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- Chapter Six - Conversations
Hermione did not rise at the crack of dawn the next morning. In fact, she didn’t get up until Lavender and Parvati yelled at her that she would miss breakfast. So she pulled herself out of bed and made her way groggily toward the bathroom. The baths were taken, so Hermione flipped on a showerhead and waited for the water to get warm. Soon, all the frustration and anxiety she had been feeling since the library yesterday was washed away. She used her favorite rose scented shampoo to clean her wild curls, and enjoyed the feeling of the water sliding over her skin. Hermione turned off the water and grabbed a scarlet towel, wrapping it around herself as she stepped out of the shower. She squeezed her wet hair and made her way over to the mirrors. “Hermione Jane Granger!” she heard someone yell. Hermione spun around and found herself looking into the eyes of Ginny Weasley. She was already dressed, wearing a knee-length denim skirt and a green shirt. Hermione smiled at her, but the smile faltered when she saw how worried Ginny looked. “What is it, Gin-” started Hermione, but she was cut off. “What in Merlin’s name happened to you?” Ginny yelled, not taking notice of the strange looks the other Gryffindor girls were giving them. Hermione turned to look at herself in the mirror and her eyes widened. There, on the front of each shoulder, were two bluish bruises. Hermione didn’t know how she could have missed them; they were already starting to turn a sickly purple color. She moved her dripping hair to cover them and looked back at Ginny, who was now standing directly in front of her. “Did Malfoy do this to you?” asked the redhead in an eerily quiet voice. Hermione hung her head, letting a curtain of wet ringlets cover her face. She couldn’t lie to Ginny, but she didn’t want to talk about it in front of the other girls. Ginny put a comforting arm around Hermione’s shoulder and steered her out of the bathroom. “Come on, let’s get you dressed and go eat breakfast. Then we need to have a little talk.” Hermione nodded and allowed Ginny to lead her back to the dorms. There was no point arguing. Ginny was stubborn and persistent, something she got from her brothers. Hermione was dressed in jeans and a scarlet shirt in five minutes, and in another five minutes she managed to use a drying spell on her hair and twist it up into a bun, leaving a few curly strands to frame her face. The Great Hall was crowded and noisy, and instantly annoyed Hermione the moment she walked in. She took her spot between Ron and Harry while Ginny sat across from her between Lavender Brown and Dean Thomas, her former boyfriend. They had broken up during the summer holidays. Hermione talked very little as she ate, and Ron and Harry kept shooting her nervous glances. She stood up when Ginny did, and prepared to leave the table. Ah, Hermione,” grumbled Ron, catching her wrist. “Surely not homework now? Not on Sunday morning. Come and have a game of Gobstones with Harry and me.” “Sorry,” said Ginny, coming over and easing her brother’s fingers off Hermione’s wrist. “We are going for a walk. We will meet up with you later.” Without another word they left the Great Hall, leaving Ron and Harry staring after them. It was a nice day out, but that didn’t seem to help Hermione’s mood. She was still very confused over what had happened and it made her very reluctant to talk about anything. Ginny and Hermione walked the path around the lake until they came to a wooden bench, hidden from view by some vines. They sat down and turned to face each other. “Alright, talk.” commanded Ginny, looking closely at her friend. Hermione took a deep breath and started. She told Ginny about what happened in the library. How she and Malfoy had actually acted civil towards one another, and gotten good work done and their project, and then how Malfoy had lost it and pushed her against the wall. “See, Gin, I just have sensitive skin is all.” said Hermione after she had finished. The redhead was quiet for a few minutes, staring blankly out at the lake. Some third years were throwing pieces of toast into the water for the Giant Squid. “I just don’t understand why you accusing Malfoy of him and his friends being Death Eaters would bother him so much.” said Ginny, absently twirling a strand of red hair. “I mean, how many times have we accused him of the very same thing over the last five years? He has never been angered by it before, if anything it just made him proud and even more insufferable than he already is.” Hermione sighed. “I know, that’s what I thought as well. But you didn’t see him, Gin. He was so angry. I’m surprised he didn’t do more than give me a couple bruises.” “So, what does it mean?” asked Ginny, frowning. “Malfoy wants to be a Death Eater, doesn’t he?” “I’m not sure, Gin.” whispered Hermione. “I’m just not sure anymore.” Both girls were quiet for a while, staring peacefully out at the lake. The sun was shining, and a hint of autumn weather was in the air. There was no wind, and the surface of the lake was smooth as glass. Hermione let out a long breath and the water rippled. “Do you think Malfoy knows that you’re an Elemental?” asked Ginny, turning once again towards her friend. “I don’t think so.” said Hermione, keeping her gaze on the water. “But he isn’t stupid, and knows something is going on. He told me he would find out.” “Don’t worry, Mione,” said Ginny, patting her gently on the shoulder. “We won’t let him find out. That would be disastrous. You just have to be careful from now on.” Hermione nodded. “I know.” “When are you going to tell Harry and Ron?” asked Ginny. “I suppose I should tell them today.” replied Hermione. “They will get suspicious if we keep disappearing and don’t tell them what we are talking about.” Ginny sighed. “Well, there’s no time like the present. Come on, let’s go.” They walked silently back to the castle and found Harry and Ron still in the Great Hall. They were immersed in a game of Wizard’s Chess. Hermione and Ginny walked up and sat down by them. Ron had his brow furrowed as he waited for Harry to move, and Harry was looking slightly sick at the sight of all his broken pieces piled up on Ron’s side of the board. “Move your knight, Harry.” said Ginny, after carefully looking at the board. Like her brother, she was also very skilled at chess. “Thanks,” said Harry gratefully as he moved the suggested piece. “Why did you help him?” asked a very frustrated Ron, searching the board for another victim. Ginny shrugged and looked at Hermione. She mouthed “Well?” Hermione nodded and cleared her throat slightly. “Er, Harry, Ron, can I talk you both for a minute?” “Can we finish the game first, Mione?” asked Ron, not even looking over at her. Hermione glared at him for a moment and then regained her composure. “This can’t wait, Ron. I tell you now, or I don’t tell you at all.” she said firmly. Harry and Ron looked up at her with slightly shocked expressions. Ginny looked proud. Hermione held her chin high and didn’t cave under the boy’s disbelieving looks. “It’s alright, Ron, we can finish this later.” said Harry, pushing the chessboard away. “Sure, Hermione, we can talk now.” “Okay, great, but not here.” said Hermione, standing up. Harry and Ron stood up as well and followed Hermione out of the Hall. Ginny stayed seated, watching the retreating trio with a knowing smile on her face. Hermione led Harry and Ron past the main staircase and into a deserted hallway. She pulled them into the third door down the hall, entering a room that looked as if it hadn’t been used in years. There was one desk in a corner, and a fireplace along one wall, nothing else but dust. Ron lit a fire with his wand and the room gained a healthy glow. Hermione looked uncertainly at her two best friends. She wasn’t sure how to tell them about what was going on. They looked back at her, worried expressions and their faces. “I am not really sure how to tell you this,” began Hermione, after a deep breath. She started pacing around the room. “But, some things changed over the summer. Lots of things actually.” She stopped pacing and looked at Harry and Ron. Both had their eyebrows raised and were staring at her curiously. “Okay, this isn’t working.” said Hermione. “So I am just going to come out and say it. Harry, Ron, I’m an Elemental.” “You’re a what?” asked Harry, now looking more confused than anything. “Oh, please tell me…you have heard about Elementals, haven’t you?” asked Hermione, slipping easily into teacher mode. Harry looked dumbfounded but Ron had a semi-knowing look on his face. “Elementals are people who have some kind of extra power, right?” asked Ron. Hermione sighed. “Yes, in a way. Elementals are witches and wizards who possess the power of one of the raw elements: earth, water, fire, and air. I am an Air Elemental.” Harry and Ron stared at her in a mixture of wonder and disbelief. Finally Harry spoke. “Are you sure?” Hermione nodded. “Very sure. Here, let me show you.” Hermione closed her eyes and held out her hands, palms facing up. She concentrated very hard on the wind, on its sound as it whips through trees and plants, or as it bites at stone. She concentrated on its touch, warm on a summer’s day, icy on a winter morning. She thought about the look of a light breeze, and the ferocity of a hurricane. After a few moments, Hermione opened her eyes. A small vortex of wind was spinning rapidly above her outstretched palms. It was strong enough to make the few strands of hair framing her face fly. Harry and Ron were looking at Hermione in absolute shock. Their mouths were hanging open and their eyes were wide. Hermione slowly let the wind die away and lowered her hands. “Blimey,” said Ron, sounding very much like his little sister. “I don’t know what to say.” Harry looked awestruck, but quickly regained his composure. “It is an amazing gift, Hermione. You should tell Dumbledore right away.” Hermione nodded. “You’re right, of course. I shall tell him right away.” “Do you want us to come with you?” asked Ron, finally closing his mouth. “No,” said Hermione firmly. “I need to do this.” Harry nodded. He had seen Dumbledore many times on his own as well. Ron looked like he wanted to protest, but an elbow in the side from Harry made him think better of it. He nodded as well. “The password to Dumbledore’s office will be some kind of candy.” said Harry, giving Hermione an encouraging smile. “Thanks.” sighed Hermione, grateful for her friend’s understanding. “We will see you later then.” said Ron, moving towards the door. He and Harry waved and then left. Hermione turned towards the fire and wrapped her arms around herself, as if for protection. It had released a sizeable burden Hermione didn’t even realize she had been carrying to tell Harry and Ron the truth. Hermione heard the door open and then quietly shut. She spun around and found herself staring at a very smug looking Draco Malfoy. “What do you want?” she hissed, sliding her hand in her pocket to grasp her wand. * * * Draco had been trying to track down Granger all morning to get the Arithmancy book from her. He had gone back to the library after breakfast to check it out, only to realize Granger had taken it with her after the ‘incident.’ So here he was, wandering the school like an idiot searching for an even bigger idiot. Draco was searching the first floor corridor for the second time when he passed a door that was cracked open. He could hear voices inside, and could see firelight, so he decided to check it out. And to his delight, who should be in the room but Potty, Weasel, and Granger. He was about to push the door open and walk inside when something Granger said caught his attention. “I am an Air Elemental.” Draco blinked. The look on his face was almost the same as Potter and Weasley’s. “Are you sure?” he heard Potter ask. “Very sure. Here, let me show you.” replied Granger. Draco moved so that he could see into the room with one eye. Granger was holding her hands, palms up, out in front of herself. Slowly, very slowly, a twirling vortex of wind formed above her palms. It looked like a miniature tornado. Then, just as slowly, she let it fade away and the trio began talking again. Draco stopped listening after that. So Granger really was an Elemental. He had assumed, of course, that she was at least interested in them after he found her reading a book about them in the library. But he hadn’t begun to get really curious until he saw her display her powers in the Great Hall yesterday. Still, he had dismissed it. But now, he couldn’t dismiss this as easily. As much as he didn’t want to admit it, Draco knew that Granger was an Elemental. He knew there had to be another one at Hogwarts, but he didn’t want to believe it was her. Hermione wasn’t the only one researching Elementals. Draco had done his fair share of research on them as well. Strange things had also been happening to him. It started during the holidays, when he accidentally set a cushion on fire. After that, Draco had begun experimenting, and the conclusions fascinated him. He was an Elemental, but not just any one. He was a Fire Elemental, the very essence of power. Draco started reading and learned that two Elementals were born every three hundred or so years, and that the two were usually born in the same country. He also learned that only witches and wizards could possess the power of the elements, and that meant that the other Elemental had to go to Hogwarts. So Draco had begun his search with the new school year. But what he found didn’t please him. Hermione Granger was acting differently, and it wasn’t a good sign. He had wanted to believe that it wouldn’t be her, that it could be any other sixth year, but it wasn’t. Draco found that he could almost sense her extra power, a power that no one besides him possessed. Draco snapped back to attention as Potter and Weasley headed towards the door. He retreated to the shadows as they walked out of the hallway, but Granger didn’t follow them. Draco smiled. He walked silently to the door and slipped inside the room. Granger spun around as he entered, and Draco saw her hand go inside her jeans pocket, probably fingering her wand. “What do you want?” she hissed. Hermione automatically took a step backward, before realizing that she was showing fear and stopping herself. But Draco had seen, and he reveled in her fear. He glided slowly towards her, trying not to look at her slender neck, and the few hairs that had fallen out of her bun. He smirked at her, delighted as she flinched slightly. Hermione watched him come closer and closer, trying not to pay attention to the way the firelight danced off his pale skin and hair. He was wearing muggle clothes, something that surprised her greatly. The black slacks and black shirt were in direct contrast with his light skin and blonde hair. Hermione thought the way the firelight shadowed his face and the way his gray eyes were shining was unearthly. Draco stopped when he was a foot away from her. He stared down into her chocolaty eyes, so full of defiance and curiosity. “I told you I would find out, mudblood.” Draco said in a deathly whisper. “I told you I would find out your secret. And now I have.” Hermione decided to play innocent. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Malfoy.” “Don’t play dumb, Granger.” said Draco, his eyes burning into her. “You know exactly what I am talking about. You are an Elemental. I think I knew, even before I overheard you tell Potter and Weasley.” Hermione just stared at him. For the first time in her life, she was at a complete loss for words. Her silence was all the confirmation Draco needed. “The first clue were the books you left laying around the library. Honestly, Granger, you need to learn to pick up after yourself. You never know what kind of snake might come along to spy.” Hermione flinched. She knew she needed to say something, that if she remained silent Malfoy would just keep talking until there was no way for her to get out of this. But her mouth seemed to be refusing speech at the moment. “The second clue was your rather foolish display in the Great Hall.” continued Draco, smirking evilly at her. “Like I said before, you should be more careful. Anyone could be watching.” “Fine!” said Hermione loudly. “I think we’ve developed the fact that you’re some kind of sick stalker.” she paused, and looked him directly in the eye. “You can’t tell anyone about this, Malfoy. I am dead serious. No one is to find out, and if they do, I’ll know where it came from.” Draco stared at her for a moment, and then began to laugh mirthlessly. “Do you actually think I would tell anyone about this?” Hermione narrowed her eyes at him. “Oh, come on, Granger.” he said, reverting back to the cold whisper. “Prior to what you may think, I didn’t come in here to torture you. I came in here to tell you something. Now do you want to listen, or not?” Hermione looked at him, disbelief clear on her face. Then, very slowly, she gave the tiniest of nods. Draco sighed in relief but didn’t say anything. Instead he held out his fist to her. Slowly, he uncurled his fingers, and Hermione gasped. Floating above his palm was a tiny ball of fire, merely an inch in diameter. Hermione looked up at him with wide eyes. “You’re an Elemental.” she whispered. Draco nodded and the fire disappeared. They stared at each other for a minute, neither knowing what to say. Hermione stepped away from him and took a few deep breaths, while Draco turned his gaze to the fire. “Well, it’s obvious what we need to do.” said Hermione, turning back to him. Draco looked at her. “Oh really? What’s that?” “Go to Dumbledore.” said Hermione, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. “No.” “No?” “No.” repeated Draco. “I am not going to that old fool.” “Professor Dumbledore is not a fool.” said Hermione firmly, planting her hands on her hips. “He is brilliant, and he can help us.” “Us?” asked Draco. “There is no ‘us’, Granger.” Hermione sighed in frustration. “Yes, there is, Malfoy. There is an ‘us’ whether you like it or not. We are Elementals, the only two for the past three hundred years, and probably the only ones in England. We have a rather large thing in common, and even if we don’t like it, we have to work together now.” Draco couldn’t find anything to argue. “Fine. What do you propose we do?” “I already told you,” snapped Hermione. “We go to Dumbledore.” Draco looked away from her and into the fire again. He knew that by telling the mudblood he was an Elemental, it would cause them to form a sort of bond. But he hadn’t counted on Granger wanting to tell the Headmaster. Draco had grown up to hate everyone associated with muggle-borns. But his father had taught him that, and Draco also hated his father. The last thing Lucius would want was for that muggle-loving fool to get involved. Draco looked back at Hermione and nodded. “To Dumbledore.”
Author's Note: Well, what did you think? I would really appreciate your reviews, any comments or suggestions you might have. It only takes a few seconds to tell me what you think. And also a big Thank You to all my faithful reviewers! You all really make my day! I hope you liked this chapter.

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