Hermione Hermione smiled with relief as the last congratulating house member went up to bed. As much as she appreciated the well-wishers, she wanted a little time and space to get used to the change in relationship with Harry. Of course, she loved Harry, and wouldn't go back to being just friends for Bill Gates' estate, but that didn't mean the shift wasn't a bit of a shock. She glanced over at her topic of thought, and smiled. Yes, it was a very nice change.

Harry Harry sat by the fire, carefully slipping the black glove over a fresh bandage. It was nice to be able to relax now, and was even nicer to have someone to relax with. Looking over at Hermione, he motioned to the spot next to him on the plush couch, and hoped she would join him.

Hermione She eyed the glove warily, but pretended to have never noticed as Harry looked up again. The strange and unexplained wound bothered her, but she refused to show it. If it was forbidden territory, she wasn't going to let him see her go anywhere near it. At his gesture, she went to sit next to him, acting as if everything was fine. But there was a part of her that couldn't stand it, the same part that was sure she wouldn't like his explanation.

Harry Harry looked over at her, a bemused smirk curling his lips. She was probably going insane with curiosity by now, and it was a telling mark of her willpower that no questions had been asked. Well, showing her would do no harm, and they were the only ones in the common room now. Harry offered in a soft voice, "Would you like to see my hand without the bandage?"

Hermione She bit her lip. Clearly, he was attempting to appease her, but she wasn't sure if she wanted to see it. "I'm not sure," she told him. "I'm afraid it would only make me want to know why even more. Is it…is it bad?" she asked. There was a part of her that now wouldn't be able to handle seeing a terrible injury on Harry.

Harry He shrugged, "That all depends on your definition of bad." Harry slid off the glove and slowly unrolled the bandage. Upon removal, he winced a bit, feeling air hit the sensitive skin. There, carved into the skin atop his right hand, was a large and very intricate symbol. Ancient text and designs wove a circular pattern, leaving the skin surrounding raw and bleeding.

Hermione Her first reaction was to recoil, and then to gasp, and finally for a few tears to come along and blur her vision. "Oh gods," she whispered, horrified and unable to take her eyes away regardless. Not only was it gruesome, but it also appeared to be some form of magic – dark, ancient, or perhaps both. Hermione very much wanted to know how this mark came to be upon his hand, and if he or someone else did it. But she couldn't, of course, so she merely stared.

Harry He looked to Hermione, "I don't know how it got there, to be honest. There's about a week's worth of time that I can't recall at all. One night I go to sleep, and a week later I wake up with this on my hand and blood all over the sheets." He looked at his aching hand, "I wish I could tell you more, but I simply don't know."

Hermione Her eyes widened to the size of Dobby's. At least she knew now that she hadn't been worrying for nothing, though the thought wasn't very comforting. This carried a very heavy aura of dark magic, which meant something had been done to Harry. By whom? Voldemort, most likely, or his Death Eaters. Why? That was a bit harder to answer. To take away any protection he might have? To weaken him? To…no, she couldn't allow herself to continue in this vein. She turned back to Harry, biting her lip nearly hard enough to draw blood. "This isn't a good omen, is it?" Hermione leaned forward to take a closer look at his hand. "Perhaps we should look for the symbol and text. We need to find out what was done…perhaps we could prevent…" she trailed off. It wasn't as if she needed to complete the sentence. Harry would know what she was talking about.

Harry Harry nodded, "Looking up the symbols and text would be a good idea. But to be honest, I don't think this was done to kill me. I think there's some sort of power connected to it." He sighed and ran his good hand through his eternally disheveled hair, "I'm not sure how to explain it, it's just a feeling I have."

Hermione Hermione looked at him for a moment. Harry looked as tired as she felt. "Well," she said to him, "we'll just go ahead and look up the symbols, and hope you're right." She smiled. "Let's hope the famous Potter instinct is still working properly." The hand drew her attention again. "Does it hurt badly?"

Harry He nodded, "Yeah, but not as bad as it did at first. Now it's more of a throbbing, dull ache, rather than sharp pains. It's also healing pretty well; this looked much worse the first week. And bled like a… um, you probably don't really want to know that much detail. Sorry."

Hermione Hermione offered him a faint smile. "It's better to know, I suppose," she said. "At least it's healing, and it doesn't seem to show any signs of infection. Have you been cleaning it properly?" She hesitated. "I sound like Madame Pomfrey, don't I?"

Harry A soft chuckle rose from him, "Just a bit, but that's alright. And there never was any sign of infection, just a lot of bleeding at first." He motioned to the discarded bandage, "I'm constantly cleaning and redressing it- more out of fear of being sent to Pomfrey than concern for my health though, to be honest."

Hermione Hermione reached for his good hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. "If anything happens to it, I can find some medical charms." She glanced at the fire. "We can stop talking about this, if you want." She watched him out of the corner of her eye, fully taking in his facial features. He really was very handsome; she wondered why none of her dorm mates had mentioned this before. They were usually the first to notice such things.

Harry He smiled and leaned in closer to her. Everything seemed so perfect right now, and if it weren't for the fact that the symbol had started glowing softly and several eyes seemed to open up within the surrounding shadows, he would have felt completely at peace. Running this over in his mind, Harry began to comprehend that those were actually eyes staring back at him. A lot of eyes. He leapt off the couch and declared, "What in the hell?!" But as the last word left his lips, the symbol stopped glowing and the shadows returned to normal.

Hermione Hermione smiled as Harry leaned closer, fully expecting to be kissed. However, it seemed she wouldn't be after having her eyes closed for a few moments. She opened them, to see the symbol on Harry's hand suddenly illuminated, just before he jumped up. Hermione stood up next to him, panicking. "What happened?" she queried, putting what she hoped was a comforting hand on his shoulder.

Harry His breath was fast and ragged, "The shadows… eyes… glowing…" After a few moments of collecting himself, Harry tried again, "The shadows suddenly had eyes in them, and my symbol was glowing. It just… unnerved me. That's not exactly the sort of thing you expect to see, even around here."

Hermione Despite becoming suddenly very, very worried about this symbol, she attempted to steer Harry back to the couch. "Here, sit down." For the third time that evening, she bit her lip as she glanced around at the shadows. They all seemed eye-less now, but she didn't doubt Harry. He wasn't the type to see random things, she knew, and she herself had seen the symbol glow. "I don't know what that was all about, but it doesn't seem good. I'm going to the library tomorrow," she informed him, "and I'm going to start researching this thing." Hermione stopped to take a breath. She needed to stay calm. It wouldn't help Harry any if he had to worry about her being terrified as well.

Harry The couch groaned a bit as he sat down, "That sounds like a good plan. Mind if I join you on this research project?" Well, that had been a very unsettling occurrence. The eyes were still burning in his mind, glistening with several pupils more than would be… natural. They didn't look like mere tricks of the light; they seemed fleshy and very real. He wondered if they would haunt his dreams tonight.

Hermione "Of course you can join me," she answered, watching him with concern. Hermione reached over and grasped his good hand again. "Will you be all right?" If only there was something she could say or do to calm his nerves, but that seemed to be impossible. Nothing she said would make him forget, except and incantation, which certainly wouldn't help matters any.

Harry He patted her hand affectionately, "No, I'll be fine. But I do think I've had enough excitement for one night." He stood and embraced Hermione, placing a soft kiss upon her lips. "Goodnight, my formositas ardorus."

Hermione Hermione smiled widely, feeling very calmed by Harry's kiss. "Goodnight, mi dulce amado," she murmured, boldly sneaking in a second kiss.