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The Oldest Magic

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Harry Potter was done. He stared blankly at the light above his head as Dudley kicked his stomach again. It was only the third time, but he was already numbing to the sensation. It wasn't his fault Dudley's girlfriend had asked him if he wanted to join their movie night. It also wasn't his fault she wouldn't take no for an answer.

Yet, here he was, bedroom floor with Dudley kicking him and tears leaking down his eyes. He hadn't meant to do it. It was completely an accident, kind of like Aunt Marge a few years ago. Of course it was a little different since he didn't hate Mary. She just happened to be across from him when his scar flared up again and now she was gone. Poof. Like some sort of magic trick.

Dudley had screamed and Harry had stared blankly. And now here they were, with Dudley going one with "bring her back" and "where'd you put her" and "freak." Nothing Harry hadn't heard before, but the physical beating was new, it had stopped when they were 12. Usually uncle Vernon or aunt Petunia would stop Dudley, scared the neighbours might try calling social services again.

But the two of them were staring in awe, stuck in the doorway as Dudley cried and screamed and kicked. So Harry stayed still and let Dudley continue. He probably did deserve it, even if he hadn't meant to, anytime the unexplainable happened it was usually Harry's fault.

Dudley tired after a while (around kick number seven) and aunt petunia and uncle Vernon lead him to his room while he cried. Harry pulled himself up slowly, assessing the damage. It wasn't too bad, a mighty bruise was forming but his ribs felt fine. He slowly stood and forced himself up the stairs and into his room. They'd given it to him the day the social worker showed up, told him he could have it if he pretended it was already his.

Harry sat down as quiet as possible on his bed and began breathing deeply. Sometimes, if he concentrated hard enough, the weird "powers" he had would listen to him. This time, with his breaths slow and steady, he began to imagine the bruise fading. It took a minute, but soon a cooling sensation, like cold water droplets, fanned across his side. He looked down to check where he bruised was, and found it already diminished, as if weeks old.

When he looked up again his eyes caught on the ragged backpack. It was a hand me down from Dudley, about five years old. It had a small hole at the top and the edges were fraying, but it held his school books just fine. It was about to hold his clothes. He stood slowly, expecting pain but finding it easy to move. Yanking his books out and replacing them with two pairs of jeans and a few shirts was all too easy. A few pairs of socks, underwear, and his sweatshirt quickly followed. He stepped up to the door, listening for the sounds of anyone coming near him, but there was nothing. He hurried to the bathroom and grabbed his toothbrush and Dudley’s nice toothpaste.

Looking up, Harry started. His eyes were dulled, the usually bright green dark and hooded, almost sad. His scar was a different story. It should have dulled by now, but the zig-zag from the accident that took his parents still stood out, angry-red and prominent. Quickly he looked away, and slipped out the door and down the stairs.

He grasped the front handle, but paused when he heard footsteps behind him. Turning he met eyes with Aunt Petunia. Silently she extended her hand, a wad of bills offered. Harry blinked at her and opened his mouth, but the press of her finger to her lips stopped any sound from coming out. Slowly she removed a note from her pocket and pushed it, and the bills, into his hand. Then she turned and walked back up the stairs.

Harry didn’t have time to think about what had just happened, and instead opened the front door and stepped into the night.

Chapter Text

When Harry was 12 his scar had started acting up, burning at odd moments. Once, he had blacked out in the middle of class, and dreamed of silvery blood spilling over leaves. He’d tried to draw the image, but each time he got past the leaves the scar would send a shiver of pain, almost like a warning. Eventually, he gave up trying to draw it.

 

It wasn’t until a year later, in a dream, that it burned again, with a blinding flash of green and the image of a skull eating a snake burned against a cloudy sky. He’d awoken panting and sweat covered, a scream caught in his throat. He had the strange sense that something terrible was going to happen, but ignored it, dismissing it as remnants from the dream.

 

Uncle Vernon had come down the stairs the next day and announced the strange death of the Prime Minister. Heart attack, he’d said, middle of the night. A shiver had run down Harry’s back, and he had the strange feeling that his dream was connected. But he knew better than discuss dreams with uncle Vernon or Aunt Petunia. He imagined he’d ask Tommy at school that day. Of course, that was the day Tommy stopped talking to him on account of his hair setting on fire (only for a moment)  when he told Harry he was making things up.

 

A week later and Tommy had joined Dudley and his small following. The words “freak” and “crazy” followed him a lot that year. It didn’t help that he blacked out that year during gym class, and was woken by his own screaming as his scar burned hotter than anything he’d ever felt before.

 

Things got better and worse after Harry’s 14th birthday. Dudley had learned that picking on Harry often left him hurt or humiliated by whatever strange “powers” surrounded Harry. Instead, he’d discovered the act of bullying younger people. It made Harry feel awful, but he was glad he picked on them instead. The less Dudley picked on him the less strange things happened around him. He even made a friend, a girl named Emilia. She was nice to him, probably because nobody else would talk to her. Supposedly she smelled bad and dressed strange, but Harry didn’t mind. He was just happy to have someone to talk to.

 

Things changed that year though. Terrorist attacks and murders were becoming commonplace, and the entire mood of England seemed to damped. Curfews were put in place for underages, and policemen had doubled shifts. Arrests were common, but convictions were not. Nobody seemed to be able to connect anyone with a majority of crimes. The town of Little Whinging was quiet however, and nothing bad ever seemed to happen there. It was as if they lived in a bubble, separate from the rest of England. It made the Dursley’s very happy, and it made Harry very curious.

 

When Harry started his first year of high school, he was hopeful. He wasn’t allowed to see Emilia all summer, and waited by the front doors for her. He almost missed her when she did walk in. Gone was the awkward girl in raggedy clothes and greasy hair. Instead, she stood with a new haircut and a nice dress. She walked right past Harry and entered a group of squealing girls. Harry felt his heart clench, and knew he was experiencing his first heartbreak.

 

That year Harry did not make any friends. He was usually in detention, for falling asleep in class or crying out suddenly in pain. Nobody would believe him when he told them his scar burned, and nobody believe he wasn’t falling asleep, but blacking out. Eventually Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon decided it was too much struggle, and entered him in a homeschool program. He spent his first year of high school locked in his room (literally), not speaking to anyone. Instead, he spent his time reading and studying.

 

By the time Dudley had introduced his new girlfriend for the first time, Harry had been all but forgotten at the high school. Harry found he liked it that way.

 

~~~

 

Harry wasn’t sure where he was. The bus fare had been cheap, and he’d fallen asleep almost immediately. He’d only awoken a few minutes ago, when a distinct ripping sensation seemed to pull on his whole body. Whatever had happened, it caused a sense of imbalance in him, like the first time you take the training wheels off your bike.  He looked around, but no landmarks could be seen, indicating he’d left Little Whinging behind. He eased back into his seat, and pretended not to feel the sense of displacement settling over him. But sleep would not find him again.

 

Instead, he took out the note from Aunt Petunia. It was worn and dusty, as if it’d been sitting in a drawer for years.

 

Dear Petunia,

I know you'll be quite shocked, and possibly upset, to receive this letter, but I wanted you to know. You son has a cousin! Attached is a photograph of my little Harry. I would love for you to meet him someday, and for he and Dudley to be friends. I miss you Petunia. Please talk to me.

Love,

Your sister, Lily Potter

 

Harry blinked in shock.What was this? He quickly looked in the envelope for the photograph. Pulling it out he was shocked by the startlingly bright colour of his mother's hair. He hadn't seen a picture of her in many years. But the truly startling thing was how she moved then, waving out at him, and Harry almost screamed. What kind of photograph was this? It was moving!

 

The man behind Lily had unruly hair just like Harry's own, and the slow realisation that this was his father overcame him. He'd never seen a picture of him before. The man moved then too, pulling a little baby's hand in a wave. That's me, Harry thought, those are my parents and that's me and this picture is moving.

 

Harry jumped as someone sat next to him. Looking up he caught eyes with a woman who had bright pink hair and an upturned nose. She blinked at him and he swore her eyes change from blue to brown.

 

“That's a lovely picture.” She said, and Harry quickly put it face down on his lap. “Your parents would be very happy to know you had it.”

 

“I- what?” Harry asked, unable to comprehend the strange woman. She spoke to him like he was familiar, the same way one might talk to a friend.

 

“Wotcher Harry Potter.” She said with a smile. “Get off on Shaftesbury Avenue.”

 

Before Harry could open his mouth to respond she disappeared. Literally. A quiet pop followed and Harry blinked at the spot where the woman had been. I'm going crazy, he thought, I'm in shock and I'm crazy.

 

However, that didn't change the fact that his subconscious was telling him something. Crazy or not, Harry figured he should listen to the hallucination, if only because he had no other place to go.

 

When the bus arrived a block away from Shaftesbury Harry got off with a quiet thanks to the driver. Stepping off he was surprised to find the streets busy, even so late in the night.

 

Turning, he began the short walk to Shaftesbury Avenue. Few children were out, the curfew in place, and so many gave Harry odd looks. He kept his head down and avoided eye contact. When he made it to Shaftesbury he found it suspiciously quiet compared to the other streets. Only a few people meandered about.

 

Harry waited a few minutes, for what he wasn't sure, but eventually his stomach was growling too laid, and he set off to find a (hopefully cheap) cafe.

 

It was when he sat down in the cafe that the prickling sensation ran up his neck. He was being watched. He knew it. Harry tried to move his eyes slowly, pretending to observe the entire area, but his eyes snagged on the girl outside. She was staring at him like she'd seen a ghost and it was Christmas all at once.

 

She had dark brown hair, tied up in two knots. Her tanned skin and dark eyes stood out amongst the others around her. The others. Harry realised. There was a small group appearing behind her, talking amongst each other and staring at him. Harry didn't have time to look over all of them before they entered the cafe, headed straight for him.

Chapter Text

Luna Lovegood drove Hermione Granger crazy. The optimism and riddles she spoke in made her want to tear her hair out. Which was why she found herself walking fast, far  away from Number Twelve Grimmauld Place. She didn't know where she was going but she couldn't stand it anymore.

 

When Luna had come to join them, she had been hesitant enough about welcoming just her. But of course it wasn't just Luna. It was also Ginny and Neville. And Draco Malfoy.

 

Luna had really lost it this time. Bringing that asshole along, claiming he “changed” and “he wants to stop you-know-who.” As if the son of the highest ranking death eater could be trusted. But of course everyone else agreed. Neville and Ginny telling stories about Draco protecting students from the Carrows. Draco not being the same as he was before. Draco apologizing.

 

Hermione couldn’t stand it. He’d been there for two weeks and already Ron and Sirius had accepted him in, asking him questions and including him in meetings. She understood his value but she also understood he couldn't be trusted with information. Especially not information about Harry Potter. Yet, Sirius was all for bouncing ideas off Draco, discussing possible whereabouts. If Hermione heard one more conversation between the two she thought she might explode.

 

Hermione looked up then, startled by the feeling of eyes on her. Looking around she caught sight of the silver tabby cat and sighed. Shifting directions she followed as the cat walked down an alleyway, into a shaded area. In the blink of an eye Professor McGonagall had replaced the cat, and was handing a stack of books to Hermione.

 

“Thank you, professor.” Hermione said, a small smile forming on her face (possibly for the first time in weeks).

 

“You’re welcome my dear. I know the new transition must be hard,” McGonagall began, and Hermione groaned, “But I do believe Miss Lovegood is correct. Things were changing for Malfoy even before you left, you know that better than anyone.”

 

“That’s not true!” Hermione exclaimed. “He never changed then, how can I believe him to have changed now?”

 

“Miss Granger, do you truly believe Draco never changed at all? During the time you two were-”

 

“I don’t want to talk about it.” Hermione grumbled. “What other news is there? Any sightings? How are the first years?” If McGonagall was upset about the drastic change in subject she did not show it, only sighing and pulling out a piece of parchment.

 

“This is all there was this month,” she began, “but I suggest you pay attention to the last two points. I have to go before someone comes looking for me. Good luck Miss Granger.”

 

“Thank you, Professor.” Hermione said, but by the time she finished, the woman had vanished with a pop! Hermione looked at the list quickly, committing it to memory, and then took the lighter out of her pocket and set the piece on fire. Walking quickly she made her way back to Grimmauld Place.

 

Entering the house she heard the sounds of laughter from the kitchen, specifically Malfoy’s. Her mouth set  in a hard line, she quickly walked to the stairs and up the two flights to her room, pretending not to feel the fluttering reaction in her stomach. Placing the books on her bed she quickly snatched the first one up, and settled into the reading.

 

~~~

 

Draco knew she was hiding from him. He knew she didn’t trust him, that he’d broken that last year and would probably never get it back. It still hurt though. It hurt that he could smell her even across the house, that she still smelled like sunshine and fresh pine. He’d never cursed Greyback more than the moment he’d walked into this place.

 

Draco was managing the changes. Luna had found him in the shrieking shack, just an hour after he’d come back to himself. She hadn’t even looked surprised by the scratches on the walls and floor around him. No, she’d just handed him the steaming cup of molten chocolate and a blanket, and sat down on the floor next to him. He thinks that was the moment he broke at last. He’d spent the rest of the year in and out of the room of requirement, and stopping punishments on the younger kids. All the first year had learned to pretend to be in pain when Draco was there. They all knew he was faking it. The Carrow’s thought he was savage.

 

He wondered what they thought now. He, Luna, Ginny, and Neville had disappeared in the middle of the Halloween feast. The full moon had been two days prior, so he still had a few weeks before he had to find a place to change. He didn’t think Sirius would like it if he tore up one of the bedrooms. Or maybe he would, who knew with him.

 

Draco was laughing at Sirius’s joke when he heard her. A second later the door opened, and the smell hit him. Fisting his hands under the table he continued to laugh a long, if a bit forced. He tried not cringe as she “snuck” back up the stairs and into her room.

 

“I think I’m going to rest,” He said five minutes later, “thanks for dinner.” Sirius smiled at him and turned back to the others. Luna looked him in the eye, and he wondered if she knew what he was about to do, but she looked away before he could decide.

 

Walking up the stairs he tried not to sniff the air too much. He didn’t think she’d take kindly to knowing he liked to smell her. Stopping outside her door he paused for a moment. He could hear the pages of a book turning, and he loathed the idea of interrupting her, but this conversation needed to happen. He knocked quickly, before he could change his mind.

 

“Come in.” She said, voice guarded. He quickly opened the door and closed it behind him, putting his back against it. Her glare could kill, but he’d always found it charming. “What do you want Malfoy?” She said flatly.

 

“I just want to talk. I want to explain to you what happened.” He began.

 

“What happened was you lied to me, left me half dead in a forest, and then tried to kill Dumbledore.” She was emotionless, as if it didn’t matter, and that hurt more than he cared to admit. But it also made him angry.

 

“That’s not how it happened and you know it. You can’t just twist it like that!” His anger spiked easier these days, and he had to constantly remind himself to stay calm.

 

“You lied to me. You lied straight to my face, and then you left me alone in a room with your aunt. Do you know what she did?” Hermione wouldn't look at him, instead focused on the floor as she pulled up her right sleeve and shoved it in front of him. He cringed and looked ways from the mangled mudblood scar.

 

“I'm sorry…” he whispered, and she huffed in response.

 

“Sure Draco. I'm sure you felt so bad while you were cowering away in the next room.” Her voice was flat as she pulled her sleeve down roughly.

 

“Y-you think I was just sitting there?” He asked, incredulous. “My father had to knock me out because I wouldn't stop trying to get into the room!” Her eyes snapped up to his at that. “Why do you think he had Greyback bite my arm?”

 

“Oh, so it's my fault you're a werewolf?” She yelled at him, but her eyes were wet and he figured she didn't really mean that.

 

“You know that's not what I meant,” his shoulders slumped then. “I know it's my fault," her gaze hardened at that, "and I know it doesn't mean anything, but I did try to stop them. I got you out, didn't I?”

 

“Yes, and then you left me to bleed out on a forest floor miles away from others. I could have died Draco!” A tear slid out then and he fought against the urge to cup her face.

 

“I'm sorry. I didn't know what else to do. I panicked. I sent the Weasel the letter on how to find you, how was I supposed to know you would apparate somewhere else?” He tried to make his voice teasing, but it came out flat and sad.

 

“Have you met me? Of course I solved the problem myself.” Her voice just as flat. “Just- You hurt me. After everything last year, after you and I, how could you-”

 

“Hermione!” The door banged up with Neville’s shout. He entered the door breathless. “Hermione they- Ha- they found him! They found him I can't believe it! They found-”

 

“Found who Neville?” Hermione interrupted.

 

“Harry Potter! They found Harry Potter!” And Draco saw the light enter her eyes for the first time since he'd been back.

Chapter Text

Harry's first thought was to run, but by the time he'd stood and palmed the knife in his pocket they had filed into the cafe, blocking the exit. He glanced from face to face, while each was trained solely on him.

There was a man, dark shaggy hair, standing next to a man with torn clothing and short hair. They both had a brightness in their eyes as they looked at him. To the left of them a boy with almost white hair stood, arms crossed and expression blank. A few feet over three redheads stood, all clearly siblings, although the two oldest were identical twins. A tiny blonde girl stood away from the others, wide eyes looking right at him  he quickly averted from eye contact.

He did notice tears in a few eyes, and extreme tiredness in others. Soon enough, his eyes found their way back to the girl with the dark curly hair.

“Harry Potter?” She whisper-asked.

“Er- yes?” He said questioningly.

“You look just like your father.” The man with shaggy black hair and bright eyes said. Harry focused on him again, and felt a strange pang of familiarity.

“Sorry, who are you? All of you?” He asked, looking around the room.

“I'm Hermione Granger. I've been looking for you for a long time. We all have.” The first girl, Hermione, said. The way she looked at him Harry was certain he'd never been seen like that before. Instantly he felt his face start to heat with all the staring.

“Uhh… why?” He asked, and instantly a small bit of the tension lessened. A man from the back he hadn't noticed before moved forward, a fake eye on his face swivelled around the room and Harry felt the same whoosh he had at the picture of him and his parents.

“No time to chat.” He said gruffly. “Someone grab him and let's move back to headquarters.” They all nodded, and suddenly the three redheads disappeared with a pop. The curly haired girl moved toward him, and automatically he removed his knife from his pocket to face her. She had moved close enough that the blade was only a few inches from her face.

A growl from behind her nearly shocked him into dropping the knife, but as soon as it came it was gone. Along with the blonde pale boy as the two men grabbed him and they too disappeared. Harry jumped as his knife transformed into a flower, and the girl smiled at him, a stick held in one of her hands.

“Thank you.” She said, and grabbed his wrist. The instant they touched he felt a squeezing, pulling sensation. Barely a second later they were standing in an alleyway. Jumping away from the girl Harry looked around, only to realise he had absolutely no idea where he was.

“I'm going crazy.” He said, and turned to the girl. “Did Uncle Vernon ask you to help with this? Am I having another episode?”

The girl blinked at him for a second, before her face turned confused and sad. “No Harry, I've never met your Uncle Vernon. Although I wish I could, I'd liked to punch him for all the trouble he's caused.”

“I- er…” Harry decided staying quiet might be his best bet.

“Follow me.” She said, and so he did, unsure where else he would go. They walked to a door, number 13, and he expected her to go in; instead she waited a moment. The bricks of the building began to shake then, and a new door began to emerge between 11 and 13. The girl walked through, and Harry tried to keep his face straight as he followed.

The moment he walked through the threshold the man with the long black hair grabbed him and hugged him. Unsure what to do Harry stood and waited it out.

“Sorry, you just look so much like him. Except for the eyes.” The man said, tears in his eyes.

“They're your mother’s.” Another piped up, Harry turned to see the old, tired man that had disappeared with the blonde.

“Right. I wouldn't know.” Harry said, and instantly regretted it as a tear slid down the man's face. Harry turned to face Hermione. “Er, so can you explain what's going on? This is a psychotic break, yeah?”

“He thinks he's having a psychotic break?” The black haired man said. Harry really wished he could know their names.

“Harry you're not going crazy..” Hermione whispered, and looked him in the eye. “Although, this will sound crazy… look, uh, strange things have been happening to you all your life right? Like glass shattering randomly, or propel you don't like having bad things happen to them.”

“Uh yeah I guess?” Harry responded, unsure whether he should let on just how much of a ‘freak’ he really was.

“Look, you're a wizard Harry.” She said, voice calm.

“I'm a what?” He asked

“You're a wizard. Like magic, spells, potions. All that stuff. You have magic blood and we can teach you to control it.”

“Uh…” Harry mumbled, unsure what to think. He was pretty sure he didn't have magic. Magic meant doing impossible things. But then he thought about aunt Marge blowing up like a balloon, or the time Tommy’s hair had been set on fire.

“I know it's hard to believe-”

“No, actually it make sense.” Harry interrupted her.

“I- what?” She said, clearly very surprised.

“I figured with how many weird things happen around me it couldn't be coincidence. Plus with how mad my Aunt and Uncle got whenever something unusual happened. Yeah it actually makes perfect sense.” He said flatly. His head was already spinning, thinking of the time bruises had appeared on Dudley instead of him, or the time Petunia had tried to shave his head and it all grew back.

“I, uhm, well okay then.” Hermione seemed at a loss for words, but he figured she was smart enough to bounce back. “Well, do you know how to use your magic?”

He wasn't expecting that. “No, of course not. Uncle Vernon would have killed me if he thought I was trying to be a witch.”

“Wizard.” A boy with red hair further down the hall corrected. Everyone turned to look at him and he mumbled a small apology.

“Okay, well we can teach you?” Hermione said, and Harry looked back to her. The hope in her eye made him pause.

“Uh, why? No offence but you don't seem like a band of people going around just trying to teach people magic. Unless that's how it works. Are there covens? Is it like cult minded?” He rambled on.

“No. It's not- no. We have schools, large boarding schools. And the wizarding community is quite large, just hidden from muggles.” Hermione said, voice a little high as if unsure.

“Oh. Well I can just go to one of those then, right? Where's the closest one?” He asked.

“No!” Came the shouts of five others. He looked up to see a staircase full of people his age.

“Uh, why not? Is it exclusive or something?” He was trying not to be offended.

“No, uhm. It's complicated. Why don't we go sit in the dunking room and we can explain everything to you?” Hermione said kindly, and Harry shrugged, and she began walking down the hall. Harry looked down at the ground to avoids the stares of others while he followed her. There were at least 15 people all looking at him, and his neck prickled uncomfortably.

They sat down at a long table, and Harry was less surprised than he expected when everyone seemed to follow and fall into assigned chairs. He must've taken the red headed boy’s spot, as he stood in the corner and watch him and Hermione closely.

“So, first off,” Hermione began, “you are not an ordinary wizard.” Harry raised an eyebrow. “See, when you were born there was a dark wizard….”

Chapter Text

Hermione had tried hard not to expect much. When she first learned of Harry Potter she'd been reading, but didn't think too much of it. Until the very first charms lesson. Someone had asked where he was, and immediately questions arose throughout the class. Their first charms lesson turned into a history lesson on Harry and the war. The most confusing part to everyone being that he wasn't there. People had noticed of course, but after that the whispers and the stories started.

It was two weeks later when she first really talked to Ron. Sitting in the library, cursing at his potions paper. She'd felt bad for him, even after his rudeness earlier in the year, and immediately sat down to help. He's refused help at first, but eventually gave in. They hadn't really left each other since.

It was second year when the rumours started, Professor Quirrell had disappeared over the summer, leaving the positions position open. Gilderoy Lockhart had filled, until the petrified actions began, and it became clear fast he had no idea what he was talking about. Hermione tried not to be embarrassed about her previous infatuation with him, but it was quite embarrassing.

Draco Malfoy sent her and few other Gryffindors some rude notes, but she’d set them on fire with barely half a thought. People always seemed surprised by her ability to wield her wand, but she knew better than to get angry over their ignorance. She was determined to be the best, to become useful and strong, so they would stop saying those things to other muggle norms.

Still, when she finds the book on basilisks and presents it to McGonagall, she feels better about it. And Dumbledore manages to find the entrance, and he and Snape save Ginny, she feels very useful and indeed.

It’s not really until after third year that the importance of Harry Potter sinks in. The escape of Sirius Black from Azkaban sets everyone on edge, racking up tension between Slytherin and Gryffindor like she hasn’t seen before. There’s squabbles in the hallway and hexes shot across classrooms when teachers aren’t looking. She tries to rise above it, but when the word “mudblood” slips out of Pansy Parkinson’s mouth, she can’t hold it in anymore. She turns to her and her wand fires without a word. Bats emerge from Pansy’s nose, and at the same time a swarm of bees conjures around her. The class is in hysterics, but Hermione can only sit and stare at Draco Malfoy, the only other person with their wand out. He’s staring at his hand in shock, like he can’t believe what he’s just done. Hermione really can’t either, so she looks away before he can catch her watching.

After that year, when Ron’s rat runs away and Professor Lupin is “discovered,” that’s when Hermione begins to learn silent spells. The time turner from McGonagall returned for the summer means she has to fit all he reading back into a regular time frame, which cuts her productive more than she’d liked. Still, by the time she travels to the burrow for the quidditch game, she’s mastered quite a few silent charms and two curses.

When the symbol in the sky appears after the game, that’s when her curiosity suddenly changes. Before, Harry Potter was a passing idea people whispered about, a miracle baby that saved the world. Now, Hermione suspects Voldemort may not be as dead as many seem to hope.

She gets the slip from McGonagall during the second week, a long term permission into the restricted section. She ignores the students from the other schools, because as fascinating as they are, her curiosity still burns for Harry Potter and what happened to him.

Victor Krum turns out to be the missing piece of the puzzle, his semi-stalking turning out to be useful once he actually asks what she’s researching. “Blood magic” He says, and her pulse thrums at the new term, something new to learn. He doesn’t know much, but just enough to send her spiriting back into the restricted section.

She finds it weeks after the second task, long after Ron has gotten over his annoyance with Krum and started sitting with them while she researches. Hermione is not offended when she realises the two boys have more in common, more chemistry, than she does with either of them. If anything it’s helpful, because she has more time to learn, to read about blood magic and Harry Potter.

When the year ends she has a pretty good idea about what exactly went wrong, as well as a sneaking suspicion that Ron and Krum will be keeping in touch for a long time.

(She doesn’t bring up the soft way Victor brushes his hands over Ron’s arm as they say goodbye, or the way Ron’s hand twitches like he wants to grab Victor’s hip.)

Fifth year, as she spends her time avoiding the new Ministry appointed professor and her tirade against muggle borns, Hermione accidentally finds herself partners with Malfoy for a transfiguration project.

She expects him to be full of biting remarks and insults; instead he spends the first five minutes apologising to her and asking if he can make it up to her. She’s so unprepared she ends up blurting the first thing on her mind, which happens to be “do you know anything about blood magic?”

His slow smirk is the beginning and end of everything for her.