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White Rabbit

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It hadn’t been easy to find a quiet place when there were six Weasleys living in the same house and multiple other Order members coming and going all the time. And she didn’t really understand why did she have to share a room with Ginny when there were at least ten bedrooms in the house. Still she didn’t complain, just took an effort to find herself place out of sight when she needed it. The empty bedroom she had eventually made into her sanctuary was dark, gloomy and maybe even creepy, but she liked it, it meant that there was no way Ron or Ginny would try to find her from there. The walls were dark green and the window was covered with heavy black curtain so there really wasn’t much light. But for Hermione it was cosy, she could sat herself down in a huge chair by the window and read. Since the room had been someone’s bedroom, there was a bed also, but she didn’t dare to go near it. She was afraid that if she fell asleep and miss the dinner when the Weasleys would certainly turn the house upside down, no matter how much they wanted to stay out of the creepy rooms.

There first thing Hermione had done when she had stepped into the House of Black was to try and find the library but unfortunately she had failed. The house had many doors that were locked and she was sure one of them contained the room she really wanted but she hadn’t figured how to open those doors. When she had found the ‘sanctuary’ she had also discovered that the owner of that room was also a booklover, since the old wardrobe did not have clothes in it but was full of books. The books she had found were nothing like she had ever read and she could only imagen what would the actual library hold. Since the previous owners of the house had been known for their liberal use of dark magic it wasn’t really a surprise that it was also the main subject on the books. But it didn’t really hurt to read them, know your enemy and all?

Hermione was curled under a blanket in the chair she had claimed hers and had a book called Stirpis, Sanguis, Cruor. It sounded really gloomy, three different ways to say blood but all with different meaning. Half of the book wasn’t so bad, it had theories of ancestries’ and instructions to rituals how to track your bloodline, living or dead or how to make a family tree like the Blacks had in one of the sitting rooms. But the other half was all gore and what to Hermione sounded evil, it was about how to use your own blood from cursing someone or torturing them to death and how to take control of someone else’s blood. Basically it was a manual how to torture and kill someone using blood magic.

Hermione had thought about doing a family tree or using the blood tracking ritual to see if she had any witches or wizards someone in her line, it wasn’t impossible after all, some muggleborns had squibs as grandparents but were still labelled as mudbloods. But she wouldn’t able to do anything before the school started, what was still a month away, since it was forbidden to use magic outside the school when under seventeen. Hermione wasn’t too far from turning seventeen since she had been unfortunate with her birthday being in September. Normally people started Hogwarts when they were eleven but to do that you had to turn eleven before the school started not just in the same year and since Hermione’s birthday was in September she had started Hogwarts a month before her twelfth birthday. And there was also the thing with time turner. She had used time turner to attend more classes and because of that she was actually few months older than what her birthday led on, so it would be just a year and she could use magic freely.

Hermione got her thoughts together and went back to the book. She wondered if she should do a family tree or the blood tracking ritual. They were quite similar in the end but blood tracking was more complicated and same time gave bit more information. When Family tree was just that, a canvas that showed your family, their names, dates of birth and death and how they were connected, the blood tracking also gave out locations of those who were alive. She was leaning more towards the last, not because she wanted to know where her family lived, if she had any, but because it gave her a bit of a challenge.

“Sanguis Inventum or in English, Blood tracking ritual was a very delicate thing to do. It was a four step progress and all of them more illegal and dangerous than the last. Whoever would proceed with the ritual would have be most discreet with their intentions and well prepared to fail with most horrid complications.

The first step is to do a purification ritual to make sure that one is completely in control of their blood and does not have any influence of spells, curses or other rituals.

Purification ritual is the most easiest part of the Sanguis Inventum. Most effective and proper way to do a Purification is during a full moon, it doesn’t have to be done outside as long as the moon will shine down the altar.

Second step is to do the runes. You will use the same knife as you did in the Purification ritual and carve the proper runes into sole of your feet. The proper runes would be those that represent blood and family, be very careful when you choose the runes since they hold very powerful magic that can be destructive when wronged.

The third part is to create the potion. It will take two weeks to be made so timing is the key since it can’t be used if it is more than two days old.

The actual ritual needs to be done at Samhain, when the veil is almost open and the dead can tell tales. One will need a traditional styled ritual circle and an altar in the middle. The potion will be laid on the altar with a blank canvas. One shall stand bare food next to altar in the circle and lay the canvas into the potion first. They will take the knife, same one that used in other steps and open both of their balms. The blood is enough when the potions colour changes to dark red. The wounds are not to be healed, one should let the blood pour to the circle also and start the enchanting.

It is most important to get the ritual wording right. Wrong wording can lead to ones death or worse.

Et sanguis sanguinem. Linea consanguineitatis attinentibus. Lumine fert sanguine. Via mortalium ad mortem, linea consanguineitatis attinentibus. De cognatione sanguinis est. Per familiam sanguis, ut sint propter te. Voco, quod locuti fuerint ad mortem. Qui portabant sanguinis attrahere immolo ipsum. Per familiam sanguis, ut sint propter te. Sic est.”

It was also a dangerous challenge, she knew that. Especially when she had no real knowledge or experience with blood- or ritual magic altogether. But it was something she desired to try, even with the warnings. It was difficult to see how bad the consequences would be when it didn’t say what they were, only that they were horrid. The last part did say it could lead the death if you miss spelled the wording but that wasn’t the mistake she would do for sure.

Hermione often seemed like a know it all, but the truth was that there was a lot that she didn’t know and even how hard she tried to read as many books as she could she still was lacking in information. History and culture, pureblood culture and traditions especially were something that she couldn’t get her hands on or head around. For her the books had always been a friend and it was really hard to think that sometimes books didn’t tell everything or that they even might be wrong. She really didn’t want to believe it but the more time she spent around wizards more true it came. But still, reading was something she could do, where she could learn from, when there was no one to teach her. Sure she went to Hogwarts, but it wasn’t enough. The classes about charms and potions didn’t tell her what would happen after Hoqwarts, they didn’t even prepare her for the Yule ball. She had looked lovely, she knew that but it was obvious that her dress had been inappropriate and she didn’t know any of the dances even though she had taken ballroom dancing lessons as a child, her focus thought had always been in ballet, which she still practiced when she could find the time. Victor had been a saviour that night, he had guided her through it and had made no comment about her ignorance. He had even taught her few of the dances after wards in case there would be another ball in near future, which he assured that there would be, because Hermione was going places.

*

“Hermione?” A raspy man’s voice called her behind the door with a small knock. There was only one person who knew that she had taken the room for herself so she quickly went to open the door. Sirius did look much better than when he had escaped from the Azkaban but he was still quite rattled. His hair was long and he didn’t really bother to shave, he hadn’t gained much weight even how much Molly tried so you could still call him bony and since he couldn’t go outside, his clothes were really old. So if you didn’t know what he had looked before you would think he looked awful. But there was a difference at least Hermione thought so.

“Sorry to interrupt but the dinner is ready.” If it was already dinner time it meant that clock was around seven pm and she had been ‘missing’ for nearly five hours.

“Ginny’s going mad, isn’t she?” Hermione looked at Sirius with bit of weary face.

“Well she did make it loudly clear that she was done hanging out with the boys.” Sirius cringed, the Weasley girl certainly could make some noise. “What are you reading?”

Hermione had forgotten that she was still holding the book. There was no use of hiding it now but she needed to make sure that Ron or Harry didn’t find out the subject of the books she had taken interest in.

“It’s about blood rituals.” She answered honestly.

“Which one?” Sirius looked bit pale, knowing whose book it was. Thought he for some reason hadn’t told Hermione whose room it was that she had started to camp in.

“Stirpis, Sanguis, Cruor by Magnus Black”, Hermione wasn’t sure if Sirius knew it but he had grown up on this house so he must know at least some of the books inside it, especially when the author had a same surname. Maybe she should get Sirius to show her the library, why hadn’t she thought that before.

“Right, that’s not too bad. I would recommend to skip the sequel thought, it’s mainly about Magnus’s experiments where he was chopping people a part and then testing how to use their organs in rituals. Nasty stuff.” Sirius tried to keep his face straight when having flashback of reading the questioned book when he had been nine. Not very nice experience but had made his mom happy and tolerable for few hours even.

“That sounds lovely, thank you for the warning. Shall we head downstairs? Are we eating in the kitchen or dining hall?” Hermione smiled sweetly, brushing the mental images of Magnus’s test subjects out of her mind.

“Kitchen. Molly won’t step inside the dining room, says it’s too fancy and most likely cursed against common folk like her. Wouldn’t put it past me.” Sirius laughed. It was true that some areas of the house reacted badly towards those with wrong kind of believes or blood. Sirius was surprised that Hermione hadn’t gotten into any trouble, she might as well be the first muggleborn ever to step a foot inside the House of Black, since he was fairly sure that Ted Tonks had stayed out. There might have even been a ward against muggleborns at some point but that had obviously been removed.

“Right.” Hermione thought it was ridiculous how the Weasleys and even Sirius were against the house and its belongings, it was just a house. Maybe it had bit of dark history but still. Hermione hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting the Mistress of the house which she was glad after hearing the stories about her, but she couldn’t help but be curious about her. What had made the woman be so bitter and hateful against her son?

“Sirius? Can you show me the library? I been trying to find it but with no luck and I read almost everything in that room that I been hiding in.” Hermione asked carefully. She wasn’t sure if Sirius would want to show it to her, since he should know how much she loved books and he hadn’t offered yet.

“Tomorrow, but you will have to promise not let anyone else in there and not to take the books out. Also be really careful what you touch, someone them has been warded. And there are some real dark stuff, so try to keep away from those, you don’t need to learn 1000 ways of torture.”

“1000 ways of torture? That’s bit extreme. But I promise, thank you. It’s not like Ron would want to join me anyway.” Hermione smiled at Sirius.

It was quite easy to like him, especially when you were surrounded by idiots. Of course there were the Order members but none of them really had any interesting qualities. Nymphadora for example was naïve and clumsy, who spent her free time trying to make people laugh, someone could think that, that was a nice quality but Hermione just saw it annoying. She desired intelligence and it was enough that her best friends were lacking on it. Snape could actually have been great conservationist if he wasn’t so against Gryffindors or teenagers generally. And maybe having a teacher as a ‘friend’ wasn’t the best idea also.

“He doesn’t seem a reading type, nor does Harry. Haven’t got a glue how you came friends with those two or how you are in the Lion House.” Sirius hummed, it really was a wonder to others how had someone like Hermione friended two reckless and indolent boys.

“Hmm-. Ravenclaw then?” It would have been an obvious choice sure. The hat did have some trouble choosing a house for her. She was brave, studious, ambitious and full on desire for knowledge. “It can either be your saviour or your downfall.” hat had said before yelling out Gryffindor.

“If you weren’t muggleborn, I would say Slytherin.” Sirius grinned mockingly.

“I do not know how to response for that.” Hermione had never even thought about going to Slytherin.

When she had read about the houses it had been clear how Slytherin were firm believers of blood supremacy and after knowing that she didn’t really need to know more. It would have been hell to be a muggleborn in Slytherin. Imagining how she was treated in hallways, to experience that in your own dorm would have been devastating. It would have most likely crushed her. She liked to people see her as a strong character but in the end she really wasn’t, she spent way too much time crying in girls bathroom after Malfoy or some other pureblood had baited her or when her roommates have made it very clear that she wasn’t one of them. She didn’t trouble herself wearing makeup, knowing that it would just make things worse and she didn’t bother to control her hair, it was always a huge mess of curls that she tried to put on bun to keep out of the way. Her clothes were wrong to their taste, she liked to wear things that were bit too big to cover up and made sure her uniform was proper unlike the other girls that wore the skirts much shorter and blouses too tight. It wasn’t because she didn’t like beautiful things or didn’t want to look nice, she just thought that it made things worse. People would see that she tried too hard and tried to be something she was not. She wasn’t a person who had a privilege to wear pretty things and spent money to keep her hair straight. She was a mudblood with average parents and all she could do to maybe get a respectful future in Wizarding world was study like crazy, be the best. She didn’t need to look pretty to do that.

“Hermione?” She had forgotten Sirius was next to her. And apparently she had stopped walking, not realizing how much her heredity actually upset her. She loved her parents, that was clear but they still were a burden and recently she couldn’t seem to get pass it.

“Yes?”

“Everything okay? You know I was joking, right. I mean, sure, you have all these Slytherin qualities but you are not a Slytherin, Hermione.” Sirius seemed worried about her reaction, afraid of how much had he managed to upset the only person whose company he actually enjoyed.

The fact that the only person in that house he actually liked was in fact fifteen, almost, sixteen years old girl, was bit sad but he didn’t really have that many options so he would take what he got. After spending 12 years in Azkaban, you didn’t complain about things like this. And Hermione really was a great company.

“Don’t worry, just got caught up in my thoughts.” Hermione smiled and took up a faster pace to the kitchen.

*

Hermione was disgusted as she watched the Weasley boys eating habits, Ginny wasn’t really much better. Hermione never really had much of an appetite, before Hogwarts she had gotten used to eating extremely healthy food and mainly vegan but in Hogwarts that wasn’t really possible, the table was always full of fatty foods that her stomach wasn’t used to so it was really hard for her to eat and keep the food down. Mrs. Weasleys food wasn’t much better, she was all about her boys needing meat on their bones. So Hermione just mostly picked her food and watched others while they ate and then maybe sneaked in to the kitchen later on and ate an apple or something. She had gotten quite good at disguising it and making it look like she was also eating. No one ever made any comments about it so she was sure that they hadn’t noticed or just didn’t care much. She kind of hoped for the first option, since knowing that your friends didn’t care was never a nice thought. But she was used to being last in line, since it was always a Harry Show, it wasn’t like he didn’t have a good reason for it but sometimes it got boring to be only known as the brains and not seen as an actual person.

She could still remember how bad it felt when Ron suddenly realized she was a girl and asked her to the Yule ball in despair. It wasn’t because she liked him or wanted to go with him which she really didn’t, it was because she as a person was invisible to even her best friends. She had become to understand Myrtle, what was really sad thought. That girl was dead for crying out loud. And irritating in more ways than Hermione could describe.

“Hermione, I am reserving you for the rest of the day! I need some girl time!” Ginny really could be annoying, she was a Weasley after all but Hermione couldn’t really say no, no matter how huge the house was at end of the day it was still pretty small, running from Ginny never ended very well.

“Of course”, Hermione put her plastic smile on her face that she had done already too many times since coming to that house. She was feeling guilty about faking it, but hurting Ginny or anyone else would be much worse. It wasn’t really even Ginny she was feeling guilty about but about the fact how good had she become at lying, faking and pretending. It made her feel kind of dirty, it wasn’t something her parents had taught her and she had a feeling she would be doing it much more.

“What would you like to do? I still got some summer reading to do.”

“Summer reading? Hermione, no! I said I need some girl time, you know, talking about boys and make up.” Ginny was laughing and it made Hermione uncomfortable, she knew what girl time with Ginny meant but she still hoped that maybe once the redhead would think who she spending the time with.

Ginny was maybe one of the most annoying people she ever met including Lavender and Parvati. She was noisy, self-centred and a Weasley. It was ridiculous that being a Weasley was something Hermione would hold against Ginny since she best friends with Ron and their mother was always really nice to her, in a way. But Weasleys were a lot. Molly was over bearing and never asked what one would want or need, Arthur was possibly mad, Percy was most self-centred man she had ever met and that included Malfoy, the twins were menace and Ron was her friend but he was also everything she hated in a person. She hated laziness more than anything. She hated it when Ron and Harry would come to her for help with their homework when in reality they just wanted her to do it for them. She hated it when they laughed at her when she read something that wasn’t required, when she held her hand up high in the class or when she ‘educated’ them in something random she knew, because she had spent her life learning.

“Right, how silly of me.” Hermione smiled. There was no chance that she would get back to her heaven tonight. But tomorrow Sirius would show her to the library, so if she just kept her head on that she could maybe survive Ginny.

“I don’t believe that you actually have any homework left to do. You always do it at first week of holiday.” It Rons turn to speak. Mouth full of food of course. Hermione wanted to gag, it was just disgusting. The boy had no manners at all.

“Well you should do that too, Ron. And yes I have done all the required homework but there is lot to do if you want to be fully prepared for next year. It is our OWL year after all. And you really need to study, Ronald if you want to pass with something else than T.” Hermione knew that she was lecturing again and she made herself a promise that she would not be doing Ronalds or Harrys homework or their study plans or even spell prove their work this year, they would just learn how to do it themselves.

“Come on ‘Mione. There’s still a month before school starts, I have plenty of time to do the homework. It’s just few essays after all.” Ron grinned. He was so sure that Hermione would help him if left it till last minute. She always did.

“Those essays are both for Professor Snape and you know what that means. You better not count on me doing them for you since that will never happen, Ronald.” Hermione stood up from the table and thanked Mrs. Weasley for the food that she didn’t eat. “Ginny, I’m going to take a bath, so I see you in our room after.”

She didn't stay to hear if they answered, but left the room to go upstairs.

*

She and Ginny had a small bathroom to their use but that only had a toilet and a small shower. Sirius had given her full use of the master bathroom near his parents bedrooms. It was in top floor, just before the attic and it was huge, it had big tub that you could swim in and most of all it was very much private. No one else stepped in that floor, not even Sirius, who was staying in his old room, the floor just below, same floor where Hermione’s secret room was. Her room with Ginny and all the other rooms that Weasleys stayed in was in second floor. There was five floors in the Black House counting the attic and not counting the cellar.

She had started to use the master bathroom around same time she started spending her time in the empty bedroom, so she had already left all her cosmetics there, not that she had many of those. There was always clean towels for her and clean clothes. For some reason the crazy house-elf that hated everyone and wasted no time to call everyone blood-traitors, was serving her without asking. She was a mudblood and from what Sirius had told her, the elf should have hated her even more. But he was looking after her. When she didn’t eat Mrs. Weasleys food, the elf left some fruits near her bed. And now, that elf had made her day by making her a bath ready. The water was perfectly warm and bubbly, there was candles burning and even some nice scents playing around in the air.

“Thank you, Kreacher.” She whispered, knowing the elf could hear her.

Hermione stripped of her clothes and relaxed into the hot water. She really loved it. If she wasn’t careful she might fall asleep and make an enemy out of a one fierce redhead. But she knew that it would take at least hour for the dinner to be over. She had left pretty quickly and there was still dessert and none of the Weasley children dared to leave the table before Molly called the dinner over. Hermione was sure that Sirius had escaped minutes if not seconds after her. As longs as you showed up when the dinner started it didn’t matter how fast you left if you weren’t a Weasley. When they started to eat they didn’t notice anything else anymore, but Molly didn’t let anyone eat before everyone was sitting at the table.

Hermione washed her hair carefully, trying not to make it even frizzier. Just because she didn’t straighten it or make it into smoother curls, it didn’t mean that she wanted it to go all crazy. She imagined that maybe someday she would spend more time and money to her hair. She quite liked the idea of seeing what it looked like when straight.

Maybe she would look more like her mother then. Her mother had a straight light brown hair, nothing like Hermione’s much darker shade of curls. Only thing that they really had in common when it came to looks was their body shape. They both were really tiny. Only 5’2 feet tall and they both weighted barely 45kg, sometimes more sometimes less. When Hermione’s eyes were dark brown, almost black, her mothers were golden. She did look quite bit more like her father but again the hair was different, they had said that it came from her mother’s aunt but she never met the woman so who knows.

Hermione stared at herself from the mirror that was on the ceiling. It was quite a wonder why would anyone want a mirror on the bathroom ceiling but there it was. Unlike in a muggle bathroom the mirror didn’t get steamy so she could she herself fully. She felt uncomfortable. She had dark circles under her eyes and her skin looked pale. She hadn’t slept too good in weeks. Sleeping in same room with Ginny didn’t help. The girl could snore. So most of the nights Hermione laid awake listening, maybe sleeping few hours and when the clock turned 4 am she gave up and went to make herself cup of coffee. Or she had done that before Kreacher had noticed her habit and started to make the coffee for her every morning.

It was weird for her. She wasn’t used to someone acting like her servant and she really didn’t like the idea of house-elves since to her that was pure slavery, but she never asked Kreacher to do anything, he just did. Hermione couldn’t help but to like the grumpy elf who seemed to hate everyone but her.

Hermione staid in the bath for twenty more minutes before climbing out and covering herself into soft robe and drying her hair with the towel. It of course didn’t dry it fully and since there was no muggle objects in the house and she couldn’t really use any magic in the summer, even though the ministry wouldn’t notice since she was in a magical house with adult wizards and witches, she couldn’t dry her hair properly. And that meant that it would get even tangled.

She put some facial cream on her face and headed towards the room she shared with Ginny. She didn’t bother putting on any clothes since the fluffy robe covered her alright. It came all the way to her angles and was secured with a tie in the front. Hermione did think that it may have been a men’s wear because it was quite large but she didn’t care.

Ginny still wasn’t in the room when she got there so Hermione took a seat on her bed and started reading something she had found in her other room, that was innocent enough to read in public. The books cover was really worn out and you couldn’t read what the tittle was. But basically the book was about pureblood culture, what Samhain, Yule, Beltane and so on actually meant for them. What it meant to be a noble or ancient house, their responsibilities.

It was actually interesting. Hermione felt bit off that Hogwarts taught muggle studies but nothing about wizarding culture or traditions. It was no wonder that even those purebloods that didn’t care much for blood didn’t like muggleborns and muggles. The muggleborns were basically robbing their culture changing it into muggle like traditions. It made Hermione feel bad. She did like her Christmas and Easter but it would have been nice to know what else there was and she didn’t want to be a reason for a whole culture was being destroyed. Most of the old ways and traditions were now claimed to be dark and illegal but it was impossible for the whole original culture to be dark or evil. It just sounded ridiculous.

"The most evident time to do a Samhain ritual is an hour before midnight. That is the point when the veil is most thinnest and so the ritual is much more effective. At that point the veil is so thin that it is possible to hear and feel the death even when not doing the ritual. The purpose of doing the ritual is to honour the death, all death, not just the persons one has lost. ….."

Ginny of course barged right in just when Hermione was starting to get to the interesting part.

“You’re here!” She sat down next to Hermione grinning. “I was sure that you would get side-tracked.”

“What do you mean? I was just getting a bath.” The way Ginny was smirking gave Hermione a bad feeling how the rest of the ‘girl’s time’ was going to go.

“Well, Sirius left just second after you but not before he gave Ron a very nasty look for annoying you.” Hermione really didn’t want to know where this was going but it was Ginny who she was talking to so she had a pretty good guess. It really wasn’t right, the girl was barely fourteen and had the dirtiest mind Hermione had ever known, and she was quite sure that it didn’t end with just a dirty mind.

“Ginny. I really don’t know what are you talking about.”

“Are you sure? I do have eyes you know. He looks at you like he could eat you and he doesn’t even talk to anyone but you. I know that Tonks has tried.” Ginny had a rather evil smile on her face now.

“Tonks had tried? What does that mean?”

“Exactly what is sounds like. She tried to kiss him and he basically troughed her to the floor and stumped off.”

Hermione looked horrified. That’s disgusting. “She’s his cousin! Why in the earth would anyone think that it would have been a good idea?!”

Ginny didn’t look too bothered. “Oh please. Blacks marry their cousins all the time.”

That does not make it okay! Hermione didn’t know what to say. She had seen the family tree and knew that it was full of incest and knew that the most ‘purest’ pureblood families were all related to each other but she had never in her right mind thought that it was okay or normal to go around screwing your cousins or marry them. And she had thought that the Weasleys would agree with her. Sure they were purebloods too but she didn’t see any cousin on cousin action or their family tree.

“Ginny. It’s not right. I thought Tonks would have more sense than try to start something with her cousin. You really shouldn’t judge Sirius for not wanting something like that.” She had her lecture voice on again. It was embarrassing. She really didn’t want to lecture anyone, but it was an automatic response way too often.

“I’m not judging, God” Ginny trough her hands in the air. “I’m trying to make a point.”

“And what is that point, Ginny?” Hermione adjusted her robe around her and backed to lean against the wall. She couldn’t sit very comfortably since Ginny was next to her instead of her own bed and those beds were pretty small.

“That he wants to fuck you.” Ginny said with a straight serious face.

“Ginny!” Hermione was horrified that Ginny would even suggest such a thing. Sure she liked to spent time with Sirius and Sirius didn’t seem to mind but there had never been anything sexual with them. She would had noticed. It was just absolutely ridiculous. “That is not true.”

“Stop being such a prude. It’s not my fault you want to live in your little virgin bubble and ignore the fact that very attractive older man is interested in you. I am just telling you what I know.” Now she was just being malicious. Just because Hermione didn’t want to have sex with every guy who was interested in her like the girl next to her, who was absolutely too young to do such a things, did not mean that she was a prude. And there was also the fact that with the hair like hairs there wasn’t that many guys interested in her. And Sirius definitely was not interested in her.

“Ginny, shut up. I am not living in a bubble, I would know if he was interested and he is not. Stop being ridiculous and focus on the fact that you have a very large hickey on your collarbone and there has not been a boy anywhere near your age in this house so if any of your brothers or dear Merlin your mother sees that, you and him will be very much dead.” What a little slut, Hermione smiled sweetly.

“At least I’m getting some,” her remark was mainly stupid. Getting some was something that Hermione hadn’t even thought about. She was very happy being somewhere around sixteen years old single and not a fourteen year old slut.

“I do not care. Just cover that up, it looks disgusting.” Ginny huffed angrily and bulled her shirts neckline bit more up and moved on to her own bed. Hermione assumed that the girl time was over and went back to her book reading about the importance of Samhain.

Chapter Text

When Harry finally arrived to Grimmauld Place things didn’t go too well. He was furious and for good reason. Dumbledore had given her and Ron an order to not contact Harry at all, leaving him in ignorance. Hermione had been uncomfortable with it, but it was Dumbledore and he was letting her stay at the Grimmauld Place so she didn’t really have choice but to do as he said. It wasn’t wise to go against someone with such a high authority especially when he was doing you a favour.

Harry’s anger had been heard by everyone. He had screamed at them so the whole house had heard and Hermione couldn’t help but be embarrassed. Sure he did really have good reason, but he was still over the line. Harry should have understanded why she and Ron had done it.

He of course had used Sirius’s guilt and gotten himself to the Order meeting. That again had been disastrous. Molly had gotten in to fight with Sirius about who knew what was best for Harry best. Ron had been thrown out of the kitchen by Molly and she had tried to do it with Hermione too but she had held her ground. Just like with Harry, Molly wasn’t her mother and had no right to control her. There was outspoken rule about not having minors in Order and she wasn’t a member but if she was suppose to at least try and keep Harry bit more controlled she really needed to know what was going on. And it wasn’t like that rule hadn’t been broken in the last war. For example Harry’s parents haven’t exactly been over age before they joined the movement.

They were given a quick brief about how the Ministry was in denial and tried to make Harry and Dumbledore look crazy. How Voldemort was keeping it low but was obviously recruiting and trying to get his hands on some secret weapon. It all sounded rather ridiculous to Hermione but she didn’t say anything. With Harry on the edge, ready to explode it was better just to keep quiet and listen.

When Sirius and Molly where done screaming Sirius quickly left to his room, needing his peace to calm down. Harry other hand kept pressuring to know more but Molly quieted him with serving dinner and calling everyone to eat.

It was so noisy and Hermione couldn’t wait to be able to escape to the library that Sirius had showed him two weeks ago. She had kept her promise and hadn’t taken any books out or shoved the room to anyone else. She did still spent time at Regulus’s room, Sirius had finally told her that the room had actually belonged to his late younger brother, but she had basically already read anything in there. After her fight, if you could call it that, with Ginny she had slowly moved her stuff to that room. No one but Ginny and Sirius seemed to notice so it was fine. Ginny was happy to have her own space, it gave her more freedom to sneak around with whoever she was sneaking around with, Hermione didn’t really want to know. And it definitely didn’t bother Sirius since he had given her already more free access to the house than anyone else.

Hermione was still studying the ritual magic and was more focused on the blood rituals but after getting in to the Black Library she had found herself reading some darker books that contained more spells. She had been avoiding them at first and promised herself that she wouldn’t use them but more she read more spells she did found that she actually wanted to try. They seemed harmless. Some of them were about healing, some were used in duelling and some she had hoped to known when she had shoved Rita Skeeter in to a jar. Like a spell that made an animagus impossible to turn back till it was released. It would had been hard for Miss Skeeter to use the dirt she collected while in her disgusting bug form, when she couldn’t actually turn into something with hands.

Of course there would have been an investigation if the notorious writer went missing but would anyone actually miss her. Hermione knew that her thought were far from innocent and that her friends would have heart attack if they knew about it but it’s not like she could control what she thought about. It’s a human nature to think after all. Well it was quite obvious that some people lacked in it but it was impossible to actually just stop.

“Sorry to disturb you but the Weasleys has found their way in to our floor and Molly is clearing everything out of there that she thinks is dark.” Sirius informed her from the library door way. This got Hermione alarmed. She knew that Regulus’s room contained a lot of things that Molly would throw away without thinking and that did include books. Books that she had claimed hers.

“Don’t worry. I locked our rooms, but it’s best to avoid the that floor for few hours at least. She will try to break in but won’t get past my wards.” Hermione took a deep breath in relieve. She had gotten quite attached to that room.

“Thank you.”

“I’m sure that by end of the week she will had gone through the whole house. There are some things in the attic that I think you would be interested in so if you want go and see, save anything you want to take, you should do it today or tomorrow.” Sirius stepped in to room.

Hermione noticed that he was swaying a little and was holding a glass of liquor, firewhiskey most likely. He had been drinking quite a lot, but it wasn’t any wonder after everything. “What’s in there?” Hermione asked, trying not to take too much a notice of the man’s state.

“Books, clothes, jewellery, all sort of the things.”

“Books I get but why would I want clothes or why would you give me your families jewels? Those must be expensive.” Hermione was sure that the man was crazy.

“It’s not like I do anything with them. And I think that those clothes would suit you. You should wear more wizardly clothes.” His voice was bit slurry, Hermione noticed. “I saw a picture of you from the Yule ball, with that Quidditch player. You looked really good in that dress, so you should wear more dresses.”

“I’m not going to another ball anytime soon, Sirius.”

“You don’t have to go to a ball to wear dresses, Hermione. People wear dresses all around the year. There are some ball gowns there too, but most of them are meant for daily wear.” Sirius explained. No matter how drunk he was, he still kept his gaze tightly on Hermione and she felt bit uneasy about it.

“You mean pureblood women wear dresses daily. I’m a mudblood remember. What would your cousins say if I went strolling around in their old clothes?”

Sirius smirked. He was obviously amused and giddy? “Oh, they would just hate it! That’s the best part. A muggleborn, wearing Death Eaters clothes, what a blast.” He made sure to put a lot of pressure to muggleborn word, making sure that Hermione noticed that he wasn’t happy for the word she used instead.

“I didn’t know there were women Death Eaters.” It was as only thing Hermione got out of her mouth. She had always thought that Voldemort’s view on women was that they were to look pretty and make babies.

“Not many, no. But my cousin Bellatrix was one of them. She’s full on crazy and if Voldemort could ever love someone it would be her. Uncle Cygnus was known for to raise his daughters with extreme methods and she was most effected by it. She has this temper and if someone even looked her wrong way or said anything else than respectful words about her dear master she would Crucio them till they couldn’t do anything else than drool. That’s what she got send in to Azkaban for, well being a death eater did have something to do it too, but what she did to Longbottoms was the biggest reason. They were respected Aurors and now they’re going to be in St. Mungo’s for rest of their lives.”

Hermione didn’t know what to say. She had no idea about Neville’s parents. Well, she did guess that something bad had happen to them since he was living with his horrid grandmother but she had no idea it could be something so bad. Death was more merciful.

“And you want me to wear her clothes?”

“Like I said, they would suit you. Does it really matter who it used to belong to. My brother was a dead eater and you love to live in his room and read his books.” Sirius did have a point.

But if Hermione suddenly started to wear pureblood dresses people would notice. It would be same as if she suddenly just straightened her hair or started to wear makeup. It would look bad. Or so she thought.

“Just take a look, if you don’t like them let Molly get rid of them. And if you do like them even little bit, take them.”

“Fine. Tomorrow.”

“Now. Would you like a drink?” The man was grinning like a maniac.

“Sirius! I’m sixteen.”

“So? Don’t think that I don’t know about how you make yourself sleep at night.” He was right. The only way Hermione seemed to get even few hours of sleep was to have a glass of wine or firewhiskey even before bed. She didn’t know what the hell was wrong with her. She still woke up at 4 am every morning to have her coffee in peace or sometimes Kreacher actually joined her. The elf was crazy, kept asking about his Mistresses home life and how she did in school. She wasn’t the elf’s Mistress in anyway. “So, are you having that drink?”

“How about we have that drink when the others have gone to sleep. It’s barely noon and I really don’t’ want to hear Molly’s lecture about underage drinking in middle of a day no less.” She didn’t want to admit how much she did grave for that drink. She didn’t wait for Sirius’s answer since she knew that he would just grunt and accept so Hermione went back to her book Most useful dark arts.

*

Later that night, after escaping the awkward moment in the dinner where Molly tried again to mother Harry and Sirius got angry at her, again, Hermione found herself back at the solitude of the library. She was sure that Sirius would show up at some point, but she didn’t have any reason to wait for him and went straight to the hidden liquor cabinet, she had seen behind the portrait of most hideous looking man. She poured herself a large glass of firewhiskey and started to find something new to read. She dared herself to look at the shelve that held huge ancient tomes that were most likely much more darker than she should even look at.

“For a mudblood you have a good taste.” The portrait of the hideous man said. Hermione jumped, she had not expected him to talk to her. None of the portraits ever did. Even Sirius’s mother, Walburga had staid quite around her.

“I will take that as a compliment.”

“And you should.” The man huffed. “Read the one on the left.”

Hermione surprised herself and took the advice, that sounded more like a command and took a look at the book she was recommended. Black Grimoire. Hermione started at the book for a while before taking it and setting herself and the firewhiskey in to the one of the armchairs. The portrait had started laughing soon as she had touched the book but she didn’t pay any attention to it. Not wanting to know what it wanted from her. She had never seen such a beautiful book. It was weird, to say that book was beautiful but this one really was. It was mostly black but had gold trimming and the tittle was also written in gold, actual gold. There was the Black motto, Toujours Pur, written across the cover as wells as their goat of arms.

1450

It was so old. Some of the text seemed much newer but the first pages were written with a handwriting that could only been from the date written.

Black Grimoire for Blacks only was written in large in the front page. Maybe she shouldn’t be reading it. But then again, Sirius would have told her if there was something she couldn’t read. He had just told her to stay away from the very back and this one was almost next to the door.

It didn’t have a table of contents, which wasn’t a surprise since it was handwritten, so she didn’t have any idea what to expect.

I have given myself a job to record our dearest secrets before it’s too late. I have not been able to teach my son almost anything yet and if we survive this it is most important that our knowledge does not disappear unless our family is wiped. Our family secrets are just that. Family secret and no Black should ever share these unless it is through marriage and even then the marriage must be the ones done with unbreakable bonds. The muggles have been getting closer. So many families have already burned. I have taken liberty of closing down the manor.

No one shall enter and no one shall leave. It was done by the ritual of blood and sanctuary. First I used my blood to draw a rune line around the manor. No point saving our lands now. I blessed my family with those same runes so it would be known that they were welcomed in this house and the magic wouldn’t attack them. Unblessed fools that would try to enter would be greeted with very painful death.”

Hermione didn’t really understand what the start of the book was about. It was obvious that she was quite ignorant about Wizarding history, but there wasn’t really much to learn from. The history teacher in Hogwarts was a joke and Hogwarts library, no matter how glorious it was, was actually very limited. It mostly contained books about the subjects that were taught, nothing extra. So the history, cultural and etiquette books that she had found in the Black house were most precious, no matter how exiting is was to learn new kinds of magic, it was even more exiting to know how it all began.

The books first pages went on about the rituals the author did to keep the muggles out. Hermione’s interest grew with every sentence. She really wanted to know what had happened. It was obvious that at least some of the family had survived since she was staying in their house with one of their family member if Sirius could be counted as one since he seemed to hate everything about them. The ritual itself was also really interesting and very complex. It contained lot of blood and was made with something called family magic. She didn’t know what that really was. She assumed that it was part of those family secrets that the book was suppose to contain. The whiskey was burning in her throat and she felt herself getting bit light headed but not more than any other night in past week.

“Would Mistress like something to eat? Kreacher happy to make.” The house-elf had popped in front of Hermione who hadn’t really even noticed before he had started talking.

“I’m fine Kreacher.” Kreacher didn’t look too happy with her answer.

“Mistress Hermione should eat. Mistress didn’t have any breakfast, Mistress had barely any dinner. Mistress should not drink so much if not eating anything. Kreachers other Mistress would be very unhappy if Mistress Hermione would get unwell.” The elf was full on rambling. It was ridiculous, he barely ever talked and if he did he mostly just insulted everyone else.

“We wouldn’t want to upset Mrs. Black, now would be. She can be bit loud.” Hermione smiled. “So maybe, Kreacher you could get me some left over dessert. You know what I like.”

“Kreacher could make Mistress Hermione new dessert. Mistress shouldn’t have to eat leftovers.” The elf looked scandalized.

Apparently it wasn’t proper to eat anything that wasn’t freshly made. “It really is fine. It would be shame if your delicious cooking went to waste.”

Kreacher muttered something and popped to the kitchen or so Hermione assumed. The elf really was crazy but most of the Blacks were so why not their elf also. Kreacher didn’t come back but the plate of yesterdays strawberry cheesecake did appear to the table next to Hermione. She smiled and happily took a bite from the cake after she finished her firewhiskey. It was delicious and she actually moaned.

Again she was completely ignorant about the fact that she wasn’t alone in the room. Sirius had sneaked in behind her as her back was toward the door. She didn’t notice him before she felt his whiskey smelling breath near her ear.

“You are such a tease, making sounds like that.” He whispered with a husky voice. He was drunk already or maybe still. “You’re glass is empty.”

“Fix that then.” Hermione said with straight face. She had no wish to show any effects that his voice may or may not done to her body. Sirius stared at back of Hermione’s head for a while before going to get a drinks for them. He was swaying more than earlier that day. It was obvious that he had been drinking all day. Hermione wondered how Harry didn’t notice the state his godfather was in. He had been fine before Harry had arrived, it seemed sad that the man had first do depressed to see his godson but as soon as he arrived things had gone to hell. Hermione was sure that it had more to do with Molly than Harry. She wasn’t really subtle about how she felt about Sirius. Hermione kept her eyes on the book as Sirius fetched her more whiskey. She didn’t really read it anymore but it was relaxing just to have the book in her hands. It had something to do with the smell that especially old books had.

“I assumed that firewhiskey is okay. You seemed to be enjoy it.” Sirius handed Hermione the glass, not so accidently brushing her hand.

Hermione nodded and took the glass silently. She didn’t want to read anything into it but Ginny’s words from few weeks ago were roaming around her head, almost screaming at her. The man was more than twice her age. She had enjoyed his company all summer, enjoyed the peace he had provided for her and the most intelligent conversations that she had gotten since stepping inside that house. He had been only one whose company hadn’t driven her crazy or borderline angry in minutes. But this was different, it didn’t feel right.

“Sirius, what do you want?” She asked bluntly. She had no reasons to go around the bush about it.

“What makes you think I want anything?” Sirius smirked. That stupid smirk was what made him look like Black. Yes, he had the features too, dark hair, pale skin, grey eyes, but that smirk was the only thing in his actions that reminded her who his family had been.

“Because you are acting like a horny teenager.” Hermione lifted her gaze from her book and looked straight into man’s. “No, I’m sorry, if you were acting like a teenager then you probably would have slept with Tonks.”

“That’s not funny. She’s my cousin. I don’t do incest.” His smirk faded away and was replaced with disgust. He had been horrified when Tonks had tried to kiss him. He had no intentions of carrying on his family’s tradition to make sure that the blood was kept pure by marrying cousins. “Besides, why would I want to go for a woman that has a pig nose half of the time when there is someone much more gorgeous around.”

“A girl. That’s one of the reasons.”

“Oh, please. You didn’t seemed to think that as a problem when you were under Viktor Krum.” Hermione almost dropped the glass she was holding. She had not expected that.

“And what makes you think that I slept with him. Besides that age difference in much smaller and you know it.”

“You were fifteen Hermione darling. That makes it very much illegal. And it was a pure guess what your reaction confirmed. So stop acting like a virgin.” Sirius had his smirk back on. It was rather annoying. He had way too much self-confidence for Hermione’s taste.

“I do not act like a virgin!” Hermione was getting frustrated with the ridiculous conversations and it didn’t help that she had been the one starting it. “Maybe I just have no desire for sex. Maybe I think that sleeping with Viktor was a mistake that I don’t want to make again.”

Sirius moved closer to Hermione. He seemed to think that everything coming out of the girl’s mouth was full on bullshit. He understood that she was young but she wasn’t like the other girls her age, mentally she was twice her actual age. He really didn’t see the problem.

“I do not believe you.”

“And I don’t care. If you want to sleep with someone underage, I’m sure that Ginny would love to spear her legs, she seems to be good at that.”

“I never thought that you could be so malicious.” Sirius laughed. “It has nothing to do with your age. I actually like you, Hermione. I like talking to you, drinking with you and even just sitting in the same room quietly.”

“I like talking to you too. You are my friend, but that’s it.”

“I’ll make a bet with you.” Sirius said with a very strict voice. “If I hadn’t managed to get you to bed before you go back to Hogwarts I’ll make you my heiress.”

Hermione looked at the man with eyes wide from surprise. “Don’t be ridiculous. Harry should be your heir. His your godson.”

“He doesn’t need it. He has the Potter fortune, it’s more than enough and Kreacher loves you, he would never take orders from anyone but you. And it’s not like not making him my heir means that I wouldn’t love him. He is my godson, just like you said and he is the most important person in my life.” Of course Hermione knew that Sirius loved Harry and no one would ever take his place but she also knew that Harry would never understand if Sirius did this.

“So what do you say? Sleep with me before going back to Hogwarts or became the next Lady Black.”

“What does it mean? Being Lady Black.” Hermione couldn’t help but be interested, it didn’t mean that she would accept the bet but she might as well know all the facts.

“Nothing really. Because you’re muggleborn you can’t actually be the head of family. You would just get the fortune and title because there is no one else to take it.” Sirius explained.

“Still. You are ridiculous”

“Kreacher loves you. I don’t know why, since he worships my mother and hates muggleborns, he shouldn’t take orders from anyone who isn’t Black. Keeping secrets have you? Got Black blood hiding under your skin?” Sirius laughed.

“Well, we will find out by next Christmas.” Hermione said. She would start the ritual soon as she got to the Hogwarts not that she actually expected to find anything.

“Does that mean that the bet is on? Because if you agree to it, it means that I will be doing some serious wooing.” Hermione could guess what ‘serious wooing’ meant for Sirius.

“It’s not like I have anything to lose. I know for a fact that I will never sleep with you, so it’s up to you if you really want to make such a bet.”

“Then it’s on. If you haven’t slept with me before September first, I will write to Gringotts and make you my sole heiress. I swear my magic on that.” Sirius really didn’t leave anything half way. Swearing on his magic meant that if he broke his promise he would lose his magic. Hermione thought that the man was absolutely mad. She also thought that Harry was going to hate her for this. That boy was over emotional and had no common sense. To him this would look like that Hermione was stealing his godfather what she really was not doing. And if she really did have Black blood in her, then she would even have a right to claim the title.

Kreacher of course had heard the full conversation and could not wait to tell his Mistress about it. The Black family would finally be restored with its new Lady. There was no doubt that Mistress Hermione wouldn’t be magnificent. She did still have lot to learn but Kreacher would be happy to teach his Mistress.

*

The next day Hermione did as she promised and made her way to the attic to see if there was anything she liked before Molly got her hands on them. It really was a shame how that woman just had no respect for anything and thought that she had a right to choose what was saving worth. She wasn’t even a curse breaker so she couldn’t really even tell what things were cursed or ‘dark’.

The attic was a mess, it looked like no one had been there for a decade. It was really dusty and there were boxes everywhere. Hermione didn’t really know where to start so she just started look trough the ones that were closest to the door. It was the fifth box that she touched that had something interesting in it. Books. Etiquette for proper ladies, Hundred mistakes to do when in courtship, Not illegal dark arts, 1000 ways to torture, Manual to manipulation and many more.

Some of the books were about the oddest subjects but Hermione was still keen on reading them. She collected all the books she could find to her bottomless bag. She swore herself that next time she was in Diagon Alley she would buy a library trunk. It would be impossible to read all of those books if they were just scattered around in her bag.

It took Hermione half an hour to find the clothes that Sirius had so keenly talked her about. And he had been right, they were gorgeous. Heavy black ball gowns that would make anyone look like a pureblood. Long sleeved day dresses, corsets, leather pants, furs and shoes. Dear God. Hermione had never seen such a clothes. She could easily imagen Mrs. Malfoy wearing something like them but in lighter colour but wearing them herself was something she just couldn’t think about.

But they were so amazing and felt so expensive under her fingers. It would be shame if Mrs. Weasley would destroy them because of who the clothes used to belong. Hermione couldn’t resist herself and striped out of her over sized jumper and sweatpants. She slipped one of the day dresses carefully on and stared at herself from the dusty old mirror that was standing proudly in the corner. It had long sleeves and high neck that looked like it could strangle you but actually felt quite comfortable. From chest to hips it was covered in much more thicker fabric and it was spelled to act like a corset, making your waist look tiny as possible. The skirt part was floor length and full but it felt light unlike the ball gowns. If the corset of the dress hadn’t been magically adjusting the dress would have been way too big for Hermione. It did look good, but it also showed how skinny she was.

Hermione wasn’t proud of her body in any way, she knew that her dorm mates would love to be as tiny as she was but she didn’t see anything good in it. She barely had any breasts or hips like other girls in her dorm and she felt awkward about it, especially after the comments she had gotten from Victor last Yule. The dress’s corset did give her some kind of a shape but mostly it just made her even smaller. But still, it looked nice. All the shoes had sky high heels so Hermione didn’t think at she could ever be able to walk in them but she still stuffed all of them along with the clothes to her bag. They just seemed too valuable to let be destroyed. And maybe there would be a ball or other event where she would need nicer clothes. Or she could just make Sirius’s life hell. That would most likely back fire on her but it was nice to have options.

She tried quickly gather all the jewelries she could find so she could just leave but one neckless made her freeze. It just felt so different, so dark and seductive, like it was burning and pulsing in her arm. Like it was alive. It was quite beautiful too. A white gold locket in a long chain and a green carvings of a snake and some kind of runes. She couldn’t help but to stare at it and her hands felt compelled to not let go. The snake carving made Hermione bit uneasy but not because she actually had any problems with snakes, they were quite beautiful creatures, but the thought of how Ron or Harry would act when there were snakes involved, even when it was something so innocent as a locket. It was ridiculous. Hermione thought. Harry could even speak to snakes and he still hated them. Still she didn’t let go of the beautiful thing that was warming her hands, instead she slipped it around her neck and felt it burn against her naked skin under her shirt. She was sure it was so hot that it would leave a mark but it didn’t actually hurt.

Chapter Text

She knew that she was dreaming, but it just felt so real. Everything was dark and she couldn’t see where she was and she wasn’t sure if her feet were even touching the ground. If there even was a ground.

She felt naked and she most likely was, but without seeing anything and not being able to move she couldn’t be too sure. But not being able to move or see didn’t mean that she couldn’t feel. Oh, she could definitely feel alright.

Her skin was on fire, the burning had started from her neck and slowly travelled all over her body leaving it so sensitive and tingling. It was hard to describe how it actually made her feel. Same time it hurt so much but it was also a rather good feeling. More than good. It was seductive, it had made her moan more than once with the euphoria it brought. She had tried to stay silent, she didn’t want to give in to whatever it was, but it knew what it was doing.

She hoped that it was it and purely a dream. The thought a person actually doing this to her horrified her. That would mean that someone had forced their way into her mind to violate her body. Any amount of pleasure could never make that okay.

Even thought she didn’t even know if she had any clothes on in this dream, she could feel the heavy locket on her neck. It didn’t burn like it had when she had putted it on. Even if it did burn she wouldn’t have noticed it with the state she was in. But the locket was so heavy on her chest that it was weighting her head down.

Again the burning sensation made her moan. It was close to her labia, but not quite there. And before it could reach the spot that she was desperate to be touched no matter how much she wanted to deny it she woke up so suddenly that the moment her eyes opened she was already sitting up.

She was shaking with need and despair but she was also scared. It had been a dream but what had caused it because it wasn’t something that she just dreamed about.

*

Hermione took a quick shower, dressed in all black and loose clothes and tied her hair into a messy bun. Like always there was no one in the kitchen but a fresh cup of coffee and a fruit plate. Kreacher was really something.

It was even too early for the Daily Prophet so she had a book with her, again like every other mornings.

The unforgivables are highly misunderstood curses. It is true that the effect they have is severe, life changing and deadly but they have their uses and there are curses so much worse than can be imagined. Also the curses are not so simple as they often seem to the public eye.

It is often thought that killing curse is the worst of them and most forget the fact that it is completely painless way to die when for example cutting curse or blood boiling curse can be very painful and deathly also. Killing curse could easily be called even merciful. For example when someone is already dying would you rather let them suffer or just end it without any pain.

The Cruciatus other hand is something that you cannot justify since to be able to cast to curse you have want it. You have to be able to imagen the pain you will cause to the other person and be able to want it to actually happen. Not many can do that, so it’s not very common curse. There are many other curses that can cause the same amount of pain and even more depending on the persons pain tolerance and that are much more easily cast. It is true that almost all Dark magic requires certain amount of emotions like hate, despair but even love is something that can be used in Dark magic. A love for someone can cause high need to protect and power to cast almost anything to be able to protect.  That is something that most people forget.

What most people also forget is that Imperius is the most dangerous curse of the unforgivables. It may seem harmless even, but it is a curse that takes away persons will. The caster could easily make the victim do basically anything. From jumping to the tables to killing themselves or others to torture and rape people. It gives the caster ultimate control over its victims life. There are other curses that have the same effect but they only last from minutes to hours and are limited, with those curses the victim is fully aware of being controlled when the imperius can last life time if the caster is powerful enough to keep hold of it and most of the time victims don’t even know that anything is happening. They go to comatose type of state. There are cases when someone have fought the curse off but that requires very much will and knowledge that the casting has happened. For example the caster is standing right in front of the victim and they are able to hear the incantation.

When the fake Moody had thought them about Unforgivables it had been really interesting but left a lot of questions. He didn’t really teach about them, just showed what they would do and even that had been bit lacking. It had been horrifying and disgusting yes, but if you’re going to teach something do it properly. After all it was a Death Eater that thought them, you would imagen that he would have a good a knowledge of the spells.

Hermione wondered about the next year. Crouch jr had basically been the only proper teacher they had so far despite being a death eater so what would the next be like.

She didn’t get too far with her thought before the kitchen started to fill up and she had to close the book. Hermione was quite sure that none of the Weasleys or Harry would be too understanding of her reading choices these days. The books cover was charmed to look like a school textbook. It wouldn’t help if someone would open it, but she was rather confident that no one would.  

“Good morning, Hermione. Breakfast? I’m making omelettes and pancakes.” Mrs. Weasley was smiling at Hermione.

“Morning and no thank you, I already ate. Kreacher made me something.”

“Why would you eat anything that thing makes? It probably poison it.” Ron walked in with disgusted face on. His comment made Hermione furious. Hadn’t anyone noticed how Kreacher made her breakfast everyday?

He is not a thing, Ronald! And He makes me breakfast everyday because I wake up much earlier than you.” Hermione was already to leave the kitchen but the look on Molly’s face stopped her. She may not be eating breakfast with them but it was polite to even sit with them for a minute and not just disappear to the library again. “I’ll have some coffee Mrs. Weasley. If it’s not too much trouble.”

“Oh it’s not trouble at all. I wish you would have some tea instead, drinking coffee is such a bad habit, dear. But never mind.” Molly fussed.

Hermione’s parents also weren’t too happy with the coffee drinking habit but they just thought that it made teeth look bad, nothing more. And she didn’t really spend time with them anymore anyway so they didn’t really have any say in her life. She had spent two days at home before coming to Grimmauld Place and those two days had been exhausting. No matter how much she loved her parents they just couldn’t understand her and kept asking if she was sure that she wanted to go back to Hogwarts or if she should really spend time with people like that. That as in magical people, people like her.

She couldn’t really blame them ether. It must be scary for them to not understand what was going on and then get letters that she had gotten hurt and they couldn’t even visit her or help her in any way. But she also understood why it was not possible to let her parents to Hogwarts. Wizarding world in the end had no place for muggles, even if they were parents.

It was bit off that she, a mudblood, thought that way but the statue of secrecy was in place for a reason and everyday it was jeopardized by muggleborns who returned ‘home’ or wizards and witches who married muggles and so on spread the knowledge of their world.

“Thank you, Mrs. Weasley” Hermione thanked. She tried her best to sound polite and smile, even when Mrs. Weasley seemed to lack in it.

When she got the cup of coffee front of her, she kept her eyes tightly on it and ignored all the Weasley noise around her. Sirius and Harry seemed still to be a sleep what was kind of a wonder because all of the noise and Harry did sleep in the same room with Ron so it did seem bit impossible not to wake up when that boy did.

It was really difficult to just sit there quite without a book. She was used to have a book with her always but now the books she had were something that she couldn’t read when other people, besides Sirius, were around and it was devastating for her in a way. Books were her safety net when she wasn’t in the mood of talking or tried to keep her mouth shut because she knew that she wouldn’t be saying anything nice. Sometimes it was really hard to be quite and not yell at everyone and tell them how much of idiots they were.

It took lot of self-control from her to change her habits from mothering them and nagging to just simply ignoring them. But it was time for her to think about herself. It was her OWL year and she wanted to do good, she wasn’t too worried that she would actually fail but to get the best grades in all of her classes was hard even for her. She had dropped Divination after third year but still she was studying in more classes than normal. It took a lot out of her and she didn’t want to spend her free time correcting other peoples homework. She thought about asking Professor McGonagall if she could use a spare classroom to pick up her dance practice. She had done that in her first year but since she didn’t have proper dance classes anymore not even at summer so she had just dropped it. But now she needed something more, something of her own to do that didn’t involve library and she did miss dancing.

The second Hermione had gotten the steaming coffee from Mrs. Weasley Sirius and Harry walked into kitchen together. Hermione couldn’t help but to smile because of how carefree they seemed together, chatting and laughing. It was so rare to see Sirius like that or Harry for that matter. The black haired teenager hadn’t really been doing anything else than complain and yell at other people. It was understandable that he was upset and sad but he really didn’t need to blame everyone else for it.

Hermione turned her eyes back to her coffee quickly when Sirius decided to take a seat next to her. He smirked at her very openly and made sure that their legs were almost tangled together. Harry or nobody else took any notice to it. He had been sitting next to her all summer so why would be any different now. Ginny might notice but Hermione didn’t really care what she thought since she had no intentions to let Sirius seduce her into anything. She didn’t care about winning the bet and the money with it, she cared about herself enough to know that sleeping with Sirius would only bring trouble. He was her friend and she needed it to stay that way, they were helping each other but sex had and would not have any part of it.

“Alright there kitten?” His breath smelled like alcohol which was expected. Hermione was sure that she hadn’t been much better earlier.

“Just peachy.” She smiled tightly. She hated it when he called her that, it sounded so dirty and cheap. She was about to stand up and leave to get back to her book but was stopped when Sirius laid his hand on her tight. Hermione looked at him with fiery eyes. She had expected some sweet and dirty words from him not straight touchy feely actions. “Sirius” she hissed warningly.

“What?” He smiled innocently. It wasn’t like she could actually tell him off without making a scene so she just looked at him like she was ready to murder him. But Sirius was stubborn as she was so no matter how imitating she looked it didn’t have any effect on him.

“Wow, Sirius. What have you done? Hermione only looks like that when you’re in deep trouble.” Harry laughed from other side of the table where Ginny was hanging all over him. Hermione wondered if Harry knew where she was when she wasn’t with him. She still didn’t know who her secret perverted lover was. She didn’t care that much but if the girl was making fool out Harry she would be mad. Hermione might be frustrated with the boy but in the end he was her friend, her first friend really. Ginny was just someone that came with Ron.

“Don’t know.” Sirius smirked like he always did. “Maybe she just hadn’t have enough caffeine yet.”

“Mate, that’s not it. That’s at least her second cup of coffee.” Ron of course had to join the conversation. Hermione huffed at him.

“Well I guess we just have to ask Miss Granger then. Tell us Miss Granger, what have I done in this fine morning to upset you.” He was ridiculous.

Now she was really mad. How was she suppose to answer that; Well you’re hand on my tight is very bothersome for a start.

Instead she said “You smell like shit.”

Mrs. Weasley looked horrified while everyone else started to laugh. It wasn’t that usual for her to curse around them so of course it sounded hilarious.

“Excuse me but I have something to do.” And she left the kitchen.

*

It didn’t take long for Sirius to find her staring at the family tree. She had seen it before more than once but it just was fascinating to watch how everyone that was staying in Grimmauld Place expect her were connected. Not everyone was on tree but you could see were they would be if not for the burns cutting of branches like Weasleys. Of course blood traitors had no place in such a noble and ancient family tree as this one. But still if you knew were to look you knew exactly were their names could have been.

Sirius took his place right behind Hermione and let his fingers trace the back of her neck. She didn’t move or breath for a second.

“It won’t work.” She whispered.

“I haven’t even started yet.” Sirius whispered right to her ear teasing her with the warmth of his breath. He let his fingers travel to her collarbone with the gentlest touch. She still didn’t move, letting him try, knowing and trusting in her own self-control. She wasn’t weak in any way, she had to be strong and she wasn’t about to let some man, no matter if it was a friend, to make a her just something to warm his bed. She had such a high hope for him, but she knew it wasn’t easy to be stuck in such a house, she knew what great comfort he hoped to have in her but it wasn’t right.

She turned around and looked straight into his eyes. “It. Won’t. Work. This is no seduction, this you thinking I’m some kind of an object. This is you thinking that having me in your bed would be a great victory, a cure for your loneliness. But I promise you Sirius, you can try all you like but you are the opposite of what I need, if I would fell into a bed with you I would hate myself.”

“You think that I would be so bad that you would hate yourself? That’s pretty low, kitten.” Sirius grimaced. He really did not want to hear that.

“No. Sleeping with you would mean that I have forgotten myself. I breath to learn, to be the best and to possess all the knowledge of the world. It sounds silly I know but I’m a mudblood, knowledge is something I can own and can be just mine, something that can give me a future. If I slept with you now I would feel like I was repaying you for something.” Hermione tried to explain but it was hard to make someone understand what was it like. She could never be better than purebloods, not even close but she could try by having so much knowledge that no one could ever call her worthless. “And you are my friend, I don’t want to lose that. I may have other friends but it’s different. I don’t have to hide from you like I have to hide from them.”

Sirius didn’t say anything, just looked at her like she had two heads. Of course he knew how ambitious she was and how much it meant to her, he himself had called her a Slytherin because of that ambition but he couldn’t help himself. He wanted her so much that he didn’t care if it ruined her. He would do anything to get that witch to his bed and maybe after that she would stop calling herself mudblood,

“Or maybe you are just saying no to get my money. You don’t need knowledge if you have that much money.” He really was a jackass sometimes.

“I don’t give shit about that bet of yours, but I can promise you that I will win and you are going to regret it. I don’t still understand how you would come up with something so stupid. You have doomed me with it. Ether I sleep with you and hate myself for rest of my life or I don’t and my best friend will hate me.” She ranted with fiery look in her eyes. “When it comes to this, I choose to be selfish.”

She didn’t speak to him after that just kept staring at a wall and memorizing every Black on it, not paying any attention to the one in the room with her. And he didn’t push but he also didn’t leave. Sirius started to plan. He knew that his old tricks wouldn’t do any good in a girl like Hermione, he didn’t have many ideas how to get attention from someone like her. Flowers were no good and the girl could drink him under the table anytime. He had three weeks. It wasn’t like he had anything to lose really, he wasn’t just giving the girl his money, it wouldn’t happen till he was dead and he had no plans to die anytime soon. He didn’t think that Harry would care as much as Hermione thought. The boy had more than enough already. He would leave him something that actually meant something like photos or something. 

He and Harry had a difficult relationship, but he was sure that the boy knew that Sirius loved him. Harry was all he had left of the family he had claimed. When his parents had burned him out of the family tree Potters had taken him in and given him home and everything he had ever in his childhood wished for. His parents hadn’t officially disowned him since he still had his name but it didn’t matter. He was a white sheep in black family. Only Andromeda had done something worse, married a mudblood and had a half-blood daughter. Sirius was a blood-traitor but he hadn’t tainted it, a small miracle his mother had said once. If it weren’t for Azkaban it might not be true. Maybe he would have found some nice girl like James had done and gotten married with kids and all. At least then he wouldn’t be desperately chancing after teenager.

But he couldn’t really see Hermione as a teenager. The girl was so mature and smart that he often forgot how young she actually was. Especially when she was sitting in dark library with a whiskey in other hand and a dark arts book in other. He couldn’t blame her for reading that stuff. It was addictive. He promised himself that if the girl started to show any signs that she was actually doing dark arts he would but a stop to it. Some small blood rituals were fine and knowing your enemies abilities was a good thing in the end, he knew that it would also help Harry, who would never himself dare to learn any of it. He also knew that if anyone other than himself found out about Hermiones book choices she was going to get hell for it. They were so small minded sometimes and he was too but when it came to this he couldn’t help but to see how useful it could be. As long as it was only reading. He repeated in his head.

 

*

The Order didn’t let even Harry to participate in their meetings. They had no idea what was going on, if Voldemort was making any moves or what the Order was doing for that matter. It was ridiculous. Harry was only one who had actually seen Voldemort, he should be the first one to know what was he doing since it didn’t need a genius to know that the snake like man was coming after him. And if he came after Harry he was coming after everyone who was standing next to him and that included Hermone. She took as her mission to be prepared for it and nothing would stop her. She may have not know what the war was actually about since it was stupid to assume that it was just dark versus light and she would find out but she had time, for now.

Sirius told them what he could but he wasn’t really that informed ether since he spent most of his time drunk, talking to Harry or trying to get Hermiones attention. They didn’t talk much anymore not since Harry arrived and Sirius had turned into something that Hermione found more and more disgusting everyday. She hated that Ginny had been right about him. All Hermione had wanted was a friend and she wasn’t sure anymore if she had that in him. She tried. When she ran into him in library she talked to him like she always did or just staid quite with him in the room. But every time that ‘friend time’ became shorter and every time Sirius drank more and more and became more unstable.

She wasn’t scared of him, she didn’t know how but she didn’t feel comfortable with him ether. She was disgusted how little he cared for her, how he saw her as an object he could use just because he wanted her. But what was that want? She couldn’t understand what he wanted from her. She wasn’t desirable, far from it. She was a skinny girl with big hair, no real breasts or hips. She knew that she would most likely never have them. Not when she couldn’t even have her periods more than twice a year.

Last time she had thought that someone wanted her, saw her as a woman it had ended very badly. She had been so consumed with the feeling of being wanted that she had forgotten herself and turned blind. She had been willing, eager even to give herself to him to let him use her like she used him. It wasn’t same. When she had wanted someone who saw her as she was, who listened what she said and who really looked at her to make herself feel better. He had seen her and he had seen something than what others saw and even when he didn’t speak much he had known the right words till his last ones had cut her open. She wasn’t stupid enough to think that he would love her or even care but she never thought him being simply cruel. It had hurt the way she didn’t think no one could hurt her. She had been used to hearing slander and being pushed around her whole life and she had gotten used to it. She had grown herself a thick skin but it had taken her by a surprise when Victor finally told her why had he approached her in the library that day. He told her the day he left so he wouldn’t have to deal with her wrath. So he wouldn’t have to deal with her trying out the spells he had taught her on him.

I had always wondered what it would be like fucking a ten year old. Mudblood or not.

His English had never sounded so good.

 

Chapter Text

 

Hermione had been quite sure of herself that she would be getting the prefect badge and that she did. She was so happy, it was a token of the works she had done since first time stepping into Hogwarts. But she quickly forgot her happiness when she was made aware that who was the other Gryffindor fifth year prefect. She had thought that it would be Harry but when she actually thought about it she realized that it was something that would never happen. Only the Weasley twins had more detentions and points taken from then than Harry did, he didn’t have very good scores ether and no respect for authority. But she couldn’t understand how had Ron gotten it. The redheads record was no better than Harrys if not worse and he was lazy, he would have no desire to do his duty as a prefect. So when Hermione was told that she would be partnering with Ron she had gotten this urge to curse someone. But these days she wanted to curse someone at least once a day for one reason or another and this was a good reason if any. She knew that Ron would skip on his duties just like he skipped on his homework’s and expected to Hermione to pick it up.

Being prefect was something that Hermione really valued and having to work with someone who thought that it was more like a curse was a nightmare. There were of course other prefects that she would work with also and she had a bad feeling about who those might be but it was common practice to pair up those who were in same house and same year. So she would be stuck. She might just have to curse herself if she couldn’t curse anyone else.

Hermiones fingers unconsciously touched the locket around her neck every time she thought about cursing someone. It felt as warm as it did the first time she put it on her neck. She had only taken it of once since finding it and whole that time it was off she had a desperate need to put it back on and when she finally did the thing had purred. Not like a cat or anything but it had vibrated against her delicate skin and she thought that she may have even heard it humming blissfully. It was ridiculous, it was just a stupid locket that she had somehow gotten herself attached to. Lockets didn’t vibrate or hum. But lockets weren’t meant to feel warm ethers. When that thought had acquired to her she had almost ripped the blasted thing off but soon as her fingers had touched it all the doubt was gone.

It’s just a locket, beautiful and warm but just a locket. Hermione had repeated inside her head like a mantra.

*

It had taken some persuasion to get the Order, well mostly Molly and Dumbledore to let Hermione and others to go to the Diagon Alley for their school shopping. She understood that it was dangerous to go out but they had been cooped up inside the blasted house for whole summer and no matter how many books she gotten to read it had still made her feel bit like a hermit. But when she had announced that the adults in the house didn’t really have any legal rights over her and she had her parents consent she would just go alone if they wouldn’t let Harry and Ron go. That had of course made Harry explode again and Ron hadn’t really been any better so it didn’t take long for the Order set up some guards for them and arrange a trip to Diagon Alley.

Not that she would admit it aloud, she had hoped to go alone. Hermiones shopping list contained more than just school supplies and some of the things she needed couldn’t be founded from the Diagon Alley but from the Knockturn Alley what’s entrance was at the south corner of the Diagon. She was really nervous going there, knowing it was full of criminals and dark creatures and people who didn’t appreciate her kind. But she needed to get potion ingredients and a ritual knife to be able to do the blood ritual she had planned on doing soon as possible.  Getting away from her guards was going to be difficult but she was sure that it wasn’t impossible, she just needed some kind of excuse to do her shopping in private and meet the others later. The difficultness also depended on who was her guard going to be. Apparently she and Harry needed their own guards and Weasleys would stick together since Molly and Arthur were members themselves and Fred and George were able to use their wands now.  It sounded bit ridiculous to her. She understood that Harry would need a proper guard and Weasleys sticking together was fine but she didn’t really get why would she need a private guard. Sure she would be at some point be a target too but she didn’t think that they were there yet. As much as she understood, Voldemort was still weak and if they would get in middle of a raid a private guard wouldn’t be able to do much for her. At that point everyone would just turn around and try to protect Harry. She knew that she didn’t really have much value in Orders eyes, she was replaceable. And Harry wasn’t.

In the end it had been Nymphadora Tonks who had been assigned to watch over her. Hermione wasn’t really sure if she should be happy about it or not. She really couldn’t think any other Order member she liked less than her but same time the woman was easily manipulated and for an Auror she wasn’t that smart or anything really. She was clumsy, awkward and childish. Nothing like Auror Moody who had been her mentor.

“You know that I don’t really need guarding or any help. I could had just come by myself.” Hermione started. She was determined to get rid of the bubble-gum haired Auror.

“Dumbledore thinks that it’s best that you don’t go anywhere by yourself. And you are still underage.” The response couldn’t have been more predicted. It was like she had rehearsed it.

“I know but I’m not Dumbledores or Weasleys or Orders responsibility. I have my parents permission to spend my summer how I please and that includes buying my school supplies by myself.” Hermione reasoned. “I understand that Harry can’t be left alone and maybe he should have more than one guard. I know that his good at sneaking away. I just want to explore the Flourish & Blotts bit.”

“A bit? You would probably move in there if you could.” Tonks muttered to herself more than responding to Hermione.

“I take my studies very seriously. It’s our OWL year, that’s really important and I’m going to need some extra reading material for some of the classes. You don’t get straight O’s by just attending classes you know.” Hermione was very aware how much people around her reacted to her lectures. “Ancient Runes for example is something that you really don’t master if you don’t go for an extra mile. Our school books only have the basics in them and they really aren’t enough. You need at least two other books that I’m hoping Flourish & Blotts would have, maybe three….”

Tonks stopped listening the minute Hermione started talking about Runes. She really couldn’t leave the girl alone but maybe if it was just for her visit in the bookstore, then she could maybe check up on Harry or go get coffee. Hermiones speech had made her head hurt. Tonks felt bit sorry for the girl. It wasn’t no wonder that she didn’t have many friends with that know it all attitude. It got really old really fast. She could see how Harry and Ron needed her to get any school work done and well to stay alive. But the girl was just so much.

“If you promise to stay at Flourish & Blotts, I can leave you alone for an hour but first we do all the other shopping together.” It couldn’t hurt anyone.

Hermione smiled but didn’t say anything, inside she was jumping around. Just like she thought. Sometimes it was useful to be obnoxious to everyone else, if you just knew how to use it for your own gain. She wasn’t that good at manipulation like she surprisingly was at lying but knowing yourself and knowing what others think of you goes a long way.

“Let’s go then.” Nymphadora steered Hermione to move along.

It was going to be a long day.

They started at Madan Malkins ordering new robes. There wasn’t much change in her measurements, she was maybe two inches taller if even that and she was pretty sure that she had lost weight since last year. She didn’t mind if her robes were bit too big and more covering but she wanted them at least to be right length. In a way school robes were easier to wear that her muggle clothes with robes she could hide her body better without the clothes looking too oversized. But if she had been a pureblood women she would had been expected to wear fitted dresses with corsets so if there was a one thing that she liked about being a muggleborn it was that. She was sure that to most people it would have seemed vain and laughable but she couldn’t help how uncomfortable she sometimes felt in her own body.

Sometimes she blamed her mother for it. Her parents had always been about health when it came to eating or their view what healthy eating meant. For them it was about where the food came from but also about control. And when she started dancing at age three the controlling got more and more important. She didn’t really understand it she just ate what her parents gave her and was happy about it. But when Hogwarts had started things got really hard. Suddenly she had to decide by herself what she ate and how much she ate. It had been scary. She quickly got up into some kind of rhythm after getting sick of eating too much or too fatty food. But it was still hard. Hogwarts wasn’t really known for offering natural vegan food but proper English breakfast and tea’s.  Sometimes she just wanted to stuff herself with bacon and mashed potatoes when watching Harry and Ron eat and other times she wanted to run away disgusted.

Hermione shaked herself out of thoughts and started walking after Auror Tonks.

*

Hermione had quickly gathered all the school books and two extra so no one would suspect anything from the Flourish & Blotts and headed to the Knockturn Alley. She was bit anxious especially since she knew that she would stand out. Knockturn Alley was full of wizards and witches of darker nature, wizards and witches who didn’t have the best intentions for muggleborns or someone who was publicly linked to Harry Potter. She didn’t have anything or any ability to hide herself so she just tried to keep her eyes to the ground and keep her distance to everyone.

Drowning Well’s Potions and Poisons was her destination.

Hermione had found about the place from overhearing Professor Snape talking to someone, she wasn’t sure who. From what she understood, Drowning was a place she could buy practically anything, if they didn’t have what you wanted they would get it for a right price. Hermione wasn’t too sure that how expensive the ingredients would be but thankfully her parents had been more than generous with her summer allowance and chancing muggle currency to galleons was quite easy at Gringotts. Her parents seemed to think that giving her money would keep her more connected to them when she was tangled in her own world.

It took her just few minutes to find Drowning since it wasn’t far from the entrance. Front of the shop didn’t look like much, just like other shops in the Alley it had dark windows and dusty door handle. You could barely make out what the sign said but Hermione was sure that she was in the right place.

The door opened with an ugly shrieky sound.

The place didn’t look much better from the inside as it had from the outside. It was even more dustier and there was barely any light, just few torches burning in corners. The shelves were covered in ingredients as well as ready potions and most likely actual poisons since it was said in the name. Hermione wasn’t sure which was more disturbing the poisons or the extremely weird ingredients like human toes.

“This is no place for little girls.”

Hermione jumped a little when hearing the voice right behind her. The speaker was shabby looking old man with heavy dark eyelids. The owner maybe.

“I’m a customer actually.” Hermione said with confidence, believing that the more rude she was the more change she had to actually getting any service. “I have a list of ingredients here and I’m sure you can provide for me.”

The man didn’t look any happier, he probably never did but it made things harder when you couldn’t read someone’s face. It was one of the thing that Hermione had made sure to learn, it made things lot easier if you knew what the other person was thinking or feeling especially when you were sure that the feelings were most definitely ill.

“I’m not that sure. Yes I most likely have what you need but I highly doubt that girls like you have a capability to pay the necessary price.”

“I have know idea what you mean by girls like me but I can assure you that money is no problem. Now if you would…” Hermione started but was quickly interrupted.

“Mudbloods.”

Hermione had expected to be quested about the money but she had not expected this. Yes, she knew that there were people who would recognize her after the horrid articles about her last year but not some shopkeeper from Knockturn Alley. Still, she was too used to being ignored because of her blood status.

“Frankly, I think that you don’t care about that too much when your payday is secured. And I don’t care what you think of me, mudblood or not I’m willing to pay the necessary amount for those ingredients. Now, let’s look at that list of mine and you can tell me that price.”  Hermione lifted her head high and stared the ugly old man into his eyes, showing him how serious she was.

“Fine.” The man grunted and turned around walking behind the cashier. “What do you need?.”

“Vial of dragon blood, Occamys feather, Ashwinder egg, aconite, moonstone and syrup of Helleborne. Can you get them me straight away or do you need to order some of them?”

“I need to order the blood and feather but others you can get now. Those are also the more expensive ones. Hundred and twenty galleons for the others and four hundred for those two. Still in your budget, mudblood?” The man was smirking, probably hoping that Hermione would say no and leave embarrassed.

“Like I said, the money is no issue. I do though need those ingredients soon, so how fast can you get them?” Hermione kept her poker face on, not paying any attention to the slander.

“I can get them to you in month or less. Shall I sent to Hogwarts then?”

“Yes. I will pay the three hundred and twenty now and the rest two when I get those ingredients. You can call it little motivation if you wish.” She had a feeling that if she paid fully now she wouldn’t be seeing those ingredients anytime soon.

The shopkeeper of course didn’t look very happy which was understandable but Hermione wasn’t a type to give up. If she needed to act like mudblood playing dress up as rude pureblood to be able to do what she wanted she wasn’t going to let some grumpy old man to stand in her way because of who she was. She needed to take care of her first to be able to prove that she was more than a mudblood. Even her friends couldn’t see past it, no matter how much they tried to hide it, it was still obvious. There wasn’t a single person who understood her ambition and the reason for it.  

Marcus Aurelius once said that; A man’s worth is no greater than his ambition.

And Machiavelli said; The wise man does once what the fool does finally.

*

The train to Hogwarts was as noisy as ever as was Prefects meeting, which wasn’t that much of a surprise considering who the new prefects were. Hermione missed the Black library, luckily she had managed to sneak few books with her even thought she might had promised to Sirius not to do it. But as she had spent rest of her holiday avoiding Sirius and his desperate tricks to get her to sleep with him, she didn’t really care that much of his wishes. The last weeks had been torture. The man had been more than aggressive, every second he was in the same room with her he had started to talk to her like she was a cheap hooker, every time he had stood close enough his hands had started to wonder. Hermione couldn’t figure out how no one noticed it or if they just didn’t care. In the end she had barricaded herself to her room except for the moments she spent with Ron and Harry, she had even stopped eating with them and let Kreacher took care of that factor. Even then no one said anything. Not even Molly whose live goal was to feed the whole country till everyone would be rolling around instead of walking, hadn’t said a thing. It definitely didn’t feel good. It was easy to say that the summer had been miserable but at least there had been the Black library and apparently one day she would be very rich. To her money didn’t matter much, but she would be lying if she said it didn’t make things easier.

Hermione straighten her skirt and made sure that her blouse covered her upper body fully, even thought she didn’t really even have anything to hide. She often felt embarrassed about it especially when sharing a room with someone like Lavender Brown, a girl who made sure that everyone was aware of her so called assets she hid under her robes. It was just one of those things that made her fell less, less of a woman. Being sixteen years old, just a year apart from being legally adult in wizarding world was an age were a girl was expected to grow certain way. In other ways she was very much of an woman but her own insecurities and Victors words still hunted her.

“Well then, I think we are done here. Fifth year prefects will take care of the first years and sixth year prefects will handle the first week patrols. For the first month we stick with same house pairs and after that, when things settle we mix it up. Yes, Weasley, that means that Gryffindors will be also working with Slytherins. Just a reminder you can take and give points but not with each other as well as detentions. When it comes to detention you need to direct them to your Head of House who will decide if they supervise the detention themselves or if they give to Filch. You will be able to give out only one detention at time, if it’s necessary for more or if the same person is repeatedly given detention you will notify your Head of House who will look into it. As for privileges you are free to use the prefects bathrooms, the password is Constantinus and it will change every month same time as the common room passwords, you get the new password at the prefect meeting week before it changes. Just remember to lock the door when you use the room, there are no reservations. Basically prefects don’t have curfews because of the patrolling and you are allowed to the restricted section of the library. If you are caught misusing these privileges they can be taken from you, so behave alright.”    

Hermione wanted to roll her eyes at the head girls speech. She knew that it was something that the girl had to do and it was something people like Ron needed to hear but to her it was just waist of time mostly. And as she had suspected she had been paired up with Ron at least for a month which was going to be exhausting. It wasn’t that she was exited to be paired with a student from another house ether since she wasn’t much for making friends these days but with Ron she just knew it was going to be all on her and it would take a lot of time from her independent study time and readings. Instead of rolling her eyes she exhaled loudly and dragged Ron out of the compartment as the meeting came to end.

Malfoy of course didn’t left them leave without his own goodbyes.

“I look forward to spending some alone time with you, mudblood. Showing you were your place is and all.”

Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something” Hermione smiled at the Malfoys confused face. Plato was one of her favourites.  

 

Chapter Text

It wasn’t much of a surprise that Hermione seemed to be only one understanding that the new Defence Against Dark Art teacher was going to be trouble. It was obvious that people noticed that she wasn’t maybe the nicest person with the all pink and voice high enough to break glasses like Fat Lady wished to do. But no one around her seemed to see the connection with one Dolores Umbridge and Ministry taking interest in Hogwarts. It was bad news. Hermione wasn’t exactly happy with how things worked in Hogwarts, the curriculum being somewhat narrow, history being ignored if not even covered up and the inequality but she was sure that Ministries involvement would just make everything worse since they were even more narrow minded people.

It was quite funny how the Ministry labelled so many things dark; many types of magic, creatures, people and discriminated muggleborns what was one of the things the ‘dark side’ was suppose to do and still they managed to be the good guys promoting equality. To Hermione it didn’t make any sense. That itself already was proof that the winner were the ones that wrote the history and decided what that history was.

It was bit selfish of her but Hermione couldn’t help but to think if the new professor would make things difficult with the ritual she was planning to do. It was two weeks till the next full moon. She still wasn’t sure how exactly was she going to sneak into the Forbidden Forest in middle of a night without getting caught or killed by a rogue werewolf to do the first part of the ritual, the purification. Other than the sneaking around it was the easiest part. Making the runes didn’t seem that bad ether but it was obvious that it would hurt like hell but the potion needed a proper lab and time so she wasn’t quite sure that were exactly was she going to do it. Thank Merlin she still had almost two months to figure that one out.

“I don’t understand why are you so anxious Hermione. It’s not like our previous DADA teachers been that good. It’s obvious that there has to be something wrong with this one too.” Ronald said to her as they were guiding the first year Gryffindors towards the common room. She couldn’t believe how ignorant he was, well she did but for once it would had been nice if Ron or even Harry would notice things before she showed them while holding their hands.

“Professor Umbridge is here because of Ministry, what means that Ministry wants to take control of Hogwarts. How does that sound Ronald? Do you think that a person who is going to watch us and change rules is same thing as a idiot who manages to obviliate themselves? And who do you think she is going to have her eye on especially? Who is the one that Ministry has made their number one enemy and tries to over run and humiliate the every second they get?”

Ron just looked at her like she had two heads. Sometimes thinking was just too hard for him.

“Right. That would be Dumbledore and Harry then. But it can’t be that bad, she won’t actually be able to change anything. Dumbledore is still the Headmaster?” He sounded very much unsure, hoping that he was right. Which he of course was not.

“But she can, Ronald. If you had listened, for once you would had heard that she specifically said that things were going to change. Once the Ministry is in, Dumbledore is powerless.” Hermione sighed. She was too tired to have this conversation. There was no way that Ron would actually understand anything she tried to explain, at least not fully. It wasn’t like he was stupid, because he wasn’t. The boy was brilliant in chess and with other things that involved strategies and well quidditch but simple logic and listening skills were something he lacked. Hermione couldn’t help but feel frustrated when trying to explain everything to him and Harry, he at least realized thing better but with that temper and mood swings he just didn’t want to hear anything. She felt bad about how easily she gave up and rather just buried herself in her books, away from her friends rather than trying harder and spending more time with them. Hermione sometimes wondered how different things would be if she hadn’t been in that bathroom first year and they haven’t have to save her. It had been kind of Ron’s fault that they had to do that in first place. But would she had any friends at all? Would that be better? She couldn’t deny that it would have been easier in away.

No dangerous adventures or horrid amount of rule breaking.

*

Hermione should had known better and kept her mouth shut but of course couldn’t have done that because it had been about her education or lack of as it seemed. The woman had been horrid as had been the whole class. And now Hermione was on full panic mode because it was O.W.L year and apparently they weren’t going to actually learn anything. She realized that she should be worrying about Harry who had exploded in the class and gotten himself into detention. They only been back at school for few days and it was obvious that very few people believed his story about Voldemort being back and as much as Hermione wanted to support Harry she couldn’t help but to think how the whole thing was effecting her. Umbridge was a good example as was the fact that she was now getting even more abuse and slander.

Hermione knew very well that she was being selfish and she didn’t even feel guilty for it, at least not anymore. The summer had given her some sort of strength. As her anger for Umbridge kept rising, the neckless lying against her skin kept getting warmer, like it felt her emotions. Hermione still wasn’t used to the feeling she got from it but in some way it felt so safe, like it was guiding and comforting her and maybe even encouraging. It was just ridiculous. It was after all a neckless but maybe it was some sort of a magical neckless since it had been in the Black house, maybe it was actually some kind a amulet, for protection most likely.

Again she stroked the locket gently with lost look in her eyes as she didn’t notice what she was doing. It was a small miracle that no one had actually noticed the locket since she couldn’t exactly tell them where she had gotten it. She didn’t even tell Sirius that she did indeed go to the attic and take all those things. She had secretly tried on one of the high heeled shoes and practiced walking with them when she had been alone. The dresses laid neatly in her trunk, which was a larger version of her old one and as for the other jewerly, she had no interest in them. When she had taken a second look at them to maybe try on, the locket had started to burn more as if it didn’t want to be taken off. Which again made no sense but Hermione didn’t pay any attention to it, she just left the other necklaces alone and kept her snake patterned locket tightly against her chest.

“Hermione, are you coming? It’s dinner.” She had been pretty lost in her thoughts since when Ron called for her, Hermione realized that she had been staring a same page for half an hour what wasn’t something she did.

“You’re always hungry, but yes Ronald, let’s go.” Hermione stood up and straightened her skirt into more appropriate condition. She put her book back into her bag that she had charmed to weight nothing and to fit more books into it. She didn’t really like to leave her personal books into her dorm since Lavender had no sense of privacy. The girl had broken into Hermiones trunk more than once without no good reason so leaving a Black Library book in there didn’t seem very smart idea. “Where’s Harry?”

“Uhm. I think he was going to try and talk to Dumbledore, again.” Ron looked bit uncomfortable, knowing what Hermione thought about it. She hadn’t exactly gone and said that there was something wrong with Dumbledore but she had been very loud about the fact that she didn’t think there was anything Dumbledore or anyone could really do about Umbridge. It wasn’t even about Umbridge, yes she was the most horrid teacher so far and there had been some really bad teachers, it was about the Ministry. And going against Ministry wasn’t really something anyone should do especially now.

Hermione didn’t say anything to Ron, just started to walk toward the exit and Great Hall. She knew that if she opened her mouth now she wouldn’t be saying anything nice. It was something she had been struggling lately. Every time she tried to say something nice it came out something totally different, degrading and sometimes even mean. She just couldn’t help it. Hermione felt frustrated when she had to explain everything and still wasn’t heard. She felt frustrated when she had to lie to everyone because no one would actually understand why she did what she did and why she wanted it. Harry and Ron would think she was crazy and going dark and those who were so called dark would think she was mad to think she could ever be in same level as them. And she knew that it was probably true. But no matter what Harry and Ron would think it wasn’t about going dark, it was about knowledge, the most powerful thing in the world at least for her.

On their way she was making more specific plan to escape to the Forbidden Forest and so far it involved stealing Harrys cloak and digging up her old time turner she had promised not to use unless it was an emergency. McGonagall had pulled some strings with the Ministry to let her keep it and she was pretty sure that after all the scandals no one remembered that she had it. If they did they didn’t care anymore. But just in case she had kept it quiet, not even Harry and Ron knew that she still had it.

When Ginny joined them in the Great Hall and started to talk about Quidditch with Ron, Hermione ducked a book out her bag so she didn’t have to listen them. It also wasn’t much of surprise that she wasn’t that hungry, she never was so she just sticked with so fruits. Ginny looked at her oddly but didn’t say anything, just continued her conversation with Ron.

Dark magic comes from persons blood, emotions, need and core. It is a combination of power, will and often heredity. One doesn’t automatically born with a core that is either dark or light but as the child starts to use magic, the core starts to crow and shape. If the child has dark magic in it’s blood or is exposed to dark magic from very early age, the possibility of having a dark- or a neutral core that can later turn more to the dark is bigger. The darker the core, the easier it is to use dark magic and it also can make purely light magic more difficult but not impossible. It is mistakenly believed that a dark wizard cannot produce a patronus charm because it requires a happy memory and true feeling. But being dark doesn’t mean one cannot be happy or have a happy memory. Darkness doesn’t affect ones feelings the way people often think.

When it comes to emotions it is true that strong emotions like hate can make dark magic more effective and stronger but it isn’t required. These emotions can make using such a powerful magic easier but the more you use dark magic, more naturally it comes, especially if you already have a dark core. But hate isn’t a only strong emotion and needing to hurt isn’t the only need you have to use dark magic. Just like light magic, dark magic is just magic just often more powerful and feared because of it’s power. It is easier to say something is evil than admit to being weak.

What however is true is that dark magic is addictive and can consume it’s user if they are not used to dark magic or has no guidance. When a person suffers from such an addiction they usually aren’t aware of it themselves. Most known symptoms are compulsive use of dark magic till they aren’t capable of thinking or doing anything else because the casting gives them both mental and physical pleasure, heightened sexual need and changing of the eye color. …..

It was the Black Grimoire that she was sneaked out of Grimmauld Place, one part of it was like a Diary that all of the Ancestors had written about important events and Black secrets, one was about spells they had created, that had been kept as family secret and Hermione felt slightly bad that she now knew those spells that had been so well protected for centuries. And the last part was like this. It was about theory and facts that society tried to hid or twist to fit their image. Most f it really was something that she had never read about from any book that could be find from Hogwarts library or Diagon Alley stores, and she wasn’t sure which was scarier, that all that information was so well covered up or how interesting she found it all and how much she desired to know more.  She didn’t think that she would ever try any of the spells or generally use dark magic, it was the knowledge. Know your enemy and all, especially when you really didn’t have any idea of who they were really.  

“Hermione, what are you reading? Dinners already almost over and you haven’t said a word.” Ginny looked very much annoyed. Apparently spending an hour talking to your brother wasn’t what she wanted after all.

“Just something about Ancient Runes. We are supposed to craft something this year so I’m trying to look for an idea.” Hermione tried to give a little smile to her friends and everyday giving that smile came harder and harder. She didn’t really even understand it where it all came from. She understood her frustration and the need to look after herself and all that but she didn’t know really when had she started to pretend and lie. And since she was so good at it, it had to be a while ago.

 “Right. I don’t know what was I thinking, of course you were doing school work.” Ginny laughed at her. She looked exactly as she sounded, annoyed and maybe even vindictive. They really hadn’t gotten along since the whole Sirius conversation and even before that it had been pretty one sided. They just didn’t have anything in common and it was obvious that Ginny rather spent her time with people like Lavender and maybe even Luna, when Hermione could easily think that books were better company that some social butterfly swot.

Hermione gave Ginny a nice polite smile and went back to the book. She didn’t find it necessary to continue a pointless conversation when nobody cared about what she had to say and she wasn’t really even saying anything. Sure it was true that they were going to do a project in Ancient Runes that involved spell crafting but that wasn’t before spring and they didn’t have any facts about it so there wasn’t really anything that she could do yet and it made her bit frustrated because just wanted to get a start at it, but since she couldn’t, she try to focus on her personal project and all that.

*

The next Defence Against the Dark lesson didn’t go any better, it went far more worse in fact. Harry just couldn’t stop talking back to that horrible woman and kept dragging everyone else into it. All Hermione could think about his friend was that he was an idiot.

“Miss Granger. I don’t expect much of you since you don’t truly belong here but I do expect silence and ability to read. Muggles read don’t they?” The sweet smile on her face made the insult so much worse. She didn’t even try to disguise the insult or how much she enjoyed it. Malfoy and his so called friends of course laughed at Hermione. If it had been Gryffindors laughing they would have lost many point and sent to detention even but since it was someone who was born to such a noble family as Malfoys, he was given point instead of losing them.

Hermione kept her gaze down but could feel Harry looking at her as expecting her to fight back. All she had done to get Umbridge’s attention had been trying to get Harry sit back down. Harry who had started to preach about Voldemort being back, again. She had seen the scar on Harrys hand after his first detention and really did not want the same faith. She didn’t really care to have more reasons to hate her body. But it wasn’t much of a surprise when Umbridge told about her punishment.

“Detention, Miss Granger, for such insolence. Meet me tonight at six.” Umbridge smiled again. Before she could go back to her seat Harry of course opened his mouth.

“But that’s dinner time!”

Just shut up. Hermione screamed in to her head and didn’t say anything. She knew that Umbridge didn’t need her to confirm that she understood her punishment. In any other class or with any other professor that would had been necessary but with Umbridge it would mean speaking out of the term.

“I am aware Mr. Potter. It will only do good for Miss Granger to skip a dinner or two, maybe then she wouldn’t take so much space. Now Mr. Potter, shall we continue our reading or would you like to join Miss Granger?”

Don’t say anything. Hermione prayed. She knew that if Harry argued with Professor now it wouldn’t be just him who got more detention.

Harry looked like he was going to explode after Umbridge’s comment about Hermione’s weigh since it was quite obviously not true. He felt ashamed that he had never thought about how tiny his friend was and desperately wanted to defend her, it took all of his will power to just sit down and keep his head down. He however did make a promise to himself to see that Hermione would eat something after her detention. Maybe Dobby could get them something from the kitchens.