World Enough

Chapter 11- Ereditare

Seven cloaked figures crept down the darkened hallway, wands at the ready. Their faces were obscured by their deep hoods, but by the way they moved, it was obvious this wasn't their first combat experience. The rain pelted the tin roof of the small structure, effectively covering their footsteps. A sudden flash of lightening briefly illuminated the dark blue rug, casting long, eerie shadows from the window panes.

A soft creak and a muffled shuffling as the offending foot was quickly removed from the loose floorboard. The entire group froze, and then, when it seemed they would be undiscovered, they began to move again. Their objective was apparent; to reach the closed door at the end of the hall. Why, was not yet clear.

They would never make it.

The door slammed open with the force of a gun shot. The old, worn hinges gave way, and the door fell at an odd angle. All seven men, for they were, in fact, all men, threw back their hoods revealing their grotesque metal masks.

They raised their wands and began firing spells and whatever was in the room returned fire. The thing in the room was so obviously more powerful than the Deatheaters that it was almost comical. Almost.

One by one, they fell to the floor, burned alive or twisted beyond recognition. After the first three went down, the remaining four began to retreat, backwards, back from where they'd come. The retreat was useless, however, because the man, the thing from the room stepped out into the hallway.

Another flash of lightening from a window behind him silhouetted him against the faded floral wallpaper, and his face was chillingly human. But his eyes, his terrible, monstrous eyes, were black and cold, empty of anything that was ever alive and good.

The Deatheaters were beyond fear at this point, and beyond help. This man with the empty eyes was upon them, and the last thought of the last Deatheater was of the rain, still hammering against the roof.

The man stood over them and laughed, exhilarating in his complete victory. Crackles of power danced on his fingertips, waiting, pleading to be let loose again. From the stairs that the Deatheaters had ascended, came a man with a pale, distorted face and a large snake. "Very good," the Voldemort hissed. "Your disssplay of power is breathtaking. Even my trained men could not defeat you in a ssurprissse attack. Yesss, you will be more than a match for our enemiessss, Chasse, more than a match."

Voldemort and Chase smiled at one another, as Nagini slid across the cooling bodies on the floor.

"Harry! C'mon, mate, please! Wake up, Harry, wake up!" Ron was shaking him hard and frantically calling his name, and someone was screaming. It was a hoarse, desperate cry, and as Harry slowly became aware of the world around him, he realized that the screams were coming from him. He was lying on the floor in between their beds, with his legs tangled in the sheets. He was shaking, and his pajama shirt was stuck to his skin with cold sweat.

Ron was kneeling beside him, with the end of his wand lit up. The red-head shifted his weight back onto his feet and gave Harry room to reach for his glasses. Once he could properly see, Harry noticed three other faces peering out from behind their bed curtains. "Harry," said Ron, "Are you alright?"

Harry swallowed, and shook his head. "We've got to talk to Dumbledore, right now." Wordlessly, Ron stood and pulled on a robe and stuck his bare feet into his trainers. They left the dorms, and the other three boys looked at one another, and then decided to return to sleep. Such happenings were practically a nightly occurrence when one roomed with Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived.

"And he sent us right back to bed! Can you believe it? 'Go back to bed boys, things won't look so dire in the morning light,'" Ron mimicked Dumbledore. "Is he bloody daft?!"

"Now you're beginning to see thing my way," drawled Draco, from where he was reclining in an armchair. It was Sunday morning, and the group had gathered in the Covenant boys' common room to discuss Harry's latest dreams. They had been happening more and more frequently, and now they were beginning to become more violent as well.

As far as they could tell, Voldemort had been testing Chase's powers against the Deatheaters, most likely in preparation for an attack. An attack on what, they weren't quite sure, but since Voldemort was involved, it couldn't be good.

And Chase had apparently been powering up somehow, as well. From what Harry described, the American boys said that Chase should be very visibly showing the effects of aging, but he looked just as young to Harry as he had in the first dream, and as young as the rest of them. Either Chase and Voldemort had found a way to counter-act the aging, Chase was using a glamour spell, or he was siphoning the power from somewhere else. The glamour spell was the least likely, as holding it in place would be a constant power drain. It was equally likely that they had managed to counter-act the aging, something Professors Dumbledore and Snape hadn't even made headway one yet.

But where else could the power be coming from?

Hermione and Tyler were flipping through some musty old books they'd found on the shelves. She had remembered something she's read once about certain magical objects that could be used to amplify the power of the wizard possessing it, and was looking for more information on those objects. Tyler was trying his best to help. Ron and Pogue were playing a round of wizards' chess (Ron was winning by rather a lot, and Pogue was becoming quite frustrated), and Harry was repeating for the ninth time what happened in his dream. Reid and Draco were doing quite a bit of nothing, besides offering up the occasional bit of snark and sarcasm.

A few moments later, Hermione slammed her book shut with a loud sigh of disgust. A cloud of dist billowed out. "Nothing! A fat lot of nothing. I'm tired of looking in books today. Let's go outside." She looked at everyone.

Everyone looked at her, wide-eyed. Hermione was never tired of books. It went against all the laws of nature that they'd come to rely on. Hermione being tired of books was like the sun being tired of rising in the east and the tides being tired of turning.

"What? I'm perfectly capable of having interests other than books, and sometimes I do like to rest my eyes a bit! Honestly! You boys do like things other than Quidditch, right? Why am I not allowed to be multi-layered?"

"Okay, Mione," started Harry. "We can go outside. What did you have in mind?"

"Let's go see Hagrid. Since I dropped Care of Magical Creatures in 5th year, I hadn't been seeing as much of him."

"Right," agreed Ron. "But let's stop off at the kitchens first and get a basket for lunch. I don't fancy dining on Hagrid's rock cakes again."

Dobby was more than happy to comply with Ron's wishes for a picnic basket, but while they were on the way back from the dungeons, Draco suddenly stopped. "Wait, what the hell am I doing? I can't have a bloody picnic with a bunch of sodding Gryffindors! I'm a Malfoy, for Merlin's sake." He spun and ambled off in an opposite direction, muttering things about 'brainless gits' and 'ruined reputations.'

Everyone else shrugged, and carried on towards a sunny spot between the lake and the Forbidden Forest.

Once there, the group found a nice spot on a wide, flat rock. The surface of the rock had been warmed by the sun and was a nice contrast to the cool April air. From there, they could see the Quidditch pitch, and occasionally, a player on a broom would rise high enough to be seen above the stands. The yellow and black of their Hufflepuff uniforms made them look like bumblebees.

Hermione leaned back on her hands and sighed. "Isn't it nice out here? The sun is shining, birds are singing, everyone's homework is finished ahead of time. Nothing could be better." The boys all shared a look behind her back. Homework? None of them had cracked a book since Friday afternoon. They'd all be copying off of one another after dark.

They all sat in silence for another few moments while Hermione basked and the boys put away at least three sandwiches apeice, then Harry pulled a pack of Exploding Snap cards from his robes. Hermione scowled at them, but soon enough they were contentedly absorbed in a game.

After three rounds and several singed fingertips, someone said, "Can we join in?"

The boys looked up to find four familiar girls standing at the edge of the rocks. Sammy, Anna, Angelique and Lana.

Reid grinned at them. It'd been a few weeks since he really had the chance to talk to any of the British girls, and it'd been almost two months since his date with Clarissa before he was attacked and brought to Hogwarts. He was definitely overdue for some serious flirting. "Sure. We're always happy for the company of beautiful women."

He scooted over just slightly, and Anna climbed up and sat down so close beside him she might as well have been sitting on his lap. Following Anna's lead, Angelique settled herself right onto Pogue's lap without invitation, not that he was complaining, mind, and Sammy kneeled next to Tyler. She gave him a wide, bubbly smile and pulled a book out of her pocket. It was orange and had a cartoonish picture of a boy with black hair and a dragon on his shirt. Across the top read 'Ranma ½.' Tyler grabbed it excitedly. 'Awesome! Volume 24, the one where Ranma faces the eight-headed dragon."

Sammy nodded. "Yeah, it's a favorite of mine. I like it because on the last page Ranma and Akane hold hands." She giggled a little bit, and Tyler smiled at her. Hermione got a sour taste in her mouth, and she turned away.

Now facing the Quidditch pitch, she watched as another team crossed the lawn carrying their brooms. The Hufflepuff team had disappeared from the sky. Must be Slytherin, she thought absently. Draco hadn't mentioned it, but members of the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw teams were on the rock with her.

Harry, Ron, and Caleb were setting up a new round of Exploding Snap, but Reid and Pogue were too busy carrying on with the girls to pay attention. Pogue was tucking a stray piece of Angelique's brown hair behind her ear. Reid was much worse- He had actually scooted himself to the far edge of the rock, facing away from the rest of them. Anna was straddling him, and they were kissing with such intensity that neither one of them even noticed when Trevor the toad hopped right past them to get to the mud beside the lake.

Tyler, she was happy to note, was behaving with much more decorum, as he, Sammy, and Lana joined in the game.

Across the lake, Hermione saw the new Quidditch team take to the sky and begin doing laps. She watched for the silver flash of Draco's hair from between the tall stands, but never saw it. Mentally shrugging, she placed her attention back on the game.

The card that Sammy had just laid down exploded. With a small shriek, she jerked her hand back and laughed. "I'm terrible at this game!"

"That's okay. I'm no good either," Tyler said.

Sammy pouted. "But you just learned it a few weeks ago. I've been playing for years!"

"Yeah, but it plays just like-" Tyler cut off as three cards exploded, sending little shocks up his fingers. "Dammit! That's always what happens." Now without any cards left to play, he was out of the game. He grabbed the manga from his lap and flipped it open. Sammy (who was still in the game with two cards left) leaned close to him to point something out on one of the pages. Tyler grinned at her.

Angrily, Hermione looked back at the pitch. 'What is wrong with me? I need to get away from all of these boys for a while. Maybe I should go do homework...' While she was thinking, she was absently watching the Quidditch players again. Two of them were using bats to hit a bludger back and forth at one end, and two more looked like they were practicing some sort of move where one would suddenly swing themselves underneath of their broom, and toss the Quaffle to the other. Hermione didn't know much about the sport, but she suspected that this move might be useful if a Chaser from an opposing team was flying between them.

A tall boy slammed the door to the locker rooms open and was walking quickly towards the castle, broom in hand. From his stride, Hermione could tell that he was angry. Perhaps he had just been thrown off the team?

But the four players in the air showed no sign of problems. They were carrying on as usual. Draco, the Slytherin captain, might run his show with an iron fist, but she suspected that even he didn't inspire enough fear to keep the rest of the team from gawking at any problems and arguments that might arise.

As the boy neared the castle, the path he was walking on drew him closer to her, and she realized that he was still wearing team robes. If he had in fact been thrown off the team, he definitely wouldn't be still wearing them. He would've changed in the locker room.

Beside her, Ron swore as he, too, was out of the game. Lana was winning, still holding two cards to Harry and Sammy's one. A sudden spike of jealousy ran through Hermione as Sammy shook her head at something Tyler had said to her. Her blonde ponytail swung wildly.

The boy across the lake had been walking in the shadow of the castle since the path turned to come nearer to the lake, but now he stepped into the sunlight and Hermione registered surprise as the bright blue color of his robes came into focus. He was the Captain of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team.

"Sammy," Hermione said sharply. "Isn't that your team practicing over there?"

The blonde girl's head jerked in the direction of the field. "Oh, my God, Angelique, what time is it?"

Angelique was busy whispering something into Pogue's ear and didn't hear Sammy's question. "What?"

"Oh, God, we're late for practice. Michael's gonna kill us!" Since 4th year, Sammy had been a Seeker, and Angelique had been Chaser. Michael Corner, had been chosen to be Captain at the end of last year, and he had it out for the two girls ever since Angelique had dumped him for Ernie Macmillan a week after Valentine's Day in 6th year. Sammy tossed her remaining snap card into the discard pile, where it summarily exploded.

Angelique hastily extracted herself from Pogue's lap and the two girls sprinted towards the castle's south entrance, presumably hoping to avoid Michael until they were on the pitch.

Anna had looked up (pausing to breath perhaps?) when her friends had hopped down from the rock, and said, "Well, I guess I ought to get goin, too. Reid?" She jumped off the side and waited, expectantly.

Reid turned to the rest of them, his hair mussed. "See you later, guys!"

He, too, jumped off the rock. Throwing an arm over Anna's shoulders, he sauntered off.

"Same old Reid," Caleb muttered. "Sun's startin to go down. I guess we all ought to head in."

"Hermione? Do you want to go back to the library with me?" Tyler smiled at her.

For once in her life, the library no longer held the same appeal, especially after she'd just watched Tyler with Sammy. What kind of girl did he think she was? Did he expect her to allow him to jump straight to her when his first choice was busy? She narrowed her eyes. "No. I don't think I'll go to the library anymore tonight."

She stood up and stepped carefully across the remains of the game, not wanting to set any of the cards off under her feet. Without looking back, she walked quickly to the castle, straight up to the library where she checked out several books to do her research in the safety of her own four-poster bed. Because being Hermione, she had wanted to return to the library, but she had to sort out what to do about Tyler first.

The boys had all sat on the rock and stared after Hermione for a few long minutes before the first drops of rain fell from the sky. Caleb stretched out a hand and all the snap cards stacked themselves up and zoomed into to before the water ruined them. Harry grabbed the now-empty basket and they ran inside quickly.

Not far behind them was the remainder of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team.

Early the next morning, Caleb, Pogue and Tyler were doing some quick homework revision before classes, when a knock sounded at the door. They looked at one another. Dumbledore and all their friends had the password, and usually just walked right through.

Caleb went and opened it, revealing a young boy wearing Hufflepuff robes. He looked to be maybe a third or fourth year. "Can I help you?"

"My sister asked me to drop this off to someone here." The brown-haired boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and handed Caleb a rolled up bit of parchment clutched in his fist.

"Thanks," said Caleb, accepting the parchment. The boy nodded, and turned to walk down towards the Great Hall.

Walking back to the table, Caleb unrolled it.

"Who's it from?" asked Pogue.

"Aine. I didn't realize she had a brother attending here." Caleb scanned it quickly. "She needs to cancel our sessions for the next three days. She's taking a trip to meet her father in Ireland. She says it was a last minute thing, she just got an OWL this morning, and she'll see us as usual after lunch on Thursday."

Pogue reached for the note, and scanned it himself. "Huh."

"Huh, what?" Reid asked, finally awake and making his way down.

"No classes with Aine until Thursday," said Tyler. "Which means I don't have to finish these essays now, I can do it after Potions." The 7th year Potions class was their second class of the morning, and all 4 boys were enrolled in it. Usually, they went to see Aine afterwards, to be tutored on Charms and Transfiguration.

It was all book work, of course, since Dumbledore said it wasn't safe for them to risk aging just to practice. But Aine would help them to memorize the incantations, and demonstrated them all. The magic would come easier, she had said, if they thought the incantation, instead of just what they wanted to happen. Without telling anyone they were doing it, sometimes the boys would sit in their common room and practice Using with incantations, and it turns out that she was right. It was roughly half as tiring as it used to be.

"Great, then," Reid said, grabbing his book bag from the floor by the bookcase. "Let's go to breakfast. I'm starved."

The rest of the boys laughed, and Pogue said, "Man, you're always starved."

At the top of the main staircase, they were joined by three Ravenclaw girls. Anna and Angelique immediately latched onto Reid and Pogue, and Sammy fell into step beside Tyler.

"How did it go with Michael last night? He throw you off the team?"

Sammy blew out a breath. "No, thank goodness. IT started pouring, so he called practice. We're gonna have extra laps to do next time for being late, but we got lucky. If we'd missed practice, he definitely would've thrown us off. He hates Angie, and I'm guilty by association."

Entering the great hall, Angelique and Anna split off to the Ravenclaw table, but Sammy continued on with the boys to the Gryffindor table. "Hermione," she said when she reached it. "I wanted to say thanks for reminding us about practice yesterday. We'd've been off the team if we'd missed it."

Hermione blinked at her for a moment, then gave a terse reply. "You're welcome."

"Well, I'll see you in Divination, Tyler." Sammy smiled at him as she walked away.

The Ipswich boys took seats, and Hermione shoved her chair back. The legs grated loudly against the stone floors. "I'll be in the library," she said to Harry and Ron over her shoulder as she stalked off.

"What's got into her?" Tyler asked.

The other boys just shrugged.

Hermione threw her bag down on her favorite library table and began pulling books out. 'Borqueine's Best Blood-Based Banes' and 'Jinxes and Hexes for Multiple Generations' were the only two books remaining in the library that she hadn't looked through yet, not including the three other Curse and Blood books that had disappeared sometime before she had reached that end of the shelf. She had asked Madame Pince, but the severe librarian had told her that some hooligan must have shelved them wrongly for a joke, as she had no records of them being checked out.

She flipped open Borqueine's Best to her page marker from last night, and began to read about slow-acting poisons. She was quite certain that none of this would help much with their research, but she was afraid if she only skimmed the books instead of actually reading them that she would miss some small mention of something that might really be important.

Across the table, someone dropped a black book bag and Hermione jerked her head up. Of all people, Draco was sliding into the seat across from her. Her eyes quickly danced around the library, wondering what he was up to.

"Don't worry, there's no one else in here. Not even that hag librarian."

Automatically, Hermione defended the woman. "She's not at all a hag. She's a very nice lady, who is very devoted to the written word."

"Yeah, whatever. I'm finished with these, and thought you might like to have them. I've marked a few... Applicable pages, but when you bring it up to Dumbledore, just pretend you found it on your own." He pulled three books from his bag and tossed them onto the table, face down. She could see a scrap of parchment marking a page in the one on top.

Without another word, he turned and left. Hermione picked up the first book. It was one of the ones that had been missing from the shelf. She flipped it open to the page marker. It said 'Chapter 9: Curse-Based Heredity'

The sons of the House of Black will always have black hair, and the Weasley line will always be redheads. Those born unto the Longbottom clan will be blond, and a Malfoy will always have eyes of grey, fair skin, and blond hair. Why is this?

These old, pureblooded families all carry a Heredity Curse, tailored for their family needs. Many generations ago, before the self-updating charms were perfected for the Family Books and Tapestries, families needed a way to prove their heritage.

Feodor Prokofiev, Russia, is credited with the invention of the curse in 39 B.C., as a way to pass on musical talent to his children, however the first major usage of it did not come until 38 A.D., 100 years later. Roman Emperor Caligula requested that the curse be placed on all of his royal concubines to ensure they inherited all looks from their mother, so paternal lineage could not be proven. His chief warlock, Drago Ruggiero, modified the Prokofiev version to the version that we can still see traces of today.

After Caligula, if became custom of the upper-class to make sure to pass on a favorite family trait. Coloring was often the trait of choice, however certain families had been known to pass on height, bone structure, and birthmarks. The Higgins patriarch chose to pass on his fingerprints to all of his children, and then coded the family manor to accept the fingerprint as a password to get through the wards. The line of female warriors called 'Slayers' (last of the line was killed in 1297- see 'Mythical Heroes' for more information) were identified by a specifically placed mark on their necks.

The Wizards Council classified the Heredity Curse as a Class V Excessively Restricted Usage Magic in 1376, after it was discovered that two conflicting curses caused severe birth defects if not taken care of before birth. The Cordone's and the Grysones both carried Heredity Curses regarding the bone structure of the nose. Annalise Cordone' married Fabrian Grysone and when a child was conceived, it was born with no nose at all. Upon further research, it was discovered that a set of twins confounds the Heredity Curse, and it will not apply to both babies. By applying a Class IV Often Unallowable Magic, designed to cause a woman to bear twins, the problems regarding the birth defects could be circumvented. The eldest twin would receive the trait from his fathers curse, and the younger twin would receive the mothers trait.

The usage of a spell classified as a class IV or above is only allowed when the proper forms have been filled out in triplicate and an appointment is made with a Lower Councilman to discuss the reasons for the spell. If the reasons are approved and the forms are filed, a councilman will apply the spell. Class III spells should be used with reasonable caution, Class II spells are safe for adults and school children under the direction of a teacher, and Class I spells are universally allowable.

Hermione blinked, and then read through the text again. She'd not heard of the Heredity Curse before, and thought that strange. Surely she would've come across such a widely used spell in her previous research on blood spells, and you'd think Ron might've mentioned it, seeing as how his family was one of the ones detailed in the chapter as carriers of the curse.

She flipped to the inside of the front cover, found it blank, and flipped to the back. There on the last page was a short notation by the author, including the year of publication- 1599. Hermione furrowed her brow. According to that, the book was over 400 years old, but it certainly didn't look it, and it certainly didn't read like it was.

Deciding to think on it later, she switched to the second of Draco's books. This one had three markers, but was completely useless without a translator because it was written in what appeared to be Russian. The only thing she could make out for certain was a penciled notation in the margin 'curse can be modified for ALL possible traits'. She didn't recognize the cramped handwriting, but she hypothesized that it must be Draco's.

The third book was not a library book (meaning that the third book was still missing, she realized with annoyance). It was a slim, clothbound book that looked like a diary, or journal. It was well-worn, the delicate blue fabric faded to the point that the floral pattern was almost completely lost. She turned it around in her hands. Whoever this belonged to, Hermione was sure it had been well-loved.

She slowly opened the front cover, revealing the first page of script. It was a diary. And it was written in French. Hermione flipped to each of the three page markers, scanning down the page until she found the word 'Ereditare' on each one.

Ereditare. That wasn't French, she knew, but was sure it looked European. She could read French okay, and scanned the rest of the page. It spoke of a difficult birth, resulting in two sickly babies. Twins, a boy and girl.

Hermione paused for a moment, and flipped back to the second marker. The entry on that page was about a spell taking effect, and discovering that she was, in fact, expecting. The entry on the first marker talked about her husbands wish for an heir and a meeting with a wizard from 'L'Italie', Italy. Hermione skimmed quickly over the mystery witch's assessment of the Italian wizard (very handsome, though much too short, and smelled strongly of cabbage). It seemed that the Italian was going to place a spell on the woman, without the Ministry's consent. Her husband was paying handsomely for it, because they needed to counter-act the 'Ereditare'.

Hermione skimmed a few more pages while she mulled over the unfamiliar word. The witch was quite a bit flighty, she decided, and reminded her strongly of Fleur Delacour, the part-Veela French witch who had competed against Harry in the Tri-Wizard Tournament a few years back. The girl was now dating Bill Weasley, much to Mrs. Weasley's displeasure.

Suddenly, something occurred to Hermione. Part-Veela, French, wrote a diary that somehow Draco Malfoy had in his possession. Quickly, she shoved her things haphazard back into her bag. Malfoy had told them days before that once during his family tree, there was a twin birth, a boy and a girl. She knew that Malfoys family originally came from France, she had come across that in various bits of reading over the years, but had always dismissed it as unimportant.

But now there was a diary to go through in the privacy of her bedroom. In her trunk, she had a book that contained a replicating spell and a translating spell. She would replicate the diary, translate it to English, and find out what Draco and Reid's ancestor could tell her about yet another one of the blood curses that the boys carried. Perhaps this long-dead witch could reveal a secret to reversing the spell that even Professors Snape and Dumbledore couldn't come up with.

Such was her excitement over the diary, Hermione completely forgot to go to her classes all morning, and thus received her first three detentions, ever.

Okay, there's been a huge gap between this chapter and the last, and I'm sorry. My comp crashed, and then when I got it fixed... I was just totally out of the 'writing' groove, and the prospect of completely re-writing chapter 11 again was...daunting, to say the least. It had been so long (my own comp was out of commission for several months) that I had pretty much forgotten what was going on, so I had to re-read all the chapters I had posted on here, and re-do my general outline (which had also been lost in the Great Crash of 07).

Thanks so much to everyone who's still here reading this, and who have read it in my absence.

To get myself back in the 'groove' of writing, I did do two shorts and posted them previously. One is a Hermione-centric HP piece, and the other is from the Firefly/Serenity fandom (the first piece I ever tried for that).

Besides this one, I am working on about 5 other fics - 1 Covenant, 2 HP, 1 Ranma ½ (which may never get finished- I've been writing it off and on for almost 4 years now and it's only about 50 pages in) and 1 new Indiana Jones (oh, my God, I love the new movie! I've seen it twice already!), but I have decided to not upload anything until I'm finished, or nearly finished with a fic, so as to avoid these lengthy delays in the future.

Please R&R!