My skin is itchy, super itchy, and I have a headache mounting behind my eyes. It’s Harry’s fault.
Of course, I don’t blame the boy – except I kind of do. How on earth he got himself involved in a magical death tournament, I don’t know. And now I’m the go between between him and Ron because Ron, that idiot, refuses to believe Harry didn’t enter his name. And I know it’s all their fault because I didn’t feel like this before the stupid tournament was announced. It was like some premonition – except not, because divination is bollocks.
I sigh and slump further into my chair in the library. I hadn’t even been able to enjoy the Yule Ball properly. Everything had been too tense, and although the boys had made up, this time Ron was mad at me for going with Viktor. It’s not like Ron had picked up the decency to ask me – I can’t even say courage because he hadn’t even thought of me. No, instead he blurts out some mess of barely words to that veela, who is far out of his league.
I’d spent the whole ball feeling like the tension was going to kill me, and Viktor was too much of a sweetheart to pick up on my suggestions that we find somewhere more private. He was really enjoying the Weird Sisters.
And then Harry goes and let’s slip that he hadn’t actually been working on the egg and he’s literally only just figured out the clue and bob’s your uncle, here I am sat in the library trying to keep him alive – which admittedly isn’t that unusual but is annoying because I have homework to do and I’m so itchy I’m beginning to think I’ve been exposed to something and this bloody stupid headache hasn’t gone away. But I don’t have time to go to the hospital wing.
I’m flicking through the latest stack of books I’ve pulled from the shelf, getting increasingly wilder in my search, now researching weather charms in the hope that the Impervious charm I’d used on Harry’s glasses might work on larger bodies of water than rain droplets, when Fred and George walk in. They’re not quiet, they never are, and it is both a strangely attractive quality as well as causing the pain in my head to spike.
“McGonagall wants to see you,” one of them says, maybe Fred.
We start to stand.
“Just Ron and Hermione.”
Harry looks around morosely. Well, that’s it. We did the best we could. I point to a pile of books I have yet to get to, though I don’t hold much hope, and mutter something about getting a good nights sleep.
By the time I get to the office, I’m seething. Why did McGonagall need us? Didn’t she know the task was tomorrow?
I continue to glare, barely paying attention as Dumbledore explains that we’ll be needed for the task. That we are the prizes. I am not happy, my skin itches, and my head pounds. It’s a relief to be put under the stasis spell.
The next thing I am aware of is cold water lapping around me, slightly salty, splashing into my nose and mouth.
A strong hand grabs onto my arm and begins to drag me to shore.
The itchiness is back and my head feels like it’s roaring, blood pounding through my body and singing in my ears.
I get hauled out of the water and escorted to the medical tent before I can truly process what is going on.
Flashes of a half-man, half-shark writhing on the dock pass through my mind, of a crowd going wild, of the Beauxbaton’s champion wrapped in a towel eyes staring hard at the water.
I am lead into the medical tent. Cedric and Cho are already there, each on a cot though looking none-the-worst for the task. Someone must have cast a drying spell because they don’t look wet, though their hair is frizzy and Cho looks drier than Cedric, so maybe he cast it. I don’t know how long ago they returned.
I sit on the cot I am directed to and feel a shiver coarse through me as the crowd cries out once more.
Ron and Harry arrive a minute later.
My pulse is thrumming.
Madame Pomphery returns and immediately waves out Cedric and Cho before going to the boys.
She casts a drying spell. I shiver again, hating that I had to forfeit my wand before the task because now I’m cold.
Ron is waved out after Cedric and Cho. Being under stasis means he incurred no injuries.
I wonder when I will be permitted to leave, but Madame pomfrey seems distracted at the moment so I must content myself with waiting in dripping wet clothes that do nothing to relieve my itchy skin and the returning headache. Perhaps this is for the best, maybe now I should raise these concerns.
I hear her tell Harry to wait there a moment before leaving the tent.
My pulse swells within me again and I look over to my friend, who sits there with his shirt ripped and hair fluffy.
An urge comes over me.
I want to reach out. I want to touch. I want to consume.
“Mione?” Harry asks.
I didn’t realise I had got up.
Harry looks concerned, but I can’t stop myself approaching. I can’t stop myself from reaching out, from grabbing at him with forceful fingers and lowering my mouth to his.
Strong hands whirl me around, throwing me away.
Fleur steps in front of me, breaking my sightline of Harry. She’s still wearing her silver swimming costume, her hair sending droplets of water down her skin, her towel dropped at her feet.
She stares at me hard, and I can feel a gnawing hunger.
“Take it from me,” she says.
I don’t know what she means. What am I meant to be taking? But apparently my body knows, because I am launching forward again.
When our lips touch, it’s like surfacing after the stasis spell all over again. It’s delicious and it’s nourishing and as my hands find her hips my headache abates, and as I pull her body to mine, my skin finally calms.
Fleur pulls back and she looks as dazed as I feel.
“Don’t let it get that far again,” she admonishes lightly. “If you need it, find me.”
She steps away.
“Need what?” I murmur, my head only just beginning to clear.
Fleur doesn’t seem to hear.
Harry quickly forgives me for attacking him, more concerned with why I had just kissed Fleur in front of him. I have no answers, for any of it. Harry is torn between blaming the stasis spell or blaming Fleur being a veela, though he doesn’t want to sound prejudice or be like Ron.
Mainly I choose to ignore the questions and theories even if privately I still dwell on it. Thankfully Harry says nothing to Ron, who is once again talking to me, largely because Viktor is ticked off because I vanished after he rescued me from the lake whilst he was still stuck in his part transformed state.
The relief from the itching and the headache and a short reprieval from Harry’s constant doom means I’m storming through my homework – finally. I haven’t felt as on top of my work since before I was petrified. Things finally seem to be turning a corner, until the itch returns.
It’s easy enough to ignore at first. After all, I had been living with it for months and it had only been gone a week, however when I found myself starring at Malfoy and Pansy being attractively lit by the cauldron they were huddled over, shortly followed by almost drooling over Ron as he ate with his mouth open – I decided that was enough.
Fleur was sitting closer than usual, though still at the Ravenclaw table with the Hufflepuffs between us.
I tear my gaze from Ron, determined to look normal, and try to catch Fleur’s gaze. When I don’t, I am forced to find an excuse to hover after dinner is over.
Finally, she sees me in the entrance hall as the Beauxbaton’s contingent start to make theur way to the carriage.
Fleur waves her friends ahead as she turns to me with a raised eyebrow. “That was quick.”
“I need…” I fumble over my words. “I need answers.”
Fleur grabs my hand and I let out an audible sigh.
I pay no mind to where Fleur is taking me, nor do I wonder if she even knows. When we arrive at an empty classroom, she barely has time to cast a locking spell before I am falling on her, my lips heading straight for hers, my hands possessively for her hips. I am not aware that I made a conscious choice to kiss her, but she doesn’t push me away, so I continue.
“Wait, wait.” I force myself away, though my fingers still grip her hips tightly. “Why am I doing this? What do you know?”
“You’re a succubus,” Fleur says like it’s obvious, only to cut herself off from explaining any further with a moan as my teeth find the underside of her jaw.
I linger there for a moment before wrenching myself back.
“No, I’m not.”
“You’re feeding off sexual energy. I’m throwing out so much thrall at the moment most people wouldn’t be able to stand, but you’re just siphoning it away.”
“It’s so good,” I murmur against the base of her throat, inhaling deeply before gathering myself once more. “I can’t be. This hasn’t been a problem before. It has to be something else.”
“You’re reaching sexual maturity for a succubus, and Hogwarts is filled with hormones. I think that may be my fault. But if I can stop you attacking your peers, hopefully it will settle down once the veela leave, and no one will be in danger.”
“Well that won’t be a problem,” I say, fully retreating this time. “Since I’m not a succubus. It’s just stress. Stress, and hormones, and thrall. I’m sorry to have inconvenienced you.”
She calls for me as I hastily leave the classroom, but I don’t look back. And I was right not to. It is just stress, now that I’ve had time to settle back into catching up with my neglected classwork and that Harry’s next impending doom isn’t set until the end of the year, things have calmed. I feel better.
What doesn’t feel better is Fleur watching me in the library. My skin gets all prickly knowing she’s there, but that’s a combination of her thrall and knowing what her lips taste like.
And then an hour before closing, Viktor appears. We haven’t really spoken since the ball, though we’d smile in the corridors up until I’d supposedly ditched him after the task. He’s been unable to shake his entourage of fangirls today and my skin heats up as they violate the peace of the library.
Viktor sends me an apologetic wave as he heads for one of the shelves, the girls following him with giggles and sighs and flattering comments he ignores.
My blood boils.
I find myself standing. Madam Pince doesn’t like shouting in the library but surely she’ll excuse it this once if it will put a stop to these insipid girls ruining the sanctity of this place?
I draw a deep breath.
Arms tackle me around the corner, throwing me flush against the solid oak of the end of a shelf. The wind is knocked out of me, but in seconds I am greedily dragging it back in, dragging in the flowery scent of Fleur Delacour who is pressed full body against me, her delectable throat centimetres away from my lips.
I linger, breathing her in, soaking in her presence and the sudden calming of my mind before I snap out of it.
“What are you doing?” I demand.
“You were about to attack those girls,” Fleur says.
I drew myself up indignantly, as much as I could with her body still pressed firmly against mine. “I was no–”
“I could see you. Veela are sexual creatures. Our species have been companions from centuries. My thrall can feel your hunger. I can take it, I told you to come to me.”
Fleur glares down at me, stern.
“I already told you I’m not a–” the word dies in my mouth, replaced by the slightly salty taste of Fleur’s neck as I trail my tongue from clavicle to chin. I can feel her arching her eyebrow down at me, though she makes no move to pull away.
The boiling in my veins begins to evaporate and I slow my assault on her neck. As I pull away, lingering to place a few last trailing kisses, not quite ready to let go, I wonder if I have left marks. I wonder if I am the kind of person to do that. Then again, I didn’t think I was the kind of person to make-out with strangers in tents, abandoned classrooms, and libraries. Is Fleur really that much of a stranger if I’ve done whatever this is with her three times now? Will she mind, be angry, if I have unwittingly left a mark?
Her eyes are steady as I pull back, and for a moment we just stare at each other. Then she closes her eyes and sighs.
“I can’t keep following you, waiting for you to slip up,” she says.
“You’ve been following me?” I ask, offended.
She looks past me, not listening to my hurt. “I think there is a better solution, to keep the hunger at bay longer.” When her eyes flick back to me, they seem to glint in the candlelight, her pupils wider than ever, a deep black, drawing me in. “If you consume more of my thrall, it should sate you longer, and the lowered thrall should help with the hormones you are picking up from the student body.”
I shiver a little, her accent almost purring the words out.
“It will require more than this.” Her body presses harder into me, and my fingers grasp reflexively at her skirt. She leans to the side and glances around the bookcase, back where we had left Viktor. “Meet me in the classroom.”
I have no time to ask what that means as she glides away, but it’s obvious. I quickly set about packing up my things and checking out the books I hadn’t finished with and head down to the empty classroom we had last met in.
Fleur is waiting, leant against the disused teachers desk. I drop my bag by the door with a heavy thud and am wrapping my arms around her in a second, my lips on hers.
It takes another minute to clear my head and ask. “How do I consume your thrall?”
“You’re doing it naturally. As easily as I exude thrall, you absorb it, whenever you make contact, you pick it up.”
I trail my hand along Fleur’s arm, down to her hand, linking our fingers together. I concentrate on the feeling, the tingle that’s so similar to before but so wildly different as well. Whereas before the tingle stirred my irritation and annoyance and left me... hangry could be a word for it, now it was pleasurable, it was exciting, and soothing as well.
“So I just keep doing this? How long will that take?”
“Well, we could speed up the process, bring the sexual energy to the fore.” Fleur nods at the small space between us.
I quickly understand what she’s implying. “Yes,” I breathe my consent.
I sink into her once more and even though I’ve never done this before and by all reason have no idea what I’m doing, by body moves for me.
My hands rake at Fleur’s sides, each pass bunching her uniform up higher and higher as I press my body closer, leg slotting between hers.
I breathe her moan in as I push her firmly against the desk, her hands gripping my shoulders to keep herself upright. Not particularly sporty or athletic, particularly compared to the toned champion beneath my fingertips, I’m surprised when it takes very little effort to hook under Fleur’s legs and hoist her onto the desk. She willingly accommodates the move, reaching to undo my tie as I continue to scrape at her thighs.
It is beyond me how I got her underwear down to her ankles, but suddenly I am aware that my fingers are gliding through silky folds, drawing a deep moan from Fleur. The sound encourages me as much as the heat which spreads through my fingers, filling me up and strengthening me, spurring me on.
As my fingers strum and twirl, Fleur whines and pants. I coil over her, drinking in the sounds and the sweat beading along her exposed skin.
Her hands slid up my blouse and where she cupped me, fingernails lightly scraping and pinching in time with her groans, I can feel myself taking in her presence, her energy, her thrall. Everywhere we touch is a feast, and her climax the finest desert.
I don’t know where to sit at breakfast. Fleur and I had straightened our clothes and snuck back to our respective dorms with barely a word passed between us. I did not want to sit facing the Ravenclaw table, facing Fleur, jolting back to thoughts of last night, but the alternative is to sit facing Harry and Ron. Harry and Ron who know I missed curfew but whom I managed to dodge last night.
Upon entering the Great Hall, it becomes immediately apparent that Fleur was correct in her statement that her thrall would be reduced. Even though last night has sated me, as impossible as that all still seems, I can still sense the muted atmosphere. Even if I could not, it is apparent to anyone with good eyes. There are no drooling mouths or dopey eyes staring at Fleur. Except, perhaps mine. Not drooling, my mouth has run too dry for that suddenly, but definitely staring. I resolve to face Harry and Ron.
The next week and a half was the calmest the castle had been since the start of the tournament, and although I was decidedly not looking, Fleur was the most relaxed I’d seen her – except for that moment which I try not to think about but which surfaces at night and during badly timed daydreams.
It isn’t until the week of valentines day that Fleur’s thrall begins to pick up again. The castle is buzzing with talk of the upcoming Hogsmede weekend, who will take who to Madame Pudifoots and whether those ridiculous gnome’s are coming back again. Still not quite sure what separated me from everyone else, I can still pick out a scent wafting strong, tickling my senses and setting my brain onto alert. My eyes keep darting to students gazing at each other, to flushed cheeks and awkward flirting, and of course, the susceptible gawking which was beginning to pick up around Fleur again.
I sit facing the Ravenclaw table, the first time I have made that choice in a fortnight. The food before me seems unappetising. It isn’t the sustenance that I want, and that is infuriating. I still know next to nothing about all this, having decided to bury my head in the sand on the whole matter, in a move very unlike myself. I pulled my hand through my hair, wondering how suspicious the boys will be if I leave for the library as soon as I have sat down. Then I decide I don’t care.
A hand catches me as I turn out of into the Entrance Hall.
“I’m just going to the library, Harry.” I sigh, hedging my bets on which of the boys would have followed me, but it’s not either of them. “Fleur.”
“How are you, ‘ermione? It’s going to be a tough week.”
The reassuring smile I try to respond with feels more like a grimace.
“We should top up, just to get through this cursed holiday,” she suggests, nodding in the general direction of the abandoned classroom.
Her words hang in the air.
“What? Now?” I ask, shocked and aroused at the same time.
Fleur shrugs. “I have time before class.”
I curl my hand back into my hair. It’s going to be a mess by the time I get to DADA – with the Slytherin’s of all people, who are bound to comment on it. And that’s before considering Fleur’s suggestion. Still...
Taking her sleeve for the briefest moment I dragged her away from the classroom we had previously used. Fleur’s tongue darts out to wet her perfectly pink lips as she follows me to one of the many concealed passages in the castle. I hope I’ve chosen wisely, one that’s lesser known and on one of the less-needed cut throughs for those who do know about it.
The space is tight, and that’s perfect. Fleur’s back is against the wall, her leg hitched around my waist quicker than I can get my mouth on hers. Our moans echo down the passage and I vaguely have time to hope no one heard before sliding my hands into her underwear.
This time I’m not alone. Nimble fingers return the favour, and for the first time in my life I am being stroked by fingers which are not my own.
I bite down on Fleur’s lip to dampen the long groan that rumbles out of me at the feeling, the fullness even though she’s just teasing. That doesn’t last for long though. We are both aware of the time constraint.
I wonder, as we piece ourselves back together in the dark, if in another life I would have needed something slower, something less feral, something including a bed - but I was hungry, and now I am not.
I am the last one in my seat in DADA, earning a raised eyebrow from Moody and half the class. The snickers from the other half tell me that I haven’t been successful in taming my appearance. I mutter, overly loudly so the words will travel, something about the monster book of monsters.
I stop outright avoiding Fleur, willingly sitting facing the Ravenclaw table if the situation calls for it, which it does more than not. In a way, that’s also a blessing. Watching the Slytherin’s faun over Viktor was irritating in it’s own way. Not that I had any stake in the matter, but I suspected the hormone levels which I was slowly learning about, maddeningly slowly with so little first hand research lying about, were easier to stomach with my back turned and some distance.
However, as Fleur predicted, it’s not an easy week. The return of the Hogwarts valentines traditions mixed in with whatever love potions the twins were peddling send my senses into overdrive.
“What’s the matter ‘Mione?” Ron asks on Valentine’s day eve, either out of genuine concern as I grab tightly at my hair again, or as a distraction from his divination homework which for once is something he cannot bug me to help him with.
I grunt in a way that conveys there’s nothing to talk about.
“If you’re upset because no one’s asked you out to Hogsmede this weekend–”
“If you dare send me a gnome Ronald Weasley, I will curse you into next month,” I warn.
Ron puts his hands up in defeat, ink dripping from the nib of his quill and down the side of his black stained hand. “Woah. Woah. Harry just said something about you being interested in someone after the last task. I thought it was Krum, you bein’ his prize and all.”
“No, what- no. I’m not–” I grab my books and stand. “I’ve got a headache, I’m going to bed.”
Ron continues to look affronted as I make my way out of the common room. Boys. They can be as bad a gossip as Lavander and Parvati.
Not that he’s wrong either. Not about me being interested in someone, purely in a practical sense.
Actual valentines day is insufferable. The gnomes increase tenfold and you can barely move for mistletoe, even though that traditionally has more ties to Christmas. I worry that I will have to reign myself in from an urge to lunge at various people who stumble under green decorated doorways. It’s impractical to live as such. So come lunchtime, despite only being days since Fleur and I’s last encounter, I am seeking her out again.
She smirks as I hover in the doorway to the Great Hall, catching her before she enters. She peels away from the rest of the Beauxbaton’s cohort.
“’ermione,” she greets. “You are having difficulties already?”
“It’s this bloody stupid day. I just want to make sure.”
“Oui. We cannot be too careful.”
And so we take our precautions. This time, I sink to my knees in yet another tunnel. I consume on two levels, lapping greedily everything she has to offer. She doesn’t even attempt to muffle her cries, and her hands wind my hair into a mess I’ve never achieved before. I consider wearing it as a badge of honour for the length of time it takes an orgasm to ripple through me, once more brought about by talented fingers, as her lips pressed eagerly into skin exposed through hastily pushed aside shirts, my tie hanging lose but still around my neck, my cries echoing back to my ears.
We linger longer than before as we tidy ourselves up. I should say something. “Thank you. That was... filling.”
Fleur’s look verges more on amused than offended, and I take that as a victory.
“I assume you’ve already been to Hogsmede?”
Fleur looks caught off guard this time. “Why? Are you asking me out?”
I blush. “N-no. I just... just wanted to say stay away from Madame Pudifoot’s teashop - it’ll be dreadful this weekend especially with all the dates there.”
“How do you spend your time there?” Fleur asks casually, running her fingers through her hair, doing a poor job of combing it though it most definitely looks better than mine.
“Oh, just normal stuff, get a butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks, browse Honeydukes sweet shop while the boys stock up for the next few months, get some school supplies and books. Harry wants to go for a walk up into the mountains this weekend, get away from everyone for a bit.”
“That sounds nice. Maybe I’ll see you there, ‘ermione.”
She left me in the gloomy passage, far too messed up to attend charms without comment, but I didn’t care.
I do see her in Hogsmede, though not close enough to say hello. Not that I plan to, I think. I don’t know that anyone knows we are entangled in any way, even as mere acquaintances. She is with some of the Beauxbaton’s students window shopping some jewellery, her haughty sneer attractive on her face which is framed by a large layer of furs. Harry, Ron, and I pass on the other side of the road as we slip to the edge of the village and out to where Sirius is hiding.
He greets us halfway in his large black dog form, bounding happily in the snow banks and using his tail to flick the white powder onto us. Harry complains loudly but I see the first truly genuine smile on him that I’ve seen in months.
Sirius waits until after he’s eaten the chicken legs Harry and Ron have brought before changing back into a man. As he and Harry chat about the tournament and more theories about who might have put his name in the goblet, Sirius keeps darting his eyes over to me.
As we leave, I notice him pull Harry aside, ostensibly for a hug, but I catch a few muttered words. “Keep an eye on her. Be careful.”
I don’t know precisely what Sirius knows, or what he has told Harry, but from then on, whenever I head to the library, I suddenly find Harry eager to join me. He says he wants to prepare for the final task, to get as much of an edge as he possibly can when once again we have been left in the dark as to it’s nature, however I keep feeling him watching me over his books. It does nothing for my irritation levels, but for now they feel like human irritation and not the supernatural hunger irritation.
Still, when I see Fleur in the library towards the end of the week, I try to catch her eye.
Unfortunately, Harry catches me looking.
“International magical cooperation, huh?” he prompts.
I wave him off with a forced laugh. “I need to grab a book.”
Harry laughs as I walk away, and the reason becomes obvious when Fleur soon finds me in the back of the library.
“You said I needed to be careful,” I explain.
“Of course. But here?”
I trail my fingers over the back of her hand, like popping a mouthful of candy floss my parents hate. “No. Later. The greenhouses, midnight?” I suggest hopefully.
Fleur’s lips brush mine briefly, tingling and far too little. “Till tonight, ‘ermione.”
Harry looks up with a teasing smirk as I return, bookless. “I need to borrow your cloak tonight,” I say.
“Why?” he asks, immediately worried. “I mean sure, but do you need me to come with you?”
“No. No,” I hurriedly say, hunching back over my work. “Fleur’s just helping me with something.”
Harry’s frown deepens. “It’s not the tournament is it? Hermione, I’m not sure how I feel about that.”
“No, Harry, it’s fine. It’s a girl thing.”
Harry’s blushes and he quickly turns to a book on defensive charms which are far beyond his skill.
In the greenhouse, under the protection of a warming spell, Fleur consumes me as I consume her. Her tongue twirls across me, sending my body squirming and writhing and my mind wheeling. As she drinks my juices, thrusting into me, I feel her thrall pulse into me, flowing from her mouth, her fingers, straight to my core, from the back of her head and shoulders up my hands and along the veins in my arms, coiling from her back to my leg, wrapped over her shoulder to press her tighter to me, to urge her to give me pleasure, more pleasure.
I am still revelling in the silky feeling of our nights activities, the laziness after a big meal, when Fleur approaches me a week later.
“A boy just looked at me. My thrall is returning.”
“Why wouldn’t he look, you’re stunning,” I say, unable to stop my fingers from twirling into a lock of hair which frames her face.
“I’d feel better get rid of it now.”
And so we find ourselves in the greenhouse again.
And the next week.
And the next week.
The next week, I find myself drifting down to the greenhouse without being asked. Fleur is there, sitting on one of the potting tables. When I reach up her skirt, lips travelling down her chest, I find she has foregone underwear.
Next week, I do the same.
We begin to snatch touches and kisses between our unofficial greenhouse dates. Just topups, I tell myself. Little treats which boost my mood and leave me energised for the rest of the day.
Then the Daily Prophet article comes. Front page.
Granger Completes the Set.
I scan the page frantically, flipping to page six to continue the story. No mention of succubi. But plenty of slander of veela. I tense, unable to focus on anything else but the hateful slurs and lies. I feel like I’m expanding, like my hackles are raising like Crookshanks in anger.
I start to take a deep breath and a dizzying feeling comes over me, how I imagine snorting drugs must be. I keep breathing in, further than I knew my lungs had capacity to hold, until a cooling hand soothes my neck, stroking in under my hair.
I fall into the familiar feeling of Fleur’s thrall. I exhale as her fingers stroke into the base of my neck, my vision slowly coming back to me.
As I look around, I see everyone staring in our direction, the closest all agape at best, even Harry. Fleur must have sent out all the reserves of thrall she had left after our last tryst. Yet there was something more than that. They were shaky, ill-looking, Ron inparticular looked grey.
“’ermione, take my hand,” Fleur encourages, and together we leave for the grounds to await whenever someone pieces things together.
An hour or so later, Snape of all people arrives.
“Miss Granger, the headmaster requests your presence in his office.”
Fleur stands with me, her hand still locked with mine.
“Just Miss Granger, Miss Delacour.”
“Fleur should come too,” I say, gripping her hand tighter. She knows more than me, and I can’t imagine what would happen if I lost it and drained Dumbledore.
Snape huffs but never-the-less sweeps away leaving us both to follow.
McGonagall is waiting in the office with Dumbledore. They both glance between Fleur and I before Dumbledore speaks.
“I assume you have questions, or has Miss Delacour filled you in?” Dumbledore starts.
“Is everyone okay? Did I hurt anyone?”
“They are all well. You on the other hand.”
“There’s nothing wrong with her,” Fleur says, her grip suddenly tight enough to hurt.
“I did not mean to suggest that, Miss Delacour. Merely that a succubus who does not have her powers under control is a concern to the school.”
“But I do have them under control,” I protest. “We have it under control, right?” I ask, squeezing Fleur’s hand back.
“Ah,” Dumbledore says, exchanging a look with McGonagall. “I had hoped...” He sighs. “This does complicate matters.”
I look to McGonagall askantly as Dumbldore heads to his desk and starts shuffling papers.
“There’s a potion young succubi take to help with the–” She waves her hand absently, searching for the term.
“Hunger,” I supply.
“Yes, I suppose. The potion helps and is taken by succubi for life or until they find a suitable candidate or in most cases pool of candidates to in your terms feed on.”
“I have Fleur.” Fleur hums in agreement.
“Yes, well, she’s a visiting student and when she returns to France, you’ll still be here at Hogwarts with vulnerable children.”
“Then I’ll go on the potion then.”
Dumbledore looks up at that. “Succubi respond less well to the potion having had a taste for the real thing. I’m afraid it wouldn’t work, not well enough, Miss Granger.”
“And as we are in charge of the young people of Hogwarts, we cannot allow you to supplement yourself with them, no matter if they are your friends. If the ministries knew a succubus was using a visiting student - Miss Delacour, if Madame Maxine knew,” McGonagall says.
“It is my honour as veela,” Fleur says, drawing herself up.
“That is irrelevant to this matter,” Dumbledore argues, calmly.
“As her girlfriend,” Fleur presses, and I do my best not to react.
McGonagall sighs, pinching the bridge of her nose as though she’d rather be anywhere else but here. “It doesn’t matter the nature of your relationship, if a student poses a danger to another student, our board demands we take action.”
“Expulsion,” I quietly fill in, thinking of Hagrid’s miscarriage of justice.
Fleur’s eyes narrow. “This is an outrage. Discrimination. Such a thing would not happen at Beauxbatons.”
Dumbledore laid his hands out on his desk, placatingly closed off. “No one is calling for Miss Granger to be expelled. That is an extreme measure and a last resort. There are many avenues to explore to control her succubi urges before that, however we must insist that the two of you separate at once in order to start those avenues of treatment.”
He looks meaningfully at our joined hands. His words wrankle me. Urges. Control. Treatment.
I think of the house elves, that Hogwarts has the most house elves of any institution in Britain, maybe the world.
I think of Professor Lupin, forced out of his job and ostracised from wizarding society. Of the hate-filled article Skeeter published on Hagrid and how Maxime refused to confirm her obvious heritage fearing the same treatment.
I think of the sneers Fleur has recieved for her veela heritage. Of the slurs and treatment I’ve received for my muggleborn status. No. It didn’t sit right.
Fleur must feel the same as she only pulls me closer. “Veela and succubi compliment each other. There is no better treatment, as you put it, professor. And if you object, if you wish to dull my ‘ermione, you may talk to my headmistress.”
The meeting barely keeps it’s head above water from then on. I tread the line of expulsion as Madame Maxine is called in. The view of the board seems clear, set by previous precedent, however Dumbledore is strangely eager to wave it aside and McGonagall is conflicted between keeping me and keeping the rest of the students safe.
In the end, I find myself dressed in blue and cosied in Fleur’s cabin of the carriage. I haven’t been here before and it all feels a bit of a whirlwind to have gone from whatever we were doing to claiming to be dating, sharing a room, and attending a different school - at least for the remainder of the year.
Dumbledore has promised to review my status and make an appeal to the board when summer comes, believing by then a more solid resolution will have presented itself and I will have had time to prove myself trustworthy, as though I have not already. However, now that I am half-enrolled at Beauxbaton’s, who are far more tolerant of creatures than Hogwarts, I don’t know what that means for my future. All I know right now is that I have a steady stream of Fleur, and it’s deliciously comforting.
Everyone is stunned when I walk into the Great Hall with the Beauxbaton’s contingent, wearing their uniform. I feel graceless compared to them and almost walk to the Gryffindor table on instinct, but a sharp look from Dumbledore stops me.
Harry, Ron and Ginny send me the most confused looks, and eventually approach. Behind them, I see McGonagall hovering.
“What’re you doin’, ‘Mione?” Ron asks.
“Eating with my new school,” I say like it’s obvious before softening. “I’m sorry about earlier. I didn’t know I could do that without touch. So I’m just going to stick with Fleur for a bit. The board will review everything at the end of the year, decide if it’s safe enough to have a succubus at the school.”
Everyone’s mouths drop. They continue to stare until McGonagall coughs and gestures for them to move on.
And that’s the last I talk to them for a while.
There are some benefits. I don’t have to do triple the homework, and I get to sit in on some of the seventh year classes, though for the most part the professors just hand me work to do by myself. Being near Fleur constantly is also good, even if we’re not sticking to the strict every week schedule we had been, the passive absorption of absent-minded touches and light kisses and sleeping next to each other meant I never had the slightest itch and Fleur’s thrall stayed low.
However, I miss my friends.
A month of no problems allowed me back in the library, under Fleur’s presence. It was bliss. And what was better was Harry dumping his bag down in the seat opposite me and groaning theatrically.
“I’m failing history of magic,” he complains as though I’ve not been gone.
I grin widely, pulling his parchment over without a second thought. “You’ve got your goblin rebellions mixed up,” I say, scratching some corrections I can see at a glance.
Harry grins back at me, before turning serious. “How have you been?”
“Good. No problems, which is what they want to hear. Dumbledore hasn’t said anything but Snape has hinted, insulted more like, that he’s been helping improve the succubus supplement potion.” I glance over at Fleur a few shelves over, browsing for her charms homework. “Apparently it would be easier if Fleur hadn’t, if Fleur and I hadn’t – well, what’s done is done.”
Harry sits in thought for a moment, and I wait for him to say what he wants to say. “The day of the second task, she stopped you coming for me, right?”
“Is this just because of that, because she’s veela, or do you like her?”
I lean back in my chair, pausing my corrections of his work as I look considerately between him and Fleur. “Both.”
I think I see Fleur smile into her book.
After that, Fleur accompanies me to the library every day. We study together, and more often than not Harry joins. Ron and Ginny also join as frequently as Madam Pince will allow and once or twice I get visitors from other people like Lavander and Parvati or Neville, even a couple of my old study group buddies from other houses. I’m sure McGonagall knows but she never says anything.
Hagrid invites me to tea whilst Fleur is in class. I learn all about his mother and he catches me up on Care of Magical Creatures, not that I’d missed the blast-ended skrewts or flobberworms. Harry and Ron sometimes arrive after class finishes. It’s my only Fleur free time with them until Hagrid insists I come back to lessons and no one seems inclined to speak up and stop me.
When the final task is revealed, Fleur and I start back with our more regimented top-ups. It somehow feels more sneaky to be doing this in the Beauxbaton’s carriage, even though I’m sure the others have been assuming we’ve been doing it constantly, wild rumours of half-truths spreading throughout the castle, though thankfully no mention of succubi in the newspaper. I make sure to keep Fleur’s mouth busy as I make her moan.
And with these top ups, these extra measures of security, Fleur starts leaving me in abandoned classrooms and on the edge of the forest behind Hagrids hut so that Harry can stumble into me as though we haven’t planned this and together we practice spell after spell. Ron comes and sets up targets and goes over strategies, not that we have much to go on.
I am thankful that Fleur knows that in the tournament my priority lies with Harry. I know she thinks he’s inferior, and he is in many ways, but I believe in him, and more than anything I just need him to survive because we all know he didn’t enter. So Fleur knows I have to help, even if she isn’t permitted to be around when I do so.
In the run up to the tournament I corner McGonagall on her way out of the Great Hall.
“Miss Granger.” She looks around for Fleur, who already left for the Beauxbaton’s carriage.
“How close is the potion Professor Dumbledore is working on?”
McGonagall’s frown softens a little. “I’m sure it will be ready by the time he appeals to the board.”
“What about for the third task?” I can hear the almost pleading note in my voice. “I don’t want to send Fleur in if she’s not her best. I don’t want to feed on her for at least a week before hand if possible.”
McGonagall’s frown returns. She glances past me back into the hall. “I shall see what I can do. For now, though, you must not take that risk. Miss Delacour is the only reason you are still permitted on grounds. And don’t think I don’t know what you’ve been up to with Mr Potter and Mr Weasley.”
“I’ve been careful.”
“I know.” A rare smile.
The potion is not ready in time. I do not know if that is genuine or if behind the scenes Dumbledore, Snape, maybe others, are trying to favour the Hogwarts champions.
I try to keep my distance from Fleur. She sees what I am doing and she doesn’t allow it. I do not allow more than casual touches and kisses, which I cannot help but feed from, especially when she pushes her thrall out.
“Don’t,” I protest. “You need you’re strength.”
“I need to know you will be okay, ‘ermione,” she counters.
“I need to know you will be okay. Who knows what will be in that maze.”
She won’t stop though, even the morning of the event, I feel her thrall pulsing through me as I wake beside her. Her hand tangles with mine constantly as she prepares for the arduous task ahead, no matter how many times I try to pull away.
When the canon sounds, sending Harry and Cedric into the maze first, I am cheering from the stands, surrounded by teachers, kept secure under the watchful eye of a mistrustful Dumbledore.
As the next canons go off and the crowd settles down to wait, I capture the eyes of Ron and Fleur’s family, who I have met in passing this morning, unable to extricate myself from my girlfriend slash support veela.
The wait drags on, only punctuated by the occasional explosion which I unfortunately recognise as blast-ended skrewts and a heart-stopping moment where Fleur’s scream can be heard from somewhere to the left of the maze. Dumbledore’s hand goes less-subtlety than he’d probably have liked to his wand, hidden in his robes, as he eyes my sudden intake of breath, but nothing comes of it. My eyes scan the skies and I’m shaking as I wait for the call for help. I’m forced to hope all is well when everything settles back to quiet.
Moody stomps back around the corner from the left of the maze, patrolling the edge, and disappears around to the right. I take relief in knowing his magic eye can see through things. He’s the best person to be on patrol, peering through the dense, tall hedges. He had been on the same side of the maze as Fleur, if anything had gone so badly wrong that she couldn’t send for help, he would have pulled her out. Everything must still be fine.
My heart goes to my mouth again when the first red sparks hit the air. The stands burst into yells and a commotion of speculation. Dumbledore twitches for his wand, but doesn’t actually grab it this time as my breath stutters.
It’s not Fleur.
Krum lies flat-out unconscious on the ground when Snape apparates him out of the maze. I assume he apparates, but apparation isn’t possible within Hogwarts grounds. Perhaps it has been suspended for the task. It seems counter-productive, but then none of the champions knows where the centre of the maze is, so they cannot cheat, and maybe there is a way to relax the protections for some people and not others. Or small portkeys. Surely not all portkeys are pieces of junk. Some way to open the hedges from the outside of the maze, carving through - though again that seems like an easy method of cheating if that were possible - and a return to base portkey stone or coin or something as small.
I continue to ponder the puzzle as Krum is tended to and the stands calm. They are not as quiet before, now there has been some excitement. I can see Fred and George making good on some of the bets placed already and offering some more based on up-dated odds and rates. I don’t dare look too long though, as much as I don’t approve of what they’re doing, I don;t want my staring to get them or me in trouble. I can’t imagine how much they’ve swindled this year.
Fleur gets swept back and is immediately whisked off to Madam Pomfrey, looking pale and haunted. I want to run after her but a hand on my arm stops me. I jolt at the spark of energy that flows into me and try to fight it.
Like steeling against the cold after a hot shower, an expectation of hardening yourself to exposure, I look up at McGonagall.
“She needs her strength,” she says, as though I was going to harm her.
“I need to know she’s okay,” I beg, still pushing my skin to harden.
McGonagall looks away, and as I follow her gaze, I see Dumbledore eyeing the hand on my arm. I tense up.
Fleur’s mother jerks her head up, as though she senses she’s being looked at, and looks straight at us. She cradles Fleur’s sister in her arms as they wait with her father outside the medical tent. Regally, Fleur’s mother slowly nods at me.
“There’s nothing to do but wait,” McGonagall says, squeezing my arm just slightly.
I look down at her hand.
Seeming to realise what she’s doing, McGonagall begins to retreat, but then pauses, thoughtfully, and stills her hand, still in contact with my bare arm. She looks at me quizically, and I can feel Dumbledore waiting for an answer to.
“I don’t want it. I want Fleur.”
They are still processing this, when Harry and Cedric fall before us. I sense it. I sense it’s wrong. The energy is all off. Harry’s energy is muted, dim, and it’s alone. It’s alone.
I’m screaming before it fully registers why.
Dumbledore’s wand comes out, pointed at me. I think he’s going to curse me until Harry’s cries register with someone else and Mr Diggory’s bellows supersede everything.
He’s back. He’s back. He’s back.
I know what that means. I know what that means on so many levels. The hatred of muggleborns. The hatred of creatures. The death and pain and hatred so much hatred and fear and intolerance which already seemed like part of life but is now inescapable.
More than that, though, I know I cannot abandon Harry. Whatever notions I might have had of enrolling the new year at Beauxbaton’s are dashed. It clicks why Dumbledore is so eager to appeal to the board in defiance of set precedent on my behalf. Harry. Always Harry. I have to be here for Harry, and Dumbledore knows that.
It makes the argument easier that I have refused McGonagall’s energy. He seems convinced that the potion he created will work.
Fleur is not as confident. Veela and succubi are companions. And she knows it could just as easily have been her not Cedric, so she plans to stay in the UK. Get a job. Live in Hogsmede. We’ll meet up as often as we can, and I can get my top-ups, whether they’re school sanctioned or not.
For now, all we can do is our best. We must cling to one another. It’s all going to get so much harder.