Spellbound, Chapter 5

"I hate you."

"Hate? Don't you think that's a bit ungrateful to the person who created you?"

"My parents created me!" I spat the words at the subtle curves of his pale face.

"And yet they were barren for years, weren't they, Hermione? You were a miracle to them. To the natural world. You see, they couldn't have children- because the children they would've created would have been an anomaly to the physical world. There are rules, Hermione. And nature doesn't like to break them." He took a step towards me. I didn't move. "But on very special occasions, reserved for very special wizards, nature can be... forced."

I looked stonily up at him, and the distance between us in my new cell became static. Time buzzed through our perifery and lost its purpose. He was the center of my tunnel vision. "Personis Illuminati." The syllables dripped from my mouth onto the room's soft carpet, making a mess.

The simple arch of his smile drew my eyes and my fury. "Yes," he said, and made the air around him vibrate. He made the magic in the air around us both shimmer. My eyes clouded with some moisture as I walked backwards to sit clumsily on the bed. His bed. "Yes, I used the Personis Illuminati. It was only recently that I became aware of how it chose to manifest itself, however. I must say, I had almost forgotten about it. What has it been... twenty years?" He hid the glint in his up-turned eyes as he moved to sit in the arm chair across from me.

"Twenty years. That sounds right. Am I to believe you performed an intricate, painful dark arts spell without even knowing what it would do? That doesn't sound very wise. You would've been weakened for months after- you wouldn't have had your full power for perhaps a year! You would've been so vulnerable that-"

"That my own spell, rebounded by a baby, could end me?" I stared at him dumbly. I needed him to leave nothing assumed, to leave nothing misunderstood.

"It was quite a sucessful spell, Hermione. Not many who try it are fortunate enough to be so drained. I did not return to full power for at least one year and ten months. After that... well, your knowledge of this war's history should let you know I was not in any state to wave a wand. Thank Merlin for Horcruxes." He was being flippant to goad me. His eyes watched me from the side as he strode to look out the window. He considered my artificial landscape.

"You're wrong, however. I did know what the spell would do. I just didn't know how it would do it."

He was next to me on the bed. I felt the inhuman softness of the back of his hand on the side of my face. "And here you are..." The tenderness and awe in his voice was new. I didn't want to think it was an act- not when that soft skin was moving slowly down my neck, framing me out like I was a sculpter's masterpiece. Venus de Milo, looking askance at her creator. He moved breath inside of his body for effect. "My Hermione. I asked for you, and here you are."

"The book was obscure when it spoke of the spell. I would appreciate your candor." My stiff body leaned away from his.

"My candor. Of course, my dear. I am unused to granting my subjects explanations." No softness of words could conceal the malignant power coming from him. It ate me up, bit away at the cloud of my cognizance until I was a seed of fear at the bottom of my own stomach.

"It was 1978, and I was at my peak. Until now, of course. I thought I was seconds away from conquoring the magical world. But those seconds stretched onward. Nothing changed. Our battles with the ministry, with the Order, were all stalemates in the big picture of our success or failure." He chuckled at some memory I was not privy to. "So I decided to become more.

"It was an expected step, really. I had been busy creating and hiding horcruxes since I was a teenager, and I was at that point well-secure with six objects- seven soul parts, counting what was in my body. A perfect security. A magic security. But still I was not content." He strode over to my bookshelf and plucked what he wanted from the shelves. "On Power. Isn't that a tantalizing name?"

I think he was growing tired of my silences.

"Quite." I cleared my voice of cobwebs. "It got my attention."

"Quite," he drawled, as his fingers traced the embossed cover. "The Personis Illuminati promises a compliment to one's magic; a catalyst for individual spells, and an augmented link to permanantly boost one's power. The vessel of the Illuminati is said to act precisely as needed it's creator needs- whether that means bringing certain events to fruition, or effecting the people around it to benefit the creator. Usually the vessel is a wizard's familiar. As you know, bonds like this are what differentiate familiars from regular pets. This particular spell, however... Due to its dark nature and its antiquity, it is seldom used for such arrangements. You see, this spell creates the familiar. In the womb of a cat, let's say, the perfect cat who would have the perfect complimentary personality, the cat who would be of the exactly complimentary circumstances- and who would come about at the perfect time- this cat- hypothetically- would be imbued with a piece of its master's magic, and would be permanantly linked to him from the moment of its birth."

I remember blinking emphatically to see if the room around me kept existing. "You're saying I'm your cat?"

That pale curve graced his mouth once again as he returned to face me in the arm chair. "The cat was an example. It is the most common familiar for a reason, Hermione. It is generally non-magical, and physically it is both common and simple. The average witch or wizard has no problem creating a link with a creature such as this. The more complex animals, and especially magical animals, are far more rare. Surely you remember Fawkes, dear Professor Dumbledore's pheonix?"

"Fawkes was linked to Dumbledore? Did he create him?"

"I doubt that dear Albus stooped so low as to use the Illuminati spell, but I have no doubt they were magically connected. Didn't you find it strange all the times Fawkes magically appeared to do just what Dumbledore would've wanted him to do? Animals have free will. Familiars feel that they do, perhaps, but their will is always to the benefit of their masters."

"None of this changes the fact that I am a human witch!" My anger was outing itself now, as I gathered his meaning. The air crackled once more, but I wasn't sure which of us riled the magic up to such a state. I could see he found my impotent anger amusing.

"Never before have I heard of such an occurance. The weakest wizard- or even a squib- has more inherant power than any other magical creature, except perhaps a vampire or veela. Reasonably powerful wizards have more power than anything."

I stared blankly into his dark eyes. "I am not your cat."

"You see how easily everything you choose to do pleases me? You know what to say to make me smile, Hermione Granger. No one has seen me smile this often since I left the charade of Tom Riddle." He stood, and made his way across my room. "You're mine, Hermione. My perfect match. My augmentation and my completion. Do whatever you'd like, my dear. For whatever you do, it can only prove that you were born to serve me."

He left the room and the door closed with a loud creak. I dove off the bed and towards my desk in the parlor. With one swift motion my arm vaulted books and parchment and candlesticks across the floor. With a circular motion I brought down the chair. I violently threw dark arts books into the fireplace, knowing they wouldn't catch fire, not caring to care. A scream tore itself from my throat as I challenged the rest of the room. I collapsed onto the sofa, beating pillows indiscriminately as my anger burst within me, ceasing steadily as an eerie apathy gripped my beating heart with mocking. Beat, beat, beat. Beat, beat, beat. Then Stillness.

"I am nobody's cat."