Chapter 16 - Hermione's Secret

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∞ 16 ∞

HERMIONE'S SECRET


Hermione went to her office a little disconcerted after her encounter with Lucius. He didn't exactly indicate he would be taking her up on her offer for tea. At this rate, she didn't know how, or if, she would get a chance alone with him. She took up her handbag and from it took a small periwinkle coloured box. The label read: "Digby's Luxury Lovely Lavender, Instant Cuticle Cream Cure". Inside, wrapped in a few tissues, there was a small, crystal ball about the size of a giant marble, or a not-too-large greengage. Her closest friends: Ron, Harry and Ginny were the only ones who knew about it apart from the oracle Tyler Jin. For over a year now, from the day the renowned oracle had translated it for her, she had kept it close to her at all times. She put her head on her desk, rolling the oversized marble back and forth with her middle and ring finger very close to her face and thinking about what Tyler Jin had said...

And she thought back to that bizarre night four years before, in The Hall of Prophecy and their battle with the Death Eaters a little later in the Department of Mysteries. They needed Harry's all important prophecy to help their side... She envisioned all the hundreds of thousands of prophecies trapped inside orbs of crystal, and saw them falling as the shelves started collapsing like dominoes again.

It had opportunely rolled off of its shelf, hit poor Neville Longbottom on the head (luckily it was very small as crystal balls went) bounced off his scull and fallen right into her handbag. It was opportune too that they were running for their lives, or else she might have taken a moment to fish it out and dash it away. She had started to consider mystical things with some small respect for the first time in her life at that point and thought it might have held some useful insights on the war. She could understand the first part of it as clearly as if she was listening to anyone speak although its meaning had mainly eluded her until relatively recently. Unfortunately the second part was just static and noises, which some original prophecies were said to contain – apparently knowledge from another dimension, that only those with "the gift" could understand.

The first two seers she took it to came up with different, yet equally flowery, innocuous gibberish – giving general proverbs about life, but not really saying anything definitive. Both seers were more interested in reading her palm and providing advice about her love life. She had a low tolerance for all that stuff and she wasn't even sure if she should have the prophecy in her possession, so she would have returned it to the Department of Mysteries, if it hadn't (luckiest of all) gotten lost in her trunk at school, because she had fallen so terribly ill soon after The Department of Mysteries incident and had forgotten where she put it for safe keeping.

Watching the ball as she rolled it close to her eyes and then away again, had a mesmerising effect:

It was hard now to remember how much she had hated him, when she thought about him in such a tender way now – and so often. He needed to be safe. Not only because he deserved it (she knew that now) but for all their sakes. He had to be safe! She would do everything she could to make sure that he was. But he wasn't making it easy.


A BAD, BAD WIZARD:

She was lying there unable to move from the Death Eater's stun. She saw the feet of another Death Eater walk in just as the first was bending down in front of her, staring at her with his creepy, beady eyes. She felt a shiver of terror. As he reached out handling the bottom of her jumper, the other Death Eater walked up; all she could see were his boots, but from the posh, contorted accent she knew who it was straight away:

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