Hello everyone! I can't believe I'm posting another chapter this soon, but I realized that Unheard Music has over 200 reviews! I'm amazed. And so thankful for all of you readers. So as a gift I'm posting this chapter early, and its much longer than my usual ones. Hooray! While writing this chapter (and the next) I listened to the newest album from one of my favorite artists ever, Missy Higgins. Shes amazing and I thought some of her lyrics were perfect for this chapter, and the next one too.
Disclaimer: I own nothing and am making no profit from this story.
Melody you're the only one who saves me
Out of the cold you take me (set me on fire)
Save me (set me on fire)
Melody, all I want is to remember
What came before this winter (set me on fire)
Save me, set me on fire
-Missy Higgins, Set me on Fire
Three weeks had passed since the students and professors had returned to Hogwarts, it was almost Valentines Day, and Fleur was feeling frustrated and worried. Hermione had not spoken to her except when answering questions in class since they had returned. The books the brown haired girl had borrowed were returned to her room by some unknown source, but she suspected owl or cat. The girl had not even left a note with them.
Not only was Fleur feeling stressed out and worried; that stress was beginning to show visibly. Dark circles were developing under her eyes, and her hands shook slightly when she held them out in front of her, even when she tried to keep them as still as possible. When asked, she accredited it all to lack of sleep, which was probably part of the problem since she was sleeping very little, and any sleep she did get was restless. Not even singing could help relieve her pain. When she tried, the music just would not come out.
The Veela sighed in frustration and glanced at her watch. Her next class was about to begin, both her favorite and least favorite group of students. It was her seventh year class of Gryffindors, which of course meant that Hermione was going to be there. Fleur dreaded the thought of seeing her chosen mate and being completely ignored. It was tortuous to have to girl right within her reach, but to be unable to even have a conversation with her. The blonde haired woman let out a deep breath. As students began to wander into the classroom, she put on her mask of "perfectly fine" and rose to begin the class session.
The class dragged on slowly for Fleur, the icy look that had been in Hermione's eyes since the start of the term lingered in the side of Fleur's vision, tempting her to look, but leaving her feeling emptier than before. When it was finally over, she turned to her desk to clear it and organize for her evening work as the students started to slowly filter out of the classroom. The blonde haired woman clenched her fists on her desk, nearly to the point of tears as she thought about Hermione. The girl was still in the room, waiting for Ron to pack up with Harry. Fleur could feel her presence behind her.
Suddenly a single high note erupted from her throat, unbidden, and a hand flew up to her mouth to stifle the sound. However, the remaining students in the room had heard it, and while they had not connected the source to Fleur, she could feel the heat rising to her face at their murmurings of "Blimey!" and "What was that?". She continued to flutter aimlessly around her desk, straightening this, moving that, until the room was fully empty before she turned around and collapsed sitting on the desk. She let out a long sigh and lifted her eyes to look around the room, only to find Hermione standing there.
Hermione rolled her eyes as she waited for Ron to pack up his stuff after the class, impatient to get out of the room and back to her dormitory. She tapped her foot as she stood there; Ron was taking an extra long time to gather his things. But when a single high pitched note filled the air all thoughts left her head and her foot stopped its incessant tapping.
Ron's head shot up and he looked around. "Blimey, what was that?" he slung his bag over his shoulder.
"Beats me mate." replied Harry as he shrugged and ran a hand through his mess y hair. "Probably Peeves up to no good. Ready to go 'Mione?"
The brown haired girl looked at him with vacant eyes. "I'll catch up to you; I need to talk to professor Delacour." She said in an unusually flat voice. "I'll meet you at dinner."
Harry looked at her with an eyebrow raised. "Are you sure Hermione? I though you wanted to get some work done before dinner."
"No, I will catch up to you." She said more firmly.
Harry paused to scrutinize her once more before he walked out of the room. "Ok, we'll see you later." And he and Ron left.
Fleur gasped in surprise when she realized she was not alone in her classroom. Hermione, the girl she needed, was standing in front of her; motionless. The Veela stared into her brown eyes as she moved forward, her feet carrying her towards the still figure of Hermione.
As she came within arm's reach of the girl she paused and really looked at her. She had never had the time to look at the Gryffindor up this close she realized, even though she knew she was destined to be with this girl, no this woman, for the rest of her life. The light filtered in through the tall windows as it began to fade into the dusk. Fleur could almost feel the magic of the moment, both literally and figuratively as she stared at the still motionless figure of Hermione Granger.
The Veela took a step closer to the brunette, and smiled a small smile as she realized she was the taller of the two, even though it was only slightly. It pained her that she had never even gotten a chance to realize that until this moment. She lifted a hand hesitantly, pausing, but finally tracing the jaw line of the girl in front of her with her finger tips, running the pad of her thumb over Hermione's full pink lips.
Subconsciously Fleur licked her own lips, wondering how Hermione's would feel against her own. Fleur shivered, as goose bumps ran up her spine, and she could feel the change under her skin, as a primal force began to take hold of her body. 'Non! Je ne peut pas!" she screamed at herself, but she couldn't hold herself back. Her suppressed need for the female in front of her bubbled to the surface, and the Veela felt her control evaporate with each passing second. She tried to wrestle it back, but she could feel herself slipping out of her grasp. As she lost control her eyes changed from blue to white to light yellow, and her pupils elongated, becoming hawk like. Her hands balled into fists, and opened looking more like claws than hands.
Fleur now stepped so close to the statuesque girl that their chests were almost touching. She leaned in close to the girl's neck and inhaled her scent, her eyes closed in ecstasy. She pulled back and looked right into Hermione's blank eyes. When she spoke, it was in the ancient tongue of the Veela. "Look at you….standing here. The most beautiful woman I have ever seen, so mysterious, so intriguing…" her voice came out laced with spite "but you won't look at me. You won't talk to me. You know you are mine, you must. I can feel it." She brought her hand up to the shorter girl's chest and placed it just above her heart. "Why can't you see that I love you? Do you even know what is meant to be?" The Veela snarled and clenched her hand, bunching the fabric of Hermione's shirt. "I could take you right here…and make you mine. Your will is mine." A smile started with an upward curl of one side of her mouth. "We were given the power to control you, our mates for this very reason…"
Before the Veela could continue any further the door of the room was blown wide open and the magnificent and powerful form of Albus Dumbledore loomed in the door frame. "Fleur stop!" The command echoed with power and the Veela gasped and shrank back her eyes immediately reverting to their normal bright blue color. She felt suddenly queasy and slumped against her desk, too weak to hold herself up. "What are you doing?" Dumbledore's electric eyes were blazing. "You know you are better than this."
His dismissal hurt more than Fleur wanted to admit. She hung her head in acknowledgment of his words.
Dumbledore softened. "I'm sorry Fleur, but I need to take Ms. Granger to the Hospital wing." The girl had been caught by the old man when she was released from Fleur's thrall and upon further inspection, Fleur saw that she was unconscious. "I will have Professor McGonagall bring you to your rooms and provide you with anything you should need. I will speak with you soon." On queue Professor McGonagall appeared at his elbow.
"Good lord…" she gasped, taking in the situation.
"Minerva, could you please take Professor Delacour to her rooms?" Dumbledore asked.
"Why yes of course." And she went to the desk and took one of Fleur's arms, steadying her as they left the room.
With surprising strength for an old man, Dumbledore lifted Hermione in his arms and followed them out, before turning in the direction of the Hospital Wing.
Later that Night
Hermione blinked her eyes groggily as she came to her senses. Upon realizing that she was not in her own bed she looked around in confusing, and was greeted by the sight of Madame Pomfrey bustling over to her bed.
"Ah deary, I'm glad to see you're awake. The headmaster will be glad too. He wants to see you in his office as soon as you're able." She spoke kindly as she felt the brown haired girl's pulse. "and I'd say you're as good as new my dear. Off you go now." And Hermione found herself being shooed out of the room.
It was dark in the castle as Hermione walked down a vacant corridor; and she guessed that it was quite late in the evening. Making her way to Dumbledore's office took a good five minutes and to occupy her mind she thought about the bizarre afternoon. She could not remember much of it, only that she had been ready to leave for dinner with Harry and Ron, and then suddenly she had been in the hospital wing. She frowned trying to remember more, but the only thing she could remember was one loud note that seemed to reverberate throughout her entire body; and then nothing. Her frown deepened as she pushed to remember more, knowing that something was there, moving at the edge of her consciousness just out of her reach. In one violent rush, the words of a language she could not understand flowed through her head, twisting and swirling through her thoughts, through her entire being. Gasping she leaned against the stone wall of the corridor, her forehead pressed against the cold stone.
Hermione's head felt fuzzy as she tried to remember more, but all she could see were a pair of yellow, bird-like eyes staring into her soul, and mesmerizing lips moving in the language that gave her goose bumps even from memory. She realized who the eyes belonged to easily, and everything else fell into place. She groaned. She had a sinking suspicion she knew exactly what Dumbledore was going to say to her in his office. She started walking again. For someone so mysterious he was strangely predictable. She smiled slightly at the thought as she neared the gargoyle that guarded his office.
"Miss Granger, I was wondering how you were doing. What a coincidence to see you here."
Hermione started at the sound of Dumbledore's voice. She turned to see him practically gliding towards her without a sound. Somehow, she guessed that it was hardly a coincidence at all that they were both going to his office and had met outside of it. In fact, she realized she did not know his current password. She was unsure how she would have gotten in without it. She shook her head and snorted under her breath. She was sure Dumbledore knew that and had planned to meet her at this spot from the start. What a crazy old man. She wondered vaguely if he had trackers on all the students and teachers so he could appear wherever they happened to be any time he wanted. She dismissed the idea for its very ridiculousness. He wouldn't or couldn't do that…could he?
Dumbledore's voice interrupted her thoughts. "Shall we go up?" They had reached his gargoyle guardian. Hermione nodded and he spoke the password. "Tootsie Pop."
Hermione stared. "Professor…isn't that a muggle candy?" she asked. She had in fact loved them as a child.
"Why yes, indeed it is." He looked a little surprised she had said anything. "I suppose you would know about Tootsie Pops…" he mused. "This past Christmas vacation I happened to stop in a muggle store on one of the days I was not at the castle and sampled one. I found it very satisfactory." His eyes twinkled.
By this time they had entered his office and Dumbledore moved behind his desk and sat down. He motioned for the young witch to sit down in the chair in front of him. She did so, but felt herself shrink back a little as she saw the book that sat between them on his desk. It was a small leather bound book with no writing on the cover. But she knew exactly what was inside it. She had read it numerous times over the Holidays.
"Indeed…" Dumbledore said cryptically. He looked at Hermione with his piercing eyes and she shifted under them uncomfortably. "I realize now Miss Granger, that giving you this book was very likely not one of my better ideas, however, we cannot change that now. I should have talked to you in person, or perhaps let things play out naturally. In any case, you must realize now that you and Fleur Delacour are destined to mate for life." Hermione cringed in her chair. "The idea is not very pleasing to you I see." observed the old man.
"I'm sorry Professor. I just cannot accept that what you're saying is true. I don't have anything against professor Delacour, nor against those who choose same sex partners." She was sitting up straight in her chair, her eyes bright as she continued "but some of the things that book talks about….are just unnatural. Besides, there is no way Professor Delacour and I are destined to be mates."
Dumbledore listened to her patiently, waiting for her to finish. "I'm afraid my dear, that you and Miss Delacour are destined to be together for the rest of your lives." He spoke kindly, gently. "I think if you gave it a chance, if you really thought about it, that you would find that you feel more than you realize about Miss Delacour."
"I…no…I can't." Tears were rolling down the girl's cheeks as she spoke, defeated. "This is my choice; I can't be forced to choose someone I didn't choose myself. It's not fair Professor." Angrily she wiped the tears from her face, and looked at Dumbledore defiantly.
"I know that it is hard to understand Miss Granger…but from the very little I know about the Veela, I can assure you that incompatible people to do not become destined mates. A Veela's chosen one will not be someone will not be happy with. It is very complex, and I am not sure even the Veela themselves understand how it their mates are chosen. Instinct perhaps…" He trailed off, lost in the train of thought. Hermione herself was thinking about the easy natural chemistry she had felt with Fleur when they had met before the holidays.
Dumbledore sighed and handed Hermione a tissue before standing and petting Fawkes who was on his perch cooing softly. "I implore you Hermione," the girl startled at the use of her first name. "give Miss Delacour a chance. You are excused from charms classes until next week to think about everything. As you know, there is a Valentine's Day trip to Hogsmeade this coming weekend and I think it would be best if you stayed at the castle. Perhaps you can even talk to Professor Delacour. But for now, you must be off to bed, it is very late."
Hermione stood a little shakily. "Thank you professor…I'll do my best to think about what you've said. Goodnight." She turned to leave.
"Goodnight Miss Granger."
Thank you so much for reading! As always your reviews are much appreciated :)