A/N- Thanks to all of you who reviewed! There have been many questions as to whether this is a HermioneBlaise fic or a HermioneCharlie fic. Be patient! It's only the third chapter! This IS a HermioneBlaise fic! I'm not completely deceiving you know…and I do have a fair amount of tricks up my sleeve. One of which will take place in this chapter… Enjoy!
Disclaimer- I do not own anything or anyone you recognize from the Harry Potter series.
Flying with the Enemy
Hermione slowly crept out of the house, breathing hard. She had never done anything deceitful without Harry and Ron, yet here she was sneaking out of the house, looking for a dragon. I should have told Harry and Ron about the book, she thought. But in her heart, she knew they wouldn't have understood. Ron would've told her it was too dangerous, especially without adult supervision. Harry would have nodded his head in agreement, and Hermione knew that the look in his eyes would prevent her from taking this task any further. Harry's eyes would be sad and vulnerable. Hermione found herself following his every wish, because it killed her inside to see what had happened to the once eager and driven boy. So in a way, it was for the better that she had kept this whole ordeal to herself.
Padding through the soft fields, Hermione came to the edge of a forest. I never noticed this before…I guess you can't see from an aerial view. It's probably blocked by the house. Cautiously, Hermione ventured into the foliage. Gazing at the ground, she was sure not to snap any twigs. She didn't know if any other creatures lived in the forest, and if they did, she didn't want to alert them of her presence. The trees spread apart to reveal a little clearing. Raising her head, Hermione gasped.
Ahead of her lay the most beautiful landscape she had ever seen. In a second she forgot all about the dragon she had been pursuing just moments before. Quickly shrinking the book and putting it with her wand into her pocket, she gazed at her surroundings. Little butterflies in a variety of colors, from aquamarine to shocking pink were fluttering around in a dance of joy. Scattered throughout the lush green grass were bunches of small white flowers growing from the soil. Fireflies flew around with the butterflies, emitting a comforting glow in the darkness and setting the clearing ablaze with blinking lights. The clearing sang serenity and peace, a place to escape from the outside world. And dancing with the butterflies and fireflies were the most astounding creatures she had ever seen.
They laughed in melodic voices that beckoned her to join them. Their olive skin shone through the night, kudos to the light from the fireflies. A small fire was burning in the center of their circle, as they weaved through the clearing, their thin bodies moving in sync, their arms stretched toward the sky. Short skirts and tube tops made of ornate leaves draped across their bodies. Jet black hair danced around their faces, wavy and free. Hermione was in awe. That was the way she wanted to be, wild and living in the moment. As the figures turned in circles, she glimpsed tiny wings emerging from their backs, fluttering softly, with the colors of the rainbow shimmering in them. What are they? Hermione wondered. She began to mentally go through the pages of every book she had ever read on woodland creatures. Nymphs. They're nymphs! Hermione was in an academic stupor. Nymphs were the woodland creatures that hadn't been seen in over two hundred years. They were expected to be extinct. They were happy-go-lucky, until you managed to piss them off, which caused them to become extremely protective of their territory. Nymphs were one of the few creatures in the wizarding world with the ability to become invisible at will. They were extremely acute marksmen, and their arrows were known to be tipped with a poison made from the earth that baffled the top researchers in the wizarding world. To get hit by such an arrow was deadly.
With an excited gleam in her eyes, Hermione crept forward to get a closer look. Slowly and surely, Hermione entered the clearing, careful to stay behind the various trees that were spread through it. While rushing to get behind a tree closer to the nymphs, Hermione heard a snap. She looked down at her foot. A twig was sitting under it, cracked in half. Ready for the worst, Hermione slowly turned her head toward the nymphs. She stared dead in the face of twenty nymphs, all pointed arrows in her direction, fierce looks on their faces. Slowly, Hermione raised her hands above her head in surrender. "I'm really sorry," she began slowly. "I don't mean any harm. I just wanted to join you," A nymph with a gold crown of leaves atop her head put down her bow, and the others followed suit. The nymph, whom Hermione assumed was the leader, cautiously gazed at her. Her eyes traveled down Hermione's body, no doubt analyzing for weapons, before coming to rest on her face. As the nymph gazed into Hermione's eyes, she felt as though she could see her very soul. The thought made Hermione just the slightest bit uncomfortable.
After a moment of silence, the nymph said in a pure voice. "She is not an intruder." The nymphs behind her relaxed, their muscles glad for the release of tension. They moved forward, to stand behind their leader. "Why are you here?" the leader questioned.
"Er, well you see, I was just wandering, and I found you, and you looked so peaceful, and I wanted to observe, and you're nymphs!" Hermione rambled.
"Well, thank you for that shocking information, but I think we are all well aware that we are, in fact, nymphs," the leader grinned, her eyes glinting with laughter. Obviously finding Hermione not dangerous, she waved her hand and the nymphs behind her put down their bows.
"Yes, well. Let me start again," Hermione began again, more slowly and calmly. "My name is Hermione Granger. I read a lot, and as a result of that, I happen to know that nymphs haven't been seen in the past two hundred years…This is like a dream come true! To be the first one to see a nymph in two hundred years! I can observe and probably even write a whole book about it! The wizarding world would be given a vast amount of new information!" At this, the leader nymph's face grew stony and cold. She walked over to Hermione, a bow and arrow in her hand.
"I am Ivy, Queen of the Nymphs," Ivy told her. Then suddenly her mood changed, "You will not tell anybody about this encounter, Miss Hermione Granger, or this arrow will find its way to your heart," she whispered in a threatening voice to Hermione. In response, Hermione turned pale and limp.
"Why?" she whispered. "Why can't anybody know?" The nymph laughed.
"Why do you think we've been in hiding for the past two hundred years? The prophecy! That's why! The very prophecy that everyone assumes was made when Harry Potter was born! But we know better. We know much better. A prophecy similar was made two hundred years ago." Hermione could see tears in the nymph's eyes. "It was the prophecy that forced us to sever our connection with the outside world. It told of a great evil that would come, along with a good that could vanquish it. But it also told of the good's weakness. And that weakness, that weakness was our blood. Our blood has the power to kill Harry Potter, and give the Dark Lord the world. We are condemned for our kindness, for our years of not sinning." The nymph broke down in sobs, and crumpled into the grass. Hermione stared, wide-eyed at her, at a loss for what to do. The creature before her had the unwanted power to kill her best friend. But still, Hermione's heart ached at the prospect of an entire race being forced into isolation because of one person. Voldemort.
Hermione despised that name. She swore to herself that if she ever met that vile excuse for a wizard she would not hesitate to kill him, no matter what was at stake. The darkness swirled around her, and Hermione rushed over to comfort the despairing nymph. She wrapped her arms around her, and to the other nymph's surprise, began to rock her back and forth, in the same sense that her mother had done to her when she was younger. The creature was frail and light, a sign of undernourishment. Hermione realized that even though the nymphs portrayed a character of strength and beauty, the years away from any other civilization was killing them. And as she rocked the saddened creature in her arms, she felt a pang in her heart, a sorrow for these creatures. Nobody should have to go through that. Nobody, Hermione thought.
Soon the nymph's tear stopped flowing, and she was wracked with a series of dry heaves. Seeing the nymph there, crying in her arms, fragile and broken with memories, she was overwhelmed with a motherly urge to protect the creature, and protect her and her family from harm. This was her chance to make a difference in the war. Harry and Ron had done most of the fighting, this was her chance. She would help the nymphs, protect them, and make sure they could live without killing Harry.
"Shhh. It's okay. I'll help you," Hermione whispered in the nymph's ear as she rocked her back and forth. The nymph suddenly tensed and looked at Hermione with a fire in her eyes that she had seen in Harry's on numerous occasions.
"I don't need your pity!" The nymph stepped out of Hermione's arms and crossed her arms across her chest. "We can live without you. We have done so for the past two hundred years!" The nymph's voice came out shrill, its usual controlled edge gone and replaced with raw emotion. Merlin. For a race that has been living with minimal benefits for the past two hundred years, they sure do have an ego issue…Hermione thought for a moment. What could she ask them for that they could actually give her without hassle?
"It's not pity. I would obviously be asking for something in return," Hermione started, acting like she had planned it all along. "I want you…to help me become an Animagus." Hermione waited for a moment, and then pulled out the Animagus book and her wand from her pocket. She had made her decision. Her Animagus form would be a nymph. "Engorgio," she whispered while pointing her wand at the book. It instantly returned to its normal size, and Hermione pocketed her wand.
"Well, in that case," the leader of the nymphs smiled and held out her hand. "My name is Ivy." Hermione grinned and stepped forward to shake Ivy's hand, and seal the deal. Neither of them was aware of the flash of blue that disappeared from the sky.
After a brief discussion with Ivy about some formalities with their deal, Hermione had trudged back to the house, tired and spent. She checked her little silver wristwatch as she reached the house, and was shocked to see that the hands pointed to 2:20. Merlin. Tomorrow is going to be hell, Hermione thought as she quietly opened the front door. She tip-toed up the steps and put her book underneath her bed. Suddenly, a strange warming sensation spread throughout her neck. Wondering where the sensation was coming from, Hermione glanced down to see her amulet glowing with warmth. A strange light started to fill the room, and within seconds, Harry and Ron were standing before her. They fell onto the ground, letting out various grunts in the process. Hermione jumped and quickly closed the door.
"Bloody hell! Do you two want to wake up the others?" Hermione demanded in an angry whisper. Harry and Ron grinned at her.
"Of course not. We just wanted to see our best friend," Ron answered cheekily. Hermione let out a small smile before embracing the two.
"Come on, let's go somewhere were we can talk," Hermione beckoned to the boys and led them to the clearing where her and Charlie had first landed in Brazil. Seating herself on the soft grass, she motioned for the boys to do the same. They sat down beside her and told her of America. As the boys talked, Hermione felt a small nagging in the back of her head that something was wrong. Then she remembered. The letter! Harry wasn't planning to go back to Hogwarts… A frown must have passed across her face, because Harry stopped in the middle of his story.
"Hermione? Is something wrong?" He asked in a concerned voice. Hermione turned her face up to him. It was now or never.
"Harry. When were you planning to tell us that you weren't going back to Hogwarts?" Hermione said in a soft voice, her eyes on the grass. Ron looked up at Harry in confusion.
"What? Please tell me she's kidding, mate."
"No, Ron. She's not kidding. I'm not going back to Hogwarts," Harry's voice sounded glum, like he had never meant to tell them until the day they boarded the train.
"What! Why the bloody hell not?" Ron was fuming.
"Ron! Calm down," Hermione soothed him. "Let him explain." Harry took a deep breath.
"I can't go back. I just can't. Not when people are out there dying. Voldemort has to be stopped, and the sooner he is the better."
"But why didn't you tell us! I had to find out from a letter! I found it in your trunk during the battle!" Hermione shouted. At this, Ron got up, muttered into a piece of twine around his wrist and closed his eyes.
"Ron, wait!" Harry shouted after him. But Ron had already disappeared, back to the United States of America. With one last look of sorrow at Hermione, Harry followed him. Hermione sat there, alone in the darkness, her head hung down.
What had she done? Her two best friends would now be fighting, and would be distracted during their assignment. It wasn't right of Harry to not tell them, but she could have brought it up another time. For the first time in a while, Hermione felt alone. Harry and Ron were miles away, and so was her family. Of course she had Charlie, but he wasn't the same. She barely knew Charlie. Small crystal tears began to fall down Hermione's face. A loud rustling in the trees caught Hermione's attention. She turned her tear-streaked face towards the noise, and found the dragon padding towards her with awing grace. It settled down beside her, and lifted her head up with its paw. The dragon turned Hermione's head towards the rising sun, painting the sky with the colors of the rainbow. Hermione felt her face spread into a sad smile. It then moved to spread its wings and encase them around her, surrounding her with warmth. There Hermione fell asleep, under the dragon's wings.
Hermione awoke to the harsh scent of burning wood. She jolted awake and raised her head to find traces of smoke rising above the trees. A sonorous growl emitted from the dragon next to her, as it lifted its head off the ground. Hermione swiftly rose, dusting herself off and began briskly walking towards the house. As the smoke grew thicker, she began to run, subconsciously aware of the dragon padding behind her. Tears flew out of her eyes, and Hermione began to cough. But she kept running, fear pulsing through her heart. What she saw next caused her to stop dead on her tracks and collapse sobbing onto the ground.
The house before her was in ruins. The entire thing had burnt to the ground, and all that was left was a shambles of wood and ash. Great billows of smoke rose from what used to be a wondrous home. And above it all, at the zenith of the smoke, looming with the greatest sense of evil Hermione had ever felt in her life, was the Dark Mark.
Hermione felt herself being lifted, but by whom or what she did not care. The only people she knew in this foreign country were now dead, burned along with the house. Her only hope of survival was now vanishing away into the sky, the wind picking up the ashes and spreading them throughout the field. She began to feel the sense in her stomach that they were flying, but where did not matter. Nothing mattered any longer, for Hermione was sure that she would be dead as well, in just a matter of days. Hermione wept until her tears dried out, then began heaving with dry sobs. This continued until Hermione felt her last drop of strength leave her, and then she curled up and fell asleep, feeling the most vulnerable she had felt in her life.
Hermione awoke lying in the grass to the strange sensation of having something slathered over her entire body. Hands were rubbing the substance into her skin, leaving it moist and cool. Unsure as to if the situation was safe, Hermione tried to sit up. But delicate tan hands pushed her back down.
"It is just me. Ivy. This will help you relax." Hermione did not try to argue, but gave in to the sensation. After about twenty minutes, the relaxing motion stopped and Ivy helped Hermione sit up. Gazing around her, Hermione saw she was in some kind of tree house. The room was ornately decorated with earthly items, such as grass, wood, and various flowers. Ivy sat beside her, dressed in a skirt made of deep red leaves, and a top of the same material that exposed her tan stomach. Atop her mass of dark curls sat a crown of gold leaves.
"Is something special going on?" Hermione questioned.
"That, you will know later. But first, I believe you need to contact a McGonagall?" Ivy smiled and held out a small opal stone.
"How did you know?" Hermione's voice was hoarse from crying.
"Nymphs know everything. Now, just say the name of who you wish to contact into the stone. There will be a short connection between the two of you. You will be able to see each other and speak to each other for a time," Ivy explained. Hermione took the opal from her and slowly spoke into it.
"Minerva McGonagall." Instantly, Hermione saw her Professor's face appear in a mist before her.
"Hermione! What happened? How can I see you?" her dear Professor asked. Hermione took a deep breath.
"Professor. The Death Eaters. They know I'm here. They burnt the house down, and Charlie and his friends…" Hermione choked up. McGonagall's face grew grave.
"Oh dear," McGonagall's face grew grave.
"Professor, please don't make me come home. I found some...friends in the forest. I want to stay here and continue with my assignment. I couldn't just go back without doing anything," Hermione was filled with an intense hate for Voldemort and his followers. But she couldn't tell McGonagall about the nymphs. If anybody knew, it could be Harry's death. She would stay, and she would avenge all the deaths that he had caused, if it was the last thing she did. Professor McGonagall nodded. She understood.
"If you must. But do not contact anyone from the Order. I don't want the Death Eaters to pick up the international spell and track you down. And you need to change your location. The Death Eaters might come back." Hermione nodded in agreement. "Well then, I guess this is goodbye for now. Good luck dear."
"Thank you," Hermione whispered just before the connection got cut. A small hand moved its way to Hermione's shoulder.
"Come. Let's get you cleaned up," Hermione rose with Ivy and followed her to another room in the house. A large meal was set up there. Hermione ate with gusto, and then bathed in the lake on the ground and Ivy had another nymph was her clothes. Once Hermione was cleaned up and fed, Ivy approached her once again.
"You asked me earlier if it was a special occasion. I believe there is somebody here you should meet," Ivy took Hermione's hand and led her back to the clearing where they first met. And there stood a young man Hermione recognized as Blaise Zabini. Quickly drawing her wand, Hermione made her way over to him. Why is he here? He's a bloody Death Eater!
"Hello there, Miss Granger," Blaise spoke. Hermione surveyed him with skeptical eyes.
"What do you want?" she growled.
"What do I want?" Blaise took a step towards her. Hermione raised her wand.
"Stay away from me, Death Eater." At this, Blaise's dark blue eyes flashed with anger. His voice lowered into a growl.
"Don't you ever call me that," He moved closer so that he was about a foot away from Hermione. "I came here to help you," With that, Blaise rolled up one sleeve of his black robes, exposing the tan skin beneath it up till his forearm. There was no mark upon his flesh. Seeing this, Hermione relaxed slightly, and pocketed her wand.
"Fine. Let me rephrase that. Why are you here?" She asked.
"I'm here to help you. I don't wish there to be a war, and I want Voldemort gone just as much as you do. He's terrorized my family for ages, and forced them into hiding. It was either join him or die, and my family would do neither. So we hide, like cowards. But I am sick of hiding. I came here to help you and to achieve something against the Death Eaters and their leader."
"Why should I believe you? You just show up out of nowhere and say that you want to help!" Hermione raised her voice, and was going to continue if Blaise had not broken in.
"Correction, Hermione. I've been here the entire time," He grinned.
"What?" Hermione's usual cool faltered. "How?"
In response to her question, Blaise closed his eyes. His skin began to turn blue, and was replaced with shiny scales. His robes fell away, revealing a fitted black t-shirt and jeans. His shirt ripped along the shoulder blades in order to make way for large blue wings that grew out. Blaise fell to all fours as he grew larger. His head grew longer, and a tail grew out from his tailbone. His clothes were torn to shreds. The transformation continued until Hermione was staring at a beautiful dragon. The same dragon that had taken her under its wing the night before. Hermione gasped as she looked into the same intelligent eyes that she had admired the day before. The same sapphire blue.
The dragon beat its wings-once, twice, and then flew off into the distance. Hermione stood frozen to the spot, unable to process what she had just encountered until she felt a hand on the small of her back. Hermione jumped and whipped around, only to find Blaise, human once again; wearing the exact same clothes he had just torn to shreds minutes ago.
"Now do you believe me?" He asked, his blue eyes dancing with amusement.
"How did you…" Hermione was almost speechless.
"It took me a while. But I live in Italy, and there are tons of dragons there. The Brazilian Bluebacks vacation there sometimes," Blaise shrugged like it was something that occurred every day. "So, do you believe me now?"
"I guess I do. But how do I know I can trust you?"
"You don't," Blaise grinned and ran a hand through his messy black hair.
"Then why should I trust you?" Hermione asked. Blaise sighed and stepped towards Hermione until he was so close that she could smell his cologne. It was spicy and sweet at the same time, and Hermione inhaled a deep breath of it. Blaise leaned in to whisper in her ear.
"Because I'm all you have left."
A/N- I'm really sorry that I haven't updated sooner. This chapter is a little short, but I really wanted to have that as the last line. I'm just under a lot of pressure with state testing coming up. But this story is going to get a whole lot better, so keep reading!
Raven Claw Potions Master- Thank you so much! It's great to have a loyal reviewer! But sadly, Hermione didn't turn into a dragon…yet. Or it may never happen. You just have to keep reading to find out.
Paws.on.scroll- I can't tell you any of that! Just keep reading. Please. I beg of you.
LaNi-GoLDfiSh- This is a Hermione blaise fic! As you can see…since Charlie no longer exists…for now…or possibly forever. You'll find out!
Thanks to everybody else who reviewed!