Days passed on, my research of Blood Runes progressed, however it slowed the more detailed I tried to get things. It would take me months if not a year to perhaps complete this new magic, even with hard work directed at the problem for hours on end. Unfortunately I couldn’t ask Pansy for assistance, as she had no experience with Ancient Runes. Leaving me with only one choice for assistance.
“So that’s why you came to talk to me after a few weeks of avoidance.” Hermione frowned at me, crossing her arms. I avoided her gaze, instead looking at the sinks in the bathroom we were both in, our meet up place with no prying eyes. “You know as well as I, that the further we are from one another, the better.” Hermione let out a humph, clearly unamused at our situation. “Just a coward too afraid to speak his own mind…” She muttered, leaving me biting my own lip, the other reason why I stayed away from her, she always pushed my buttons, and sparked rivalry within me.
“Are you going to help me or not?” I growled, the full moon just a few nights away. Hermione’s frown lessened slightly, rolling her eyes as she let out a smirking sigh. “I suppose I should assist you; it’s not as if you have anyone else to turn to.” I shook my head, wondering why she had to say things in the most infuriating way. We both sat beside one another while I took out my own personal leather-bound journal in the identical style as Ekrizdis’, made with Dragon leather and normal parchment for mine of course.
“This is what I have so far.” Hermione leaned closer to me, readjusting her raggedy hair behind her ear as she scanned my work. I turned my head slightly away from her, and let out an involuntary gulp while lowering my breaths, trying to keep her distinct smell out of my nose. She mumbled every word under her breath while double checking my work, her breath tickling my ear, lulling me to sleep with her gentle tone. Finally the last reason I didn’t want us to be close with one another, I didn’t know how or why, but she always made me feel on edge around her.
It was a strange comfort or ease like when I was with Pansy, or in small moments between Luna, or Chiara. However, I didn’t want that strange comfort with any of the girls outside of Slytherin. It was an addiction, one that I would continuously be crawling back to if I were to get lost in my impulses. It was partially the reason why I previously invited Luna to meet Gaynor, and it was part of the reason why I asked Hermione for help in my Runes now. I didn’t really need her help, it would increase my speed with both our minds working together, but I didn’t hit a definitive ‘wall’ in my development.
I could hardly focus on the distinct words she was mumbling, instead just listening to her voice trail away. Finally only catching myself after she stopped leaning into me. “It’s all good so far, a ward for concealment in these few Runes… I would say it was brilliant if it worked.” I nodded with thanks before she took her own quill, and circled portions of my Runes. “These would be the Rune’s most likely to fail if it doesn’t work, especially this one, trying to reduce the normal, longer amount of Runes required with abbreviating the words usually used.”
“I thought the same thing.” I agreed, but knew that it worked, specifically because this was exactly the same Runes Ekrizdis used to conceal Azkaban from the Ministry. It only worked because of the blood he used to write the Runes in. Using a portion of the caster for the Runes helped give the Enchantment more… ‘personality’ to it. Almost like the Enchantment was given a portion of the Wizard as a template to guide its proper functions as well as let the Enchantments continue without the need for input by another Wizard that wanted to use it. “What kind of Runes are useful for defensive Enchantments?” I asked, the class mostly talking about reading Runes as a foreign language, rather than placing them together to create Enchanted items.
Hermione hummed, and took out her own book of Runes and skimmed its pages as she pointed out Runes that could help me in creating more and better clothing. We continued like that for hours, casting ideas at one another, and spit-balling solutions to problems they might entail, our academic minds working in tandem with one another like a well oiled machine. Finally, once it was time for dinner, we departed, promising to do this again.
As I went to my room, I closed the door behind me before resting on it. I had done it again, let Hermione set the pace. She now had me wanting to see her again for us to learn from one another. The exact reason why we should stay apart, her unintentional ability to worm her way inside my mind, and make me forget that we should even stay apart. That was the most harrowing, I would lose track of how dangerous she could be to my way of life.
“We’re friends now right?” Val asked, sluggishly slithering out of my clothes, he had been sleeping a lot recently, preparing for his molt happening soon. "I don't... Maybe..." I sighed, not knowing what to say about that. I knew I shouldn’t be with anyone outside of Slytherin, but I couldn’t stop myself from enjoying Hermione’s, Chiara’s, and Luna’s company.
I shook it away, and placed Val in his tank, before heading off for Dinner together with Pansy. “Haven’t seen you since lunch.” She started off talking while a plate filled with food appeared before her. I shrugged, thinking it best to just avoid talking about my closeness with Hermione, a girl I knew Pansy didn’t like much. “Studying Runes more. I think I’m getting close to creating something else for you.” Pansy snapped her head to me, her eyes glistening with excitement. In fact, she was wearing the shirt I had made for her at this moment.
“I can’t wait.” She smiled, a pure look of anticipation adorned her face, like a child awaiting a Christmas gift. I couldn’t help but smile back, wanting to fulfill that present so she could smile even more in the future. “That reminds me, I’ve been progressing well in the whip charm.” I hummed, knowing that it was a charm Pansy was having slight trouble in having, until she had a feeling for grabbing something with it. One was supposed to create a sort of purple tendril that they could control as a sort of sentient tendril. It didn’t have a particular effect outside of that, but that meant it was versatile.
‘She only understood the charm after using it to coil around my arm and pull me to her, knocking us down in the process.’ On that note, I blushed just remembering how long it took for me to remove myself from her. “That’s good.” I coughed out my congratulations, Pansy clearing her throat as well before continuing on. “I was just thinking if you could perhaps help me with another charm I was having trouble with? Your last advice really did help.” I quickly nodded, using anything to remove that last image from either of our minds, unknowing of that being Pansy’s plan from the start.
After Lucas and Pansy left from dinner early, they both stood outside, a few paces from one another, wands pointed and ready. Pansy needed more experience in Dueling. That last Charm she claimed to have problems with, was just a ruse to get Lucas comfortable with the idea of Dueling her, which she quickly took advantage of in ‘accidently’ forcing him into her arms. However, now she was serious, she wouldn't let the dark omen she had gotten in Divination class today would not come to pass.
During the first week, her tea leaves showcased were best translated to ‘Someone close to you will suffer all alone’. She was worried at first, seeking to use Harry Potter's outlandish reading of 'death' as a means to keep her own reading grounded. She held that fear back for a while, until she forgot about it, only being reminded when Lucas explained his plans for feeding a Dementor; almost fulfilling her prophecy without her even knowing. Most likely a coincidence, her own mind making connections that were already present in the first place, but there was another misty vision in a Crystal ball she saw today.
She could still remember it vividly. While sitting in class, everyone was silently trying to see into their crystal balls as per the class. Many students used the time to nap as the teacher was sort of loony and easily swayed with half-hearted interpretations or lies. However, Pansy took the class more seriously after Christmas break, still skeptical of course, but not in denial. There was still a slight chance she might see something. Many days she had seen nothing, and with each one she lost faith in the art altogether. However, this particular day, as her eyes drooped from the strange fatigue this scented room brought with it, she saw the mist in her ball begin to part.
Pansy only opened one eye, thinking her mind was playing tricks on her, but the image of Lucas startled her awake. She watched him, looking to be in great pain, gasping for breath, his glowing green and yellowish eyes staring deep into her through the glass. She could barely make out past his shoulders through the murky mist, but she could tell he was wasn't wearing his robes, it looked to be a suit jacket with a dark green pocket square neatly folded in his front pocket. He grasped at his chest hoping to ease the pain he was in before lurching towards her with an almost primal gaze.
Pansy gasped, doing her best not to make a scene in class. Her mind spun in thought. Perhaps his magical overcharge symptoms he explained to her were going haywire for some reason, or what she thought already was true... That it was a lie he told her to keep her from worrying what the true nature of illness was. Either way, she didn’t know exactly what that meant, but she couldn’t ignore it. She had to become strong enough to keep him restrained if his magic went out of control. She would have to be ready before the next time he would be wearing that particular pocket square. “Carpe Retractum!” She yelled, the purple whip appearing from the tip of her wand, and quickly slithering through the air to latch onto its prey.