HARRY POTTER CONTINUED
Author's note: I was inspired by J.K. Rowling to write this piece.
More Diversions, A Big Snake, and A Peculiar White BoyHermione woke to the sounds of busy activity, papers rustling, bags being opened and closed, and the wonderful sound of sizzling bacon. She twisted onto her back, blinking and squinting her eyes against a glare of light shining through a crack in the roof of their tent. She placed a hand on her forehead and breathed through her mouth, savoring a few more minutes of sleep.
“You better not hurt her in any way, you understand me?” Hermione heard someone that sounded suspiciously like Zenrir say. There was more rustling and the sound of a cabinet door opening.
“Yeah, mate, don’t worry, I promise I won’t do anything,” Malfoy said.
“I’ll be watching,” Zenrir said threateningly.
Zenrir growled under his breath.
Hermione smiled under the blankets.
“And uh…” said Zenrir after a few moments of silence.
“Yes?” said Malfoy.
“Don’t tell her I talked to you. She’s, um, sensitive about that kind of stuff.”
“No worries,” said Malfoy, and Hermione could hear the little smile in his voice. Maybe Draco Malfoy wasn’t so bad. After all, everyone has a good side right?
“Morning,” Hermione called out. She yawned and stretched out her arms, blinking the sleep away.
“We’ll be ready to go in about a half hour. Zenrir and I packed up. We’ll just get something to eat, then we can start heading out—”
“Do we even know where we’re headed? Or where those Death Eaters are holding this Jeriel person hostage? Or where Harry is? Or where—” Zenrir burst out.
“No, not exactly,” said Malfoy, cutting his chatter off, “but I’m sure we can figure it out. I mean, logically, those blokes are probably watching us and they’ll want us to find them, so they’ll probably be leaving clues around.”
“Clues?” said Hermione, “how?”
Malfoy shrugged. “Dunno, maybe they’ll set a giant on us again,”—Malfoy shot Hermione a look— “or maybe some other disgusting brute just to lead us on. We’ll get there soon enough. I’ve been with that crowd before, and they won’t be hiding out. They want action. They want us to find them.”
“What about the direction then?” said Zenrir. “North, south, east—”
“We’ll start with that little gift they sent us. The rock, where is it?”
“Here.” Hermione handed the black stone carefully to Malfoy. He squinted at it, ran his thumbs over the jagged edges, and meticulously studied each symbol and picture. Malfoy took out his wand and set the stone on the table. He whispered something, and suddenly the stone began to shake and smoke causing the whole table to tremble.
“What are you doing? What’s going on?” cried Zenrir, looking around in confusion.
“Malfoy,” called Hermione, “what are you doing?”
Malfoy shushed them, moving his wand again, making the rock start to levitate in the air, black mist swirling around it.
“Dark magic…” Hermione whispered. “Malfoy, stop it! You’re using Dark magic!”
“I need to!” Malfoy insisted quietly.
With another jet of black sparks erupting from his wand, a sudden hologram appeared over the rock. They could make out a bunch of black clad figures moving around in the picture, but nothing else.
All of a sudden, the stone stopped vibrating and dropped to the table with a loud clunk; the swirling black mist vanished and it once again became a simple rock.
Hermione glared at him. “Why did you—”
“I used that to see their location.”
Hermione opened her mouth angrily.
“Do you know any magic that can do that?”
Hermione closed her mouth indignantly.
“So where are they? Do you know?” asked Zenrir.
Malfoy turned around and put down the bag he was carrying. “Well…no.”
Zenrir raised his eyebrows. “Um, okay, but that was kind of the whole point—”
“Yeah, I know, I get it, but the picture was too blurry. I’m not that good at the Dark Magic stuff yet. My father, he…” Malfoy got a faraway look in his eyes and without warning, he snapped back at Zenrir, “never mind.”
“You can’t just leave without knowing which direction and exactly which longitudes—”
“Life doesn’t work that way sometimes,” said Malfoy impatiently, cutting Hermione off. “You can’t always rely on plain facts and knowledge. Sometimes… you have to just follow your heart.”
Hermione stared at Malfoy for a long time, not saying a word.
“You’re right,” she finally said, “I’m too…um, yeah, you’re just right.” Without another word, she picked up her share of the packs and strode out the door, not taking a backward glance. Malfoy gave a small smile at her retreating back, and shouldered his bags, following her out into the cold. Zenrir followed, feeling a little bit left out of whatever was happening between Hermione and the new blond kid. Once outside and squinting tremendously, the three companions scanned the horizon for any sign or spark of life. The roaring whiteness raged on, not revealing anything to them, and not providing even a small sanctuary against the bitter cold.
“There,” said Zenrir after a few minutes, pointing, “I think I see some green over there, it might not mean finding Harry or Ron, but it would mean some shelter against this…this…thing.”
“Zenrir’s right,” said Hermione, “we need to head towards shelter. I don’t think we can do much traveling today. The storm’s not letting up.”
“After you,” said Malfoy with a smile. Hermione gave him a strange look and set off for the comforting patch of green oasis ahead. About twenty minutes later, the three entered the quiet area of green and brown woodland. It sheltered them significantly, but snow still littered the ground at calf height, making it extremely difficult to walk at a brisk pace; a pace Hermione was desperately hoping for.
“Can we make camp now?” complained Zenrir.
Hermione shot him a disapproving look.
“We just left our camp twenty minutes ago, Zenrir. Now, if you’d stop complaining and start looking for clues to lead us to Harry, Ron, or Jeriel, that would be wonderful,” said Hermione, forced gentleness in her voice.
“All right, all right,” grumbled Zenrir, deliberately making a great show of how unfortunate his cold and wet situation was.
From that point on, they walked on in silence, each lost in their own thoughts.
Hermione was thinking about her growing feelings for Malfoy and her twisted relationship with Harry and Ron, confused and too lost in her own world to notice the faint pattering of footsteps and the soft swishing of some unknown creature…
Malfoy was wrapped up in thoughts of just how much Hermione had changed over the course of nine years, how beautiful she was now, and how unavailable she was. Sure, he knew what happened with Harry and her, but he didn’t care. If he could just have one night with her alone without the spitting image of Fenrir Greyback…
Zenrir was shivering and dying of the bitterness of the cold. With every step, he could feel his muscles slacking and sharp stabs of ice on his red face. All he could think about was his old cave and his old pack and his old life…
Hermione stopped and looked up.
Malfoy and Zenrir were not by her side. It was dead silent, the storm having stopped, and little to no wildlife in the woods.
“Malfoy?” called Hermione tentatively. “Zenrir?”
Hermione walked a few paces, straining her ears for any sound of movement. She heard a faint rustle behind a few trees and followed the sound, her breath quickening, heart pounding. She peeked around one of the trees and braced herself against whatever was behind.
Just a one squirrel, which scampered out of sight with a high-pitched chatter.
Hermione turned around and retraced her steps, backtracking to where she had last seen Malfoy and Zenrir. She brandished her wand in front of her protectively, involuntarily shaking. Hermione struggled to keep her footsteps light and her breathing calm and steady.
Hermione began to panic. She knew she couldn’t make it anywhere without the tent and the supplies, the supplies that Malfoy and Zenrir were carrying. All she had in her pack were a few meals, and her bedroll. Hermione stopped and decided to just listen. Dropping her bags on the ground, she looked up at the treetops and cocked her ears for any sounds of her companions.
Hermione widened her eyes in surprise, following the faint stream of sound that named her name. She shouldered and packs and started to jog towards the sound, a sound that was similar to Zenrir’s voice.
Her breath came quick as Hermione staggered towards the second faint cry. A plead.
“I’m coming, Zenrir! I’m coming, hold on!” Hermione broke out into a full run, dashing against the trees that seemed to claw at her clothing, breaking her stride. Stray branches and thorns dragged over her body, making deep red crevices in her skin; Hermione cried out but continued to run.
Staggering, she came to a stop, panting for air, searching the woods, eyes blinking in exhaustion.
Hermione kicked at the ground in frustration.
“I know you have them!” Hermione called out, “Whatever you are, come out. Don’t be a coward!”
The wind tickled the air, the leaves rustled, and the animals bayed in the growing afternoon, but still no sign of Zenrir or Malfoy. Hermione spun around, her whereabouts unclear; each tree looking the same as the next, with no identifiable landmarks.
She narrowed her eyes. “Malfoy?”
The voice sounded closer; sounding much like Malfoy, yet strangely distorted, like something being said partly under water. Hermione moved slowly, wand still out in front, towards the voice. As she peeked behind a large, thick and rotting tree trunk, a flash of black whipped through somewhere about ten yards away. Hermione caught her breath and slowly turned around, every nerve tingling with caution. Another flash of black appeared in the other direction, almost causing Hermione to trip over her own feet.
“Stop playing tricks and come out to face me!” cried Hermione.
Suddenly, a bizarre, cold, music came spiraling into the air, twisting at Hermione’s ears and causing them to itch in a weird, popping way; she clutched at her ears in pain, eyes watering and mouth drying.
“Stop it!” Blinking her eyes, Hermione suddenly caught sight of Malfoy’s thin figure hovering a few paces away, staring into space. Blinking back tears, Hermione got up and unclenched her ears, once again allowing the flow of the cold, metal music to pass through her ears.
Malfoy was standing, with a vacant stare, tilted towards a figure lying on a large, silvery purple boulder. The figure, Hermione realized after a moment, was a woman. She had wildly thick green and silver hair, thick white lashes that lined her deep set, blue-purple cat-eyes, and white-silver skin that stretched across her impossibly rail-thin, slender bones. She was clad in a long, white, billowing robe, a red sash, and a pulsing blue necklace, which was clasped tightly across her neck and chest.
The woman had not yet seen Hermione, and was guiding something sharp and silver into Malfoy’s hands. A steamy mist curled off the silver object, and Malfoy clasped it tightly in his hands. The object started to spurt red liquid that dripped off his startlingly white hands and it took Hermione a few moments to realize that he was holding a jewel-laden knife in his fingers. The woman smiled, her lips curling back to reveal sharp yellow teeth and a long, flicking white tongue. All the while, the bleak music grew stronger, louder, and a sense of excitement filled the eccentric music, filling Hermione’s ears with a raw pulsing beat that made her heart thud unceremoniously. The woman arched her neck and flicked out her long white, snake-like tongue, flicking the drops of red off Malfoy’s fingers. She seemed to shudder and whispered something, making Malfoy nod blankly. He suddenly plunged the bejeweled knife into his forearm, causing an enormous seeping, dark red hole. Hermione cried out, out of pain for Malfoy, and the woman whipped her head around in fury.
“Leave.” She hissed, the mist rising off her skin like vats of billowing hot air.
Hermione made a move towards Malfoy, and the woman leaped off the rock with surprising agility and speed, clawing at Hermione’s throat angrily.
“I SAID LEAVE!” The woman roared before dragging Malfoy by the hair behind her. Hermione shook her wand.
“Relashio!” cried Hermione. Malfoy was wrenched out of the woman’s clutches and collapsed to the floor. Hermione shook his head and blinked dizzily.
“The spell…it’s wearing…” The woman hissed quietly, angrily, her eyes flashing.
“Malfoy!” Hermione called. He looked up and blinked in confusion. “Come here! Hurry!”
Malfoy got up slowly, tottering as he made his way to Hermione. The woman glared at them for a second, then disappeared in a puff of smoke, cursing in a foreign tongue.
“Malfoy!” Hermione ran to him, catching him right before he collapsed a second time, breathing hard. “Malfoy!”
Hermione knelt on the ground, his head in her arms. His skin was a sickly green shade, his lip was cut, and his arm was still pulsing with red blood. Hermione ripped off a piece of cloth from her shirt and pressed it against the wound, stopping the blood flow, while trying to wake him from a permanent sleep.
“Please don’t leave…don’t leave me…you have to wake up…” Hermione whispered through the blur of tears sliding down her face. Hermione pressed her ear against his chest, hoping and praying for the beautiful sound of a human heartbeat.
He suddenly stirred, his eyelids shifting.
“Malfoy!” Hermione shook him awake, shaking with relief and joy that he was still alive. She brushed the hair from his eyes and he gazed up at her with a steady look.
“I thought she would…I…I…” Hermione breathed heavily.
“She put me under a spell,” said Malfoy, with difficulty. “Sire…sire…” he trailed off, eyes fluttering.
“Sire…” Hermione’s eyes widened. “Siren?”
He nodded, swallowing.
“Unconscious…didn’t see…sorry…probably…probably in her lair…” Malfoy coughed.
“Lair? She has a lair?”
“In the back…over…over there…” He lifted a weak finger to where the siren had vanished without a sight.
“Wait right here,” said Hermione, “I’m going in to find him.” After gently laying Malfoy to rest on the ground, she cautiously returned to the place where she had last seen the siren. Wand held high, she slowly advanced towards the gaping hole of earth that Malfoy called the creature’s lair.
“Anyone there? Zenrir?” Hermione called out. No sound.
There was a faint rustling and a group of bats zoomed from their hiding places, screeching in fright. Hermione, startled, recovered quickly.
Hermione squared her shoulders and decided to be brave and face whatever blocked her way. Zenrir had always been a charming, loyal and compassionate friend. Without him…well, Hermione couldn’t bear to think of that.
“All right. I’m coming in and I don’t care whom you are or how powerful you are. I am coming to take back what was mine.” Hermione worked to steady her voice. “You have my friend, Zenrir, and I’m coming in…right now. Right this moment.” Hermione swallowed and stopped talking, knowing she was just stalling.
Hermione walked for about a few minutes in the complete darkness, using her wand as a faint shaft of light and keeping her eyes glued in front of her.
“It’s no use calling.”
The slippery female voice boomed throughout the cave, ringing hollowly. Hermione stopped, a chill passing through her body, slipping down each vein like ice.
“Who are you?” Hermione called out.
“Mesea, forest Siren.”
“Where have you put Zenrir?”
A chilling, echoic laugh.
“The little pup? Quite delicious.”
“Please what? Please don’t kill my precious lover?”
“What?” Hermione said, surprised. “He’s not my lover.”
A high-pitched giggle.
“Wait and see,” came the voice.
Hermione blinked, confused.
“Please just bring him back. We need him. He’s our friend.”
“I only ask one thing, little girl.”
“What do you want?”
“Hermione…the only reason—”
“How did you know my name was Hermione?”
“Don’t interrupt me girl,” Mesea said dangerously.
“As I was saying, the only reason I, ah, borrow young men is because I can’t get my main food supply. Unlike my silly water cousins who lure sailors to their deaths, I only lure these men to get the blood I need. I don’t kill them. Ever since my main supply of cobra venom disappeared from the forest, I haven’t had anything worthwhile to drink. The next best thing is the fresh blood of young men.”
“But how did you lure Malfoy and Zenrir to you? They were literally right next to me and then they—”
“Disappeared? Ah, yes. It wasn’t that hard, actually. All I had to do was hypnotize them into thinking it was you speaking to them.”
“What do you mean—”
“Never mind that, you foolish little girl. I like deals so let me propose one to you now. I cannot leave this forest, so I want you to go and get me cobra venom. In return, I will give you back your precious wolf.”
“Cobra venom? Just any cobra’s venom?”
“You think I, the greatest forest Siren, can rely on regular cobra’s venom? Who do you think I am? My pathetic cousin who’s only killed one sailor in her career so far? No! Of course this won’t be a regular cobra! It’s the king of all cobras. His name is Rafaezel and he’s always on the move, slithering to China one day and catching the ferry to Canada the next day. Don’t ask me how he does it. It took me years to figure this out and I cannot believe I am going to give this away to you now, but I am desperate. So, the only way he will give up his venom if you offer him something he does not already have and something extremely valuable. I’m not talking about gold and jewels; he has too much of that. Something that’s priceless. But heed my warning. He’s crafty and clever, and will try to trick you into giving him everything, and you, nothing. Be wise.”
“Where would we start looking though?”
“It’s about shedding season, so he’d probably be in the south of France. He does like warm places while he sheds.”
“What does he look like? Small, big, red, black…”
“Foolish girl, you won’t have any trouble spotting him. He is very hard to miss. And while you’re at it, bring that ridiculously thin boy with you. His blood did not suit my taste.”
“Wait, but where in the South of—”
“Until we meet again, little girl. ”
Mesea’s voice disappeared.
Hermione grumbled internally, making her way out of the cave. Brilliant, exactly what they need; another diversion to their main goal of finding Ron and Harry.
“What did it say?” asked Malfoy, who was well recovered and back on the balls of his feet.
“She said that we need to find Rafaezel and get his venom and then bring it back to Mesea in exchange for Zenrir,” said Hermione with a frown.
Malfoy wrinkled his forehead in confusion, “Mesea? Rafaezel? Venom?”
“Mesea is the woman who lured you and Rafaezel is the cobra whose venom we need to take to bring back to her.”
Malfoy widened his eyes and puffed out a gust of frustrated air.
“Life hates us,” he said.
Hermione nodded, unable to agree anymore wholeheartedly.