ran through her body as the stranger nipped at her earlobe.

'Fuck!' 

Hermione's heart was pounding in her chest and she was sure the other woman could hear it. She was able to pick up a scent coming from the stranger. It was something heady and smoky, like burnt wildfire in the forest and it was intoxicating. 

'Finally,' Hermione found the last scent she smelled from the amortentia and she involuntarily relaxed against the voluptuous body, a small smile was playing at her lips.

"I'm lost and now separated from my friends," she said as she remembered the question that was thrown at her.

"Oh, that can't do. Whatever shall I do with you, hmm… Shall I show you mercy? Do you want me to let you go?" The woman asked with faux concern laced in her seductive voice while she continued kissing and nipping at Hermione's earlobe and down her neck. Her hand went inside Hermione's shirt and traced on her skin.

“Oh…” Hermione moaned softly.

She trembled as she felt the sharp nails on her skin. Currents shot through her straight down and her bud throbbed at the ministrations. 'Hell no!' She was actually feeling content where she was right now even though she knew she should not. It was not a suitable place and time for this — whatever this is.

"Please, let me go." She weakly struggled to get away despite her body wanting to get even closer to the woman.

"Awh, do you really want me to let you go, pet? I'm sad" the woman said in a sad tone which Hermione knew was totally fake.

'Pet?' 

Hermione's knees buckled and she had to hold on the hand inside her shirt to keep herself from falling, which she metaphorically had already fallen to the woman. "Please…" She begged but she did not know for what — either to be let go or to ask the woman to continue with her ministrations.

"Please what, darling?" The woman asked as she deliberately traced her nails along the edge of Hermione's jeans.

'Oh fuck!' 

Hermione was throbbing painfully and she had to squeeze her legs to ease the pain. "Please…" She begged again and the woman let out a very sexy chuckle near her ear.

“I love when you beg, pet.” Hermione felt her body growing hotter with every second. "Well, no dawdling now, pet. I look forward to meeting you again soon. Tata, now." The woman kissed her ear one last time before letting her go and vanished into thin air and darkness.

Hermione felt slightly disappointed at the loss of warmth, she fell down to her knees and panted heavily on the floor. She sucked in deep breaths until she was finally able to calm herself down and regained her footing.

With her wand lit up with 'Lumos', she went around to locate her schoolmates. She finally found them several shelves away, turned off the light from her wand and slowly slipped behind them while producing as little noise as possible. Had she guess right, no one had even noticed her absence and no one cared about her stealthy presence.

Harry was holding an orb and was talking back to a blonde Death Eater, Lucius Malfoy. He said something about breaking the prophecy if the Death Eaters hurt any of them. Honestly, she did not really care about getting hurt as she had nothing to lose, and it was the boy's fault anyway to lead them to the trap. As Lucius had said, Harry really could not differentiate between dreams and realities.

Out of nowhere, an eerie laugh sent shivers down Hermione's spine.

"Aww, he knows how to play. Itty. Bitty. Baby, Potter." A figure made their way from behind Lucius towards them.

Hermione visibly gasped but glad that no one had heard nor noticed her expression. It was the same voice — the husky, sultry and seductive voice she had just encountered minutes ago.

"Bellatrix Lestrange!" Hermione heard Neville spoke.

Hermione went slack-jawed as she looked between Neville and the woman who now she knew her name. The same woman who had her captivated for months. She took in the full figure of the woman — wild curly black hair, eyes as dark as the darkness surrounding them, sharp nose and jaw and a pair of bloody red luscious lips. Bellatrix was the true definition of dark beauty. True enough, she really looked almost the same as Andromeda except for her eyes and hair, and possibly height. It seemed she had almost the same height as Hermione, if not a tad bit taller but Hermione had not finished growing yet.

Bellatrix was wearing a black dress and skirt, long sleeves with the only skin showing were her shoulders, face, neck, collarbone, all the way down towards the valley between her breasts. 'Oh, what a beautiful valley it was.' Even while fully dress, Hermione could see the curves hidden and she remembered the feeling of the breasts pressed up against her back. Her face flushed red at the thoughts running through her mind and she was grateful for the darkness around her.

Hermione watched as Bellatrix raised her wand when Neville attempted to hex her but both of them were stopped by Harry and Lucius. Every movement of the dark witch captured her attention — strong yet elegant — and she was enthralled. Bellatrix caught Hermione's eyes and smirked at her but their attention was disturbed however when Harry mentioned Voldemort's name.

"You dare speak his name, you filthy half-blood!" Bellatrix shrieked.

"It's alright. He's just a curious lad, aren't you?" Lucius raised his eyebrow at the boy and continued, "prophecies can only be retrieved by those about whom they are made."

Hermione furrowed her eyebrows in confusion but as the words settled in her mind, her eyes widened and she looked at the dark witch. Her mind finally clicked as to the reason why Bellatrix was standing behind her a moment ago — she must have been looking for the same prophecy!

Lucius kept on taunting Harry to give his prophecy while he and Bellatrix stepped closer towards them. More Death Eaters were now surrounding the young group and everyone became more alert. Harry waited for the right timing before he shouted, "NOW!" and they were all shooting hexes and spells at the Death Eaters before running away. Sometimes they got separated but everyone handled themselves well and they regroup again before moving towards a door. Ginny threw a 'Reducto' curse and destroyed almost all the prophecies and Hermione was glad that she had retrieved hers earlier.


The group arrived in another chamber where two tall stone pillars and pointed archway stood on a raised dais in the middle of the room. The pillars were cracked and looked on the verge of crumbling but the item felt magical, ancient and dangerous at the same time. Hermione knew what it was as she had read about it before. Both Harry and Luna mentioned that they heard voices coming from it and Hermione could hear voices calling her name as well. She found it fascinating but immediately shook herself out of her stupor.

"It's the Veil, Harry. We are in the Death Chamber. The voices one can hear would be from their deceased loved ones. It will be best if we get out of here now."

Of course, the boy-who-lived did not care what she said. "Everybody get behind me!" He shouted. Hermione begrudgingly followed the others to stand behind him.

Out of nowhere, dark shadows and black smokes surrounded them and immediately separated everyone from Harry. They were held by each member of the Death Eaters — Neville was held by Antonin Dolohov, Rodolphus Lestrange was holding Ginny, Luna by Rabastan Lestrange, Ron was held by Augustus Rookwood, and finally, Hermione was held by none other than her earlier captor, Bellatrix Lestrange.

'Fuck!' Hermione cursed inwardly as she felt a hand pulled on her hair, she tried to get away from the delicious curves pinning her from behind.

"Hush, my pet. Don't move now or you'll get hurt." Bellatrix said in a surprisingly soft and gentle voice.

Hermione stilled and let herself relax in the warm embrace from the female Death Eater although Bellatrix's wand was pointed under her chin, again. She could feel the heavy breathing coming from the dark witch and it increased the pace of her own heartbeat.

"Who are you and what have you done to me, pet?" Bellatrix whispered huskily in Hermione's ear.

Everyone else's attention was focused solely on the conversation between Lucius and Harry, but Hermione almost lost her mind as she felt soft kisses against her neck. Bellatrix was kissing her while her dark curly hair blocking her movements in the dark area surrounding them. Hermione revelled in the moment and almost let out a string of curses as she felt teeth biting on the junction between her neck and shoulder. She bit her lip hard as she had to struggle to contain her moan and stop the tremble of her body. What the dark witch was doing with her was really dangerous and risky if anyone ever saw them but it also excited her.

Seeing as his friends were now captured, Harry finally gave up and handed the prophecy to Lucius, and Hermione felt like cursing him infinitely. Had he gave the prophecy earlier, they would probably not be in the mess they were currently in.

All of a sudden, lights bolted through the area and separated the children from their captors before they materialised into the form of humans — all were members of the Order of Phoenix. Sirius Black was standing on the dais and landed a punch on Lucius's face, causing Harry's prophecy to fall and shattered on the ground and subsequently, Lucius let out a feral groan. A battle erupted between them and light was fighting against the darkness.

"Tonks!" Hermione shouted as she saw Tonks gathered the kids into hiding behind a large stone.

"Hermione! What are you doing here?" Tonks asked but immediately shook her head. "No matter. Stay here and stay safe!"

Tonks turned and went into battle with her aunt when they heard Bellatrix's cackles erupted near them. They retained as smoke and light and played chase in the air before they materialised again, Hermione watched as a jet of green light shot out from the Bellatrix's wand and hit her best friend. It did not escape her eyes however when Bellatrix had caught Tonks before hitting any wall and put her on the ground gently.

"NO!" Hermione shouted and ran towards the now lifeless body laying on the ground. She checked for pulses and released her breath of relief as she could still feel faint heartbeats. Tonks was unconscious but still alive.

Her relieved was short-lived when soft but strong hands grabbed her arm and pulled her up. "The Dark Lord will be here soon. Come with me, pet." She did not have time to object as she was suddenly engulfed in black smoke and was brought out of the chamber into the nearest floo network. Green flames erupted and they were instantly gone.


Hermione opened her eyes and realised where she was. She remembered being in here on Christmas Eve and her mind recalled the memory during that night. She looked around and remembered stroking fingers against the countless book spines on the shelves. She remembered the soulful music and sensual dance. She remembered icy blue eyes changed from lust to recognition and disgust. She remembered when she almost lost herself to her own demon.

Hermione chuckled at where fate had brought her.

"Pray tell, what's so funny, pet?" Bellatrix asked as she let Hermione go and went to sit on a sofa.

"Nothing." Hermione shrugged and stood at the end of the fireplace, sure she would not be allowed to sit on any of the furniture they had, at least not while the dark witch was there.

Bellatrix raised her eyebrow and let out a genuine laugh. Hermione's mind registered it as a very beautiful laugh and her heart was filled with joy. "You are a brave one, pet." Hermione smiled at the compliment.

'Who knew that the famous, deranged, most feared Death Eater has a beautiful laugh and give out compliment? It was like a total 180 degrees turn of persona.'

Their private moment was cut short when someone barged in through the huge wooden door.

"Bella!"

A flash of blonde and black rushed in and pulled Bellatrix into a bone-crushing hug. Hermione instantly knew it was Narcissa. Half of her hair was tied up and another half was let down on her shoulders. 

'Narcissa looked more beautiful with her hair like that instead of the usual bun,' she mused. Narcissa seemed to be unaware of Hermione's presence in the room. She pulled back and assessed Bellatrix with concern etched on her face.

"Oh Bella, thank Morgan you're safe! I've been worried." She had unshed tears in her eyes as she hugged the eldest witch again, who chuckled and pat her sister's back. Hermione fell in love with the eldest sister's laugh and the youngest sister's love and care.

"Merlin, Cissy, you always think too much. Of course, I'm always safe. I am a Death Eater for a reason or have you forgotten that, dearest sister?"

"I just don't want to lose you again. Fourteen years were too long, Bella." Narcissa's voice muffled against Bellatrix's neck.

Bellatrix stroked her sister's hair and Hermione was dumbstruck to see the display of emotion and affection between the two infamous witches. "I know, Cissy. I'm here now. That's all that matters." Narcissa nodded her head against her sister's shoulder. "Now, now, Cissy. We have a guest if you haven't noticed already."

The blonde witch froze and straightened her body before turning around to spot the 'elephant in the room'. Her blue eyes turned back to ice and steel as she glared at the brunette.

"Hi?" Hermione sheepishly said and made a small wave with her hand. Bellatrix laughed at the awkwardness and the absurdity of the situation and Narcissa looked at her sister with wide eyes, Hermione could only grin.

"Bella? Why is she here? Why is the mudblood in our house?"

'Ouch!' 

Hermione flinched and her lips turned downwards as she could not stop herself from feeling hurt at hearing the derogatory term coming from Narcissa's mouth. Both the Black sisters noticed the change in her expression.

"I need to talk to her, girl to girl."

The dark witch stalked closer to Hermione with her arms crossed on her chest, subsequently pushing her breasts up. Hermione tried not to stare but failed miserably, though Bellatrix noticed it and smirked at her.

"Why don't you give the thing that belongs to me, pet?" She was now standing close to Hermione, who had a look of defiant in her eyes.

"I have no idea what you are talking about," Hermione said in a cool manner. 'Lie! Of course, I know what Bellatrix want from me. I don't know if I should really give it to her though.'

"What do you mean, Bella? What is it that she has that belongs to you?" Narcissa inquired as she was intrigued to know what had happened between the Muggle-born girl and her beloved sister.

"Oh, don't play fool, Mudpet! I know you have the prophecy, I saw you were holding it." Bellatrix turned towards Narcissa as she continued, "we were in the Room of Prophecy and I heard a voice. A voice that kept calling my name until I was close to a glowing orb. But before I was able to get near to it, Muddy was already there, so I hid in the corner. I didn't see what she did with the orb afterwards and didn't get the chance to ask while we were there. I got… distracted." Narcissa raised her eyebrows at the change in her tone. "Nevertheless, I knew the orb must be related to me since I didn't hear the voice anymore."

Hermione gritted her teeth and tightened the grip on her wand. She looked around and made a mental calculation on how to run away from the situation. Instinctively, she jumped over a sofa and crouched down to duck a hex flying her way.

"Expelliarmus!"

She shot a spell but quickly ran away, she did not even turn around long enough to know whether her spell hit anyone or not. She made a beeline to hide in between shelves as her mind was wondering either she could get her way out or simply prolong the inevitable. The Black sisters were powerful witches after all.

"Muddy! Come out, come out, wherever you are!"

Bellatrix's sing-song voice sent chills down Hermione's spine and cold sweat flowed down her face. She sent a "Diffindo!" but was easily deflected to the wall.

"Confundus!" The dark witch shot but Hermione was able to deflect it as well.

"Bombarda!" She replied but then Bellatrix cast a 'Protego' strong enough to send the spell back to her. She had enough time to move away from the reflected spell but was distracted by the explosion that happened behind her. She was late to notice the next spells coming her way from the pair of sisters who attacked her simultaneously.

"Expelliarmus!" "Incarcerous!"

Wandless, Hermione was caught and bound by strong ropes around her body before she fell to the ground with a hard 'thud'. She tried to wandlessly free herself but was unsuccessful and the ropes tightened as she tried to wriggle free. Bellatrix tutted and stalked closer to her.

"Now, now, pet. That wasn't so nice, what you were trying to do. You can never run away from me, do you understand?" Hermione scowled but she did not try to move or else she will be in more pain.

"We can do this the easy way or the hard way. Whichever you want, pet. Tell me, what was the prophecy about?"

Narcissa stood beside her older sister and was looking down at the captured witch with curiosity in her eyes.

'Should I tell her? Them?' Hermione wanted — no, needed — clarification but should she tell them? What would they think? Would they even believe her?

Bellatrix went to crouch on top of Hermione and she held the girl's jaw tight, her nails scraped the fair skin. "Tell me!" She barked on Hermione's face, the girl did not even flinch nor bat her eyelashes.

Hermione had fires in her eyes and she did not feel afraid of the older witches; she felt resistance instead. If Bellatrix wanted to know the truth, Hermione would tell her the part that was related between them.

"Soulmates," she whispered then coughed. The ropes had tightened around her, together with the hand holding her jaw.

"What did you say?" Bellatrix wondered if she heard correctly.

"You, Bellatrix Lestrange, and I, Hermione Granger, are soulmates! There, I told you what the prophecy said. Now let me go!" Hermione snarled and gritted her teeth in defiance.

Both Bellatrix and Narcissa were momentarily taken aback by what the girl said. However, Bellatrix laughed sarcastically and stood away from Hermione. Her fingers played with her wand while her free hand wiped fake tears.

"Look at that, Cissy. The Mudblood dares lie to me.” She turned towards the helpless girl. “How dare you lie to me, you filthy Mudblood!" Oh, Bellatrix was deranged, alright. Her already dark eyes were now full of rage.

Narcissa had her steely gaze back on and was looking at her pretty red coloured fingernails, acting as if she did not have a care in the world.

"Hold her up, Cissy!" Bellatrix barked and Hermione saw the blonde witch moved and felt long fingers grabbed her arms harshly before Narcissa pulled her up.

"I speak the truth!" Hermione shouted.

"You are lying, filthy Mudblood, and I know it!" Bellatrix slapped her cheek hard and Hermione tasted copper in her mouth. She did not know what hurt more, the physical pain or the pain in her heart.

"You will not be released until you speak the truth! Crucio!"

"NOOOO!"

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 10 - Repetition

"Crucio!"

Her body jerked violently against the tightening of ropes as she received the nth curse. Truthfully, Hermione had already lost count of how many times she had been crucio-ed.

At the first crucio, she held back her voice when images from her past played in her mind. She felt something akin to needles pricking in her brain as she saw images of herself being hurt physically by her childhood bullies, her adopted father and her fellow Slytherins. She could not hold back her tears.

When she received the second curse, pain coursed through his body as her mind played with images of her dead mother, of Minerva and Fleur who broke her heart, and of surrounding people who look at her in disgust. She let out guttural moans, coughing out blood as the rope tightened itself around her body.

On subsequent curses, her body started to jerk even more violently as the pain intensified all over her, from inside and outside her. There was not a single part of her body where she did not feel tormented. The more she moved, the rope tightened and when she felt her bones cracking and breaking, she screamed and wailed endlessly.

"Bella!" Narcissa's voice echoed, causing Bellatrix to stop and turned her way.

"What, Cissy?" Bellatrix hissed as she realised that she was panting. She seemed to have lost herself in her own darkness and was grateful of Narcissa's interruption. For years, Bellatrix had seen what Cruciatus curse had done to people and she had always hated it. But she always has reputations to uphold.

"Lose the ropes, Bella. Look at her. Don't become like him," Narcissa said as she gestured towards Hermione who was in a very pitiful state.

Bellatrix knew whom Narcissa meant by 'him' and what her sister was trying to say. It was a secret only she and Narcissa knew about.

Bellatrix felt ashamed at herself as she looked at the brunette girl, who she has yet to know her name. She flicked her wand and the ropes disappeared, leaving visible rope marks and bruises on the girl's skin. The girl was mildly spasming from the aftereffect of the curses as liquids in the form of tears, drools and blood flowed out from her eyes, nose and mouth.

Bellatrix felt perturbed upon seeing the horrible sight but she quickly recomposed herself. She was successful at hiding the stabbing pain she felt in her heart though.

"Are you going to tell me the truth now, pet?"

Hermione was in constant agony and felt damaged beyond repair. She wanted the pain to subside and the sufferings to end, she wanted everything to just end. She felt extremely tired. Her hands were shaking as she tried to push herself onto her side, although it hurt her terribly. She could feel plenty of her bones were broken but she ignored the pain as she pulled her knees to her chest. More blood coughed out of her mouth.

She did not realise Narcissa had crouched down to whisper in her ear. "Ms Granger, you better tell my sister the truth she seeks. I have no guarantee of what will happen if you refuse further."

However, neither the witch's presence nor her voice was registered in Hermione's mind. Her eyes were tightly shut in anguish and her face contorted as she felt the lingering pain. "Please…" she did not even realise the croaking voice coming from her mouth.

"Please what?" Bellatrix raised her eyebrow as she looked sceptical at the girl.

Hermione tried to breathe but even that was painful. "Please… kill me…" She muttered slowly with every painful breath she took.

Both the Black sisters were taken aback by the soft plea before their surprise then turned to confusion. Why would the girl ask to be killed? Did she not value her life anymore? Why was she so easily choosing death over her life? Had she also lost herself to insanity?

Hermione continued to sob even when she started to feel numb. Her energy depleted with every breath she took.

"Well, that wasn't what I expected to hear. Why would you want to die?" Bellatrix used Legilimens to enter the girl's mind but was met with resistance. She tried to prod and probe but was not able to break through the girl's mental wall.

Bellatrix asked Narcissa who was better at the skill to do it too. Narcissa nodded and it took a few trials for her to get through Hermione's mental wall and reach a bit of the girl's memory. What Narcissa saw, however, shocked her and rendered her speechless.

Hermione felt something poking in her mind and the memory of her being abused and raped by her adopted father was forcefully played through. "Nooooo!" She screamed in misery as her hands clutched her head tight, wishing the memory would fade. "Arggghhhh!" She kept screaming until she lost her voice and her mental wall came back up, stronger than ever.

Narcissa came back to herself and fell down to the floor, grateful for her sister who managed to catch her a second before. She did not notice the tears that flowed down her cheeks and her shaking hands as she silently played the memory she saw.

Bellatrix's voice fell on deaf ears as she asked what Narcissa had seen. She tried to use Legilimens again but failed terribly — she could not even get to the girl's mental barrier. Reaching for her wand, she cast another crucio in hope that she could break the resistance.

Hermione felt her energy depleted and she was no longer able to breathe properly. She passed out two seconds before the word 'Crucio' fell from Bellatrix's lips.


-rape scene ensues, please proceed with caution-

Hermione woke up feeling chilled to the bone as the air surrounding her was damp and cold. There was a very unpleasant smell and the floor was wet, she could even feel her clothes and hair were soaked from absorbing the cold water. Her body shivered, although at the same time she felt numb to the core. She peered open her eyes but was engulfed in total darkness.

She tried to move her body but was unable to, as she still had no energy left within her. Her body had not healed yet, probably the injuries were severe this time. She huffed and puffed but even breathing seemed to hurt her. Breathing deeply would cause her chest to constrict in pain. Hermione could feel her magic healing her, albeit it was painfully slow compared to usual.

She did not know where she was — 'am I still in the Malfoy Manor?', — what day and time it was, and how long she had been unconscious for. What she knew was that she felt hungry, thirsty, and beyond exhausted. Maybe she should sleep for the whole summer away.

Her solitude was disturbed, however, as she heard a loud squeak sound of metal moving from afar, followed by the sound of heavy footsteps getting closer to her. It must be a man since she knew none of the Black witches had footsteps sounded like those. Narcissa's steps were full of grace while Bellatrix's steps were light and playful.

Hermione closed her eyes and pretended to still be unconscious. She could feel the presence of a figure standing close but not close enough to touch her. 'Is it one of the Death Eaters? Or maybe Voldemort himself?'

"I didn't expect a filthy Mudblood would ever be stepping into my manor, let alone lying and playing dead."

'Lucius Malfoy!'

"You know, I am really, really disappointed with your friend, Potter. If only he gave the prophecy to me when I first asked him, he wouldn't be causing so much trouble. Look at yourself! Because of him, his selfishness and arrogance, you are here now — captured and tortured. You can even barely move, so pathetic!" Lucius spat at the lifeless body lying on the floor.

'I'll toast to that if I could,' Hermione mused to herself.

"And because of him, I suffered my own punishments from My Lord!" He screamed at the weakened young witch. "And now, I will make sure that you will suffer even more. If you want to blame someone, blame the boy-who-lived!" His voice was full of resentment.

All of a sudden, she felt like she was floating in the air as her body was being lifted up with magic. She was moved onto a hard surface, which made her think that she had been put on a table. When she opened her eyes, she could barely see Lucius Malfoy's face half-hidden in the shadow. She tried to look around and saw that there was a light illuminated in a corner, before realising that she was probably being locked up in a cellar.

The man cast a silencing spell around them and Hermione felt terrified. She did not want to think of what he wanted to do with her, but she was terrified nonetheless. The fear she felt from her past came back creeping up within her.

Tears pooled in her eyes and she wanted to shake her head vigorously, but she could not — she was not able to. Her wrists were now bound to the table with Lucius’ magic. She tried to scream but her own voice failed her when nothing came out of her mouth. Her throat was still sore from the previous event and her voice was still lost.

Lucius flicked his cane-wand to rip apart her clothes and Hermione instantly felt exposed, the cold wind touched her bare skin and she shivered. His hands went to unzip his pants before he jerked on his dick. He pumped himself up while staring and leering at the binding girl with eyes full of dirty lust.

It was disgusting, really, to know that Lucius Malfoy was jerking himself off to a girl, who he deemed to have filthy blood. Hermione pooled whatever energy she had to try to escape but was unsuccessful as she was terribly exhausted. Her teeth gritted with frustration.

Lucius let out a long and loud groan as he spurted his filthy semen on her exposed skin.

Hermione wanted to hurl. She felt disgusted and dirty, her thoughts were full of bile and hatred at the man. Her tears leaked down her face as she sobbed, causing Lucius to slap her cheek hard.

"Silence! This is your punishment, you filth! Blame it on Potter!" Lucius took out a dagger — a cursed dagger which he stole from Bellatrix. He gripped on Hermione's left arm and carved the knife into her forearm without mercy.

Hermione could feel dark magic emitted from the dagger and the intense pain from his action. She screamed her lungs out but her voice came out like a squeak. Her tears were now flooding like a river. Thick blood seeped out of her arm as dark magic entered into her body.

Lucius finally stopped and smirked at her, satisfied at seeing his handiwork. He then tossed the dagger to the floor. "Want to know what I wrote? MUDBLOOD. That's right. It's what you are, a filthy Mudblood! You only deserve to live in the mud and dirt, you magic thief!" He said just as he slammed himself forcefully into her.

It hurt. It was painful. Hermione cried and wailed as loud as she could while struggling to move her muscle, but she felt so weak. She felt hopeless. She also felt the dark magic now swimming inside her nerve system.

Lucius did not give a damn at the helpless girl. He moved relentlessly fast and kept on hitting her womb hard. He bit on her right shoulder, drawing on more blood; Hermione's screams fell on deaf ears. He spread her legs painfully apart and moved even faster. He groaned and growled while his hand gripped her throat, choking her.

Hermione's breaths became ragged and she felt weakened as consciousness slowly leaving her. The dark magic had now filled throughout her body and into her heart. She let out a painful scream when she felt the dark magic squeezed her heart.

Lucius pulled out and pumped himself to release on top of the girl again. His cum went everywhere, even some had gotten to her messy hair.

Hermione let out another scream of agony and her magic that was now mixed with the dark magic from the cursed dagger became uncontrollable. She felt a vast amount of power surged from her body, shooting towards the blonde man and simultaneously breaking the silencing spell. Lucius was sent flying across the room before his body crashed against the wall. He toppled over the floor, his rod now flaccid but remained exposed to the cool air.

Hermione's wrists were unbound but the magic outburst totally drained whatever energy remained in her. Thin black smoke and dark aura surrounded her now lifeless body.

She blacked out.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 11 – The Limbo

"Bella! Bellatrix!"

Bellatrix groggily ran down the corridor of the manor with her wand in her hand and was met with a distraught looking Narcissa.

"What? What is it, Cissy?" She ran towards her sister with worry etched on her face. What had happened to cause so much distress in her darling sister?

"Bella… The girl… She's… Lucius…" Narcissa panted heavily and slumped to the floor. Her hands were shaking furiously as she pulled on her dishevelled blonde hair while her eyes wavered in mixed emotions — fear, anger, sadness and regret.

Watching her sister in such a state was a sight to behold, to be honest. But Bellatrix would not do to dwell at the moment. She grabbed onto her sister's shoulders, shaking her out of her trance.

"Shh… Take deep breaths, Cissy. And then tell me from the start, with more words than before." She calmly said and stroked the blonde hair soothingly. It did not seem to be successful in making Narcissa calm, however.

"No. Come with me, Bella. Quick!" Narcissa jumped and pulled Bellatrix's wrist, rushing towards the cellar's entrance.

The cellar was dark, with the only light source was the lamp that hung in the corner of the room. Bellatrix did not remember leaving the light on before. She then saw a lifeless body of Lucius Malfoy against a wall, hidden in the shadow with his flaccid rod uncovered. Bellatrix saw blood smeared the wall down to his back and when she went over to check on his pulse, she was shocked to find none.

Lucius was dead.

She frowned and turned around. She saw the young witch lying on a table that was not there the last time she put the girl in the cellar. Narcissa was standing not far from the girl, with tears streaming down her cheeks. Bellatrix stepped closer and she gagged upon seeing the state of the young witch.

The girl looked like she was not breathing. Her brunette hair was messy, her torn clothes showed her pale nude skin. She was covered in sticky wet liquid, which Bellatrix guessed was the blonde man's semen. She saw the thin black smoke and felt the dark aura surrounded the girl.

"Cissy," Bellatrix called out to her sister, who had her fists clenched at her side. She was clenching so hard that blood dripped from her palm, but the blonde witch did not even notice.

No answer.

"Narcissa!" Bellatrix called out again, louder this time. It seemed to jolt her sister out of her stupor. Narcissa looked at Bellatrix questioningly.

"Clean up your wounds, then go and get help!" She ushered in a rush. It would not be good to leave the girl in this state for a long time. Who knew what had happened, and what would happen if let be.

Narcissa startled before she registered the pain in her hands. She cast a simple 'Episky' and her wounds now healed. She ran out of the cellar to go get help, certainly from a particular someone.

Meanwhile, Bellatrix conjured a bucket of clean water and a small towel. She wet the towel and tried to clean the young witch as much as possible. She wanted to use her magic, but she did not think it would be wise with the state the girl currently was in.

It was not unnoticed to her that drops of tears fell down her cheeks onto the girl's skin, but she made no move to clear them away. Her heart was clenching in pain as she regretted all her actions towards the girl, all the pain she had caused. The girl definitely did not deserve to be treated like trash.

Bellatrix noticed the bruises in the form of fingerprints on the girl's neck, the teeth marks on her shoulder and several bruises from the ropes that bound the girl earlier. Her eyes widened as she took in the faint scars marring the girl's skin — the girl probably had more scars than anyone she knew, including herself.

Her eyes caught a thin necklace and its pendant that had fallen to the back of the girl's neck. She reached for the pendant and saw a ring instead, with a beautiful insignia engraved on the ring. For a moment, her attention transfixed on the engrave before she realised she had stopped cleaning the girl.

Bellatrix wiped away the dry blood on the girl's left forearm and her eyes hardened at the word imprinted — MUDBLOOD. Her gut feeling told her to look around and she appalled at seeing her own cursed dagger lying on the floor not far from where she stood. She did not realise when Lucius had stolen the dagger from her. She picked it up with trembling hands, red blood was still fresh and covering its tip.

Her heart constricted as she registered the knowledge of what her cursed dagger had done to the young witch. Her eyes pooled with unshed tears as her body trembled with deep remorse. She took out her wand and wanted to cure the wound, erase the mark, reversed the dark magic, anything.

She wanted to do something!

But her body convulsed with sadness, anger and regret, while her vision was blurry with her own fresh tears.

"STOP!"

Bellatrix freeze as she heard a man's voice shouted from afar. She wiped her face with her sleeve and turned to look at the source, and she found Severus running in her direction with Narcissa trailing from behind. Bellatrix lowered her hand and stepped back to allow the man to come closer.

"Hermione! Hermione! Is she alive?"

Severus looked at Bellatrix, black eyes were searching for an answer but none came. He frantically searched for a pulse from the girl's neck and wrist, and he pinned his ear to the girl's heart but not even a beat was heard.

“Please, Hermione… Please…”

Severus hovered both his hands over the young witch's body, ignoring the thin smoke as he felt the unstable magic swirling in and around the girl. He nodded as he knew what he must do, and he needed to do it pronto. He conjured a blanket and covered the young witch before he scooped her up in his arms.

He turned towards the two Black sisters. "Thank you for calling for me instead of someone else. Worry not, for she will live, and I am grateful and honoured to be able to serve her once again. I will take her with me now and shall owl to you as soon as everything has settled down."

Both sisters' eyebrows furrowed in confusion upon hearing his words. It seemed like he suddenly changed to another person. Bellatrix stopped him before he went out of the cellar, and he turned to face her.

"Before he was dead, it was he who carved her arm with my cursed dagger." Bellatrix motioned towards the dead body of Lucius Malfoy, who only now did Severus notice.

Severus' face went red with boiling anger and he wished to castrate him — if only the blonde man was still alive. He instinctively held Hermione closer to his chest as if trying to protect her, but he immediately cooled down and nodded towards Bellatrix before politely taking his leave once again.

"That was weird," Narcissa commented, to which Bellatrix agreed.


Severus apparated to his house and quickly moved towards Hermione's room and laid the girl on the bed. He then went into the closet in his room and stopped frozen in front of an enchanted muggle safe he owned. His anger finally caught up again and he was shaking with so much resentment towards Lucius Malfoy. He punched the safe once, then he punched it again and again before he stopped and let out a loud scream full of anger and frustration.

Severus stood dejectedly — his shoulders slumped and his head hanging while facing towards the ceiling — and clenched his fists at his side. Tears rolled down his cheeks as his thoughts were full of regrets.

He regretted not being able to save Hermione in time. He regretted not being able to protect her again. He regretted ever leaving Hermione in the hand of fate.

'Fuck destiny and fate, I don't want to lose Hermione again!'

He sobered up and wiped the tears away. He unlocked and opened the safe and took out a sealed jar before he locked it again.

"Lori!" He called for the house-elf he hired, and Lori instantly appeared with a 'pop'.

"Yes, Master Severus?" Lori bowed and looked at him warily.

"Get me every type of healing potions from the apothecary and bring them all to Hermione's room. Immediately!"

"Yes, Master!"

Lori immediately vanished and Severus rushed towards the girl's room again. He was not surprised to see Lori popped in with several jars of potions which he took and placed on the bedside table. Lori gasped as she saw the young witch's lifeless body.

"Miss Hermione! Master? What happened to Miss Hermione? Is Miss Hermione okay?" Lori had tears running down her cheeks and she wiped her nose with her gown sleeve.

"Hermione will be alright. I will take care of her." Severus said with sheer determination in his voice.

"Can Lori help? Can Lori do something to help Miss Hermione?" Lori wiped her tears and had a determined look in her eyes. She loved her mistress and wanted to do everything in her power to help her.

"No, but you can help me. Go find Albus Dumbledore, inform him that I have a very urgent personal matter concerning my family that needs my whole attention. I will be taking leave for now until due time. Never, ever mention about Hermione to anyone. If you do, I will personally slice your throat!"

Severus delivered the threat with a menacing look in his eyes. Lori looked at him with fear at the threat but nodded with understanding. She took her leave and he was left alone again.

Severus stood next to Hermione and accessed the ancient magic from inside his core. He hovered his hand over her body and channelled his magic to assess the situation inside her.

Hermione's magic was haphazard and in turmoil. There was light, dark, modern and ancient magic, and they were all clashing and fighting against each other. Furthermore, her bones were broken at many places and blood was running low in her system.

'This wouldn't do,' he thought. After a while, he finished with his assessment and understood the condition throughout her form.

He picked up the sealed jar from before and moved his hand in circles above its lid while muttering some words — to break the seal and counterspell various wards placed on the jar. A dim light shone through the lid for a few seconds before it opened.

"Master Severus, Lori had done as Master asked. Lori did not tell anyone about Miss Hermione. Can Lori do anything else for Master?" Lori popped out of nowhere.

"Please cook something for me, Lori. I'm going to be very tired and I will need meat to replenish my energy." He did not look at her but she nodded and vanished again.

Inside the jar were green coloured ashes that were collected from the deceased body of Queen Morgan when she passed away. Severus picked up a handful of the ashes and placed his hand on top of the girl's chest where her heart lay beneath. He opened his fist and let the ashes fell from his palm onto the chest. He started rubbing above the heart while chanting some words.

"Gyfer y corff hwn, byddwch yn gweithio gyda'i gilydd"
(for this body, you will work together)

Severus kept on chanting the words over and over again while at the same time channelling his ancient magic into the girl. He could feel Hermione's magic had all started to move towards her heart and concentrated at one place. The ashes spread was slowly absorbed into the skin underneath, moving towards where the magic pooled. He did not stop his movement as he felt the magic mixed together until they formed an undeniable and unspeakable connection with each other, causing a faint light glowing out of Hermione's chest. The magic would be contained and controlled for now, but only Hermione would have the power to fully access and control all her magic.

Severus finally stopped and retracted his own magic back into himself when the light had all vanished and no ash remained on Hermione's skin. He panted heavily from the heavy usage of his ancient magic, and he was sweating as if he had just been running a marathon.

Soon enough, he could feel light thumps under his hand, indicating that Hermione's heart had started beating again. He checked for the pulse on her neck and wrist — just to be sure — and was glad to feel it.

The faint, light sound of 'thump', 'thump'.

He let out a grateful sigh; he could only hope for the better. Conjuring a clean syringe, he used it to inject the potions into Hermione's mouth, one by one. He vanished the torn clothes but Hermione's pants did not go away. Frowning, he realised that everywhere on the pants were ripped apart except for her pocket.

'Must be enchanted,' he thought. He pulled it off and placed it aside, he will deal with it later. Lori was called again and was ordered to cleanse Hermione and covered her with a blanket for the night. He sealed the jar containing remaining ashes and placed some wards on it before he stood and left the room.

He had much to do but for now, he needed to eat and rest. His body felt drained.


Hermione woke up with a jolt and her heart was beating fast, panic rose in her chest. She looked all over herself and noticed a few things which she found impossible: 1) she was still in her previous clothes — jeans and long sleeve shirt — but they were no longer torn; 2) there were thin smoke and dark energy swimming around her, and she tried to access her magic but was unable to; 3) if she looked closely, there was not a single bruise or scar on her body — not even any of the scars she made on herself for years — she looked totally clean.

She looked around and realised that she was somewhere unfamiliar. She was standing on a hill with a majestic castle in front of her and saw a forest of green was in the distance. As she turned around, she was faced with a very peaceful lake that ended at the horizon. She circled around and noticed there was not any presence of anyone and she was alone. It was very peaceful and not any sound was heard.

"Where am I?" Her voice broke the tranquillity of her surrounding. "Am I dead?"

She looked around again and there was still no one. She presumed that it was weird if she was dead because it did not feel like she was in heaven or hell. There were not any other souls of the dead currently with her. She shrugged as she realised there was nothing she could do in the situation so she sat underneath a huge tree facing the lake.

The day was as bright as daylight although she could not see the sun. The clear water of the lake reflected the blue of the sky and the green of the forest. The warm weather and gentle breeze made her felt relax and her eyes felt heavy. She did not know what time or day it was.

As she was about to doze off, she suddenly felt a weird sensation was tickling on her chest, just right over her heart. She opened her eyes and pulled at her shirt to see a glow of light emitted from her chest, while the black aura and the dark energy that surrounded her skin before were now slowly concentrated to her heart.

Hermione was amazed and looked in awe at whatever that was happening with herself. When everything was done and the light had dimmed she tried to feel for her magic again and was glad that she still had it although it felt faint.

She smiled but immediately turned around as she heard a light chuckle that came from behind her. She stood up and came face to face with a beautiful stranger — a woman with long wavy dark brown hair that flowed down past her back which was tied at the end by a ribbon. She has a small face with round eyes, a small pointy nose and supple lips. Her eyebrows and jaw were sharp and she emitted an aura of intimidating, while her pale white skin was hidden beneath a beautiful brown and green coloured dress that clung to her curves like a second skin.

Hermione trailed her eyes up and down the figure before noticing the smirk on the pale lips. She blushed and looked away. "Forgive me, I didn't mean to stare." She sent the woman an apologetic smile.

The woman smiled as she said, "it's fine. Never apologise for appreciating beauty. You are a pleasing sight yourself."

Hermione felt ashamed at the sight of herself. She definitely could not compare against the beauty of the woman, as she only wore plain jeans and long sleeves shirt. She shrugged without care and introduced herself.

"Hi, I'm Hermione Granger."

"I know who you are way more than you know yourself, my dear Hermione." The woman said with a soft smile.

Hermione tilted her head, brows furrowed in confusion. "I don't know who you are but I feel like I have heard your voice before."

"Well then, do you remember this? I am your past and your future. I am your destiny and Fates will bring you to me. However, your time has not come yet so you must live."

Hermione's eyes widened as she recalled a memory from the past. "Of course! You're the voice I heard when I thought that I was dead before. Right after I was assaulted by my adopted father. You didn't show yourself back then but you said that Death has not come for me yet."

She glanced around before she looked at the stranger again. "Is Death coming now? Am I dying?"

When Hermione was raped by her adopted father, her magic had burst out from herself and caused her to pass out in the cold of the night. She woke up in total darkness and had thought that she was dead but out of nowhere, a voice sounded from afar had told her that Death had not come for her yet. When Hermione asked who the voice was, she only received the previous words as her answer, then she was jolted awake to a new world.

The woman shook her head. "You are in the Limbo, my dear — the space in between life and death. Not everyone gets to be in the Limbo but those who do, their own Limbo is different from each other.”

She moved closer to Hermione. “The time here will be different from the real world. There will be no night or day, it's just as it is. When you are in the Limbo, you'll be visited by a deity and be given the chance to either continue living or to greet Death.”

One hand flew to cup Hermione’s cheek. “My dear Hermione, do you still have the will to live after everything that had happened to you? Or are you finally giving up on your life, as you have always wished for?"

Hermione opened her mouth as she wanted to answer the questions but was stopped when the woman held up her finger to her lips.

"No, don't answer it. Not yet anyway. For now, I am here to answer any question you may have."

Hermione nodded before she opened her mouth again and asked, "who are you?"

The woman smiled at Hermione. "A good place to start. I came by many names. My real name, given to me by my mother, is Anastasia but you may have known me as Morgan—"

Hermione's eyes widened as she interrupted, "you're her? You're the Queen of Avalon? The most powerful witch in history, Morgan Le Fay?" Hermione looked at the woman in great astonishment.

The woman chuckled at the girl's reactions and nodded her head. "I am more than just that, my dear Hermione."

"What do you mean? Can you tell me more about yourself? I would very much like to know." Hermione was super interested and did not want to waste the chance she had. She looked like a small puppy who was eagerly waiting to play with its master.

"Are you sure? It's going to take a long time and I'm not sure if you can handle knowing the truth. It will be out of context from human's general knowledge and understanding." The woman simply raised her eyebrow but she did not doubt Hermione's capabilities as she had been living inside Hermione since her birth so she knew what Hermione's limits are.

Hermione nodded furiously as she said with an eager voice, "try me. I'm in the Limbo anyway, there's nothing for me to do other than getting the answers to the questions I have and I definitely don't want to waste this chance."

"Very well, then. Come, let's sit down." The woman whose name was Anastasia simply waved her hand and several big tree roots sprouted from the ground before they hardened in the shape of a bench. Hermione was astounded and they both went to sit on the bench underneath the huge tree.

"Where shall I start? Hmm, let's see. Have you ever heard of the term demigod?"

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 12 – Severus Snape

Severus woke up to Saturday's morning. It had been terrible news to the wizarding world now that everyone knew about the Dark Lord's existence. Even the Minister for Magic himself, Cornelius Fudge, had finally admitted to the news and was chased out of his Ministry's position.

Surely the Muggles would be notified about the war or at least feel the side effect from it. Many people would be living in fear now that the war was official. Severus thought about the next plans he would need to device together with the awakening of the Queen. How should he play his part effectively?

He washed up and went to check on the said future queen. Hermione was still in her comatose state, alive but breathing slowly yet peacefully. Using his magic, Severus cast an enchantment on the ring on Hermione's neck to connect with the band on his wrist. If there was going to be any changes on Hermione's heartbeat, the enchantment will alert him through the ring and onto his band.

He checked on her physical condition — the bruises had mostly vanished overnight and her blood had mostly replenished, thanks to Hermione's magic and the potions used. The broken bones were also slowly healed. He needed to wait until she was fully healed and her pale skin regained its true colour, and that would take some time. He fed the girl with the same potions before going downstairs for breakfast.

Severus recalled how fate had led her to meet Hermione.


Severus grew up in Spinner's End being neglected by her parents, who were always fighting with each other. His mother was a witch while his father was a Muggle, who had always acted violently towards him and his mother.

During his childhood, Severus befriended Lily Evans after observing her magical abilities, and over the time he had fallen deeply in love with her. However, Lily's sister, Petunia was very against the friendship they had — either because he is a 'freak' or because he's poor.

Being a poor and neglected kid with magical ability, Severus started to become more invisible in a way that normal people could hardly notice his presence. His lack of social skill also gave him an advantage. Using these advantages, Severus picked up a new skill — pickpocket.

He first pickpocket people was when he was ten years old. His method was always to bump into someone before he used magic to retrieve their purses or money without their awareness. He would always jump places so that no one will be able to detect him. Since then he never went back to his home — to Spinner's End — or to Lily.

Eventually, Severus made it to big cities such as Leicester, Birmingham, and many more. By the time he was eleven, he was already staying in London by himself. There were times he felt weird at seeing different kinds of currency, but he was not complaining. As long as they are money, he would collect them and he usually pickpocketed people who seemed rich and looked down on him.

One day, Severus got caught in the middle of his attempt to steal a man. The man knew what Severus was doing but he did not get mad. Instead, the man had offered to treat him to lunch at his home. Obviously, Severus had initially rejected the offer, because he was not stupid enough to follow strangers. However, between being sent to the authority or accepting the lunch offer, he knew which to choose. He will deal with it if the man decided to do any harm to him.

The man had introduced himself as Joseph Shafiq. True to his word, he had brought Severus home where he introduced the boy to his wife, Camilla Shafiq. Severus had been wary of the pair, but they had proved to be nothing but kind and honest people.

It started with lunch but it lasted to Severus staying in their home for the night, and days thereafter. It took some time for Severus to trust the couple but he eventually opened up to them. He told them about his magical abilities, which did not surprise them as they showed him their magic too.

Days turned to weeks, then months and when the couple had confessed their desire of having a child, Severus immediately agreed to be theirs. He was sure that his true parents did not really care about him anymore as it had been a year and they still did not try to find him at all. Furthermore, the Shafiqs were rich and belonged within the Sacred 28 families, how could he simply reject them?

Severus had never felt so much happiness and love. Living with the Shafiqs and being accepted as one of their own, became everything in his life. He was reluctant to leave the couple when he was accepted into Hogwarts, but they promised him that he will always have a place in their hearts and in their home. Severus would always go back to their home during every holiday and he never once went back to Spinner's End anymore.


Severus' school life was jeopardised by James Potter and his gang. His love for Lily never perished, but he was constantly in vain as Lily would always side with James. When Lily decided to marry James, Severus was heartbroken and thus he decided to join the Death Eater rank — because Lily and James joined the Order of Phoenix — utilising his skills and ability as a spy for Voldemort.

This had caused an argument between Severus and the Shafiqs, who had never believed and followed the Pure-blood supremacy idealism. They eventually reconciled when the couple received great news — Camilla was pregnant. Realising the foolish decision he had made, Severus could no longer back out from the Dark Circle so decided to conceal every secret of his relationship with the Shafiqs.

Severus had become a spy between them and Voldemort, delivering every news or decision that Voldemort made to them and protected them covertly. He even suggested them to move to another place during the whole pregnancy period and until the delivery, just to be safe. Their main house was concealed and hidden with Fidelius Charm, and Severus became its Secret Keeper.

Camilla eventually delivered a baby girl, who Severus had considered as his own sister. He remembered holding her in her arms like she was a very precious thing in the world. He remembered looking into her soulful brown eyes, and he instantly felt the familiar ancient magic that he had been looking for centuries.

Severus was stunned at how fate had played with his life, as he totally could not comprehend how far he had gotten just to get to where he was. He finally met with her long-awaited sister, but life was not as easy as it is. He had to tell the truth to their parents.

Severus revealed the truth about their baby and himself, including the prophecy regarding the future of their just-born daughter. Both Joseph and Camilla were taken aback by the revelation, but they trusted his words. Severus broke down, touched by their trust and kindness towards him, and he was deeply grateful and honoured to be allowed to name their baby. He chose ‘Hermione’ from the word 'Harmony', and they both agreed.

A week was spent with Severus living in a happy family with the three Shafiqs, being a brother felt like a blessing to him despite the war that was going on in the wizarding world. The four of them were unseparated unless when Severus was called for meetings with Voldemort and his followers. At the end of the blissful week, they received grave news — Voldemort and his close followers would come to visit the Shafiq couple in order to ask them to join his circle.

When Severus delivered the message to them, he was asked to immediately take Hermione away and hid her somewhere safe. He was reluctant and had asked them to relocate to another place again, but they refused and insisted on him to do as was asked. With parting words and heavy steps, he took Hermione and left her in a Muggle hospital secretly at night.

Severus had joined as one of Voldemort’s close followers in meeting with the Shafiqs. The couple were persisted in refusing his offer to join his circle, so Voldemort had decided to torture them until they decide to change their standing.

Although his face showed no expression at all, Severus watched in vain as the couple were writhing in pain. The other Death Eaters — except Bella — were cheering and howling at their Lord.

However, both Joseph and Camilla consistently and bravely put up with Voldemort despite being tortured endlessly. Voldemort became angry and killed them out of spite. Severus watched as their eyes looked at him just as when he first met them — with nothing but kindness, understanding and so much love. His heart shattered when they released their last screams of pain and simultaneously their last breaths.

There was not even a moment where Severus dared to forget the Shafiqs' sacrifices to him and Hermione.


11 years later, Severus' eyes lit up as the Arthur in him instantly recognised the different kind of magic — the ancient magic that he knew only belong to a certain person — when he watched the first year students walked into the Great Hall for their sorting ceremony. He wondered if the time had finally come for him to reconnect with his beloved sister.

He had been waiting for centuries, he had died and reincarnated but was not met with the future that was aforementioned in the prophecy. He had died and reincarnated again in the body that he was in now, as Severus Snape.

He did not know where the source of magic came from but his mind recalled of the baby named Hermione. He had left Hermione in a Muggle hospital and was unable to track her whereabouts thereafter. He had lived 11 years of his life in sorrow as he had lost the parents who accepted him as their own son and also his sister, as well as the love of her life, Lily.

Severus glanced towards the throng of small kids being sorted into their respective houses. He saw his godson, Draco, was put into Slytherin even before the hat sat atop him. He sighed as he remembered his job of protecting the boy in school — a task entrusted to him by his good friend, Narcissa. Severus and Narcissa, they went a long way back.

There were loud cheers as a certain boy with spectacles was sorted into the Gryffindor house. He must be the famous boy-who-lived, Harry Potter. Severus remembered the prophecy he had heard about the boy and the Dark Lord, and also the death of Lily. He looked at the boy who really had the look of his father but the eyes of his mother, Lily. Oh, his beloved Lily.

Another commotion occurred but this time was not the sound of cheers. Instead, there were gasps of shocks and distinctive murmurs of "a Mudblood in Slytherin". Severus watched as the girl who was just sorted now took her place in the snakes' den with her shoulders squared and a look of determination on her face.

He did not know who the girl was since he was not paying attention to the ceremony, so he did not catch the name of the girl. What with Professor Quirrell who was stuttering near him like a squirrel, Severus was really distracted.

Was it true? Was she really Hermione? The same Hermione he had left in the Muggle hospital and was destined to be a queen?

As the ceremony finished and students had been sorted out, they started with their meals. Severus did not feel like eating much, so he just nodded at whatever the squirrel was talking about but his attention was not on him. While he was eating slowly, he had his attention on the bushy brunette haired girl.

He watched as she ignored the glares, glances, stares and scowls from various directions that were directed at her. He kept watching at her as she looked over towards the table of professors at the front. He observed as the girl's eyes lit up and a smile beamed on her face when she was looking at Minerva, but then the smile turned to frown.

His eyes squinted when they met with the girl's eyes. She stared back at him in confusion while he searched deep within her eyes — oh, how he had missed those eyes for years, — trying to assess if the source of magic he felt earlier really came from her.

It did. He felt it, very vague and faint, but he felt the familiar magic nonetheless.

He then turned towards Albus Dumbledore, who with very subtle movements, smiled and nodded at him. Severus' eyes went comically wide for a second before he schooled his expression again.

He glanced towards his godson, Draco, then to Harry, and back towards Hermione, the sister he sought after. He mentally slapped himself and let out a resigned sighed. If there was a God in this world, he would ask Him this:

'Why am I cursed to handle these three kids in the same period?!'


"Lori!"

Severus had finished eating and was calling for his house-elf who appeared in a flash of light.

"Yes, Master Severus?" Lori had her head up as she looked at him with a smile, ready to be given any task to do.

"I want you to take good care of Hermione while she remained in her current state. Clean her but be careful of any wound or injury. Do not use magic, if you can."

Lori's eyes widened and her smile was full of excitement at being given the task of caring for the young mistress.

"Yes, Master! Lori will do her job well. Lori will not let Master Severus down!" She vanished, possibly towards Hermione's room.

Severus went to his study and grabbed his quill and parchments. He mulled over the right choice of words to use in order to send his letter to several significant people. It took him a few times until he managed to craft a sufficient letter.

Dear Miss,

This letter was written with the intention to let you know that the time has come for you to receive the answers you have been looking for throughout your entire life.

The missing piece to your hollow soul and the emptiness within your heart is finally within your reach. It is up to you whether to follow your heart or to continue living in the ignorance.

Come to the Shrieking Shack on Monday the 22nd, at 9 am sharp. Someone trustworthy will be there to pick you up. Be there on your own and keep this meeting a secret from anyone or consequences will befall.

I would hate to say that this will be the only chance that you will have, as I am the only one with the answers to what you seek and more.

Yours Sincerely,

S.T.K.S.

He made another four copies of the letter and cast a concealing charm and ward to allow only the specific person to counter the charm in order to read the letter. He repeated the action on every copy with a specific person in mind as its recipient.

He took off the wristband he had for centuries which had a crest of the same insignia drawn by the Queen — it was made alongside her ring and was given to him. He sealed all the letters in different envelopes, using the crest pressed into the wax on the back of each envelope. He then wrote the recipients' names and cast another ward to ensure only the person of the said name will be allowed to break the seal. They were very private and confidential letters and he needed to take desperate measures to ensure they will not fall into wrong hands. He kept the letters inside his drawer for now.

Severus went to shower and changed before he went out with one destination in mind — Malfoy Manor.


"Wait, let me get this straight. So your name is Anastasia, and you're a daughter of the Goddess Athena. You were born to oversee the mortals, particularly humans. What was it that you said — you were what of what?"

Hermione stared incredulously at the beautiful stranger. The said woman had been telling stories of her birth, her family full of different deities and her relation to Morgan Le Fay but true to her words, the knowledge was out of human's context of understanding. Even Hermione, 'the brightest witch of her age', found it difficult to grasp onto the information bestowed upon her.

"I am the immortal of the mortals, my dear Hermione. Forgive me, it's really difficult for you to understand, isn't it? Morgan too, she had a hard time in understanding it at first."

Hermione shook her head rapidly. "To be honest, it was something I didn't expect at all. But if Morgan Le Fay was able to understand and accept you, how could I not? Your beauty alone is on a level any human can't reach. That is to say, I didn't know how Morgan looked like, so—"

A swirl of magic around Anastasia had her changed her looks. Her hair was now black and straight instead of brown and wavy, everything on her face spelt sharp and looked menacing — eyes, nose, cheekbones and jaw. She was definitely taller and curvier than Hermione.

"This is how Morgan looked and sounded like," Anastasia said in a voice different than before. Although Morgan held the title of the 'most beautiful witch in history', it was undeniable that she still could not reach the level of Anastasia's beauty.

Hermione gobsmacked as she looked at the real Morgan. As the Queen and most powerful witch, Hermione could feel the aura and strong presence radiated from the woman.

'Did it come from Morgan or Anastasia? Was Morgan this beautiful because of Anastasia? Was Morgan a powerful witch because of Anastasia? Damnit, I'm dizzy just from thinking about it!'

"No, my dear Hermione. Morgan and I were different, even when we were together," Anastasia said as she changed back to herself.

Hermione shooed her thoughts away, "bloody hell woman, get out from my mind, will you?" Hermione huffed and pouted. How was she able to act so bold with the demigod, she did not know, but Anastasia was successful in making herself felt like they were a long time friends.

Anastasia chuckled, "I'm sorry, I can't help it. Your thoughts are so loud, Hermione. Didn't anyone tell you that before? Your face and your eyes always show your emotions."

"Hmph." Hermione crossed her arms. "Enough mocking me. So tell me again, what was your relationship with Morgan?"

Anastasia took a deep breath before she began again. "After I was born, I was given the task to oversee the mortals world, particularly the humans. I was told that humans are the most intelligent being amongst all, but that didn't mean others were any less or even stupid. Every being has their own way of thinking and humans were chosen as the leader in this world.

However, as time goes on, there were many stupid and wrong decisions made by the humans that lead to destructions of the world. The deities were not happy by that, so they started a project in which I was given the task to handle.

A human was chosen from a certain generation, and thereafter their soul will be merged with mine. I am merely a soul without a body, and I am a demigod, my power is limited compared to the other deities.

Morgan was the first human to be chosen for this project. She was already a powerful witch by that time and even though she was deemed evil and wicked, she had established a great connection with other mortals.

One day, I visited her in her dream and told her about it. She didn't believe it at first but she still accepted her fate. Maybe because she was interested in the powers, I didn't know. So we merged, and she became more powerful."

Hermione nodded as she had a look of concentration on her face — the usual look whenever she tried to comprehend new information. She always had this look when she read a new book or when she tried to analyse things with logic and understanding.

"Was this before or after Morgan had met with her half-brother, Arthur?"

"Before. Morgan had succumbed to the new power she received and caused fear in other humans but not her loyal followers. She unleashed her powers in a war against another kingdom and eventually won the war, but she suffered great losses at the same time. She lost all of her sisters as well as many of her followers, though she also gained a half-brother who she had never known about.

The rest of her life is as you have read. She changed greatly and even became friends with her foe, Merlin who she had always hated. Her brother, Arthur had become everything she held dearly in her life. She regretted many of her past actions and wanted to redeem herself.

That's when I made a deal between her and the deities, to allow Morgan to redeem herself. The deities were initially not happy to see her reactions after we merged souls, but my mother — ever the wisest and beautiful Goddess — talked and convinced them. They reluctantly agreed and decided to choose another human in the foreseeable future, where a bit of Morgan's soul will be merged with the future human.

However, I wasn't allowed to tell Morgan the truth so I merely told her that she will be reincarnated, and I showed her the prophecy and a glimpse of her future life. She accepted the decision and I took a piece of her soul with me after she greeted Death."

"Aaanddd…?" Hermione raised her eyebrows as she waited in anticipation for the words to come.

"And what?" Anastasia faux confusion as she looked back at Hermione.

"Oh, come on. Don't tell me the story ends there!"

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 13 – Her One-Sided Crush

Narcissa's life had been in distressed after the events that happened yesterday. At first, she was truly surprised to see Ms Granger was in the manor, in her true appearance this time. It was not much of a shock to have known that her sister was the one that captured the girl. However, she was intrigued when Bella spoke about a prophecy that may have a relationship between her sister and the girl, but it horrifically shook her when Ms Granger spoke of being soulmates with her sister.

Her sister, Bellatrix, but not her, Narcissa! She recalled the memory of her initial meeting with Ms Granger.


Narcissa was separated from her son and husband as they went their own ways to shop in the Diagon Alley before meeting for lunch. It was early August and Draco was buying the necessities before the start of his second year at Hogwarts.

She went into the bookstore and made her way towards the back to look for any book that would interest her. As she was looking at different book titles, an accidental brush of her skin with someone had a current shock ran through her body and she gasped. She turned to look towards the person and saw a girl who seemed to be looking intently at various books by the end of the shelf.

Narcissa realised that the girl did not notice what had happened, maybe she was the only one feeling that way until she saw the stealing glances coming from the girl and the cute blush that was forming on the girl's cheeks. Her heart stopped beating when she caught the embarrass smile played on the girl's lips. She felt her own heat rose but immediately shook herself out of it and left the establishment altogether.

It confused her for the strange feelings the girl managed to evoke within her.


When Draco had started to join quidditch, Narcissa had never missed coming to each of his tournaments. While she went with the excuses of cheering and supporting for her darling son, she could not deny herself from wanting to get to know more about the mysterious girl.

After subtly asking from her son, she finally managed to know the girl's identity — the one and only, Hermione Granger, whom almost every Pure-blood children, including Draco, had mentioned about — the Mudblood in Slytherin.

It surprised her to see the girl had no friends and none of the Slytherins ever cared about her, even though they proudly held their motto of 'we take care of our own'. No one even paid her any mind as the girl did not join other students who stood and cheered at the side of the quidditch field, but she was sitting in one of the spectators' seats instead.

In fact, the girl was always sitting on the front row where Narcissa sat on two rows behind her.

Ms Granger would always have a book in her lap on every game, and she never really paid attention to the game at all. Narcissa too spent her time watching the girl's back and the movement of her soft fingers as she flipped the pages. She watched the girl's eyes lit up and teeth biting soft lips as she read something that caught her interest, or the frown on her face as something bothered her mind. Sometimes the wind blew the girl's hair back and Narcissa saw the expose of skin on her neck.

She found it extremely alluring — no, disturbing.

On one occasion, their eyes met and Narcissa held her gaze but inside, her heart was beating rapidly. The girl blushed and bit her lip, and Narcissa's eyes transfixed onto the cute pink lips.

She wanted to be the one to bite it instead. She wanted to sink her teeth into the fair skin, taste as sweat ran down the skin. She craved for the current shock and sparks again. She wanted to know the girl's smell and how she will respond to her ministrations.

'Will her blush deepened, or will she moan my name deliciously?'

Her eyes widened at realising where her thoughts had run to — an extremely dangerous territory.

'What in Morgan's name did I imagine those things?'

However, she was never successful in returning home without wet knickers. It was the first of many days where she could never stop thinking about the girl, the first of many nights where she could not stop herself from having dreams with the girl in them.

She tried to stop thinking about Ms Granger and always reminded herself of her blood status, as what she had always been told to throughout her childhood even though she had never wanted to believe and follow in the Pure-blood supremacy ideology.

"A Black who associates with those filthy Magic Thieves is a disgrace to our family!" 

Narcissa remembered her father's hateful words, how his face contorted in disgust and how spiteful his words were whenever Sirius or Andromeda was mentioned.

As always, she cowered behind the titles as 'Daughter of Black' and 'Lady Malfoy', and she kept on her Ice Queen persona.

'Conceal, don't feel.'

So Narcissa kept her feelings to herself and continued watching Ms Granger for years, as much and as long as she secretly could. As the girl turned older and looked more matured, Narcissa could not deny that her beauty was palpable, and her desire towards the girl became stronger than ever.


When Ms Granger came during the Christmas Eve party with Severus, Narcissa was surprised to know that the girl managed to break through the anti-Muggle and anti-Muggle-born wards placed on the manor.

She wanted to sing praises and to make the girl hers as she was blessed upon with magnificent view. The girl was already an eye-catching in her usual style, but the disguise only made her even more breathtaking. Narcissa watched as Draco looked smitten with the girl in disguise — he would probably gag if he knew who she was.

When Ms Granger was openly flirting with her and bravely displaying so much skin towards her, Narcissa's desire intensified and she felt a strong pull towards the girl. She wanted to feel the skin and its warmth, and feel the current shock again. However, she wanted the real Ms Granger and not a girl in disguise. Thus, she made a decision to announce the girl's true name and watched as honest brown eyes contained the change of emotions.

When the girl turned scared but then became hysteric and looked lost, Narcissa was caught in surprise and confusion. She did not know what had triggered such reactions in the young witch. She saw the girl had a tight grip on a blade but it was not pointed at her. She watched as Severus approached the girl and calmed her down before he took her away and left the manor altogether. She had never seen Severus acted that way towards anyone.

She had no idea of what had transpired that night.


When Narcissa bumped with Ms Granger two days later in Diagon Alley, she was met with messy brunette hair and a pretty face wet with tears. It pained her heart to see the girl looked so brokenhearted — she had no idea what had just caused the girl to be in that state but she wanted to console her, to ease her pain.

But then the girl had whispered her name, with her voice so soft but croaky, she had called her 'Narcissa' and not 'Lady Malfoy'. Narcissa's heart leapt in joy at hearing her name uttered from the cute pink lips but then she became confused as to why she would feel that way, not even realising that she had put her facade, her Icy Queen persona back on.

She could do nothing but silently watched as the girl ran away from her. Later that night, she woke up from sleep and noticed how wet she was just from dreaming Ms Granger's soft voice calling 'Narcissa' plenty of times.


She was honestly aghast to hear that Bella was prophesied as the girl's soulmate. She thought she had a special connection with the girl or at least, she thought she was finally someone's special. Maybe this was a punishment to her for being such a coward and not wanting to admit her feelings.

Truthfully, she felt hurt and disappointed but she masked her emotions well and watched as Bella proceeded to torture the girl, although it tugged her heart to watch as Ms Granger writhed in pain and eventually passed out. Bella had then put the girl in the cellar, and Narcissa only told Lucius about it when he came home because he was the head of the house.

When she had used Legilimens on the girl, she was extremely horrified at what she had seen. The girl was much younger than her but had received a fate worse than anyone she had ever known — including her own. Narcissa felt sick with herself.

She did not know she would cause the girl to be in pain again.

Narcissa had reflected on her actions and wanted to check on Ms Granger to heal her wounds and fed her. However, she crumbled upon seeing the girl's state in the cellar. Her thoughts jumbled and her words muffled as she tried to tell her sister about it.

The knowledge that Ms Granger's lifeless body had priorly been through pain from her husband's violence and her insensitive action, put Narcissa in so much misery and regret. She had called upon the only person who she knew the girl would trust wholeheartedly to save her.

She did not even care a bit about Lucius Malfoy's dead body. He could rot to hell, for all she cared.

Instead, she had felt a little grateful at seeing his dead body and wanted to just burn him but knew she should not. Thankfully, she still had her sister who, like always, had become her pillar of life.

They had cleaned his body and removed any proof of what had happened in the cellar. They swore to keep it a secret and designed a lie to tell the others, especially to the Dark Lord. He will be greatly disappointed at his loss and would want to find the cause of Lucius' death, he will probably torture and then kill the person if he knew.

She did not want to think what Draco would think or say if he knew the truth.


Narcissa was currently in the Headmaster's room at Hogwarts, waiting for her son to arrive. She only told Dumbledore that there was a personal family matter and would require Draco's presence at home. She was grateful when he did not ask why she was the one to be there instead of Lucius.

A knock sounded on the door and Draco came into the room. Narcissa immediately rushed towards her son only to kiss his forehead and hugged him tightly.

"Mother, you're choking me," Draco said, his breath constricted.

Narcissa pulled away but did not let him go. "Forgive me, Draco."

Draco took in the look of grief on her mother's face. He had never seen her mother looked like this before, and he wondered what had happened. "Did something happen, mother?" He said as he took her mother's hand and squeezed it firmly.

"It has come to my attention that there is an urgent family matter and your presence had been required immediately, Mr Malfoy. Your mother is here to take you home." Albus Dumbledore said as a matter of fact.

Draco saw her mother nodded at his words. "What's the matter? Did the man do something to you again?"

Narcissa was astounded at hearing the question asked by her son that she became at a loss for words. 'Who did Draco mean? Did he knew anything about his father and me?' She shook her head and cleared her thoughts. Now was not the time. "Come now. I will explain to you later."

She turned to look at Dumbledore, "may we use your floo?"

He nodded and smiled at her warmly. She ushered her son to go first and followed after him, but before she threw the flew powder and called for Malfoy Manor, she muttered a soft "thank you" to the man.


Narcissa appeared inside the Malfoy Manor's library and found her sister and son — and much to her surprise, Severus — were all sitting on the sofa. Bella and Severus were both in their usual black attires, but Narcissa was still in her favourite blue dress. She went to her son and asked him to change into a black suit.

"Will someone please tell me what happened already?" Draco's outburst had the three adults looked between each other warily.

"Your father…" Narcissa hesitated.

"What? What happened with that man?" Draco asked again, and Narcissa made a mental note to ask him about why he was calling his father that way.

"Your father is dead, Draco. Last night. He was killed," Bellatrix said straightforward.

"Bella!" Narcissa hissed at her.

"What?"

"Draco need not know the last part!" Narcissa gritted her teeth angrily and Bellatrix rolled her eyes.

"What? How?" Draco's eyes went comically wide and he shook his head. "I mean, who killed him?"

"A… Muggle," Narcissa said, dejected. She saw from the corner of her eyes that Severus was clutching the armchair so hard that his knuckles turned white, although his face was contorted in a grimace.

Draco wanted to ask more questions but was ushered by his aunt who mentioned that the Dark Lord will be arriving soon. Narcissa went upstairs to change too and left both Bella and Severus in the room.

She went downstairs with her son in tow and were met with Bella and Severus in the foyer. Soon enough the Dark Lord appeared and they told him the fake version of the story how Lucius had met with his death.

Lucius had brought back a Muggle woman and bedded her. Upon seeing his magic, the woman became terrified and knocked him, at the same time accidentally killed him. Bellatrix had dealt with the woman, sending endless 'Crucio' until she lost her mind and then she was killed and burned.

As predicted, the Dark Lord was furious upon losing one of his henchmen but was satisfied with the ending. He praised on Bellatrix way of handling the situation, while the other three adults so subtly cringed in disgust.

They went to the Malfoy's mausoleum at the furthest back of the massive garden behind the manor and looked at the dead body of Lucius Malfoy in a coffin. Draco stared at him with no expression, as he was neither sad nor in grief at the loss of his father. They proceeded with some basic small funeral before ordering the house-elves to bury him in the ground.


The Dark Lord was immediately gone afterwards with not one wish of condolences towards the two Malfoys left. The others went to the study except for Draco, who excused himself to go back to his room saying that he was tired.

"Do you think he bought it?" Narcissa asked as they sat down, each in separate chairs.

"Who?" Severus asked.

"Our Lord," Narcissa said. Severus shrugged and Bellatrix frowned.

"Maybe. Who cares? We should be lucky he didn't probe into our heads." Bellatrix said and they all agreed.

"How is she?" Narcissa questioned Severus, but everyone knew who she meant.

"She's still in a coma but stable, I guess... I hope," Severus said with tight lips. "What actually happened?" He looked at them sceptically.

Narcissa and Bellatrix glanced at each other. "I… We-we… I—" Narcissa stuttered.

"Let me rephrase that. Last I know, Hermione went to follow Potter to the ministry. How did she get here?" Severus' voice was low and held a threat as he looked specifically at Bellatrix. His eyes were dark and menacing.

Bellatrix heaved a sigh and slumped her shoulders, "I brought her."

"Why?"

Another sigh. "I wanted to know about the prophecy."

"Prophecy? What prophecy? Potter's?" Severus feigned confusion in his voice.

"What's with you asking so many questions?" Bellatrix was irritated at his constant questioning, it made her felt like she was in the trial for Azkaban years ago again.

"Just answer the damn questions, Bella!" He raised his voice and fear inflicted in Bellatrix's eyes.

"Who is she to you anyway? Your lover?" Bellatrix scoffed while Narcissa looked terrified at the thought.

Narcissa remembered the dance Ms Granger had with Severus during the Christmas Eve party. They both looked really close and were dancing rather sensually. 'Could it be?' She thought to herself.

"No, but she is someone I hold very, very dearly." Both Black sisters silently let out breaths of relief. Severus wanted to laugh at their twin reactions but the situation did not permit him to.

"So what about the prophecy?"

"Just something that concerns me and her. Not Potter," Bellatrix said solemnly.

Severus wore a mask of indifference. "I see. So you brought her back to ask her about the prophecy that concerns between you and her." He said in a monotone voice. "Did she tell you?"

"Well, umm…" Bellatrix's eyes went everywhere before something clicked in her mind and she glared at Severus, feeling her anger slowly increasing. "Wait! You knew about it, don't you? You knew about the prophecy!"

Severus faux shocked at the sudden accusation. "How the hell am I supposed to know? I wasn't there, was I?"

Bellatrix blinked her anger away. "Then why are you being so calm about it? You don't seem surprised."

"Why wouldn't I be? Anyway, did you ask her or did you force the information out of her?"

Bellatrix sighed again, there was no point in arguing. "I asked her but then she ran away. We had a duel before she was caught. She said something I couldn't believe, so I Crucio-ed her."

"You Crucio-ed her? Bella, what the hell?! I thought you hated that spell!" Severus stood up from the chair as he looked at Bellatrix with vile in his eyes.

"I did! I do! I have always hated it, and now I hate it even more." Bellatrix pulled up her knees and hugged them, sinking further into the seat. Tears pooled in her eyes as she remembered the endless Crucio she sent to the girl. Her heart constricted in pain at the memory.

"How many times did you use the curse on her?" Severus felt rage pulsed through his veins and some of them were visible on his forehead.

Bellatrix shook her head and muttered a low, "I don't remember…" and his eyes widened even more than they already were.

"Cissy? Do you know?" He turned towards the youngest sister who was shaking in fear.

"Ma-maybe five? Oh-or six?" Her eyes turned downcast as she stuttered. Severus let out a loud beast-like growl and he punched on the nearest wall; the two witches visibly jumped in their seats.

"What happened afterwards? Did you leave her in the cellar?"

Both the Black sisters nodded their heads, one was feeling ashamed while the other was feeling guilty. Severus hit the wall again and he did not pay attention to the throbbing pain in his hand. He growled again.

"DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT YOU HAVE DONE?!"

His shriek made the two witches jumped and cowered in fear. They had never seen their best friend lost his temper before — no matter in any situation, he would always keep his composure calm.

"Have you any idea what you've put her through, huh, Bella? Cissy? Hermione's entire life—" He paused and took a deep breath, "—she has been through different kinds of hell and what you had done, what Lucius had done… I don't... I can't...” He sighed heavily. “I'm truly at a loss for words."

Severus slumped in a chair and registered the pain in his arm, but it was nothing compared to the pain he felt in his heart. He tried to lessen the anger that was still consuming him. "Why can't you just believe what she said? Hermione never tells lies. She either tell people the truth or she says nothing at all!" He pulled on his hair while groaning.

Fury tore through Bellatrix's heart after being at the end of the anger stick. “How would I know that? I have never met her before!” Bellatrix had jumped up from her chair as she let out her outrage.

“Also, she's a Muggle-born, while I'm a Black and a Death Eater. I have reputations to uphold! How can I simply show her my true self? How can I simply trust her?” She pulled on her wild hair and let out a frustrated sigh. “You know what Our Lord would do if he knows how I truly am!"

Her body was shaking as she clutched her arm across her middle. "Plus, she evokes feelings inside of me, Sev, feelings I've never felt before. I have never felt a pull so strong with anyone but her and it confuses me. I didn't know how to react around her, and I ended up resorting to using crucio.”

Bellatrix's voice was deep with honesty and remorse and her tears dam broke as she silently shook in grief. “Please, I'm sorry, Sev. I truly regret it."

Narcissa was shocked at the confession that came from her sister. Was it true, then? Was Hermione really Bella's soulmate? But what about her? Hermione also evoked feelings she had never felt before. Could her feelings be the same as what Bella felt? If they were, what did this mean? Did they share the same soulmate? Narcissa felt dizzy at all the questions played in her head.

Severus had a grim look on his face. He was still unable to digest the thought of Hermione being tortured and rape as he remembered seeing the state of Lucius' dead body in the cellar. Severus remembered that bastard looked just like Hermione's adopted father, who was blasted with her magic just after he raped Hermione.

How many times had it been already, and how many more did Hermione have to endure? He hoped 'nil' would be the answer, and he was going to make sure of that from now on.

"I don't know if she's going to have the will to live anymore after this." He sighed as he remembered seeing Hermione's lifeless state.

"You can't put all the blame on me, Sev!" Bellatrix snapped at him.

"Don't you understand, Bella? You cursed her — not once, not twice, but many times! If I guess correctly, you didn't even heal her afterwards and left her in her weakened state in the cellar, all alone! I couldn't even imagine her mental, physical and emotional state from all the curses she took.” He sent a death glare at the petite woman.

“Then that bastard, Merlin knows what he had done to her other than raped her! You know what's the cherry on top was? Your cursed dagger! No wonder there was so many dark magic absorbed into her body." He stood and crossed his arms over his chest as he looked menacingly at the dark witch, daring her to counter him.

Bellatrix growled in fury and knocked Severus down to the floor. She grabbed him by the collar on pulled their faces close. Her breathing shallow as she tried to rein in her anger and stop herself from punching her best friend.

"I know what I did was wrong. I hurt her, I caused her pain. I treated her poorly because she's a Muggle-born. I couldn't easily trust people to let them know that I don't actually hate them, that I think all blood is the same. If the knowledge reached to the Dark Lord, you know what he'll do to Cissy, Draco, or to Andy and her family. I can't risk that, can I?"

Bellatrix's voice turned soft and sad as she let her feelings and worries out, and she let go of her hold on the man. "How could I know that that bastard was going to do anything to her, let alone raped her? He's a strong follower of the bullshit idealism, for fuck sake! Also, he must have cursed me to sleep or something because I didn't realise my dagger was stolen. I was really surprised to see it was lying on the floor of the cellar.

Please, Sev, I'm truly sorry and I regret everything I did. I really want to apologise to her for everything I've put her through. I promise I'll do everything to earn her apology and I won't disturb her life after that anymore. Please make sure she survived. And don't be mad at Cissy, because she did nothing wrong." Bellatrix stood up and pulled her sister who was silently sobbing into her arms.

Severus pushed himself up and embraced the two women. "Don't make any promise. I will try my best to heal her but I can't guarantee anything. I'm just glad that you're back to your senses because I really hate it if both of you got lost in the darkness too. And no, I'm not angry at any of you anymore, I'm too old and tired to lose my temper."

Despite their clashes, Bellatrix and Narcissa were really good friends of his. He had always trusted them since he knew their true self. Well, he knew them more than they even knew themselves, but he was not about to share the secrets yet.

"Who is she, Sev?" Bellatrix's voice muffled on his broad chest.

"As I said, she is someone I hold very dearly." He winced in slight pain as he received two punches from both sisters.

Narcissa who was currently healing Severus' hand, decided to no longer keep her voice to herself as she chimed in, "you know what Bella meant, Sev. Who is she, really? Who is this Hermione Granger?"

"Yeah, yeah. Before you left the cellar, you said something like "grateful and honour to serve her again". What do you mean by that?" Bellatrix pulled away but did not let him go, her eyes piercing into his.

He looked hesitated as though he was contemplating to answer the question but silently cursed himself for letting out his other persona. Slowly, he let them go while muttering a grateful "thanks" to Narcissa before he ran his fingers through his hair and let out a deep sigh.

He shook his head and merely said, "I'll see myself out."

He was instantly gone.


"Do you understand, Hermione?" Anastasia said with worry in her eyes as she looked at the mortal human before her.

"What?" Hermione blinked. "Understand that the deities had chosen me as a guinea pig for their little experiment?"

Anastasia was taken aback by the slight harsh tone in Hermione's voice. The girl was not to be blamed though, because what she said was true. "Well, when you put it that way…"

"I understand what you were saying, Ana. The deities wanted me to lead the humans to be more in control, to be what they were supposed to be, their true purpose of creation — as the leader of this world. At the same time, leading others in a very wise way, not with cruelty a.k.a don't repeat Morgan's mistakes.

However, I am merely nobody, I'm not a queen or a powerful witch like Morgan. If you didn't know already, I barely make it to 18 years old. It's not fair to suddenly spring this matter to me, and it's not different from what Professor Dumbledore does to Harry — asking a kid to go against evil power, not to mention someone who is much, much older than he is. But this is worse and a heavier task to do."

Hermione felt pressured about this matter as it was something that held a great responsibility, and she was not sure if she was able to do what was required of her. "I'm sorry, but can I be blatantly honest with you?" Anastasia nodded her head and allowed the girl to continue.

"I don't know how to feel about this, I feel like my life has been like a playtoy to the deities if everything that has happened to me were leading to this very moment. I can't say that I'm not angry, I'm more than upset! Also, this is much of a burden to me and I'm not sure I have enough power — physically, mentally or emotionally — to do what was asked. I need… I need time to think about it."

Anastasia took Hermione's hand and squeezed it, giving her the needed comfort. "I understand, my dear Hermione. Take as much time as needed, you have the right to your feelings on this matter.

"I'll get this clear; Morgan's soul will be merged with mine and I will obtain the power she held—"

"Mine too." The demigod interjected.

"Oh right. So your soul and Morgan's will merged into mine and I will hold the power that you both have. What will become of me then?"

"First of all, our souls have already merged with yours, Hermione, but we were only waiting for the right time to be fully awaken. Once you accepted us and our powers are combined, you will feel different at first due to the magic, power and memories we have.

Secondly, Morgan has already greeted Death, so she won't become you if that's what you're afraid of. Neither can you become me, so you will still be you, my dear Hermione. However, I will remain inside you, just like the past 18 years of your life, constantly watching over you."

Hermione breathed out a relieved sigh. "That's reassuring, at least, but I still don't know how to feel about this. Is this what reincarnation supposed to be like? Or am I a special case?"

"Err… I don't think I am allowed to answer you that, the deities don't really like it when mortals know what they actually do." Anastasia glanced sideways and had a look of fear on her face, which Hermione noted with understanding.

"But I can tell you this. Since you are only the second guinea pig — as you so kindly put it — we are still in the trial and error phase. Therefore, I dare say that you are a special case."

"What will happen if I fail to do as what was asked of me?"

"I am not quite sure, to be honest. I guess the deities may have another council meeting to decide how they want to proceed with this project. I believe by the end of time, you will greet Death just like Morgan did and I may be gone too if I am no longer able to serve the purpose I was born to."

Hermione shuddered at the thought, feeling afraid at how much the deities held control over everything if they could simply end the life of their own family members. She tried not to think about it, for now.

"Am I right in assuming that no other human knows about this?" Hermione's hand flailed wildly around them.

"Yes."

"What about Arthur, then? Morgan's brother? Is Severus really him?"

Anastasia hesitated before answering, "Arthur is collateral damage on our side. Morgan put a curse on him as she died because she wanted to bring someone she knew with her to the future she was prophesied of.

However, it wasn't supposed to be her decision to make so now he has become a lost soul. He can't truly greet Death until he has served his purpose, that is to be with and serve Morgan until his time comes again. So yes, technically he is now Severus and his life from now on will be to only serve you. He still has the memory of the past and the thought of you as his sister, Morgan."

"What!?" Hermione's body posture became rigid as anger consumed her. "Isn't that outright selfish and cruel for her to do that? No person should be taken away from their freedom to choose! Whether to live or die or to do whatever the hell they want to do." Hermione felt her respect towards Morgan was slowly slipping away the more she got to know about her.

Anastasia had a small upturn on the corner of her lips at seeing Hermione's outburst. The girl really has the kindest of heart and she was sure the deities had chosen the right mortal this time.

"What about Merlin? Does he get to be reborn too? He was a powerful wizard, if not as powerful as Morgan."

"He does, though he is in a different project the deities have their eyes set on too. In fact, I'm sure you'll recognise him the instant you meet him next time. That is to say, if you choose to continue living."

Hermione's mouth shut at that. She had totally forgotten all about the choice which she had yet to make. She considered between living in the very cruel world that had caused her to be in the situation she was currently in, or she could totally forgo the life altogether and finally greet Death, just like she had wanted to all her life.

'I have nothing to lose, have I?'

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 14 – Her Fear of Losing The One She Loves

It was Sunday morning. Severus had woken up and examined Hermione, who seemed to be getting better. Lori did a good job on cleaning the girl and the potions did wonders too. Hermione's magic had also notably calmed and controlled.

After having breakfast, Severus went to the nearest owlery and used five different owls to send the five letters he had written the day before. The meeting will be held tomorrow, and he was dreading it. He felt anxious to know what their reactions would be.


An extremely furious Minerva had just come back from St. Mungo's Hospital and was heading straight to the headmaster's office at Hogwarts. She knew Albus would be there even on the weekend, as he would always like to be pacing when he was worried about something, and he should be worried right about now.

She came barging in through the door and true enough, she found Albus pacing in front of the fireplace area.

"WHERE IS SHE?!"

Minerva's voice was loud and full of venom, enough to make all the past headmasters' portraits hid and cowered in fear. Her own face was red with fury, and rage flowed through her like lava as she demanded answers from the current headmaster.

Albus wanted to tease his friend but knew it was probably not the right time. He had been Minerva's friend long enough to know when to joke around her, so he raised his hands to cool the woman off.

"Min, calm down... Let me explain."

"Don't you bloody tell me to calm down! I want to know where she is! Why the hell did she not come back with the others?"

"Look Min, I'm sorry, I don't know what happened. When I arrived there, I had to save Harry from Voldemort, while the other Order members were fighting with Death Eaters. Kingsley and the others told me they had the students hidden and safe while they were fighting with the enemies. No one realised when Hermione went missing." Albus explained, knowing exactly who was the 'she' Minerva referred to.

"What do you mean no one realised? She went there with them! Does no one care about her, at all?"

Minerva broke into tears as she felt angry, sad and frustrated. Mostly, she was frustrated with herself. If she had been taking care of Hermione since her first year, things like this would not happen to her. Hermione would have friends and people who will look after her.

"Don't say that, Min. I care about her, you care about her. Hell, even Severus cares about the girl. She'll be okay, I promise." Albus grabbed the witch's shoulders and pulled her down on the sofa.

"How can you say that when we don't know where she is! What if she was kidnapped by the Death Eaters? Did Kingsley and the others managed to catch them?" Minerva wiped her tears furiously and looked at him with worry.

"They had detained all but Bellatrix and Lucius. Bellatrix was also nowhere to be found while Lucius had been pulled along by Voldemort when he took off."

"Wait, does that mean Bellatrix had kidnapped her?!" Minerva's eyes were wide opened and she gripped Albus' shoulders hard.

"Maybe, but there's no proof." Albus looked despondent.

"Then we must rescue her, Albus! Who knows what Bellatrix would do to her. Hermione is a Muggle-born, and Bellatrix hates them!” Minerva stood up and started pacing furiously. “Bloody hell, she must have tortured her! Oh no, what if she brings her to You-Know-Who and he kills Hermione?"

"Minerva, calm down. Hey, calm, down! Hermione will be okay." Albus pulled the woman down onto the sofa again before he went to open a bottle of firewhisky and poured it down in two glasses.

"How can you be so sure? This is Bellatrix we are talking about — the most deranged female Death Eater, You-Know-Who's right hand!"

Albus sipped on his drink and let out a sigh. "She is in a safe hand, I'm sure. Trust me, Min. Here, have a drink. Calm yourself down." He passed a glass to the distressful witch.

"How can I be calm when Hermione is missing? How can you? I can't lose her again, Al." Minerva sat ungraceful next to the man, cradling her head in her hand.

"Tell me, how much do you care about Hermione?"

She sighed and sipped on her drink, unable to hide her feelings anymore. "I care about her deeply. I love her so much and it hurts me to think that I could never see her again. I can't afford to lose her too, Al." She sobbed silently as her heart clenched in pain.

"I know, I know. I promise you'll get to see her again." Albus patted on Minerva's shoulder. "Since when do you realise that you love her?" Albus raised his eyebrow as he looked at her.

"Are we really going to talk about it right now?" She let out a tired sigh and her heart was still filled with worry about the person she loved.

"Why not? Just humour me for a bit, will you?" The old man had a mischievous smile on her face.

"Fine, you senile old man." Minerva took a deep breath and reclined in her seat.

"Honestly, I'm not quite sure when exactly did I start to fall in love with her but when I first met Hermione to inform about her acceptance to Hogwarts, I felt something stirred in me. It was a weird feeling, something I have never felt before.

I found her in a park and she looked so lost in herself. When I asked about her parents, she only shook her head and her eyes showed the desperation that she didn't want to talk about them. So I decided to take her to shop in Diagon Alley but all the while I just couldn't look away from her.

There's something about Hermione but I just couldn't quite put a finger on it. As much as I wanted to know what happened, why she was in a park with a bag full of clothes, I needed to make her trust me in order to open up.

So we spent the day with me introducing her to many things regarding the wizarding world, and Hermione looked very happy-go-lucky that I felt hesitate to ruin her day with my questioning. Her eyes lit up with delight every time she saw any display of magic, and her smile was so bright and radiant that I think I could melt just from seeing it."

Minerva paused as she sipped on her drink while her mind recalled the memory of being with the joyful brunette girl. Albus smiled softly as he watched how serene his friend looked like right now.

"Hermione said she had nowhere to go and will probably crash at any cheap motel while waiting for the school term to start. I don't know what moved me but I instantly suggested that she lived with me at Hogsmeade, at the cottage where I used to live with Elphinstone. You remember that place, don't you, Al?"

Albus nodded as he could still remember the house Minerva lived when she got married to Elphinstone Urquart. She had left that house and moved back to her current living quarters in Hogwarts after he died from a Venomous Tentacula bite.

"Such a lovely girl, Hermione, when she politely declined my offer, but I insisted and bribed her with books and more knowledge about magic until she finally relented." Both of them chuckled as they clearly knew how much the girl loved books more than anything in the world.

"And so we spent a month living there. Once or twice I brought her to the town or took her for a tour of Hogwarts but most of the time, Hermione only spent her time reading and practising her magic with what she had learned. Can you believe that she had finished reading her first year's textbooks in just under two weeks? Not only that, in only a week she managed to do all the transfiguration stuff that I have yet to teach her! I mean, seriously, is that amazing or what?"

"Wow, impressive! Though not surprising, knowing how she is with her academic."

"Right? I thought she was going to be a Ravenclaw, or if she was to be in Gryffindor, I could never be more happy and proud to have her. Just imagine, with Potter's excellency in Quidditch and Hermione in her academic achievements, we could win the House Cup every year!

Nevertheless, she was sorted into Slytherin." Minerva let out a sigh. "This may be wrong for me to say, but I'm glad Hermione isn't serious in collecting the House points because if she is, there could be no chance for Gryffindor to win again, ever! Not while she's still in Hogwarts, at least."

Albus smiled as he imagined the same thing. If Hermione was in Gryffindor, maybe she would be closed with Ron and Harry, and the trio would probably shake the school with their adventures all the time. Maybe Harry could deal with his prophesied life better with Hermione being so wise at his side.

'Hmm, why have I never thought about that?' He mused.

"Then what happened? Why did you treat her differently than the others? Is it because she's not a Gryffindor but a Slytherin instead? Or because you have feelings for a Muggle-born?"

Minerva's face turned sour and she heaved a sigh again. "You know it doesn't matter whether she's a Muggle-born or not. I fell in love with a Muggle once, or have you forgotten?” She toyed with her fingers as she spoke.

“However, I still didn't know what I was feeling towards her, although the month I spent with her was the happiest I have ever felt like. I still don't know how to describe what I felt, it's like Hermione was everything to me.

I love how her eyes shine brightly with wonders, I love how her mind works and how fast she adapts with her surrounding, and when she smiles, when she laughs — damn it — I just can't—I don't—I couldn't... Damn!"

Minerva broke into tears as her mind filled with the smiles and laughter she had seen on Hermione's face and her heart was heavy with mixed emotions. Albus squeezed her arm as he understood the unspeakable words she was trying to say, and he felt pity towards his friend.

"I admit I acted wrongfully towards her. I was honestly disappointed when she was sorted into Slytherin. Why must she be one of them when it's painfully obvious that she didn't belong there? Why can't she be in the others, if not Gryffindor?” Minerva clenched her hands on her lap as she berated herself.

“Somehow I felt betrayed, even though I know it wasn't her fault. I tried to look past that but when she was slowly starting to show her devious self — wandering around the corridors past curfew, not paying attention in class, fighting with other kids although they are in the same House as hers — I felt like she actually really belongs to the Slytherin. She sort of reminded me how Bellatrix Black was during her school years, except Hermione is the milder version."

"I see. So you tapered down your feelings and ignored her for years? What about when she received the news that her father was dead in an accident — did you comfort her?"

"No, not years. Wait, what?! Her father died in an accident?" Minerva was perplexed. "Hold on, I thought there was a rumour started in her second year that said she killed her parents and sold their house. That wasn't true?"

Albus let out a heavy sigh as he slowly shook his head. "No, Min. How foolish can you be to simply trust the words of small kids who I'm sure, were spreading the rumours as an act of bully towards Hermione?

I should have told you this sooner, but Hermione is not a murderer like what they claimed her. Her mother died from depression on her 10th birthday while her father died in his own state of drunkenness and got involved in a car accident. It was before the summer holiday of her first year."

"What?! I mean, how-how do you know about that?" Minerva's face was as pale as the colour of all the ghosts who wandered about in the castle.

"I was the one who delivered the news about her father's death, of course. When the first rumours about her started around, I think it was in November 1992, I called upon her and asked about them. She told me about her mother's death and the reason why she sold their house, and she also said that she didn't sleep with any of the professors in order to get full marks in all her exam."

Albus furrowed her eyebrows and shook his head in disbelief. "Honestly, I don't understand how that one came about, Hermione's already a brilliant student and would definitely not need any stepping stone to get full marks in the exam."

"Then, what about—about her being defiled? Has she really been de-deflowered?" Minerva stuttered and remembered one of the earliest rumours which she found the most significant and affected her emotionally. Her face switched from hopeful to downhearted the instant she saw her friend shook his head.

Albus sighed and poured more drink into his glass. "It's not my place to talk about that." He took a sip and looked at her questioningly, "why didn't you ask her? Have you been ignoring her all these years?"

Minerva's body trembled and her hands were shaking as she felt angry at herself. How can she be so stupid? 

"No, I talked to her again during the summer of 1993, after her second year. I've heard from Rolanda and Aurora that she was working in Rosmerta's, and I wanted to investigate, so I decided to go there as a customer but I had forgone my glamours and charms.

Hermione was initially surprised and I thought I was busted, but she didn't say anything and continued to entertain my orders. Feeling safe, I went there every day at the same time and eventually approached her, pretending like I didn't know who she was and was interested in getting to know her.

So we kind of started from scratch and talked about many things, except my real persona because I told her my name was Mina and I was an adventurer. I thought she would take the bait, but she didn't seem impressed at all. She whispered to me my real name and told me that she knew I took my glamours off every time I went there. She asked me for my reason and I told her that I just wanted to see her.

She didn’t seem to be mad at me so we spent almost every day at the same time just talking about everything and nothing in particular, but I never touched about the rumours or about her family. I felt like I was constantly in a bubble with Hermione and the feelings I had locked away, resurfaced and were getting stronger the more I spent time with her. I didn't know she felt the same way too, although she was blatantly obvious flirting with me."

Minerva stopped talking as fear consumed her into continuing the story. She remembered the confession, the kiss and the running away. She knew what Albus was going to ask even before he opened his mouth.

"What happened then?"

She sighed. "Well, something happened during one of the nights in early August that year. Hermione had finished her work and as always, I offered to send her to the room she was staying in the inn. Normally, I would bid her goodnight, she would give me a peck on the cheek and I would leave feeling giddy all through the night." Minerva felt a blush crept up her neck.

"However, that night was different. While bidding her goodnight, she confessed her love to me and all I did was being glued to the floor. I didn't know how to react to her confession, but then she kissed me on my lips and I freaked out."

"Why?"

"I… was scared. I was afraid that if I admit I have fallen in love with her, I would lose her too. I have already lost Dougal and Elphinstone, and I felt terrible things will happen if I allow myself to be together with Hermione. Despite the strong feelings I have for her, she is still my student and we have too much of an age gap!

So I told her that I couldn't accept her feelings, and our age and status were an issue for me, but I didn't tell her that I couldn't afford to lose her like I lost Dougal and Elphinstone. It hurts me so much to love someone only to be heartbroken again. You know how painful it is to lose the people you love with all your heart."

Albus nodded as he knew the feeling all too well. He sighed in grief and emptied his glass. "But Min, you shouldn't deprive yourself of love. Are you going to deny every chance of happiness because you're afraid of its ending? That doesn't sound like a true Gryffindor at all. What happens to your Gryffindor's courage? Has it diminished along with your age?"

They both chuckled despite the heavy conversations and he went on, "don't become alone like me. You have the chance to love and be loved, so grab it and never let it go away. Unless you're really happy after you rejected Hermione, but I sincerely doubt that. You're feeling worse without her, am I right?"

Minerva nodded and sunk deeper into the seat. "I was terrified when the school started and someone spread the news that they saw Hermione kissed a woman, although they didn't know it was me. I lived in constant fear for a few months and desperately tried to avoid Hermione as much as I could.

But the further I went, the more I realised that I'm in love with her and how miserable my life has become, and I regretted not being able to go back in time. I regretted pushing her away because, by the time I wanted to apologise, she had already distanced herself and closed off."

"When she collapsed?"

"Yes. I felt terrible upon hearing the news and went to see her, but she didn't even want to look at me or acknowledged my presence in the infirmary. That's when it hit me so hard in the gut that what I feared to happen was actually happening, all because of my own cowardice.

I had been so cooped up in my own bubble that I didn't realise people had started to call her names, that she had become so much pale and thin, even worse than how she was when I first met her. I tried plenty of times to apologise to her but she totally avoided me.

The next summer, I tried to look for her but was unsuccessful given that she no longer worked and stayed at Rosmerta's. I wasn't able to find her in the Muggle side of London either, so I gave up on finding her, but I didn't give up on trying to apologise and get her attention again."

Albus watched as Minerva finally emptied her glass before she stood up and walked towards the windows. She looked at nothing outside the castle and her eyes held the longing she felt in her heart.

"Did she finally give you the attention you sought for?" he asked from the distance.

Minerva huffed and her breath fogged the window she leant on. "She did, although I had to resort to using my position as the Deputy Headmistress. I talked to Severus and insisted on being Hermione's advisor for her career talk. We reconciled and I finally allowed myself to love her, to grab onto the chance of happiness, but…"

Albus stood up and stepped closer towards his friend. "But?"

"But now she's missing, Al. I knew it, I knew I couldn't love anyone anymore. It has only been a month after I declared my love to her and look what happens? She's missing, I don't know where she is, what happen to her, whether she's still alive or not…"

Tears tracked down Minerva's cheek but she made no attempt at clearing them away. "Maybe my life is cursed, maybe whatever power that's up there doesn't like to see me happy."

"Hey hey, shh… Don't say that, Min. You're not cursed, okay?" Albus pulled the sobbing woman into his arms as he tried to cheer her up. "Hold onto your hopes, Min, because everything dies when hopes are lost."

A loud 'thud' sound was heard from the windows and Minerva jumped in surprise. Both the witch and wizard turned their heads around and saw an owl was hovering outside, waiting for an entrance into the room. Albus waved his hand and the window opened to let it through. The owl dropped a letter to Minerva and bumped its head with Fawkes before it flew out. Surprisingly, it did not get a burn from Fawkes' flame.

Minerva wiped her tears away and inspected the envelope with her name on it before she turned it around. Her brows furrowed as she looked at the unfamiliar seal she had never seen before and wondered who it was from. Albus caught a glimpse of the seal and smiled covertly before he backed away and gave her the needed privacy.

Several minutes later, "Albus, I'm going out tomorrow. Something important comes up," Minerva said as she folded the letter and kept it inside her robe.

"Take as long time as you need to," Albus replied with twinkles in his eyes.


"Tell me, Hermione, you've heard your prophecy, right?" Anastasia said as she looked at Hermione.

The said girl nodded her head as she recalled the prophecy she heard at the Department of Mystery.

"What are your thoughts on it? Do you believe it?"

Hermione looked up towards the clear blue sky as she pondered upon the questions. Both her and Anastasia had moved from sitting under the huge tree to lying on the grass.

"I'm a witch who grew up in a Muggle environment. Muggles understand things with logic and science. The main reason why they couldn't understand wizardry is that we do things out of their normalcy.

Prophecy, on the other hand, I personally have no idea how to feel about it. Even if you know something will happen in the future, how would you know which action you do, which choice you take or which decision you make will lead to that future?” She said; Anastasia nodded in agreement.

“My prophecy said that Morgan is reincarnated as me, but it turns out that only part of her soul is merged with mine. What's more, there's a power play by the deities where your soul is merged with mine too. How is this a logical thing to think about, when all I've known my entire life is that one's life ends when one dies? Science can't prove that a human can defy death or be alive after they are dead."

Anastasia hummed at the girl's explanation. Humans were so complicated, and as a demigod herself, she found it hard to understand why the humans liked to complicate matters. Why couldn't they just accept things as it is?

"But your prophecy was true, wasn't it? It explains about you and your life — a gem amongst the snakes, a beauty hidden by scars, mended pain through knowledge and understanding, tossed between two sides, betrayed, tortured, broken and battered. Weren't they all true? Or are you trying to say that you don't believe in them, in fate and destiny?"

Hermione's snort surprised Anastasia.

"You know what, Ana? Fate and destiny, they are all craps," Hermione said and heard the gasp coming from her side. "They are craps but doesn't mean that I don't believe in them. I just don't like when someone abuses its term, using fate and destiny as excuses to get things done their way. By someone, I mean to include the deities too."

"What do you mean?" Anastasia propped herself up on her elbow as she looked at Hermione's calm face.

Hermione took a deep breath and let it go. "I think there are two sides of fate, just like there are always two sides of a coin. On one side, fate gives people comfort and security. They think every bad event that happens, they happen for a reason, or they will lead to something better in the future. Thus, they feel that "it's okay, it's my fate. Something good will come, I just have to be patient. There's always a rainbow after the rain." 

I mean, how fucked up is that? How can you constantly allow yourself to be hurt just because you believe that something great will happen? Also, you can't always see a rainbow unless at a certain angle. That's why I said that my life has been like a game to the deities if they think that I can accept everything that had happened to me, were needed to happen in order for me to become a future queen.

On another side, fate makes people feel helpless and worthless. They will think that there's no point in trying if everything in life has been decided and cannot be changed. This kind of thinking is the worst! What's the point of living, then? Why were you born in the first place? Do you know how many people have died because they believe in that?"

Anastasia looked dumbfounded as she still could not understand how humans think. Was that why humans made so many foolish decisions in life? Destroying each other and their surroundings because of how they perceived fate?

"What about yourself, Hermione? Do you believe that all the terrible things happened in your life because you feel like something great will come? Or do you believe that everything is predetermined so there's no worth in standing up for yourself?"

Hermione furrowed her eyebrows and shook her head in denial. "No, definitely not. I never knew that my life has been destined to become someone so powerful from the past and in the future. Even if I knew, I still won't accept that I have to endure all the terrible things just because fate has written it that way.

I believe that in order to achieve great things in life, I have to work for it. With hard work only will I feel life is worthy of living. Do you want to know why I didn't stand up for myself? Because it's not worth it. Those people are not worth even the slightest of my attention." Hermione pushed herself up and embraced her knees as she looked towards the distance.

"I only believe in fate and destiny in a way that I accept things happen because they happen. Yes, fate may have decided the course of my life, how it turns out to be, what I will become, but I accept life as it is. I accept being made fun of because I know that's what people like to do. They will always pick on someone they don't like, and even though that's not okay and acceptable, I'm glad they picked on me. I know I can survive whatever they throw at me, even when sometimes I feel like it's too much.” She sighed as her hands went to wipe her face.

“I was born to this world, that's destiny. I was born with brown hair, I was born as a witch, those are destiny too. Fate says I have to eat in order to live, but I say it's up to me what I want to eat, how or when I want to eat. Fate says I will become a queen, but I say it's up to me. I will decide how I want to live, what I want to do and achieve in my life, and nothing can stop me from how I feel about my life. I may have sounded paradoxical, but I really don't give a damn about it. It's my life and I will decide what I want to do with it."

Anastasia was beside herself with joy, but the young girl did not notice it. There was not one mortal who was so brave — or foolish — to against the deities, and she could not help but beamed with pride at the look of determination on Hermione's face.

"But what about your pain, those scars you inflicted upon yourself? The desire of choosing death instead of continuing to live?"

Hermione's hand clenched at her chest. "I'm a mere human, Ana, there's always a limit to everything. A limit to my power, my understanding, and my patience. I know I can undergo the pain, but for how long must I endure them?

Furthermore, emotional pain is worse than the physical pain, that's why I chose to scar myself. It took away the emotional pain albeit temporarily and unhealthily. There were times when I just wanted to give up on everything and dying, I thought it's better than living because life is constantly filled with so much cruelty."

From the corner of her eyes, Hermione saw Anastasia nodded her head. "There's one thing that still confuses me," she said.

"What is it, my dear Hermione?" Anastasia smiled sweetly at the girl.

Hermione turned around and locked her eyes with Anastasia. "Soulmates. The prophecy mentioned my soulmates are The Blacks, the Veela, together with the tabby cat. Are they really Minerva, Fleur, Narcissa, Andromeda, and Bellatrix?"

"Well yes, I thought you've figured that out already?" Anastasia furrowed her eyebrows in confusion.

"I know I smelled the Amortentia, but I just wanted to confirm it. What if The Blacks include Sirius Black too?" Hermione shivered as she thought of the infamous man, who was connected to the dimwit Harry Potter. She had nothing against Sirius, however, and was certain that she was totally gay.

Anastasia burst out laughing at the thought. "No, no. Definitely not, Hermione. Don't worry, I can confirm that only the five ladies are your soulmates, no more than that." She said in between her laughs.

Hermione let out a relieved sigh before she started cackling with her own laughter. After a while, the laughter subsided and she sighed again. "Gosh, this is going to be complicated,” she said.

"What is?" Anastasia raised her eyebrow questioningly.

"How do I know whether Min and Fleur really love me? What if all of them were only attracted to me or I to them, because of the soulmate thing?"

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 15 – How They Started

Fleur Delacour was donning a light blue dress that brought out the colour of her eyes. She was currently having a lunch date with Bill Weasley in a restaurant in London. The atmosphere of the dining was pleasant, the food was tasty and the wine was delicious, everything spelt on romantic.

However, Fleur had not really paid attention to the atmosphere or the food. She did not really care about how people in the surrounding perceived her and Bill when they looked at them. Her mind had been elsewhere, specifically to a letter she had received earlier that day. She did not really focus on what Bill had been saying until something caught her attention.

"Wait! What did you say?" She stopped eating, put down her cutleries and dabbed her lips with a napkin. Her body straightened as she looked at Bill in shock.

"Both my little brother and sister will be getting out of St. Mungo's tomorrow," Bill said in a happy tone.

"No, no, before that."

"Which part?" Bill furrowed his eyebrows in confusion.

"The part where Hermione went to the Department of Mysteries but didn't come back?" Fleur's voice was laced with worry.

"Oh, yes. Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Neville, and Luna, all followed Harry to the Department of Mysteries. They had a battle with the Death Eaters there before He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named arrived and fought with Professor Dumbledore. Eventually, the fight ended and the kids were saved by the Order members, and they were brought to the hospital to rest. But apparently, Hermione went missing and no one knows anything about it until they arrived at the hospital." Bill said in a whisper, not wanting other patrons to hear the conversation.

"Hermione is missing and no one knows anything?!"

Fleur tried to still her rage and her hands were clutching her purse tightly that her knuckles turned white. She felt her Veela was going berserk inside her but she did not want to cause a scene, so she stood up and looked at Bill with stern eyes before she strode out of the establishment.

Fleur walked as fast she could in her heels, wanting to get away from the busy streets but she did not know where to go to, so she just walked and tried to avoid bumping into anyone. Her heart was beating hard and she felt so angry and worried at the same time — angry at how people could just ignore Hermione being missing; worry at her whereabouts and her condition.

"Fleur, wait!" Bill managed to catch up and grabbed her hand, stopping Fleur in her track.

"What?!" Fleur turned around and her eyes were red and puffy. She did not realise that she had been crying while she walked, no wonder her vision was blurry.

Bill was completely baffled at seeing the tears, but he also saw the emotions swimming in the dark blue eyes so he pulled her to walk with him. "Come with me," he said.

They arrived at a nearby park and sat down on a bench, in the shade under a tree. Fleur had started sobbing and Bill had no idea why, although he gave her space and time until Fleur was able to let her feelings go.

"What's on your mind, Fleur?" His tone was low and he looked at her worriedly.

"I don't know…" She replied meekly.

"Something must have been bothering you because you weren't really paying attention to me today. Please tell me what's on your mind, Fleur. What have you been keeping deep inside your heart to make you so broken like this? You can trust me, I won't tell a single soul." Bill was looking straight into her eyes and Fleur could see the kindness and compassion in him.

Fleur took her time to calm down and breathed deeply. She did not know what to tell him, where to even start. She did not know how much she should tell him or how he would take on her confessions. However, this man was Bill Weasley. The same Bill who had been patient with her and had always tried to cheer her up. She knew she could trust him.

"Have you—" Her voice croaked, she cleared her throat and tried again. "Have you ever felt like there's a hole inside you, that your soul feels hollow, and your heart feels empty? Despite the happiness and love coming from the people surrounding you — your family, friends or lover — there is still this emptiness that you just can't shake off." Fleur's voice was above a whisper as she looked at the greeneries surrounding them, her eyes seeing but nothing she saw was registered in her mind.

Bill seemed to ponder on the questions for a while before he shook his head. "I can't say I have ever felt that way before. Is that how you have been feeling?" He asked her and watched as Fleur slowly nodded her head. Her eyes head tilted low while her fingers were fidgeting on her lap.

"Elaborate please, Fleur. Explain to me so that I can understand." Fleur looked agitated so he took her hands and squeezed them to deliver some courage. He was not a Gryffindor for nothing.

"Since I was small, people have been dotting on me, mostly because of who I am — a part-Veela. I have received love from family and friends, and the boys just wouldn't leave me in peace.

However, despite all the attention, I can still feel lonely sometimes. There are times where I feel nothing — I'm not happy but not sad either, I just feel empty. I searched and asked people about it, but not much information I was able to get.

One day, my Grand-Maman told me that what I have been feeling may be related to me having a soulmate. In our Veela culture, mates and bonds are quite common, but a soulmate is different and very rare. The connection one has with their soulmate is not only a very special connection but is also powerful, doesn't matter whether you're a Veela or any other beings."

Bill nodded his head with understanding. "Have you found your soulmate yet? Or have encountered him?" He figured that he would not be the soulmate she was talking about since he had never felt that way to her. He loved Fleur, but he never felt the loss she mentioned.

"I believe I had, yes. However, we were separated because of my selfishness. I'm not even sure if she realised about this soulmate thing, but I told her that I left her because I needed to find some answers." Fleur emphasised on the gender and smiled awkwardly as Bill gave a soft squeeze on her hand.

Something clicked in Bill's mind, and he suddenly gasped aloud and looked at Fleur with his mouth hanging. "It's her, isn't it? Hermione Granger? She's your soulmate?"

He remembered the incident outside of Gringotts, where he saw Hermione broke down on the ground and Fleur was worried sick about the girl. He noticed the look of guilt on Fleur's face and how she was in a dilemma whether to stay with him or to run after the younger witch but then chose the latter. He remembered Fleur coming back with her face wet with tears, and she looked like her world had just crumbled apart. Bill wondered how stupid he had been to have never noticed this.

Fleur tucked a stray hair behind her ears and nodded weakly. "When I first met her after the first few nights during the Triwizard Tournament at Hogwarts, I found her alone sitting near the Black Lake. It was nearing midnight and I was surprised to see a girl so brave at breaking the school's curfew rule. I went closer to her and saw a book on her lap, but she wasn't reading it. Maybe she was sleeping because she had her eyes closed, but her brows furrowed like she was deep in her thoughts.

I remembered that night, the sky was clear with only a few white clouds could be seen. The lake was calm and the wind was blowing gently. It was beautiful and perfect — tranquillity. I stared at her and she still had not realised my presence.

She was beautiful and calm, like the perfect combination of a witch and an angel if you can imagine. I have never felt as mesmerised. When she finally noticed me, our eyes connected and there was a tug in my heart. My Veela inside me was excited to know her, to be near her.

We met once or twice a week to just, talked and got to know each other. Hermione's a bright person and can speak many languages, which she learned them all by herself. She's charming and polite but can be sly and naughty. I wasn't able to stop myself from falling for her. I thought that she could be the person I was looking for since, for the first time, I feel like my soul is complete."

Bill was transfixed with listening to the story and wanted to hear more. "I bet you told her your feelings?" He grinned at her.

Fleur shook her head. "Not really, I did not. For weeks, I had been wondering why she was always alone. I never saw her talked to anyone, and no one cared about her, as if she had no friends and no one wants to befriend her.

On the night of Yule Ball, I saw her coming into the hall alone with no companion. I wished I could have asked her to be my partner for the night, but I was afraid of the society's rejection and of breaking any of Hogwarts' custom or tradition.

She was beautiful in her red dress which made her looked matured than her age. I watched her throughout the night but no one approached her, and they kept giving her side-eyes instead. But she ignored them and beautifully showed herself with pride. I only managed to ask her why she had been treated that way when we met later that night."

Fleur paused as she recalled the conversation she had with Hermione that night. Bill wanted to wait patiently but could not stop himself from asking, "what did she say?"

Fleur hesitated before she heard herself saying, "it's not my place to tell you this, Bill. But as it seems, I feel like I needed someone I can trust to share what I'm feeling. Can I trust you on this? Can you swear to never reveal about everything I say to anyone?"

Fleur looked and sounded so vulnerable that Bill wanted nothing more than to honour the trust. He squeezed her hands as he nodded enthusiastically, swearing that he would never betray her trust and whatever secrets she shared, he will bring it to his grave.

"Thank you, Bill." Fleur smiled gratefully at him before she turned towards the sky. "This was what Hermione told me, and she was speaking with so much honesty in her eyes that I didn't doubt anything she said.

During her first year at Hogwarts, there was this one Gryffindor boy who liked to mock her because she had corrected his pronunciation in the class. She ignored him because she said it wasn't the first time people had made fun of her, although she had cried silent tears when he said that "no one wants to be her friend".

However, one night the boy followed her secretly and approached her while she was alone. He had apologised to her and she believed it as he looked sincere in his apologies. Hermione forgave him and they became friends, eventually with his best friend too, whom he can't keep a secret from.

They met in private during the whole school year, most of the time she would help them with their studies. By the end of their first year, she had trusted the boys and opened up to them, sharing with them the tragedies that had befallen her life and her adopted parents. In the summer, after she had sold her late parents' house, she went to live with the boy's family because she had nowhere else to go to.

Hermione had no other friends because the Slytherins viewed her as a disgrace to their House — considering her "filthy Mudblood" status — and would always pick a fight with her. While the Ravenclaws were envious at her broad knowledge, and the Hufflepuffs didn't want to be cast aside if they associated with her, no one wanted to befriend her. Of course, no need to ask about the Gryffindors because they are mortal enemies to the Slytherins, right?" Fleur paused and saw that Bill had his brows furrowed in concentration as he nodded once.

"Anyway, came the second year school term, Hermione thought that she and the two boys could remain as friends but eventually she found out the real reason the boy wanted to befriend her in the first place. He had suddenly confessed his feelings to her, but she had politely rejected him by telling the truth about her inability to have any romantic feelings towards the male species after the horrible experiences she had gone through.

The boy did not take the rejection very well and forced himself upon her. She tried valiantly to defend herself, accidentally turned him into a weasel and passed him to Professor McGonagall, while readily accepted for any punishment due on her action. A few days later, there began rumours about her being an impure girl, a murderer of her parents, and that she slept with the professors to get full marks in the exam. While the last one was absurd, she knew only one person would twist her secrets and told other people about them."

Fleur did not realise that Bill had a rage sparked in his eyes while his fists clenched at his side as she continued on, "came the third year, there were more rumours spread about her, and she had been called names all the time — a dyke, a heartbreaker, a playgirl, and many more.

Hermione knew not how someone had seen her kissing with a woman, but she knew only one person would hold so much grudge on her to lit up the rumours and made them worse because he had never stopped trying to harass her any chance he got.

So now she had no one in her life; an orphan with only books as her companion. She had endured the bullying because she said that they were nothing compared to the torments she had received in life prior to Hogwarts."

Bill gasped and jumped from the bench as he took in Fleur's words. He stared in disbelief as he clearly knew who was this Gryffindor's boy who had made Hermione's life in Hogwarts turned hell since their second year.

Bill remembered the summer when Hermione stayed at The Burrows, he had returned from work to spend some holiday time with his family before he had to go back to Egypt. Ron had introduced Hermione to their family and Bill found that Hermione was a cute and a happy-go-lucky girl who easily became friends with his other siblings, despite their differences in blood status and House. She was polite and friendly — nothing like a typical Slytherin student was — and his parents had even treated Hermione as if she was their own child too.

However, she no longer visited their house anytime after that, and Ron and Ginny were no longer saying anything good about Hermione. Instead, they kept bad-mouthing her all the time, which was weird to Bill. All this time, he did not know that Ron was actually harbouring feelings towards the girl and turned out nasty because things did not go his way. And Ginny, she was always closed to her brother that she would believe anything and everything he said.

Bill did not register the fact that he was clenching his fists very tightly until he felt soft hands squeezing his. He took deep breaths to calm down and took his seat back next to the blonde witch.

"Forgive me, Fleur. I just remembered all the things that Ron and Ginny have been saying about Hermione, and I'm really sorry. I wish I could apologise on their behalf, but even that will not be enough for you and especially for Hermione." Bill looked crestfallen as he sunk into the seat, cradling his head in his hands.

"I know it's not my place to forgive but it's okay, Bill. Just please promise me that you will not speak about this to anyone. I want to honour Hermione's trust in me, and I hope she will know that she can trust the people that have my trust." Fleur smiled at him gratefully.

"I promise. I swear on Merlin's name, I will put my life on honouring your trust." He paused for a few seconds before he said, "what happened after that night?"

Fleur smiled as she recalled more on her memory with the young witch. "We became closer from that night on and my eyes were always following her whenever I saw her. I introduced her to my sister and my friends, and Hermione was always so kind and charming with them. I became jealous when some of my friends were getting closer to her, making me realised that I wanted Hermione for myself."


Fleur watched irritatingly as Naera was sitting very close to Hermione, almost like she was sitting on her lap as they were talking in hush whispers. Her irritation grew as she saw the blush creeping up on Hermione's neck and face. When she could not take it anymore so she stomped her way towards the pair.

"Hermione, mind if I have your time and attention, please?" Fleur tried to ask in the sweetest voice she could muster but failed as her irritation was quite palpable through the look in her eyes.

Hermione startled and quickly jumped from her seat as she stuttered out, "y-yes, wa-what is it, Fleur?"

"Well, this was fun. Don't forget to find me later, Hermione." Naera chuckled as she stood up and not-so-subtly aggravated Fleur more as she pecked Hermione on her cheek before she left, and Fleur didn't miss the wink that Naera threw in her direction.

Fleur's face had become red with fury and she looked menacingly at Hermione. "Tch! Come with me!" She turned around and walked away, not looking to see if Hermione was following her or not.

Hermione hastily tried to catch up to the blonde witch and they walked in silence until they were inside Fleur's room. Fleur was quite scary when she looked pissed off and Hermione did not want to be at the end of her angry stick, but she could not deny how hot Fleur looked when she was this mad.

Fleur locked the door, quickly cast the silencing spell and tuck her wand away before she turned towards Hermione. She stalked in her way and her eyes turned predatorily as she got closer towards the brunette, who was then trapped between her and the door.

"Tell me, Hermione. I noticed that you have been spending more time with my friends lately, especially with Naera. Do you have anything to tell me?"

Hermione furrowed her eyebrows in confusion. "You have nice friends…?" 'What the hell did I do wrong?'

Fleur inched closer and put her hands on both Hermione's sides. "Do you like any of them? Do you like Naera, Hermione?"

Hermione smiled goofily as she answered, "of course! Because they are your friends, they are nice and they are also important people to you."

Fleur was taken aback by the sincerity in Hermione's words, and truthfully, her heart swoon once again at seeing Hermione's smile. She felt her anger and jealousy slipped away as her eyes switched between looking in Hermione's honest brown eyes and her cute pink lips. Subconsciously, her body moved closer until she felt their breaths tangled with each other, and she wetted her lips.

Hermione stayed rooted on the ground as she caught the sweet perfume coming from the French girl. She took in Fleur's beauty from the close distance — straight silvery-blonde hair fluttered in the wind, Fleur's smooth fair skin and dark blue eyes, and Fleur's pouty lips — and her heart beat faster as she saw a tongue protruded to wet the lips. She knew she had felt a deep attraction to the Veela the moment her eyes landed on Fleur as she had 'danced' her way in through the entrance of the Great Hall.

Fleur watched as a blush rose from Hermione's neck to cover her face, and their eyes locked with each other. Fleur could no longer deny her desire of wanting to be close to Hermione, she slowly closed their distance and gave the chance for the brunette to back away. But then she saw the brunette closed her eyes and their lips finally, finally met in heaven.

Oh, how heavenly it felt like to finally be able to kiss Hermione. She had been wanting to kiss the girl for weeks, since the Yule Ball night but did not want Hermione to think that she kissed her out of pity. She had fallen for the girl since the first night they met near the Black Lake.

Sparks flew behind their closed eyes as they deepened the kiss. Fleur could feel the Veela inside her was dancing around in joy, and her heart beat impossibly faster against her ribs. She tilted her head and the kiss deepened as their lips moved languidly, until she was suddenly turned around and pressed against the locked door.

Hermione had switched their position and pressed herself against Fleur's tantalising body. She heard Fleur's gasped and took the opportunity to slip her tongue inside. "Oh! Mmm..." Fleur's moans sent delicious shivers through her spine and warmed the lower part of her body.

Fleur was feeling heady from the heated kisses so she pulled her head away and leaned against the heavy door. She did not realise that her hands were clutching tight on Hermione's back and her right leg had been pulled up to Hermione's waist, their bodies meshed together in a very, very good way. 

'What had just happened?' She panted heavily.

She slowly lowered her foot to the floor and tried to regain her footing, but not without noticing the slick wetness between her legs. Her eyes went wide and her face was red with embarrassment as she became aware of how much her body wanted and craved for Hermione's touch. She looked at the girl who had her hands on her waist, protecting her from falling down to the floor. Hermione's brown eyes contained so much warmth and care, and Fleur dared say she saw love in those eyes.

'How could I not fall for you, Hermione? My knight, my princess charming.'

"Are you alright, Fleur? I'm sorry, was that too much?" Hermione's voice was gentle and caring as her hand softly caressed the blonde's cheek. She waited patiently for Fleur to regain her bearing.

Fleur shook her head and leaned into the touch, a soft smile plastered on her lips. Suddenly, Hermione pulled away from her and created a small distance between them, and Fleur had already missed the contact.

"I shouldn't have done that, I shouldn't have crossed the line. Shit, why did I do this again? Please forgive me, Fleur."

Fleur was shocked at the vulnerability in Hermione's voice, and the sight of the girl shattered her heart. Hermione's body trembled and she was clutching on her arms, while her mouth kept muttering a swear word repeatedly, "shit, shit shit shit shit!"

"Hermione?" Fleur's soft voice brought the said girl back to the present.

Hermione looked at Fleur and saw worry and concern in the dark blue eyes. She shook her head, and with hands still clutching on her arms, she softly whispered, "I'm sorry, Fleur," before she moved away. She unlocked the door and hurriedly left the clueless and speechless French girl alone in the room.


"I didn't see Hermione anymore for a week after that. Or more like, Hermione had been hiding from me. I didn't see her in the dining hall, and she no longer came to our usual hanging port near the Black Lake. I didn't know what was going on but I can't forget the pain, the heartbreak that I saw in her eyes."

Bill sat in silence as his mind was trying to work out the possible reasons why Hermione had acted that way. "Do you think she was scarred from the rumours that spread about her? Maybe she was afraid that you were going to reject her too just when she finally had found someone she likes?"

Fleur sighed but did not answer his questions. "A few days before Valentine's Day, I saw her in the library. She was sitting alone in the corner while I went there to do some research for the second task of the tournament. I took that chance to be bold, so I told her that I have feelings for her and wanted to be more than friends. I wouldn't ask her about the previous incident if she wasn't ready to talk about it, but I ask her to be my Valentine and to meet me in Hogsmeade on that day. I didn't even wait for her to reply before I left."


February 14th arrived, and Fleur was in the middle of getting ready. She donned a light grey dress while Naera was helping with her hair, which was pulled into a bun. Fleur was glad when Naera had outright told her the truth about her closeness with Hermione. Unknowingly, her friends had noticed her feelings and attractions towards Hermione, so they wanted to make her jealous in order for Fleur to realise and admit to her feelings.

"Go and get her, okay?" Naera said with a smile after she had done with Fleur's hair.

Fleur nodded and beamed as she looked at her friend from the mirror's reflection. She went out of the room and was surprised when all of her friends — including her sister — were cheering on her. She smiled abashedly and made a retort, "stop it, girls! You make me feel like I'm getting married." It did not work as their cheers became louder instead.

A knock sounded from outside the carrier and Naera went to open the door, only to meet with Hermione who was standing in a pair of black slacks, a white button up and a black vest. Her usual bushy brunette hair was tamed in a low ponytail that was draped on her right shoulder. All in all, Hermione looked charming and her smile only made everyone in the carrier swoon over her.

Hermione gasped as her eyes fell into the one and only beauty who managed to capture her attention since the first night the Beauxbatons ladies arrived at Hogwarts. Her heart seemed to pick up on its pace as she watched Fleur walked closer towards her alongside her sister, Gabrielle.

"Please take care of my sister, Hermione. Make sure to bring her back by curfew!" Gabrielle playfully said as she handed her sister over to Hermione.

"You heard the lady," Fleur chimed in and threw a wink at Hermione.

Hermione held up Gabrielle's hand and kissed on her knuckles, making the little girl gasped and her cheeks flushed red. "Of course, Milady. Your sister will be in safe hands." The other girls were cheering and whistling in the background and Hermione threw a wink in their direction before she turned around to greet Fleur.

Hermione gulped and stood frozen as she took in Fleur's beauty, and she almost forgot what she had intended to do. "Hi, Fleur. You look stunning!" Hermione was blushing as she bowed and held Fleur's hand then kissed on her knuckles. She moved her right hand to hide behind Fleur's ear and in the blink of an eye, the hand retreated but with a single white lily in her grasp. "A flower that suits the lady." She gave the flower to Fleur with a sheepish smile.

Fleur could have sworn that she almost melted and fainted there and then at Hermione's chivalry, but she tried to keep her composure calm. "Thank you, Hermione. You look good too. Very, how should I say, gentlewoman?"

Hermione smiled embarrassingly, "you like?"

Fleur nodded and closed their distance to whisper in Hermione's ear, "I love it. In fact, I can't wait to rip them off and have my way with you."

Hermione shuddered at the breathy voice near her, heat consumed all over her being and she was sure that there were steams coming out of her ears. Fleur pulled away and Hermione could see the smirk on her face as she knew how much the blonde witch's words affected her.

The cheers and whistles on the background brought Hermione back to reality and she cleared her throat to cool herself down. "Shall we go?" She offered her arm which Fleur promptly took and they walked away from the Beauxbatons' carriage.


"Wait, I thought you told her to meet you in Hogsmeade?" Bill's voice interrupted as Fleur was retelling her memory, minus all the embarrassing details.

"I did. However, the day before Valentine's day, she sent me a letter and requested to change the plan. She wanted to pick me up and brought me somewhere private, instead of us meeting in Hogsmeade where there were going to be other people."

"Where did you guys go?" Fleur chuckled at Bill's enthusiasm in hearing their love story.

"Nowhere in particular. We stayed in Hogwarts but I didn't know where she brought me. It's a spacious room on the seventh floor, I think, can't remember which wing exactly. It was a very cosy room, with a fireplace, a sofa, dining table, and even a bed."

"Bed, huh?" Bill smirked as he saw Fleur's face turned red.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 16 – Her Valentine.

"Fleur, I made something for you. I hope you like it."

Hermione took out a gift from her bag and gave it to Fleur. She had brought the French girl to the Room of Requirement and bribed Winky the house-elf to prepare and delivered food for them. Now they had done eating and were currently sitting on the sofa in front of the warm fireplace.

"Hermione…" Fleur's voice was soft as she did not expect to receive any gift. "You don't have to—"

"Please, Fleur. Accept it as a token of apology from me, for running away the other day. I'm really sorry for suddenly leaving you without explaining anything, and I hope you can forgive me." Hermione looked so guilty that Fleur was unable to deny her anything even if she asked for the world.

"Alright, I will accept it and forgive you but only if you explain to me why did you apologise for the kiss. Why did you look so painful, so heartbroken?" Fleur accepted the gift but put it aside for the time being. She then held Hermione's hand and looked deep into her watery eyes.

"Hermione, I really, really like you and I like being close to you. I wish we could get even closer, however, I can't help but feeling like there's still a wall between us. I want to be here for you, Hermione if you will have me."

Hermione took in the sincerity in Fleur's voice and her eyes turned downcast as she contemplated opening up more than she already had with the French girl. "Throughout my life, there is one thing that I fear the most. I would say it's the biggest fear I have in life, and that is the fear of rejection, of not being accepted."

Hermione let go Fleur's hand and turned towards the fireplace. "In my entire life, I've tried to fit in with the society but had always become an outcast. When I was in primary school, the kids in my school made fun of me and bullied me because they can't accept that reading is my passion, and I lack social skills. When I accidentally unleashed my magic, the people surrounding me can't accept that a witch was living in their community. The bullying got worse, people looked at me like I'm a contagious disease, and my adopted parents, who were the only people I loved wholeheartedly also rejected me.

My mother rejected me in the way that she thought she wasn't strong enough to be able to stand by me and supported me — which she didn't even try to — thus she chose to die and left me to fend for myself. My father was outright saying that he could not and would not accept a witch to be called his daughter, hence he abused and even raped me." She paused and took a deep breath; Fleur gasped at her side.

"When I was accepted into Hogwarts, I thought that I finally have a place where I truly belong, but I thought wrong. Here, I was also bullied and being made fun of because they rejected my blood status, my background profile and my intelligence. The reason why my boggart is of Professor McGonagall telling me that I fail all my exams is not only because I am afraid of literally failing the exams, but also because of this fear of rejection that I have.

You see, I have nothing more valuable to offer than my knowledge, so if I were to fail and be expelled, I will have nowhere else to go. Neither the wizarding world nor the Muggles world would accept me in their societies. Several times I tried to kill myself and asked for death, but even Death rejected me and still kept me alive until now.

When I fell in love with a woman, I had hoped that she would return my feelings. However, it turned out that I had crossed the line when I kissed her because she immediately rejected me, by saying that I was still a child and wouldn't know what I was feeling, and also that we had a too wide age gap. That's why I panicked after we kissed the other day — I was terrified that you would be rejecting me too."

Fleur finally understood everything and her heart sore as she felt Hermione's pain. She moved to sit closer to the girl until their sides were aligned and touched against each other. She had a strong desire to look into the honest brown eyes again so she grabbed Hermione's chin and gently pulled it towards her face. Her fingers reached out to caress Hermione's cheek softly before she slowly closed their distance.

The kiss was languid and with very gentle movements as Fleur conveyed her feelings into it. It was all lips and no tongue involved, but it still managed to speed up both the girls' heartbeats.

"I won't reject you, Hermione, and I'm not going to leave you either. You have my words," Fleur said after they had pulled away, but her thumb kept caressing the smooth cheek and Hermione leaned into the touch with her eyes fluttered closed. A single tear rolled down her cheek and Fleur wiped it away.

Hermione opened her eyes and said, "thank you, Fleur. I don't know what will happen if you reject me because I really, really like you. Fleur Delacour, will you be my girlfriend?" She bit her lips nervously.

Fleur closed their distance again and their noses touched as she replied, "of course, Hermione." She smiled briefly before going in for another kiss. Her hands went behind Hermione's neck and she could feel Hermione's hands on her waist. Her head tilted to one side and she deepened the kiss, delighted in the moan coming from the brunette. Her tongue tentatively poked out and licked Hermione's lower lip, feeling the shudder that went through the girl's body.

Hermione opened her mouth and allowed Fleur's tongue to meet hers. She felt euphoric, and moans were heard but she did not know from whom. Her mind was spinning and her body felt goosebumps from Fleur's touches. She wanted to feel more of the French girl, wanted to hear more of her moans, so she pulled Fleur into her lap, subsequently inching Fleur's dress higher up her thighs.

Fleur moaned again as she felt the change in position. When she felt soft touches on her exposed thighs, she gasped aloud and incidentally pressed herself closer to Hermione. "Merde!"

Hermione smiled inwardly and praised herself for her achievement to make Fleur cursed. She kissed along Fleur's jaw towards her ear, licking and biting the shell; Fleur's hand clutched her head harder. Her hands moved to Fleur's bottoms and lifted her up in the air as she stood and walked towards the bed.

Fleur gasped in surprise and clung her body tightly against the surprisingly strong girl. Hermione kissed down her neck while she manoeuvred around the room until she was put down gently onto the spacious bed.

"Hermione…" She purred, her heart was beating wildly, and her body throbbed with the thought of what was going to happen.

"Fleur, tell me to stop if you don't want this as much as I do," Hermione said as she pulled back slightly from Fleur. She looked into the dark blue eyes and watched as they darkened with love and lust, and she knew her own eyes projected the same feelings.

"Don't stop, please. I want you so much, Hermione. Make love to me," Fleur pleaded and felt vulnerable as she was at Hermione's mercy.

Hermione's heart skipped a beat and her eyes darkened even more. "My pleasure," she said.

She went in for a deep kiss and thrust her tongue inside Fleur's mouth. They kissed passionately while Fleur hastily unbuttoned Hermione's vest and her button-up shirt. Hermione kissed down Fleur's jaw and neck while her hands pushed up the hem of Fleur's dress. Fleur helped Hermione in lifting her body so she could take the dress off.

Hermione was lovestruck as she watched the almost naked body of Fleur and could not help but fell in love with all the perfections and flaws that Fleur had. She ignored her own state of topless — saved for the bra — as Fleur had managed to take off her vest and shirt, but she knew she was unmatched against Fleur's beauty.

"You're so beautiful, Fleur." Hermione praised as she stored the image of Fleur in her cream coloured lacy bra and a matching knicker.

Fleur could feel warmth seeped through her body as she felt embarrassed at being stared. Her hands went to covered her private parts and her head turned to the side, she closed her eyes and bit her lip shyly.

Hermione noticed the embarrassed look and decided to show to Fleur how much she meant what she said. She reached for Fleur's hands and moved them away as she kissed on her feet, calves, thighs, navel and upwards to her cleavage, her chest, then she paused on her neck while kissing and nipping on the pulse point softly, delighted in the moans that came from the girl underneath her.

Fleur grabbed Hermione's neck and pulled her in for more kisses, their tongues clashes and teeth were biting lips until they pulled away for air. Both girls were panting heavily and felt heady from all the kisses.

"Do you want me to stop? There's no going back, Fleur." Hermione said in between catching her breaths.

"Shut up and make love to me already, Hermione. Unless you don't really want me—"

Hermione cut off Fleur's words with another kiss and her hand went behind Fleur's back to unhook her bra and later took it off. She then took off her own bra too so as to not let Fleur feel more embarrassed. Their bodies tangled and they moaned as skin met with skin, feeling the warmth seeping through them.

Hermione kissed down Fleur's chest and reached the valleys, her hands then squeezed both breasts and she watched mesmerised as the tips peaked from her ministrations. She slowly licked one of the nipples while fondled the other and shivered as she heard a loud gasp.

"Oh, merde! Don't stop!"

Hermione did not want to stop but increased the speed and pressure instead. She kept switching between the two breasts and groaned as Fleur was pulling her hair and her body arched and met her hip.

"Oh, Hermione, it feels so good. Ah, fuck!"

Fleur felt a soft sting as Hermione bit her nipple and her body arched higher. A cool wind blew onto her exposed nipples as Hermione let go and went to kiss downwards her body. She propped herself up and watched as Hermione peppered soft kisses on her stomach and her heart beat impossibly faster as Hermione almost reached the line of her knicker.

Hermione hooked her fingers on the hem of Fleur's knicker and she cast her eyes upwards to look at Fleur. She could feel the warmth and smelt the wetness coming from in between Fleur's legs and was eager to taste and feel more of Fleur. Her heart leapt in joy and she beamed when Fleur nodded her head and lifted her hip to allow Hermione to pull off the last barrier.

She knew Fleur was wet as she had seen from the darkened patch on her knicker, but she could not believe her eyes as she took in the sight before her eyes. Fleur was truly drenched and Hermione's heart swelled in pride as she realised that it was all because of her. She took a deep breath and smiled at the smell.

"Oh, fuck!"

Fleur voice raised when Hermione kissed and licked her sex. It was a sensation she had never felt before but everything Hermione did felt so good.

"Oh, yes! Ah! Oh, Hermione, don't stop!"

Truthfully, Hermione had never done this before. She only did whatever she had read in plenty of books, and she had never thought that eating a person out would feel and taste so good. Maybe because it was Fleur, she did not know, but what she knew was that she never wanted to stop. Fleur's taste had become her new favourite thing in the world, and she wanted to have more of it, so she went to get more from its source.

"Oh, fuck! Ah! Merde! Hermione! Ah!" Fleur had her body arched high up and she could feel the liquid flowing out of her as Hermione licked at the entrance.

Hermione's hands went to pin Fleur down on the bed and she moaned at the delicious taste. She licked all over the sex and learned what made Fleur ticked, what made Fleur arched her back, what made her moaned the loudest. She then focused on licking the cute knob at the top which she had learned it was called 'the clit'.

"Oh oh oh Hermione, yes, yes, don't, ah! Stop! Don't, stop! Please! Oh, fuck! Something's coming!"

Knowing that Fleur was nearing the edge, Hermione licked and sucked harder and faster as she felt the clit hardened. She tried to manoeuvre around and her finger accidentally touched the entrance. Suddenly Fleur was screaming her name out loud and her body vibrated and arched so high that she looked like she was flying in the air, luckily her hands that were clutching the sheets made her remained grounded to the world. Hermione groaned and kept on licking all the newfound wetness and brought Fleur down from the high until she laid flat on the bed again.

Fleur had her arm covered her eyes as she panted heavily. She felt sweat covered her skin as Hermione peppered her body with kisses until the girl propped herself above her.

"Fleur, are you alright?"

Fleur was not able to suppress her giggles at the question. Her giggles turned to laughter as she looked at Hermione's confused look.

"Hermione, my love, I am more than alright. That was… amazing!" Fleur pulled the girl in for a kiss but stopped abruptly and asked, "is that how I tasted like?" She timidly licked Hermione's lips to get another taste of herself.

Hermione chuckled at the French girl's curiosity and laid herself down beside her. Her fingers wiped the wetness around her mouth and she licked it again, 'I could never get tired from this,' she mused.

Fleur wanted to return the gesture but found herself yawning instead. She felt tired and her eyes were getting heavy. It did not help also when Hermione was stroking her hair and sometimes massaged her scalp. She felt serene and sleepy.

"Sleep, I'll wake you up when it's time to leave," Hermione's voice was like a lullaby and Fleur fell asleep instantly.


"Later that night, Hermione woke me up and we had a light dinner — courtesy to Winky again — before she sent me back to our carriage. I only remembered about the gift and Hermione gave it to me again when we arrived outside the carriage."

Fleur opened her eyes after she finished retelling the story of her Valentine's day with Hermione — saved for the private details — and her hand moved towards her chest. Even though Bill did not have all the details about what Hermione and Fleur did, his face flushed red anyway at the idea of what they had done.

"What did Hermione give you?" He asked to distract himself from having impure images engraved in his mind.

Fleur took off the necklace she wore and showed it to the man. It was a thin necklace made from silver and had a pendant in the shape of a heart. In the middle of the heart, were two letters — ‘FD’ which was the abbreviation for Fleur Delacour.

"Wow, she made this herself?"

Bill could not hide his surprise at seeing the details of the necklace. It was made with such precision and he was sure that it could be sold for a high price. He passed it back to the witch who took it and clasped it around her neck again.

"Alright, I admit, Hermione is more than brilliant. Is there anything that she can't do?" They both chuckled at his remark. "I still don't get it. When did you both declare your love to each other if not during the Valentine's?"

Fleur smiled as her memory continued to play in her mind. "The night after the second task of the Triwizard Tournament. You see, we Champions were asked to retrieve what had been stolen from us from the merpeople in the Black Lake. I failed the task after I had been attacked by the grindylows, and was dreading about what will happen to my sister, who had been missing."


Hermione was anxiously waiting and watching from afar, silently praying and hoping that Fleur will be saved in the tournament. She knew what the second task was about after she had accidentally overheard Harry talking about it a few days prior, and she noticed that Gabrielle was missing, so she put two and two together.

When Fleur had resurfaced, Hermione let out a long and deep breath in relief, but her relief was only for a short while as Gabrielle was still nowhere to be found. Realising that everyone had been paying their attention towards the French girls, Hermione cast the Bubble-head charm on herself and jumped into the lake.

She swam deep into the blackness and met her favourite friend, Squee, who was the Giant Squid. She had become friends with Squee since her second year when she had started to hang out near the lake every time she cried her sorrow away. Anyway, Squee had pointed out the direction towards the merpeople village where Gabrielle was being held and Hermione waved her hand in return as a gesture to thank him. She swam towards the direction and hid between the large algae when she saw Harry was already there, to save Ron.

Out of nowhere, Cedric arrived and released Cho while telling Harry that their time was almost up. Then a jaws came from somewhere behind her and made its way to release Ginny, and Hermione deduced it was actually Viktor. When Harry was left alone and released Ron, Hermione saw as he looked around and tried to save Gabrielle, but the merpeople were disturbing him.

Hermione quickly swam her way and used her wand to release Gabrielle, just like how Cedric had done earlier. As she tried to grab the little girl, the merpeople swam around her and said, "only the contestants shall pass!"

Hermione pushed Gabrielle towards Harry and made hand gestures to him, asking him to leave immediately and she will deal with the merpeople. Harry nodded and quickly grabbed both Ron and Gabrielle and swam upwards.

Meanwhile, Hermione grabbed all the merpeople attention and fought them wandlessly, until suddenly one of them hissed, "the Queen! She's the Queen, quickly, let her go!"

All of the merpeople stopped and looked at her attentively before they bowed slightly. "Your Majesty!" They cheered and Hermione was thoroughly surprised. However, she felt her charm was almost dissipated and she was losing breath, so she quickly swam her way up. She did not miss as the merpeople chanted, "we look forward to meeting you again, Your Majesty!"

Hermione did not resurface on the platforms where everyone was. Instead, with another help from Squee, she was brought towards the edge of the lake where her usual hanging port was. She laid on the ground and tried to catch her breath before she cast the drying and warming spells on herself.

Later that day, she covertly Obliviate Harry's memory so he would forget about seeing her in the lake, and modified his memory so that he thought he was the one who saved both Ron and Gabrielle instead. It was not far from the truth that everyone believed anyway. At night, Hermione went to her usual spot near the lake and thought about her meeting with the merpeople.

'What did they mean by 'Your Majesty'? The Sorting Hat also called me that before.'

She was thinking very deeply that she did not realise both Fleur and Gabrielle were walking towards her until both the French girls shouted her name and broke her out of her trance. Hermione stood up and smiled at them before she pulled Gabrielle in for a tight hug.

"Are you alright, Gabrielle? Are you hurt anywhere? The merpeople didn't do any harm to you, did they?" She let the little girl go and moved to inspect her everywhere.

Gabrielle only giggled at Hermione's antics and replied, "I'm alright, Hermione, no need to worry. Geez, you're just like my sister!" They all chuckled at her retort.

"I was really worried when I saw you being tied up and hanged. You weren't breathing either, so excuse me for feeling worried," Hermione pouted and crossed her arms over her chest.

"Tied up? Hanged? Hermione, how did you know what happened to Gabrielle?" Fleur had a puzzled look on her face and Hermione realised her mistake.

"Err... It was just a slip of the tongue." She said sheepishly but Fleur did not buy her excuse.

"Hermione, the only persons who know what happened to the people that had been stolen by the merpeople, are the Champions who rescued them. Even I didn't know what happened to my sister. Are you trying to imply that you were the one who rescued her?" Fleur looked at Hermione threateningly as she patiently waited for the answers.

"What do you mean, sis? I thought Harry was the one who rescued me?" Gabrielle was perplexed as she looked between her sister and the nervous looking Hermione.

"No, no. I… Err… Oh, I heard it from Harry! Yes, yes, I heard from Harry just now." Hermione said apprehensively and her eyes were looking everywhere except Fleur.

"Non, non, I don't believe it. Tell me the truth, Hermione." Fleur had a stern look on her face and she stepped closer towards Hermione. Gabrielle also did the same as she stood next to her sister.

Although Hermione found Fleur to be so hot and adorable and she very much wanted to kiss her girlfriend, now was not the time. She sighed and raised her hands in defeat.

"Fine, I lost, there's no way I can win against two attractive French girls. I admit I was the one who rescued Gabrielle from the merpeople when I saw you returned alone, although I encountered some difficulties with them afterwards. I handed her to Harry so he can bring her to safety while I tried to distract them from him. There, I told you the truth." Her shoulders slumped and she looked downwards to the ground.

"Oh, Hermione!" Fleur literally jumped into Hermione's arms and she made a small 'oomph' sound as she tried to catch Fleur and stabilised both of them. "Thank you, thank you, Hermione! Oh, my saviour, my knight in shining armour!" Fleur was weeping and Hermione could feel the tears falling down onto her shoulder.

Hermione rubbed the girl's back and she looked at Gabrielle who had tears in her own eyes. She reached for the little girl's arm and pulled her in for a hug too. Hermione stood silently as both the French girls wept on her shoulders until they calmed down and slowly pulled away from her.

"Thank you, Hermione, for saving my life." Gabrielle kissed on Hermione's cheek and Hermione returned the gesture by kissing the top of her head.

"Anytime, my dear. You are a very important person to my girlfriend, and I would hate to see you get hurt." She winked at Gabrielle, who giggled before she walked away towards their carriage, and left the couple alone in the silent of the night.

Fleur was still standing close to Hermione and had her arms around the brunette's neck, while Hermione's arms were holding her waist. She tucked some strands of brown hair behind Hermione's ear. "I love you, Hermione."

Hermione froze upon hearing the L word and thought that she had heard it wrong. "I beg your pardon?" She heard herself asking and her eyes widened when Fleur repeated the sentence.

"I love you, Hermione. I have been for a while."

Fleur smiled sweetly and watched the change of emotions in Hermione's eyes. She knew Hermione felt the same as she had seen many times of how Hermione looked at her, there was always the love visible in the honest brown eyes.

Slowly, Hermione's mouth morphed into the widest smile ever. She beamed happily and went in for a kiss. She pulled Fleur's body closer and deepened the kiss until they broke apart for air.

"I love you too, Fleur. I love you so much! I've never felt this happy, I don't know what to do."

Hermione's smile was contagious and Fleur noticed she was beaming with happiness too. Her smile then turned to smirk as she leant in and in the most sultry voice, she whispered in Hermione's ear, "I have some ideas of what you could do to me, Her-mi-o-ne." She licked the shell and felt the hands on her waist were clutching harder.

When Fleur pulled away, she was delighted at seeing Hermione's face had turned as red as a tomato and steams were coming out from her ears like a choo-choo train. She grabbed Hermione's hand and started walking towards the carriage, and into her private chamber.


"Seriously, I couldn't believe that Hermione was put into a Slytherin instead of Gryffindor. That was a pure Gryffindor's courage, right there."

Bill squealed excitedly as he was truly amazed at Hermione. Not only did the girl showed her love for Fleur, but also risked her life in order to save Gabrielle because the little girl was someone important to Fleur. 'I really lose to her in everything.' He sighed inwardly.

"By the way, why did you leave someone as awesome as Hermione, for someone like me? I mean, I'm honoured, but I really am nothing compared to her." Bill said dejectedly and smiled weakly when he felt Fleur squeezed his hand.

"Don't say that, Bill. You're the kindest and most compassionate man I have ever met, and you have always been patient with me. Hermione is just, different and special, I guess. Anyway, before Hermione and I reluctantly parted our ways because I had to go back to France, we promised to keep in touch with each other. The first thing I did when I arrived home was writing a letter to her, informing of my arrival and telling her how much I've missed her already.

We kept exchanging letters for a couple of weeks and I became more determined to come to England after I graduated. Other than wanting to improve my English, I wanted to be closer to Hermione. Grand-Maman realised how I have changed in the sense that I became happier and was always smiling, due to the fact that my mind was constantly filled with the thoughts of Hermione. I told her that I have found someone special and I have never felt so happy in my life, maybe Hermione was really the soulmate I have been looking for to fill the emptiness in my heart. Grand-Maman asked me whether I had already consummate with Hermione, and it was the weirdest and most embarrassing question ever, but I didn't answer her.

Then Grand-Maman suddenly told me this, "a soulmate is a rarest and the most powerful bond ever imagined, its connection even surpasses those of mate, blood bond, and true love. It is so powerful that when officially connected, a soulmate pair will share everything with each other — their feelings, their thoughts, their secrets, everything. If they were then disconnected or be in a great distance, they will become dispirited from the longing and missing and can eventually fall sick, and possibly lead to death. That's how powerful (and dangerous) a soulmate connection is."

Imagine how surprised I was at hearing the explanation. I don't know what does 'officially connected' mean. I mean, if it refers to both of us making love with each other, we certainly had done that. I was also afraid of the repercussions of having a bond that strong. I became uncertain whether Hermione is really my soulmate or not, and since I was living very far from her, I was scared if any of us will get hurt, or eventually died because of the distance.

I promised myself to find the answers to those questions and be more clear about the soulmate thing, so I came here and stopped all the connections with Hermione. I didn't inform her of my arrival and ignored all of her mailings. That's when I found you, the only man who had never shown the desire to take advantage of me or being attracted to me because of my Veela charm."

Fleur stood up from her seat and clutched herself as she stared at the distance. She took a deep breath but her body trembled as she felt tears pooled into her eyes. She turned around and regarded the sullen look on Bill's face.

"I'm sorry, Bill if you think that I toyed with your heart. I know what I did was selfish, but I did not lie when I said that I like you and the times we had together were joyful for me. It's just that, I couldn't love you as much as I love Hermione. Please forgive me." Fleur sobbed and hid her face in her hand.

Bill had one hand inside his pocket and squeezed the small velvet box that was there. He had initially intended to propose to Fleur at the diner, but he was glad that the cats got out of the bag before things became even more complicated than they already were. He slowly rose from his seat and pulled the trembling witch into his arms.

'How can I be mad at her for having a feeling so pure and strong towards someone who really and truly loved and cared about her?' 

"I forgive you, Fleur. It was my own fault too, for not realising this sooner. I should have asked you about this from the moment I saw how you and Hermione interacted during last Christmas. Maybe things would have turned out differently. Nevertheless, you don't have to feel bad about it. Love comes and goes, a heartbreak or two won't kill me.” He squeezed Fleur’s shoulders.

“In fact, I'm fine, we're fine, and I'm glad that you found someone who you truly love and love you back just as much. Have you managed to find the answers you were looking for?"

Fleir shook her head. "Not yet, but I believe I will have them soon. I'm afraid because I don't know what to expect. You said earlier that Hermione has been missing and no one knows where she is. I'm scared to lose her again, Bill. Even if we got to meet each other again, I'm scared to know what Hermione will think of me now that I have broken her heart, and also the promises I made." Fleur cried as she felt her heart heavy with deep emotions — worry, guilt, regret.

"For now, let's just hope that wherever Hermione is, she's fine and safe. She has survived so many obstacles before, I'm positive that she's so strong to face anything by now. I promise to check with the Order and tell you if there's an update on her whereabouts."

Bill smiled warmly at Fleur and wiped her tears away. He loved Fleur and even though his love was not reciprocated, he vowed to protect Fleur for as long as he could.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 17 – Her Doubt in the Seed of Hope

"How is it, Dora? Have you found her yet?"

Nymphadora Tonks was ambushed by her mother as soon as she stepped into the house. Her mother was standing in the foyer looking more perturbed than ever. Tonks shook her head and looked crestfallen, her shoulders sagged and her whole body screamed exhaustion.

After falling unconscious from her battle with Bellatrix at the Department of Mysteries, Tonks had woken up in St. Mungo's Hospital. She was hospitalised for a day and had just gotten out from there yesterday. During the stay, Tonks heard the news that was being talked amongst the Order members but what worried her the most was about Hermione's state of missing.

There was speculation that Hermione had been captured by Bellatrix, but no one seemed to be able to prove it. Even if it was true, none of the Order members wanted to go and verify the matter, which made anger welled up in Tonks' chest.

They said, "we can't go and ambush You-Know-Who's lair when we still lack in manpower." Tonks called them bullshit and went around everywhere to find her friend as soon as she got out of the hospital.

She had also notified her parents about the matter. Although it troubled her about the missing Hermione, she had never seen her mother became worried sick like this especially towards someone whom she had just known in a short period of time.

Tonks watched as her mother went back to the living room and sat on the sofa staring at nothing. She followed and sat ungracefully next to her mother and heaved a tired sigh. There were so many thoughts running through her mind, so many questions she wanted to ask her mother, but she hesitated due to not knowing what her limit was.

Decided that she had nothing to lose, she tried to take the gamble and called out to her mother. "Mom?" Her mother hummed in response. "Can I ask you something?"

Andromeda turned her head towards her darling daughter. "What is it, honey?" She smiled warmly.

"Is there anything going on between you and 'Mione?" Tonks nervously asked her mother, feeling like a child asking for something they knew their parents would not give.

Andromeda froze for a second before she sat upright and squared her shoulders. "No, there's nothing going on between Hermione and me." Her body looked tense and her face turned stony.

Tonks had known her mother long enough to be able to distinguish whether her mother was angry or she was running away from her problem. Right at this moment, it was the latter. Tonks had made up her mind and she would definitely see this to the end.

"Did you guys shag with each other?"

What on earth? Andromeda baffled at the question. "Excuse me? No, we did not!" Her voice rose in volume.

"Then, did you guys snog?"

Andromeda felt heat crept up her neck and cheeks and she stumbled on her words, "we… did not?" She remembered the 'almost kiss' moment she encountered with Hermione and blushed harder. The fact was that they did not kiss, but she felt like she would not be able to stop if it turned out that way. She kind of wanted it to happen, though.

"What was that, Mom? Haha!" Tonks was laughing hard at seeing the look on her mother's face.

Andromeda quickly recomposed herself and reprimanded her daughter. "Anyway, there is nothing going on between Hermione and me. What is up with you, Dora, asking all these questions?" She emphasised on the word 'nothing' to make herself feel better because the reality was, there really should be nothing happened between her and the young witch.

"Yeah, right. Keep telling yourself that, Mom." Tonks snorted.

"Excuse me? Whatever do you mean by that, Nymphadora? And watch your tone with me, young lady." Andromeda's voice was stern and her eyes were as sharp as her kitchen knife.

Tonks flinched at the use of her first name. She never liked that name, and she hated it even more when her mother called her with that name in that tone — a tone that told her to tread her words carefully. However, she was Nymphadora Tonks, and all her senses of cautions had been thrown out of the windows since her birth.

"I knew how you look at her, Mom, from when you first laid your eyes on 'Mione while she was sitting here, in the same spot I'm sitting right now. Mom, you were never a careless person and would always take good care of your china, but you simply dropping your favourite tea set? That wasn't you—"

"It was an accident!" Andromeda intercepted, her voice was high-pitched due to her embarrassment.

"Yeah, yeah. Look, Mom, you may think that you were being subtle with how you looked at 'Mione, however, I saw it. You look at 'Mione like your world revolves around her. Everything she said or does become interesting and matters to you. I know she's brilliant, she's the brightest witch of her age, she's pretty and witty. But the way you smile at her, one may say that you're—"

"Hold your tongue, Nymphadora!"

The menacing looks in her mother's eyes sent chills down Tonks' spine. She gulped and her courage faltered for a second. Her voice turned to an above whisper, "one may say that you are in love with 'Mione, Mom." She looked at her mother with utter defiant in her eyes.

Slap!

"How dare you, Nymphadora!?" Andromeda felt her anger was boiling like lava. Her palm was red and stung from the hit she delivered on her daughter's cheek.

"Hey, hey, hey, everyone stop! What the hell is happening here?"

Out of nowhere, came Ted Tonks to the rescue. He rushed in the room to stand between the furious mother and daughter. He just came back from meeting with a friend and was surprised to hear the commotion coming from the living room. He looked at his wife who had her jaw clenched before he turned at his daughter who had one hand on her left cheek.

Tonk's eyes stung as she felt the burn in her cheek. She could also feel thick liquid leaked out from the slit on her lips, but when she touched the wound and saw the deep red blood, she took a deep breath to cool her head before she confronted her mother again.

"What are you afraid of, Mom? Why are you running away from your feelings?"

"I told you to hold your tongue, Nymphadora! That is not how you should talk to your mother!" Andromeda kept glaring at her daughter, she barely registered the presence of her husband in the room.

"Dromeda, hey, stop it. Both of you, listen to me right now!" Ted raised his voice to grab the attention of both witches. Fortunately, they heard him and turned to look his way. "Good for you to come to your senses. Andromeda, Nymphadora, come with me, now!"

Ted walked out of the living room and went into the kitchen. He grabbed two glasses and filled them with cool water before he went to sit at the head of the dining table. Minutes later, both his wife and daughter had joined him in sitting on each of his sides. Andromeda bore a worried look on her face while Nymphadora was fidgeting in his seat. There was no longer blood coming out from the wound on her lips.

"First of all, drink this and cool yourself down." He set the water-filled glasses in front of them and watched as they followed his order, albeit reluctantly.

"Now, I believe we have a rule set in this house. Can anyone tell me what it is?" Ted started with a stern voice. This was a rare occasion, but he needed to exercise his position as the head of the house.

Andromeda sighed and she answered at the same time her daughter did, "do not fight against each other."

Ted nodded with pride. "Right. No matter what happens, we do not fight against each other. If there's anything that we're not satisfied with, we talk. We don't shout, we don't scream, we talk and solve the problem together. Understood?"

Ted watched as the other two nodded their heads meekly and he carried on, "imagine how shocked I was at coming back home to such an encounter. I know however big this issue is, we can solve this together—peacefully.

Now, Nymphadora, I believe you must have said something to provoke your mother, am I right?" He looked at his daughter and saw her nodded guiltily. "What do you have to say to that?"

"I'm sorry, Mom, but-!"

"Ah, ah, ah! No buts, Dora. We'll get to that later. For now, you must apologise properly to your mother."

Tonks stood up and walked to her mother's side. She grabbed her mother's hand and kissed on her cheek softly, "I'm sorry, Mother. I apologise for raising my voice at you and for saying things that hurt you. I love you, please forgive me." She hugged her mother from her side and let her tears fell on the shoulder.

Andromeda felt her heart ached and swelled in pain and love. She returned the embrace and apologise for raising her hand towards her darling daughter — something she had never done before.

 "Let me see your wound, Dora." She healed the wound with a simple 'Episky' and before long, Tonks had returned to her seat.

"Now that that's done, fuhh..." Ted let out a deep breath and sagged in his seat. "I really don't like to act all fierce and stern like that. Please don't make me do that again."

Tonks giggled at his antics and Andromeda chuckled although with politeness and gracefulness, and Ted barked his own laughter. When they had all calmed down, he spoke again.

"Alright, so let's get back to the issue at hand. Who started it?" Ted asked and looked between them.

"I did," Tonks answered straightforwardly. "I asked Mom if there's anything going on between her and 'Mione. I'm sorry to say this, Dad, but I think Mom has fallen for 'Mione."

"That's absurd, Dora. How many times do I have to repeat, nothing's going on between Hermione and me. She's nobody," Andromeda knew she was lying through her teeth, and she felt a stab in her heart. Her hand instinctively went to clutch the bangle on her wrist, the gift she had received from Hermione last Christmas.

Tonks abruptly jumped — knocking the chair down backwards — and gasped in absolute horror at her mom's choice of word. "Mom! 'Mione isn't a nobody! Please, never ever say that again! You don't know what she has gone through in her life!"

She clutched her chest and her dam of tears erupted as she remembered what Hermione had told her, every torments she had endured in her life.

"What do you mean, Dora?" Ted asked with concern.


When Tonks first met and spent the night with Hermione, she had instantly adored the little girl. Hermione was a very good and attentive listener, bright and witty as well as devious and playful. However, Tonks was not a total airhead as people had claimed her to be.

Despite Hermione's appearance of smiles, laughs, and all sunshine and rainbows, Tonks noticed the depression that lied deep beneath the girl's layers. Tonks was determined to peel the layers like peeling an onion and got to the core — Hermione's true self.

They parted ways but Tonks had promised to keep in touch with Hermione, and every time she came back from her auror training, she would write to her friend. It made her happy that Hermione did the same too, and they grew closer over time.

When Tonks had become a fully qualified auror, she and Hermione had agreed to meet in Diagon Alley to have a celebration of the joyous occasion. They had a small and private party just between themselves until they were suddenly disturbed.

"Look, Mother, that's her, the filthy Mudblood I told you about. The one that had brought a disgrace to the Slytherin's name." A 14-years-old boy — Theodore Nott, a Pure-blood Slytherin boy in Hermione's batch — pretended to whisper to her mother but his voice was not even toned down and attracted a few patrons around them.

Mrs Nott scrunched her nose and looked down on Hermione in disgust. "Hey, filth! I heard you're a troublemaker who likes to cause the Slytherin to lose House points. Why do you always give trouble to the Slytherins?"

Hermione looked down at the table instead of answering. The boy snorted and his mother became more irritated at the silent response. "Hey, don't you hear me? Did your mother not teach you the manner of answering when people ask you a question?"

Hermione flinched at the mention of her mother. She bit her lip and Tonks could see her knuckles turned white from gripping the table so hard. Other patrons in the establishment had turned around and were watching at the ruckus.

"Surely not, Mother. I heard she murdered her filthy Muggle parents to sell their filthy Muggle house." The boy sniggered and her mother joined as they both laughed at the poor Hermione.

Rage seared through Tonks and she stood up to make a retort in Hermione's defence to the pair of mother and son, but she was stopped by long fingers gripping her hand. Hermione's grip was hard while she shook her head furiously at Tonks, and the auror noticed the unshed tears that were pooling in her eyes.

Tonks glared fiercely at the pair of mother and son and left some coins on the table before she pulled Hermione away and out of the establishment. She disapparated them to her neighbourhood and looked around cautiously before she gently brought Hermione to her home.

"Tonks, where are we?" Hermione asked with a hint of fear in her voice.

"I'm bringing you home, 'Mione. To where I live with my Mom and Dad. Come on," Tonks said with a warm smile but her steps were halted as Hermione tugged her hand away.

"No, no no no, please, no."

Tonks looked bewildered at hearing Hermione's plea. The girl looked so stressful as she looked at the Tonks family's house in horror.

"'Mione? It's okay, you'll be safe here. I promise."

Hermione shook her head while backing away in her steps, then turned around before she started to walk away in a random direction.

"'Mione, wait! Where are you going?" Tonks was thoroughly confused as she caught up with the damsel in distress.

Hermione stopped and her eyes darted around before they finally settled on Tonks. She was not in a familiar place and did not know where to go. "Is there any park nearby where we can talk in private?"

"What's wrong with coming to my house? There's enough privacy."

Hermione shook her head again. "Please, Tonks. I can't afford to meet other people today."

Tonks nodded her head in understanding and brought Hermione to the nearest park, and they sat on a bench. Fortunately, there was no one in the park at the moment. Hermione clenched her jaws and clutched her arms so tight while her knees were bouncing anxiously. Tonks had never seen the girl looked so small and agitated — like a broken/dysfunctional toy.

"'Mione, are you alright?" Tonks mentally slapped herself for asking a stupid question. Of course, the girl was not alright — she had just been made fun of in public. However, what she heard from Hermione's mouth made her heart dropped.

"Let me die. Die, die die die die!" Hermione kept chanting the words 'die' again and again — like a mantra — as she cradled her head in her hands. Tonks felt cold breeze crawled on her skin making her shivered in fear.

"'Mione!" Tonks shook the girl and pulled her into her arms. She tried everything she could to calm Hermione down — rubbing her back, whispered safe words and more.

"'Mione, I'm here for you and I care about you. Tell me what made you become this depressed, please?"

Hermione looked up into Tonks' sincere eyes and broke into a mess of tears. She did not know whether the tears were of relief due to Tonks' words or because there were just so many emotions in her right now, but nevertheless, she knew she could trust Tonks. They had been friends for a year and not once did Tonks forced her to reveal anything, while she no doubt knew Tonks would have suspected something by now.

Hermione took a deep breath and proceeded to tell her life story to the auror. She believed that Tonks would not make fun of her like the others and her heart hoped so.

Tonks showed different expressions but she never interfered as Hermione bared her soul. Sometimes she would gasp in shock and groan in anger but she listened attentively towards the end. She could never understand how fate can be so cruel towards the girl, but she promised to herself that she would always be by Hermione's side no matter what.


"'Mione—" Tonks sniffled as she came back from her memory, "—doesn't have anybody in her life anymore but she definitely isn't a nobody! She's someone very special to me, like a sister I never wished for, but I'm truly grateful that I met her. I love her, and I love you, Mom and Dad. That's why I don't like to see any of you get hurt!"

Tonks wept uncontrollably and her heart felt heavy with emotions she had buried for a long time. She was feeling sad, angry, hurt, but mostly sad. So sad that her hair had changed its colour to grey to show her woe.

"Dora…" Ted was speechless.

"Dora, I'm sorry… I didn't mean it…" Andromeda's voice was so soft and she had a guilty look on her face as she reached for her daughter's hand from across the table.

"I know—" Tonks wiped her tears away, "—I know about both of you. You may think I have no idea of what's going on between the two of you, of what's happening in our family, but I do!"

Tonks let out an outburst as she looked determined at her parents. She's determined to bring forth the subject regarding the dark secret in this family, something no outsider had ever known about.

Ted and Andromeda exchanged looks between each other and their eyebrows raised as they communicate through their eyes.

"What exactly do you think you know, Dora?" Ted asked as they turned towards their daughter again. His voice was stern and his arms crossed over his chest.

Tonks had cleared the mess on her face and she cleared her throat. 'There's no going back,' she willed her heart to be strong.

"Mom, Dad, I know you both are not together. I have realised it since before I went to Hogwarts. You may say that you love each other, you may show to other people that we are a happy family, but the truth is we're not. You don't even sleep or be intimate — not that I want to know — with each other anymore. Mom is always either cried to sleep in the living room or in the library, while Dad, you would either sleep in a tavern or at work rather than at home."

Andromeda looked surprised before she composed herself. "You're wrong, honey. I love your father, that's why I married him years ago. Why do you think I dared to leave my family in order to marry your father?" She said in a serious tone.

Ted nodded his head in agreement to his wife's words. "And I love your mother too, Dora. I have never stopped loving her." Ted grabbed his wife's hand and rubbed it soothingly. He smiled warmly at her but she only returned it with tight lips.

"That was the story of more than twenty-five years ago, and you're no longer in love with each other! I think that both of you just wanted to keep up with the facade, play a happy family idea, or maybe you compromised with each other so I wouldn't know. But don't you see? Our family is broken inside!" Tears rolled down Tonks' cheeks again but she quickly wiped them away, not wanting her determination to falter for a bit.

Andromeda let out a resigned sigh. There was no longer a point for her to keep the secrets when her darling daughter was looking at her with so much pain in her eyes like this. She looked at her husband, the man who had been so kind and understanding, who had never stopped loving her and possibly will until his last breath.

She wore the warmest smile ever as she said, "you're both right and wrong, Dora. I'm not in love with your father and we didn't try to keep up a facade. I may have fallen for him since we were in Hogwarts, however, I was a teenager — young and wild — and all I had ever wanted for my life was to break free from my family's curse — the Black name. I wanted to be a rebel, and I decided to get married to a Muggle or a Muggle-born, someone whom my parents despised to their core.

Don't take me wrong, I didn't use your father. Your father confessed his love to me and I fell for his courage because despite knowing who I am, he still wished to be with me. I love your father because he's a true Hufflepuff at heart — he's kind and patience, hardworking and dedicated, and most of all, he's modest and loyal. I told him about my wish to break free from my parents, and he's willing to risk his life for me. I will forever be grateful for that."

Andromeda turned towards Ted and kissed his cheek. She would always remember his deeds and will keep thanking him even if she had to say it a million times.

"I only did what I feel right, Dromeda." Ted smiled sheepishly but he looked at his wife with love in his eyes.

"Regardless, we married and a couple of years later you were born, we were happy. You are the light of our lives, Dora." Andromeda smiled lovingly before her face morphed into sadness as her eyes went downcast.

"We were in the middle of the war at the time, and our lives were in danger. We kept moving around to keep ourselves safe from the Dark Lord and his followers. It was during that time that I realised a few things, about my happiness to be exact,” she said.

"What is it, Mom? What were the things that you realised?" Tonks asked.

Tonks looked inquisitively at her mother as she moved in her seat. Truthfully, her bum was feeling sore from sitting in the dining chair for a long time, but she endured it. 'Why must we have this conversation here, of all places?' 

Nevertheless, her mother's story was more interesting and she did not want to disrupt the bubble they were currently in. She glanced at her father and saw him smiling at all time while he kept giving her mother reassurance. It was the most intimate she had seen between them for years.

"One; I can't run away from my fate. Wherever I go, I keep remembering about my beloved sisters, whom I love with all my heart. We were very close to each other and being apart feels like a part of my soul has been taken away. I wished to be able to reunite with them, but I was afraid — I still am — to even send a single letter of apology. I can't truly achieve happiness as long as I haven't received their apologies for leaving them.

Secondly; I spoke about this to your father — I have a destined soulmate. When I was little, my sisters and I had a talk about this matter because we all felt the same — a hollow in our souls, a feeling of emptiness in our hearts — despite how happy we were when we're together and although we love each other very much. We tried to gather information on this matter, but it was hard since a soulmate is a very rare occurrence and the few people who experienced it, did not live long and prosper to journalised it."

Tonks was shocked. "Why?"

"From what we've found throughout the years growing up, a soulmate is the most powerful bond ever existed. The connection between a pair of soulmates is so strong that they could only achieve true happiness when they are together in every sense of the word.

No one can sever this connection, and those who reject this bond did not live long, as they either died from depression or mental breakdown. They are still able to love others, to marry other people and settled with a life partner who is not their soulmate, but they couldn't live happily due to the constant feeling of hollowness."

Tonks jaw hanged wide as she took in her mother's words. She never knew that soulmate existed and how powerful it was, but she felt grateful that her mother explained it to her. She searched within herself if she had ever noticed the feelings that were mentioned, but she did not have them and was not sure whether to feel glad or disappointed. Nevertheless, now that she knew what her mother had been feeling for years, she felt pain and guilty for acting like a brat earlier.

"I'm sorry, Mom. It must have been hard for you and I didn't make you feel any better about it. I'm really sorry."

Tonks kissed her mother's hand and squeezed it for comfort. She wanted to be there for her mother, to support her and showed how much she loved her. Although she could not help eliminate the empty feelings her mother felt, she would do everything within her power to make her mother happy.

Ted squeezed his wife's hand to gain her attention. "Allow me to say this again, Dromeda. Once, I have promised to stay by your side no matter what and I intend to keep that promise. I love you and all I wanted in my life is for you and Dora, my family to be happy. Even if it means that we could no longer be together—"

"Ted!" Andromeda stopped his train of words but was objected by him.

"Look, Dromeda, it's written in the stars that we're not destined to be together. However, it doesn't mean that I could not enjoy the life I have with you while it last. I have long since known that one day I will have to let you go when you meet with your destined soulmate, and I've already accepted this fate." Ted smiled warmly at his wife.

"Fate can go to hell!" For the first time in her life, Tonks was surprised at hearing her pristine mother uttered a curse word.

Ted chuckled as he went on, "Dromeda, my love. We cannot run away from this no matter how much we wished for it. No matter how much we try to fill that void, you can only feel whole by your soulmate. Dora had already realised that we're a broken family, but it's not your fault. Fate may be cruel to play with our lives, but who are we to go against them?"

He turned towards his darling daughter and held her hand too, completing their hand-holding link like a triangle. "Tell me, Dora, how would you feel if we become separated in the future?"

Tonks furrowed her eyebrows as she pondered the heavy question. Will she be sad when her parents become separated, like what she heard from various people who had their parents divorced? Or will she be able to live on with the knowledge that her mother was suffering silently when there was a chance for her to meet with her destined soulmate and achieve true happiness?

"I'm an adult and sober while making this decision. I believe my life is content when I know that both my parents are happy whether they're together or not, as long as you both still love me. But I do not wish for any of us to run away when there's a chance that Mom could find her soulmate." Tonks said determinedly and looked at both her parents.

Ted beamed with pride. "That's my girl!" he said. He high-fived with his daughter and beamed happily before he turned towards his pouting wife. "There you go, Dromeda. 2 vs 1, you can't win against the majority."

"I told you, Ted, I have long since given up on that chance. I'm already happy with both of you." Andromeda pinched the bridge of her nose, feeling tired from talking about this.

"What about 'Mione, Mom? Don't you feel something with her?" Tonks grinned matched her father.

"Yes, Dromeda. I'm not a fool, I saw how you looked at her the other day." Ted smirked as he said, "Hermione, eh? Hmm…" He stroked his chin while his mind went to the thought of the young brunette witch. Tonks did the same as her father.

"Whatever the both of you are thinking about right now, please, just stop. I'm tired. This discussion is over." Andromeda sighed heavily and wanted to stand up from her seat, but she was immediately pinned down by her husband.

"Oh no, you're not allowed to run away, Dromeda. Don't you see? Hermione might be the one you've been looking for, as I could see that she triggered your emotions. What's more, she's clever but humble, honest and adorable, and she's good with her magic too. I bet she'll become a powerful witch one day. Why would you deny having a feeling for her?"

Andromeda watched as her daughter nodded furiously at Ted's words. 'I can no longer get out from this, it seems.' She took a deep breath.

"Because I'm afraid, Ted. You all keep planting this seed of hope in me, but what if you're wrong? What if Hermione is not my soulmate? And seriously, you're okay with me being a soulmate to someone who's younger than our daughter, Ted? And you think you'll be fine with leaving me for Hermione?

Have you thought rationally? Because I have! I have thought about it and I wouldn't believe that Hermione and I are destined to be with each other. Enough of this nonsense!" She stood up and made her way out of the kitchen, but not before she said, "I'm going to bed now because I have an early morning tomorrow. Please order take-out or whatever if you want to have dinner because I didn't cook. Goodnight!"

The duo father and daughter watched apathetically at the retreating witch. "There she goes," Ted said.

Tonks sighed defeatedly, thinking that her mother was a lost cause. "Mom is so stubborn!" She whispered in protest but afraid her mother could still hear her.

Ted chuckled at his daughter's antics. "You're just as stubborn as your mother, Dora." He laughed when she grinned proudly. "By the way, what's the latest update about Hermione? There isn't any news of her in any newspaper it seems."

Tonks' face turned grim and she grew more and more despondent at the thought of the missing Hermione. She shrugged her shoulders and sagged herself lower in her seat.

"Let's hope she'll be alright, wherever she might be."

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 18 – The Broken Black

"Why are you friends with a filthy Mudblood in Hogwarts? Answer me, Bellatrix! Are you trying to defame our family's name?"

Crucio!

"Your sister has tarnished our reputation, Bellatrix. It's your fault and you have to bear the consequences!"

Crucio!

"You, Bellatrix Lestrange, and I, Hermione Granger, are soulmates!"

Soulmates!

Crucio!

"Arrghhh!"

Bellatrix woke up from her sleep with a piercing scream. Her face drained in colour and cold sweat was running down her forehead and neck, she gasped for air as her heart was beating rapidly inside her chest. Reaching for her wand on the bedside table, she tried to cool herself off but when she closed her eyes, all she could see were the flashes of her dark memories — the torments from her parents, from the Dark Lord, and the most recent memory of her own tortures on her possible soulmate.

"Noooo!" She screamed and flicked her wand repetitively, sending multiple spells and hexes across the dark room, breaking every furniture and decorations that were in the room.

Narcissa was sitting in the library with her son when they heard the noises coming from the floor above. She quickly jumped from her seat and cast a worried look at him before she ran out of the room, Draco followed behind her hurriedly.

They stopped in front of Bellatrix's room and the sound of glass shattering could be heard this time, but among the noises was the faint sound of a person sobbing while continuously muttering a weak,

"I'm sorry…"

Narcissa turned towards her son who looked bewildered — it must have been a great shock to him to discover that his aunt — who was always portrayed as a strong, devilish, deranged woman — could actually become weak, full of feelings, and just so human.

"Draco, sweetheart, could you please go to the kitchen and ask Barry to prepare some warm soup? We'll see you in the dining room later. Thank you," she said with a tone of reassurance and planted a kiss on top of his head.

"Yes, Mother," Draco nodded his head and left the floor towards his destination.

Narcissa knocked on the wooden door and called out her sister's name. Not getting any reply, she unlocked the door and pushed it open. With a lit wand, she took in the sight of utter chaos inside the room — not only things were broken but also nearly everything was shattered or shredded into pieces.

"Bella?"

She called out to her sister again. The only reply was the sound of sobbing, coming from the broken four poster bed. Narcissa saw the figure of her sister sitting in the middle of the bed and she walked through the mess carefully to Bellatrix's side.

"Bella…"

It was a very pitiful state to see her sister looked so miserable like this. Her hair was a mess of curls as they hid her sodden face. Her body was shivering as if she was down with cold and fever. One hand was holding her wand tight while the other was clutching at her stomach.

"Bella, what happened?" Narcissa whispered.

"Cissy…"

Bellatrix lifted her head and noticed her youngest sister's presence beside her.

"I'm sorry… I've been a bad girl, Mother and Father are punishing me… The Dark Lord, he-he's also punishing me… I must have been so bad, I'm so sorry…"

She wailed and wept and pulled on her hair. Narcissa grabbed Bellatrix's arms to stop her from hurting herself and embraced her tightly.

"Bella, stop! Please, stop this madness! Mother and Father are no longer alive, Bella. You're with me now, and you're safe." She tightened her hold as she rocked them in a soothing motion.

"Cissy… It hurts, so much… The girl must have hurt so much too! What have I done? I killed her, Cissy, I killed her!"

Narcissa did not stop in her effort to calm her sister down — rocking her and raking her hair gently while she kept whispering safe words in Bellatrix's ear.

"Shh… I know, Bella. It's alright, she's still alive, remember what Sev said? She's just in the coma… We'll ask for her forgiveness when she wakes up. No matter how long it will take until she truly forgives us, we won't stop, alright?"

Bellatrix eventually calmed down but was still clutching at her sister's chest. She looked around the darkness and her eyes finally registered on the mess she had made in the room.

"I'm sorry for making so much mess, Cissy. Hang on, I'll repair them."

Narcissa did not say anything as she watched her sister's attempt to pull away from her and tried to wave her wand, but Bellatrix was trembling terribly and looked so weak at the moment, so she stopped her.

"I'll take care of the mess later, Bella, it's nothing to worry about. Let's run you a bath first and then we'll have supper. I had Draco asked Barry to make your soup."

Bellatrix could only nod and allowed herself being slowly but carefully pulled up from the bed. Narcissa cleared their path with a flick of her wand and they eventually made it inside the joined bathroom. Narcissa ran the tub with water in a comfortable temperature before she turned to her sister, helping her with taking her clothes off — neither felt ashamed at being seen naked since the Black sisters were always so close to each other, and they had done things with themselves which were out of others' normality. Narcissa examined Bellatrix's body and cast healing spells to various wounds she found. When she was done, she finally asked Bellatrix to get into the tub.

"Will you join me, Cissy? I don't want to be alone," Bellatrix pleaded.

Narcissa could never say 'no' to her sister, but if she was going to get wet, she might as well get herself drenched in sweat first. Nodding her head, she said, "if you insist, Bella. Let me just work out the mess first before I join you."

She watched as Bellatrix nodded in understanding before settling herself in the tub. She then went back to the bedroom and unleashed her magic to repair all the broken furniture and decoration, turning the room 180 degrees back into its original state. As she had thought, she became drenched with sweat in her purple satin nightgown and she was breathing heavily from the excessive use of magic. She then called for a house-elf and asked her to prepare nightwear suitable for both her and Bellatrix.


*Incest action incoming*

When Narcissa went back inside the bathroom, she quickly undressed and got into the bathtub, settling herself comfortably behind her sister. She noticed that Bellatrix had her eyes closed but her face was morphed in fear and her hands were gripping hard at the sides of the tub, seemingly lost in herself again.

"Bella, I'm here and you're safe… Nothing's going to hurt you, I promise…" She embraced Bellatrix from behind and whispered safe words in her ear.

Bellatrix peeled her eyes open and came back to her senses, she heaved a loud sigh and sagged against her sister's front. The warmth soothing her and her sister's hold gave her sufficient security, although she was still afraid of closing her eyes.

"Speak of your worries, Bella. Don't keep it to yourself," Narcissa said while her right hand rubbed on Bellatrix's stomach in a soothing motion.

"I can't close my eyes. If I do, I keep seeing her — writhing in pain and covered in blood because of my tainted hands. Please, Cissy, make me forget, even for just a moment. Please," Bellatrix begged and half-turned her body to face her youngest sister. She knew Narcissa understood what she meant, what her words implied.

Narcissa smiled warmly at Bellatrix and kissed her forehead before she turned her around again. Wandless- and wordlessly, she conjured a mirror to hang by the end of the tub. It was facing them in a way so that Bellatrix could see whatever she was going to do to her, as what she had requested. She lifted her left hand and pulled Bellatrix's hair all to the side, leaving her right shoulder as bare as the rest of her body.

"Do not ever close your eyes, Bella, because if you do, you are going to regret it. I will make you high and wet, but I will leave you all hot and bothered. I will not grant you any release, and if I catch you getting yourself off, you'll be sorry for the rest of your life, heed my words!"

Bellatrix heeded the warnings in Narcissa's tone and gulped. Despite her always trying to be stronger and acted as a pillar for her sisters, there was no doubt that she could never try to go against whatever orders Narcissa barked. Or else, she would receive a hell even worse than her life had already been.

Once, she tried to deny Narcissa from following her and Andromeda for a secret caving expedition while they were having a family vacation on a private island. It was not really a family vacation due to the fact that their parents left them with the house-elves to babysit them, while they went somewhere else for a business reason. However, she would not complain because as long as she got to be with her darling sisters, it was everything she could ask for. Her sisters were the only people that mattered to her.

Narcissa had become furious at being denied from joining her sisters, even though she was still small at that time to be doing a dangerous escapade — none of them was actually allowed to go for a dangerous escapade, though. Narcissa was five-years-old and was still unable to control her magic properly, and her outburst had effectively gotten them hurt even before they went for any mission. They had ended up spending the rest of their holiday rested, being healed and fussed about by their house-elves.

A bite on her shoulder brought Bellatrix back to the present time. She moaned and gripped her hands on the tub. A tongue licked on the bite mark and slowly went upward towards her ear.

"Where did you go, dearest sister? You still remember what I said, don't you?"

Narcissa's voice whispered huskily in her ear and her eyes shot up to the mirror opposite them. Through the reflection, Bellatrix watched as Narcissa's blue eyes piercing deep into her eyes and her soul, she felt more naked than just her body.

"Nothing, Cissy,” Bellatrix said.

"Don't lie to me, Bella!" Narcissa snapped and her hands flew to Bellatrix's breasts and she pinched both nipples hard, making Bellatrix moaned again and her body arched deliciously against her front.

"Oh, Cissy. I just remembered — ah! — the time when you were five, and — oh, yes! — you made Andy and me — fuck! — injured from your numerous small sand explosions — oh, that feels good, Cissy!"

Bellatrix said in between gasps from her sister's ministrations on her breasts. Narcissa knew how to play her body well like a cello — fondling her breasts with the right amount of pressure, pulling and pinching her nipples on the right time — and made her feel like she was at her mercy.

Narcissa chuckled and bit Bellatrix's ear gently before she soothed it with her tongue. "Oh, yes. I remembered perfectly, Bella. You and Andy were very naughty, don't you? Always tried to leave me alone while you both went everywhere for your adventures. You know you can never say no to me, right, my darling sister?" She tugged the hardened nipples again.

"Oh, yes Cissy, yes! Please, Cissy, don't tease me anymore," Bellatrix breathed her pleas while she moved her legs in the water to get the needed friction on her centre.

"Tell me what you need, Bella."

Narcissa nipped on the shoulder gently as she brought her hands down, raking her nails across Bellatrix's abdomen until she got to the smooth thighs, which she pushed apart. Bellatrix was already trembling and her clit was throbbing painfully with need. Every time Narcissa played with her nipples, waves of current were sent straight to her clit.

"Please touch me, Cissy. Make me come with your fingers..."

"Very well, Bella. Remember, if you close your eyes, I'll stop immediately and leave you altogether!" Narcissa forced Bellatrix's chin up so she could watch her fingers through the reflection in the mirror.

"No, please don't stop! Cissy, I need you, I need to come, please…"

Narcissa licked the shell of Bellatrix's ear while one hand went back to the breast and the other slid to the apex of her thighs. She tugged on a nipple at the same time a finger rubbed on the clit.

"Ohhh…!"

Bellatrix moaned and her body involuntarily moved at the gentle touches. She looked at the reflection and felt aroused at seeing where her sister's hands were.

"I love how wet you get for me, Bella."

Narcissa kissed the earlobe while she kept on rubbing and pinching the two points relentlessly. Until suddenly, she stopped and chuckled when she heard her sister whimpered. She quickly inserted two fingers into the tight hole and fucked Bellatrix senseless, sploshing water out from the tub.

"Oh, fuck! Cissy, yes! Yes, yes, yes! Ah, fuck!"

Narcissa kept pumping her fingers in and out, delighted in the moans that her sister produced. She moved her free hand and rub two fingers on the hardened clit. Bellatrix choked on her moans but she moved her hips in tandem with the motions.

"Oh, Cissy, don't stop! I'm gonna come!"

Bellatrix felt Narcissa sped up her movements and curled her fingers, subsequently touching the delicious spot inside. She grunted at the sweet tortures from her sister and felt the incoming build-up from inside her core. When Narcissa pinched her clit and bit her neck hard, she became undone — she screamed and her body arched as she reached the climax, her whole body quaking from the release that gushed out from her pussy. Narcissa continued rubbing the clit to bring her down from her high until she finally stopped trembling and sagged against her front.

Narcissa kissed the bite marks on Bellatrix neck and shoulder while she slowly and gently pulled her fingers out. She heard her sister's heavy breathing and matched with her own. It had been a while since they had done this — the sexcapade between them. Their breathing eventually subsided, Bellatrix turned around and kissed on her forehead conveying her gratitude in that one kiss.

"Do you want me to return the favour, Cissy?" Bellatrix asked.

Narcissa shook her head and replied, "it's alright, Bella, maybe another time. Let's finish this up and head down to the dining. Draco must have been worried sick about his most deranged aunt," she giggled as she recalled the bewildered look on her son's face.

*Incest action ended*


Draco jumped in his seat when he heard the sound of footsteps coming in from the dining entrance. He glanced between her mother and aunt, and the worry on his face morphed into confusion when he saw that they were smiling and laughing at a joke he did not know.

"Hello, my darling nephew!"

Bellatrix chirped and went closer to him, she ruffled his hair before taking a seat on his left. Narcissa remained smiling as she fixed his hair before taking a seat on Draco's right.

"Aunt Bella?" He asked cautiously.

"Hmm? What is it, my boy?" Bellatrix did not look at him while she snapped her fingers. In an instant, three bowls of warm soup appeared in front of them. "Thank you!" She shouted to no one in particular.

"Are you alright? I heard you screamed earlier."

Bellatrix choked on her soup while Narcissa tried to contain her laugh. Although they both knew Draco meant well and especially about the initial screaming, they could not help but reacted as if he heard Bellatrix's latest scream — which was an entirely inappropriate matter to discuss at the dining table.

Bellatrix quickly composed herself and let out her maniacal laugh. "I'm quite fine, Draco. Your mother helped me tremendously," she winked at Draco and laughed again as Narcissa had her eyeballs almost out of the socket.

"Bella!" The said woman only went back to enjoy her soup happily.

"Oh, okay. Good, good." Draco did not know what else to say, so he dropped the matter and proceeded to eat his own soup.

Bellatrix let go of her spoon and dabbed her lips with a napkin. She looked at her nephew and smiled lovingly at him, "contrary to popular belief, I'm merely a normal human, Draco. I just have to act crazy and evil because I need to protect my family — my sisters, my niece and you too."

Draco gaped in silence before he voiced his shock, "what—? S…so-so you're not exactly mental?" He saw his aunt winced slightly at his poor choice of word, and he felt guilty, "I'm sorry, Aunt Bella."

Bellatrix smiled and ruffled his perfect-looking hair again before she replied in earnest, "it's alright, Draco. You're entitled to say whatever you want, just like everybody else — people have the right to their freedom of speech. However, always remember to be aware of your surroundings when you say something, lest you hurt someone or telling secrets to the wrong/distrusted person. You understand what I'm saying, don't you, Draco?"

Draco nodded his head in understanding as he knew Bellatrix must have meant to keep her acting deranged a secret from anyone else, and he listened as his aunt continued.

"To answer your question, I may be slightly mental but as long as I get the job done to keep my family safe from harm, then I don't really care what other people think of me."

Bellatrix finished up her cold soup and urged her nephew to do the same. Her sister had long since finished hers and was watching them with a loving smile, only mildly irritated at her son's messed-up hair, courtesy to Bellatrix.

Soon, Draco finished and they left the dining to lounge in the sitting room. The night was dark and sombre, just as how the room looked like. They continued with the earlier conversation, knowing the manor was always safe from prying ears as no one would be allowed to come to the manor without prior invitation.

"Aunt Bella, you mentioned to keep your family safe from harm, but what exactly is the harm?" Draco asked inquisitively.

If his memory was right, he could have sworn that he had never met with any of his aunts, so he only knew them from the stories her mother told him and some snippets he heard from here and there, but maybe he did meet with Bellatrix when he was still a baby and before the period of her imprisonment life.

"Draco, sweetheart, you must not ask such a question. You're just going to open the can of worms," Narcissa said as she sat beside her sister on the long sofa.

"It's fine, Cissy. He's not going to let the worms out, he just wants to know the truth about the disgusting, sickening worms that are in the can. Have trust in your own son, Cissy," Bellatrix said in reply.

"I promise I will keep everything we talk about tonight a secret, Mother. I won't tell a single soul," Draco said in his most serious and promising tone as he looked at his mother from the opposite armchair he was sitting in.

"Very well, Draco. I know I can always trust you, sweetheart. You may proceed, Bella."

Narcissa lied down on the sofa and laid her head on Bellatrix's lap, feeling soft fingers immediately went to caress her hair. She felt content and let out a sigh of bliss.

"As you may have already known, the Black family has always been proud of their lineage — most noble and ancient, a true Pure-blood, the most untainted blood in the history of wizards and all those craps. Almost everyone in our family believed and supported in the Pure-blood supremacy idealism, and those who didn't or if they associated with anyone else who didn't follow the idealism would be disowned, such as Sirius and Andy, and a few more.

Our parents, Cygnus and Druella, were also the hard-core supporters of such idealism, but not just that. They were and had always been ruthless people even with their own daughters — us. They held themselves above everyone else, including most of the other pure-blood families.

We grew up in the tyranny of our father. His words were laws we had to abide no matter where we go. And our mother was his loyal assistant in the case he wasn't able to execute any judgements on our sins. Even the smallest mistake we made, we will have to receive some punishments — they called it disciplinary actions — and they were intolerant about it, not even a bit caring that we are their own daughters."

Bellatrix did not look at Draco as she was talking, instead, her eyes were always on her sister, who was holding one of her hand to give her support, while her other hand continued on playing with Narcissa's hair. Her sisters would always make her feel calm and grounded.

"I still remembered the first time I received the Cruciatus Curse, it was from our father. I was nine, Andy was seven and Cissy was five. We were playing with our magic in the garden when Cissy accidentally blasted her magic towards Father's study and made a hole on the wall, which was only around the size of an apple, really.

However, Father was furious about it and wanted to punish Cissy. He cast the curse but I jumped in front of Cissy and be at the end of his wand, and the next thing I know I was screaming in an invisible pain, feeling like thousands of needles were pricking at me. I was shaking violently on the ground because it hurts so damn much!

I believe it was the mildest feeling of the curse — oh yes, it could be much, much worse than that. But knowing how it felt like and the thought that Father was going to cast it on Cissy, I resented him with all of my heart.

From that day on, I swore to protect Cissy and Andy from any more harm, and I became the one who took all the blames and the beatings. In the moments of despair, I only had Cissy and Andy with me, and that's all that matters. As long as they are safe and can stay happy, I can go through anything in life."

Bellatrix could still feel the hatred towards her parents was boiling in her heart like lava but knew there was no point in having that feeling anymore, as both of her parents were already dead — at the hands of the Dark Lord himself. Oh, the irony. She was sold to Lord Voldemort by her parents in exchange for their lives, but they were then killed mercilessly by him during the period of First Wizarding War when they refused to join his army of Death Eaters.

Bellatrix smiled lovingly at her sister and wiped the fat tears that rolled down Narcissa's cheeks, not minding at all that her robe was getting wet. She was grateful that her sisters were always by her side, even though they protested much about what she did. They spent almost every second of their lives together, except when they were separated during the school terms.

When Bellatrix went to Hogwarts, her life had been full of worries and concern about her sisters, and only when both Andromeda and Narcissa were accepted to Hogwarts too that she felt at ease again. Hogwarts was like a home to them even more than their own home.

Bellatrix heard the sound of sobbing which came from opposite her seat and she cast her eyes upwards. Draco was trying but failing terribly in concealing her manly tears as he hid his face in his palms. Bellatrix chuckled.

Silence engulfed them until Draco spoke, "aren't you sad that Aunt Andy left the family and married to a Mudblood?"

Bellatrix stilled at the use of the derogatory term and felt irritation sparked in her core. Narcissa realised the sudden change of emotions and shook her head, squeezing their hands while she slowly rose from her position. She held her sister tight in her arms and decided to take over the conversation.

"We don't use that word, Draco. None of us — me, Bella and Andy— believe and follow the supremacy idealism." Narcissa heard the gasp coming from Draco but ignored it.

"What we have here now, they are merely lies and facades we built upon ourselves in order to protect each other from further danger," she said.

"Blimey! My entire life has been a lie? Bloody hell!" Draco almost shouted and his eyes bulged as he looked at her mother in utter disbelief. Irritation was clear on Narcissa's face whenever Draco or Bellatrix said any swear words.

Bellatrix had recomposed herself when she pulled away from her sister. Her face turned serious and her steely eyes disconcerted Draco and made him felt like his body shrunk in his seat.

"There's one thing you have to understand, Draco. Your mother did not lie to you, but she merely protected herself and you from being killed by Lucius and the Dark Lord!"

"That man!" 

Draco spat as his face morphed into a disgusted look at the mention of Lucius. He went from zero degrees Celsius to a hundred degrees Celsius in just a second. The change was not unnoticed by both Bellatrix and Narcissa, however.

"I've been meaning to ask, sweetheart, I realised that you've been referring to your father as 'that man' a lot. Why is that?" Narcissa asked but silently wished to calm her racing heart. She was not sure whether she truly wanted to know the answer to that question.

"That man was not my father! He was nothing but a disgusting, despicable man. I wish I was never born to him so I don't share his blood!" Draco spat again and clenched his fist in fury. The hatred was so palpable in his eyes that even the pale skin of his neck and cheeks turned red with rage at the thoughts of one Lucius Malfoy.

Narcissa and Bellatrix looked at each other in surprise and confusion. What had happened that made their darling boy hated his father this much?

"Mother, he had always held us as if we were his possessions; like he owned us. He paraded us like we were some sort of prizes he had won. Not only that, he's violent and cruel towards you, Mother, that's what I hate the most about him!"

Narcissa quivered at the blazing anger she felt from her son, although she knew it was not directed at her. Dark memories flooded into her mind and her body convulsed in pain, tears bursting down her cheeks. She wanted to scream but her throat felt like choking and she could barely gasp for air to breathe properly.

"Cissy!"

Bellatrix was thoroughly perplexed at seeing her sister's state. There was so much of her sister's life that she had missed after she was imprisoned. When she returned, Narcissa had assured her that everything was fine, and she did not find anything wrong on Lucius part also.

"Look, Mother! Look at how much that man affected you and your life! You became like this because of him, of what he had done to you!" Draco said but his tone had turned down a bit. He was still mad at Lucius but his heart ached at seeing his mother's broken state.

"What do you mean, Draco? What did Lucius do to Cissy? Tell me, now!"

It was now Bellatrix's turn to feel the rage rising in her core. She held her shaking sister tight in her arms while constantly rubbing her back and raking her fingers through Narcissa's hair, hoping she could somehow calm her down.

"He raped her!" Draco shouted with madness.

"WHAT!?" Bellatrix snapped and turned towards Draco with clenching jaw. He stood and walked to his mother.

"I know wives are supposed to give herself to their husbands whenever the husbands wanted to have sex. But Mother… she was sick! She had a fever at that time and I was beside her, providing her company when father came back. He looked livid and I didn't know what had happened. He told me to leave the room but I was reluctant to because I didn't want to leave Mother's side. He literally kicked me out of the room and locked it, but in his temper, I guess he forgot to silence the room.

I stayed outside the room and heard Mother's sick voice as she was saying "no, I'm sick right now". I didn't have any idea what he wanted from Mother, but as the time went on, I heard bashing, loud sounds coming from inside, his grunt and groans while Mother was sobbing and crying and keep saying 'no'. I knew then what he did and I became angry at him.

That day was the first time my eyes were opened to the truth of his animalistic behaviour and twisted personalities. He hurt mother in many ways I cannot describe and I can't believe that I grew up trying to be in his good side, to always fish for his compliments. I was a fool! I wished for so many tragedies to befall on him and I could say now that I'm honestly glad that he's dead. Because if not, I really am going to kill him myself, I've even been plotting for it!"

Draco kneeled in front of Narcissa and took one of her hands. He wiped her tears away and pulled her into his arms. "I'm so sorry it took me so long to realise that you're suffering, and I'm a coward for not being able to stand up for you, Mother. Please forgive me," he whispered, one hand was rubbing his mother's shaking back.

Narcissa took in her son's cologne and relaxed in his strong arms. Oh, how time flies, her darling little son had now become a man without her realising it. She used to be the one to protect him and comfort him, but now she was the one being comforted by him. Her heart swelled with pride and despite the painful conversation and memory, she smiled in happiness.

"You don't have to be sorry, sweetheart, you were not at fault. I'm the one who should ask for your forgiveness here, I never would have known that you knew about it and has been keeping it to yourself. It must be hard for you, isn't it? I'm sorry, Draco. And though you wish you never share the same blood as his, I'm glad that you were born from me. No matter who you are, you are my son first and foremost." She looked up at Draco and saw he smiled back and slightly shaking his head.

"I love you, Mother. I would do anything to protect you from now on." He kissed on his mother's forehead and they continued to embrace.

Bellatrix who had been silent in fury, instantly chilled at seeing the display of love between mother and son. No matter how much she felt angry at Lucius, the man was dead now and they could do nothing about what's in the past. It's not like they would go and dig that asshole's grave and burned his corpse, would they?

"On the matter of protecting, we still have one more danger standing in our lives — the Dark Lord." She said grimly and the pair agreed.

"Aunt Bella, aren't you a powerful witch? Can't you fight him?" Draco whispered low, suddenly afraid if someone else could hear his thoughts.

Bellatrix shook her head. "I wish I could but he's more powerful. There's no way I can defeat him and I have too much at stake. If I lose, he'll not only kill me but will definitely hunt you and your mother, and also Andy and her family."

Narcissa squeezed Bellatrix's hand. "Don't, Bella. I don't want to lose you again."

"You won't," Bellatrix said with a certain degree of assurance.

"How about if we ask for help from someone else? Maybe Professor Dumbledore can help us?" Draco said. Although he did not really adore the old man, he was still like everyone else who believed that only Professor Dumbledore could defeat Lord Voldemort.

"I don't know. Maybe, maybe not. I still don't want to risk it yet. No one knows about the real us, about what we believe in," Bellatrix said briefly.

"And what is that?" Draco looked between the two witches he always looked up to.

"Equality," Narcissa said.

"Gender, race, blood status and more," Bellatrix reaffirmed.

"Everyone deserves respect," Narcissa added.

"And happiness…" Bellatrix finished.

Draco pursed his lips and nodded his head. The gears in his mind worked fluidly in digesting all the information he received tonight.

"You don't have to follow our belief if you don't want to, Draco. We will never force anyone to feel the same. But here's the thing to remember — never look at only one side of the coin. Look at both sides of something first and only then you can make your own judgement," Bellatrix said and Draco nodded in understanding.

"Draco, can I ask you something? Or rather, about someone?" Narcissa said.

"Who is it, Mother? And what do you want to know?"

One eyebrow raised as Draco looked inquisitively at his mother. From the corner of his eyes, he could see that Bellatrix was fidgeting in her seat. Hmm, interesting.

"Well… Ahem— can you sit still, Bella?" Narcissa reprimanded her fidgeting sister, who pouted at her in return. Bellatrix could go to being serious to a maniac to behave like a child in a matter of seconds.

"We would like to know more about Hermione Granger… if you could please tell us everything about her?"

"Hah! The Mud—eh! Err… Muggle-born Granger, huh?"


"Hermione?"

Anastasia's soft voice broke the said girl's trance. Her voice was as clear and calm as the tranquil lake that Hermione had been staring at for a while. Hermione only hummed in response.

"What have you been thinking about?"

Anastasia looked at Hermione and tried to read her expression. Hermione did not look sad, nor was she angry or happy either. She looked focus, but her focus was not on any object in front of her. No, she was lost in her mind again and Anastasia was curious as to what the mortal had been thinking about. She knew she could just delve into the mortal's mind, but she had stopped doing that since earlier. She respected Hermione's well-deserved privacy, and Anastasia was not going to simply break that trust, for now.

"I've been—" Her voice croaked so Hermione cleared her throat and tried again, "I've been thinking, that if I were to be gone, will there be someone who would really miss me? Do they care if I'm gone? Am I needed by someone? Is there any value to my life in their eyes?

But most of all, who exactly am I? Who was I before I became Hermione Granger? Why was I separated from my birth parents? Where and who are they? Are they Muggles or wizards like me? What do they do in their lives? Are they still alive?"

Hermione turned to face Anastasia. There were so many questions still unanswered, so many truths still undiscovered. She had yet to make a decision whether it would be worth it for her to go back to the real world. Really, who would need her? Who would miss her?

There was no one in Hogwarts who would care enough to befriend her or stand up for her. The possibility for her to be together with her soulmates was almost non-existent — Minerva was her teacher; Fleur was together with Bill; Andromeda Black was married to Ted Tonks — and they were happy together; Narcissa Black was married to Lucius Malfoy — although that scum was the reason why she was here now; and Bellatrix Black was married to a Lestrange — whoever the hell her husband was, and not to forget she was a Death Eater and Voldemort's right-hand.

Maybe, the only people who would care enough and missed her presence in their life were Rosmerta, Tonks, and Severus. Severus might have cared for her because of who he was — King Arthur — and that he had a purpose to fulfil in his life — to serve her (Morgan).

"Hermione—"

"You may as well ask them yourself"

A voice echoed from the distance and interrupted what Anastasia was trying to say. Both of them turned towards the source and what Hermione saw, rendered her speechless. There on the lake was someone — no, not someone, something — who depicted as an angel Muggles used to portray.

"Mother!" Anastasia called out and beamed happily at the sight of her Goddess mother, Athena. She stood up and watched as Hermione immediately followed her but the surprise was evident on her face.

If there was a definition of beautiful, Athena was beyond it. Two times Hermione's height, she was donning a pure white dress and her hair was long, smooth and as golden as the shining sunlight rays. Her skin was as white as a blinding light but her eyes held multiple colours in it — blue as the colour of the sky above, green as the colour of rainforest and brown as the colour of the earth. Held under her right arm was a golden warrior helmet while a long spear was held in her left hand. An owl perched on one shoulder and a snake was curling around her waist. Behind her back were two large wings fluttering almost invisible to Hermione's eyes.

Hermione felt intimidated by the mere presence of the Goddess who was standing on the surface of the peaceful lake. When she came closer to her and Anastasia, it looked as if she was flying for there was no movement of the water surface even in the slightest. Instinct kicked in and Hermione fell to her knees, she bowed her head humbly as she knew how belittled she felt of herself in the presence of the Almighty.

"Oh, Mother, I am so happy to see you! I have missed you so much!" Anastasia went to hug the Goddess, who kissed her cheek in return. The snake uncurled itself and moved onto Anastasia when they pulled apart.

"Stand, my child, for you are so much more than what you think of yourself. Your presence and existence have already graced us and have been quite a talk among us deities." The Goddess spoke with a voice as gentle as the breeze that supplied Hermione with a feeling of calmness.

Hermione slowly rose to her shivering feet but her head was still hanging low as she was unable to look up to the Goddess. She tried to ignore the butterflies in her stomach but found it impossible to do so.

"My Lady Almighty, to what do I owe the pleasure of meeting you? I am but a lowly servant, though I feel honoured that You graced me with Your presence. Are You here to finally take me away?" She asked nervously, feeling hopeless that she could not even control the shakiness in her voice.

"Yes, Mother, are you going to take us away? Has the time finally come?" Anastasia chimed in.

"Firstly, call me Athena or Lady Athena, if you please. Secondly, you are wrong, my child. I came here bearing gifts for you. Look at what is behind you."

Hermione finally raised her head and looked at the Goddess before she turned towards where she was asked to. From behind the huge tree, two people — a man and a woman — emerged and showed themselves. The man had short and curly brown hair, moustache and beard in the same colour, but his eyes were black. When Hermione looked at the woman, her hands flew to her mouth as she gaped in shock. Other than the hair, the woman appeared to be a spitting image of Hermione. Her eyes, nose, lips, cheekbones, skin colour, everything except for the hair — she had straight black hair — looked identical to Hermione as if they were twins!

Hermione's eyes glued to the pair as they walked closer to her. She felt confused but intrigued as well. 'Who are they? Why do we look almost the same?' Her heart palpitated when they were standing within arms distance from each other.

"Mia… Is that you? Is it really you?" The woman asked, her voice shaky and tears were visible in her eyes.

"Of course that's her, Mila. She looks exactly like you, except she has my hair." His chuckles were shaky as well, and the woman nodded her head, agreeing.

"She's a big girl now, Joseph. Oh, how time flies."

The woman raised her hand to touch Hermione's face, but it was trembling uncontrollably and she stopped within inches as if she was afraid that everything will crumble if she touched her.

Hermione took one step back and watched as their faces morphed into sadness, the hanging hand lowering back to the woman's side. She felt a stab in her heart for the impulsive action she took.

Shaking her head, she said, "my name is Hermione, not Mia. Do-Do I know you?"

The pair looked at each other before the man took the woman's hand in his and he said, "my name is Joseph Shafiq and this is my wife, Camilla Shafiq nee Prewett."

"And you are Hermione Shafiq, our daughter. But we used to call you 'Mia'," the woman finished and Hermione became frozen like a statue.

Meanwhile, Anastasia and Athena were watching the trio from a distance as they did not want to disturb what would be the most tearful and heartbreaking reunion. Hermione would be in so much shock when she learned the truths about her family.

"Mother, you didn't answer my question. Has the time finally come? Is he really going to tell them the truth? And are you going to take Hermione and me afterwards?" Anastasia asked earnestly.

Athena's reply was as serious, "yes, Anastasia, my darling daughter. The time has come for them to know the truth. Who she is, who she was, and who she is going to be — the lost soul is going to perform his part. As for your last question, it is up to Hermione to decide which course of action will she take. I heard she's determined to go against what the Fates have decided for her."

"Indeed, she is, Mother."

"Then I will look forward to hearing her decision later."

They continued to watch as Hermione crumbled in her father and mother's arms.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 19 – The Gathering

Monday the 22nd had finally arrived Severus woke up earlier than usual due to the event that will be unfolding later. He was looking forward to this day, but at the same time he was not — excitement would be the least on his mind. Despite his anticipation of seeing Hermione — and concurrently his sister, Morgan — alive again, he was dreading it. He felt anxious, not knowing whether all Hermione's soulmates would choose to come or not — and if they do, what would their reactions be like?

Decided not to ponder too much and start the day with a headache, he jumped out of bed and went to Hermione's room. For the last few days, the first thing in his list of tasks to do was to examine Hermione. The girl appeared to be calm — no physical changes — and all her health conditions had greatly improved. The only thing left to do now was waiting, and he had been waiting for a long time.

"Lori!" He called out and the house-elf appeared instantly.

"Yes, Master?"

"Today is going to be very eventful. Please ensure that Hermione is clean. I'm going to bring some guests home so that they can visit her."

"Understood, Master. What time will they be coming, Master?"

"I'll be going out at 9 o'clock sharp, but possibly not for too long. Could you please have a meal ready for them? Maybe some sandwiches would be fine. And tea too, please," Severus added more orders to Lori but knew that she could handle them well. "Oh, and have all the guest rooms ready, just in case we need to use it."

"Very well, Master. Lori will have everything ready for Master and Master's guests." Lori bowed her head dutifully.

"Thank you, Lori. You may go now."

With a pop, Lori disappeared. Severus then went to have breakfast while reading the Daily Prophet before getting ready for the day. The hot topic on the news was still about the Ministry and the new awakening of darkness.

After getting ready — though he put on his usual black attires — he went to retrieve several items from his enchanted safe box in his closet and laid them on his bed. Amongst those items were his sword, Caliburn; his shield, Wynebgwrthucher; several parchment papers that looked old and were drained in colour; and Hermione's prophecy orb — that was retrieved from her enchanted pocket, saved from being torn the other day. These were all the necessary things needed for the conversation he was about to have soon.

He remembered returning to Avalon during the summer of 1992 — after he had confirmed on Hermione's identity during her first year at Hogwarts. He used the teleport key he had kept in his possession to arrive there and went to the royal mausoleum, where the crypt of his past self remains was — along with other crypts that held Morgan's sisters. Under his crypt, there was a secret vault where many things of his possessions laid hidden for centuries. There, he fetched his old shield and sword, along with the old parchment papers and the sealed jar containing Morgan's ashes, the Queen's ring — which was now hanged around Hermione's neck — and his wristband.

His anxiety increased with every passing second as Severus glanced at his watch. He realised that he had just enough time to make some adjustments to the wards placed in and around the house. He made sure to double check on the security for the people — five exact ladies who he really hoped will show up. He also hoped that everything will go smoothly, just as he had planned.

When the needles struck 9 am sharp, he took a deep breath to stabilise his rapid heartbeats before he disapparated from the house.


"Mother? Father?" Hermione's voice was so soft, like a whisper through the wind.

"Yes, honey?" "What is it, Mia?"

Her parents answered at the same time and Hermione's heart swelled with happiness, the fresh tears dripping down her cheeks were unstoppable. She was smiling so wide that her cheeks should feel hurt, but she paid no mind.

Shaking her head, she said, "nothing. I just wanted to call for you. I've been wanting to do that for years." She grinned and wiped her face dry.

She was engulfed in a bone-crushing hug by both of her parents; she was sitting in between them on the bench under the tree. It surprised her how cold they were — not a single warmth she could feel from touching them. Despite the coldness, she was still grateful for their presence.

From the distance, she could see both the Goddess and demigod were watching them, so she mouthed her gratitude for gifting her with the presence of her parents she had been looking for.

She was not stupid; she realised that this gift, this happiness she felt would not last long. There was a reason why her parents — their souls — were able to be there with her. It may be a power of the Almighty, but Hermione believed that her parents were already dead.

"Oh, I have so many things to ask you both!" She exclaimed happily when they finally pulled apart. 'Enjoy this while it lasts,' her heart whispered.

"Shoot it, baby girl," Joseph said.

Camilla had her fingers raked through Hermione's hair, trying to tame it but was unsuccessful. "You really have your father's hair, Mia. Once, he kept his hair long — for fashion, he said — but it was really wild, an afro kind of hair."

Joseph laughed at the memory and at the look of Hermione's stunned face. "It was the trend at that time!" Camilla joined him in laughing albeit with more grace.

'Somehow Mother reminded me of Narcissa. I wonder why,' Hermione thought to herself.

"Wait! You knew about the afro hair trend? Seriously? Wasn't that a trend among the Muggles? I didn't know wizards and witches followed the trend too. Hold on, what am I? A Pure-blood, Half-blood, or Muggle-born?"

They both laughed some more at the enthusiasm in Hermione's tone. "I can vouch that you're a Pure-blood witch, my dear. Have you not heard of our family's name before?"

Hermione shook her head.

"Well, my family is doomed already," Joseph said with a tone of acknowledgement and cackled with laughter. Hermione frowned as she did not understand what her father meant.

"You see, Honey, we both came from the Pure-blood families. However, we lived amongst the Muggles and associated with many Muggles in our lines of work. Have you not read anything about the Pure-blood society or encounter about the Sacred 28 families?" Camilla explained briefly.

"No, I did not know anything about the Sacred 28 families. I only read a few things about the Pure-blood customs and traditions, but why?"

"No wonder you don't know anything about our family. Did Severus not tell you anything about us?" Camilla asked further.

Frowning, Hermione replied, "Sev? No, he didn't. Why would he?"

"He's your brother, Mia. He's supposed to take care of you," Joseph answered.

"What!?"


Several loud cracking noises were heard simultaneously inside the Shrieking Shack, making a certain silvery-blonde haired girl jumped off the run-down sofa she had been sitting on for the last few minutes. With a wand in her hand, she was ready to fire any unwelcomed intruder, although she had no idea who was she supposed to be meeting today.

"Ms Delacour?" "Professor McGonagall?" Both said people were astounded as they called out to each other.

"Cissy? What are you doing here?" Bellatrix's eyes widened in surprise.

"I could ask you the same, Bella," Narcissa said nonchalantly, somehow she could have guessed. What she did not expect, however, were the presence of the others.

"Bella? Cissy?" Both the said people turned towards the voice calling their names and they gasped in surprise.

"Andy?" They said in unison.

Upon hearing her name coming from the two persons whom she had been missing for years, Andromeda shed tears of longing. She stepped closer to them but stopped when a wand was raised at her.

It was Bellatrix's.

Hurt flashed in Andromeda's eyes. Fleur gasped and backed away to a corner with her wand tight in her hand. Minerva immediately stood next to Andromeda and raised her wand at the notorious Death Eater. Narcissa stood by Bellatrix's side and her wand too, raised albeit lower.

"Flipendo!"

"Expelliarmus!"

Spells were exchanged but to everyone's surprise, nothing happened. There were no jets of light coming out of any wand, and no one was hurt. Brows furrowed in confusion as they looked at each other and someone tried shooting another spell, only to have the same result. It was as if their wands had stopped working or not functioning at all.

"What's happening? Why isn't my wand working?"

"I would appreciate it if you could stop trying to hurt each other." A rough and deep voice came from a hidden corner of the room, and five heads snapped towards the source.

"Sev!" "Severus!" "Professor Snape?"

Bellatrix being herself — always the short-tempered person — went to grab the man by his robe and shoved him to the wall. "Explain. Now!" She barked at his face. What she lacked in height, she made up with the pitch of her voice.

Severus hissed at the slight pain he felt on his back from the impact of the rough treatment, although it was not really that hurt to him. Raising both hands in surrender, he said to them, "nothing is wrong with your wand or your magic. I only placed wards around this place to avoid anyone getting injured. Now, will you please let me go, Bella?"

Bellatrix scoffed but let him go. The others stared at him as if they were expecting the explanations as to why he had done what he said, but were disappointed when none came.

"I am thoroughly glad that all of you agreed to come today. Allow me to take you to a safe house where further explanations will be given, as I'm sure there are going to be a lot of things we need to talk about," he said instead.

"Are you this S.T.K.S. person who sent this letter to me?" Minerva asked while showing him the letter she received the day prior.

One hand moved to his chest, Severus bowed his head down. "Severus Tobias Kalovan Snape, at your service."

"What do you mean by this? The missing piece to your hollow soul and the emptiness within your heart is finally within your reach. What does this mean? How do you even know about what I've been feeling?" Andromeda asked as she stepped closer to the man, her own letter was waving in her hand.

"Is it Hermione?" Fleur's soft voice made everyone's eyes turned towards her. "Is Hermione the missing piece to the hole inside my heart?" She walked closer towards the group and heard gasps coming from various directions, but her eyes focused at the only man in the room.

Severus sighed and both hands went to rub his face. For days, he had been pondering on which approach he should take to get this conversation going: 1) either telling them about their — Hermione's and his — history first; or 2) dropping the bomb about the 'soulmate' topic first.

Considering the questions that they were asking, he figured he should choose the latter option then. But now was not the time, especially not here.

"I have every intention to tell you everything you want to know, and more. But as it is, this place is not suitable for our conversation. If you would just kindly link our hands together, I'll bring us all to a safe house."

Severus held out both his hands and his eyes scanned each of their faces. However, they were looking at him warily, as if he suddenly became a stranger to them despite the years they had known each other — except for Andromeda and Fleur who barely knew much about him.

"I expect as much of this response, but not from the three of you — Bella, Cissy, and Minerva. Surely I have earned some trust from you for the years we have known each other?"

The said trio cast a quick glance at each other and looked unsure.

"You're kidding me." Eyes shut, he groaned and dropped his hands. He startled when one hand was caught by long and slim fingers.

Which belonged to Fleur.

Black eyes snapped open and Severus watched as the French girl bravely held his hand and stood by his side. "Miss Delacour," he greeted politely.

"Fleur, please. I'm in pursuit of the answers to some questions that I have, and if you're the one who is able to provide them to me, I definitely don't want to miss this chance. I trust you." Fleur held her head high as the others regarded her words.

"Thank you, Fleur. Please, call me Severus." He smiled at Fleur but it was a strange sight to her. He held up his other hand and called out, "anyone else wants to join us?"

Slowly and one by one, they started to move and link their hands, making a big circle in the middle of the shack. Minerva stood in between Fleur and Andromeda, while Narcissa was standing in between Andromeda and Bellatrix, whereas the latter was holding Severus' left hand.

Bellatrix stuck her tongue out towards Andromeda to signify that she did not want to hold her middle sister's hand, and Andromeda replied just the same. Narcissa and Minerva rolled their eyes at the childish behaviour while Fleur chuckled at their antics. Severus only managed a small upturn of his lips.

"Where is this safe house?" Bellatrix asked sceptically.

"You'll see soon. I promise you'll be safe," Severus said and unleashed his magic through the link. Everyone gasped as they felt the unknown magic running through their bodies. "Ready? Hold on tight!"

The familiar tug of disapparition was felt and they were gone faster than anyone can reply "no".


"Bloody hell!"

Hermione's loud roar echoed across the area, reverberated and even managed to make the surface of the peaceful lake rippled.

"Mia?" Both Joseph and Camilla were startled by the shriek. They watched as the look of disbelief appeared on their daughter's face.

"Everything you told me, everything, were they-were they the truth?"

Hermione was gobsmacked at the revelation about her family's background. There were no words that could describe what she was feeling. Surprised? Overwhelm? Appalled? Disturbing? Dumbfounded? Astounded? Disbelief? Confusion?

"Of course! We won't lie to you, honey," Camilla said, now confused at her daughter's reaction.

Hermione imagined that her face was draining in colour as she suddenly felt dizzy. Holding her head in her hand, the gears in her brain were turning furiously as many scenarios were playing in her mind. With the truth came one after another, her surprise became greater and greater — as if bombshells dropped on her like heavy rain and thunder.

"Are you alright, Mia?" Joseph asked with worry in his tone. Hermione managed to nod her head once, though she still felt dizzy.

"You look pale, Honey. Are you sure you're alright?" Camilla fretted about and her hands flew to check on Hermione.

"I'm fine, Mother. Truly am," Hermione said meekly. "I'm just surprised is all."

"Surprise of what? About my life or your mother's life?" Joseph frowned, his fingers scratched on his scruffy beard.

"Everything. Although I'm happy now that I know what you did in your life. You both are just so amazing!"

Hermione beamed with pride and her face was filled with colour again. She was thoroughly pleased to know that she was born to two amazing and intelligent people.

Her father was one of the greatest archaeologists who had made many discoveries and contributions to various societies-wizards or not; and her mother was a financial advisor — well-known throughout various countries.

"That doesn't sound like the reason for your shriek just now, Mia," Joseph said and Camilla's head bobbed in agreement.

Hermione sighed and tilted her head up towards the sky. "Do you know that I have destined soulmates?" She asked, not even looking at both of them.

"Severus did mention that, but not who. How many of them and who are they?" Camilla answered with a note of curiosity but was confused at the change of topic.

Hermione took a deep breath and closed her eyes. "There are five, all ladies-beautiful, intelligent and amazing ladies. One of them is Minerva McGonagall—"

"Minerva?" "Professor McGonagall?" Both Joseph and Camilla gasped in surprise while Hermione merely shrugged her shoulders.

"Another one of them is just a few older than I am, Fleur Delacour. She's a French and a quarter-Veela—"

"Whoa, a Veela?! Is it true that they can transform when they get angry?" Joseph intercepted with a tone full of excitement.

"It is, and a very scary one at that. Remind me to never make Fleur mad," Hermione shuddered at the thought. Seeing Fleur mad and transformed into a harpy-like creature once — because Fleur was jealous at her friends' closeness with her girlfriend — was enough to make Hermione felt traumatised.

"So, Minerva and Ms Delacour. You said five, Honey. Who are the other three?" Camilla could not hide her interest any longer. She wanted to know who were the five ladies that were destined to be with her only daughter. Too bad she was dead or else, she would have interviewed each and every one of them.

"You wouldn't believe it," Hermione sighed again. Was it really wise to tell them? Her heart raced in her chest.

Joseph and Camilla glanced at each other, confused about the pause in the conversation. "Who are they, Mia?"

"The three Black sisters — Bellatrix, Andromeda and Narcissa," Hermione muttered under her breath.

Silent filled their ears before Joseph let out a deep throaty laugh, while Camilla was gaping like a fish. They finally understood the reason for Hermione's loud shriek just now.

"Blimey, all three of them? You're not joking, are you, Hermione?" Camilla asked and Hermione blushed but nodded her head nonetheless.

"One is not enough, eh? That's my baby girl!" Joseph laughed again but was smacked on his thigh by his wife.

"Hermione, tell me the truth." Camilla grabbed both her daughter's shoulders and turned her so that they were facing each other.

"Prophecy and destiny be damned for now, but do you really have feelings for them? Do you know who those people are — especially Bellatrix and Narcissa?"

Hermione's blush deepened as she remembered the feeling of being held in each of the Black sisters' embrace. Her face was red and enough to let Camilla took a guess.

"I know, Mother. Bellatrix is a Death Eater, and Narcissa is married to one — an arsehole!" She growled.

"Language!" Camilla chastised; Hermione grinned sheepishly and apologised half-heartedly.

"Are you okay with the fact that I like women, Mother? Father?"

Hermione looked nervously at both of her parents, worried to come out to them. Even though many people had already known about her by now, she did not give a damn about what those people thought of her. She felt that her parents' opinions mattered the most, and her heart was pounding loudly as she anticipated for their replies.

"Why should I not? You're absolutely welcome to join the club, Mia!" Joseph grinned and held out his hand for a low high-five.

Hermione sighed with relief as she joined the gesture. "What club?" She asked, befuddled.

"Why, the We-Love-Women Club, of course!" Joseph laughed again and Camilla huffed in annoyance. "But make no mistake, there are only two women in my heart; you—" He kissed on Hermione's temple, "—and your mother, the love of my life."

Joseph emphasised his words by kissing on Hermione's temple again — just because he could — and then on his wife's lips in front of their daughter, resulted in Hermione's squeal of embarrassment. He laughed again.

"Mia, Honey, I don't mind whoever you love as long as they can love you back. Bear in mind that those three are like your aunts, and what's worse, they are all married," Camilla said in a firm tone — a warning to Hermione of the obstacles that laid in her journey of love and redemption — but her voice still held the gentleness, care and love of a worried mother.

Hermione nodded her head meekly. "I know, Mother, I don't think I can ever forget those facts. Honestly, I don't know how to face them anymore."

"Just remember to be kind and have courage, Mia. That's how we lived our lives."


A loud cracking noise echoed throughout the living room as six figures appeared inside of a cottage. The truth was, this cottage was not far from the village of Hogsmeade, but several charms and wards were placed to make it hidden from outsiders. No one knew of its existence and every entrance of the cottage was sealed by very strong wards. Only selected people with permission would be allowed to enter and leave the place, and only one person could make adjustments to the wards — i.e. Severus.

"Where are we?" Someone asked as they looked around the place.

"Welcome to my humble abode. A place where no one could find us — not without my permission, at least. This place is off the map, and only I can permit entry to this house, as well as any departure," Severus explained to the five ladies.

"Wow, how do you manage to do that — keeping this place off the map?" Andromeda asked, intrigued.

"I supposed I could tell you the secret. Ancient magic — very, very old and ancient magic — was used to hide this place." Severus saw the bobbing of heads as they registered his words.

"In the simplest term, we're trapped?" Bellatrix glared at the man.

Severus rolled his eyes at his bitch of a friend. Luckily, he had known Bellatrix for years, so he had been accustomed to her bitchy personalities. Bellatrix usually acted that way because she was agitated, or feeling unsettled. And right now, he knew she had every right to feel that way. This place was unknown territory for her, and he had to make sure that she could feel safe, welcomed even.

"You can say it that way too, Bella, if it makes you feel good. I told you, you can trust me. You're safe here, no one will be exposed to any harm, and I certainly won't do anything to any of you, I promise." His words screamed nothing but sincerity although he spoke in his usual tone of annoyance.

"Bella, enough of that. We have known Severus for years, haven't we?" Narcissa said, irritated at her sister's childish behaviour. She did not want to delay the day any more than they already had; the previous conversation had left her feeling anxious.

"Cissy no fun~ I was just teasing him," Bellatrix sing-songed and giggled; everyone rolled their eyes at her.

"Before we proceed to our main agenda, I would like to bring you to someone first. Come, this way." Severus turned and walked away, leaving three confused ladies and two dreadful witches following in his trail. He did not even wait to see if they were following him.

He tried to calm the rapid beating of his heart while he manoeuvred around the house. He led them to a darkened room, only when he flicked his hand and the heavy curtains moved to the side, sunlight shone through the large windows and revealed to them a figure lying on a spacious bed in the middle of the room.

"Hermione!" Andromeda, Fleur and Minerva shouted in unison.

Bellatrix and Narcissa stood by the door, frozen and paled as they looked at each other.

Well, damn!

 

Chapter Text

 Chapter 20 – The Truth They Sought After

“Hermione!”

Minerva, Andromeda and Fleur rushed to the bed to look at the unconscious figure. Hermione was in all her naked glory but covered by a large and thick duvet. Severus placed a heating charm on the room to ensure that she would not get cold — there was a reason why she could not wear any clothes yet.

“Is she alright?” Fleur asked.

“Is she alive?” Minerva asked next.

The trio looked at Severus, not caring about Bellatrix and Narcissa who remained frozen by the door.

“She’s fine and still alive.” I hope. “She’s been comatose for a couple of days, which I’ll explain in detail later,” Severus said.

Both Bellatrix and Narcissa paled as they looked at the man in terror, and — ‘What are you going to tell them, Sev? Are you going to sell us out? We’re going to die, they’ll kill us!’ — were the only thoughts playing in their heads.

“You!!” Minerva was blazing with anger as she glared and pointed a finger at Bellatrix, then she stomped furiously towards the Death Eater.

Bellatrix stepped back in fear and Severus quickly stepped in front of her, ready to defend her if need be. He promised that there will be no harm to any of them, and he intended to fulfil his promise.

Minerva stopped in her track and her glares directed towards him. “Step aside, Severus! I have questions to ask her!”

“Then ask if you may, but I won’t permit any violence in this house — especially not in front of Her Majesty!”

“Her Majesty?” They all asked at once and Severus cursed himself inwardly at the slip of tongue.

“I mean, Hermione. I won’t allow any violence in front of Hermione,” he stuttered slightly. Minerva regarded the man for two seconds before she turned towards Bellatrix again.

“Lestrange! What did you do to Hermione? Did you kidnap her from the Ministry? Tortured her until she became like this?” She snarled at the dark witch.

Bellatrix did not answer Minerva. She merely crossed her arms over her chest, but hidden from people’s views were her fingers clutching tightly at her sides. She turned her face sideways so to hide anyone from seeing the tears pooling in her eyes and the quiver of her lips.

Narcissa could take a guess at what her eldest sister must have been feeling but she could do nothing about it. She, herself was feeling remorseful of her actions towards the young witch.

“Enough, Minerva,” the man said. “I told you I’ll explain what happened to Hermione later. However, right now, I’ll give you all some time to be with Hermione if you want but kindly refrain yourself from acting out of your temper. And be civil towards each other! I can’t allow any disrespect towards Hermione. Can you at least do that?”

Minerva gritted her teeth in annoyance. Severus looked pointedly at her and breathe in relief when the witch reluctantly agreed to act civil with Bellatrix.

“Thank you, I appreciate that. When you’re done here, find me in the dining room downstairs so we can start on our discussion,” he said.

He pulled both Narcissa and Bellatrix into his arms, whispering “everything will be fine” in their ears before he left them and walked away. He went back to his room and collected all the items he needed before going down towards the basement.


Minerva went back to the left side of the bed and sat next to Hermione. Fleur was already sitting by Hermione’s right side, her fingers caressing her soft cheeks. Andromeda was sitting behind Fleur, her hands gripping what would be Hermione’s leg from above the duvet. Bellatrix and Narcissa slowly and cautiously made their way towards the end of the bed, not daring to go anywhere near their ex-professor.

Silence engulfed them for a few minutes as they soaked in the fact that Hermione — the person they had been worried about for days — was there, in front of them. However, the figure lying on the bed was not the same person as the Hermione they knew — her breathing slow but peaceful, her face did not show the usual cheeriness or the sadness (which she usually tried to hide from others), her honest brown eyes were closed and did not reflect the emotions of the girl.

Oh, how they missed those honest brown eyes so much.

Minerva traced her fingers on Hermione’s serene face and whispered low but audible words, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have let my anger consumed me, Hermione wouldn’t have liked that.” She let out a heavy sigh. “I was just worried about her and she’s been missing for days. Hermione is the love of my life and I can’t afford to lose her again.”

She said to no one in particular and surprised herself at how vulnerable she felt at the moment. Tears leaked out of her eyes but she made no attempt to clear them away. She kissed on Hermione’s forehead and lingered there for a moment, and when she pulled away, she wiped the tears that had fallen on Hermione’s face.

Everyone was shocked at the heartfelt confession but they said nothing about it. Bellatrix felt a pang of guilt in her heart while Narcissa felt more heartbroken.

“I love Hermione too, but I hurt her deeply. It’s something I regret the most and a mistake I will never forget for the rest of my life,” Fleur said.

The atmosphere in the room had somehow turned gloomy, and everyone seemed to think of their own mistakes or confessions to be made — as if they were making confessions in the chapel.

“Hermione, I wish I could apologise to you and win your heart again. Je t’aime, ma Cherie, please wake up.” Fleur kissed Hermione’s lips, savouring the softness she had been missing for a year. She pulled away, stood up and walked away from the bed, fingers wiping the corner of her eyes.

Both Minerva and Fleur were gone and probably went downstairs to where Severus was waiting for them. The only conscious people left in the room were the three Black sisters.

“Bella, Cissy…” Andromeda’s agitated voice captured her sisters’ attention. “I want to apologise to you both, I want to tell you how sorry I am for leaving you, but I think now is not an appropriate time. Can we speak later, just the three of us?” She said as she looked at them and nervously waited for their answers.

Narcissa’s reply was instant with a nod of her head, while Bellatrix pursed her lips tightly and only after half a minute, she let out a defeated sigh.

“Fine, we’ll listen to your apology later,” the eldest sister said.

Andromeda almost choked on her tears as she silently cried in joy. One step at a time. She looked at Hermione and went down to kiss near her lips, at a spot where Hermione had once kissed her.

“Thank you for giving me the courage, my dear, and for assuring me to not give up on this hope. Please wake up soon so I can thank you properly.” She kissed Hermione’s cheek again and left the room, leaving her two baffled sisters behind.

‘How on earth did you get so many people to like you, little one?’

Bellatrix was next to sit beside Hermione on the bed, her face was painted with nothing but grief and remorse. She raked her trembling fingers through Hermione’s bushy brown hair, but she stopped when her emotions became too much.

“You really are a pretty little thing,” she whispered.

She suddenly broke down, body quaking with regret and guilt as she cried. “I’m so sorry, little kitten… Please forgive me, please… I’m really sorry… for hurting you and not trusting you…”

Narcissa sobbed when she heard the soft whimpers. The day had merely begun but she already felt her energy drained with the various surprises and emotional turbulence. She did not realise when Bellatrix had stopped apologising and moved from the bed, but only when she felt the grip on her arm, she stopped sobbing.

“Cissy?” Bellatrix wiped the tears on her sister’s cheeks. “Take your time, I’ll see you downstairs,” Bellatrix said and Narcissa nodded her head meekly.

She did not wait to see Bellatrix left the room, as she made her own way towards Hermione. She sat next to the unconscious figure, her eyes following as her fingers trailed on the smooth skin of Hermione’s face. Her heart constricted and tears were about to fall again, but she withheld strong.

Slowly, she laid her head down near the junction between Hermione’s neck and shoulder, inhaling the smell that was so Hermione — her mind flew to the memory of inhaling the sweet smell during her meeting with the girl at Malfoy manor last Christmas.

“Hermione—” her breath hitched as she whispered the beautiful name, “—you have so many people who love you, and care for you. I doubt that my feelings for you are worthy enough to be counted for, darling.” She sobbed.

“But it hurts me to keep these feelings for so long and I’m truly sorry for what I did to you, for causing harm to happen to you. Please, please wake up soon so that I can properly confess my feelings for you and apologise for everything. I’m so sorry, Hermione.” She left a soft kiss on Hermione’s shoulder, at the spot where she had once kissed before.

Although Narcissa felt guilty for her behaviour towards Hermione, she could not deny and hide her feelings for the girl any longer. She wanted to be the one who can be with Hermione, in the end — not Minerva, not Fleur, and definitely not her sisters. She took another look at Hermione before finally parted and made her way downstairs, to where the others were waiting for her.


Hermione was having a conversation with her parents while strolling around the lake when suddenly there was a soft glow throughout her being. She did not realise it until her parents pointed it out to her and looked at her bewilderedly.

“What’s happening?” She asked, perplexed as she looked at her glowing hands and body.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have let my anger consumed me, Hermione wouldn’t have liked that... I was just worried about her and she’s been missing for days. Hermione is the love of my life and I can’t afford to lose her again.”

Hermione heard the echo of a voice — whose she recognised instantly. “Min?” She gasped and turned around, trying to find the source of the voice but found none.

“The time has come, my child.”

She turned her body in a flash towards the Goddess, who was suddenly standing behind her with Anastasia by her side.

“What has? What’s happening?” She asked again but was met with silence.

Camilla and Joseph stood silently next to their daughter as they held each other’s hands. The glow slowly became brighter when more words echoed around them and rang Hermione’s ears.

“I love Hermione too, but I hurt her deeply. It’s something I regret the most and a mistake I will never forget for the rest of my life... Hermione, I wish I could apologise to you and win your heart again. Je t’aime, ma cherie. Please wake up.”

“Fleur? Min? Why are your voices full of despair?” Hermione shouted a bit louder this time, thoroughly confused about what was happening. However, her voice was met with another silence and it sounded sorrowful to the others.

The glow went brighter.

“Thank you for giving me the courage, my dear, and for assuring me to not give up on this hope. Please wake up soon so I can thank you properly.”

“Andy?”

“I’m so sorry, little kitten… Please forgive me, please… I’m really sorry… for hurting you and not trusting you…”

“Bellatrix? What—” She was surprised at hearing Bellatrix’s voice, not knowing what to make out of the situation anymore.

“Hermione—” Her breath hitched at hearing her name uttered from the last voice. “—you have so many people who love you and care for you. I doubt that my feelings for you are worthy enough to be counted for, darling... But it hurts me to keep these feelings for so long and I’m truly sorry for what I did to you, for causing harm to happen to you. Please, please wake up soon so that I can properly confess my feelings for you and apologise for everything. I’m so sorry, Hermione.”

“Narcissa…” She whispered breathily, no longer cared to ask for an answer.

Her heart clenched and she felt slightly painful — because of what, she did not know. Her eyes were closed and the words uttered by her soulmates were playing in her mind, she did not see that her being was glowing the brightest — almost blinding to the others.

After a while, she gave up trying to decipher the situation. Calmness and serene consumed her again while the light dimmed slowly until it diminished completely. She opened her eyes and cast them towards her audience, one by one until they settled on the Goddess.

“Lady Athena,” she spoke softly but with due respect. “Would you please explain what just happened? Why did their voices sound so painful and heart-breaking? Exactly what is happening in the real world?”

Hermione did not look at the Goddess with meek composure as she was before. Instead, she stood firm and sounded determined but worried all the same.

“The time has come, my child. They were finally gathered in one place by the lost soul and he will deliver to them what they belong — the truth and their soulmate,” Athena explained.

“I see.” Hermione nodded in understanding. “But why was I glowing?”

“The glow was due to your body being touched by them. The voices you heard were the whispers they said to your being.”

Touched by her five soulmates, only then will they be complete.

“Does this mean that we are now complete — whatever it means?” Hermione asked as she remembered a sentence from her prophecy.

“Maybe, maybe not,” Anastasia answered in place of her mother. Hermione tilted her head in confusion.

“You see, there were different meanings and opinions of being ‘touched’. The deities had a debate about this issue. You and your soulmates’ souls can only be completed, either simply by touching, hugging, kissing, or being intimate with each other. We figured the only way you could tell is by achieving those stages in your relationships,” Anastasia explained.

Hermione gasped and her face flushed red. The thought of having intimacy with her soulmates sent shivers down her spine, her heart beat rapidly inside her chest. It took everything for her not to moan in front of her parents — who noticed the change in her demeanour and tried their best not to laugh at her, as Camilla elbowed Joseph at his side.

“My child, it is also time for you to make your decision — either to proceed to the next life and leave the world behind, or to go back to the real world and be what you were destined to be,” Athena spoke with gentleness but one could note the tone of haste in her voice.

“I understand, Lady Athena.”

Hermione looked at both of her parents, who already had their arms opened to welcome her in. Tears were pooling in all their eyes as they embraced each other tightly. She did not care about their coldness any longer, she would not want to let them go. She knew if she let go, there would be no other chance for her to be with them, to speak with them, and to feel like she still had her parents with her — something she had craved for in her life.

“Mia…”

She broke down at her mother’s tearful but loving voice. Hands that were caressing her hair and rubbing her back were registered in her mind — stored permanently in her brain’s long-term memory disk.

‘God, please, let this feeling remains longer.’

“You could have what you wished for, my child, if you decide to stay with your father and mother,” Athena spoke softly, startling Hermione from her thought.

“Mia, look at us.”

They broke apart and Hermione tried to look at her parents but failed due to the blurriness in her vision. Her hands were shaking as she tried to clear the tears away but they just never stopped. Her body trembled and her legs felt like jelly, she wobbled in her stand until she was being engulfed in another hug.

“Mia… You don’t want to come with us. That’s not what you wish for, Honey. Tell me you want to go back and continue living your life,” Camilla whispered in Hermione’s ears. Joseph did not say anything but he stood near, providing whatever comfort and support he could.

“I don’t want to lose you again, Mother, Father…” Her voice broke as she sobbed harder.

“You won’t lose us, Mia,” Camilla said with the tone of a promise.

“You won’t lose us,” Joseph repeated with more assurance.

“But I don’t get to touch you, to hug you and kiss you two anymore,” Hermione wailed like a petulant child.

“It’s all right, Mia. There are plenty of other people who I’m sure are willing to do all those things with you.”

Leave it to her father to make a dumb joke at a horrible time, but Hermione snorted anyway while Camilla slapped on the man’s arm. Joseph merely laughed in delight.

However dumb the joke was, it managed to deliver the intended effect. Hermione calmed down and finally broke apart from the embrace. She cleared the tears away and looked at her smiling parents.

“I love you both so much!” She exclaimed as cheerful as she could, not wanting to make them worry.

“We love you very much too, Mia. Forever and always,” Camilla assured.

“Forever and always,” Joseph reaffirmed.

The pair took their turn to kiss on Hermione’s temple and cheeks. They then held each other’s hands and Hermione had never felt so blissful in her life. She looked at them as if they were having a silent conversation, until both her parents nodded their heads at the same time.

Hermione memorised her mother’s pair of black eyes, her long and straight black hair, and her loving smile. Then she turned to her left to memorise her father’s pair of brown eyes, his short and curly brown hair, moustache and beard, and his proud smile.

Deep in her heart, she knew she would never lose them. They will always be in her heart and in her memory, wherever she goes. With a resigned sigh, she nodded her head towards them. She let her hands go and turned to face the Goddess and the demigod.

“I’m ready. Bring me to the real world again, please,” she said with utter determination in her voice.

“Are you fucking kidding me!!??”


The mood in the dining was nothing but foul. Severus studied each of the five ladies who were everywhere but sitting at the round dining table with him. They seemed to be lost in their heads until he cleared his throat, breaking them from their trance.

“Help yourself to the tea and sandwiches. And please, make yourself at home,” he said, his tone more inviting.

The group of ladies looked at each other before they took a seat each, facing the enigmatic man. Cups of tea and plates of sandwiches were served in front of them magically. Sitting in the second seat from his left was Minerva, then Fleur, Andromeda, Narcissa, and Bellatrix.

“Allow me to say this again, welcome to my humble abode,” he started with a typical opening speech. “There isn’t much here but it’s a home for Hermione, so that means it’s a home for all of you too.”

“Is this where Hermione went to every holiday?” Minerva quickly interjected.

Severus merely nodded in her direction. “Since the summer after her third year,” he added. “She’s been helping me with some work.”

“No wonder I couldn’t find her anywhere,” Minerva retorted.

“More importantly, what happened to Hermione?” Fleur asked. Narcissa and Bellatrix flinched in their seats.

Severus regarded the look of worry in three sets of eyes and fear in the remainder. He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “During the battle at the Department of the Mystery, Hermione was brought back to the Malfoy Manor for a private investigation—”

“I assume right that it was Lestrange who took her?” Minerva said while glancing at the female Death Eater, who was now looking smaller than ever. Severus ignored the woman.

“She was questioned and then locked in the cellar. When Lucius Malfoy went home, he—” Severus clenched his jaw to quell his rising anger. His eyes were fiery as flashes of Hermione’s lifeless state in his arms were playing in his mind.

“What he did towards Hermione were downright cruel, unforgivable, and inhumane,” he said with a rise in his tone. “Nevertheless, he had been dealt with and met with his own punishment.”

“What did Lucius do to her?” Andromeda asked.

“You wouldn’t want to know, trust me.” He looked dejectedly at them. “But one thing I can say for sure is that he caused an interruption in the balance of Hermione’s magic, causing her magic to become unstable and was unleashed, possibly towards him,” Severus tried to explain as briefly as he could, going into detail would only cause emotional turbulence.

“What happened to him?” Fleur asked, her eyebrows raised slightly.

Severus glanced at Narcissa, who slowly nodded her head as if to allow him to tell them the truth. “Lucius Malfoy was dead.”

Gasps filled the room as three pairs of eyes widened in shock.

“He deserved it!” Bellatrix spat and crossed her arms in anger.

“Bella, shut up,” Narcissa whispered low but was still heard by the others. Bellatrix huffed.

“You mentioned a private investigation, Severus. What is it about?” Minerva asked and Fleur joined her in looking at him with curiosity.

“It’s about a prophecy that was found in the Department of Ministry,” he said.

“Whose prophecy? Potter?”

“No, not his. Hermione’s prophecy, to be exact.” Everyone shot their eyebrows up as he said this. “And it has something to do with all of you.” More surprises it seemed.

“So it’s true, then?” Bellatrix shifted uncomfortably in her seat.

“What is?” Severus asked nonchalantly.

“She said that she and I, we-we're soulmates! Is it bloody fucking true?”

Gasps echoed around the room again and all eyes were on the raven-haired witch. Severus took his time contemplating to answer the question, intentionally trying to torment them from the truth.

“No,” he said.

Bellatrix was stunned while the others let breaths of relief — especially Narcissa, who looked quite relieved and had a small upturn of her lips.

“Excuse me,” Severus cleared his throat and captured their attention again. “I meant to say that it’s true, but at the same time it is not,” he said further, toying with his words and their emotions all the same.

Bellatrix instantly rose from her seat and grabbed on his robe. “Bloody hell, man! Which one is it?!” She growled at the man, feeling anger rising in her chest. ‘How dare he played with my feelings!’  

“Before that, let me ask each and every one of you a simple question,” he said, eyeing the ladies one by one. Their faces portrayed the anticipation they were feeling. Bellatrix let him go and returned to her seat.

“What do you feel when you think about Hermione? Describe your feelings in three words or less,” he asked. “It may seem like a simple question, but do think carefully before you answer, please.”

Minerva, Fleur, Andromeda, Bellatrix, and Narcissa were sitting in silence. They seemed to ponder on the question and how to answer it with delicacy, honesty, and in the most simple words.

“Loved and cared,” Fleur said first.

“Happiness and joy,” Minerva said.

“Confusing, but mellow,” Andromeda said.

“Gravitational pull,” Narcissa said. All eyes looked at her, intrigued. “What?” She said, baffled at the sudden attention.

“What do you mean, Cissy?” Severus asked.

“Well, I mean… there’s always this strong pull that attracts me to Hermione. I just can’t stop looking at her,” Narcissa said, her voice was above a whisper by the end as she looked away, embarrassed to admit her feelings.

“I can totally relate to that,” Minerva said. The others nodded in agreement.

“Bella? What about you?” Severus asked, and all eyes were directed towards Bellatrix now.

Bellatrix shrugged her shoulders. “What Cissy said,” she gestured at her younger sister. “Plus some complexity and complicated, I guess.”

Severus nodded his head in comprehension. He smiled and chuckled to himself, causing others to shiver in creep as they regarded his strange behaviours.

“Alright, so let me explain. While it’s true that you and Hermione are soulmates, Bella, however, you are not the only one.” His eyes were sharp as he looked into Bellatrix’s eyes before they shift towards the others.

“As a matter of fact, it was mentioned that Hermione has five soulmates in total,” he said.

Hands flew to cover mouths and sharp intakes of breaths were heard as everyone stared at the man in utter shock.

“What—How—What did you say?” The female Death Eater voiced out.

“As I said, it is stated in Hermione’s prophecy that she has five soulmates in total. They are said to be — The Blacks, the Veela, and the Tabby Cat,” Severus proclaimed.

“Me?” They asked at once and looked at each other curiously.

Severus nodded. “Indeed, Hermione’s five soulmates are the lot of you. The three Black sisters — Bellatrix, Andromeda, and Narcissa; the Veela — Fleur; and the Tabby Cat — Minerva,” he announced to the bewildered ladies.

No one said anything as they looked at him in shock and disbelief. They were not surprised at the idea of being Hermione’s soulmate, but at the fact that Hermione had multiple soulmates instead of just one.

Severus fetched one of the rolls of parchment paper amongst many and laid it bare on the table for them to see. “It has been written in her destiny since years — no, centuries — ago that she would have five soulmates in total, and they were specifically written that those five persons would be you.”

Written on the paper was the prophecy, dated back to September 19th, 1140. The ladies looked between him and the paper in utter disbelief, as they read the words attentively.

“If you still can’t believe me, then see it for yourself,” he said.

Severus levitated the prophecy orb that he brought down together with his other things. The orb was put in the middle of the table, and inside it was the green mist swirling furiously like a tornado on a desert field.

“This is Hermione’s prophecy orb which I believe she took from the DoM. Tell me you didn’t feel something from being this close with the orb?” He said, but his words fell on deaf ears.

The five ladies were looking at the orb and felt a strong pull towards the round item. They heard the soft whispers of their names echoed in their own minds as they rose from their seats. As if hypnotised, each stretched out their hands to touch the mysterious item.

When all five of them finally touched the orb, a gust of wind blew out of nowhere towards them, sending chills down their bones as they heard the whispers rang through their ears.

The one with the power to rule the world will be born
She was the queen in the past and she will once again be one

She is born noble and pure, yet hidden amongst the dirt
A gem amongst the snakes, A beauty hidden by scars

Mended pain through knowledge and understanding

Tossed between two sides, betrayed, tortured, broken and battered
In between her life and death, will her power be awakened

Touched by her five soulmates, only then will they be complete
The Blacks, the Veela, together with the Tabby Cat

With the power of dark, light, modern and ancient, nothing could defy them

She will be fair, She will be just
And together, they will rise
As one

Narcissa was the first to pull away from the orb as her body shook with strong emotions. Bellatrix retracted her hand as if her fingers were burned from touching fire. The other three slowly retrieved their hands but remained stoic, their feelings were indescribable.

The orb stilled on the table, swirling green mist was no more. The room was filled with complete silence until two screams of sorrow and remorse pierced the bubble they were currently in.

Narcissa cried in sorrow while Bellatrix wailed with deep remorse.


“Bella? Cissy?”

Andromeda was looking at her sisters in fear and worry. She could not comprehend their reactions from just touching the orb — Hermione’s prophecy orb.

Shaken, she pulled both the trembling Narcissa and Bellatrix into her arms and breathed a sigh of relief when neither of them pushed her away or denied her comfort.

“Severus?” She looked at the man worriedly. “What happened? Why did they become like this?”

His face stricken, Severus opened his mouth to answer the middle sister but was cut off.

“I killed her, it’s my fault! I’m sorry…” Bellatrix wept.

“Bella, you didn’t kill her. She’s still alive, Bella,” he said softly.

“I might have as well. She didn’t deserve it, I should have trusted her!” Bellatrix said, angry at herself. She pulled away from her long-lost sister's embrace, ignoring the fluttering of her heart from feeling Andromeda’s warmth after years of missing her.

“What do you mean?” Minerva asked, but Bellatrix did not answer. She turned towards Severus and asked again. “Kill her? What does she mean by that, Severus?”

Severus rubbed his face and sighed. “Hermione was tortured with the Cruciatus Curse — multiple times — repeatedly.”

Minerva and Fleur gasped. Andromeda stilled from rubbing behind her younger sister’s back.

“Lestrange!” Minerva shrieked in fury, causing Bellatrix to flinch at the high-pitched voice.

“When Bella brought Hermione back to the manor, she asked her about the prophecy. Hermione told her that they both were soulmates,” he explained.

“I didn’t believe her. I thought she was lying,” Bellatrix slumped in her seat, head buried in her hands. Her tears never stopped flowing.

“Hermione would never tell lies. You could have known if she’s telling lies because she’s bad at it,” Fleur said.

“That’s what I said,” Severus agreed.

“I didn’t know her! And I’m a Death Eater if you’ve forgotten!” Bellatrix slammed her fist on the sturdy table. “How was I supposed to know how to act around her? I can’t just randomly show strangers that I have multiple personas, can I?” Her fingers raked through her hair in frustration.

“What do you mean, multiple personas?” Minerva’s fury backtracked as she looked at Bellatrix in confusion. She was ignored, however.

“But what does Cissy have to do with it? Why is she crying too?” Andromeda asked, hugging her shaking sister tightly in her arms. She ignored the wetness on her shoulder from Narcissa’s tears.

“Because I didn’t stop Bella,” Narcissa answered, her voice croaked. She pulled away from Andromeda slightly and wiped her tears dry. “I envied her, she was prophesied as Hermione’s soulmate when they barely knew each other. Because I was mad that my feelings were not reciprocated, I didn’t stop Bella from torturing her.”

Her lips turned downwards as she said the next words in harsh whispers, “and because I regretted telling Lucius that Hermione was in the manor. I caused her pain she did not deserve…”

Minerva was too shocked to even get mad anymore. ‘Bellatrix? Multiple personas? Narcissa has feelings for Hermione and caused her pain?’ She felt dizzy with every thought that was swimming in her mind.

Fleur stood up from her seat and went to stand by the wall, speechless to say anything. Andromeda was also speechless, but she stayed by her sisters’ side. She could understand what they were feeling, and she knew that they both were regretting their actions.

“I’m sorry…” Bellatrix muttered under her breath.

“Me too…” Narcissa whispered.

“There’s nothing we can do about it now, can we? The past is in the past. Can we just move on and think about how to make sure Hermione will wake up again?” Minerva said after a while.

“There’s more you need to know before that,” Severus said.

“Honestly, today has been nothing but surprises. I’m tired to feel astounded anymore, so go on, Sev, just say what you must,” Narcissa said after she had calmed down. The others nodded, agreeing to her words.

“Well, all right then. To be honest, Hermione and I, we’re actually not from this era,” he said as a matter of fact. He eyed them warily, but they were just staring at him with curiosity in their eyes.

He conjured Hermione’s favourite book — which he forgot to take from his study — and showed to them. “Have any of you read this book before?”

Five pairs of eyes read the title of the old book — Morgan Le Fay: The Once and Future Queen, written by K.A. Pendragon. They nodded to him but could not follow his thoughts.

Until one person shouted from across the room, “wait!”


“Wait!”

Everyone sought out the person who shouted from across the room — it was Fleur. The girl hurriedly went back to her seat and pointed a hand towards the book.

“May I?” She asked politely.

Severus nodded his head, smirking to himself — happy that at least one person could get the message he was trying to deliver.

Fleur flipped the pages until it stopped at a certain page and presented it to the others. “Look!” She said.

“What is it, Ms Delacour?” Narcissa asked.

“Fleur, please,” she replied hastily. “Look at the prophecy written in this book.”

Andromeda took the book from beside her and read the passage loudly, easing others from the trouble.

“The queen from the dark will be born anew. Though born in the pure, she will be hidden in the dirt. She will have the beauty and the mind with the most knowledge. She will be cast aside, and she will be torn apart. In the brink between life and death, she will meet her five counterparts. Only together then their souls are complete. The queen from the dark will be born anew. Side by side, they will rule what is theirs.”

Andromeda finished reading and gasped, but the other three ladies remained in befuddled.

Madames, can’t you see? The prophecy and Hermione’s prophecy, they are the same!” Fleur exclaimed aloud.

“But what does this mean?” Minerva asked.

“All right, I give.” Bellatrix held her arms up in surrender. “Severus?”

The man smiled at the group of fazed ladies. “You are absolutely right, Fleur. The two prophecies are actually the same. Only the book version is a modified and edited version.”

“How do you know? Which one is the truth?” Minerva asked.

“Both are true — the original prophecy is the one which you had just listened to, and this.” He pointed towards the paper he showed before. “The book’s prophecy, I wrote and modified it.”

“You’re the author?” Fleur asked.

Severus nodded. “I am. K.A. Pendragon was my alias — King Arthur Pendragon.”

The ladies gasped. So much for being tired of surprises…

“Let me tell you a story,” he said. The five ladies had their ears perked up as they were intrigued to know what he was going to say. He chuckled at their undivided attention.

“If you recall the story in the book, Queen Morgan had a vision of her future, where she was prophesied to be reincarnated — in a new body. Before she let go of her last breath, she put a curse — or a blessing — on her half-brother, King Arthur, to be reincarnated with her. After she died, Arthur decided to devote his time in making preparation for her reincarnation, and he wrote this book about her.”

Severus paused and took a sip of his tea. “So here’s the thing. After decades and a couple of reincarnations, King Arthur is finally reincarnated as me — Severus Snape — while Hermione is the reincarnation of Her Majesty. Basically, in my body is the soul of my past self — King Arthur Pendragon, ruler of Camelot and Head of the Knights of the Round Table. And in Hermione’s body is the soul of her past self — Queen Morgan Le Fay, ruler of Avalon, and future ruler of this world.”

Severus finished his speech by levitating his famous sword and shield by his side. Everyone knew that no one could wield the Calibur except the true owner, and having the real sword by his side showed that he was the legendary man. He chuckled at the bewildered look on the five ladies sitting in front of him.

“You’re joking,” Bellatrix said.

“You’re kidding,” Andromeda said.

“What—Huh—what?” Minerva stuttered in disbelief.

Au contraire, I’m telling the truth,” he said. “In fact, I have known about you all for centuries, before you were even born. Still can’t believe me?” He raised one eyebrow as he looked at them.

Five heads shook from side to side.

Severus took another old parchment, cleared the table, and laid the parchment open. As he unrolled the scroll, a drawing appeared on the paper out of nothing, as if he had done some transfiguration on it.

“This is a drawing made by our royal painter, right after Her Majesty had the vision of her future. As you can see, it was dated back to the day — September 19th, 1140. I have kept this in my possession for centuries, it was sealed and warded so as to not let it get out, be stolen or modified by anyone, so you can trust in its authenticity.”

Each of the five ladies was becoming more perplexed as they studied the portraits. On the paper was written in one heading — The Blacks, the Veela and the Tabby Cat — and the portraits of five ladies in two rows.

On the first row were three portraits with the exact looks of the three Black sisters — from left: Bellatrix, Narcissa and Andromeda — while on the second row were the portraits with the exact looks of Fleur and Minerva, except that—

“This one doesn’t look like Minerva,” Andromeda commented.

The said person remained silent but her heart was pounding hard in her chest. ‘How on earth?’ she thought to herself.

“That’s actually what Minerva looks like, without all the glamour she wore on herself,” Severus simply answered her.

“How do you know? Did Hermione tell you?” Minerva was astounded.

Severus shook his head at the woman. “I can see the real you beneath all the glamour and charms, from the first time I saw you years ago. I didn’t need Hermione to tell me about it, and I’m sure Hermione also said the same thing?”

“Yes, she told me with exactly the same words,” Minerva nodded reluctantly. She pulled out her wand and flicked it to vanish the charms and glamour she put on herself.

Appeared in front of Bellatrix, Andromeda, Narcissa, and Fleur for the first time was a woman stranger to them. She had dark brown hair, sharp eyes and nose, and she looked younger compared to Minerva McGonagall that they knew.

“Are you really Professor McGonagall?” Fleur asked, her eyes wandered around the woman’s new features.

Minerva nodded hesitantly. “I am, and please call me Minerva, Fleur.”

“Wow, you really are gorgeous, I could kiss you!” Bellatrix exclaimed, making the woman blushed red.

“Indeed, you’re beautiful, Minerva,” Andromeda said in agreement.

“I see that both of you still have your crushes on Minerva. How many years has it been since our school years?” Narcissa made a remark and laughed merrily. Fleur joined in and chuckled. Bellatrix and Andromeda stuck their tongues out at their youngest sister while Minerva flushed redder at the compliments.

“But they’re correct, you are beautiful, Minerva,” Narcissa said.

“Thank you.” Minerva smiled shyly. ‘Why am I blushing like a teenager?!’

Severus cleared his throat. “I also would like to tell you who Hermione really is,” he said, his tone was all seriousness.

“There’s more?” Bellatrix whined. “Just how special is she?”

“Very special, you’ll be surprised,” he said with a wide grin. “The truth is, she comes from one of the most renowned families in the world.”

“The Granger?” Narcissa asked in confusion, she had never heard of that family’s name in her social circle.

The man shook his head. “No. She was adopted by the Granger since she was a babe, but she was actually born into the Most Ancient and Most Noble family, one of the Sacred 28 Pure-blood families, the—”

Beep—beep—beep—

A loud, continuous beeping sound suddenly echoed around the room and startled everyone. They looked around to make out the source of the noise until Severus jumped from his seat — knocking his chair backwards — and held out his hand. The wristband he wore on his left hand was beeping loudly, signalling to him of the sudden change of Hermione’s heartbeat.

“Shit!” He muttered and immediately left the room. The others quickly followed behind him.

“What happened, Sir?” Fleur asked worriedly.

“Yeah, Sev, what’s that noise?” Bellatrix chimed in.

“Something must have happened to Hermione. I placed an enchantment on my wristband to alert me for any changes in her heartbeat,” he explained in a rush. One hand waved over the wristband and the sound immediately stopped.

The moment they stepped into Hermione’s room, there was nothing that could explain for the sudden alarm. There was no indication that someone broke into the room — or anything like that — and no changes to Hermione’s physical being. She still looked serene lying on the bed, lifeless.

However, Severus should have known better. He pulled the duvet down — not caring about her nakedness — and covered his hands over her heart, sensing the erratic heartbeat beneath his palms.

When he tried to assess the magic inside, he was shocked at what he found. Hermione’s magic was running amok, clashing uncontrollably as if there was a duel or a fight event ongoing inside.

Suddenly the heartbeat changed again. However, this time, his face drained in colour.

“How is she, Sev?” Narcissa asked, her voice was barely heard by him.

Paled, he turned towards them. “Help, please… I need your help, please save her!”

Hermione’s heartbeat was getting weaker with every passing second.

 

Chapter Text

Loving and fighting, accusing, denying
I can’t imagine a world with you gone
The joy and the chaos, the demons we’re made of
I’d be so lost if you left me alone
You lock yourself in the bathroom
Lying on the floor when I break through
I pull you in to feel your heartbeat
Can you hear me screaming
“Please don’t leave me”

Long endless highway, you’re silent beside me
Driving a nightmare I can’t escape from
Helplessly praying, the light isn’t fading
Hiding the shock and the chill in my bones
They took you away on a table
I pace back and forth as you lay still
They pull you in to feel your heartbeat
Can you hear me screaming
“Please don’t leave me”

Hold on, I still want you
Come back, I still need you
Let me take your hand, I’ll make it right
I swear to love you all my life
Hold on, I still need you

I don’t wanna let go
I know I’m not that strong
I just wanna hear you
Saying, “baby, let’s go home”
Let’s go home
Yeah, I just wanna take you home

Hold on, I still want you
Come back, I still need you

Hold On – Chord Overstreet


 

Chapter 21 – Come Back, Please Don’t Leave Me

Shit…shit shit shit!

Severus muttered as he hovered his hand and wand over Hermione’s figure. There was a faint light at the tip of his wand as he tried to assess the girl’s condition thoroughly. Despite the chaos he found, there was one thing he was unable to find — unsure whether it was actually hidden amidst the chaotic mess of Hermione’s magic or it was already too weak for him to be able to sense it.

“Come on, Hermione… Where are you?” he said, his voice desperate. Cold sweats started to form on his forehead as dread washed over him.

Minerva, Bellatrix, Andromeda, Narcissa, and Fleur were standing not too far from him — they yearned to be close to their soulmate but were afraid of obstructing him from doing whatever he was trying to do. While anxiously waiting for his update on their current predicament, their heartbeats increased with every curse words that he uttered, and they wore the same look on their faces — somewhere in between worry and dreadful.

“What’s wrong with Hermione, Severus?” Andromeda said.

“I—I can’t find her heartbeat!” he said in a panic, hands stilled above Hermione’s heart. “Please… I—I need your help, please save her…” Severus pleaded as he looked at each of the five ladies.

“Let me see,” Narcissa said and immediately moved towards Hermione’s other side.

Perhaps not everyone knew that Narcissa was a fine healer other than Severus, but both of them had been working together for years on the tasks of healing and curing the Death Eaters under Voldemort’s order — a reason how Severus managed to learn the truth about her and Bellatrix.

She hovered her wand above Hermione’s middle and moved about, practising her knowledge to try and assess the girl but what she found made her flinched multiple times. It was not unnoticed by the others who were watching the pair intently.

“Merlin…” she gasped.

“What’s wrong, Cissy? How is she?” Bellatrix urged her sister to be out with it already. She was never known to be patient.

Narcissa’s eyes watered as she looked at Bellatrix and the others. “Worst,” she said. “Her magic uncontrollable, and just as Sev said, I couldn’t sense her heartbeat too.” There was a hint of trepidation in her voice.

The shocking news was powerful enough to make everyone froze, mouths agape with incredulity. Blood drained from their faces and warmth leaving their bodies as fear and coldness replaced them, chilling them to their bones.

“Noooo!! Hermione!!” Fleur’s sudden shriek jolted them out of their frozen state.  They leapt at once to the bed, feeling frightened at the thought of losing their newfound soulmate.

Minerva, Fleur and Andromeda gasped audibly as they took in the sight of Hermione’s bare body. Never had they seen anyone with so many faint lines and scars on their body — not even Fleur who had slept with Hermione a couple of times.

“Oh, Hermione…” Fleur and Minerva whispered under their breaths and tears pooled in their eyes.

“What happened to her?” Andromeda could not grasp the knowledge of Hermione’s sufferings. Although her daughter had briefly told her about Hermione’s trauma, she could not fathom the thought that the girl suffered so much in her life. But the plain sight of the numerous scars throughout the lifeless body, made her heart clenched in pain and her body trembled weakly.

“Hermione, come back, please…”

“My love, don’t leave me, I need you…”

“Little kitten, don’t you dare to die on me now… please…”

“Hermione, ma chérie… I love you so much… don’t do this to me…”

“I need you to come back, Hermione, do you hear me? Please…”

The room echoed with various pleas coming from the ladies at once. Only one occupant was standing in silence as he stepped back from the bed. His shoulders slumped, hands twitching by his sides, his ears tuned out all the soundwaves and his eyes wavered as they remained on the peaceful look on Hermione’s face.

“Severus?”

“She’s gone…she’s gone… I couldn’t save her.” His voice shook as he said, hands went to rub on his face.

Several gasps were heard followed by piercing cries. They tried to find Hermione’s pulse but were unsuccessful.

“NO!!!”

“Severus! How dare you?” Bellatrix was almost shouting as she stepped closer towards the man, whose body convulsed with restrained emotions. “She can’t be gone, Sev! Look!” Fingers pointed at the figure lying on the bed.

“She’s still there, isn’t she?!” She said incredulously, her voice was in total despair as she sputtered whatever words that crossed her mind.

“We haven’t done anything yet, so don’t you dare say she’s gone! Tell us what to do, how can we wake her up?” She grabbed Severus by the collar and shook him hard, wanting to bring him back to the thought that Hermione was still alive and can still be saved.

Severus said nothing, his stoic features giving no suggestion to what was occupying his mind. There was no emotion in his eyes — they looked like a dead fish.

“Tell us what to do, damn it!” Bellatrix screamed in frustration at his silence, but her own body was trembling desperately as tears overflowing from her eyes. Her grips on his robe tightened, she was holding onto him like he was the pillar to support her weight as her knees buckled, feeling the grief pressing on her like a thousand-tonne brick.

Silence filled the room except for the sniffles and silent sobs as they were devastated at the idea of losing Hermione, forever. Was there really nothing they could do to save her?

‘Hermione… gone?’ The words repeated endlessly in Severus’ mind.

‘Come on, Severus. She can’t be gone yet, can she? She’s destined for greatness — you know that too,’ Severus’ inner voice rang aloud in his mind. ‘You’ve already lost her twice! You’ve lost the parents who loved you! And you lost Lily, too! Do you want to keep losing the people you love again and again? You can do this, Severus. Save your sister!’  

Severus shook out from the battle with his inner monologue and the state of foolishness as he stared at the five grief-stricken ladies. He was supposed to be the strong one, to support them with everything he could, but here he was, losing himself to his pessimism.

There was no way Hermione was dead, he will not allow it even if it kills him so. He had Hermione’s saviours with him now, so Hermione should be able to be revived — he wanted to believe that.

He patted the witch in his arms and smiled reassuringly at her and the others.

“Let’s do this. Let’s save her,” he said with a stronger voice, trying to muster whatever hope, courage, determination and confidence he had lost earlier. The five ladies cleared their tears as they nodded at him.

“I need each of you to stand by Hermione’s head, her two hands and her two feet.” He gave the instructions while he went to the bedside table and fetched the sealed jar of ashes he left previously.

When he turned around, he found that Minerva was standing by Hermione’s head, Bellatrix and Fleur by her hands, whereas Narcissa and Andromeda were by her feet. They were watching him in silence, trying their hardest to remain as calm as they possibly could despite the heaviness in their hearts.

He moved towards Hermione’s chest, saying some words unknown to them to unseal the jar before he passed it to the person next to him. “This is the ashes of the late Queen. I want you to take a handful of it, as much as you can.”

The jar was passed around until it was returned to him. Noticing that it was empty, he recklessly threw it behind him but it was caught in fire mid-air, its existence was gone in a flash.

“Alright, I’m going to say this once, so listen carefully.” He exchanged looks with the five ladies, who all looked determined and focused on him, not even saying nor questioning anything he did and intended to do.

“I need you to feel your magic, focus it towards your hand that is holding the ashes. When I tell you so, slowly open your palm and let the ashes fall onto Hermione’s skin, then hold her and direct your magic into her. I will do the rest; just focus on what I tell you to do. Do you understand me?”

“Severus?” A weak voice was heard and he turned towards the source.

“Yes, Fleur?”

“I have never tried any wandless magic before. I’m not sure I can do it,” she said, it was clear in her eyes that she was feeling nervous about doing what he asked.

“Have you ever changed when you get so angry? Or maybe something happened while you were mad?” Bellatrix asked from opposite her and Fleur nodded meekly.

“Magic is emotion, Fleur. Just focus on your feelings and you’ll never get it wrong,” Narcissa said, her left hand flew to squeeze on Fleur’s arm. Her smile was bright and Fleur felt her confidence rising.

“Narcissa’s right, Fleur,” Severus said. “Do you love Hermione?”

“Very much so,” Fleur nodded firmly.

“Then keep loving her and show her how much you love her. You’re going to be okay, we got your back in this.”

Fleur looked at everyone and they all smiled warmly at her while nodding their heads simultaneously. “Thank you,” she said, grateful for the comfort and total support, and her confidence was back in full.

“Alright, focus. Call for her in your mind, ask her to come back alive. We need her, we love her, we want her back… We can do this.” Severus tried to deliver some motivation to the group, including himself. He took a very deep breath before letting it go in one shot.

Five heads nodded simultaneously. Several hearts were beating wildly and thumping loudly in their chests, as their eyes focused on Hermione’s lithe and pale body. The only thoughts running in their heads were of the girl — calling out her name, begging for her to come back, pleading apologies, so on and so forth.

“Okay, you can hold her now. Grab her as if you don’t want to let her go and channel your magic into her. It might be slightly painful but bear with it, please.”

They did as they were told, the ashes spread onto Hermione’s skin and magic flowed into Hermione from various parts of her body. Severus started whispering ancient incantation at a steady pace as if he was reading a passage from a book. He gathered his magic and pushed it into Hermione through above her heart. Once inside, he searched for all the five ladies’ signature magic amidst all the chaos inside Hermione.

It was difficult, it was hard but he persisted and followed through with the struggle. When he found all of them, he used his magic to pull them — including Hermione’s chaotic magic — together into a round shape like a ball of yarn. Surprisingly, Hermione’s magic calmed down as they met and blended with her five soulmates’.

Severus glanced at Andromeda, Narcissa, Bellatrix, Minerva, and Fleur who had their eyes closed as they concentrated on what they were doing. There were glowing lights where their hands met with Hermione’s skin but were oblivious to them.

‘Such power of soulmates,’ he mused to himself, his mouth never stopped whispering the incantation. ‘I wonder what’s going through their minds right now.’

When the five ladies started injecting their magic into Hermione, it was not the only thing that they delivered to her. Their willpower, their wishes and their souls were unintentionally — and unaware to them — being infused into as well.

What they felt afterwards were nothing they could have ever imagined. It started as strange tingles on their skin before warmth started to creep inside them, crawling along their veins and spread throughout their entire being. They felt blissful as if they were flying freely above the sky without any worries. All they could think about, what they wanted to do, was to search for Hermione and bring her back to the living world — to them.

To them, it felt as if they have left their physical beings and were being pulled into another realm altogether.


“Hahahahaha! This is what you get for being so stubborn!”

Hermione was coughing out blood to her side while trying to pick herself up from the ground, but she fell back as she was too weak to even move a muscle. She was in a very pitiful state — cuts and bruises were all over her body and blood seeped through the open wounds from various spots.

She panted weakly, as breathing seemed to be a difficult task for her at the moment. She knew that there were multiple broken ribs and bones, she could feel them. She could also feel her eyes and lips were swollen because they felt numb.

And she also knew that she could not win this battle.

“Tell me, oh my selfless, kind, pitiable soul, do you still wish to go back to the world of the living?”

Loud roaring thunders were heard and with sudden bright lightning, five figures appeared not far from Hermione. They were her soulmates who finally managed to find her as they had been wishing for.

“Hermione!” They shouted at once.

Minerva, Bellatrix, Andromeda, Narcissa, and Fleur had no idea of where they currently were or how did they even able to get there in the first place. But those thoughts were the least on their minds, as they looked around and what they saw astounded them.

There were two Hermione(s?)!

Or at least, one looked quite different from the other. The Hermione that was lying — unmoving — on the ground appeared to be battered and bruised. While the other Hermione that was standing appeared to be evil and sinister; they could feel the dark aura coming from her and even her eyes were glaring at them menacingly.

“Oh, look who dare to grace their presence here!” The Evil-Hermione scoffed. She crouched to grab on Hermione’s arm and jerked her to an upright position. One hand clutched on Hermione’s hair to force her to look at the new arrival group of ladies.

Hermione groaned at the force and pain travelled through her body. She could not understand how she was able to feel pain despite being in the Limbo and out of her physical body.

“Oi! Who are you? What have you done to Hermione?” Bellatrix bellowed at the Evil-Hermione. She moved in a fast pace to get closer to Hermione, to save her from being hurt any more than she already had, and the others followed in her steps.

However, they crashed into an invisible wall and fell ungraciously to the ground. Confused, they got back on their feet, arms outreached as they tried to figure out what was it that obstructed them from getting closer to their soulmate.

It seemed that they were trapped in some kind of a square space with invisible walls surrounding them. Frustrated, they smacked, punched and kicked the walls as they called out to Hermione, though their efforts were fruitless. It was impossible for them to get closer to Hermione.

“Hermione, will you listen to us?” Andromeda said.

“My love, we have come to get you back,” Minerva pleaded.

“Let’s go home, ma chérie,” Fleur whimpered.

The Evil-Hermione laughed out loud at their antics and desperation. “Oh, this is so precious! Taking us back? Home?” Her body convulsed with laughter at what she considered were jokes.

“What foolishness! There isn’t any home for us, don’t you know? We have been thrown about everywhere we go. Our real parents were murdered by a crazy maniac, our brother left us somewhere no one would know about us, our adopted parents left us with scarring memories, and Hogwarts, the place that may be home to many, but not us. Can’t you see? There’s nowhere else for us to go! There’s no home for us, don’t you think?”

The Evil-Hermione bawled out at the top of her lungs. Her grip on Hermione was hard and tight as she let go of all the pent-up dark feelings Hermione had been having throughout her entire life.

“Home is not a specific place, Hermione. Home is where the heart is!” Andromeda said.

“Oh, that’s rich, even coming from you, Andy,” Evil-Hermione sneered at her.

“Hermione, darling, don’t listen to her, please… We are in your heart, aren’t we? We’re soulmates…” Narcissa begged softly.

Don’t listen to her, we’re soulmates…,” Evil-Hermione mimicked Narcissa’s words cynically while her hand squeezed Hermione’s cheeks and moved her mouth in a mocking behaviour.

“Oi, just who the bloody hell are you? You’re definitely not Hermione we knew, and what did you do to her?” Bellatrix asked, mad at the doppelganger.

“What did you do to her, yada yada yada…” Evil-Hermione repeated with a tone more annoying than ever. She played with Hermione’s face like a sock puppet.

The ladies growled with frustration and fury at the Evil-Hermione’s rude behaviours and they kept on punching the invisible walls. While the Evil-Hermione was laughing cynically at their antics, Hermione was moaning weakly in pain. Her eyes were numb and heavy, but she tried her hardest to open them as much as she possibly could.

Her weakened heart skipped its beats as she watched her beautiful ladies as they were pounding on nothing in the air. Despite everything she had gone through, she could not stop herself from forming a small smile at the sight of them.

“I swear I’ll kill you if I ever get you!” Minerva snarled at the Evil-Hermione. She looked terrifying but Hermione thought she looked adorable.

“I’ll join you, Minerva,” Bellatrix hissed in agreement at the suggestion. Hermione thought that she looked cute despite her wilderness — like a wild, ferocious tiger cub, but a cub nonetheless.

“Me too,” Andromeda chimed in. Her eyes threatening as she looked at the Evil-Hermione, but Hermione almost shivered — in a delicious way — at the intensity.

Narcissa was holding Fleur in her arms as she sobbed weakly on the ground. Although they did not say anything, Hermione’s heart tugged at the sight. Her hands twitched painfully but she forced them to move and clutch onto the hand that was still squeezing her cheeks.

“Ah, you’re awake. Have you decided to join in on the fun now?” Evil-Hermione let out a derisive laugh.

“Hermione!” The ladies shouted with utter desperation.

“Let…me…go!” Hermione pushed the hand away from her face.

 “Oi, you evil bitch, give her back to us!” Bellatrix shouted furiously, her face red with rage.

“Fine,” Evil-Hermione said before she threw Hermione unceremoniously towards the group.

The ladies screamed in horror as Hermione was sent flying over a few feet, passing through the invisible barrier with ease — like nothing was even there to begin with — before landing near their feet. Hermione moaned in pain as she crashed hard on the ground, and she was immediately surrounded.

Ma chérie, are you alright?”

“Did she cause you all these injuries, my love?”

“That bitch!”

“How are you feeling, Hermione?”

“Let me at her, I’ll kill her for you!”

“Shut up, Bella.”

“Oh, come on!”

Hermione chuckled softly, her pain was slowly forgotten as she looked longingly at them. Minerva lifted her head as gently as possible and laid it upon her lap. Fleur and Narcissa were sitting by her right side, while Bellatrix and Andromeda were by her left.

“I’m…fine… You shall…not…kill her, Bella…trix,” Hermione’s voice croaked as she uttered with bated breath. It was still painful for her to breathe properly; she had to take short, quick breaths instead of long and deep ones.

“Why? Who is she? And why does she look like you?” Bellatrix said.

“And like Bella too,” Andromeda added.

Bellatrix’s head snapped towards her side. “What?”

“Oh, admit it, Bella, she does look like you — all cynical, evil, maniac—” Narcissa chimed in.

“Fine! Ugh, I have pretty but mad sisters,” Bellatrix whined, while both Andromeda and Narcissa giggled.

Hermione chuckled again, her heart fluttered as happiness and warmth filled through the course of her being. She yearned for her days to be filled with such warmth and happiness, surrounded by the people who value her presence in their lives.

“You can’t kill her, because she’s me.” Hermione sighed dejectedly and five pairs of eyes stared at her in disbelief.

A loud sarcastic laugh erupted from the other side of the invisible barrier. “She’s right, you know. You can’t kill me, because I’m her. We are one and the same, except that I’m her dark side — the evil, mad, crazy, more powerful and dark. I’m the part of her which contains all the anger and hate, trauma and depression, the thoughts of revenge and suicide. Killing me is equivalent to killing her, and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want that, do you?” The Evil-Hermione smirked, feeling smug at herself.

“How did this happen, Hermione?” Fleur asked, her voice as soft as her fingers which were caressing Hermione’s face that was smeared with dry blood.


“I’m ready. Bring me to the real world again, please,” she said with utter determination in her voice.

“Are you fucking kidding me!!??”

A voice so eerily familiar bellowed loudly from within her. Wide-eyed, Hermione looked at her surrounding in shock and confusion. It did not help either, that her parents were equally surprised while Athena and Anastasia merely looked at her without any hint of expression on their faces.

Hermione heard a deep rumble sounded from her chest and she had a strange feeling — like a tingle but slightly painful — as the nerves throughout her body vibrated and felt like they were going to be pulled out of her skin. The feeling was gone in a flash, just as suddenly there was a duplicate of herself, standing stoic in front of her.

Stunned and mouth agape, Hermione stared at her doppelganger in bewilderment. “What—Who—How—What are you?”

“I’m you, of course. Your darkness, the dark version of yourself — the negative you — I supposed. I just split ourselves, if you didn’t see it just now,” the Evil-Hermione said sardonically.

“Why?” Hermione asked, baffled. She glanced around to see that the others were merely watching them without trying to interfere.

“Because I’ve decided that you’re a fool. Who in their crazy mind would choose to go back to the living world knowing that there is nothing but despair waiting for them?” The Evil-Hermione glared at her, she appeared to be completely pissed off. “Oh, right, you are!”

“Why would that be a problem for you?” Hermione said. “How would you know that my future contains only despair? Maybe there’s happiness if I can still hope for it. Maybe there are people who would need me.”

The Evil-Hermione let out a harsh, sarcastic laugh. “Hope? You’re still hoping for happiness? Why, you laid your heart open and people stomped all over you like an insignificant ant! And who would need you? You’re weak; all the power that helped you and saved you from the miseries, they came from me! You are no one; you can’t even decide what you want to be. Who would need a weakling like you in their life?”

“How dare you, I’m not weak!” Hermione shouted with fury. She clenched her fist then threw a punch towards her evil doppelganger but was easily sidestepped. In fact, she was the one who received a blow in her stomach.

“You just proved my point, didn’t you?” Evil-Hermione stated while smiling smugly at herself.

Hermione let out a howl of anguish as she tried to deliver more punches back to back, but none of them successfully hit the target. A kick on the gut sent her to the ground, writhing in pain she was surprised she could feel.

She looked at her parents, Anastasia and Athena who were watching intently. Her eyes delivered hope that they could — would — somehow helped her, but her parents were staring back at her with worry in their eyes, while Anastasia held compassion in hers. The Goddess Athena was indifferent.

“No, my child. This is your fight, and you alone must settle it,” Athena said.

Hermione groaned when she heard the chuckle from her evil counterpart as she picked herself up.

“I could do this all day,” Evil-Hermione said. “I certainly won’t stop until you stop thinking about going back to the living world. Don’t you know, there are far, far worse things than dying?”


(A/N: You can start listening to that song now if you want. ‘I can’t carry this anymore’ by Anson Seabra)

“Have you changed your mind now, my poor, weak, pitiable self?” Evil-Hermione said with a mocking manner.

Hermione completely ignored her evil counterpart as her eyes scanned her destined soulmates from beneath her swollen eyes. Memories flooded her mind of the love, attraction, rejection, denial and heartbreak she experienced with the lot of them and her heart felt like it was strangled painfully in her chest.

As if knowing what she was feeling, the Evil-Hermione did something completely unexplainable. She conjured a hologram-like screen in between where she stood and where the group was currently at.

“Your heart is weak, Hermione, you’re pathetic! Let me remind you what they — our so-called destined soulmates — did to us, what kind of people they truly are!”

On the screen played a cinematic-kind of movie that showed Hermione’s past. It showed the memories she had with Minerva; the side-eyes, unfair treatment, her first kiss and first rejection.

Then, it showed the memories she had with Fleur; their secret night rendezvous, Valentine’s Day celebration and the betrayal as she watched the intimacy between Fleur and Bill Weasley.

It also showed her memories with Narcissa; their first and subsequent encounters with one another, stolen glares and flirty banters, the private dance they had in the Malfoy Manor, and how Narcissa looked at her with disdain in her eyes as she was being tortured by Bellatrix.

The memories backtracked to how Hermione met with Bellatrix in the Ministry of Magic before she was being pulled along only to be Crucio-ed thereafter.

Lastly, it showed her memories with Andromeda; their late night chat, and Andromeda’s not-so-subtle footsie-play under the dining table and the ‘almost kiss’ scene they had.

But what confounded Hermione at the moment was when the screen showed a scene between Andromeda, Ted and Tonks as they were having a talk amongst themselves. The conversation was so very cleared that Hermione was able to see how persistent Andromeda was at denying the connection she had with her, and how she strictly objected at the idea of Hermione being her soulmate.

The revelation left her utterly speechless.

Hermione laid silently on Minerva’s lap, unable to listen to anything from her surrounding — neither the pleas nor the sobs coming from her soulmates. She felt bare, naked, soulless, her life felt like nothing but dull.

Another rejection, another broken heart shattered to pieces.

Shaking, she pushed herself up from the ground, no longer caring about the physical pain she bore. She flinched when someone — she did not see who it was — tried to touch her, so she moved away from them towards no direction in particular. In her mind, she just wanted to get away from everything, everything that made her feel sick to her stomach.

She only managed to wobble a few steps before she faltered. Her eyes zoomed in specifically towards her parents; she could see the concern in their eyes.

Her heart became heavy with so many emotions, mainly sadness and depression; she felt lost and hopeless, she felt empty and hollow. Her world felt like it had fallen apart, and she shivered at the sudden coldness that numbed her skin.

Too much.

It was too much for her. She could not handle any more rejection. Her body was trembling hard and she fell down on her knees, both hands were clutching on her arms as tears were flowing down her cheeks uncontrollably.

As if her soul was being sucked into the depth of hell, she let out a piercing but painful cry.

There were tears flowing down Joseph and Camilla’s cheeks at seeing their daughter’s grief. There were compassions in Athena and Anastasia’s eyes, whereas Evil-Hermione bore her eyes as dark and hard as dark metal.

There was nothing that Andromeda, Bellatrix, Narcissa, Fleur and Minerva could do other than begging desperately for Hermione’s forgiveness.

“Hermione… I didn’t know, I’m really sorry! I take back everything that I said, so please forgive me…” Andromeda said. She wanted to turn the time and changed what she had uttered, but the damage had been done.

“Hermione, my dear, please forgive me too… For what Lucius had done and for everything. I’m truly sorry for hurting you and for ignoring the connection we have…” Narcissa burst out in overflowing tears.

“And I’m sorry for what I’ve done to you, little kitten. I truly regret using the ‘Crucio’ on you. I promise I won’t use it ever again, and I’ll believe everything you say. Will you forgive me, please?” Bellatrix pleaded with remorse in her voice.

“I—I… It hurts,” Hermione wailed even louder, her right hand clenched on her chest while the other hand was supporting herself from falling face-flat to the ground. But all her strength had gone away.

“Hermione, I promise to love you forever. My life is meaningless without you, my love…” Minerva said.

“Please forgive me for leaving you, Hermione, I regret it every second of my life... I swear I can’t live without you,” Fleur choke on her tears.

Hermione was out of breath as she sobbed even harder. She let herself cried out until her tears dried and all that remained was the pain. It took a while but she eventually stopped crying. She willed herself to get up again and cast a look towards the group of bewailed ladies.

The five ladies were quaking and supporting each other as they sniffled and cleared their tears away. They looked at Hermione inquisitively, not knowing what she will decide to do next. They were hoping that she would forgive them and will return to the living world again.

They could only hope, for hope is the only thing they have left. They were willing to do anything to get Hermione back, anything.

Hermione regarded the look on their faces — the regret and love they held for her. Even though it was difficult for her, she knew it must have been hard for them too — to continue living their lives in regret and repentance. She did not wish for that.

She mustered a small smile filled with love before she turned away. Eyes closed, she willed her heart to be strong as she took a deep breath and let out a long sigh. She was determined to make things right, once and for all.

When she opened her eyes, they locked with her doppelganger’s. Her evil counterpart’s gazes were as hard as ever, while she held her own with kindness and resolution. She took one step, and another, and another as she made her way towards the doppelganger, with recovered newfound strength and determination along every step she took.

Once they were close enough, she whispered so quietly no one was even able to hear, except for her counterpart who gasped aloud and momentarily wide-eyed. Hermione took the chance to land a blow so hard on the sinister face, sending her flat to the ground. Not wasting any second, she grabbed her counterpart and pulled her close again, whispering in her ears and the doppelganger lifted her hands in surrender.

“Now, get back inside me and never come out again, ever!” Hermione shouted.

“Fine, you win. I hope you won’t regret this.” The Evil-Hermione let out a defeated sigh before they finally combined, only one Hermione remained standing in front of everyone that was present. She felt quite alive again compared to when she split.

Hermione’s eyes shimmered as she smiled at the group of her parents, who were not visible to the five ladies’ eyes. Then she turned towards her destined soulmates and made her way to them. Her steps, her smile, her body postures were full of confidence and she did not falter.

She was within arm-length to each of them before they started to open their mouths altogether. She truly did not care what they were going to say, because she had made up her mind. What she did afterwards took their breath away altogether.

It looked impossible when Hermione split herself into five and stood facing the five ladies each. They did not have the time to ponder as their minds were totally shut down when Hermione(s) closed their distance and kissed them soundly but tenderly.


The kiss felt so surreal to each and every one of them as if they were dreaming of it but at the same time, they were not. Soft lips moved in tandem as they grazed each other with gentleness and care. Even though the kiss was slow and languid, the impact it delivered was so great that when Hermione(s) finally pulled away and merged into one, her soulmates were left breathless and befuddled, their minds were disoriented and they could not process their thoughts properly.

Hermione stared at them for a couple of seconds before her eyes were back on Goddess Athena. “Send them home, please,” she said, mustering the courage to ignore the heaviness in her heart.

“No—”

Athena simply nodded and in the blink of an eye, the five ladies vanished into thin air. The loss of her soulmates’ presence was replaced by the sudden appearance of a huge flying figure in a black cloak. The figure landed in front of Athena and Hermione quickly returned to the group.

The appearance of the figure did not surprise her, and she immediately recognised who it was from the symbolic huge scythe it held. The figure was huge — even bigger than Athena — and although it was looking down at them, Hermione could not make out its face hidden beneath the dark hood. It had huge wings made of bones in darkest black colour but it was not just its wings that were skeleton-like, as Hermione could see that both its hands were also merely bones.

Even though the figure emitted the aura more intimidating than Athena previously did — it made the dementors look like children’s toys — Hermione did not stammer even for a bit. Indeed, she had anticipated an outcome of something like this.

“Death,” Hermione greeted and bowed slightly to signify her respect.

“Hermione Shafiq, daughter of Joseph Shafiq and Camilla Prewett,” he said and regarded her for a moment. His voice was really deep and hoarse as it graced Hermione’s ears for the first time.

“Why are you here, and why now, Thanatos?” Athena said with curiosity in her tone.

“Time’s up, Athena. I’ve come to take them back to where they belong,” Death a.k.a Thanatos said in return as he gestured towards Hermione’s parents. “Have you got your answer for this one yet?” He turned towards Hermione once again.

“Not a decisive one yet, no.” Athena also fixed her eyes towards ‘The Chosen One’. Alas, every pair of eyes were focusing on her.

Hermione looked at her parents and smiled warmly, then she looked up towards Death. She thought she could see a skull hidden underneath the hood, but she could be wrong.

“I’ve been ready to face death. I accept that I must die, that my death is inevitable. And I know that there are things much, much worse in the living world than death itself. I’m even prepared to leave the world behind.”

Joseph and Camilla gasped in surprise while Anastasia simply nodded her head in understanding. It seemed that she also accepted whatever fate that will befall upon her.

“Yes, dying is always the easiest solution to everything mortals do, I wonder why,” Death said.

“I have known already, but I still want to ask this, my child,” Athena said and Hermione looked straight into her eyes. “Is that what you told your darkness earlier?”

Hermione nodded. “I told myself that I accepted my death, and I know it is inevitable. But the time has not come yet, for this is not the right time for me to die. I have people who love me, care for me and need me in their lives. I have a job to do, I need to protect them with all that I can even though my power is not much — very limited indeed.”

“Even when they have already hurt you many times?” Anastasia asked, her eyes clearly showed her astonishment.

“It was unavoidable, just like death. People tend to hurt each other, and there are various reasons for that. The fact that they regretted their actions is enough for me to move on, to let bygones be bygones. I need to fulfil my destiny, and I can’t do it without them by my side. I will put my faith and trust in the strong connection that we have.”

Everyone looked at Hermione in amazement as if they were looking at her in a new light; she suddenly looked wiser and more matured than she was.

“That’s my girl!” Joseph exclaimed with pride and joy.

“I’m so proud of you, Mia,” Camilla said, tears pooled in her eyes.

“I love you, Mother, Father, and I’m sorry that I can’t join you yet. I hope you are able to look after me from afar,” Hermione went to kiss her parents on their cheeks.

“We’ll always be with you, Honey,” they said at the same time as they embraced her tightly.

“Well, I guess that’s that, then. She’s all yours, Athena,” Death said after a moment of silence passed. He held his hands out for Hermione’s parents to take but before they were gone, Hermione intercepted him.

“Death, I’d like to ask a question, if I may?”

“You may.”

“Is it true that you rewarded the humans with three items: The Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone and the Cloak of Invisibility?”

There was utter silence from Death as he regarded the sudden question. “Have you not been told to never question what the deities do?”

Hermione had forgotten about that. Anastasia did mention it to her once, now that she recalled. “Err… yes, forgive me, I’ve forgotten.” Guilt was written on her face.

“Truthfully, not even a soul has ever dared to ask me that before. I assume they either didn’t know or just didn’t care,” he said cautiously. “But to answer your question, yes, I have gifted those three items towards some greedy and selfish mortals and I understand that they brought misery to many lives, yes?”

Hermione nodded in agreement. “That’s what I heard.”

“Then I’ll appreciate it if you could return them to me, that is if you don’t mind adding the request to the list of tasks you have to do. I’m quite busy to handle this myself, you see.”

“I’ll try my best,” Hermione said in reply.

“No pressure though, Chosen One, and farewell for now. I will see you again in the future, hopefully without any regret in your heart,” Death said and was instantly disappeared, together with Joseph and Camilla Shafiq.

Hermione braced herself steady as she returned to Anastasia and Athena. “I’m ready to leave,” she said, her tone firm.

“I’m glad you choose to live, Hermione,” Anastasia said as she held onto both Hermione’s hands and squeezed them gently. She then turned towards her mother and bid farewell, “I’ll see you again later, Mother.”

“Farewell, my darling child.”

Hermione regarded both of them curiously before she felt her skin tingled from her fingertips and a second later, the sensation covered all over her body. Anastasia held both their hands up as they faced each other, and Hermione gasped as the sensation became stronger the closer the demigod got to her. They got closer and closer until finally they were intertwined and later combined into one.

Hermione sensed something different about her body. She did not change — at least her physiques were still the same — but her body felt strange, especially her magic. She could feel her magic going berserk and erupted inside her being, causing her to gag slightly and she accidentally bit on her tongue. Before long, her magic settled down and she felt calm and composed again, the only thing remained was the taste of copper in her mouth — a proof that she was not dreaming.

“What just happened?” She asked the Goddess as only both of them remained in the Limbo.

“Your soul has accepted my darling child’s soul together with the previous mortal. I believe you have awakened their power and combined them with yours.”

It’s true, Hermione could feel herself getting stronger than before. She was suddenly overcome with a multitude of knowledge and power, and all her senses were heightened as well.

“I have two gifts for you, my child,” Athena said and surprised Hermione even further. “Open your hands.”

Hermione did as she was told. On her right palm appeared a square-like shape thing that looked a bit like a honeycomb, but slightly different in texture. While on her left palm appeared an olive — which looked weirdly normal, all things considered.

“As you can see, this is an olive.” Hermione looked at the Goddess with confusion. “It may look small and normal, but it contains some of the powers bestowed upon by many Gods and Goddesses you would never believe. They were astounded by your display of kindness, your power to love and believe in the good of other mortals, so they gave their blessings to you through this fruit. Eating it will grant you all those powers.”

“Thank you, I’m honoured to receive such gift,” Hermione said, eyes wide with wonder.

“Well, they do have high expectations on you, so…” Hermione gulped nervously.

“And this one here is called Ambrosia, it’s one of our main foods. Normally, mortals are not allowed to eat it for fear it could burn them to death.” Cold sweat formed on Hermione’s head as fear was palpable on her face. “But you’re not a mere mortal now, are you? You have my darling child in you, so you would survive with eating just this much.”

“What is the effect for me if I eat the Ambrosia, Lady Athena?”

“The Ambrosia has the power to heal everything — every sickness, every disease, any kind of wounds and even permanent scars. If you eat it, all the wounds and scars on your body will be completely healed, and you’ll look as good as a newborn, my child,” Athena stated.

‘This is too good to be true. Both items are so powerful,’ Hermione thought. “Do I have the freedom of choice over these gifts?”

Athena was surprised by the question. “Of course, my child, but before you make any decision, let me say this to you. With great power comes great responsibilities, I’m sure you know that already. But what you might not know is that anything that is freely given can easily be taken away as well. That means if in the future, we decide that you’re not worthy of the powers we bestowed upon you, we can easily take them back.”

Hermione took a moment to consider her options. Did she want all the powers? She would need extra help if she wants to be able to protect her beloveds. Also, did she want to forget all the pain she had endured throughout her life? Every event which had brought her to the current circumstances?

She shook her head. How can she?

“Thank you, Lady Athena, I am truly grateful for the mercy you and all the other deities bestowed upon the powerless me. I’ll accept the olive and will do my best to not disappoint you. However, I cannot accept to eat the Ambrosia,” she said in earnest.

“May I ask for your reason?”

“I will not allow myself to forget who I am, who I used to be. The scars will be the ground, a reminder that I’m still a normal human despite everything that will happen in the future.”

Athena nodded with understanding. “You are one wise mortal, my child,” she complimented.

“Thank you,” Hermione blushed, but then her smile turned to frown. “If I may, Lady Athena, I’d like to request something.”

“Speak of what your heart desire.”

“Would it be possible if I bring this Ambrosia back to the living world? I’d love to see if I can use it for healing purposes; I’m sure it would be beneficial to many, unless if you think it isn’t a wise thing to do?” Hermione smiled nervously at the deity.

Athena regarded her question with serious contemplation. “As I’ve said, mortals are normally unable to consume it for fear of being burnt to death.” Hermione’s face turned dispirited right away. “But you speak of noble intention, my child. If you think that you can make use of it, then I see no point of prohibiting you from taking it. I’m sure you will think of something useful.”

Athena winked at her and Hermione beamed with joy. “Thank you,” she bowed. She baffled when the item suddenly disappeared from her open palm.

“Don’t be afraid, my child, I only sent it away. You’ll find it amongst your belongings later.”

Hermione nodded before she examined the olive in her other hand. Her throat dried as she gulped nervously, heart thumped loudly inside her chest. As if slow-motion, she brought the olive closer and popped it into her mouth.

“Oh, I forgot to mention something!” Athena blurted out, her voice slightly out of character. Hermione startled at the sudden high pitch voice and choke on her food, swallowing it down her throat before she erupted into a coughing fit.

“My bad… Are you alright?” Hermione nodded and sucked in deep breaths but was choking again as she heard the next sentence. “There are conditions to eat the olive.” Her eyes widened in shock.

Conditions? But she already ate it! “What are the conditions?” she heard herself asking.

“One, the powers granted will be limited in usage until you have become one with your soulmates. Secondly, this is more of an aftereffect instead of a condition — a little price you have to pay — but oh well, you’ll see it for yourself later,” the Goddess explained rather briefly, Hermione would say.

Hermione did not have the time to ponder on the conditions as she was suddenly pushed into the calm water of the lake. Her eyes closed as she was being pulled to the depths of the lake before she engulfed in total darkness.

What was the price again?


She woke up with a start, gasping for air and panted heavily. Taking a few deep breaths to calm herself down, she became more alert of her surrounding as there were a few things that came to her awareness.

The first thing she realised, she was no longer in the lake. Even though it was quite dark, she could clearly see that she was sitting in a spacious bed in the middle of a bedroom. The room was only lit by moonlight that shone from behind her, but it was not quite bright as the moon was hidden by heavy clouds.

The next thing she realised, she was not alone. There were two women who she assumed were sleeping by her sides while holding her hands. And she could feel the presence of another four people somewhere from below her.

One of the two women stirred in her sleep before she noticed something was not right and she jolted awake. She had silky silvery-blonde hair and a melodic voice as she whispered, “Hermione?” She rubbed her eyes and took in the sight in front of her before she jumped in to embrace her tightly. “Hermione!”

Maybe her voice was a bit loud that it woke the other person up from her slumber. This person had dark brown hair and looked more elderly compared to the one that was embracing her. “Hermione!” She had an equally melodic voice as she uttered with excitement before she went to kiss the frozen, statuesque Hermione on her forehead. Then she ran out of the room and Hermione could hear her screaming, “she’s up! She’s up!!”

Hermione sensed the four figures stomping from downstairs up towards the same level as hers. “She’s awake?” She heard someone asked when the room suddenly brightened up along the appearance of three women and a man.

The silky silvery-blonde woman who was embracing her finally let her go and Hermione observed the six people closing in on her. She acted nonchalantly at the predicament.

“Oh, Hermione, we missed you.” They were saying plenty, but she could only focus on this one sentence. Her heart fluttered and she offered a small smile.

“Where am I?” She asked.

Her voice was hoarse and her throat was parched. A woman with blonde and black stripes hair handed her a glass of water, and Hermione returned a grateful smile to her before she emptied the glass.

“You don’t remember this place, Hermione?” The only man in the room asked.

“Hermione? Is that my name?” She asked, her gaze was fixed intently at the man.

“Don’t you remember who you are, little kitten?” The woman with wild black curls said. Hermione’s eyes wavered as she looked at her, her hands twitched involuntarily and she tried to hide the slight tremble of her body.

“Hermione, do you know who we are?” Another woman who looked exactly like the one prior except for her brown hair asked. There was a concern in her eyes and Hermione could see the quiver of her lips.

“Am I in heaven?” she asked, they stared at her in complete perplexity. “Or are you all angels descended from the heaven?” she silently gagged at her own words but covered it up by coughing lightly. ‘Oh my goodness, that was the lamest I could come up with!’

Hermione could see the confusion that was visible on their faces but she did not have the time to entertain them any longer. She also did not have the time to ponder at one more realisation concerning the change in her physical being.

“Guh… Guwahh…!!”

Her body suddenly heated up, she felt extreme pain at the back of her head and excruciating pain on her chest. Her hands moved instinctively to pull off the chain around her neck, and her fingers were shaking as she tried to put the ring on her fourth finger on her left hand.

“Hermione?”

Maybe the power bestowed upon her by the deities were too much for her to handle, and she was receiving the after-effect now. Her body feverish, her head heavy and throbbing, and she was again lying on her back on the bed with consciousness slowly leaving her.

“Hermione!!!”

The last thing she saw was the beautiful faces of the angels.

What was the price again?

 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 22 – Power Comes With a Price

Hermione opened her eyes gently but flinched at the brightness that greeted her. She blinked a few times to clear her vision so that she could take in her surroundings. She was in the same room where her memory last served her, with the exception that only one person was in the room other than herself.

Minerva was sitting at her study desk, doing what Hermione guessed as marking papers. She was so focused on her job that she did not notice Hermione had been awake and was sitting up straight on the bed.

Hermione watched as Minerva's eyes moved around absorbing every word that was written on the papers, and her hands moved about marking and grading them. She took in the features of her beloved — her forest green eyes that were filled with deep concentration, the movement of her glasses as she wrinkled her nose, her soft pink thin lips that she bit every now and then, and her dark brown hair that was pulled up into a bun, revealing her long and smooth neck.

Minerva looked casual in her floral-printed dress and she looked so at home, and Hermione remembered of the period when she used to stay with the professor years ago. Truth be told, Hermione had longed to see her like this again — stress and worry-free, not uptight like how she usually was at Hogwarts.

Watching Minerva made Hermione fell in love with the woman all over again. She wanted to get up and stealthily walk behind the woman, kiss her at the back of her neck and steal her breath away. Instead, the mere thought of doing that stirred the desire inside her core — and another thing entirely.

Heart pulsated quickly, she slowly and quietly lifted up the blanket that was covering the bottom half of her body, and she gasped at the tent that she found in her pyjama bottom. 'Pyjama?' Only now she realised that she was wearing one of her pyjama sets. 'Since when?'

"Hermione?"

Hermione instinctively bunched the blanket up and covered herself again as she smiled nervously at Minerva, who had already gotten up from her seat and was making her way towards her now. Minerva graciously sat beside her on the bed and took one of her hands into her own.

"How long have you been up, my love?" she asked.

"Only just now," Hermione said, heart fluttered inside her chest at the term of endearment.

"How are you feeling?" Minerva gently brought her fingers to tuck Hermione's hair behind her ears before they cupped both her cheeks.

"Fine! Great, actually. Confused, overwhelmed, but great," Hermione chuckled nervously, but she immediately softened as Minerva brushed her fingers on her cheeks.

"You look flushed. Do you still have your fever? Are you cold?"

"No, no, it's nothing. I'm fine, really."

"Okay, if you say so, my love. Do you remember who you are? Do you remember me?" Minerva said, her tone slower by the end and she was looking at Hermione with concern and worry.

Hermione took both Minerva's hands off her face and peppered soft kisses on her palms. "How can I forget you, Min? You will always be my first love."

"Oh, Hermione!"

Hermione was surprised when Minerva was all but jumped into her embrace and they fell onto the bed unceremoniously. She could feel wet dripping on her shoulder and heard the sound of Minerva's sobs and she let her be. Tightening her embrace, she rubbed behind Minerva's back to deliver some warmth and comfort.

"I'm here now, Min. I won't leave you again," she whispered in the woman's ear.

"I miss you so much, Hermione. I really thought I'm going to lose you again. I've never felt so afraid in my life."

"You won't, Min. I'm in this for the long run, if you will have me?" Hermione bit her lip worriedly.

Minerva pulled back from the embrace and stared deeply into Hermione's eyes. "I need you like I need the air to breathe, my love. I will never let you out of my sight again."

"Min, I…" Hermione turned to sit on the bed, took one of Minerva's hand into hers and played with her fingers, while she contemplated asking Minerva what had been worrying her mind.

Minerva placed a finger under Hermione's chin and gently lifted it up so that their eyes could meet. "What's on your mind, love?"

There were worries in Hermione's honest brown eyes before they settled with tender and love, love towards the older woman. "Min, I'm sorry. I—I saw your memories."

Minerva inhaled sharply and her eyes widened momentarily. Her hands fell back to her own lap.

"I'm sorry, Min. I didn't know — about your parents, your brothers, about Dougal and Elphinstone."

Minerva closed her eyes as memories of her past flashed through her mind. When she opened them, there were unshed tears in her eyes. She turned her body to sit sideways on the large bed.

"Min…"

"It's not your fault, Hermione. I—I don't—I can't…" Minerva took a deep breath and heaved a sigh. "It's not your fault that I couldn't bring myself to tell you about them. I've been too afraid of losing the people I love again and again."

"Min … Is that why you rejected me before?"

Minerva could only nod her head. "I'm afraid of falling in love, Hermione. My mother sacrificed our world because she fell in love with my father, a Muggle. Not that I mind that my father is a Muggle, I even fell in love with a Muggle myself, Dougal.

But our world and their world are different. My mother struggled to keep her secret of being a witch, of my brothers and I being wizards and a witch, from our father. And my father, though kind as he was, found it difficult to accept the truth. I didn't want the same thing that happened between my parents, to happen with Dougal and me. I just couldn't bring myself to tell him who I really was — am."

"So you changed your appearance?"

"Didn't you say you saw my memories, Hermione?" Minerva raised an eyebrow at Hermione, but there was no malice in her voice.

Hermione bobbed her head once. "I did, but I wish to know about your past from you, yourself. I really care about you, Min."

"Oh, I don't doubt you, my love," Minerva said and paused for a moment before she continued. "I requested for the breakup, but Dougal didn't give up on me. I had to escape from him, in order to allow him to move on with his normal life. I, too, had to move on with my life, away from the painful heartbreak. So I thought I would give myself a slightly different appearance."

Hermione nodded her head in understanding. Her heart stung as she remembered seeing the memory of Minerva's first heartbreak.

"But then the war happened and I lost them. I lost my family and my former lover during the war. You-Know-Who and his followers, they killed them all. Brutally, without mercy, I suspect."

"What about Elphinstone?"

"He's a fine man, Elphy. I didn't love him when we were married; my heart was still in pieces, you see. But he was a man with a lot of patience and compassion. And just when I was about to heal my heart, accepting my future with him and thinking that I could potentially love him, Death took him away from me."

There were tears running down Minerva's cheeks and Hermione's heart broke at the sight. She gingerly moved her hands to wiped the tears and pulled the woman into her embrace. She did not know what to say, other than sending apologies to the woman.

"I thought I couldn't love again, I thought that I have locked my heart and burned the key. But then you managed to somehow unlock it, Hermione." Minerva pulled away from the embrace, took one of her lover's hands and placed it on her chest, right above her heart.

"You made this heart beats again, my love. You fill it with happiness, with love, and I will forever regret denying the feelings that I have for you. I knew from the moment we met, we shared a connection, except I didn't know that we're destined to be soulmates."

"I don't care much about destiny or soulmates, Minerva." Hermione ignored the soft gasp coming from Minerva, took the woman's hand and kissed on her palm lovingly. "What I need to know, is that what we have is true, genuine. I love you with all my heart, Min."

"And I, you. I love you very much, Hermione." Minerva peppered kisses all over Hermione's face before their lips met in a tender kiss. "But what about the others?" she said after they broke apart.

Hermione was on a cloud nine from the tender kiss they just shared. The desire she felt towards Minerva just now returned, but stronger. "Let's not think about the others right now." She pulled Minerva back to her and they shared another kiss.

They moved in tandem as the kiss deepened and Hermione had to bite back the feral groan that threatened to leave her throat as her desire towards the woman grew tenfold. She could feel the new part of herself hardened, throbbing and twitching inside her knickers, causing her to pull away from the kiss in an unfamiliar pain.

She tried to even her breathing and think of something else that could distract her mind from focusing on where her blood had flowed directly towards a specific location on her body part, but Minerva felt so nice in her arms — and she smelled so good too — and Hermione was torn between ravishing the woman right there and then or putting a distance between them.

Her rationale won and she gently peeled herself away from Minerva, who was still trying to regain her breathing. She sat up — half crouched — and fisted the bunched blanket tightly in her hands, trying so hard to calm herself down.

"Hermione, are you alright? Do you have a stomach ache? Or do you feel pain somewhere else?"

'Oh, somewhere else, definitely,' she answered in her head. She was not about to tell Minerva about her new appendage, so she took a deep breath and thought of her adopted father, of Lucius, and the throbbing died instantly.

Instead, she felt like her stomach churned. She quickly jumped out of the bed and ran into the joined bathroom, throwing her insides into the toilet bowl and flushed it away. There was nothing much for her to throw out as she had not been eating for days, but she wished she could throw her dark memories into the bowl and flushed them away, never to be seen again.

"Are you sick, my love? Do you want me to call for Severus or Cissy so they can check on you?" Minerva asked worriedly while rubbing behind her back.

Hermione shook her head to the side. "It's okay, Min. I'm fine, thank you, but I think I need to take a shower."

Minerva nodded her head. "Do you need help?"

"NO!" Hermione's loud shriek caused Minerva to jump apart and look at her with widened eyes. "I'm sorry … I mean, no, it's alright. I can wash, Min. Thank you for the offer, but maybe next time?" She offered a small smile to the older woman.

Hermione watched as the pain in Minerva's eyes was replaced by understanding and compassion. She also caught the movement of her eyes as they cast downwards for a tad too long for Hermione to figure out where exactly was she looking at.

"Min?"

Minerva visibly startled and her eyes darted around before they settled on Hermione's. "Y—Yes, my love?"

Hermione ignored the flush that was rising up Minerva's neck. "How did I get into this pyjama?"

"You were having a fever for the past three days and only today it subsided. We took turns to change your clothes and clean you from the sweats, and I changed you into this pyjama this morning. Why, do you prefer other clothes?"

Hermione paled as she regarded Minerva's words. 'So she saw it? Wait, did she just say 'we'? Shit!' Hermione willed her thoughts to go away, shaking her head and forcing a smile on her face. "No, this is actually my favourite. Thank you, Min."

"I love you, Hermione," Minerva said as she kissed on Hermione's head.

"Min…" Hermione heaved a sigh as she braced herself to ask the next question. "Did you see it?"

Minerva turned her head away — she was looking at everywhere but not at Hermione. Her fingers were toying with each other as she said in barely above a whisper, "it's … big." Heat rising up her neck and covered her entire face.

Hermione too, blushed at the blunt compliment — it's a compliment, right? — but then she cleared her throat in an attempt to cool herself down. 'Is it hot in here or is it just me?'

"When you said 'we', does that mean that everyone else … knows about … it?"

Minerva slowly bobbed her head once and Hermione felt like she wanted to dig a hole and bury herself deep underground.

"Except Severus," Minerva added.

"Does it even matter?" Hermione grumbled.

"No, it matters not, my love," Minerva said with a stern voice. She lifted Hermione's chin and looked deeply into her eyes, searching for the soul that she loved dearly. "We love you, and nothing's going to change that, Hermione. Trust me, trust us."

Hermione knew Minerva was saying the right thing at the right time, but it was still hard for her to accept the fact at the moment.

She smiled hesitantly at the woman. "Thank you, Min. I—I need some time to myself … may I?"

Minerva nodded and kissed Hermione's temple before she stood up and walk away. "I'll be outside if you need me," she said before she left and shut the bathroom door behind her.

Hermione was left alone in the bathroom and she quickly rose to her feet and peeled her clothes off. She looked down at the apex of her thighs and groaned at the sight that greeted her. It was huge, no doubt about that. Instead of a vagina, she was greeted by a few inches penis — or maybe more, she was not sure, it was not erect at the moment.

She groaned frustratingly and felt extremely disgusted at the newfound appendage. 'Out of all the things I would be willing to pay, why do I have to sacrifice my own sex?' She berated at herself. She walked towards the full mirror and took a clear look at herself, see if there were any more changes to her body.

No, nothing else seemed to have changed. She may have looked thinner than before but her eyes, her hair, her heights were all still the same. She even had her still-growing breasts on her chest. The only thing different was the flaccid rod and whenever she looked at it, she was reminded of all the horrendous tragedies that befell her.

Hermione felt nauseated at the sight and she threw up in the toilet bowl again. When she was done, she quickly washed her mouth at the basin. Picking up her clothes, she transfigured them into a long sleeve shirt and pants before wearing them. She had trouble tucking it and its balls — yes, it came with a complete set — into her pants, and although disgusted, she forced her hand to fit them neatly. She quickly washed and scrubbed her hands clean afterwards.

Her breathing constricted and she was gasping for air. She wanted to get out and get some fresh air but at the same time, she did not want to cause worry to Minerva. She was a little grateful that there was no one else in the cottage at the time, so she could delay from meeting them for now. She knew sooner or later, they were going to meet and talk, but not now. She was not ready.

She pictured the exterior of the Three Broomsticks Inn and felt the sparks of magic at her fingertips. She was feeling nervous because she had never done apparition by herself before, but she put faith in the training she had done with Anastasia previously. She flicked her hand and in an instant, she was gone.


When Hermione was falling unconscious with a fever right after she returned to the living world, she was being pulled by Anastasia into another realm. The demigod who was currently resided within her told that she needed to practice and familiarise herself with the various powers that were bestowed upon her.

So Hermione spent the time being taught by Anastasia of various knowledge and information of her own magic, Morgan's, Anastasia's and more of the deities' powers and what her limits were at using them. In between testing, practising, trials and errors, she took some rests and during those resting time, memories of many people's lives were being played like movies.

It started with Morgan's, Minerva's, Bellatrix's, Andromeda's, Narcissa's, and ended with Fleur's. Hermione disapproved of learning their pasts through this method, but then Anastasia told her that they also had learned about each other's pasts in the same way. It cannot be helped, but she still felt that it did not make things right. She was going to ask for their forgiveness later on.

Hermione learned how to play with elements — wind, earth, fire, water, darkness, light, and more — and she felt like her power could be limitless but her physical ability prohibited her from achieving more. She learned to multiplied/split herself and figured that seven was her limit.

She would always feel extremely exhausted whenever she reached her limit and Anastasia told her that only when she had truly become one with her soulmates, she will not feel so tired anymore. And only her soulmates can help with restoring her energy back to the fullest within a short period of time.

Hermione also learned how to read people's minds and how to look into their pasts and their futures. Anastasia brought her jumped into the different dimensions of the world, where she would have to practise looking into random people's souls and learned about the reasons for their behaviours.

There were so much that she had learned in a short amount of time, but she did not know whether she could be able to really remember and do well in the real world. She doubted herself, her own abilities and capabilities, but Anastasia offered her some words of consolation and support.

"You will not be alone, Hermione. You don't have to bear everything alone. You have people who will support you and be the strength that you need. Have more trust in yourself, my dear."


Hermione appeared in front of the Three Broomsticks Inn in one piece, safe and sound. She did a little victory dance but was startled when she heard the sound of broken glasses from inside the inn. A moment later, Rosmerta emerged from the entrance door and scooped her into her arms. Hermione returned the gesture and embraced the woman tightly, feeling the warmth and love emitted from her.

"Hermione! Where were you? I heard you were missing!" Rosmerta said with a tone mixed with worry and relief as she held both Hermione's arms.

"Are you alright? Are you hurt? Were you kidnapped? Did they hurt you?" She turned Hermione around to check for her condition.

"You look like bones! Did they not give you something to eat? Are you hungry? Do you want to eat?"

Hermione was dizzy with too many questions being asked by the inn's owner non-stop. However, she still managed a dazzling smile towards the woman she held dearly. "I'm famished!"

Rosmerta had already pulled her along and inside the establishment. "Sit, I'll fix something up for you. Don't go anywhere!" She gestured towards Hermione's favourite seat and turned towards her employee. "Lydia, could you please give Hermione a glass of the sweet butterbeer?"

"Yes, Madam!" The petite girl shouted back and rushed herself to do as she was asked.

Hermione knew Lydia from Hogwarts. Lydia was in the Hufflepuff, a year older than her but smaller in size. She also knew that Lydia was a Muggle-born and an average student, but there was nothing else that she knew beyond that.

Lydia came to the table and served her a huge glass — the biggest they could offer — of the sweet butterbeer. Hermione took the opportunity to test her new power right then.

"Hi, Lydia! Lydia Barden, right?" Hermione greeted the girl with the warmest smile she could muster and held out her hand.

"Yes, Hermione Granger," Lydia replied and Hermione was glad that she took her hand for a polite shake.

Hermione's mind was playing Lydia's memories since she was born. As soon as it started, it was gone in a flash but she could see the memories as clear as day.

"We never talked before, have we?" She said while letting go of her hand. "How are your parents? Your father is in the Army, isn't he?"

Lydia let out a loud gasp as her hands flew to cover her mouth. "How—How do you know?"

"Just a hunch." Hermione shrugged nonchalantly. "Stay strong and support your mother, as you have always done. Your father will come home soon, possibly on—" she rubbed her chin as she tried to assess the vision of future consisted of Lydia's father. "—next Wednesday, in the afternoon."

Lydia gasped again, her knees wobbled and her hands were shaking. Her whole body was trembling and Hermione pulled a chair magically just in time she fell into the seat. She was grateful but could not utter a word as her mind jumbled up.

"You're joking," she finally said, disbelieving.

"I'm not, but you don't have to believe me," Hermione replied in all seriousness.

"You're not lying?" Lydia asked again, there were tears in her eyes threatening to fall at any moment.

"No, I'm not." Hermione patted at the back of the girl's hand and stood up from her seat. "Excuse me, I need to use the bathroom real quick."

She did not wait for any response from Lydia as she walked towards the back of the establishment. She knew the ins and outs of the place like home — well, it used to be one of the places she considered as a home back then. She went into one of the bathroom stalls, locked it and leaned back against the door. She felt exhausted — already? — as she panted heavily, but there were sparks on her fingers again.

Hermione conjured her Patronus, an otter, and chuckled as it danced merrily around her. She whispered some words and watched as it nodded before disappearing from her sight. Taking a short minute to calm herself down, Hermione then returned to her seat, Lydia was no longer at her table.

Not a moment later, Rosmerta emerged from the kitchen with a tray full of various kinds of food.

"Ros! Are you feeding a camp?" She looked at the woman with widened eyes.

"Hush! You're too thin, Hermione, you need to eat!" Rosmerta sat in the seat opposite her. "What are you waiting for? Dig in!"

Hermione took a bowl of soup and a piece of bread from the tray and started eating. Rosmerta waved her hand and soon enough, Lydia came again with a glass of beer for her. Hermione merely raised her eyebrow at the older woman.

"Didn't you always preach about 'no drinking while working' rule?"

Rosmerta smirked at the girl. "I have the perks of being the owner of this place. Got any complaint?"

Hermione shook her head.

"Good. Now tell me, where were you? I want to know every detail," Rosmerta inquired in between sipping her drink.

"Wait for a bit, please. I'm waiting for someone. When she comes later, I'll update the both of you, I promise."

"You mean if she comes?" Rosmerta said. She would never doubt Hermione but the waiting will make her even more anxious.

"Oh, she'll come, I'm sure of it. Meanwhile, can you tell me what day is today? I think I've lost track of time." Hermione smiled sheepishly.

"Well, today's Thursday, June 25th," Rosmerta said, as she picked up the latest Daily Prophet from the table next to them.

"WHAT?!" Hermione shrieked, attracting a few patrons to look at her. Her voice then changed to a hushed whisper as she looked bewilderedly at Rosmerta. "I've been gone for almost a week!"

"A week?!" Now it was Rosmerta's turn to shriek and causing the patrons to look at them with more interest and confusion in their eyes. "Nothing to look here, people," she dismissed them easily but continued to grumble, "I swear people nowadays like to put their noses everywhere that matters not. Take today's headlines for example; Speculations about the Death of Head of Malfoy."

Hermione spat her butterbeer unceremoniously as her eyes widened in shock. She no longer felt like eating, her stomach would not be able to digest more food anyway. "Let me see!" She grabbed the newspaper from Rosmerta's hand and her eyes moved in a very fast pace, taking in word by word of what was written in the news.

"Are you alright, Hermione?" Rosmerta was thoroughly confused at the girl's action but genuinely worried all the same.

"Can I have all the newspapers starting from last Friday, please?"


"Hermione?"

Minerva knocked on the bathroom door and called out her lover's name. It had been a while and Hermione had yet to come out from the shower she said she was going to take.

When Hermione requested to be alone, Minerva went to the kitchen to prepare some tea and snacks for Hermione. It took her a while to decide what to make for her lover, but now she was done with it and was finally back in Hermione's bedroom.

However, Hermione was still not coming out of the bathroom yet, and there was no answer to her calling. Minerva furrowed her eyebrows in confusion.

"My love, are you alright? I'm going to open the door, okay?"

Again, no answer. In fact, Minerva could not even hear any sound coming from the other side of the door. Her heart picked up its pace as negative thoughts were running through her mind, so she yanked the door open and ran inside.

Hermione was nowhere to be seen.

"Hermione!?"

Panic, Minerva ran around the house to search for Hermione but after a while, she concluded that Hermione was missing, again. She was about to go and find Severus but retracted her thought as she remembered that the man and Bellatrix were having a meeting with the Dark Circle. She could not call for Narcissa either, the woman had a lot on her plate right now. Whereas Fleur was working at the Gringotts, so the only person who could be available at the moment would be Andromeda.

Decided, she went to the fireplace to make a floo call to Andromeda's house.


Andromeda was inside the library in her house, doing some reading of the Black's family history when she heard someone calling for her.

"Mom! Someone's here looking for you!" Nymphadora Tonks shouted from the bottom of the stairs.

"Who is it, Honey?" Andromeda asked and quickly stashed the book to its original place. She did not receive an answer from her darling daughter so she swiftly made her way downstairs.

"Who is it?" She asked again.

Tonks shrugged her shoulders and her eyebrows furrowed as she said, "I'm not entirely sure. She looks familiar, though."

Andromeda walked inside the living room and found Minerva's — without her glamour — head popped out from the fireplace. She looked anxious, worried and pale, and Andromeda sensed something must have happened to Hermione.

"Minerva! What happened? Is Hermione okay?" She inquired, not beating around the bush. Her daughter gasped in surprise as she sat close beside her.

"She woke up, said that she wanted to shower, but now she's missing, again," Minerva said in a rush.

"Hold on a second. When did she wake up?"

"Half an hour ago."

"And you only tell me now because?" Andromeda crossed her arms over her chest and stared at her ex-professor.

"Because I was occupied. Trust me, I wanted to inform all of you as soon as possible."

"Okay, I trust you. So she's missing, again. What happened? Did she remember?"

"Seems like she did. I can't tell you over the floo now." Minerva glanced at Tonks while she said this. "Come here, I'll explain in detail."

Andromeda looked at her daughter, who had a confused look on her face before she turned towards the older woman again. "Alright, wait for me. Don't go anywhere until I come."

Minerva nodded at her before they ended the call. She turned towards her daughter again and could imagine the gears turning inside her head as she processed the little information from the call just now.

"Was that … Professor McGonagall?" Tonks asked, her head tilted to the side.

"Yes," Andromeda simply said.

Before her daughter was able to ask anything else, there was a blue Patronus light in the form of an otter popped up in front of them, facing specifically towards her daughter.

"Tonks! Hermione here. I need your help, please! Could you come to the place where we first met? ASAP please."

The message was short, precise and was totally clear in Hermione's voice. She sounded a little flushed like her breathing was on the heavy side, and there was the urgency in her tone.

"Right, I guessed I've been summoned by Her Majesty," Tonks said before she made her way out of the room. "See you later, Mom!"

"Dora, wait!" Andromeda grabbed her daughter's hand and stopped her in her tracks. "Could you please make sure she goes back home later tonight? We'll be waiting for her there."

Tonks nodded her head. "Sure, I'll tell her later."

"Thank you, Dora. I love you," Andromeda kissed her daughter's head and hugged her momentarily. "Go, make sure she's safe and sound. I need to go contain a worried cat from turning into an angry tiger."

Tonks chuckled and left the house to disapparate away. The time was now three o'clock in the evening.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 23 – Broken again

"This is preposterous!"

Hermione slammed the newspaper on top of another newspaper. There were quite a number of Daily Prophet editions scattered across the table. The food which had been forgotten now laid on the empty table next to them.

"What is?" asked Rosmerta.

"The news! Not a single one of them says anything about me, no, not at all. Nothing, nuh-uh, nay! I can't believe it! I thought being called 'The Brightest Witch of Her Age' has its own merit or something, but apparently not. If only they knew who I really am—"

"And who might you really be? The Once and Future Queen, perhaps?"

Eyes widened in surprise, Hermione turned towards the voice coming from behind her.

"Tonks!" She squealed in delight at the sight of her dearest friend and went to embrace her tightly. It felt like it had been a while since the last time she met the Metamorphmagus.

"'Mione…" Tonks uttered with a relieved sigh as she tightened her arms around the smaller girl.

"How are you, Tonks?" Hermione said after they broke apart. "The last time I saw you, was when you were stunned by—"

"I know. I'm fine, thank you. Was stuck in St. Mungo's for a night, but I'm as good as ever now." Tonks flashed her brightest smile ever, interjected Hermione before she muttered the name forbidden to the public ears.

"Good evening, Madam Rosmerta. How's life treating you?" Tonks greeted the inn's owner as she took a seat next to Hermione.

"Same old, same old," Rosmerta said as she sipped on her beer. "Been worried about this one here, until she showed up just now," Rosmerta said with one hand gestured towards Hermione, who had a cheeky smile on her face.

"Me too," Tonks chimed in. "What's up, Your Majesty?" Tonks uttered the title in a soft whisper, not wanting to be heard by other patrons in the establishment.

Hermione lifted her left eyebrow as she looked at the woman next to her. Tonks looked different, which Hermione was not able to notice during their last encounter. Usually, there was the air of playfulness surrounding Nymphadora Tonks, and although she was still playful with Hermione, she could not help but sensed that something about Tonks had changed. Her perspective on life, maybe? She was not sure.

"Your Majesty?" Rosmerta's voice broke Hermione from her trance. She looked from Tonks to Hermione, back and forth as confusion was clear on her face.

"That's twice now, Tonks. I take it that Andy has told you?" Hermione said without any hint of displeased, and the auror bobbed her head.

"My dearies, anyone wants to fill me in? What did I miss?" Rosmerta huffed, arms crossed above her chest. Tonks and Hermione chuckled at the woman's demeanour.

"Let's take this upstairs, it's not safe to talk here." Hermione's voice turned hush but there was a seriousness in her tone, and both Tonks and Rosmerta understood the importance of the conversation they were going to have.

Hermione and Tonks scurried upstairs into a vacant room while Rosmerta went to talk to her employees. Soon she arrived and Hermione immediately locked the door and cast various charms across the room.

It was the first time that Rosmerta had seen Hermione used her magic without her wand and wordless magic at that, so she was clearly impressed by her magical prowess. Whereas Tonks clearly knew about Hermione's ability since she had witnessed it before, but the knowledge she received from her mother had opened her eyes to the potential Hermione may have had.

"Hermione, wait!" A voice rang in Hermione's mind. It was Anastasia's, surprising her.

"Please excuse me for a while," she said to the other two occupants in the room and close her eyes tight, seemingly absorbed in herself, focusing only on her inner soul.

"Yes, Ana? What is it?"

To the other two who were watching her intently, Hermione looked like she was deep in her thoughts, as she always does when she was concentrating on something.

"Hermione, are you sure about telling them the truth?" There was a hint of worry in Anastasia's voice but Hermione did not notice that. She was too excited to actually be sharing about her newfound power to someone else, someone she held close to her heart.

"Yes, Ana. I trust Ros and Tonks with all my heart, just like how I would trust my soulmates, and Severus too." Hermione said as a matter of fact.

"Fine, then. I hope you know what you're doing, Hermione. Just one more thing, please refrain yourself from using your power carelessly. You're still not 'one' with your soulmates and the power will drain you if you keep using it relentlessly. And you preached yourself about honouring one's rights, don't you? Isn't privacy also one of the mortals' rights?"

"Fine, 'Mother'. I'll keep that in mind." Hermione quickly tuned out from Anastasia's voice and re-focused to the world of the living once more. She took in the two women in the room and beamed happily at them.

"So here's the thing," Hermione started. "I'm different."

"Well, I can sense that much myself," Rosmerta said; Hermione laughed out loud while Tonks chuckled.

"What I meant to say, is that I'm still the same Hermione as you knew since years ago, but at the same time, I'm not. I'm much more than just that. Oh, there's so much I want to tell you, I don't know where to start," Hermione said, a little too excited.

"Mom said that you were once a queen and will one day be a queen again," Tonks supplied.

Hermione nodded. "That is one way to put it."

"Wait—Wait! A queen? Hermione?" Rosmerta quickly interrupted them, still confused with the conversation.

"Let me start with the day when it all happened. So last week, I was kind of forced to follow Harry Potter and his friends to the Department of Mysteries…"


"Minerva! Sorry, I'm late. I had to leave a note to Ted, or else he'll send out a search party for me."

Andromeda appeared from the fireplace and she quickly dusted herself off. Minerva was nowhere in sight, so she called out her name again. "Minerva?"

"Andy! Oh, thank Merlin you're here!" Minerva emerged from Hermione's room looking all worried and flustered, and she immediately threw herself into the younger witch's arms. "I don't know when she left, I've looked all over but … she was in distressed, and I—I don't know what to say to her … Oh, Andy, I'm the worst lover—"

"Minerva! Hey, Minerva, calm yourself down!" Andromeda grasped both the professor's shoulders and slightly shook her in order to snap her out of it. "I know where she is, so calm down now, okay?"

"Okay," Minerva simply said. "Wait—what? You know where she is?" Her eyes widened as she finally took in Andromeda's words.

Andromeda merely nodded and pulled Minerva to sit on the sofa. She did not say anything else, which made the older woman restless still.

"Well?"

"Well, what?"

"Where is Hermione, Andy? You said you know where she is!"

"Oh, right. She's at Rosmerta's. Dora received a Patronus from her right after we finished the call just now."

"Rosmerta! Oh, I'm a dolt. Why didn't I think of that? Of course, she'll go to Ros! Where else would she be?" Minerva should have been able to figure it out by herself had she remembered Hermione's memories which she had seen the last few days — finding out that Rosmerta was like a motherly figure in Hermione's life was one of them.

Minerva finally let a long breath of relief and sagged further down the sofa. She closed her eyes and chuckled to herself.

"What's funny?" Andromeda asked, confused by the sudden change of behaviour.

"I think I know why Hermione left." Minerva opened her eyes, they were shining with glee and she giggled softly.

"Why? You have yet to tell me what actually happened," Andromeda said as she propped one arm against the back of the sofa while her other hand rested on her lap. Her eyes showed curiosity and interest as she looked at Minerva who seemed slightly flushed now.

"Well, when I realised she has awoken, I saw that she was checking inside the cover. I think she just noticed about her … you-know-what."

"You-know-what?" Andromeda frowned, clueless.

"You know … her … thing!"

Andromeda gasped aloud but then chuckled as she could picture the situation, and one could see that her ears had turned red from the image. "Thing, Minerva? What are you, five?"

"Can you say it, then?" Minerva challenged. Andromeda merely shook her head in return. "See? It doesn't feel right to call that thing with its name when it was on Hermione. It's weird, doesn't it?"

Andromeda chuckled again. "What happened then?" The excitement in her voice was as clear as day.

"We hugged and talked. She said she saw my memories, and we talked about them — my family, Dougal, Elphy…" Minerva's voice turned soft by the end and she was grateful when Andromeda squeezed her hand softly.

Andromeda knew how hard it must be for Minerva to talk about her past, the woman had lost so much in her life. She knew because she, too, had seen Minerva's memories. Not just her, though. Every one of Hermione's soulmates had seen each other's memories and they did not understand how it was possible, but the only plausible explanation would be the bonds they had amongst themselves. Something had surely happened the last few days, but they were still confused about most of it. So she only offered what she could; warmth and comfort.

"We kissed afterwards, Hermione and I." Minerva's face was full of bliss before it turned to a frown. "But she suddenly crouched in pain. Her face was—was totally in distressed, her hands squeezing and bunching the cover tightly on her laps. I could take a guess of what happened but all of a sudden, she jumped out of bed, ran away to the bathroom and threw up."

"Was she feeling sick?"

"I'm not really sure myself. I hope she's not sick from kissing me. She was kind of barfing out everything inside her."

"No way! You're definitely a good kisser, I'm sure."

"Oh, wouldn't you want to know, Mrs Tonks?"

Minerva purely said it with the intention of being playful, but Andromeda swiftly inched closer to her, and her heart skipped a beat as their faces were getting closer. She could feel the younger witch's breath on her face and at that moment she realised how beautiful the woman really was.

Minerva knew that the three Black sisters were attractive in their own way — albeit how manic Bellatrix could be. However, now that she had the information of their attractions towards her, she could not lie to herself that if given any chance they would become intimate, she would not be able to say 'no' to any of them.

At least not in front of Hermione.

Andromeda cupped Minerva's cheek, giving a chance for the older witch to pull away, but she did not. Their lips brushed softly against each other before they moved with more confidence. Heads tilted to the sides as they deepened the kiss; hands buried underneath each other's hairs, scratching and pulling.

And that was precisely how Fleur Delacour saw them when she apparated inside the house.


The clock struck four in the evening and Fleur had just finished her work for the day. She was eager to be home with Hermione and the others that she did not even hear her name being called out by Bill as she nearly ran out of the Gringotts building, rounding the corner and immediately disappeared from the street. She reappeared inside the living room of Severus' cottage and was stupefied by the sight before her.

"Ahem!"

She cleared her throat, causing the two women to jumped apart as if their lips were burned from being touched. Her eyebrow arched high and her lips formed a smirk as she looked amused at the two flustered women — one was trying to straighten out her cloth while the other was trying to fix her hair.

"Hi, Fleur! When did you come home?" Minerva said, embarrassed at being caught.

"Yes, I didn't realise you were there." Andromeda, however, tried to act innocent.

"Oh, I just arrived. Pardon, Mesdames, I interrupted you two. Please, continue with what you were doing, I'm going to check on Hermione."

"Wait, Fleur!" Andromeda stood and grabbed Fleur's soft hand, halting the girl in her steps. "Please don't tell Hermione about what you saw. I was merely proving to Minerva that she was a good kisser, and Hermione certainly did not get sick from kissing her earlier."

"What do you mean?" Fleur's eyes widened and her heart was beating faster as her mind was filled with the thought of Hermione finally regained consciousness. She had hoped but was afraid to put her hopes up too high.

"Come, you'd want to sit down for this." Andromeda pulled the silvery-blonde haired witch to sit in between her and Minerva on the sofa.

Meanwhile, Minerva had called for Lori and asked her to prepare tea for them. Lori appeared not a while later with a tray full of teas and snacks.

"Thank you, Lori. Could you please send a message to Severus and Bella — only if they have finished with their meeting! — and tell them that Hermione has awoken?"

"Certainly, Mistress Minerva." Lori flashed a smile and disappeared with a 'pop'.


For the past few days, Narcissa had been in a restless state. She and Draco had gone to the Ministry of Magic to deliver the news of Lucius' death and it was within her expectation that the news would be blown out of proportion, due to Lucius' status and connection within the ministry and the wizarding society in general.

However, what made her restless was the fact that she still hid the secret about the truth of his death from the knowledge of others, especially to her darling son. She did not know how to tell him but to others, she merely said that Lucius died from a magical mishap.

People reacted differently and many of them made various speculations about his death. Some said that he was killed by the Dark Lord, some said he was killed by Harry Potter, but at the same time, there were others who made a comment of how pleased they were that he was finally rid from this world.

She had been receiving numerous letters from various people, asking for a lot of things of her and from her. Although one letter, in particular, had her nerve-racking as it was from the Ministry of Magic, summoning her and Draco for a trial pertaining to Lucius' death and his — as well as their — involvement in Voldemort's circle.

She sighed exasperatedly as she sat down on the sofa in the library of Malfoy's Manor.

"Are you alright, Mother?"

Narcissa looked up from the letter towards her son — she had forgotten that he was here too. "Nothing unusual, Draco. It's only a letter from the ministry." She motioned for Draco to sit beside her and after he did, she passed the letter for him to read.

"It's on next Monday, and today's already Thursday. We only have three days to get ready, but do we even need anything?" Draco furrowed his eyebrows as he shifted his eyes to his distressed mother.

Narcissa shook her head no. "I think we just need to tell the ministry whatever we know about them, and that we're not involved. We don't have the Dark Mark anyway. And about his death, just say that he had a magical mishap and accidentally killed himself."

"Why? Wouldn't it be easier to tell them that he was killed by a Muggle?"

"No! Certainly not. It will just complicate matters, trust me. What do you think they will say if they knew a wizard was murdered by a Muggle?"

"It will not be a first time," Draco said and shrugged his shoulders; Narcissa nodded weakly, her face turned sombre.

"I know, but…"

They sat in silence for a minute when all of a sudden, the door burst open and in came Bellatrix Black and Severus Snape, trotting while whispering harshly with each other.

Narcissa quickly snatched the letter from Draco's hand and pocketed it inside her robe. She motioned for Draco not to mention about the letter to anyone else, especially to Bellatrix.

"Bella, Sev, you're back! Good to see that you two look fine."

The pair stopped their whispering and Bellatrix smiled at her sister. Her smile looked wary if anyone noticed at all whereas Severus being his usual self, acting indifferently as if he did not have a care of anything.

"Cissy, my darling sister! Oh, I have missed you so!" Bellatrix's voice was a pitch higher than normal and she went to kiss on Narcissa's cheek. "Draco, my boy, don't you look charming tonight?" She ruffled Draco's hair, causing him to protest weakly but did nothing to fix his hair.

"How did the meeting go?" Narcissa asked just as Bellatrix sat next to her.

Bellatrix's eyes widened momentarily before she schooled her face and tried to act normal, despite her palms began to sweat and her body kind of gave the nervous vibe. She looked at Severus who sat across them, sending signals through their eye contact but the man merely rolled his eyes.

"The meeting was OK, nothing unusual. Except that he was furious that you did not tell the truth about Lucius' death — that you did not place the blame on the Muggle," he said.

"Am I supposed to care about what he thinks?" Narcissa sneered.

Bellatrix and Severus exchanged glances between each other, making silent conversation with their faces. Severus tilted his head while Bellatrix's face morphed to fear as she shook her head furiously.

"What's going on between you two?" Narcissa looked between the two, observing their behaviour with keen eyes.

"No-Nothing!" Bellatrix shrieked. "Whatever do you mean, Cissy?" She tried to grin but her smile contorted weirdly.

Narcissa's slitted her eyes as she studied her sister and realised that she had been out of sort since they arrived just now. Bellatrix looked anxious and she was always acting that way when she was hiding something from her, but Narcissa was clever. She would always know what her sister hid from her.

"Did he do something to you, Bella? Did he use 'Crucio' on you again?" Narcissa gasped and grabbed Bellatrix's shoulders, wanting to assess her but was stopped by Bellatrix.

"I'm fine, Cissy. It was nothing I can't handle," Bellatrix said instead, subsequently revealed to them what she had been hiding about.

"Oh, Bella! I'm sorry, I'm so sorry!" Narcissa pulled away and hid her face in her hands, her sobbing was heard not a moment later.

"I tried to distract him, stop him from torturing her but he had none of it. I'm sorry I failed you, Bella, Cissy, Draco," Severus said and both his hands flew to rub on his face.

Bellatrix pulled Narcissa into her arms and whispered safe words. "It's alright, Cissy, it's not your fault. You have the right to say whatever you want and I'm never going to stop you for that. And it's not your fault too, Sev, so don't worry about it."

Draco merely rubbed her mother's back, for he did not know what would be appropriate to say in the situation. No one dared to defy the Dark Lord, especially not his followers. He was too powerful for them to be going against.

"How long must this go on, Bella? I'm sick of this life we have, lying and pretending. When can we be free?" Narcissa whined.

"Soon, my darling sister. It won't be long now. One day we will be free, free to be whoever we want to be, I promise." Bellatrix willed her heart to still have hope. If their hopes die, they will have nothing else to hold on to in their lives.

Silence engulfed them until a house-elf which did not belong in the house of Malfoy popped up in front of the fireplace. Her cute dress fluttering as she swirled around, taking a look at the spacious room before her wide, protruding eyes were fixed on its occupants.

"Master Severus! Mistress Bellatrix! Mistress Narcissa!" She almost shouted in glee.

"Lori? Why are you here? Did something happen?" Severus sat up straight in the armchair, three bodies turned rigid except for Draco.

"Who's that, Mother?" The blonde boy questioned as he looked confusingly at the house-elf. Never before had he seen a house-elf dressed up like a play doll.

"Oh, hello, Sir. Lori's name is Lori. Lori serves Master Severus at Master's house. Pleasure to meet you, Sir." The house-elf chirped happily and bowed her head respectfully.

"Lori, why are you here?" Bellatrix said with minimal patience.

"Oh yes, Lori comes with a message for Master and Mistresses." Lori hopped with excessive excitement. "Err … The Queen … has awoken," she stuttered, not sure if she was allowed to mention Hermione's name at all.

The man and the two women gasped aloud and jumped from their seats, causing Draco to become more confused at their behaviour. They looked at each other and each had a grin on their faces.

"Is that true? When did she…?" Narcissa's eyes lit up with newfound hope. She could not wait to meet Hermione and her feelings towards the girl returned, as well as her nervousness and insecurity.

"Lori does not know, Mistress. Lori is sorry, Lori only comes to deliver the message." The house-elf shook her head and her face turned dejected as she was disappointed at herself for not being able to answer to her mistress.

"It's alright, Lori, you may go now. Tell the others that we will be arriving there shortly. Thank you," Severus said.

Lori nodded her head and disappeared with a soft 'pop'.

"Do you think she remember us?" Narcissa said inquisitively.

"Of course she does. I believe she remembers many things now," Severus answered apprehensively.

"Yes, Cissy. Now that I know how she is when she tried to lie, she really is a bad actress," Bellatrix chuckled to herself but was joined by Narcissa seconds later.

"You're right, Bella. She really wears her heart on her sleeves."

"Mother, Aunt Bella, Godfather, what was that all about? Who is this 'she'? The Queen?" Draco snapped, feeling hurt at being forgotten that he was there in the same room as they were, and seemingly the only one who could not make sense of what was happening around him.

"Oh, Draco … Err … um…" Bellatrix was at a loss for words.

"Well then, I'll be going first. See you two later," Severus said as quickly as possible, not wanting to be included in any conversation they may have. He disapparated immediately before anyone could ever try to stop him.

"Sweetheart, I can't answer your questions for now. I'm really sorry, Honey." Narcissa's hands flew to fixed Draco's hair and down to his shirt, her voice and actions screamed the love and affection she held for her only son.

"Why, Mother?" Draco wailed like a petulant child, not because he was one but because he did not like being kept a secret anymore.

"Because it is not my place to tell you so. Until I have permission from the people involved, I can't allow myself to utter a word. Not even to you, Draco. Do you understand what I mean?" Narcissa stared deep into her son's grey eyes; he really had the same eyes as his father. She despised his but not her son's.

"Yes, Mother, I understand." Draco wanted to protest more but reluctantly gave up. He trusted his mother; when she said that she will tell him, he knew she will. He just had to wait.

"Thank you, Sweetheart. I love you." Narcissa kissed on his forehead. She remembered needing to crouch in order to be at the same eye level as her son as if it was only yesterday, but Draco had grown so much now, that he had almost surpassed her height and she no longer needed to crouch.

"I love you too, Mother."

"You're a good boy, Draco. I'm so proud of you, my boy," Bellatrix beamed with joy and pride as she draped her arm across his shoulders.

Draco pouted in return. "Maybe you can stop calling me a 'boy', Aunt Bella."

Bellatrix closed into him and whispered in his ear, "let me give you homework. Find the book entitled, 'The Once and Future Queen', and read it." She pulled away and brought out her playful side again. "Not if you keep on pouting like that." Referring to the earlier banter between her and Draco, Bellatrix ruffled his impeccable hair and stuck her tongue out in his direction.

"Blimey, Bella! I had just fixed his hair, can you not?! I swear I don't know which one of you is the child," Narcissa chastised her sister, who quickly backed away while laughing merrily.

"Will you be going where Severus is, Mother?" Draco intercepted the adults' banter, and Narcissa turned to look at him again.

"Yes, Draco. I'll try to be back on Sunday afternoon, is that alright? You can go to your friends' houses if you want," she said.

"They aren't home yet, Mother. Have you forgotten? I was supposed to board the Hogwarts Express the day after tomorrow." Draco chuckled.

"Oh, yes, you're right. I'm sorry, Draco, I lost track of time and forgot the date. Will you be fine staying here? Just send any of the house elves to look for me if there's anything you need." Narcissa looked worriedly at her son, secretly hoping that nothing bad will happen while she was gone.

"I'll be fine, Mother. Go on and have some fun, you look like you need it more than I do." Draco smiled and squeezed her mother's hands affectionately.

"I doubt there's much fun, but yeah, who knows…" Bellatrix chimed in.

Narcissa nodded her head, bid her son 'goodbye' and pulled her sister out of the library. They both went to separate directions before agreeing to meet in the foyer in ten minutes, allowing them time to pack some stuff to be brought for the weekend 'getaway'.

Ten minutes later, they held each other's hands as Bellatrix whisked them away towards their intended destination, leaving only a sixteen-year-old boy in the huge manor.


They appeared inside the hallway of Severus' cottage and found the rest of the ladies, sitting in the living room and laughing to a joke they did not know about. Severus was nowhere to be found, nor was Hermione.

"Where's she?" Narcissa inquired, interrupting their conversation.

"Cissy! Bella! You're here!" Andromeda chirped at the sight of her beloved sisters.

"Welcome home, you two," Minerva greeted with a loving smile on her face.

Fleur walked up to them and kissed on their cheeks. "Welcome back," she said.

"So, where's my Little Kitten? Heard that she woke up?" Bellatrix said with a tilt of confusion.

"Have a seat, both of you. Come on!" Minerva said; both the Black sisters looked at her with furrowed brows.

Andromeda went to grab Bellatrix's hand and pulled her to sit on one of the sofas, while Fleur went to do the same to Narcissa.

"So, here's the thing. Earlier this afternoon, Hermione finally woke up after what — two days and a half? three days? — since the last time she was awake," Minerva started.

She and Andromeda went to recap the story of what happened during the day, just as they had done to Fleur earlier. Bellatrix and Narcissa listened attentively, smiling and frowning from time to time.

After a while, Bellatrix said, "so she ran away because she freaked out? Of her new cock?"

"Bella, language!" Narcissa hissed, feeling repulsed at the term.

"Well, what do you want me to say, then? Penis? Bar? Rod? No, that sounds like my husband, eww!" Bellatrix gagged and the others made a sickening noise.

"Mesdames, can we not talk about anyone's husband or their appendages? It just reminds me that I almost marry one before, and I don't want to have that memory anymore," Fleur said and shivered distastefully, everybody nodded in agreement.

A loud thumping was heard indicating somebody's footsteps coming from downstairs and seconds later Severus emerged from the hallway.

"She's here!" He said, hurriedly. His eyes were wide and his excitement must have been contagious for the ladies to be jumping from their seats and were following his steps briskly.

They sped to the front door and Severus quickly opened it to see Hermione and Tonks were standing quite a distance away, just outside the border of the wards placed around the cottage. The smiles on their faces dissipated at the sight of Hermione holding onto Tonks as if she was unable to stand on her own two feet, her body trembling hard and she looked as if she was having trouble with breathing.

Something was wrong with Hermione.

And something was wrong with the weather too when suddenly the orangey sky turned darker with every passing second, full of heavy and dangerous looking clouds that threatened them with upcoming thunders, or maybe a thunderstorm.

Not even five seconds passed when drops of water fell from the sky and began to wet the earth, just as drops of tears fell down along Hermione's cheeks. Her grips on Tonks were getting hardened as her knees buckled and she crumbled to the ground, pulling Tonks together with her; the rain was getting heavier just as her tears became like a never-ending waterfall.

Flashes of white followed by yellow passed through them as Fleur and Narcissa sprinted out of the house to where Hermione was.

"Sev, quick, the wards!" Bellatrix shouted at the man, who immediately motioned his hands outward and muttered some words to make adjustments to the wards.

Nymphadora Tonks stared in awe when what she previously saw as a huge and spacious empty land now changed to a beautiful three-stories cottage, and she could see all Hermione's soulmates — including her mom — and Professor Snape were not too far from her and Hermione.

Fleur was the first to reach Hermione and pulled her into her arms. She did not care that the girl was drenched from the rain, that she was getting drenched from the rain too, or that she could get dirty from sitting on the wet ground. What mattered to her the most was Hermione, and seeing her lover in despair like this devastated her as well.

Narcissa arrived seconds later. She gently pulled Hermione and Fleur up and then pulled them both into her arms too, so Hermione was kind of crying into both of their shoulders. She was beyond crying, sobbing and wailing just as they had seen her during when they tried to save her from death.

Just the sight of Hermione in this state broke everyone's heart terribly.

Bellatrix, Minerva and Andromeda walked out of the house — each with an umbrella they either conjured or transfigured from anything within their reach — towards the small circle. Minerva had Fleur and Hermione under her slightly larger umbrella, Narcissa was under Bellatrix's while Andromeda was hugging her daughter under her own umbrella.

They moved inside the house, casting drying and cleaning spells on each other and sat on the sofas. The fireplace was lit, providing them with much-needed heat, while the world outside the cottage was still cold and dark with the heavy rain, thunders and lightning that struck from time to time.

Hermione sat in the middle of the three-seater sofa, still glued to Fleur's side while Narcissa was on her other side, rubbing her back and stroking her hair every now and then. Minerva was squeezing herself in between Narcissa and the armrest, peering over the blonde's shoulder to look at her damsel in distress.

Bellatrix was sitting on the opposite armrest, legs dangling and swinging, her arms crossed over her chest as her face grew red and redder — she looked almost ready to kill someone in their sleep. Andromeda was sitting next to Tonks on the two-seater sofa near to the fireplace, embracing her daughter and rubbing on her shoulders with love and warmth. Severus merely stood leaning against the wall, not even bothered to sit in the vacant single armchair as he observed each person in his house.

Lori appeared with trays of fresh and warm tea and snacks for all of them, and Severus thanked her before she disappeared again. He cast the warming spell so that the food and drink will remain warm for a long period of time.

The weather outside changed to light drops of rain, no longer thunderous but the night sky was sombre just like the mood in the house. They were sitting in silence saved for Hermione's quiet sobs until it slowed down and eventually subsided, and the girl was found asleep on Fleur's shoulder.

"Has she fallen asleep?" Minerva asked in a breathy whisper. Narcissa and Fleur nodded their heads simultaneously, feeling Hermione's calming breaths and heartbeat.

"Cissy, why don't you and Fleur bring her to the room? Go and have some rest too," Andromeda suggested.

"Yes, you two look equally exhausted," Minerva added.

The two ladies silently agreed and tried to pull Hermione up without rousing her from her slumber, but Severus beat them to it.

"Here, let me." He picked Hermione up bridal style but the girl slept like a log, not awake to anything surrounding her. He walked to her room with Fleur and Narcissa following behind him, and gently put the sleeping beauty in the middle of the bed.

"Sleep well, Mia," he whispered and kissed softly on her temple before swiftly moving out of the room and closed the door behind him, letting out a sigh as he walked back to the living room and finally took a seat in the single armchair.

"SO," Minerva started, albeit a bit too loud and maybe she was feeling slightly angry at the moment. "What the bloody hell happened?" Okay, maybe she was very angry. The only person who was truly surprised at hearing her swearing was Tonks.

"Give me names, and I swear they won't see the sunrise anymore," Bellatrix said, her threatening voice only made her niece feeling worse. Tonks shrunk in her seat but was comforted by her mother's warm embrace.

"Bella! Minerva! You scared the hell out of my daughter," Andromeda chided them, but then she turned towards her daughter. "Tell us what happened, Dora. Don't miss out anything, please."

Tonks released herself from her mother's embrace and picked up her cup of tea. She took a sip while thinking of what she should be telling them, without getting into Hermione's bad side. She did not want her friendship with Hermione to be broken too.

She put the cup back on its saucer, looking straight into everyone's eyes but all she could see reflected back was worry, love and care they all held for Hermione. She sighed. Hermione really is a lucky girl, and she will always be proud to call her, her 'best friend'.

She recapped to them of today's episode of her meeting with Hermione and Madam Rosmerta.


"Are you saying that you got the soul of Morgan Le Fay in you, that—that you are the reincarnation of her? And that one day you will rule this world?"

Rosmerta was looking at Hermione with utter bemusement, there was so much information that she was unable to grasp.

"Yes," Hermione nodded anxiously.

"And as the reincarnation of Morgan, you have soulmates — not one, but five — and three of them are the infamous Black sisters — Bellatrix, Andromeda and Narcissa?"

"Yes." Hermione did not miss the subtle change in tone — and the twitched of her eyes — when Rosmerta mentioned the three names, especially Bellatrix — a tone that sounded more like abhorrent.

"And as you were greeting death, you were in a Limbo where you met with your real parents, Joseph and Camilla Shafiq, who were dead for like what, fifteen-sixteen years ago?"

"Yes, a week after I was—"

"And you were also bestowed with the powers of the deities? So you're what, like the most powerful person on earth now? Does that sound about right?"

Hermione nodded again, "yes?"

"NO!"

Rosmerta jumped out of the bed, distancing herself and pointing her wand towards Hermione. Tonks impulsively jumped in front of Hermione, and her own wand was pointing too but towards the older woman.

"Everything you told me does not sound right at all, Hermione. No, should I even be calling you Morgan, huh? Whatever! I can't believe you come up with this … this cock and bull story! You expect me to believe everything you said? News flash, nothing you said makes any sense, at all!"

Hermione was stunned by the sudden response and could not move as she listened to the series of verbal onslaughts uttered by Rosmerta, one of the first few persons who was kind to her despite hearing all the negative rumours surrounding her at Hogwarts, despite seeing her at her worst.

But at the moment, Rosmerta was not kind to her. She looked … afraid? In denial? She was defensive, that much was true.

"Tell me, who are you trying to cover up? Are you trying to protect the Death Eaters, Bellatrix and her people? What's next, are you going to tell me that you are one of them too? That you have joined You-Know-Who's circle?"

"No!" Hermione's eyes widened so largely that her eyeballs looked almost like they were going to fall out of their sockets. "He murdered my parents! If all, I want to avenge them instead!"

"And become a murderer? Then you're not any different from him! A liar and a psychopathic killer!"

Hermione and Tonks gasped, horrified at the harsh and mean accusation. Tears pricked at Hermione's eyes as she felt the world around her crumbled. She stepped forward from behind Tonks and walked closer towards Rosmerta, wanting to talk reason.

"Ros…"

"Stop! Stay away from me! Take your bullshit lies and your disgusted cock out from here!" Rosmerta snarled, her grip on her wand tightening as she motioned up and down Hermione's figure. "Oh, yes. Think I couldn't realise what was between your legs, that you purposely tried to hide with the pillow just now?"

Hermione froze with her mouth agape in utter bewilderment, her hands covered up the front of her pants, her face was so red in shame and humiliation. She felt utterly revolted by her own body.

"Enough! You've said enough, Madam Rosmerta, and I'm starting to lose my respect on you," Tonks intervened and wrapped her arms protectively around Hermione.

"Go away, Hermione, and don't show yourself in front of me again. You disgust me! You're not the Hermione I knew; I don't even know who you are anymore. Go away before I call someone from the ministry!"

Hermione choked on her tears and she immediately disapparated herself and Tonks to Severus' cottage, her safe haven, the only place she knew where she could find her sanity back.

Sanity. She seemed to be losing more and more of it.


Hermione awoke to the warmth of a hand on her face, felt the gentle movement of fingers that wiped away the tears which ran down her face and she grasped it, stopping it from moving away. The hand was soft despite the roughness from its callouses, and Hermione would think that she knew whose did it belong to.

A sharp intake of breath was heard when Hermione opened her eyes, and they were met with a pair of eyes as dark as the darkness that was surrounding them. She swore she could see the sorrow in those eyes, but when she blinked, it was gone and was replaced with tenderness.

The hand was withdrawn but the owner did not move out of the bed. Hermione tried to get up but realised that she was stuck in between two sleeping beauties. Narcissa was sleeping on her right, one arm draped across her chest and a foot was circling Hermione's, while Fleur was sleeping on her left with her head on Hermione's shoulder and her arm circling Hermione's waist protectively.

Hermione tried to disentangle herself but the arms secured themselves even more around her, she huffed and heard a soft chuckle from Bellatrix, who was sitting behind Narcissa. Hermione raised her eyebrow at her, smirking slightly before — poof! — she was gone from the bed.

Bellatrix gaped and turned her head around, trying to find out where Hermione had gone to but the girl was nowhere in the room. She did not go missing again, or did she?

'Looking for something?' Hermione's voice rang in Bellatrix's mind and she sucked in a breath.

'Did she just use Legilimency on me?' Bellatrix thought to herself.

'No, I did not. But we are communicating through our minds,' was Hermione's reply and Bellatrix grew uneasy as she still was unable to locate the girl.

'Where are you, Little Kitten?' Bellatrix said exasperatedly. 'Please don't run away again.'

Hermione was touched at the concern in Bellatrix's voice and she liked it when the woman called her 'Little Kitten', although she did not know why she got that nickname.

'Hermione?' Bellatrix's voice was heard again and Hermione's heart pounded at hearing her name being called by the very tender voice.

'I'm not running away, not anymore. Look outside the window,' she said.

Bellatrix walked to the window and squinted her eyes to see in the dark, it was in the middle of the night anyway. There, not far from the huge tree was Hermione, standing under the moonlight. She was staring back at her with a grin on her face, her hand waving and motioning for Bellatrix to come outside.

'You, cheeky little witch!' Bellatrix said but with no malice, instead, her own eyes were glinting in mischief.

She turned around and walked to the bedroom door but before she left, she took one last look at her darling sister, who was now cuddling with Fleur in her arms — perhaps both had missed the warmth from Hermione. Smiling to herself, she walked outside to where Hermione was, her heart thumping loudly in her chest.

She took a calculated step, not wanting to look so eager to be alone with Hermione, her Little Kitten whom she had started to adore. Her hand was playing with her wand, swirling and twirling behind her back as she moved closer and closer towards the cheeky girl. However, she stopped tentatively, standing a few feet away from Hermione.

Hermione's smile died and her forehead creased at the distance between them. She examined Bellatrix and came to the realisation that the woman was nervous, or probably scared … not at her but because of the history that existed between them.

The memory of being Crucio-ed relentlessly by Bellatrix played in her mind. Strange, it felt like the memory was remote now, and she could not bring herself to be mad at the eldest Black sister anymore.

Hermione smiled, took small steps to close their distance and she could feel the aura of anxiousness emitted from Bellatrix. She saw the quiver of the woman's lips as she tried to muster her courage and said, "Hermione, I—I'm sorry, for—"

A finger flew to the puckered lips, stopping Bellatrix in her track of apologies and remorse. "Shh…" Hermione closed in and whispered "you're forgiven" in Bellatrix's ear, kissed under her jaw and circled her arms around the stilled woman. She laid her head down on Bellatrix's shoulder, and her ears picked up the furious and loud thump, thump, thump of the dark-haired woman's heartbeat.

Bellatrix froze due to many factors. She did not expect to be forgiven so easily, especially by the person who she had tortured numerously. She also did not expect the gentle embrace and the soft kiss under her jaw, which she could feel like it still lingered there, right on her skin. Her mind could not comprehend what she was supposed to do now.

Should she return the hug? Say something? Do something? But what?

And her heart was pounding so hard that she thought it was going to break her ribcages. 'Can she hear my heart? Damn, how do I calm the fuck down? How—What—Merlin's saggy balls, I can't breathe! How am I supposed to breathe again?'

A soft giggle was heard and she could feel Hermione's body shaking beneath hers in tempo with her quiet laughter. She forgot that the girl could hear her, "fuck! Get out of my mind, pretty lady." Bellatrix huffed.

"Hey, it's not my fault! You were like screaming in your head there."

Hermione was still giggling and snorting and it was the best melody ever heard in Bellatrix's life, and she wished that she was able to listen to the melody during her years being imprisoned in Azkaban.

"Was I, hmm? You, cheeky little witch," She said but was grateful for the distraction because her heart did manage to calm down now.

Hermione still did not let go and Bellatrix felt unnatural that her hands were hanging limply by her side. She was not a stranger to a hug, but a hug from someone she only had met twice — consciously, and not to say her first impression was not good — was, a surprise. A good surprise.

So she lifted her hands tentatively and returned the embrace. The moment she circled her hands around Hermione's back, the girl tightened her arms around her waist and Bellatrix could feel the warm breath on her skin as Hermione breathed in, out, in again, out, and eventually, their hearts beat rhythmically together.

Hermione breathed in the pungent smoky smell and a tad hint of spices mixed in, emitted from Bellatrix. It was heady, not sweet like Fleur's or Narcissa's, nor did it feels like home with Andromeda's or Minerva's, but it gave her comfort nonetheless. She liked it.

She heard a heavy sigh near her ear and Bellatrix's arms tightened. "Long night?" she asked.

Another sigh. "Something like that," the female Death Eater answered, her tone heavy.

"Hunting?"

Bellatrix did not answer her. However, Hermione could feel the body she held slowly shook and trembled, and she knew what did that mean. The Death Eater had another hunt tonight, possibly killing Muggles alike, and as usual, Bellatrix must have been the one to lead them. And as usual too, she did not harm anyone but whoever was partnered with her will have their minds obliviated so as to make it look like they witnessed her torturing/killing the victims.

And Bellatrix's tears, they must be one of guilt and weary. Being in the Dark Circle gave so much burden and it took a toll on the woman. She wanted an out, and Hermione swore to herself that she will save her soulmates. No matter the circumstances, no matter the repercussions, she will save them. That was going to be her main priority for now.

But how?

"I'm sorry…" was all she could manage to say.

Chapter Text

Chapter 24 - Home

Morning came and Hermione was unable to sleep for the rest of the night. She had stayed outside in the backyard with Bellatrix, having their girl-to-girl talk like how girls normally did. She had conjured a bench from the big tree's roots just like how Anastasia had done before in the Limbo, while the female Death Eater looked at her with impressive eyes.

Again, Bellatrix had insisted in apologising to Hermione even though the girl had already forgiven her. To the lady, she wouldn't be able to feel at ease if she had yet to let her feelings – her remorse – out of her chest. Hermione empathised and understood Bellatrix's needs so she listened attentively while never letting go of the older woman's hand.

The conversation was filled with heartfelt feelings, choking tears and comforting gestures, and only when Bellatrix finished, she could finally take deep breaths and calmed down.

"Thank you, Bellatrix. I really appreciate it," was Hermione's only reply as she squeezed the said woman in her arms.

Bellatrix had never felt a sense of calmness washed over her before, never quite like at the moment. Being with Hermione throughout the night, she felt as if she was in a very safe place, a place where she can be her true self, where she can let go of all her masks and false persona.

Occasionally, silence engulfed them and only when Hermione felt Bellatrix's head fell on her shoulder then she realised that the older woman had fallen asleep. Her soft snores had Hermione chuckled briefly.

Hermione was lost in her thoughts and she lost track of the time when Minerva came to find them, bringing together with her a soft blanket which was used to cover the sleeping beauty. Minerva sat silently beside Hermione until she grew tired, then she changed into her Animagus form and settled herself on Hermione's lap. Hermione unconsciously stroke her fingers through Minerva's fur, as she usually did with Crookshanks.

She really missed Crookshanks and wondered what happened to him.

Hermione watched mindlessly as the sky changed its colour and the sun rose above its horizon. Her mind kept on thinking about a multitude of things, her thoughts were jumping around various matters, yet no solution came up for the time being.

Eyes closed, she let out a heavy sigh. She decided to let nature take its course.

"There you are, ma Cherie." Fleur's soft voice brought her out of her trance. "I thought I lost you again, Hermione."

Hermione smiled softly at the beauty approaching her. She held out her free hand, to which Fleur grabbed eagerly with joy palpable in her beautiful dark blue eyes. She pulled the Veela to sit beside her.

"I'm not going to run away anymore," she promised and brought Fleur's hand to her lips.

A soft snore came from her other side, causing both Hermione and Fleur to giggle as they looked at Bellatrix's sleeping face.

"Cute, isn't she?" Hermione said, Fleur agreeing.

"Undeniably adorable, but we need to wake them up." Fleur motioning towards Minerva who was also sleeping. "Cissy and Andy are making breakfast." Minerva's ears perked up at that and she yawned lazily.

At the idea of breakfast, Hermione's stomach growled unabashedly. Her face instantly reddened but then she joined in on Fleur's laughter and Minerva's snort. When they finally managed to wake Bellatrix up, the four of them went inside the house.

Hermione excused herself to go and freshen up but Minerva seemed reluctant to let her go. However, a peck on the woman's lips managed to turn the situation in Hermione's favours as they trotted towards the dining room, leaving her to herself.

Hermione decided to take a quick shower and later donning a simple white button-up shirt and a pair of short denim jeans. The shirt's short sleeves were folded up to her shoulders, leaving her arms exposed to the summer breeze. Her curls were tied up in a ponytail, knowing that all her exposed skin would evoke reactions from her destined soulmates.

A wicked smile was formed at the luscious thought.

The only thing left was to hide her newfound appendage. Accessing the memories of Morgan, Hermione cast a spell that could specifically conceal the sight and feel of her phallus.

Satisfied, she went down for the much-needed breakfast.


Hermione faltered in her steps when she walked inside the dining room as five pairs of eyes were glued on her. She honestly did expect some reactions from her soulmates, but what was out of her calculation was the sudden onslaughts of lustful thoughts coming from them, entering her mind so loudly and vividly, causing her to feel dizzy and horny all the same.

She quickly took the only empty seat, luckily it was in between Severus and Tonks. Hermione breathed out a relieved sigh.

"Wotcha, 'Mione! You feeling okay?" The tone in Tonks' voice was one of worry.

Hermione shook her head and tried to empty her mind before she threw a reassuring smile at her friend. "I'm fine, Tonks, thank you."

Hermione knew Tonks wouldn't buy her answer, but she was grateful when the pink-haired girl didn't probe anymore. Always being a kind and considerate friend, Hermione was engulfed in a bone-crushing hug by the pink-haired girl. The moment lasted until they let go of each other and Tonks started talking about her job, knowing how much Hermione liked to listen about her life.

Throughout the meal, everyone had chatted around and Hermione was glad that she could no longer hear the previous thoughts coming from her soulmates. Instead, she felt warmth radiated from her core as happiness seeped inside her heart at seeing Minerva, Bellatrix, Andromeda, Fleur, Narcissa, Tonks and even Severus were getting along well with each other.

There was no such thing as being a Death Eater, a spy, or members from the Order. There was neither Pure-blood, Half-blood, nor Veela.

They were just them: Min, Bella, Andy, Fleur, Cissy, Tonks and Sev.

They were her family. Her family, eating breakfast with her and was talking casually amongst each other. She felt at home.

Family. Home.

She choked on tears she didn't realise were running down her cheeks.

"Hermione?!"

"Are you okay?"

Hermione tried to hold herself from sobbing while wiping away her tears with the back of her hands. She tried to calm herself down but her heart swelled with so much happiness she had always dreamed of.

So she showed them her widest and biggest smile as her hands clenched tightly on her chest.

"I can't express how blissful I am feeling at the moment. I'm home with my family, people whom I love with all my heart." More tears she was unable to stop rolled down her cheeks.

The other room occupants were deadly silent as they were taken aback by Hermione's heartfelt words. Home. Family. Glances were thrown around the room as they looked at each other, smiles forming on every face as they shared on Hermione's feelings.

"Group hug!" Bellatrix shouted from across the table and thus a group hug they had with Hermione being squeezed in the centre.


Hermione was sitting anxiously in the living room as she patiently awaited their next agenda. Severus had mentioned that he wanted to bring them all to a very special place and Hermione might have an idea of where it was going to be. The fact that she might know what it is and that she couldn't wait to see it, had her heart beating rapidly inside her chest.

She was surprised when a soft pair of hands squeezed her trembling hands, subsequently calming her down. Hermione looked up to see Andromeda's warm eyes with a loving smile on her face. She turned around to find Bellatrix and Minerva, Fleur and Narcissa were talking merrily while they were also waiting for Severus' presence.

"Where's Tonks?" Hermione asked, only then noticing her friend was nowhere to be found.

"She just left, saying there's somewhere she had to go to," Andromeda answered.

"Oh… I didn't realise," Hermione replied sadly.

"Dora said she didn't want to disturb you since you look like you're deep in your thoughts. What's on your mind, my dear?"

Hermione was a little distracted by the gentle movements of Andromeda's fingers on her knuckles. "It's nothing to be worrying about, I'm sure I was just overthinking things."

Andromeda looked deep into Hermione's eyes before nodding her head in surrender. "Umm … Look, Hermione…" Suddenly, the woman's voice turned shaky and her body posture rigid. "I—I have something I need to say," she bit her lip nervously as her eyes darted around.

Hermione gave her full attention to the older woman while squeezing their hands, to give Andromeda a little push of needed courage.

"I'm so sorry for what I said before and I'm going to regret ever saying it for the rest of my life. I hope you can forgive me and will remember that from now on, you will always be someone I hold very dearly in my heart. You will always be the special person that brings light and joy to not just me, but to all of us, your family."

"Andy's right," Minerva chimed in.

"You're our love," Fleur added.

"Our hope," Bellatrix said next.

"Our life," Narcissa finished.

Hermione was deeply touched by their sentiments but she swore to herself that she would not cry. The ladies were already surrounding her, ready to catch her if need be.

"Thank you, Andy, Min, Fleur, Bella, and Cissy. I honestly don't know what to say anymore, you guys really know how to make a girl cries tears of joy," she quickly wiped the unshed tears at the corner of her eyes.

"Can you promise us one thing, my love?" Hermione turned towards Minerva and morphed her face in confusion.

"Please promise that you will never hide anything from us. There will be no secrets amongst us," Andromeda said.

"We want to share your joy and happiness, your worries and sadness. With every step you take, every decision you make, we want to support you from behind," Narcissa said as she tucked fallen hair behind Hermione's ear and cupped the girl's cheek.

"I can promise that but with one condition." Hermione tore herself apart and distanced herself as she looked at the five sets of eyes with all seriousness.

"What's the condition?" Bellatrix asked warily.

"You are all a part of me. Even as the queen I may become, I'd appreciate that we stand on equal grounds. Please support me by standing by my sides, not from behind me."

The five ladies smiled and let out breaths of relief. Their agreements to the condition and promise were the sign that showed the start of something new between the six of them, including Hermione.

"So, are you guys ready?" Severus' voice brought them out of their private moment.

"I can't wait any longer," Hermione said with eagerness visible in her eyes.

A surge of magic was felt through linked hands before Severus disapparated them away from the small cottage.


The group appeared on a vast field with nothing surrounding them. There were no trees, no buildings or houses, not even a single thing was seen in their surroundings. All they could see were the clear blue sky and the green field that met at the horizon. There appeared to be some kind of driveway but it ended just below their feet. Confusions etched on their faces, except for Hermione and Severus.

"Where are we?" Fleur said, puzzled.

"This is a place that's very special to Hermione and me," was Severus' replied. He then turned towards her long-lost sister. "You can feel it, can't you?"

Hermione nodded her head as she kept looking at the emptiness in front of her. Even though there was nothing out of ordinary, Hermione could visibly see the layer of protective spells – especially a certain type of seal – which remained intact to protect what was inside. Not surprising to her, no one else could see the barrier but they remained silent by her sides, wands at the ready for whatever that may come.

"Only a blood relative can break the seal, right?" Hermione felt the strong urge to touch the wards.

"Correction. Only you alone can break it. Mother and Father placed the spells with the thought that one day, you, their sole heir, will be the one to break them. When you're ready, of course."

Eyes widened with shock, Hermione's head turned sharply towards her brother. "Not even you, Sev?"

"No, Mia, I'm only the Secret Keeper. No one knows that I have been adopted by the Shafiqs, and no one can ever know. Furthermore, the various enchantments were put in place to keep this area sealed from everyone's memories – those who knew about this place and had at least once associated with it. Once you break the seal, the memories will return to them," Severus explained solemnly.

"But I know there's more to that," Hermione looked at the invisible barrier, trying so hard not to touch it yet.

"You really are the brightest witch, Mia." Severus smiled proudly before he continued, "you're right. In addition to returning the memories, the whole world – Wizarding or Muggles alike – will know that there is an heir to the Shafiq's family."

"So if I successfully break the blood seal, I'm declaring myself as the continuation to the famous Shafiq lineage, the legacy to both Joseph and Camilla Shafiq, two branded names that were once known worldwide…"

"Not quite. They will have no idea that the heir to the Shafiqs is specifically you."

"I see. Unless I announce it to the whole world…"

Severus and all the five ladies turned their whole bodies towards Hermione. "Are you prepared to take that step, Mia?" Severus' tone was nothing but challenging, daring Hermione to muster the courage to make the decision and take that first step.

"Are you kidding?" Hermione could not hide her grin and the excitement that she tried to contain since minutes ago. "I was born ready."

Hermione looked at their faces, one by one, gathering the courage and determination from the supports they provided her. "We'll be with you in every step you take, love."

"Do you still remember the spells?" Severus asked, Hermione merely nodded her head yes. "Then the stage is all yours, Your Majesty," Severus bowed respectfully and they all parted ways to let Hermione proceed with what she must do.

Hermione took a deep breath, letting it go then took the step to close herself with the barrier. This was what she had been dreaming of her whole life – to know more about her real family and where she came from.

She was ready for this.

Hermione muttered ancient spells that can break the blood seal. A small cut appeared on her right index finger, causing blood to drip on the ground. Using the dripping blood, she drew a symbol that looked like a star in a circle on her left palm. The same symbol was drawn on the barrier, only slightly bigger and in the middle of the symbol, she wrote one word: SHAFIQ. All the while, her mouth never stopped muttering spells silent to the ears of the others.

"Revelio!"

Hermione shouted at the top of her lungs and slammed her left palm on top of the word. Her magic was channelled out of her hand onto the seal, focusing her mind to break the seal completely.

There was a sudden fire tracing the drawing, then the dark red colour of the blood changed to the blackest black and it started to move, seemingly absorbed into Hermione's palm. She flinched in pain at the burning sensation but she could not afford to tear her hand away, not until the process ended successfully.

Her breathing ragged and she started to feel anaemic. Her knees buckled and she was glad when Severus caught her in his arms, holding her upright while she tried to regain her balance and sense of composure.

Hermione saw the driveway that ended below their feet just now, continued towards the distance and her jaw hanging as her eyes followed on the path. What used to be an invisible layer of protection spells and seal, could be seen broken as it was burnt all over and turned to invisible ashes. Where there was a vast field containing nothing before, the sight was now replaced by tall trees, green hedges, and a huge white manor standing mightily in the far distance the eyes could reach.

"Oh…"

Hermione turned to her sides and watched as the expressions on Minerva's and the three Black sisters' faces morphed to confusion, or were they recognitions?

"I know this place," Bellatrix said.

"Yeah, me too…" Andromeda chimed in.

"We used to come here when we were kids," Narcissa added and her two sisters bobbed their heads in agreement.

"And I used to play quidditch here… with Joseph…" Minerva said, causing Hermione's eyes to widen in surprise.

A sudden appearance of brooms made her perplexed. "What are the brooms for?"

"This place is extensive to travel by foot, so I'd suggest we use brooms instead," was Severus' reply.

"What? Must we fly?" Hermione whined like a petulant child. "I don't like flying."

"Hermione, darling, go sit with Bella if you don't want to fly by yourself. She's the best flyer there is," Narcissa prodded; Hermione reluctantly moved to sit behind Bellatrix on her broom.

"Hold on tight, Little Kitten," Bellatrix grinned wickedly.

"Aahh!" Hermione yelped and screamed as her feet were no longer touching the ground, her eyes were tightly shut and hands firmly circled the dark-haired woman's stomach. She was truly scared of heights and Bellatrix was making it worse.

"Bella, slow down!" Hermione could not register whose voice was shouting from a distance but she was grateful when Bellatrix finally slowed down and then stopped altogether.

"Sorry, Little Kitten, I was just messing with you. Are you okay?"

"Bella, are we falling? I feel like we're going to fall!" Hermione clenched her fists tightly as she waited for the impending accident.

"Open your eyes, Hermione. Look around you," Bellatrix tried to calm the girl down.

"Nooo, I'm scared! Can we go down now, please?" Hermione was still trembling but she could feel the gentle hand squeezing hers.

"And miss out on this magnificent view? Not a chance. Open your eyes, Hermione. We're safe, trust me."

Hermione did not say anything but she knew she trusted her soulmates with her life. So she slowly opened her eyes and took in the sight below her. What she saw was nothing she had expected, at all.

The manor was actually in cream colour instead of white. It was extremely huge and have multiple towers. One could say that it could actually rival that of Hogwarts but truth be told, even Hogwarts could not win against its enormous size. The manor consisted of several buildings but they seemed to be connected.

At the front of the manor was a wide, beautifully decorated garden which was divided into four small mazes. There was a quidditch field located behind the manor, to Hermione's surprise. However, her eyes were truly captivated by the wide lake located beside the manor.

"Wow," was all Hermione could manage.

"It's breath-taking," Fleur said in awe.

The group flew for another round – this time, Hermione did not close her eyes and she tried to enjoy the wind that blew in her hair – before they descended in front of the big entrance door. As soon as Hermione's feet touched the ground, the door opened wide and they were greeted by a familiar house-elf.

"Lori! What are you doing here?" Hermione's tone showed her surprise.

"Lori is here to welcome Mistress Hermione, Master Severus, and all other Mistresses home. Welcome home!" The small elf said gleefully.

"Thank you, Lori, but how did you know about this place?" Hermione questioned further as they walked inside the manor.

"Lori worked here before, Miss. Lori's family is all here," Lori showed towards the other elves that were standing in lines, they all looked varied in ages.

"Welcome home, Master and Mistresses!" They shouted in unison, adorable like a group of children greeting a teacher in class.

"Thank you but please, call me Her..mi..o..ne…"

She suddenly blacked out and fell ungraciously to the floor.


Somewhere in a dark, dark place with all the windows shut and not a light seeped through as if it was in the deepest part of a cave, a pair of slit eyes opened wide and flashing deep scarlet. The man sucked in a deep breath and released it before he slowly stood to his feet.

"Impossible…" He said, with a voice so rough and it alerted his companion from their slumber.

His head moved in a circle as he tried to think logically.

"It's impossible!"


In another place, another man looked up from his reading. He took off his glasses and ran his fingers through his long beard, a smile was playing on his lips.

"Finally, she's back," he said wistfully.

"Hmm? What's back?" One of the picture frames in the room interjected his thought.

"Who's she?" said another frame.

"What happened?" And another.

The man chuckled to himself as he ignored them.

"She who conquers her past shall conquer her future."


Hermione spent the rest of her weekend with Fleur since everyone else seemed to be busy with their lives. Bellatrix and Severus had disappeared after they had been called for through their dark marks. Narcissa also had returned to the Malfoy Manor, saying she had a matter to attend to and she needed time to prepare for it. Meanwhile, Andromeda needed to return to her home as she had yet to see her husband for their needed discussion, whereas Minerva returned to Hogwarts because the professors usually had the end-of-school-year meeting, and she needed time to make preparation and reports.

Truth to be told, Hermione had forgotten that everyone had other lives to live instead of spending their time with her. Fleur was the only one who was able to accompany her as she decided to explore the house, her new home. At times, Lori joined her as she explained to Hermione several things regarding the place.

"When Muggle friends of Master Joseph and Mistress Camilla came here, they can only see the first mansion. The rest is hidden from the Muggles' eyes, it has been like that since early on," the elf said.

Hermione and Fleur watched in awe as the interior of the mansion changed its form, making it looked every bit like how Muggles' buildings look like. There were no hanging candles but were replaced by electric lamps and chandeliers. The moving frames stopped and became photographs with no motion. Hermione grabbed one with her parents smiling as they held each other in their arms, and she smiled wistfully at the stilled photo.

"Do you know who placed this spell, Lori?" Hermione said as she put the frame back.

"No, Lori doesn't know. Lori only knows that it has been this way since hundreds of years ago. Does Miss want Lori to ask grandfather?" Lori smiled cheerfully at Hermione. She looked so happy to be able to live with her family again.

Hermione shook her head. "What about the rest of the buildings?"

Lori showed to them the rest of the manor. There were so many rooms with different purposes. "Some rooms have items that came from the Muggles world. These rooms have been enchanted from the wizards' views, unless with the permission of the house's owner."

"You mean it's Hermione's permission to give now, right?" Fleur enquired.

"Yes, Miss Fleur."

They proceeded to the other buildings. One of them was designed to house all the elves that belonged to the family of Shafiq for generations. There, they made it look like a boarding school, where they could learn all the skills necessary for the house-elves.

"Can you tell me more about the family's history? Like how do my ancestors treated all of you?"

Lori brought Hermione to meet with a number of the other elves, thinking it would be easier to let Hermione heard the answer from many, instead of her alone.

"They were the most merciful of all wizards. Never treated us bad." One of Lori's uncles said.

"They saved us from being tortured by our previous masters. Took us in and let us be free." Lori's grandfather said. He seemed to be the oldest amongst all others, looking rugged in a smart, clean cloth.

"Master Joseph used to play catch with me!" "I like playing dress-up with Mistress Camilla. She made me feel pretty!" Lori's cousins, a pair of twins, giggled cheerfully as they recapped their memories with Hermione's parents.

Hermione was grateful for all the information, and she felt immensely happy to know how her family acted with another being. She was glad that she was not the only one who wanted to save the elves from their cruel fate, as her ancestors had done the same too!

Lori excused herself and Hermione decided to take a stroll near the lake. She would always like to have her solitude, and what else was better than being with the love of her life at a peaceful lake?

They sat side by side, hands never unlinked from each other as they stared at the reflection on the lake.

"Hermione?" Fleur's soft voice broke the silence as she turned towards Hermione.

"Yes, Fleur?" Hermione looked at her side, baffled at the sudden seriousness in Fleur's beautiful blue eyes. Fleur seemed to be hesitating, so it must be something serious for her to be this worried. "What's on your pretty mind, Fleur?"

"Would you like to come home with me, Hermione? To France?"

Hermione's eyes widened slightly at the suggestion. Going to Fleur's home, to meet with Fleur's family, was a very important matter to Fleur and it made her nervous.

"I want to introduce you to my family, especially Grand-Maman. I think she'll be delighted to see you," Fleur continued before Hermione was able to give her a reply.

Hermione knew how significant it was for Fleur to bring her home. Fleur was still young, not that far difference of age between them, and she had never married anyone – a total opposite of Hermione's other soulmates. Bring her home would mean something big for Fleur, and she would not want to disappoint her lover.

"I understand, Fleur," Hermione turned her whole body to face Fleur directly. Her right hand went to cup Fleur's cheek while the other hand squeezed Fleur's hand comfortingly. "I will go to meet your family if that's what you wish for. They are beloved people in your life, so I know I have to meet them sooner or later."

"Really?" Fleur's eyes shone with unshed tears.

Hermione nodded and smiled. "Plus, I kind of missed Gabrielle. I wonder if she still remembers me."

"I'm sure she does. She talks about you as if you're her sister, not me." Fleur threw herself in Hermione's arms, clutching tight at the girl's neck. "Thank you, Cherie. I love you so much."


Monday came and Hermione was getting ready to go out. She had found a pretty robe that belonged to her mother in the walk-in closet adjacent to the bedroom she was staying in. She put it on, covering her hair with a witch's hat and her face with a stylish sunglass – courtesy of her mother's. She looked at herself in the mirror and decided that her disguises were perfect – not like anyone would recognise her anyway.

Satisfied, she left the house and disapparated to the Ministry of Magic. She came there for one purpose – to watch Narcissa and Draco's trial.

Her mind recalled finding out about the trial a few days ago. She had found a paper almost hidden beneath her bed in Severus' house, not knowing what it was or who it belonged to. Finding out that it was a letter addressed to Narcissa from the Ministry of Magic was not surprising, but she was honestly expecting the woman to tell her about it.

Nevertheless, till this day, Narcissa did not say anything and Hermione was sure that no one in the family knew about it either. She felt hurt by that revelation.

Hermione went to the specified trial room and was glad that outsiders were allowed to attend to it, so she took a seat, sitting alone by herself. The room was filled with noises from various directions but then silenced took over as the staffs from Ministry of Magic walked in.

Hermione recognised various faces, such as the Head of Department of Magical Law and Enforcement, Amelia Bones, Professor Alastor Moody (the real one), Rita Skeeter and her notorious quill, and not to forget, Dolores Umbridge. Unsurprisingly to her, Albus Dumbledore was also in the room.

Hermione felt a sense of magic that was eerily familiar to her memories, one that specifically belonged to Morgan. However, she did not have the time to find the source as Narcissa was brought into the centre of the room.

The woman was donning a green robe on top of her black dress, her hair was tied up in her usual bun and not a single hair was amiss. She looked impeccable, no flaw could be found from the person named Narcissa Malfoy.

"Narcissa Malfoy née Black, you have been brought here before the Council of Magical Law to aide with the investigation to Lucius Malfoy's death, along with your involvement with the rise of You-Know-Who. You have the right to remain silent but anything you say or do will be recorded, do you understand?" Amelia Bones, who was the judge of the trial, said with a stern voice.

"I understand," Narcissa's reply was curt and stoic.

"Please explain how Lucius Malfoy was found dead."

Narcissa seemed to be contemplated but her face remained as aloof as ever. "I found him in the cellar at the manor, blood was running down the back of his head. There was also blood on the wall behind him, so I assumed he had an accident and knocked himself out. What I didn't expect was for him to no longer be alive, so I wasn't quite sure when did he die."

"Where were you when he died?"

"Reading in the library, as I typically do," Narcissa replied simply.

"Can you confirm that you weren't the one to kill him?" Umbridge interjected, her tone annoying as usual.

Narcissa's eyes narrowed at the accusation. "For what purpose would I kill him, if I may ask?"

The pink-toad cleared her throat and retorted in a pitch higher than before, "well, rumours go around that Lucius Malfoy always brought back women to satisfy him … in bed…"

The whole room was making a racket and Hermione's blood was boiling in rage, wishing she could kill the pink-bitch right there and then.

"If you're implying that I would kill Lucius out of vengeance for what he did, unfortunately, we already made an agreement on that particular arrangement. So there'd be no reason for me to proceed with that disgusting act."

In Hermione's mind, Narcissa looked so impressive and cool as she managed to shut Umbridge's mouth with ease. Hermione wished she could be as good as her lover.

The trial went further on with no more interjection. When asked about Narcissa's involvement with the Death Eaters, she proved to the Council that she did not receive any mark like them. In the end, Narcissa was proven innocent and she was then replaced by her son, Draco Malfoy.

Draco, being a coward that he always was, seemed to be agitated sitting on the chair and being in the attention of every pair of eyes in the room. A cup of tea was then served to him, ordered by Umbridge with the excuse, "to help with his nerves." The boy gulped it down in one shot and appeared calm a moment later.

Amelia started the procedure with the same speech as before.

"I understand, Ma'am," Draco replied curtly.

"Where were you when Lucius was found dead?"

"I was at Hogwarts."

"How did you know about his death?"

"Mother picked me up from school on Saturday, a week before the end-of-school-year."

"Narcissa said that Lucius had an accident, would you agree to that?" Again, Umbridge interjected with the questioning.

"No," Draco said, shocking everyone. Wait, what? "That man was murdered," he added, raising a ruckus around the room. Why am I saying this?

"Ha, I knew it!" Umbridge shouted gleefully.

"Silence!" Amelia Bones hit the gavel as she tried to put the room into order. When the room quieted down, she asked the boy to explain further.

Draco's posture became rigid, his eyes darted around and seemed to stop at Albus Dumbledore for some reasons as if he was calling for help. But no help was coming his way and even if he tried to stop himself from saying anything that would damage his family's reputation, he could not.

It was as if he was forced to say what he knew – the truth. As if he drunk a truth serum, but he did not, right?

There's no way! His eyes widened as he looked at the empty cup on its saucer in front of him. Fuck!

"That you are. You should never, ever drink anything before a trial, moron."

Hermione's voice echoed in Draco's mind, but of course, the boy did not know it was her. He looked around but then jumped as he was called out by the vexing Umbridge, asking him to answer the question.

"That man, my father, he was murdered by a Muggle," he answered, voice stuttering in fright.

Another commotion occurred.

"Bring Narcissa Malfoy in!"

Draco's eyes widened once again in true fear and despair. He did not know what was going to happen, and he prayed to whatever the powerful being there was to help him so that no more damage could be done. Truly, he felt like crying, knowing how much his mother and aunt would be disappointed in him.

"There would be no need for that."

A voice answered his prayer.

Chapter Text

Chapter 25 – Slowly, but Surely…

This chapter contains a sex scene and multiple mentions of G!P. You have been warned. I own nothing but merely the idea of this story, not the characters nor any canon plot whatsoever.


"Mom?"

Nymphadora Tonks sought out her mother as soon as she stepped into their home. Assuming her mother was in her usual place inside the house, she went up the stairs but not before she told the black dog that came with her to stay at the foyer.

"There you are, Mom," Tonks said when she saw her mother reading in the library, though her mind seemed to wander elsewhere.

"Dora, you're home!" Andromeda did not expect to see her daughter that day but was happy regardless.

"Are you feeling alright, Mom?" Tonks curiously asked but her mother merely dismissed her concern, "if you say so, Mom. By the way, someone is here and wishes to see you."

Andromeda had her eyebrow raised, not expecting any guest at all. She closed her book, put it aside and followed her daughter downstairs with her heart full of curiosity. She was truly surprised to see the massive black dog patiently waiting at the closed front door, her eyes widened incredibly bigger as the dog changed into its human form.

"Sirius!" She exclaimed, her voice slightly high-pitched.

"Andy! I'm so sorry to intrude," the man named Sirius Black said as he went to embrace his most favourite cousin.

"What brings you here, cousin?" Andromeda invited the man to come to the kitchen, ordering him to sit at the dining table while she prepared tea using her magic – she could hardly trust her clumsy daughter to do it instead. She took a seat opposite the man while her daughter who had followed them took a seat beside her.

"Andy, it's been a while. I've missed you," Sirius said, then his voice turned gravely. "I'm sorry I've been unable to visit."

"How long has it been already? More than 15 years, isn't it?" Sirius merely nodded, his face crestfallen so Andromeda took his hand and squeezed it. "Let's put the past behind us, shall we?"

Happiness shone in greyish eyes, beautifully placed on the pale face of the man. The two older Blacks chatted for a bit, catching up with each other – mostly Sirius talked about his Godson, Harry Potter, and how much he wished he could save him from everything – the Dursleys and You-Know-Who; and that the boy could live a normal life.

Andromeda sipped on her tea as she observed Sirius with seriousness in her eyes, knowing there was something in the man's mind waiting to be let out.

"Have you checked the tapestry as of late?" Sirius finally said.

"Whose?" Andromeda deliberately asked. She knew what the man wanted to talk about but didn't want to react too much, for she wasn't sure how much she could reveal to him.

"The Black's," was Sirius' reply. Bullseye.

"No, why?" She hesitantly lied.

"Well… There was an addition to the family's tree, but…" the man paused.

"But?" Andromeda watched as the frown appeared on his forehead, the way it wrinkled made him looked older than he should be. "What's wrong?"

"But it's impossible," he continued, face screaming with confusion he was feeling.

Andromeda refrained herself from laughing at the look on her cousin's face so she turned towards her daughter. "Could you please fetch the Black tapestry for me, darling?" she sweetly said and watched as her daughter went as she was told, only to return a minute later.

"What's impossible?"

Sirius took the magical scroll that showed every single name whose had the blood of Black family running through their veins; his fingers traced on the lines as he said, "so here's Cissy's kid, Draco; and here's you, Dora; but look…"

All eyes followed the path which his fingers ran through. Next to the Orion + Walburga couple (who were Sirius' parents), were the names of Lucretia Black + Ignatius Prewett, and below those two was Camellia Prewett, who was married to Joseph Shafiq.

Beneath those was the name 'Hermione Shafiq', born on 1979 and alive till this day. It was written as clear as the day.

"I see…" Andromeda replied in a flat voice.

"You seem unsurprised, Andy," Sirius looked sceptically at the older woman, then at her daughter, "and you too, Dora."

The pair of mother-daughter glanced at each other, eyes making silent conversation as they contemplated on what to say to the lonely man.

"I know that both of you are keeping something from me, but I still don't understand how is it possible that there is a child born from both the Shafiqs? I mean, didn't they die in fire ages ago?"

"They were killed." "Murdered, you mean," Both the Tonks said in very harsh tones, eyes steely like cold metal bars that sent chilled down the man's spine.

"But there wasn't any news that they were expecting?" Sirius shook off the chill.

Andromeda sighed, reluctantly returning to herself. "It was during the war, Sirius, what would you expect? You were fighting, I went into hiding, and they probably did the same too – hiding from You-Know-Who. Hermione was born before both Camilla and Joseph were exterminated, so to say. Not a single person knew about her existence except for a man who took her away and kept her at a supposedly safe place."

"Who—"

"Now, we can't tell you more than that. Forgive me, dearest cousin," Andromeda stern voice cut through Sirius' interjection, causing his mouth to shut and his deep frown to return.

"How do you know, then? Who is she, really? And what's with all the secrecy?" he asked after a moment of silence but not a word came out from both the Tonks' mouths. He sighed dejectedly.

"Fine, but I just have one last question," he said as he stared into the pair of soft brown eyes. "How can I meet her, the secret niece I have never known existed?"

"I'll owl you when the time comes."

The short, straight answer seemed to be sufficient for the scruffy-bearded man, so he stood up to take his leave. Just before he changed into his Animagus form, the younger Tonks went to whisper in his ears.

"Perhaps you could get some information from Harry, though I bet he knows much."

Sirius nodded and bid farewell, then changed into the massive black dog he came as and disappeared into the distance.

Tonks heard her mom sighed as she went to the living room, while Andromeda returned to the kitchen. "By the way, Mom, do you know Aunt Cissy and Draco are having a trial right now?"

The sound of broken glass was exactly the kind of reaction Nymphadora Tonks searched for.


"There would be no need for that."

Every pair of eyes in the room turned towards the man who dared to speak up during the trial. He stood up from his seat amongst the outsider stands and took calculated steps towards the centre of the room, to where Draco was.

"Professor Dumbledore…" The boy whispered as he sighed in relief, though his eyes were wary.

"Excuse me, Professor Dumbledore, but no one is permitted to intervene—"

"Oh, but I'm here to provide statements as a witness for the defence," the old man cut through Amelia's sentence before she could further deny his presence. Draco's eyes widened comically, not expecting a witness in his defence, especially not being who he was.

"A witness? To Lucius' murder?" Umbridge said, galling.

"Silence, Dolores!" Amelia's volume was a tad higher and it seemed to shock the pink woman.

"Excuse me?"

"This trial does not involve the concern from the Minister and you are not assigned as one of the interrogators, so there would be no need for your presence here, Dolores. If you want to stay, keep your mouth shut or if not, please leave the room at once."

If given the chance, Hermione would have laughed at the look of discompose on the pink toad but a smirk would do her justice for now. She was very impressed with the way Amelia handled the Senior Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic, with bold and bravery Hermione wished she possessed.

Umbridge's face turned deep scarlet, whether from shame or angry at being told off. "How dare you?! You insolent—"

"I am the Head of the Council, the Judge for this case. You either respect me or leave, now!"

Amelia's stern voice successfully managed to shut Umbridge's mouth for good. The latter squared her shoulders with whatever dignity that was left in her, huffing exasperatedly and glaring resentfully at the former as she went out of the room, while others were whispering about.

Hermione enjoyed watching the exchange for it was more exciting than watching a quidditch tournament. 'Madam Bones is definitely going into my good book,' she thought to herself as she started to recognise and respect the person named Amelia Bones.

"Now, where were we?" Amelia said after Umbridge had left. "Moving on, Professor Dumbledore, what did you wish to say about this case?" As Amelia spoke, all eyes were back on Albus.

"I wish for this case to be closed already, Madam Bones," the old man's reply was clear cut, his voice demanding.

Amelia raised her eyebrow. "And why is that, Professor?"

"Because both Narcissa and Draco are innocent in this matter. If we think logically, they were both not present during the time of Lucius' death, so no one knows what actually happened."

Amelia smiled softly. "Ah, but you see, Professor, their words contradict each other. Narcissa said that Lucius had an accident, while Draco said that he was murdered by a Muggle."

Albus nodded his head while his fingers were playing with his beard. "That they are, Madam Bones. However, no one knows the truth of the situation that happened and there's nothing more we can do about it, can we?" His eyes landed on Hermione as he uttered those words, but only for a couple of seconds.

"Explain."

"Well, think about this. Let's say if Lucius was truly murdered by a Muggle, there must be a reason, correct?" Almost everyone nodded their heads in responding to the sensible question. "The highest possibility would be that something out of ordinary happened and the Muggle killed Lucius because they were feeling scared."

"He may have broken the Statute of Secrecy!" one of the council's juries remarked.

Albus turned around to face that man. "Was there even any report or alarm on that matter?" he paused. "Even if he did break the law, are you going to dig his grave just to deliver punishment on him?"

"What if the Muggle expose about us?" Another person retorted.

"Yes, are we going to be safe? We should find them and erase their memories at once!" Another added, causing a ruckus amongst the audience.

"And how are you going to do that when no one has a clue about that Muggle? Are you going to erase the memories of every single Muggle in the United Kingdom?" He raised his voice and silence engulfed them as no one dared to answer him.

"Furthermore, our existence might already be exposed due to the return of Voldemort." There were gasped echoed as they heard the uprising name of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. "We should focus more on the bigger and more important issue at hand instead of thinking about unnecessary things. With Voldemort's return, this already means that the war has already begun!"

There seemed to be a sudden chill in the room as everyone froze in their seats, their minds pondering with the thought of war.

"If there's no more objection, the court will declare that the case is closed, both Narcissa Malfoy née Black and Draco Malfoy are proven innocent. The court is now dismissed!"

The sound of gavel marked the end of the trial and Hermione could finally let out the breath she didn't realise she had been holding. The exchanges were intense in her opinion but it was satisfying; she was glad that she decided to come.

One positive outcome from being here was that she was finally able to identify the source of the familiar magic from her past. At long last, she figured out who Merlin was in this life, without a doubt.

Eyes like a hawk, Hermione observed as Rita Skeeter grabbed her quill and hastily tried to leave the room, looking suspicious in the way her body moved. She also caught the sight of Luna Lovegood with an older, fair-skinned man who looked much similar to the girl, who Hermione assumed to be Luna's father. Interesting.

Hermione followed the throngs of people as they dispersed in different directions. Her eyes tried to find Merlin underneath her sunglass, wanting to approach Morgan's arch-enemy-turned-friend but were unsuccessful. Instead, her eyes found Narcissa and Draco, and her instinct kicked in to hide in between pillars, not far from the pair but not too close to be seen either.

Draco was being held in her mother's arms as he apologised for being a moron – for drinking the Veritaserum and not doubting it at all. Narcissa merely rubbing behind her not-so-little son, but Hermione recognised the look in the woman's eyes – the pair of blue eyes that showed her guilt for keeping secrets from her son.

The mother-son duo left the floor and Hermione let out a deep sigh. There were many things she needed to do, many objectives she needed to achieve and she needed to lay them out in a sound, concrete plan. Things would get even more difficult for her and her soulmates, so they needed to become stronger.

If only she would be willing to be one with her soulmates already.

Hermione cast her eyes downwards to the southern region of her body, thinking 'if only it'd be easier to just accept this'. But no, she shook her head and dismissed her thought. She heaved another regretful sigh.


Narcissa and Draco arrived inside Malfoy Manor after they travelled through Floo network from the Ministry of Magic. They were surprised to see a ruckus amongst the portraits hanged around the wall.

"Blood-traitor!"

"Blood-traitor in the house!"

Confusion etched on the mother and son's faces but before they could do anything, an elf appeared in front of them.

"Mistress has a guest waiting for her in the library," the elf said.

Narcissa and Draco looked at each other before they proceeded towards the said library. Upon entering, Draco baffled at seeing her aunt – no, was it someone who looked like her aunt? – anxiously walking around the area in front of the fireplace.

"Andy?" Draco's eyes widened, mouth opened and closed like a gaping fish.

"Cissy!" The two Black sisters embraced each other tightly.

"Hello, Aunt Andy," Draco went to greet his aunt with a proper and formal manner as if he met a stranger. Although Andromeda was his maternal aunt, it was his first time seeing her face to face. He had only heard stories – usually bad stories – about her, especially from her late father.

"Draco, oh look at you, you're such a big boy now! Forgive me for not coming here before to see you, my dear," Andromeda said as she ruffled the boy's prim blonde hair.

'She's just like Aunt Bella,' he thought to himself.

"Andy, is something the matter?" Narcissa's voice was laced with worry as she asked after they all sat on the sofas.

"Cissy, what is this trial I heard about from Dora?" There was concern evident in Andromeda's tone, but the hidden underlying feeling was something else entirely.

"It only pertains to Lucius' death, Andy, nothing to worry about," Narcissa said dismissively.

"Worry is one thing, Cissy, but do you recall the promise we made together?" Andromeda grabbed her sister's hand and squeezed it.

Narcissa seemed to ponder for a moment before she tentatively muttered, "there will be no secrets between us."

Andromeda nodded, "clever. Now, did you inform anyone?" Narcissa shook her head.

Draco was stunned at seeing his mother being reproached by his aunt. He didn't know whether he should interrupt their conversation or not, so he merely listened attentively. It helped him in building a new impression of his aunt.

"You wound us, Cissy. Can you imagine how the others, especially Hermione, must have felt if they know?" Andromeda said with the most gentle, motherly tone. She could not bear to scold her darling sister, whom only recently she reunited with.

Draco's ears perked with interest and he curiously asked, "who's Hermione?"

Andromeda gasped in utter shock. Her eyes widened as she looked at her sister who had her eyes closed in fear. "You still haven't told him?"

Narcissa shook her head again, burying her head in her hands.

"How long are you going to wait, Cissy? He deserves to know the truth." Andromeda stood up and started pacing around the seating area.

Draco could not grasp the idea that her mother was apparently keeping something from him, again. He felt quite upset. "You're keeping something important from me again, Mother? What is this truth that I'm supposed to know about? Is this about The Queen?"

Narcissa's head was throbbing with pain. She felt utterly stressed out at the moment, though she merely glued her lips shut.

"Mother, please, tell me." It broke Narcissa's heart to hear her only son pleaded with her, but she still kept her feelings to herself.

Truth to be told, Narcissa was feeling afraid. She did not know how Draco would react to all the revelations about his new cousin, who Hermione actually was, what's the relationship between her and Hermione – well, basically everything. Her head hurt, her chest felt heavy, she felt suffocated in the spacious room inside the big manor.

Meanwhile, Andromeda was thinking deeply about the possible reasons for her sister to keep the secrets. 'Is it because Hermione is the same age as Draco? Does Cissy feel ashamed if he knows?'

'Cissy, Andy…'

Hermione's soft voice rang inside both the said women's minds, causing their hearts to skip a beat. They looked at each other with wide eyes as they replied to Hermione's call.

'Hermione?'

'Finally, you heard me. Trying to reach both of you at the same time is quite hard, to be honest. Anyway, I heard both of your worries—'

'I'm so sorry, Hermione,' Narcissa almost sobbed, feeling terribly guilty.

'You're forgiven, Cissy. Now, listen, my loves. I'm going to host a dinner party the night after tomorrow, but it's only for my Mother's maternal family. Which means, Cissy, bring Draco with you and Andy, bring your whole family, and Sirius too. I'll inform Bella and the others as well.'

"Mother? Aunt Andy?" Draco stared at both of the women, whose eyes were still on each other. They had been in silent for a while and it freaked the boy out.

'Are you sure, Hermione?' Andy said worriedly.

'Yes, Andy, I'm absolutely sure. And Cissy, please remember that you are never going to be alone, no matter what,' Hermione's voice was so gentle, heartwarming and loving that caused Narcissa's tears to fall down her cheeks.

"Mother!" Draco was by her mother's side in an instant, holding her firmly in his arms. "What happens to you so suddenly, Mother?"

"Forgive me, Draco," Narcissa pulled slightly away so she could look into her son's eyes.

"For what, Mother? I should be the one to feel sorry for causing your tears," he wiped the tears away.

Narcissa smiled with pride at the kindness her son showed. Andromeda returned to her previous seat, smiling and knowing that there was still a hope in that boy.

"Forgive me for not trusting you more, and for being afraid of telling the truth. All the secrets that I keep from you, I promise they will be revealed on the night after tomorrow," Narcissa squeezed Draco's hands with assurance.

"Why? What's going to happen?" Draco asked, inquisitively.

"We…are going to have an overdue family dinner, my dear," Andromeda said and winked at her nephew.

Narcissa smiled nervously while trying to conceal the tremble in her hands.


Hermione woke up to the feeling of soft lips caressing hers, which somehow gave a bit of energy to her drained body. She recalled the memory of her energy depleted and passing out right after making the telepathic-calls to Bellatrix, Severus, Minerva, and Fleur. She had been using much of her magic for the past few days and did not bother to take care of her body. She needed to recharge now.

When she opened her eyes, she saw Minerva and Fleur sitting by her sides, both looking glad at seeing her awake. Something sparked inside Hermione's core and before any of them was able to say anything, she kissed Minerva again.

This time, her lips were moving firmly against the woman's soft lips, catching every breath that came out from her mouth. Hermione pulled away and turned towards the shocking Fleur, and kissed her like there was no tomorrow.

Even though they tried to say something, Hermione shushed them with alternating her kisses between the two, letting go only to catch her breath.

"Min, I want you to make love to Fleur, can you do that?" Hermione whispered huskily into Minerva's ear.

The older woman was perturbed by the suggestion, though her dilated forest green eyes suggested otherwise. "But—"

"Ah, ah, ah… No buts, Min. The only butts I want are the one I want you to grab Fleur's."

Fleur giggled at seeing the antics between those two. She honestly wouldn't mind making love with any of Hermione's soulmates; to her, they were as special as Hermione was, and she knew they all considered the same too. She stepped forward to help ease Minerva's nerves, slowly closing their distance and took the initiative to kiss the professor first.

Though reluctant, Minerva responded well to the kiss and Hermione smirked with triumph. Her pupils dilated at seeing the intense snogging session between her lovers. She felt tingles on her skin, excitement coursing through her body and pooling specifically at the part between her legs.

Hermione went behind Fleur and pressed herself behind her back, subsequently letting Fleur being sandwiched between her and Minerva. Her fingers went to pull Fleur's nightwear off of her delicate body as she rained kisses down her back. It had been a while since Hermione last seeing Fleur in all her naked glory. She missed it so badly that her appendage throbbed in pain at feeling the smooth skin against her pyjamas.

Hermione's arms outreaching to the front of Minerva's body, slowly unbuttoning the woman's silk pyjamas and took it off. Fleur took the chance to trailed her kisses down Minerva's jaw, neck, shoulder and further towards her chest. When her tongue touched and caressed the hardened peak, Minerva let out a loud moan, causing Hermione's rod to twitch painfully and she let out a deep guttural sound.

"Feel, Cherie, but don't conceal it, please," Fleur said breathily as she reached for Hermione's head and pulled her in for a sensual french kiss. She moaned when Minerva bit on her neck and soothed it with her tongue.

Hermione let out another groan, hesitating whether to reveal the hardness confined in her pants or not. However, her lust won over her rationale so she muttered the spell to reverse the concealment charm she placed on herself.

"Fuck!"

Fleur moaned louder when she suddenly felt the hard, pulsing rod on her backside; she swore she could come right then and there, knowing that the love of her life was reacting this way because of her and Minerva. She wanted to turn around, to get a feel on the real thing but was stopped by Hermione.

"Ah, ah, ah. No turning around, Fleur. I want to see you both reach together," Hermione said, her voice in between stern and painful.

"A little sneak peek, my love?" Minerva said from above Fleur's shoulder, curious but wanting to cope a feel of the new appendage too.

"No, it's disgusting," Hermione gagged on the thought of showing it to them.

Both Minerva and Fleur froze for a second before they paid whole attention to their lover.

"It's a part of you, Cherie."

"I know, that's why it's disgusting. I'm disgusting," Hermione backed off but halted in her steps as she was suddenly being held by them.

"It's a part of you, Hermione. We love you, inside and out. We love every inch of your skin and every part of your body, love."

"I know you both do, but—"

"Ah, ah, no buts, Cherie," Fleur pulled Hermione to sit on the bed. "Let us show you how much we love you, hmm?"

Minerva went in to kiss Hermione, her tongue skillfully massaging Hermione's and made her forget what was on her mind. Fleur took off the remaining clothes on Minerva body and caressed her skin, teasingly touching her core and was delighted at the wetness she found. She brought some of the wetness to Hermione's lips when Minerva went south and took the liberty of pulling all Hermione's clothes off.

"Taste this, Cherie, it's Minerva's," Fleur whispered huskily.

As Hermione tasted the sweet musky wetness that belonged to her first love, she moaned in pleasure. It didn't register in her mind that she was already naked, lying on the large bed with two naked women who once stole her heart, that one of them was currently trailing her fingers up and inside her legs.

What she knew was that she wanted to taste more of Minerva, so more she got. She pulled Minerva up and over her face, sitting above her facing Fleur who was kissing around her navel. Too many things happened at once afterwards; Hermione's tongue touched Minerva's core, Minerva let out a sharp moan of pleasure, Fleur moaned as she touched Hermione's phallus, causing Hermione to let out her own moan of pleasure.

Hermione alternated between licking Minerva's core and licking and sucking on Minerva's clit, feeling elated at hearing Minerva's string of curses coming out of her mouth before she went down to circle her fingers around Hermione's impossibly huge and hardened, painfully throbbing member, while Fleur was experimenting with it – she licked the rod, kissing and sucking the head as she jerked it off.

Minerva played with Hermione's balls when Fleur went in for a deep throat. At first, Fleur gagged at reflex and pulled away, but then Minerva gave her an advice, "let your body relaxed, Fleur." The Veela nodded, took a deep breath and let her body unwind before she tried it again.

Slowly, she managed to take in all of Hermione's phallus inside her mouth, the tip rubbing at her throat and as she sucked, Hermione's "fuck! Fuck! Fuck! So good, Fleur!" was worth her everything. She was glad to be able to do something that Hermione would like.

Minerva smirked when Hermione had stopped licking her, knowing that the girl had gone deep into the land of ecstasy so she pushed herself down and went to suck on Hermione's balls, causing the girl to scream in heightened pleasure.

"Oh, fuck! Min, Fleur, don't stop! Shit, so good! I'm gonna come!"

None of them stopped in trying to bring Hermione to the climax, and without warning, Hermione came and spurt her cum off in Fleur's mouth. Fleur was only able to take half of Hermione's cum and when she pulled away, Minerva quickly used her hand to jerk her lover off till the end of her ejaculation.

Hermione panted heavily as she experienced her first orgasm since she received the gift from the deities. It turned out differently than was expected, but she was still feeling slightly disgusted at that thing, merely because of her past, traumatising experiences.

The rest of the night was spent with pleasing satisfaction, as they kept on making each other climaxed for multiple rounds – mainly focusing on Hermione's lovers, as Hermione was still unsettled at having the phallus.

Unbeknownst to them, three women across the country were also feeling hot and bothered that night.

Chapter Text

A/N: This chapter started with some makeout scenes and mentions of G!P. You've been warned. I take no credit except for my messed-up imagination.


Chapter 26 – And So It Begins

Hermione heard the sound of a door being opened and then closed before she heard the approaching footsteps. A presence was felt behind her and a pair of hands encircled her waist as the person pressed into her back, warmth emitted at their closeness and seeped into her heart, prompting Hermione to let out a long sigh.

"Feeling nervous, are we?"

Hermione loved the seductive voice that belonged to none other than Bellatrix Lestrange.

"Extremely anxious," she breathed out. Hermione pulled one of Bellatrix's hands up to her heart and muttered, "can you feel it?"

Hermione's heart was beating erratically inside her chest that it was a surprise she did not get hyperventilated. Bellatrix tightened her embrace, knowing how much Hermione cared about the people who she considered as a family, and how much a rejection would wound her emotionally.

"I suppose you need help in forgetting about your worries for now. Don't you, Pet?" Bellatrix joyed in feeling the shivers coming from her lover as she whispered into Hermione's ear, her voice dropping an octave than usual.

"I suppose…" Hermione bit her lip, her eyes shone brightly as she took in the sight of her lover in the mirror. Bellatrix grinned evilly, her dark eyes turned a shade darker with lust. Hermione gasped as her mind was bombarded with the thoughts of what Bellatrix wanted to do to her.

"Ohh…" Hermione softly moaned as her body shook with underlying desires, feeling equally excited as Bellatrix's hand was working furiously at untucking her white sleek shirt and unbuttoning it with haste.

Bellatrix turned the girl around and drooled at the sight of Hermione in a black lace bra. Her eyes cast downward to Hermione's lean waist and the thing she knew hidden inside her sleek and striped suit pants.

Hermione was pushed back against the vanity, her legs widened to fit the older woman in as their mouths met in heated kisses. Tongues were clashing, duelling for dominance though Hermione purposely lost herself to Bellatrix, knowing clearly how far this rendezvous can actually go.

Hermione sucked in air when Bellatrix let go of her mouth and trailed kisses down her jaw and neck, biting quite forcefully on her skin but soothing it afterwards with her sinful tongue. Bellatrix's hands were massaging Hermione's breasts from on top of her bra, while Hermione's hands were pulling at the woman's hair and body to get even closer.

One of Bellatrix's hands move further downwards and rubbed on the apex of Hermione's thighs, but then Bellatrix let out a sexually frustrated groan when she felt the semi-erect state of Hermione's penis.

"I can't wait for the day when I'll be able to truly feel your new equipment, Pet," Bellatrix's voice was a little strained and upset as she breathlessly uttered into Hermione's lips; her forehead rested on Hermione's. She let out a little yelp when Hermione suddenly flipped their position and lifted her over the vanity, all the items had been thrown away and she hissed when her bare shoulders touched the cool mirror behind her back.

"Then make the day comes faster because you know what I can't wait for?" Hermione's dark brown eyes were staring deep into Bellatrix's pair of black eyes, touching the soul within.

"Frankly speaking, I can't wait to taste you, Bella," Hermione licked her lips and clutched her hands onto Bellatrix's waist as she spoke, "but most of all, I can't wait for the time when I'll be able to officially make you as my partner."

Bellatrix was feeling touched and her heart just swooned over by Hermione's honest declaration that she became speechless, so she merely grabbed the collar of Hermione's shirt and pulled her in for a deep kiss. She poured out all of her feelings into the kiss, hoping but knowing Hermione knew and appreciated the way she expressed her feelings.

Hermione's senses registered the company of two people standing at the entrance to the walk-in closet she was currently in before they even cleared their throats to announce their arrivals.

"Oh, so this is where you are, Cherie," Fleur made a playful sarcastic remark.

"It seems that we're intruding, Fleur. Should we leave?" Minerva chimed in and smirked at the pair.

Hermione and Bellatrix broke apart and eventually let go of each other. "Minnie, Fleur," they said at once and Bellatrix stuck her tongue out at the two 'intruders'.

"Very mature, Bella," Minerva said.

"Same goes to you, Min—" Bellatrix gasped when she was being pulled into a kiss by the eldest woman. She felt Minerva's tongue poked into her mouth then circling and sucking hers. There was a 'pop' sound when Minerva let her go and Bellatrix tried to regulate her breathing, feeling heady from her first kiss with her first crush.

"What was that?" she asked breathlessly.

"That was to take back Hermione's kisses," Minerva winked and grinned somewhat triumphantly. Hermione and Fleur were giggling and laughing at the side.

"Hmph!" Bellatrix ignored them and turned around to look at the mirror, attempting to reset her appearance.

Hermione went to do the same and twirled her fingers to rearrange all the items that had made a mess on the floor back onto the dresser. She buttoned up her shirt, tucking it back into her suit pants while Fleur helped with her tie — something Minerva said she didn't know how to do, while she helped with taming Bellatrix's hair.

Hermione pulled her hair up and tied them in a ponytail, letting some curls fell down her face. She cleared her skin from the indication of her makeout session and not to forget, she used the concealment charm on her appendage. Her tie looked perfectly placed on her chest and she kissed Fleur to thank her. Minerva handed Hermione her suit coat and received a kiss on her lips too.

"You look very dashing, my love," Minerva said when Hermione secured the coat on her shoulders, Bellatrix and Fleur agreed without a doubt.

Hermione stared at her reflection in the full-length body mirror on her side, hoping she will slay the night. She looked great, her confidence level skyrocketed and honestly, she liked her new look. She didn't want to try to look or become like a man, that she could still look feminine in this kind of attire, but she was feeling superb and comfortable with her choice of clothing.

After all, she was feeling at the top of her game.

Hermione faced her lovers and finally took in their appearances. Bellatrix was donning a black dress that showed off her shoulders and chest, and it ended just right at her knees. Her messy curls were pooling nicely above her head, thanks to Minerva's handiwork. Minerva wore a new dress in her most favourite colour – green. It was a wonder how a true Gryffindor would love the colour of Slytherin so much, but maybe because it brought out the colour of her eyes. The dress was made with premium linen that ended at her feet and had long sleeves. Fleur was looking sophisticated in a black long sleeves dress covered in gold with abstract-pattern-laces that ended just above her knees, her silvery-blonde hair was tied in a neatly low ponytail and her neck decorated by the necklace Hermione gave, proudly worn to be seen by many.

"Wow…" Hermione finally breathed out, "ladies, you look stunning!" she exclaimed.

Bellatrix stepped closer and pulled out a wand from her sleeve, the wand that belonged to Hermione. "I'm so sorry it took a while for me to return it," Bellatrix said nervously as she handed the wand to Hermione.

Hermione delicately touched the wand, feeling her magic connected within herself, to the ring and to the wand that swore its allegiance to her. "Thank you, Bella," she smiled gratefully and pecked on the woman's lips. "Are you sure about tonight? Promise me you'll be okay…" she expressed her worries.

Bellatrix nodded her head and squeezed Hermione's hand softly, she smiled as she reaffirmed, "I will be fine as long as you are, Hermione. You're my strength, trust me."

Hermione sensed the arrivals of her guests in the compound of the manor — her manor now — and knew that their arrivals will be greeted by the elves first.

Her eyes lit up and her voice full of determination as she announced, "it's showtime."


Narcissa apparated in the centre of the garden in front of the manor, along with her son. Draco surveyed around the place and gaped in awe as his eyes landed at the manor that looked majestically beautiful surrounded by the colour of sunset.

"Where are we, Mother?" he asked curiously.

"This manor belongs to the family of Shafiq for generations," Narcissa replied as she tried to tidy up her son who was wearing his black suit.

She was wearing a silver silky sleeveless dress that glittered in the moonlight and ended just below her knees, matching with a pair of white gloves that went up to her elbows. Her hair was untied and flowing freely down her neck and shoulders, knowing that was exactly the look Hermione would like to see on her. She had been on her nerves all day long, not knowing what would happen tonight and the unforeseeable future, so she merely held her son's hand and pulled him towards the manor's huge front door.

Another apparition sound was heard as soon as they arrived at the door, which opened automatically as if it sensed their presence. Narcissa turned around and spotted Andromeda and her family, together with two more people she could not quite make out from afar. She knew one of them would be Sirius, but the other, she wasn't really sure.

"Greetings, Mistress Narcissa and Young Master," a house-elf greeted them from inside the house, inviting them to come into the spacious foyer.

"Greetings, Mistress Andromeda and all the guests. Please, come in," the elf did the same thing to Andromeda's group and Narcissa finally able to recognise who was the person that her sister brought with.

The question is not much to who, but more to what is he doing here?

"Potter!" "Malfoy!" The two boys exchanged surprised looks.

"What are you doing here, Malfoy?" Harry asked inquisitively.

"I could ask you the same, Potter. I don't think that we are related in any way," Draco made a snide remark.

A familiar elf appeared in front of the group, beautiful in her pink flowery dress that surprised the guests. "Mistress said that anyone can and will be considered as a family to her, related or not. Lori is Mistress' family too!" her words managed to silence the two boys.

"Who exactly is your mistress, pretty elf?" Sirius finally voiced her curious mind.

"Lori's name is Lori, and thank you, Sir. Lori's Mistress is the most beautiful, kind and strong person. Mistress' name is Hermione and Mistress is the only daughter to Master Joseph and Mistress Camilla Shafiq," Lori showed to them the largest photo in the foyer.

It was an old photo of Joseph and Camilla Shafiq; both were holding the hands of a newborn that was being held in Camilla's arm. It was the only photo Severus managed to take after Hermione was born and he was only able to hang it in the foyer after they started to move into the house. That too, after Hermione had told him to be proud of their parents' sacrifices.

"No way!" "Blimey!" Both Draco and Harry shouted at once and they glanced at each other.

"Isn't that Granger?" Draco asked to no one in particular.

"No, no, her hair is different than Hermione's!" Harry objected.

"Mistress Andromeda, Mistress Narcissa, you have been asked to go to Mistress' room while the guests will be escorted by us to the dining room at once," Lori delivered Hermione's order. The guests were astounded to find a group of house-elves that were wearing smart and proper clothes – something unusual in their eyes.

Both the two Black sisters nodded their heads and separated themselves from the group. They took off into the direction of Hermione's room, remembering where it was during their first visit to the manor.

They knocked on the door and entered when they heard a voice from inside, though they were not expecting Bellatrix, Minerva and Fleur were in the room too. Hermione's eyes brightened up and her smile widened with joy at seeing her beloveds. She immediately pulled them both in a tight embrace.

"Oh, I've missed you both," she sighed in joy.

"Hermione, I'm sorry—" Narcissa wanted to apologise but was cut off when the rest of the ladies came in for a group hug.

They finally broke apart after a moment and Hermione stared into Narcissa's blue eyes which seemed to have unshed tears in them. "I was honestly upset but only for a short while. I understand why you'd keep it a secret from us, though I'd really appreciate if you don't do it again."

"But I'm still mad that you kept it from me, Sister. It feels like you don't trust me at all," Bella sulked, though everyone knew that she was merely pretending.

Narcissa grabbed ahold her eldest sister's hands and apologised profusely, only to be laughed by Bellatrix who then kissed her lips in earnest. "You're forgiven, Cissy."

"Didn't you feel hurt too, Andy?" Bellatrix asked as she turned towards her middle sister.

"I am way more matured than you, Bella," Andromeda smirked.

"Not again!" Bellatrix whined like a petulant child, earning laughter from the others.

Hermione cleared her throat and stepped closer to Andromeda, her eyes taking in of the woman's full appearance. She was donning a simple yet elegant blue dress, which was quite in contrast to her brown hair and eyes, though she wore it with confidence and allure that she knew Hermione would approve of.

"I'm sure you must feel quite drained after all the apparition here, Andy and Cissy. Please allow me to give you some energy booster," Hermione smiled and bit her lip as she closed their distance.

At the first touch of Hermione's fingers on her skin, Andromeda felt the spark ignited between them and as soon as their lips touched, the spark multiplied and overpowered her senses. It was unlike anything she had ever felt before and if this was how kissing with Hermione would feel like, she swore it would be everything she would have ever wished for. Hermione let the lightheaded woman go and Andromeda was supported by Bellatrix and Minerva by her sides, as she wasn't able to stand properly due to her trembling knees.

Hermione did the same thing to Narcissa, whose eyes lit up with anticipation at having her first real kiss with Hermione – it was a dream come true for her. Narcissa felt the surge of power travelling into her body as their lips met and she couldn't even try to hold her moan as her knees started to buckle and wetness pooling in her knickers. She was then supported by Fleur when Hermione finally released her.

"Amazing, huh?" Bellatrix smirked and laughed as she watched both her sisters were on cloud nine.

When they were finally stable and ready to go, Hermione changed into a more serious persona, knowing if she managed to conquer the night, there will be at least one obstacle less in their way.


All the guests had been invited to sit on the chairs specifically reserved for them at the long dining table. Only some of the chairs towards the head of the table were still emptied, and they were waiting with anticipation at the arrival of the hosts, though Nymphadora was getting excited for an entirely different reason.

The doors to the dining room opened wide and entered pair by pair were six beautiful women – Andromeda with Narcissa, Minerva with Fleur, and finally, Hermione with Bellatrix.

It was quite hilarious – though entirely expected by them – to see different kinds of reaction from the guests. The Tonks' father and daughter were acting indifferent, merely happy at seeing them. Draco's jaw was literally hanging in astonishment at everything that he saw – the fact that his guess was right, and that her mom and aunts were all there and appeared as if they belonged in the manor. Whereas Harry and Sirius were quickly on their feet, wands in their hands and pointed directly towards the one who walked arm-in-arm with Hermione.

With a swish of Hermione's hand, both the pointed wands flew out of their hands and went straight into hers.

"I'm sorry, may I know exactly what did you try to achieve here, Mr Black and Mr Potter?" Hermione asked with a nonchalant voice, though there was a sudden chill surrounding the room as everyone froze in their spots.

"Bella!" "Bellatrix Lestrange!" They shouted in unison.

Bellatrix let out a cynical laugh that caused Ted Tonks to subtly shudder in his seat and Nymphadora to facepalm herself. "Hello, dearest cousin! Hello, boy! Itty. Bitty. Baby, Potter," she said sardonically and was quite enjoying the visible shivers that ran down Harry's spine.

"Bella, behave," Hermione scolded the woman lightly; Bellatrix simply responded with a shrug of her shoulders and an "okay" that seemed to surprise their guests.

"Who are you and what have you done to Bellatrix?" Sirius asked, appalled at what he saw. His deranged cousin was literally putty in the girl's hand.

"I suppose an introduction would suffice, but before that…" Hermione closed her eyes and heightened her senses. She wanted to make sure what she felt before was correct, and she was right in her feelings. "…it seems that we have an uninvited guest here, in this room." Her eyes were glaring fiercely as she retrieved her wand from her left sleeve and pointed it towards Harry in particular.

"Sirius…" Harry hid behind his godfather.

Sirius lifted his hands in surrender and mumbled, "I'm sorry, he's the only family, the only son that I have and I couldn't help but to bring him too…" he stopped talking when he saw Hermione's wand was no longer pointing at him or Harry.

Instead, the wand was pointing in Draco's direction now. "What? Me? NO! I was invited!" All eyes in the room were on him now and Draco stood up in shock and fear, his hands shook as he tried to reach for his wand underneath his sleeve.

"Petrificus Totalus!"

Hermione suddenly shouted from across the room and white jet light came out of her wand towards Draco, whose body stiffened as he waited for the impact of the curse. However, the curse seemed to miss to his left, not even touching the slightest of his hair. By then, everyone was already on their feet, perplexed at the action displayed.

Hermione flicked her wand and from behind Draco, a small blue beetle that appeared to be petrified was levitating and moving towards her. Minerva quickly transfigured one of the decorations on the table into a small container with little holes for air and handed it to Hermione, who thanked her and used it to contain the bug.

"What—WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?" Draco screamed at the top of his lungs.

"This?" Hermione looked at the boy as she shook the container slightly, "this here is the infamous Rita Skeeter, in her Animagus form. She's the uninvited guest to our family dinner party tonight." Everyone gasped aloud in surprise.

"You scared the shit out of me, Granger!" Draco's face was red with anger.

"Why, did you pee in your pants, Malfoy?" Some chuckles were heard and the blonde's face reddened even more.

"Mia, darling, stop it. Don't tease my darling son anymore," Narcissa chastised Hermione lightly while she went to pamper and calm her son down.

"Sorry, Cissy," was Hermione's replied. She then muttered a soundproof spell onto the container in her hands and called for Lori to keep it hidden for now. She will deal with the bug later in the future because, at the moment, she had an obstacle to go through.

"Oh, my, where are my manners? Please forgive me for the display of rudeness before. Especially Mr Black, Mr Potter and Mr Malfoy. Oh, and you may keep your wands with you," Hermione gestured her hand towards the two wands that were on the table in front of the two men, no one knew when did the wands get there.

"I suppose I had delayed with the introduction. First of all, thank you, Mr Tonks, Ms Tonks, Mr Malfoy, Mr Black and Mr Potter for coming here and with open hands, I welcome you to the humble abode of Shafiq Manor. As some of you may have known, I used to go around as Hermione Granger. However, my actual name is Hermione Shafiq, the respectful and rightful heir to the Most Ancient and Noble House of Shafiq.

Tonight, I have invited you here to celebrate the reconciliation of the family that is related to my mother's maternal side – the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black. Hence, I have invited those who may have a relationship with the remnants of the Black family to come here, though some people were out of the invitation list due to safety reasons."

"But how come Bellatrix is here if you're thinking about our safety?" Harry asked, bewildered by what he heard.

"Aww, Baby Potter is afraid to see me?" Bellatrix chuckled softly. Her appearance and personality was quite the opposite of what she had always been portrayed as and it left the scarred-face boy perplexed.

"What about the other two ladies there? Who are they and what are their relations to the Blacks?" Sirius gestured to Fleur and Minerva.

Hermione cleared her throat, feeling her heart picked up on its beat. "Allow me to introduce to you, written in the stars and the prophecies that these are my soulmates – Minerva McGonagall, Fleur Delacour, Narcissa Malfoy, Andromeda Tonks, and last but not least, Bellatrix Lestrange."

Sirius, Draco and Harry had their jaws fallen to the ground.

"Blimey, Professor McGonagall, you look absolutely different!" Ted Tonks voiced her amazement at seeing the new appearance of his ex-professor.

"Believe me, we were completely surprised to see the real her at first!" Andromeda chimed in excitedly, while Minerva blushed at the compliment.

Sirius Black was stunned and utterly speechless. He didn't know what to say so he merely sat in his previous seat, followed by Harry and Draco on his sides. "I … I don't understand," he said and Draco nodded his head in agreement.

Hermione sympathised with the man and the boy. There were so many bombs being dropped tonight and yet, there was still more to come. At first, she was worried about their reactions, wondering if they would reject her like how Rosmerta did. But then she decided not to think too much and will only deal with the consequences later on.

"I know there's a lot of confusing matters but any questions you have will be answered soon, I promise. There will be no lies but first, let the feast begin!" Hermione waved her hands towards the table and various types of food magically appeared in front of them just like how it normally did in Hogwarts.

From her position at the head of the table, Hermione escorted Andromeda first to sit next to her husband, Ted. She wanted to kiss the woman's cheek but respected the man who still harboured feelings towards his wife. Andromeda smiled gratefully at her, all the while knowing how much they desired each other.

Next, Hermione went to escort Narcissa to sit beside her son, who looked like he was hanging onto the last thread of life. Poor Draco. She stopped herself from kissing the woman's cheek too, respecting Narcissa's wishes not to be seen too affectionate in front of her darling son.

Hermione did the same to the rest of the ladies – escorting Fleur to sit beside Narcissa, while Bellatrix was next to Andromeda and Minerva next to her. Finally, she took her seat at the head of the table, then picked up her glass of drink and made a toast.

"To the reunion of Black and Shafiq, to Family!"

Nymphadora snickered from the furthest seat but was heard all the way up to where Hermione at. 'Union eh, 'Mione?'

'Shut up, Tonks!'


 

Chapter Text

Chapter 27 – Her Discovery

"So, Hermione," Harry called from the other side of the long table. His mouth was full of food and he swallowed them before speaking again, "where were you after the incident at the Ministry?"

Hermione watched as the boy took another spoonful of pasta into his mouth without any table manner whatsoever; she felt slightly disgusted at his behaviour. She regarded Harry's question for a few seconds before replying with a question of her own, "do you genuinely care about me, or are you simply asking because you don't know how to talk to a girl?"

Harry was taken aback by the accusation and appeared to be contemplating his answer, only to be flustered by the girl's chuckle.

"Nevermind, I'm just kidding," Hermione smirked at him. She exchanged glances with her lovers, especially Bellatrix and Narcissa; both had a guilty expression on their faces. "If you must know, I was being held at the Malfoy Manor for some interrogations. There, terrible things happened and you might not want to know about it."

"Why? What happened?" Draco chimed in with his curious mind. He did not hear anything about Hermione being held in his house – another matter he suspected her mother and aunt had kept from his knowledge.

"Trust me, you don't want to know about it. It's horrid," Nymphadora Tonks said from opposite them, her face paled and her hair turned white showing how frightful she was feeling.

"And I'm not sure you kids can handle the truth," Hermione added with a little bit of spice in her words.

Being the simple-minded boys that they were, both Harry and Draco lashed out at her.

"I'm not a kid! We're the same age anyway," Draco roared.

"I have faced Voldemort many times before! I'm sure I can handle whatever you're going to say, however horrid they are," Harry bellowed and his words earned a very sinister laugh from none other than the female Death Eater in the room.

Bellatrix finger wiped faux-tear at the corner of her eye. "Aww, Little Harry thinks he's strong after facing the Dark Lord a couple of times…" She mocked him, and a few others joined in her laughter.

Hermione too was unable to hide her giggles at Harry's display of bravado. However, she was immediately on her feet and cast a shield charm wandlessly as Harry, who had already stood up from his seat threw a 'Stupefy' towards Bellatrix in particular. The spell reflected and blasted a part of Harry's chair.

Gasps and clutters of metal echoed around the room, and several eyes were seen glaring at the boy. Hermione's hands, as well as the defence shield, were still at bay; the shield covering most of the table and its guests. Bellatrix stood and readied her wand, but she was stopped by Hermione's hand on her arm.

"Don't, Bella. We were at fault for making fun of him," Hermione said to her lover, trying to calm her down. Then she faced the boy and apologised to him. "Forgive us for making fun of you, Harry. And you too, Draco." Her eyes landed on the blonde boy who seemed to be shrinking in his seat.

"Yes, I'm sorry, Harry," Bellatrix said in earnest before surrendering in her seat.

Harry baffled and collapsed on the blasted chair, not knowing how to react to what had just transpired. He, just like everyone else in school, recognised how brilliant, how amazing a witch that Hermione was but he had never been at the end of her wand – or hand, in this matter.

Hermione took a sip of her wine after she had recollected herself, sitting properly at the head of the dining table. She did not feel like eating anymore and it seemed that none of them was going to eat too.

"As I said earlier, I was being held at the Malfoy Manor for some interrogations. There, I was tortured and my body was violated, until I reached the point where I was on the brink of death," Hermione's face was void of emotion as she started recapping her memories.

"Was it you, Bella?" Sirius finally let his voice out, seeing as if the lot of them had already known the story except him and the two boys.

Bellatrix did not respond, nor did Narcissa or anyone else, so Hermione replied to him with, "what makes you think so?"

"Isn't it obvious? She is a Death Eater, isn't she?" he muttered, and seemingly did not want to stop from rambling on, "I'm confused. I know Bella is—was… one of them, because she was there at the Ministry, but now … now she looks nothing like she was. Well, I mean, if considered properly, she looks more like the Bella I knew when we were young."

"You talk as if I'm not here, Cuz," was all that Bellatrix answered.

Bellatrix had her hands underneath the table but Hermione knew she was clutching her arm that still held the mark of a Death Eater. "Technically, you weren't wrong, but—"

"It's him, isn't it?" Draco interjected, simultaneously shifting the room's attention to him. "It's that man, Lucius! Am I wrong?" He said with pure hatred in his voice.

Hermione sighed heavily, then slowly nodded her head as she stared at her half-full wine glass. Her hands placed the glass on the table and went to unbutton her left sleeve.

"Does that mean that you're the one who killed him, not some stranger Muggle he brought back home?" Draco stared at the girl, his eyes unconvinced. Sirius choke on his wine and gawked at the two of them.

Hermione showed them the scar on her left forearm. Harry, Sirius and Draco had their eyes narrowed as they tried to make out the letters, only to widen a moment later as she told them her terrible memory of being underneath the person named Lucius Malfoy.

"The magic turbulence caused by what he did, released by itself and unintentionally harmed him. I just wanted him to stop," she grieved.

Draco finally understood what actually happened and when he put all the pieces together, he could make sense why her mother and aunt would want to hide the truth from him. He was sincerely grateful that Lucius met his death from that accident, as he felt that no person should be a victim to such a beast and that beast did not deserve to live.

"What happened after that?" Sirius gulped down on his wine; it was already his third glass. Hermione was worried that the guy would become drunk, so she ordered her elves to serve them tea.

Hermione's story was continued by her soulmates, with the exclusion of Severus' name. They told her how they had learned about Hermione's prophecy which involved them, the heartbreaking moment when Hermione was declared dead, and the ritual they had gone through to save her and bring her back to the world of the living.

"That doesn't make any sense!" Harry exclaimed with a deep frown on his face.

"But how do you know who your parents are? And how can anyone not know about you?" Sirius queried further.

"I know it hardly makes sense, Harry, but the Limbo is the most magical place one could ever be in. When I was in there, not knowing where I was or what's going to happen to me, and honestly, I thought that I had really died; I met some divine beings from whom I learned so many things – my existence, my purpose of life, etc. They also brought to me, my parents' souls, Joseph and Camellia Shafiq. We talked a lot and they told me the truth of what happened during the last moment of their lives.

"Apparently, I have a brother – adopted brother – though none knew about him too. Before Voldemort came to my parents, they asked my brother to run and hide me from other people, to protect me and the prophecy of what I am destined to become. I was left at a Muggle's foster home where then I was adopted by the Grangers, and the rest is history…" Hermione shrugged her shoulders as she observed her guests.

"Who is your brother, Hermione?" Ted Tonks chimed in, sincerely curious in wanting to know about the mysterious person who was absent at this important moment.

Hermione shook her head as she apologised, "Sorry, Ted, I can't tell you who he is. He's the type of person who likes to keep things to himself. Doesn't like being known, he said."

All Hermione's lovers nodded their heads in agreement, so Ted simply held his hands up in surrender.

"You mentioned a prophecy and your purpose of life, but what exactly does it entail, other than having the five ladies here as your soulmates?"

Hermione took a deep breath as she regarded the question. "Before we venture into that, Harry, may I ask what's your prophecy about? Do you mind reciting them to me?"

Harry was again taken aback at being the centre of attention; not like he was not used to it but usually it happened when he was surrounded by people his age, not much of older and more experienced people such as them. He glanced worriedly at Bellatrix and the Malfoys, still unable to trust them even though they had been nothing but out of the characters they had been portrayed as – even Draco was less hostile compared to when they were at school.

Hermione sensed his worries, so she planted a seed of calmness in his heart, "it's fine if you don't trust half of us, Harry, but look at your surrounding. There are Tonks, Ted, your Godfather, even Fleur and your favourite professor is here. There's nothing to be worried about.

"Please, can you put your faith in me for just this time? I'd like to look into your memory and I promise I won't tell them anything without your permission. In return, I'll allow you to look into my memory too."

Harry was constantly in doubt about being seen, since he was sure it would be just as how Professor Snape had done to him. However, the way Hermione spoke – with so much poise yet soft and full of warmth and sincerity, Harry knew he had no reason not to trust her. Although to be honest, he was more tempted by the promises she made.

"Alright," he cooed while correcting his posture, preparing himself for anything that would come; he did not know what he should do anyway.

Hermione beamed at him and Harry was reminded of the memory of their past, where he, Hermione and Ron used to have fun together before their friendship unknowingly sunk and he was kind of forced to choose between the two of them.

Hermione left her seat and walked up to where Harry was, easily waving her wand to instantly fix the broken part of the chair. Harry stood up and faced her, still not knowing what he should be doing, but he understood it when she offered her hands for him to take.

"All you need to do is to look into my eyes, Harry," told Hermione.

"Aren't you going to use your wand?" asked him, earning a chuckle from the young woman.

"This way is easier. Now, are you ready?" Hermione waited until the boy nodded his head before she uttered, "Legilimens!"

Harry could immediately felt their magic intertwined and even though his eyes were seeing the brown of Hermione's eyes, he was actually seeing the memory that did not belong to him. He first saw the happy moments of an infant Hermione being adopted by the Granger couple, her growing up in the environment of a dental clinic and the community of Muggles, and being told bedtime stories, especially of her favourite Morgan Le Fay's story.

Then the memory suddenly took a drastic change as she was being bullied in a Muggle school, her first discovery of magic, the insults and torments that had befallen on her and her family, the sudden death of her adopted mother and the assault by her drunk adopted father which led her to leave the house altogether.

Harry sucked in a breath and thought that he wanted to give up venturing but found that he was drowning further into Hermione's memories. He watched with fascination as Professor McGonagall introduced herself to the young Hermione and informed her of the existence of the wizarding world, how bright Hermione's eyes lit up as she discovered the Diagon Alley and everything after until she was fully absorbed in the Hogwarts' curriculum.

He now knew how she felt when Ron's first insulted her for her brilliant mind (because he did not know the effort she had put in before the classes had even started), how she felt when Ron's had apologised and they eventually became friends. He remembered their summer break together at The Burrow, and later on, the memory showed the reason why their friendship had broken apart.

The rumours that had started, the bullies that had gotten worse, and he saw how Hermione had dealt with all of them for years. He felt sick when he realised what Ron had done to her; he felt very much disgusted and repulsed. Harry pulled away at once and let out the contents of his stomach onto the floor.

He did not even get to Hermione's recent memory and was sure that he did not wish to know further than what he already saw. He knew that for as long as he remembered, he had been complaining about his life — until recently – but nothing can be compared with what Hermione had experienced in her life. He let out another round of vomit on the no longer beautiful white marble floor.

Neither Harry nor Hermione noticed the crowd that was surrounding them until a couple of minutes passed and they were finally, truly, back to the reality. Only then did they realise that both of their faces were looking ghostly pale as they were back to staring at each other.

"Lori!"

Fleur's voice was registered in Hermione's mind but she could not tear her eyes away from the boy. There was something that had previously been bothering her about The-Boy-Who-Lived, but now that she had already seen what was inside him, Hermione knew she had to talk to someone about what she had discovered; probably to someone who might have the same insight.

Harry had been taken to the nearest bathroom with Sirius and Lori, while Hermione was being excused by Fleur and Minerva; the rest was brought to the lounge on the upper level, but not before Bellatrix, Narcissa and Andromeda left kisses on Hermione's forehead and cheeks.

Hermione did not even realise that her body was shaking and her hands were trembling, not until she was in the arms of Minerva and Fleur. They did not need to ask, for they knew Hermione would not say anything unless she needed to. Hermione had made the promise to Harry anyway, so it was up to her now, and they would let her know that she will never be alone.


"Are you feeling better, Chérie?" Fleur asked after a moment of silence had passed and Hermione was starting to breathe controllably.

Hermione's eyes gazed at her two lovers but her mind was working furiously on something that was seriously bothering her. Her mouth repeatedly opened and closed as if she was going to say something but she did not.

"Earth to Hermione," Minerva called out as she waved her hand in front of her lover's face.

Hermione blinked and eventually blurted out words that shocked them, "we're in danger! Fleur, can you prepare a glass of water and meet me upstairs?" Then she sauntered out of the room, leaving the two ladies befuddled by her actions.

Fleur immediately did as she was told while Minerva tried to catch up with her and questioned her warning. Hermione did not answer her, not because she did not want to but more like she did not know how to explain to her.

They arrived at the apothecary where many potions and ingredients were being stored. Hermione went to a specific shelf and searched for one potion in particular. When she found the one, she picked it up to confirm the condition of the potion and then nodded, feeling satisfied.

"Mia, what are you going to do with that?" Minerva asked, perplexed.

"Give it to Harry," Hermione replied curtly, her eyes were examining the glass filled with dark purple liquid.

"What? What for?"

Minerva trailed after Hermione as they went out of the pungent-smelling room and upstairs to the lounge where the others had gone to. There, outside of the room stood Fleur impatiently; her hand was holding a glass of clear water which she passed to Hermione when they were near.

Hermione opened the vial and poured a few drops of the dark purple liquid into the water. She swirled the glass and watched as the clear water turned to purple and Hermione magicked it into the colour of blue instead. Satisfied, she pursed her lips and entered the room with Minerva and Fleur glued to her sides.

All eyes cast toward them as the trio walked in, and Hermione's eyes landed on Harry's specifically. The boy appeared to be calm enough despite the lack of colour on his face. Hermione stopped in front of him and handed him the drink; Harry raised an eyebrow as he examined it, a little dubious.

"Calming drought, you need it," Hermione simply said while Minerva only zipped her lips.

Misunderstanding her kindness, Harry chugged the drink and thanked Hermione afterwards. Not even three seconds after, he passed out on the sofa, seemingly dead to the world.

"Harry!" Sirius cried as he shook his godson, trying to wake him up but to no avail. He turned to Hermione and pointed his wand, glaring at her and feeling his blood boiled at what she had done to his boy.

"WHAT. DID. YOU. DO?!" he screamed in fury, displaying his madness and his bravado fighting spirit. An offensive spell was at the ready to be cast easily at any time.

Though bewildered, all of Hermione's lovers stood up and tried to defend her. Whereas Draco cowered behind his mother and aunt, Tonks and his father stood at the corner with their wands ready in their hands.

Hermione was the only one who remained calm despite the heavy tension and the impending storm in the room, yet her face showed how alarmed she was feeling. She showed to Sirius the vial containing the dark purple liquid.

"I gave him a few drops of the Sleeping Draught instead, not the Calming Draught," she stated and hid the potion back into her pocket. Harry's snores were heard a second after. She took out her wand and moved closer to the sleeping boy, but was denied access by the growling man.

"Tell me why or else—"

"What? Or else you're going to kill me?" Hermione stared deeply into the eyes of the last man who carried the Black name. "Oh, I don't doubt that at all, Sirius. Harry's the only person important to you, isn't he?" she calmly spoke reason to him, not stopping to give him a chance to say a word.

"However, as of this moment, your Godson, Harry Potter, the infamous Boy-Who-Lived, posed a threat to our existence…" Hermione gestured toward herself and her five lovers, "…especially Bella…" she drawled on her words and looked worriedly at the woman, "…and Cissy and Draco."

"What do you mean, Hermione?" Bellatrix said as she and the other ladies lowered their hands and stared at her with incredulity in their eyes.

Hermione sighed, restored her wand and backed off from the crowd. She went to the black piano that was placed at the corner of the room and heaved another worried sigh.

"I have been questioning this for years, to be honest," she started.

"Questioning what, precisely?" Sirius intercepted, ever the impatient and hot-blooded man and not that much difference from Bellatrix.

Hermione glanced at the man. "You know that Harry could see some visions…he told you as much, didn't he? For example, when Arthur Weasley was attacked by You-Know-Who's snake; when he saw you being tortured at the Department of Mysteries… did you know why his scar hurts every time You-Know-Who's presence is near him?"

Sirius was deadly silent, just as much as everyone else.

"There's a connection between Harry and the Dark Lord. A connection that I cannot say with much confidence, not until I discuss it with someone else. Someone who might already have the idea of it too…"

"Which is who…?" Ted Tonks asked curiously and Hermione looked at him.

"Merlin," she replied curtly.

"Who's Merlin?" Sirius said, all too confused by the direction of the conversation now.

Hermione's eyes bulged out as he looked at the man incredulously. "Merlin's beard! You don't know who he is?"

"Is he alive, Hermione? Is Merlin really…?" asked Minerva, very much astounded.

Hermione bobbed her head once. "Oh, he's very much alive, Min. Just as much as the Morgan that lives inside me and the Arthur that lives inside Sev; Merlin's soul too, is living inside someone."

"Wait!" Draco raised his hand in the air, gathering attention from all of them. "I don't understand! Merlin, Arthur, Morgan – What nonsense are you saying now, Hermione?"

Nymphadora Tonks clapped her hands cheerfully. "Yay, here it goes! I'm going to sit for this one. Dad, come, join me!" She pulled her father to sit next to her on the long sofa. "Do you have popcorn, 'Mione?"

Hermione giggled and waved her hand; some bowls filled with popcorn of various flavours appeared on the coffee table. Unable to resist the weird but delicious smell of burnt corns, Bellatrix and Draco eagerly took their places on the other sofas with a bowl of popcorn each, moaning delightedly at their first chew.

Andromeda laughed at their expressions as she went to sit next to her daughter, stealing some popcorn from the bowl on her daughter's lap. Minerva, Fleur and Narcissa were shaking their heads at the antics as they sat on the sofas too.

All that left was Sirius who was unable to grasp the ridiculousness of the situation now. All jokes aside, Hermione lifted Harry using her magic and laid the boy properly on the sofa he was in.

"He'd woke up feeling all sore if he sleeps in the position he was in," she stated. Then she used her wand and pointed at herself; in just a few seconds, her appearance changed totally to someone completely different.

Her figure was slightly curvier and taller; her hair no longer brown and curly but changed to straight, silky black; her eyes held the hue of a deep forest, and she looked cold, distant, menacing and sharp. Beautiful, yet dangerous.

Hermione had taken the appearance of the late Queen Morgan Le Fay, the most powerful witch that had ever been told in history.

Sirius was gobsmacked as he stared in astonishment at the new persona, so speechless that he accidentally sat on Harry's hand and he clumsily apologised at the snoring boy and corrected his position. Luckily Harry was still deeply asleep, proving that the potion was still in effect.

"Before I was born as Hermione Shafiq, I was Morgan Le Fay, the Queen of Avalon," Hermione – although in a voice so different to hers – began to tell the story of her reincarnation. Her guests were awestruck by her unbelievable story but little by little, Hermione was able to make them believe every word she said.

Her five lovers, however, were seemingly dumbfounded by another reason entirely. They had never watched Hermione changed her appearance before – although the time Hermione became Regina Haysiyet did not count – and were crushing hard at the regal look of a queen that Hermione embodied now.

Hermione was feeling extremely hot and flustered under their intense stares so she reverted to herself, much to their slight disappointment.

"It was a surprise to me when I found out that not only Arthur and I are reincarnated in this timeline, but Merlin is too," she said as she ignored her lovers.

"So you said that Arthur is now living as…Sev? Severus Snape?" Sirius asked, still grasping with the reality of the story, just as difficult as him trying to grasp for air to breathe at the moment.

"Godfather?" Draco gaped.

"Is he also the brother that you said you could not reveal, Hermione?" Ted Tonks asked from his seat, his arms crossed above his chest as he examined Hermione's body language.

Hermione neither confirmed nor denied any of the men's questions, not wanting to lie nor confirming to their guesses, although she might have already crossed the line and knew that she will need to ask for forgiveness from her brother later on.

None of Hermione's lovers and Nymphadora Tonks said anything either and only the loud noise of chewing and popcorn crushing could be heard in the room, coming from both Tonks and Bellatrix's directions.

"Who is this Merlin now, Chérie?" Fleur tried to break the awkwardness by moving on with the new revelation.

Hermione reluctantly shook her head and said, "I can't tell yet, but I will need to see him soon. And on that note, we are running out of time. Bella, Cissy, Draco, you guys are not safe to be seen here while Harry is in this house."

Hermione quickly moved towards where Harry was sleeping and she knelt beside the boy with her wand pointed at the side of his head, right next to his scar.

"What are you going to do to him?" asked Sirius, wary but no longer stopping her.

"I'm going to extract his memory from tonight. He has seen much that could pose a threat to us, especially to Bella, Cissy and Draco's connection to me. Not to mention, Minerva too, would be in danger. If due to the connection he has with Vold—I mean, You-Know-Who, he could go into Harry's mind and see that his most loyal follower is betraying him; we're going to be doomed, all of us," Hermione explained to the group. Her voice stern, cold and calculated, though one could detect the worry and concern underneath her stoic expression.

Sirius no longer said anything because he understood how much of a threat that could be for any of them. To tell the truth, even if he still had his doubt on his cousins, he loved them too much and agreed to not put them in danger.

Hermione channelled her magic and started probing into Harry's mind, being mindful not to touch on what should not be touched. She browsed through Harry's memories, putting aside the unfair treatment of Harry's Aunt and Uncle, the bullies from his cousin, ignoring Severus' dismissal of teaching him Occlumency after Harry had probed into the man's horrific experience, not stopping until she found what she was looking for.

Hermione did not pull out the entire memory of tonight but rather, she altered the memory. She gathered all the traces related to Minerva, Bellatrix, Narcissa, and Draco and pulled them out of his mind, leaving the memory almost the same except with the exclusion of those four.

"Does anyone has an empty vial?" Hermione asked to no one in particular but then Minerva made another transfiguration and passed the vial to her lover, who thanked her and used it to store the memory.

Hermione heaved a relief sigh and wiped the sweat on her forehead, feeling her energy drained already. She then turned to regard her two lovers and her newfound cousin.

"How can you be so unbelievably good at using magic?" Draco asked, his tone curious but a little accusing.

"She is the brightest witch of her age anyway," Tonks said with swollen pride as she slung her arm on Hermione's shoulder and grinned at her blonde haired cousin; Hermione had a smirk plastered on her face.

The smirk was replaced by a grim expression. "Bella, Cissy, take Draco home. Harry is going to wake up soon and both of you are not safe here, for now."

"I thought this place is safe, Mia," Narcissa replied, her hands tentatively touched Hermione's as blue eyes met brown's.

"It is, but not as long as Harry is here. Not until I can figure out what to do with him and that connection he has," Hermione glanced at the sleeping boy.

"Fuck the Dark Lord, fuck Rod, fuck Rab, and all of them! Can't I just leave them and pledge my loyalty to you? I want to be here and to stay with you, Hermione," Bellatrix pleaded and circled her arms around Hermione's waist – Tonks had already backed off as she saw her aunt moving closer to her cousin. Bellatrix put her head on Hermione's shoulder, not a single care about the eyes that were watching her, unbelieving.

"Bella…we promised that we're going to take this one step at a time, didn't we?" Minerva cooed as she and Fleur approached them.

"You're putting pressure on Hermione, Bella," Fleur tried to talk reason with the dark-haired witch.

"It's fine, Fleur," Hermione smiled and lifted Bellatrix's chin so that she could look into the captivating dark eyes.

"I truly wish that I could save all of you…" she said and glanced at her lovers before her eyes settled on Bellatrix's again. "…but I'm still not in my full power yet, Bella. Though it hurts me so much to know and aware that you're suffering while in their circle, I wish for you to remain there for a little longer. If you suddenly disappear, who knows what he'd do to Cissy and Draco. He could also be searching for Andy, Ted and Tonks too…and I don't wish for that to happen."

"Objection!" Andromeda interjected. She stood from her seat and made her way to them. "I'm not some kind of damsel in distress that needs to be saved, Mia. I believe I can speak for them too, that we don't need any saving. We are five capable ladies if you don't already know that, my dear."

"Andy's right, darling. I think you forget that we have survived this longer than you have been breathing—"

"Oookay… I'm going to have to stop you there, Cissy. Let's not talk about anyone's age, please," Hermione held up her hands and awkwardly pulled away from her lovers. "I understand what you mean but I think there's too much at stake here if Bella decided to suddenly ditch them. Plus, I still need the extra eye and ear from inside their circle."

Bellatrix huffed, feeling upset at her stubborn lover. "Fine, Hermione, I get it! I just have to stay with him, right? I'll be the spy that you need!" She stomped her feet on the marble floor as she sauntered out of the room.

Hermione did not make an effort to stop Bellatrix from going. It was what she wanted, wasn't it? Be that as it may, she could not speak for the pain as if her heart was being sliced multiple times, knowing exactly how much she had hurt her lovers.

"I've failed you, haven't I?" she whispered dejectedly.

Narcissa kissed Hermione's lips and hugged her, whispering, "I'll speak to Bella," before she let Hermione go and bid goodbye to the others; Draco followed in her steps obediently.

"What on earth had just happened?" Sirius said, feeling restless at the awkward tension that filled the room.

His question was left hanging when a hoarse groan was heard from Harry's direction. The boy slowly awakened from his slumber but with a massive headache. His eyes unfocused as he looked around him.

At the same time, Hermione heard a distant voice was calling out to her – not her, specifically – but the voice was in so much distress that it made Hermione feeling perturbed.

"Ughhh...!" Harry groaned again but this time he was pressing his fingers against his scar. His eyes were tightly shut as he tried to remove the vision that he saw. "It's him. I saw Voldemort torturing someone," he said with so much pain in his voice.

'Gods, help me…please!'

"Did you hear that?" Hermione asked to no one in particular. She tried to locate the source of the voice but to no avail.

"Yeah, we heard what Harry said, 'Mione," Tonks answered, puzzled at Hermione's weird behaviour.

"No, no, it was a woman's voice. She's asking for help."

Harry growled and his eyes popped open, red as if he was possessed by something. His hand retrieved his wand and he shouted "Crucio!" and cast the unforgivable curse at Hermione.

The witch easily dodged the curse this time and she wrestled Harry's wand out of her hand. Locking his hand behind his back, she pinned him down on the sofa. "Who did you see, Harry? Who is it that Voldemort is torturing now?"

Harry panted heavily, still not fully at being his normal self. "Bones… Amelia Bones…" he breathed as he tried to wrestle himself out of the tight grips.

Hermione quickly whispered some powerful incantation and breathed into his ear. Only when Harry finally calmed down then she let him go, subsequently leaving the room with one direction in mind. She needed to save Madam Bones but first, she had to know where the woman was.

As she jogged down the hallways into the foyer, she conjured an oversized black cloak and wore it, all the while her mind tried to pinpoint the exact location of a person named Amelia Bones, the woman who recently claimed her place in Hermione's good book.

"Mia, wait!"

Hermione did not hear her lovers' alarming voice as she disapparated the second she managed to locate where Madam Bones was.

Chapter Text

A/N: Hello, my dear readers! There are a few things I'd like to say before we proceed:

1) Thank you for all your follows, favourites and kudos for this story! I truly appreciate it.

2) I've been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and am undergoing treatment. I'm not sure how much time I have left so I'm writing this in between the time when I have the energy to write because my mind just can't shut up from thinking at every second.

3) Your reviews are medicines for me, so keep it coming please. Even a short simple word is appreciated. Thank you.

A/N2: This chapter is just a filler but contains an intense love scene from our beloved ladies. Hope you'll like it. Also, I'm not good at writing a fighting scene and a scene which involves Voldemort in particular (because I couldn't do justice at writing him), so I'm skipping that part for now.

Please use your imagination when reading this chapter. Enjoy!


Chapter 28 – The Day(s) After

There were several things that Hermione noticed as soon as she woke up from a deep slumber: 1) she was feeling groggy and her mind hazy; 2) her whole body felt sore and it hurt her to even move a finger; 3) there was a cast enveloping her right hand up to her arm and a few parts of her body were covered by what she assumed were bandages.

'What the hell happened to me?'

As soon as the thought left her mind, Hermione heard the sound of footsteps approaching and she tried to rise, to sit on the comfortable bed she had been lying in but yelped when she felt a sharp pain on her abdomen.

"Ow!"

"Mia!" Minerva appeared on Hermione's side, all panicked and worried as she examined Hermione's contorted face and searched for any sign of pain.

"Min… What on earth happened to me?"

"You don't remember?!" Fleur's high-pitched voice was heard from the end of Hermione's feet.

Hermione observed Fleur's body demeanour. Fleur was facing her but her dark blue eyes were avoiding hers. She stood rigidly and her arms were crossed below her breasts, one hand was clutching hard over the other. Her lips were shut tight but from the movements of her jaw, Hermione could assume that the woman was gritting her teeth; Fleur was basically trying to rein in her anger from lashing out, quite possibly at her.

But why?

"Fleur…" Hermione whispered, her eyes pleading.

"DON'T! Don't use that tone with me, not right now!"

Hermione was shocked to hear the woman's tone. She knew what that tone was; she remembered very well the few times she had been at the end of the Veela's wrath. She felt a twinge of pain in her heart and her good hand went automatically to her chest in an attempt to soothe the pain.

"Hermione, my dear, look at me," Andromeda's warm voice came from Hermione's left.

Hermione turned to her left and tried to raise herself once again but with much trouble. Andromeda and Minerva promptly helped lifted her body while Fleur, despite the boiling anger inside her, gathered some pillows behind Hermione's back.

Sitting, Hermione finally able to take in the sight of bandages that covered almost entirely her whole body – her right feet, her left thigh, her left arm, her abdomen and torso.

"What on earth happened?" She stated curiously, her mind was unable to recall whatever had occurred that warrant her these injuries.

"Mia, what was the last thing you remember?"

Hermione furrowed her brows as she tried to recall her last memory. "The family dinner last night? With Tonks, Ted, Draco and Harry too."

Her three lovers glanced at each other before they stared at Hermione again. There were confusions visible on their faces and Hermione felt disorientated at seeing their expressions.

"The dinner took place three nights ago, Mia. Do you remember what happened after?" asked Minerva.

Hermione's eyes bulged. "What? It wasn't last night?"

"Do you recall going missing for quite a while without saying anything to us, where you were going and what you were going to do… No? Nothing at all?" Andromeda questioned, non-stop.

"Don't you remember playing hero, saving another woman and came back with cuts, bruises and burnt clothes? And collapsing in the foyer with the said woman in your arms?" Fleur added, though her voice still held the slight annoyance; Hermione detected jealousy in it too.

Hermione's freckled face screwed up as she tried very hard at recalling her memories. She remembered altering Harry's memory but some of her memories were blurred after the moment Harry tried to use Crucio on her. Flashes were crossing her mind and she tried to sew them together.

'Gods, help me…please!'

Her eyes opened wide when at last, her mind connected all the pieces of her memories. "What happened to Madam Bones? Is she alive?" she inquired.

"Seriously, Hermione, that's the first thing that came to your sense?!" Fleur snapped. She stood up, a scowl on her face and two fists were clutching by her sides. "You know what, I'm out of here. This hurts me so much and I can't breathe. I need fresh air."

Hermione watched as Fleur strode across the room and disappeared. Her eyes then glanced between her remaining two lovers. "Is she mad at me?"

Both Andromeda and Minerva chuckled, but their chuckles were dark and gloomy.

"Oh, she's beyond furious, I'm sure," Minerva replied.

"Yes, it's a surprise that she hasn't turned into her Veela mode yet," Andromeda added.

"Why? What did I do wrong?" said Hermione, her voice demanding.

"Tell me everything that you remembered, Hermione Shafiq. Then we'll tell you why every one of your soulmates is vexed at your behaviours the other day."

Hermione pursed her lips tightly and her heart picked up on its beat. Both her lovers were boring serious expressions on their faces as they were staring at her, so she did not dare to make any retort.

"Okay, so when Harry said he saw Voldemort torturing Madam Bones, at the same time, I heard a woman's voice, which I assumed was Madam Bones, calling for help. I then put Harry on a spell that could block his mind temporarily from the connection he has with the Dark Lord. Then I tried to locate where Madam Bones was and left as soon as I managed to find her.

"It seems that I missed my mark as I apparated not far from her home. I tried to locate her again and found out that she was really with someone, so I changed into Morgan as to not let anyone know that it was me trying to save her. The next time I apparated inside her house, Voldemort was casting the killing curse on her.

"I quickly defended her with a spell of my own; my spell met his vigorously and deflected to the side. Voldemort was surprised, to say the least. I'm not sure whether he knew who I was or not, but that doesn't matter. From that point on, you could say that we had an intensive battle.

"He's strong, and powerful too. No wonder he can be the Dark Lord. He used different kinds of offensive spells and my energy drained trying to counter him. I didn't want to prolong because I don't know what's the situation with Madam Bones, as she was lying lifeless on the cold floor in her bedroom.

"When I found an opportunity, I hit him with a couple of spells right on his chest, sending him to the wall. I used that time to get to Madam Bones but he was quick to get on his feet again, sending Fiendfyre to our way.

"The moment after was quite a blur for me, to be honest. I think I received the damage from the fire as I tried to shield Madam Bones from being hit. I'm not sure when or why but eventually Voldemort stopped attacking and when I realised, he was gone. He had already fled from the area, so I used the remaining energy that I had to extinguish the fire and bring Madam Bones back here."

It finally dawned on Hermione of what she had done that made her lovers mad at her. "I'm sorry…" she said, her voice trembled due to the feeling of guilt. No longer cared about the ache coursing throughout her body, she pulled her legs in as her body took the shape of a ball, though she was still being mindful of her injured hand.

"Hermione…" Minerva cooed. "Do you understand why we are mad at you? For what reason are you apologising for?" She pushed Hermione's hair out of her face and cupped her cheek.

Hermione nodded. "I'm sorry for making you guys worried about me. I made a promise not to keep anything from all of you."

"We promised to support each other, Mia, not to keep any of us in the dark or put any of us in danger, including yourself," Andromeda enunciated, emphasising on certain keywords.

There were unshed tears in Hermione's eyes. "I know…"

"You need to trust us more, my love—"

"But I do!" Hermione refuted.

"Your actions speak otherwise, my dear."

Hermione gaped. "I did?" Both her lovers nodded at once, not even an ounce of hesitation.

"Let's see… You didn't tell us about Cissy's trial although you knew, and you even went there! You didn't discuss with us before deciding about hosting a dinner, even if this house is solely yours," Minerva recalled.

"Also, you assumed that we all need savings when actually, we are very capable of taking care of ourselves. We got our fair share of knowledge in various subjects. You treat us as if we are impotent, as if we are not your soulmates and you don't need us," added Andromeda.

As if multiple arrows struck her heart, the words were painful to Hermione's ears. "But—but I need all of you! I do!" Her voice raised as she tried to convince them, or maybe to convince herself.

"Then tell us why? Why do you need us, Hermione?"

"I… Um… That is… To recharge?" Hermione stammered. She could not believe that there was nothing else she could think of, and hearing her voice saying those two words felt unbelievably rude and downright disrespect. Her face morphed into guilt and fear.

Silence enveloping them for a few seconds before Minerva uttered, disappointment was clear in her voice, "so basically, we're just a tool for you. You'll only find us when you need us… to recharge, is that it?"

Hermione's heart sank. "No, no, no! I don't mean it like that! Min… Andy! Please, I'm so sorry! That's not what I meant!" She pleaded persistently, tears flowing down her cheeks. "I love you, Min, and I love you, Andy. I love Fleur, Cissy and Bella too! I love all of you with all of my life and I need you like I need air to breathe! Please, I'm sorry, please don't leave me…"

Both Minerva and Andromeda raised their eyebrows, astounded by the sudden change of behaviour.

"What makes you think that we're going to leave you, Mia?"

Hermione sobbed. "I don't know… I'm scared! I'm scared if any of you gets hurt because of my actions or my inability to act at a certain time, and you'll leave me because I'm not able to protect you. I'm terrified if you think that I don't need you because I couldn't even try to make love to any of you, yet. I fear that if we have intercourse, you'd think that I only need your body to maximise my potential and ability. I'm just afraid of what you'd think of me when I can't even fully love myself. I don't want you to hate me…"

"And why is it that you can't make love to us?"

Hermione curled herself even further. "I don't like this thing that I have. I feel disgusted at myself for having it, the thing that men have and used it on me, on Cissy, without our consent. This thing reminded me of the rights, the freedom that I'm supposed to have, being ripped off from me.

"I also can't bring myself to have sex with Bella, Andy and Cissy, for you guys are still married. It's like a self-righteous policy of mine not to fuck – pardon my choice of word – with married women. And when I can't do it with you three, I can't bring myself to do it with Min and Fleur too."

There were comprehensions in Andromeda and Minerva's eyes. "But you need to have sex with us to gain full power? To…to maximise your potential and ability?"

Hermione nodded and she broke into tears again. She did not want her lovers to think that she was using them for her personal gains. It felt like she was violating their rights too.

Minerva and Andromeda closed their distance and embraced Hermione as careful as they could. They whispered warm and soft words to calm her down.

"Hic!" Hermione pulled away from them and covered her mouth. "I'm sor—hic! Excuse—hic!" Her body jolted with each hiccup and she felt embarrassed, her face starting to turn red.

Minerva and Andromeda had their bodies shaking as they tried to contain their laughter. Hermione wanted to chastise them but could not find the energy to do so as she continued hiccupping.

The doors to the bedroom burst open and entered the rest of Hermione's lovers, whose worries prominent on their faces. Hermione was surprised to see them. Both Minerva and Andromeda made space for them as they neared the spacious bed.

"Are you alright, Hermione?" asked Bellatrix as she took a seat right beside Hermione's injured arm.

"Oh Chérie, I'm sorry for leaving you just now," Fleur said and hugged Hermione from her left side.

Hermione wanted to say something but unable to due to her ongoing hiccups. "I — hic! — need — hic! — water — hic! — please!"

Narcissa already had a glass of water in her hand and she passed it to Hermione, who greedily drank it bottom-up. "Slowly, Darling," she said and clicked her tongue when Hermione choked on the water.

Hermione's hiccups eventually subsided and she smiled sheepishly at her lovers. Bellatrix took the empty glass and put it on the bedside table.

"How long have you guys been here—I mean there?" Hermione gestured to the doors.

"Oh, we've been here the whole time, Darling." Narcissa's fingers intertwined with Hermione's and Hermione liked the way the woman played with her fingers – soft and playful, and borderline dangerous at turning her on.

"Why didn't you come inside?" Hermione tried to distract herself from the sensation.

"A certain cub needs to be tame, to be put on a leash. Who knows what she'll do to our little kitten, so to say," Andromeda answered from behind Narcissa.

Bellatrix huffed and exclaimed, "I know how to control myself, thank you very much."

Everyone laughed at the retort but stopped when Hermione hissed in pain. Even laughing was painful for her now.

"I'm really sorry, guys. You were right, I shouldn't have pushed myself too much. I'm starting to regret being a hero," she said with repentant.

"Actually, there's something we wanted to try," Bellatrix said tentatively as her fingers played with Hermione's hair.

Hermione regarded her lovers with curious eyes as they began to take off all of the bandages on her body. When the bandages were off, it finally dawned on Hermione that she was stark naked, saved for the pair of shorts that was covering her nether region. Her face turned as red as cherry and she wished that she could cover her body with a blanket or something, but it appeared that her lovers would not allow it.

"Wha—what are you—" Hermione fumbled for words when her lovers traced their fingers and rained kisses on her skin. She started to feel heat coursing through her entire being and her magic vibrated as it sensed the magic coming from her lovers, greedily devouring on them.

"Ohh…" Hermione moaned softly. She was unable to think of any reason or logic as her mind had gotten cloudy with the lustful sensations. The heat intensified and sweat was forming here and there. Eventually, the heat pooled and concentrated in her lower abdomen.

"Ladies, it worked!" Fleur chirped and the others gasped in wonder.

"Huh? What?" asked Hermione, groggily.

"Wow, it really does! But we need to continue until we reach the end," Andromeda said. "Minnie, Fleur, and Cissy, you guys know what to do."

The said trio nodded their heads. Suddenly there were some movements on the bed as the five ladies changed their positions. Hermione was able to get out of her haze when she realised what they were going to do next but it was already too late. The shorts that covered her appendage had been taken off and tossed far, far away to a corner or somewhere.

"Guys, wait, wait!" Hermione flung her arms – even the injured one – but they were captured by Bellatrix who had made herself comfortable behind her.

"Hush, Pet. You don't want your injuries to worsen when all we're trying to do here is to heal you," Bellatrix whispered her sultry voice in Hermione's ear.

Hermione shuddered and her breathing stopped momentarily when she was pulled in for a heated kiss by Andromeda. The fog was filling her mind again as Andromeda's tongue insistently clashed with hers, and she could barely register the sensation of kisses on her back, below her breast, her pelvis and inside her thigh.

"Enjoy this unless you want us to stop, love?" Andromeda queried, equally hot and bothered as she stared deep into Hermione's dark brown eyes.

Hermione could not form a word so she merely shook her head. Her heart had long ago won the battle against her rationale mind and she moaned when there were careful touches on her shaft.

Her throbbing, rock-hard penis.

"Merlin! I can't believe I'm touching another person's penis."

"Cissy?!" Hermione regained her consciousness as she realised it was Narcissa who was gingerly touching, feeling her up. "You don't have to if it brings back negative memories," Hermione genuinely concerned about the blonde's feeling.

Narcissa went to kiss Hermione deeply, her fingers not leaving the shaft. "I want it because it's yours, Darling. And you're looking at Ms Black now, so I'm going to make you feel good." She winked and grinned seductively before going back to her previous position.

Hermione had her worry but the worry was soon forgotten when Narcissa started to use her tongue on the head, and at the same time, Bellatrix nipped on the junction between her neck and shoulder, Fleur sucked underneath her right breast while Andromeda pinched on her left nipple, and Minerva too, made her own love bite inside Hermione's left thigh.

"Oh, fuck!" She cursed and cursed more with each passing time. Her curses magnified in volume and with different vocabularies, sometimes even using different languages that crossed her mind.

The five ladies took their turns to pleasure Hermione, especially her tongue that never stop letting out strings of curses and orders, such as, "Gods, don't stop. Oh fuck, yes! So good! Faster! Oh, merde!" but never had Bellatrix nor Andromeda got to touch the appendage.

The two had been trying so hard to control themselves, but the sight of all of them making out and their sister enjoying it to her heart content were a wicked torment.

Hermione was only able to give a short warning before she finally reached her peak. The sensations had been too much for her senses and she ejaculated unabashedly; Narcissa, Minerva and Fleur altogether made the effort to finish her off and cleaned her up.

Falling back to the bed, Hermione panted heavily. She felt tired but energised at the same time. Her body did not feel sore anymore and any pain she previously felt, had fully disappeared.

"Mmm…" Moans were heard from above her and Hermione propped herself up and watched through lidded eyes as her lovers were exchanging kisses with each other. Fleur and Minerva were kissing Bellatrix and Andromeda simultaneously, sharing with them of Hermione's unique taste.

"Fuck! I want to taste her so bad," Bellatrix groaned.

"Me too…" Andromeda agreed with more desperately.

Somehow those words made Hermione's heart swelled with pride and her penis twitched and sprang to life again.

"Looks like someone is happy and proud," Narcissa said before she dived in to devour Hermione's lips and tongue.

The room had now filled with intensifying heat and lustful desires as the ladies felt the needs to be touched and satisfied. Hermione watched with fascination as they started to take each other's clothes off of their beautiful, glorified and magnificent figures.

Minerva swayed her hips as she neared to Hermione and pulled her off the bed. "We respect your wish but you have to pardon us, my love, for we have our own needs too," she said sultrily and winked at her.

Hermione was brought to the front of the bed; her penis was rock-hard and she could not believe her eyes at what she was seeing. It was as if live-action orgy porn was going on in front of her, which is kind of true.

The five ladies were in their birthday suit as they sat on the bed; starting from Hermione's left was Fleur, Bellatrix, Narcissa, Andromeda and Minerva.

Bellatrix was having a tongue-duel with Fleur, while Minerva and Andromeda were kissing softly but with passion. Narcissa alternated between licking Andromeda's ear while her hands massaging Minerva's breasts, to toying with Bellatrix's nipples while kissing heatedly with Fleur.

Hermione's eyes turned impossibly dark as she feasted her eyes upon their tantalizing curves, the sensual tongue actions, the provocative fingers and the super arousing moans of her lovers. When Fleur went south of Bellatrix's body to where her drenched pussy was and Andromeda did the same to Minerva's, Hermione's hand automatically went southward to hold her painfully throbbing penis.

"Ohh…" she moaned at the first jerk and wished that she could close her eyes, but even her eyes would not want to tear away from the hot and steamy sex scene. The ladies changed their position as they felt completely bothered – in a good way – at the sight of Hermione pleasuring herself.

Fleur and Bellatrix were now in the sixty-nine position as they were devouring each other's sex. Narcissa had turned around and pulled Minerva so that she could eat the woman's sex while Minerva had her fingers fucking Andromeda's pussy, who moaned and decided that she would do the same to her little sister.

Groans and grunts were filling the room now and as the time continued ticking, all the six occupants of the room were feeling their pleasure building up and heightened to a peak where they had never reached. It felt absolutely amazing but they all knew that they could feel even better if only Hermione would give them the pleasure that they had been wishing for.

If only Hermione knew how much they really want her inside them, all over them.

The bed quaked as Minerva, Andromeda, Narcissa, Bellatrix and Fleur reached their orgasms at the same time, but what astonished them was the rain of thick, white fluid falling on their skins when Hermione reached together with them.

There was pure bliss on Hermione's face and they could not help but giggle at the look. Hermione's face reddened, feeling embarrassed at being caught having the pleasure of jerking to the sight of them finishing each other off. They cleaned each other before all six were lying in the bed with Hermione in the middle, panting and catching their breaths after such an unforgettable event.

"That was…" Hermione was at a loss of words, again.

"Amazing!"

"Phenomenal."

"Mind-blown!"

"Fresh?"

"Not the best I'm sure, but I'll take it."

"Bella!" Minerva, Andromeda and Narcissa barked at once while Fleur playfully slapped on the said woman's shoulder.

"Did I not do a good job?"

"Ow! No, Birdie, you did wonderfully but I'm being honest here, guys. Tell me if you don't think the same way I did, tell me I'm wrong," she said and squeezed herself closer to Hermione's back. No words came from the others so she knew she won, but then she said to Hermione, "no pressure, Honey. Take your time because none of us will go away. You're stuck with us now until forever. Oh, and I'll ditch my husband when he gets out of Azkaban; that's if he will ever get out anyway."

Hermione turned her head slightly and pecked the woman's lips. "I know, Bella. And thank you, Loves, for being patient with me," she uttered to them with sincerity in her voice.

"How are you feeling now, Mia?" Narcissa said breathily.

"Magnificent! I feel like I could conquer the world now," Hermione giggled, earning chuckles from the others too.

"What about your injuries, my love?" asked Minerva from the end of the bed.

Hermione took a moment to close her eyes and assess her body. She felt splendid, no longer exhausted or sore and no pain anywhere. The burnt marks on her skin throughout her body had disappeared, only left with faint lines proving that they were there as proofs that she had survived a battle with Lord Voldemort. She moved her injured right arm and the cast broke apart; Hermione flung it around and squeezing her hand a few times to get used to feeling her arm again.

"Spectacular," she beamed at her lovers.

"Thank goodness. We weren't sure if it was going to work," Fleur chimed in.

All the six ladies had either sat or propped themselves up on the bed and Hermione regarded them with amazement in her eyes. "I love you," she said to them, feeling pleasant warmth in her heart.

The ladies smiled tenderly. "And we, you."


A/N: Tell me what you feel, please.