Four charms, three transfigured glasses, two pots of tea, and one lengthy but well-needed swear later, Hermione found herself still marvelling at the wonders of shifters. Generations of supernatural beings that could adapt and react to almost any threat while still relying on the simple, natural instincts that had been bred into them over hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Shifters, true shifters at least, were rare these days. Whole families' gifts had been 'bred out', leaving them with nothing more than excess hair or a talent for. But that this group, this pack, had survived. No, they had thrived.
And yet, Hermione thought, they were weird.
For supernatural beings that had lasted generations and generations, surrounded by tales of their own people and living essentially next door to the same vampires who awoke their grandparents' hidden heritage, they were strangely reluctant to accept the fact that 'shifters' and 'cold ones' weren't the only things that that went bump in the night.
For that reason alone, Hermione felt like tearing out her hair.
"So," Sam drawled, watching the transfigured tea cup hop across the table and wiggle its whiskers, "you're a witch."
"And so are you," he added, speaking to Remus this time.
The werewolf chuckled weakly. Like Hermione, he was tired from the previous night. But he wasn't going to throw her to the dogs by herself. "A wizard, but yes."
"And a werewolf."
"And we," Quil added, putting his two cents in, "aren't werewolves. We're shape shifters."
Again, Hermione nodded. "Correct."
"And even though you can shift," Quil continued with a frown, "you aren't a shifter, you're an ani… an ani…"
"An Animagus, yes." Hermione smiled. Yes, she thought to herself, sighing in relief. They're getting it. Maybe they can understand that they aren't alone.
But her sigh was premature. "Nope." Sam shook his head. "I don't believe it."
Both Remus and Hermione groaned. Not only were they tired, but this was now the third time they had tried to explain it to them. Hermione's hand itched for her wand, begging to do more than just charm some old tea cups. If it wasn't for the cold hand on hers and Jasper's copper eyes looking over her, she felt like she would soon actually feel sorry for the young alpha.
However, it seemed like they had gottenthrough to at least one of them. "How can you say that, Sam?" Jacob asked, sounding shocked at what he was hearing. "She just showed us! Birds appeared, water shot out of her wand… You even flew! And this– " He grabbed the white rabbit off the table and thrust it towards Sam's face. "This used to be a tea cup!"
Sam knocked Jacob's hand away. With an indignant hiss, the rabbit hopped out of the wolf's palm and the rabbit bounded across the table. "No, it's not," he refuted, ignoring the disgruntled animal. "It's just an illusion-"
"Illusion?" Remus growled, the amber flashing in his eyes. "Let me tell you something about illusions, pup. Illusions are what people think magic is: light and laughter, a gimmick only there to bring just that tiny bit of happiness into their life. But magic, real magic, is so much more than that. You want to know what it's like to be encased in magical ropes? To have scars spelling out your ignorance on your pathetic little face? What about having your mind invaded or being permanently sheathed in stone? Because if you keep comparing our magic to those cheap tricks, you and your pesky friends there will face them and so much more, you mutt."
"Remu… Moony!" Hermione shouted. exposing her wrists and flicking her hair over one shoulder. She pulled on his arm, trying to draw him back. Maybe if the wolf heard the increase in her pulse more clearly, heard the panic in her voice, he would turn his focus away from the shifters and onto her. Moony might even give Remus back. "Please, they didn't mean it, Moony. Alpha, they didn't know."
Jacob looked confused. This man, this werewolf, had completely changed at the mention of illusions. Without even changing forms, he had transformed from a fairly quiet and proper man to a wild beast. Watching such a sudden, stark shift in someone who was not quite one of their own made the shifter see the process as an outsider would. The very thought made him shudder.
Hermione smiled weakly at them. "Illusionists and magicians give witches and wizards a bad name," she explained. "They go around and play with cards… They are one of the reasons why there are so few of us around nowadays. When those… those… those fakers do strange things like pull a rabbit out of a hat, those of us with true magic are the first to burn." She shook her head. "But still," Hermione continued, turning towards her alpha, "you shouldn't threaten them, you hear me?"
Remus growled in response. Jasper rose to his feet, hissing back. The vampire's eyes had grown dark, watching the werewolf for any sign of movement. He wanted nothing else but to grab his mate and run. Yet Jasper knew that, by grabbing Hermione, he would only end up hurting her. The wolf's skin was almost white under her firm grip.
"Sam," Jacob started, looking nervously between them. While he knew that the vampires wouldn't attack him, he also realised that the longer they stayed, the more likely it was that Sam would say something that would break the camel's back.
Or, in this case, the werewolf's.
"Sam," he repeated. "Look, I think we'd better go. We've been up all night and they have as well. Maybe we should come back another time when we've all thought this over. Sounds good, yeah?"
Right on cue, Quil yawned. "Yeah. And Emily will have made breakfast."
At the mention of his imprint, Sam's whole body seemed to soften. Moony's did as well, his eyes returning once more to their familiar hazel hue as he recognised that the shifter was no longer a threat.
Hermione sighed in relief as Sam made his way out. Still, it wasn't until only Jacob remained that she released her grip on Remus' arm. "Thank you," she whispered.
"For believing, for trusting, for, well, everything, I guess. But mainly, thank you for being my friend."
Jacob walked around the table and pulled her into a quick hug. "Hermione. Of course I'm your friend. Sam is just… Well, Sam is just being Sam right now."
She scrunched up her nose. "He's not going to come back, is he?"
The shifter shook his head. "Doubt it. Even to me, this… magic you have, well, it's weird. And coming from a teen who turns into a giant puppy dog when he gets angry, that's saying something. Those spells, that thing your friend turned into… We know you both were holding back and honestly I think that's what scares Sam the most. You're unknown. And what's unknown could be dangerous."
"And what do you think?"
He was silent for a moment, passing his brown eyes over the small witch and two of the most important men in her life. "You are," he said. "But I know you're only dangerous to those who would do you wrong. Which is why I'm not acting like Sam is at the moment."
Hermione quickly pulled Jacob into another hug, pushing her face into his chest. "Which is why I thank you," she whispered. When she released him, she looked into his eyes, the happiness in her own swiftly leaving. "I realise that the rest of your pack is going to know about me and Remus, but can you try and keep our secret, well, secret?"
"It's against the law," Remus piped up, shaking off the last of Moony's possession. "No one should know but… Wait a minute. How come the Cullens know?"
"Dumbledore," Hermione bit out.
His eyes flashed amber again. "Meddling fool. Regardless, the more people who know, the more likely the American Ministry will get involved. Everyone's memory would wiped clean of our existence, meaning there is a possibility people would lose all their memories, and Hermione and I would be sent to prison. But if there are too many people in the know, too many minds for our Ministry to handle, I wouldn't put it past them to remove the damage in a more permanent way."
Even though Hermione knew the practice was unlikely, she still shuddered at the thought. Whole families had been destroyed because magical identities were released. Shifters, werewolves, Muggles, goblins, vampires…. The last made Hermione look towards Jasper, who was still standing by her side. If she was the cause of his death, of any of his family's deaths, she would never forgive herself.
But fortunately, Jacob seemed to understand. "I'll try," he nodded, messing her hair up playfully. "Don't know how, but I'll try."
Remus sighed in relief. "Thank you. But if you need to know more j-"
"I'll find you." Jacob nodded again. "Now, I've got to go, but Hermione, don't be a stranger, yeah?"
Hermione smiled. She leaned back into Jasper, feeling chills when his arms wrapped around her protectively. As they watched Jacob leave, she kissed his shoulder gently.
Then, she yawned.
Jasper picked her up, subtly spreading his scent over his mate. "Ok, little witch," he said, ignoring the wolf's raised eyebrow. "I think it's time for bed."
Luckily, she nodded her permission. Jasper carried her to her room, Remus stumbling behind them, his body no longer able to fight off the symptoms of his tiredness. But still Jasper moved slowly, more slowly than he cared to admit. Every touch, every flicker of her skin against his own, felt like a fire he didn't want to put out. The way she curled up into him made him feel strong, strong like the man she deserved. Yet, at the same time, he knew he was completely in her power.
When they reached their bedrooms, Remus bade them farewell, continuing to the room next door. Jasper carried Hermione inside, momentarily surprised at how she had moved the bed to press against the wall, and placed her gently under the covers. But it wasn't until he finished tucking the blankets around her that he felt a warm hand upon his skin.
"Jasper," a timid voice called out from a mass of brunette curls. "Jasper, you weren't worried, were you?"
Jasper sat on the bed next to her. "No."
"Liar." Hermione snorted, her brown eyes peeking at him through her hair. "You were worried."
He laughed. "You sound pretty sure about that."
Hermione wiggled towards him, her hand still firmly grasping his own. "I know you, my Jasper." She yawned. "You care. And if you were meeting with another vampire or werewolf that had just appeared out of nowhere, I would worry about you, too."
Jasper kissed her forehead, her warmth running though his body. "Go to sleep, love."
She nodded, ignoring the term of endearment. Inching back until she was against the wall, she pulled Jasper's hand beside her, urging him to lie down next to her. "Don't leave me, 'k?
"Never, my love," Jasper swore, smiling as he brushed his mate's curls back. "Never."
I've always had a small appetite. Even during my human years, my mother referred to me as her Little Dinner Bird, all pecks and no bites. I had to learn early on to spread out my mouthfuls, nibbling only when needed, in order to finish with everyone else. And, while it was honestly the most boring part of my human life, it taught me patience and the ability to see that there could be meanings hidden under the layers of sugar-coated words. So, when I became a vampire, I was glad that I would never have to pretend again. Instead, I could use my time how I wanted: time to think, time to learn, time to do what I wanted to do. And what I wanted to do right now was talk to Hermione.
After the full moon, Hermione had thrown herself headfirst into her exam preparation. That wasn't the problem; Hermione was meticulously neat and organised and maintained a healthy lifestyle at the same time. The problem was the fact that she was all but physically torturing my brother.
And it was all because of that wolf.
Everywhere she went, he did as well. The school, the bookshop, the forest… even inside the house. The two of them were all but attached at the hip because Hermione outright refused to be parted from him. For Jasper, the fact that Hermione had willingly and openly picked another man, a werewolf, over him was excruciating. Now, behind a painted grin, all that remained was a dying man.
If he wasn't man enough to fight for his happiness, I would do it for him.
Knock, knock, knock.
"Come in," Hermione called. She was sitting on the floor surrounded by papers and books. A large quill held her hair back from her face as she used another to scratch her translations onto yellowed parchment from the floating book before her. Remus, of course, was sleeping deeply behind her.
"Oh, hey, Rosalie," Hermione said softly. Looking up from her work, she grabbed the book and settled it down next to her, offering me a seat beside her.
Rejecting it, I instead sat calmly in the armchair. Hermione just shrugged and went back to scribbling across her parchment. "I have to ask," I asked after I watched her for a moment, "are you always such a bitch or are you just stupid?"
"Pardon?" Hermione spluttered, her brown eyes growing wide at my words.
I clarified, "You think what you're doing with Jasper is appropriate? Spending your time with another man while you're dating my brother? Do you have any idea how my brother feels? There's one girl who he actually cares about, and he never gets any time with because she doesn't want to be with him."
Hermione shook her head. "Of course I want to spend time with Jasper."
"Oh, really?" I laughed mockingly. "Doesn't seem like it. No. You have your fucking wolf instead."
"You think– " Hermione hissed, but she was cut off by a heavy snore. "You think I like being chaperoned everywhere?" she continued quietly, shaking her head. "You think I like being watched all day, changing what I do to suit someone else, not spending time with someone I…" Hermione bit her lip. "…someone I have grown quite fond of? Because I don't. And I doubt Remus does either. But we have to. He protects m– "
"Yes, you've mentioned this protection. But why? Don't you think that we can – that Jasper can…?"
Hermione shook her head. "Not from this."
I huffed. "A whole coven of vampires can't protect you?" I sat forward in the chair, throwing knives at her with my eyes. "Tell me, then," I purred. "Why do you need protection?"
"Because," Hermione whispered, glancing back to look at the sleeping wolf, "not all men are Remus."
I waited for her elaborate. "You see," she continued, "I came into contact with a werewolf back in England. He wasn't… Well, I guess you can say he's the reason why werewolves have a bad name. Actually, he was the werewolf that bit Remus as a child. This werewolf, this… this monster, he and the wizards and witches he is associated with made my life hell. Then there was an… incident and he attacked me."
Hermione pulled her legs up to her chest. "Not only did he destroy a part of me, he put a trace on me. No matter where I went, no matter what I was doing, he would always be able to find me. He said I was his and no one else's. What he didn't realise is that the trace he put on me isn't exclusive to just him. I would belong to all werewolves until I achieve what they want from me."
"And what was that?" I asked. Something did not seem right.
I blinked in surprise. "A cub? You mean a child?"
She nodded. "I can only have a child with a werewolf now. But then, I can't have children at all anymore. It didn't stop them from trying, though."
My mind went back to those last few hours of being human. Those images of Royce and his friends above me had haunted me since that day. It took years, even after I had found love with Emmett, to stop allowing my rape to define me. But here was Hermione, broken yet calm, and it brought me back to that very place. I shivered as I realised that Hermione must have gone through the same thing I did. And not just once, but for a long, long time.
Hermione just looked behind her. "When I got out of there, I lived with Remus and Sirius while I healed. Being around an alpha meant his scent covered mine. The werewolf couldn't find me; no werewolf could. And I was free. That's why I need to be with Remus. That's the protection I need. Because while I hate being guarded, hate having to spend every single moment of my life with either my alpha or my beta, I would still rather be with them than risk being found by him."
I shook my head, unable to say anything. But then I remembered something. Something that punched a hole in her explanation. "But you spent months here without Remus and you were perfectly fine."
"No, I wasn't," Hermione countered, hugging her legs even tighter. "The longer I was here, the more I could feel their protection slipping. While being near the wolf shifters helped, it didn't stop our goodbye from fading when that werewolf scout was in the area."
I had forgotten that. "Your goodbye?"
She watched Remus twitch slightly in his sleep. A small smile graced her face. "While proximity plays an important part in strengthening the protection, the curse didn't want me to be just close."
"Sex," Hermione whispered. "Trying for a cub makes the bond stronger than everything else. Instead of moments, I can go weeks or months; countries instead of meters. And while I want nothing more than to be alone with your brother, I won't sleep with my alpha or beta to do so."
Instinctively, I hissed at her. Even though I knew that Jasper and Hermione were practically made for each other, there was unsettling about having someone she had had sex with near her all the time. Yet Hermione had to be near him, or else Jasper wouldn't have a mate anymore.
The clock chimed one, two, three times. It wouldn't be long until the rest of my family returned home. Hermione must have realised this, even subconsciously, as she started packing some of her books away. However, just before I could reach the door to leave, a soft voice stopped me in my tracks.
"Rose, how much does Edward know about his family?"
The question confused me. Edward? Shouldn't she be asking about her boyfriend? But after what Edward had told us… "Not much." I shrugged. "He remembers little about his mother, even less about his father. But it was his mother that begged Carlisle to change him."
"How did she know?"
I sighed. "I'm not sure. Carlisle said that she could read it in his eyes, like she could see into his soul." I laughed slightly. "Which is weird, considering Edward is the one who can read minds."
"He can read minds," she repeated. But there was something in her voice that made me even more confused. It didn't seem like a question, more like it was confirming what she had already been thinking.
"And your family?" Hermione added, just as I was about to leave again.
Flashes of my life appeared before my eyes. "My father was a banker." I replied slowly, almost like I was confirming it for myself. "It was because of him that my family were quite wealthy during the Great Depression. Neither my two brothers nor I went without anything. My mother was a homemaker who, despite being one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen, barely left the house without my father. Actually, until I was 16, neither did I. My only company was her or other girls my age."
A deep frown appeared in Hermione's forehead, a sign that I had found meant the gears were slowly fitting together in her head. "What do you know about your grandparents? Mainly, your mother's side?"
"Not much," I replied, slightly taken aback by the question. "My father was a New York local, but he married my mother during a trip to France. After he took her back home, she never saw her family again."
Hermione nodded. "Makes sense," she said. "If your mother was one eighth Veela, she could've– "
"I'm sorry, 'Veela'?"
Hermione turned and grabbed a book off the floor. "Increased beauty, people crowd around you…" She flipped it open and handed it to me. A woman with long blonde hair and bright blue eyes stared back up at me. Even though I had seen never seen her face before, she looked so familiar that I couldn't look away. "Pure Veelas are quite rare. So beautiful that people would wage war just to be near them. They attract men through their pheromones and are said to have voices like sirens. Basically, they are the light version of vampires, feeding not on human life, but on plant life. Sunlight and the like. If your mother was one eighth Veela, it would explain why she was allowed to be away from her family but preferred to to avoid men's attention. Plus, it would explain your otherworldly attractiveness to the male gender."
I shook my head. But there was a part of me that screamed out, begging me to listen. "Impossible."
"Not really. The more diluted the Veela blood, the more they are able to integrate into society. One of my friend's brothers, his wife is one sixteenth Veela herself – like I assume you are as well. When she first entered my school hall, every pubescent male turned to blubber at her feet. Her mother was able to leave her family due to being diluted, but only Fleur was able to attend school, and even then it was a female-only school."
"Does this mean," I swallowed, venom starting to pool in my eyes, "I have family out there?"
Hermione shrugged. "Most likely. There are only a few pure Veela lines in all of Europe. If your mother came from France, there would be three, maybe four, possible lines you could come from. All of which have very strong descendent lines across Europe."
My eyes burned, but the pain felt glorious. Before I could say anything, the front door clicked open. Jasper and Edward's voices hit my ears. I looked back at Hermione, hoping that she could see the joy that she had brought to my life. If there was even a chance that I had family out there, it would give me the chance to pass along what I know, to understand my past and my future. Perhaps give me the chance to adopt.
A child of my own familial blood.
Jasper's footsteps could be heard coming up the stairs. It would be mere seconds before he reached his mate's room.
Hermione just smiled at me. It was a soft smile, yet it spoke a thousand words. She closed the book she'd given me and grasped my hands in her own. "It's only a theory, but I'm sure it's correct. And if there is one thing my friends have always said, it's that I am always right."
A knock came from the door. My brother's familiar copper hair was the first thing that came in, his matching eyes widening slowly at the sight he saw. "Is everything ok?"
Hermione nodded. "Rosalie was just helping me study." She took the book from my hands before he could see it. Within seconds, another was in her grasp as she held it out to her mate. "Want to take over?"
Jasper bobbed his head eagerly. Quickly, he pulled Hermione in for a swift kiss. It was strange, really. In all the time I had known him, he had rarely made an outward show of emotion. Yet, with one girl, with one smile, the empath felt love enough to show.
They didn't notice when I left. They were too wrapped up in one another. But I didn't blame them; I didn't blame him. Jasper had spent too long alone and he deserved every bit of help his salvation could bring.
But still, there was so much more to Hermione than I knew. Her time with Remus, that other werewolf, it all just seemed like the tip of the iceberg to me. But she, like Jasper and I, seemed to battle with a horrific past and dark demons within her mind. Yet maybe being with Jasper, being with us, would be enough to help her heal.
"Ok, how did the 1743-1822 Goblin Wars influence wizarding legal systems and household consumption trends?"
And truthfully, given how many scars the world inflicts upon people, healing was all anyone could do.
Hey Calendar Kids
Yes, yes I know. Over 5 months and this is only what I give you. Sad to say, this might happen again. Live has just given me the wrong end of the stick since the last update. My dad got ill, I went overseas, I got really ill, the guy I was dating broke up with me to join the Air Force, I ended up in hospital for a while due to my illness, starting my final semester of uni and realising how much I hate marketing and economics, getting told by basically my only uni friend left that I wasn't worth it when I told them that I needed a friend, stress increased to the point my limbs started shaking, living with Spencer's sister who hates me (the feeling is mutual) and I'm all but living at the hospital. It's really crap. The doctors have taken away my laptop only giving it to me in cases of emergency, work or study reasons. I was offered a job though at Disney, Orlando (yay!) but I can't afford to go (nay!). It would be over $2500 without accounting for conversion so sad to say I will officially be jobless once I graduate. Sucks, but that is reality. I also realise I haven't got back to all your reviews. Ahhhhh I am so sorry. Even this chapter has been pre-read for... over a week now? But I promise once my last exam is over I will have time to do it. Might give me time to catch up on some tv. If any of you ruin GOT for me the old gods and the new shall strike you down, and the High Sparrow shall make you repent.
Anyway, would love to thank the beautiful, amazing and talented Emmeebee for all her hard work during this time. I am so sorry it's taken so long but I shall get back to writing this very very soon (and reading as well. Have not even READ a fanfic since uni started). Plus, thank you a million times over to the one of the greatest pillars I have had during this time. ArmyWife22079. It had been a pleasure to meet you and talk to you. And thank you for reading this chapter.
Ok... so my last exam is the 22nd of June. Hopefully afterwards I can get a job, pay off some of my debts, move to a better place without the demon lady and get back to you guys and this story.
Anyway... back to study, sleep, tomorrow's trip to the hospital and my potential trip to Melbourne. Hopefully I'll be able to see the ex at his AF officer training base (hmmmm sounds creepy when I say it like that but we are talking to each other), stay with a friend and see my old friend David who is training in the Army. He's an awesome kid.
Like always, send me your thoughts and theories about the story. Again, sorry about the late update.
edit: Just looked up the story and what was the top search related to it? Nor Lorijem translation. Beautiful guys.