Hermione stepped onto Platform 9 and ¾ and dragged her heavy trunk alongside her. Hurriedly, she glanced around at the crowded space and scowled. Ron and Harry were nowhere to be seen. She pushed through crowds of people reuniting with their friends, pulling her trunk behind her.
She dropped her trunk and turned towards where the manly voice had called her from. Coming through the crowd, she could see Ron and Harry approaching her, beaming.
“Ron, Harry!” she called back, jumping on them as they drew nearer. Ron enveloped her in a hug first, before Harry drew her in his arms.
After she released them, Hermione stepped back to examine how they grew over the summer. They had grown to be handsome and some of the girls on the platform were eying them. Both were taller, although Harry was still shorter than Ron, and the red head’s hair now fell into his eyes. Harry’s eyes were still a bright green, shining as they always did behind his glasses, that were still taped up at the bridge.
Hermione grinned at him and held out her hand. He handed her his glasses.
“Repairo,” she murmured, smiling as she handed them back to him.
“Thanks Hermione,” he said before leaning down to grasp the handle of her trunk.
“No problem Harry.” She looked at the two of them and noticed that they didn’t have any luggage. “Where’s your stuff?”
“Already on the train,” Ron answered, looking at her as though she had five heads. “Did you do something to your hair?” he added, cautiously.
Hermione raised an eyebrow. The amount of hair she possessed had weighed down the bushiness, and instead of it being frizzy, it was merely thick and quite shiny, in magnificent curls that fell down her back. Her face was a bit more sharp, considering that she had lost a little bit of weight over the summer (mainly from her face) and her high cheekbones were now more prominent.
“Nothing really,” Hermione told him, her rueful amber eyes looking him over. “But I see you decided to let your hair grow.”
Rom shrugged. “It suits me.”
“It does,” Hermione said to him, grinning.
“You look beautiful, by the way,” Harry put in from in front of them.
“Er… thanks, mate, but I don’t think that we have that type of relation-”
“Not you, you dolt,” Harry snapped back, as Hermione playfully hit Ron on his arm. “I’m talking to Hermione.” Ron nodded in agreement.
He nodded and motioned for her to get in front of him before they climbed onto the train. Hermione pulled herself up, waiting for Harry who was struggling to pull her trunk into the train.
“Merlin, what in the bloody hell do you have in here?” he asked as Ron bent over to help him.
“I had more books this year,” Hermione said simply, flipping her hair over her shoulder like she always did when she was explaining something. “N.E.W.T’s are coming up and I have to start preparing.”
Harry rolled his eyes and grunted as he finally managed to get her trunk up. “That’s at the end of the year, Hermione. I’m sure that if we had to take it now, you’d ace it anyway.”
“I think so too,” added Ron, stepping in after Harry and motioning down the train hall. “The compartment is the tenth one down.”
Hermione sighed, walking down the hallway with Harry and Ron following. She pulled the door open, held it for Harry and Ron, and then sat down.
“No Crookshanks?” Ron asked, raising one eyebrow. He was holding Pig’s small cage in one hand and the little owl was flying around as fast as he could inside the enclosed space.
“I left him at home,” Hermione answered as she pulled a rather thick book from her bag. “He was getting too fat anyway. My owl’s waiting at school.”
She glanced over at Harry, who was looking at the window and stroking Hedwig’s feathers absentmindedly.
“Something wrong?” Hermione asked him, her voice soft.
He drew his gaze from outside at the train started to move, leaving behind the frantic parents of the first years and the worried ones of those who were returning. Sighing, he placed the snowy owl back in her cage.
“I have some things to tell you.”
Hermione looked up, her face worried at Harry’s grave tone. “What is it?”
She looked over at Ron in time to see him throw a fretful glance at Harry.
“What is it?” she repeated, her voice firmer and colder
“There’s a mission,” Ron told her, not meeting her eyes. He resorted to looking down at Pig. “ That we’re to go on around Christmas. It has to do…it has to do with Voldemort…”
“He’s trying to find something,” Harry cut. “Probably something in his search for immortality. But we’re going to Romania, Hermione. We have guides, and they‘re faeries and…”
“This is ridiculous!” Hermione exclaimed accusingly, her eyes hard. “First, you tell me nothing of the this mission thing, even when I did come to the Burrow to spend time with you. And now you have the nerve to tell me that you leave in a couple of months! That’s totally and utterly stupid and deceiving and-”
“Calm down, Hermione,” Ron said, trying to placate the angry witch. “We didn’t want you to worry and we didn’t want you to come because we’re afraid you’ll get hurt.”
She rounded on the red head, her amber eyes flashing. Ron immediately realized that he made a mistake and sat down.
“I’m not some little girl whom you can place in the corner and expect to stay still, Ron!” Hermione shrieked. “ And I don’t need you two watching out for me and deciding what’s best for me behind my back! I’m perfectly capable of making my own decisions!”
“We just want you safe-”
“Did you really think that I wouldn’t find out? Do you really think that I’m that daft?”
“Honestly! I’m more apt with a wand than both of you!” she said, throwing her hands up in the air.
“Now, there’s no need for insults, Hermione…”
The sound of the compartment door being slid open quieted the three bickering friends and as they turned to identify the intruder, their eyes fell upon a man in the archway.
He was taller, taller than Ron, who had only gained more height over the summer. His features where sharp and he had long silvery hair that fell into his violet eyes. His body was lean and Hermione could see compact, lithe muscles moving beneath his shirt. High cheekbones accentuated his angular, straight nose. She didn’t really have much time for boys most of the times, but Hermione had to admit that this person, whoever he was, was absolutely beautiful.
But what drew her eye after a moment of observation was a calligraphic design, etched onto his forearm like the dark mark, in a deep blue ink. The color was startling against his pale and fair skin, like the shock of the color that his eyes were, and only added more brilliance to the tattoo.
“Is there room in this compartment?” he asked, leaning against the doorway casually.
Hermione was unable to speak for a moment, so Harry did it for her.
“Yea, there is…come on in.”
His voice was hesitant and he turned back to Hermione as the man went back out side, probably to get his luggage.
“We still don’t know who our guides are, but-”
“I don’t give a bloody damn about who your guides are, Harry,” Hermione snapped at him. “What I’m sure of is that I’m coming with you.”
“It’s dangerous,” Ron whispered hurriedly, trying to get in some words with her before the stranger returned. “I can’t let you stand the possibility of getting hurt!”
“I can handle myself,” Hermione hissed back. “And I’m going, whether I have to bring Dumbledore into this or not.”
“Fine,” Harry admitted in defeat. “If you get hurt, don’t say anything. We just want you safe.”
Hermione gave him a wary smile. “I know. But did you ever think that it would hurt me more to stay here and not be helping you?”
Before he could answer, the man had come back, pulling his trunk in after him. He smirked, although it wasn’t malicious, and sat down next to Ron, and across from Hermione.
There was an awkward silence before Hermione decided to speak.
“I’m Hermione Granger,” she told him, putting on the best smile she could muster at the moment, which unfortunately looked like a grimace. She elbowed Harry in the ribs to motion for him to speak, but he didn’t get the hint. “And erm…this is Harry and Ron.”
“I’m Meier,” the silver haired man answered, speaking over the hooting that Ron‘s owl was making. “Meier Link. I presume that you’re seventh years?”
“We are,” Ron said, poking Pig with his wand to try to get him to stop hooting “Your year?”
“Seventh, also,” answered Meier. “I’m new, along with my cousin Ferro. He’s in Slytherin though…I’m in Gryffindor.”
Harry smiled brightly at the seventh year, holding out his hand for him to shake. “Welcome to the best house, Meier.”
Meier took his hand, but not before studying Harry’s face and then the long, lightening bolt shaped scar on his forehead.
“So you’re Harry Potter.”
Harry winced, publicity and recognition a sort of peeve for him. “I am.”
“We haven’t heard much of you where I’m from,” Meier told him, a twinkling mirth in his eyes. “Not until now.”
It was when he raised his hand to brush away a stray strand of hair when Hermione saw them.
His tall pointed ears.
And that’s when Hermione knew, although she scolded herself for her blindness for not seeing it right away, who this flawless male really was.
“I guess we should save the introductions that are to be made later tonight and do them now,” Hermione said, setting her book down on the cushiony seat.
“What?” Harry asked, a perplexed look on his face.
Meier’s eyes met hers and he smirked. “I am to be your guide,” he said simply, placing his foot on his opposite knee and brushing some dust from his pants.
Again, silence filled the compartment before Ron spoke up.
“But…but you’re seventeen,” he said incredulously. “You’re the same age as us!”
“I stopped aging when I was seventeen. But I believe I‘ve been living for around one hundred and sixty years, although I‘ve lost count a couple of times.”
“So you really are a faerie,” Hermione said her voice holding a bit of awe.
“I thought that faeries were tiny things with funny wings,” Harry said, pushing his glasses further up his nose. “And you’re…well you’re practically human.”
“You’ve been learning about Fees,” Meier told them nonchalantly, a scoffing tone in his voice as if he were dismissing the idea. “They’re rather troublesome. They have no use what so ever. They don’t even have a coherent language.”
“So what are you?” Ron asked.
“I am an elf.”
“An elf?” Harry asked. “But I thought that faeries were-”
“Faerie is a very large category,” Meier interrupted trying to explain. “Elves and Fees are just some of them. But you’ll learn about that later.”
“So you’re our guide,” Hermione stated more to herself than anyone else.
“Yes, I am,“ Meier answered, turning his violet eyes on her. “But more specifically, we’ve been sent here to protect you, Ms. Granger.”
“From what?!” Hermione exclaimed. Not only did he just prove Ron and Harry’s point of her not being safe, she need not only one guide, but two.
“I’m sure Dumbledore will tell you,” Meier said softly.
“So he thinks that she should come with us?” Ron asked. He hesitated when Hermione threw a glare at him. “On the mission, I mean.”
Hermione rolled her eyes. “Well obviously Ron. I wouldn’t need protection at Hogwarts you know.”
He scowled back at her and leaned back in his seat, Pig’s cage resting in his lap.
“Why are you even helping us?” Hermione ventured. “Is there something at stake for your world or is it for another reason?”
“That, among other things,” answered Meier, looking down at his intricate tattoo. “It’s not often that we help humans, so you must understand how dangerous the situation is that you’re going into. We don’t have many regards for mortals.”
“So why are you here?” Harry asked.
“Because for once, the world of faeries has something to lose,” the silver haired man said simply. “And we don’t like to lose.”
Tearing her eyes away from his face, Hermione stood up, grabbing her school uniform from the seat beside her.
“I’m going to go get changed,” Hermione said. Harry was about to speak but she quickly cut him off. “ And we have a prefects meeting. They’re telling us who made the Head positions.“ Hermione slung her bag over her shoulder. “Come on Ron. Bye Harry, Meier”
Ron pushed himself from the seat and grabbed his bag. “See you later Harry. Nice erm…meeting you Meier.”
“Damn Snape,“ Hermione muttered under her breath as she changed into her skirt.
She was upset for two reasons.
One, they hadn’t announced who filled the Head’s positions yet.
Two, the Potions Master had convinced Dumbledore to replace Pansy, who dropped her prefect position, with another one. Now Slytherin had two male prefects, one of them Malfoy and the other, Ferro. His name…Iron in Latin.
Hermione paused as she thought of the faerie.
He was quiet throughout most of the meeting, although he did smile faintly at her when she and Ron walked in. She could definitely see the resemblance between him and Meier, both having angular faces with high cheekbones, and the same tall, lean body. Ferro’s eyes were the color of gold, almost like Hermione’s own eyes, but sometimes they seemed to flash silver. His hair was as black as night, so black, that it looked blue.
And just like his cousin, Ferro was stunningly handsome.
Now Malfoy was a different story. The blonde boy bore a dangerous resemblance to Meier, with their similar silvery hair and sharp features. He had grown taller, much taller, standing over Ron now. He certainly looked different from the little, blond rat she had become accustomed to.
Buttoning up the last buttons on her shirt, Hermione looked out of the tinted window of the empty compartment and her breath caught.
Standing in the hallway was Meier and Ferro, obviously talking in hushed tones. She cracked open the door, making sure that they didn’t hear her.
The last sentence she caught said by a grave Ferro, made her heart lurch with fear.
“Aegresco simulo celeries. Abhinc les conglacio nivampro…”
“Trouble is swift. The cold vamperum are here…”
But one thing that should’ve troubled her more than the foreshadow of something wicked, was the fact that she understood them, despite the fact that they were speaking a dead language.
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