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“…When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Once again, the time they spent in seclusion flew by. They had all finished the wagon full of make up work that they had to do. Snape had given them extra, the snarky bastard, to take advantage of the situation. Ferro and Meier came to them, the day before they would leave for Diagon Alley. All four of them were in the common room, exhausted and hot from training with Shacklebolt and Tonks. Malfoy had his long limbs thrown across the couch and Ron was laying on the floor. Harry was leaning against Hermione’s legs, as she sat in a poufy armchair.

Sunlight streamed into the room, throwing patterns of colors from the glass across the floor. Hermione stared at the hues for a moment, transfixed, before she felt her eyes start to close. As soon as she was about to drift off into a blissful sleep, the two faeries came in.

They looked grim, as if they just came to a disturbing conclusion. She wondered if it had something to do with her and what they were talking about yesterday.

“We’ll be evaluating each of you separately to see if you truly are ready,” announced Meier, his eyes sweeping over the four teen’s sore and sweaty bodies.

“You’re first, Ms. Granger,” Ferro said, his voice callous. Hermione tensed.

“Bring your wand,” Meier said to her, a cruel smile curving the ends of his lips. “You’re going to need it.”

Harry and Ron looked at her worriedly. The green eyed wizard moved away from her as she pushed herself up from the couch to a standing position.

“Gladly,” Hermione answered.

She followed them into the hallway.

And the funny thing, is even though it was day outside, the only thing that she could see was darkness.

The two faeries led her to a room, which she presumed to be on the fifth floor, for her “training”.

Hermione wrinkled her nose slightly as they entered the room. A sheet covered the grimy glass window, which allowed slivers of light to slither into the room, throwing distorted shadows on the cobblestone floor. There was a crooked old teacher’s desk at the far end, with a cracked black board resting behind it. There were no desks, just an empty expanse of filthy floor that seemed to taunt her.

Meier waved his hand and all of the dust that had accumulated over every surface was gone. The room was still dark and shadowy. He went around the desk and sat on it, his long legs reaching the floor. Ferro stood beside him, his back resting on the corner of the wood.

“Sit,” Meier commanded, motioning for her to settle with a flick of his wrist.

“I would if I had something to sit on,” Hermione bit back, her eyes flashing with annoyance at the silver haired faerie.

“Glance behind you and then sit down,” Meier added in a voice that suggested that he was talking to a small child. “Please,” he added with a small grin.

She looked behind her and with embarrassment, realized that the reason for his hand motion was to conjure a chair for her. Her cheeks flushing with embarrassment, Hermione sat down in the chair. It was hard and had a straight backing to it, making her sit straight, although all she wanted to do was slouch and close her eyes.

“Wandless magic?” she questioned, raising an eyebrow at Meier.

He nodded. “Exactly. What do you know of it, Ms. Granger?”

“That it takes some time to learn. That some never do pick up on it.”

“How long do you think it took me to learn how to do wandless magic?” Meier queried, his indigo eyes sweeping over her.

“A couple of months maybe?” Hermione tried, grimacing when he shook his head.

“Try a few moments,” Ferro spoke up from his spot. His intense gaze was on her, making her shift uneasily. “For all of the elves”

“Well do you even need wands?” Hermione asked. “There’s no transition from magic to wandless magic for wizards and witches, without having a wand first.”

Meier scowled. “We can use them, but those fooled, wooden contraptions make our magic duller. Less accurate.”

“Well your magic is different,” Hermione told him, her voice going into lecture mode. “It’s older, so of course more modern methods may not be compatible with yours. It is, however, with ours.”

“Oh, contraire,” Ferro said softly. “You are an exception. We think that you may have our magic in you.”

“I’m of muggle parentage,” Hermione said as if he was stupid. “I don’t have any wizarding blood in me, and definitely not faerie blood.”

“We think you do,” Meier told her. “The human we spoke of, Hermione, is indeed a relative of yours. She had much elvish magic in her. She passed it to you.”

“Either that, or you’re her reincarnation,” Ferro added, smiling at her shocked expression. “It could be likely.”

“What do you mean ‘relative’?” Hermione asked Meier, ignoring Ferro’s comment. “Shouldn’t it be ancestor?”

“Yes, it would be more polite if she were dead. But she’s not.”

Hermione’s eyes widened with shock and she decided that she was going to listen to what they have to say.

“Our grandparents transferred their magic to her,” continued Ferro, his voice silky. “This forms a bond. We think that this is why we’re so drawn to you, so intent on protecting you. We’re connected, Ms. Granger, no matter how you try to deny it.”

Meier stretched, leaning back in the rickety chair and then stood. “This is why we think that you’ll be able to master wandless magic as quickly as we do Your magic is too powerful to only be conducted through that piece of wood.”

Hermione gasped as Ferro began to murmur in her ear, his breath on her skin sending shivers down her spine. She hadn’t even seen him make his way over to her.

“Can you feel it Hermione?” he said huskily, his slim arm reaching down, intertwining his fingers with hers. She gasped as she felt something that felt like a small electrical shock shoot up her hand. “Feel it and use it.”

“I feel it,” Hermione replied softly, marveling at the feeling that had now spread to her hands. It felt as if her hand had fallen asleep and that strange buzzing feeling happened, as if it was waking up again. She hold her hands in front of her, pulling them apart to cup something that wasn’t there. She looked at the empty space between her palms and could’ve sworn that she saw a shimmer of light, like the sun on a fish’s scales.

“Are you concentrating?” Ferro asked, folding his arms over his chest. “Concentrate and form the spell that you want in your mind.”

Hermione complied and trained her eyes on Meier, who was to be her guinea pig today. “I’m concentrating.”

“Now say it.”

Hermione hesitated a moment, but slowly spoke the word. “Imperio.”

Meier immediately stiffened and looked as if he was ready to do anything she commanded. His eyes, though, were angry but shocked.

Ferro smiled from beside her, looking at the witch next to him with amazement. “Yes,” he commended breathlessly. “Now make him kneel.”

Hermione turned her eyes from the praising faerie beside her and once more, focused her attention on the silver haired man standing before her. She brought her hand down slightly, her fingers dropping to point to the damp, stone floor. As soon as she did so, Meier’s body buckled, as if he was fighting against a great force. None the less, his knees bent and he kneeled on the floor, his hair shadowing his face.

With a dismissive flick of her wrist, Hermione released the spell she had over Meier. His torso shagged with relief and his hand clutched onto the end of the desk so he could pull himself back up.

“You’re strong,” he told her hoarsely, his violet eyes gazing at her. A muscle in his hand seized up and he had to stretch it a few times to get it to relax. “I may’ve been able to resist it, but I doubt it. That was stronger than any spell that’s ever been cast on me.”

Ferro frowned as if he was thinking. “Maybe it has to do with the combination of her magic,” he suggested. His eyes widened as if he had realized something. “Why I think we’ve just created something revolutionary.”

“What?” Meier asked, a confused look on his face. “The mixing of two different forms of magic has never…” he trailed of as he understood what Ferro was saying.

“A new hybrid,” the black haired faerie finished. “A fusion of fey and wizarding magic.”

Hermione bit her bottom lip from lashing out at him for referring to her as a “creation”.

Ferro looked at her with a small smile on his handsome face. “Why, Hermione, I do believe that you’re the start of a new race of being.”

Hermione decided to ignore Meier and Ferro’s declaration of her giving birth to a new species and just go about her life as if she hadn’t heard a word they had said. It was better for her if things didn’t get anymore complicated.

She woke up the next morning to find herself in the common room, stretched out in the armchair. She looked around and realized the four of them must’ve fallen asleep in the common room while finishing up the little bit of work they had left. Ron was on the floor, sitting up, his head resting on one of her dangling legs. Harry was sprawled out on the floor, a Transfiguration book strewn across his chest.

Malfoy was up, on the largest couch and Hermione looked up to see him watching her intently. As soon as their eyes met, he turned away and gazed at the fire. She stared at him, at the fire dancing on his pale hair, his lean body hunched over his legs that were stretched before him on the couch.

She had never seen him look more human than he looked at that moment. Or more beautiful. Hermione was so targeted on preserving this memory, that she didn’t notice when he spoke.

“We should leave soon.”

His cold voice snapped her out of her trance. “What?”

“We need to leave soon,” Malfoy repeated, standing up. “For our marking.”

“Our marking of what?” Hermione asked, confused. She didn’t remember anything about getting a marking.

She cautiously stood up and made to wake up Ron and Harry from their slumbering positions.

“Leave them,” Malfoy said icily, taking long strides towards the portrait. He murmured the password and the picture swung open. “They’re not getting it Granger. They have a different one than what we’re getting.”

“Well maybe I’d know what you were talking about if you’d tell me what the marking was for, Malfoy,” Hermione snapped at him, walking through the portrait. The tall blonde followed her.


“The Thilene,” Ferro said to them, pointing to the intricate design he had drawn up on the blackboard behind him. “Every elf of the two courts has one. It provides protection, burning when those who are connected are in danger.”

Hermione’s brows furrowed. “Like the Dark Mark, but his is for summoning.”

“Again, another idea that fool has stolen from us,” Meier said, scowling at the mention of Voldemort. “He attempts to recruit us and use our magic, also.”

Ferro cleared his throat to get everyone’s attention back on him. “The thilene is different according to your rankings,” he continued. “Such as a knight, which is what Meier and I are, or just a common citizen. You two will be known as knights. It’s the only way we’ll be connected.”

The thilene was indeed a work of art upon itself, the calligraphic lines forming a diamond and then forming an intricate pattern inwards. In the middle, although it was hard to see, was the rune , Uruz, standing for courage, strength, tenacity, and action.

“Those of the Dark court who still have their knight ship have a thilene in black ink. Ours is in blue however, because we‘re tied to both sides.” Ferro explained. “But those who have Uruz inverted or reversed are dangerous. They represent brutality and lust. These are the faeries that lure young women with their good looks and charming manners and kill them when dawn has come.”

Hermione involuntarily shivered, thinking back to the body of a woman found inside a ring of mushrooms in the forests near her town. A voice interrupted her thoughts and she looked up to see who was talking.

“You’re ready for the marking now,” Meier said. He was leaning over her, his violet eyes boring into her own. “It’ll have to go around your bellybutton, Ms. Granger. It’s more discreet than your arm.”

She glanced back at Malfoy and Ferro who were watching her. She stood up and turned so she was facing opposite of the other two gazes.

“You need to turn around,” Meier said to her, a smirk playing on his lips. He was obviously enjoying her embarrassment. “Those you’re connected with need to witness your marking. Almost like those muggle procedures you call a wedding.”

Biting her lip with embarrassment, Hermione spun back around angrily to face her “audience”. She grasped the hem of her shirt and pulled it up a little past her bellybutton, exposing some of the smooth skin of her stomach.

Hermione squirmed as Meier approached her with outstretched fingers. “You’re beautiful,” he breathed, as his hand landed on her skin.

She had to actually refrain from crying out as Meier touched her. His touch was so cold, it was scalding. She could feel his fingers trace the path of the thilene on her ivory skin. She gritted her teeth and blinked back the heavy tears that threatened to fall from her eyes. After a moment, he pulled away hesitantly, admiring his work on her stomach.

“Perfect,” Meier purred in a low voice, one that sent shivers up her spine. His stunning eyes met her tearing gaze. “Learn to love it, Hermione. It’ll be there till the day you die.”

Her eyes widened at the use of her first name. Once she comprehended what he was saying she narrowed her eyes at him.

“I don’t need it after this mission,” she stated slowly, lowering her shirt. “I don’t need your protection after this.”

Meier raised an eyebrow, still crouching so that his head was level with her stomach. “Oh, but you may, Hermione. You’re not just human anymore. You never were.”

Hermione jerked back angrily from him, her amber eyes flashing with fury.

“I’m not a start of a new race!” she snapped at him, moving so that she had a clear path to the door. “Not only is that a ridiculous notion, it’s also impossible! My parent’s are muggles, and they’re dentists!” She declared it as if their boring practice was more proof that they weren’t magical. “So unless you give me hard proof, I’m not going to listen to you spouting ideas of me being not human!”

“You’ll get your proof,” Meier told her, his voice sharp and condescending. “And you’d do well to remember who we are. Lying to you is in no way a benefit to us.” He paused, his eyes washing over her like a wave. “We’re connected now. We ask you to wait for Mr. Malfoy and then you can return to your room. Tonight, you leave.”

Hermione crossed her arms over her chest and huffed her way over to where Malfoy sat, looking down at him expectantly. He stood languidly and walked over to the waiting faerie.

“You’ll need to lift your shirt, Mr. Malfoy,” Meier said coldly, his eyes shifting over to a angry Hermione. “Again, it is more discreet.”

The blonde hesitated and then took his shirt over his head and pulled it up so his chest was bared. Hermione bit her lip to keep from gasping at the sight of his body.

He was lean and had the same tall, lithe build that his father possessed. His skin was pale, like the rest of him, and flawless, save a scar that ran along half of his hipbone. His chest was well defined, with compact muscles shifting beneath his skin and ( Hermione swallowed at this) six, distinct abs. He looked as though he was carved from marble, like statues that the Greeks and the Romans made of their handsome Gods. Malfoy would’ve definitely been a commodity if he had existed then.

Meier kneeled once again and ghosted his fingers along Malfoy’s skin, as he had done to her. She could see that the faerie was murmuring something silent, now that she studied him. Malfoy’s jaw clenched as if he were in some sort of mild pain. His head was bowed, his silvery hair covering his face.

Through his bangs, Malfoy’s stormy eyes met hers.

And for the second time that day, she was so entranced with the site of Draco Malfoy being so beautiful, so human, that she couldn’t bare to tear her gaze from his.

Hermione left as quickly as she could to avoid Malfoy at all costs. There was a chance that she wouldn’t look at him the same way for some time after seeing what she had.

Until he said something disgustingly insulting, that is. Because at that point, his handsome face would melt away and the uglier side of Malfoy would be apparent. And all feelings of seeing something so flawless would flee because she really knew what a monster he was.

Yes… she would wait for him to say something hurtful.

She entered the common room, with Malfoy barely four steps behind her. Her two best friends looked up at her arrival and smiled.

“How does it look?” Ron asked from the floor where he was playing Exploding Snaps with Harry.

“How does what look?” Hermione asked innocently, dropping herself onto the couch. She hefted her legs up, which felt like dead weights at this point from so much training and lack of sleep, and laid full length. She sighed as the softness cushioned her.

“Your marking,” Harry finished for Ron. He yelled as a rather loud explosion went off and leprechaun hats began to dance around his head, before settling onto his hair like a wreath. Hermione and Ron laughed at Harry, who was scowling. Malfoy was smirking.

“I don’t feel like playing anymore,” Harry said, dismissing the game as he stood up. He swiped at the hats on his head and they disappeared with a slight pop and a flash of light.

“You’re such a bad sport,” Ron said, grinning.

“The stupid things aren’t supposed to do things like that,” Harry protested. “Besides, I lose to you at chess all the time.”

Ron shrugged, gathered up the little scraps of paper and looked at Hermione. “Well?” he asked.

Hermione’s eyes met Malfoy’s for a moment, with a question. Should she tell them? He gave her a slight nod and turned away, sitting in the armchair across from her.

“It looks fine,” Hermione said. “Like the one Meier has on his arm.”

“Can we see it?” Harry asked in a keen voice.

“No!” Hermione said, a little loudly. The two looked taken aback at her outburst. “No…It’s erm…it’s on my stomach.” She noticed how both their eyes lit up, although their faces remained calm. The sneaky little buggers.

“We’ve seen you in a bathing suit,” Ron said. “We’re not asking you to strip.”

Hermione raised an eyebrow.

“Weasel, you know she’s a prude,” Malfoy spoke up from his place by the fire. “If she hasn’t let anyone in her pants yet, what makes you think she’s going to give you a peek?”

Ah…there was the insult she needed.

Ron leaped up, ready to attack Malfoy, but fortunately, Harry caught his arm and forced him to sit back down. Hermione decided that she didn’t feel like doing anything with her wand, so she chose an alternative method.

She yanked off one of her shoes, weighed it in her hand for a moment, before hefting it and throwing it so that it would hit Malfoy rather hard in his face.

The rubber bottom of her trainer caught his forehead and part of his nose before bouncing off and landing in the fire. Hermione groaned as it began to melt, giving off a pungent, plasticy odor.

After a moment of disbelief, Harry and Ron burst into peals of laughter, their eyes watering with the force of it. Malfoy cursed and held a hand to his swelling head and red nose. His angry eyes landed on the grinning witch.

“You filthy wench,” he growled at her, grabbing his wand. Hermione’s hand immediately went to hers, although she relaxed once she realized that he was just healing himself.

“You deserved it,” she shot back at him triumphantly. “You little piece of sh-”

At that moment, the portrait swung open to reveal Dumbledore, dressed in midnight blue robes etched with twinkling bundles of silver. His blue eyes, as always, were twinkling.

“What were you saying Ms. Granger?” Snape inquired from behind the Headmaster, a creepy grin on his pale face.

Hermione’s cheeks reddened. “I was just…er… complimenting on the pinkness on Malfoy’s forehead. It makes him look less dead.”

Harry sputtered on his spittle from behind her. Malfoy’s eyes got larger at her insult and then narrowed.

“I see,” Dumbledore said, smiling. “I’m glad to see that you four are getting along.” He ignored the coughs of disbelief and continued. “ You leave tonight so I came to remind you. The meeting that I scheduled for us earlier is canceled. Other members cannot come today.”

“So what do we do until tonight?” Harry asked.

“Whatever you feel is necessary to prepare you from what’s ahead,” the Headmaster answered. “Meet at the main doors at eight tonight. Dinner will be going on so the halls should be vacant. You may want to catch your last glimpses of Hogwarts for the next couple of weeks un-illusioned.”

Giving encouragement through his wizened eyes, he swept out of the common room, the Potions Master in his wake.

Hermione took a shaky breath, trying to calm her rattling nerves. Her eyes met Harry’s changed blue eyes, which held fear. Hermione was surprised with Harry and herself, for the both of them didn’t feel nearly as much fear as they should’ve.

“Truth is more of a stranger than fiction.”
-Mark Twain

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