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The young witch looked into the eyes of the unicorn stallion fearlessly, a thrill of excitement running through her. She could not understand what the unicorn had said, but got the gist of the conversation from Harry's reply. The unicorns had come here to tell her something, something about her lost heritage, she suspected. She bowed her head when Amicus' horn touched her lightly, two times, on the forehead.

"You've come here for me, haven't you?" she said softly.

Amicus nodded, his small beard bobbing, blue eyes glinting like moonlit frost. Yes. We have hidden the truth for fourteen years, but now it can be revealed. The danger that once threatened is destroyed and shall never return.

To her shock, Hermione realized she could understand the unicorn. His neighs and flickers of ears and posture she could now read as easily as a magical textbook. "I . . .I can understand you! But how?"

Amicus whickered. Every so often, a unicorn may grant the gift of tongues to a deserving mortal. And you need to understand what we are about to tell you, young filly.

"Oh. All right." She forced herself to remain calm.

Beside her, Harry and Severus transformed into their alternate forms, because it was easier to listen to Amicus in equine form.

The stallion turned to Rhiannon, the ancient Memory Keeper. This is our Memory Keeper, Rhiannon, whose duty it is to keep the lineages of all the unicorn herds upon Albion. She holds them in her head, in the Ancient Way, and every unicorn born upon these shores she remembers, and also every death, including untimely ones. I consulted her upon the choosing of mares to form my herd as a young stallion, for it is important to choose mares whose lineages do not cross closely with my own. She informed me which herds had eligible maiden mares and it was from them I chose my mates. Sirocco, who stands beside me, was my first choice, and also my Lead Mare. He turned and nuzzled the beautiful mare beside him, and she blew at him and rubbed her muzzle on his neck.

When Sirocco was in foal to me, I had only three mares in my herd then, and the Forbidden Forest was not as dense as it is now, nor as dangerous. We made our home there in a secluded glen and claimed it as our haven. Little did we know our secure retreat would not remain so. For the Dead Souled One came hunting us, wishing to drink our blood and extend his lifespan, and also use our horns to make antidotes to poisons like basilisk venom.

He hated us, for we were Selene's Chosen, and lived lives of peace and bliss, which he had thrown away out of ambition, pride, and hatred. He was determined to exterminate us, to him we were mere animals, and he no longer revered or respected us. All he wanted was our blood, in the hopes that it would make him immortal. And he cared not that he was cursed by slaying a unicorn, for his heart was already rotted and dark. He hunted us unmercifully, killing any unicorn that crossed his path. None of us were safe.

Sirocco gave birth to my first foal, a lovely spirited filly, and I rejoiced, for the birth of a unicorn is a rare thing, we do not breed easily, since we live so long. It takes six years for a foal to mature, until then the youngster stays with her birth herd. But we were in danger. The Dark Hunter and his followers were stalking us, I had relocated twice in a fortnight because they had discovered our grove and knew they would keep hunting us until they killed us. All of us.

Including my filly. I prayed to Selene for help and She told us to do the unexpected. I asked her to help keep my daughter safe, for I feared I could not, and She told me to hide my daughter in plain sight, where Voldemort—ah, I remembered—would never find her.

And so we did, even though it broke our hearts to have to give up our precious filly. Selene gave all three of us the ability to invoke a spell of Change, and we all put our horns together and worked the incantation. In a matter of moments, there was a human baby upon the grass next to our hooves. But the spell was such that it needed an anchor to make it hold for years, and so Selene fashioned a silver pendant in the shape of a unicorn for the baby to wear.

Hermione gasped and cupped the pendant. But she did not dare to interrupt the noble stallion.

After a moment, Amicus continued. We thought it best if we did not know where our baby was taken, lest we be tempted into seeing her and ruining her disguise, and so we gave her into Selene's keeping. We grieved the necessity of such a thing, but with a foal by her side, Sirocco was vulnerable. The foal slowed her and slowed the rest of the herd down, and if the dark one ever captured the baby . . .We could not risk it. The Bright One would place her with a loving family, until such time as she either came of age or our old enemy was dead. But if we ever chanced to meet, I would know her by her aura and the pendant.

Amicus looked directly at Hermione. You wear a unicorn pendant. If you are who I believe you are, all you need to do is remove the pendant.

"Remove it?" she stuttered. "But . . .I was told to never take it off!"

That was then. This is now. Remove the pendant, little one, and discover the truth.

Hermione looked about at the three unicorns and then at her best friend and guardian. She fingered the pendant idly. Did she dare do what they had said and remove the necklace? Could she take the chance? Did she want to know the truth?

She rubbed the silver pendant absently between her fingers.

Then she made up her mind

She was tired of always wondering about who she was and where she belonged. Ever since discovering the fact that she was adopted, she had felt herself cut off from the normal wizarding world round of friends and school. Now she could finally know the truth of it all.

Her hands fumbled with the silver catch in the back.

At last she had it undone.

It slipped free of her neck and lay glinting in her palm.

She looked up at Amicus quizzically. "Now what?"

Then she felt herself shift, as the Shapechange spell was removed, and her body reverted to the one she had been born with.

Brilliant silver light exploded from her and she cried out sharply . . .but the cry started out human . . .and ended in the frightened whinny of an adolescent unicorn.

The silvery radiance dimmed and from the still drifting sparks of magic emerged a slender golden unicorn filly, the rich color of honey, her coat throwing off sparks of molten gold as she moved. Her horn was half the size of the full grown unicorns and glowed with a iridescence that was beautiful to behold.

Oh! It's true! I really am . . .a unicorn! She neighed, examining her four cloven hooves and her silken mane and tail. She glided lightly over the ground, there was nothing awkward about the graceful young filly now. Like all her kind, she was the wind made flesh.

Sirocco gave a little squeal of joy. Oh, Amicus! She has returned to us!

Wait. Memory Keeper, is this the filly we Changed fourteen years ago?

Rhiannon approached the golden filly and breathed deeply of her scent, and looked her over with her unicorn's eyes, that saw and remembered every magical aura of every unicorn ever born. She blew into the unicorn that had once been Hermione's nostrils.

This is the foal, Amicus Starseeker. She is returned to you.

Amicus and Sirocco came up to her and nuzzled and blew upon her, their breath scented with primroses and lavender. You have returned to us, Imara, my daughter! trumpeted the stallion, and he touched his horn to hers.

The touch conveyed all of the love and joy he felt for her, and then Sirocco joined him, gently pressing her horn to that of the nearly grown filly. At last! At last my daughter has come home! Imara, little one, welcome back!

At Sirocco's touch, memories flowed from the mare to her daughter, and Hermione, whose birth name had been Imara, saw herself as a wobbly legged foal, trotting by her mother's side. She saw herself kicking up her heels, running circles about her mother, while her proud father watched indulgently. More memories flowed through her, she was newly born, lying upon clover sprigged grass, her large eyes gazing wonderingly at the new world before her . . .then her mother was urging her to her hooves and she took her first swallow of sweet rich milk. Imara, I shall Name you, for you are strong and proud, like all the Starseekers, and intelligent, like the mares of the Brightfire line. May you run forever beneath the light of the moon, my beloved daughter.

We have missed you more than you can know, Amicus sent. Even though we knew you were safe and happy as a human child, with Selene's blessing, and though I had other foals to raise, we never forgot you.

I always . . .I always knew that I was different somehow . . .Hermione whickered, for she was not yet able to think of herself as Imara. My mother . . .my human mother, that is . . .she paused awkwardly, for Jeanne Granger had not been her true mother at all, and yet she had been the only one Hermione had known, until now.

It is all right. I am grateful that you loved your human sire and dam, Sirocco said calmly. What did your human mother say?

She used to say that I was smarter than any child ever born and I guess she was right, because I always aced all my classes at school . . .even now I do . . .Magic is easy for me . . .even the theory. I never really understood why, but now . . .

A unicorn is born of magic, the magic is in your blood and bone, and you know it in a way almost no human ever can. Rhiannon informed her. And any unicorn ever born can match wits with a human, wizard or not, as easy as breathing. You have the memory of a unicorn, young Imara, which is very much greater than a mere human's. Even those Chosen by Selene. The ancient mare added, with a nod to Moon Fire and Midnight Wind.

Really? I never knew that. Growing up, I thought unicorns were myths and at Hogwarts, they taught that unicorns were just magical creatures, like horses with horns that lived centuries.

Rhiannon snorted derisively. Human arrogance! They always assume that if one does not have hands or walk on two feet, one is somehow a lesser creature. Selene grant me patience!

Hermione looked faintly ashamed, then she blew out softly. Now I understand. This was what Selene meant, at my initiation, about having a family still. I thought maybe I had a cousin or something around, once I found out I was adopted, but I never expected . . .that I was not a human. It feels strange. And yet, somehow, it feels so utterly right. She eyed Amicus shrewdly. Did you know then, that I was your daughter, when you let me ride you away from Riddle Manor.

I suspected, but I did not know for certain until tonight. What I did know was that you were sufficiently pure in spirit for me to tolerate as a passenger. I do not permit just anyone on my back. He gently nibbled along her mane. We know that it will take some time for you to get used to your true form again, her father sent. We do not wish you to feel awkward, nor uncomfortable around us or your human friends and family. You do not have to give up your life as a human in order to be a part of our herd.

Then, I can still become a human, if I want?

Amicus nodded. Simply put your horn through the pendant and you shall be as you were before—the human witch Hermione. The magic that resides within the pendant shall not fade. Remove it and you shall become Imara. He looked over at Moon Fire. I thank you, brother, for looking after my daughter. And I hope you shall continue to do so if needed.

Moon Fire whickered agreeably. I swore that I would, and I always keep my vows, Amicus. That she was born a foal first does not negate my vow. I shall protect and . . . .love her whatever form she wears. And she shall always have a home with me.

Amicus gave him an approving look. There, you see, Imara, you have a whole new family, one here with Moon Fire, and the other among my herd. I know that your brothers and sisters will be happy to meet you, should you choose to visit them when you return to Hogwarts.

Hermione was overwhelmed. She had felt bereft of a real family when her parents had been brutally murdered before her eyes, but had gained some sense of belonging after Snape agreed to be her guardian. But now she felt, finally, as if she were complete. The unknown holes in her memory had been filled and the spaces missing in her heart had been put back together. Best of all, she knew unconditionally that she was loved. Both Severus and her unicorn family had made that quite clear. Had she been a girl, she would have wept.

But a unicorn shed no tears. I have . . .siblings?

You do indeed, Moon Fire whinnied, his black eyes sparkling with amusement. All of them are younger than you too, though getting them to mind will take some time, despite the herd ranking. Some of them are mischief incarnate.

Hermione snorted lightly. Having siblings was a new thing for her, and she was sure she would enjoy meeting them, despite Moon Fire's comments. She could tell that the midnight stallion liked the foals, he just didn't like to admit it. I'm sure I'll love them, even if they are incorrigible brats. After all, you do. She declared impishly.

Amicus let out a sharp whistle. Ha! She knows you too well, brother!

Moon Fire shook his head so his forelock fell over his crescent, not bothering to respond.

She swung her head about to look at Nightblaze. Harry, can you believe this? I'm a unicorn! Me, Hermione Granger. Oops! I guess I ought to be calling you Nightblaze huh? And as a unicorn, my name is Imara. She nickered, feeling giddy and joyful and not at all like her normal serious self. Imara. Imara. Such a lovely name. I feel so much more . . .alive in this shape. Abruptly, she threw up her head and bugled, Blaze, let's run! Let's see who's faster!

The black unicorn snorted and pawed the ground. You're on! Then he exploded from his standstill, running with all the energy he possessed.

The golden filly neighed and gave chase, her legs working like pistons, propelling her over the ground in great leaps, faster than a gazelle, her hooves barely skimming the earth. She drank the wind in great rapturous swallows, using it to fuel her body, running faster and faster until she and Nightblaze raced neck and neck.

Magnificent! I've never run so fast in all my life!

The black unicorn looked over at her and gave a very horse-like chuckle. Amazing, isn't it? I mean, I think I've gone faster on my Firebolt, but it doesn't feel like it. I feel like I'm the wind, and all the world is standing still.

Couldn't have put it better myself. Imara answered. D'you mind then? That I'm . . .well . . .a unicorn who can become a human?

Nightblaze shook his head vigorously. No. Why would I? It's who you've always been. I simply didn't know it. It's like Moon Fire said. I'll love you always, whatever form you're in.

Relief flowed through her then. I am so glad to hear that. So very glad.

Did you think I wouldn't love you? 'Mione . . .err . . .Imara, that's ridiculous. Look at me. I've got the blood of a goddess and a forest elemental in MY veins, AND I can become a black unicorn. I'm the very last person to think your heritage is odd. Actually, I'm happy you're a unicorn. So now we can be together in either form. Maybe that's why Selene granted me this shape. Because She knew it would make things easier.

They made a circuit of the pasture and spun about, racing back towards the other unicorns, delighting in the wind in their manes and the sound of their hooves thundering over the earth.

You're probably right. She reached over and shoved him playfully. I wonder what Ron will think of all this?

The black unicorn whinnied loudly. He'll probably keel over. I mean, he doesn't even know that Severus is our guardian, much less that you're a unicorn and I'm Selene's descendant. Things happened so fast this summer that I just never took the time to write. But we'll have to find time to tell him before we go back to school. He checked her lightly as she attempted to cut across him.

Right. I just hope he doesn't pull one of his tantrums and decide he doesn't want to be friends with us because we're Severus' wards now or something stupid like that. Imara said nervously.

If he does, that's his choice. And his loss. I mean, nobody ever said you have to like your friend's family members as well as your friend. I don't particularly care for Percy, but I'm still Ron's mate. After what Severus did, taking out old Moldy Voldy that way, Ron better not have anything mean to say about him. He's a hero now.

Much as he hates it, Imara tossed her head and began to run faster. She had been tired after returning from the service but after the revelations and assuming her true shape, she felt energized and able to run for hours. Her new body seemed made of air and light and magic coursed through her blood like fine wine. She was one with the earth, the sky, and the magic of the night.

She raced past Moon Fire, the Memory Keeper, and her new parents, giving out a joyous neigh as she did so.

Suddenly, she heard the pounding of many hoofbeats, and found herself flanked by Amicus and Sirocco on one side and Moon Fire and Nightblaze on the other. Together, the reunited family raced across the pasture, all the way to the border of Sherwood and back, matching each other's steps in unison, as only a herd bound by love and blood could do. They flowed over the ground, light and dark mingled, moonlight and shadow, celebrating the return of Amicus' lost daughter in the ancient Way of the Unicorn.

Only Rhiannon did not join them in their race, for she was too old to keep pace with them. Instead, the elder watched as Amicus and his family ran beneath the moon, together once more, as Selene had intended. Rhiannon nodded in satisfaction. Now the circle is complete. Lady bless you all.

All right, that was the big revelation of this story. Some of you guessed it already, kudos for you! Those that didn't, I hope it was a welcome surprise!

I recently cut open my right hand after I fell down the stairs at my sister's house, there was water on them and I slipped and hit my hand on jagged concrete and so had to ask a friend to type this up for me and post it. Otherwise I would have had this up sooner.

Thanks everyone for reading and for your continued support of my work, I really appreciate it!

Next: harry and Hermione write to Ron, Sirius confirms his vow with Danae, and Severus becomes Selene's consort. This chapter will be very hot and steamy in some parts! I can hardly wait to write it. I wish my hand were healed now.

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