What lies beneath


Hermione groggily entered the great hall well after breakfast was underway. Probably being one of the last to enter, she shuffled to the Gryffindor table with her head in a book about obscure warding runes. Thoughts firmly on the contents of a rather nasty rune that would cause trespassers' blood to boil, she didn't notice her amulet cracking around her neck. The amulet she had worn since reaching puberty to adapt her appearance so that she blended in, and to be generally ignored by most of her peers.

Dropping down to the bench, she picked up some toast and noticed the great hall had gone quiet. Slowly looking up from her book, her eyes made contact with Harry first who sat in front of her. He was staring wide-eyed back at her like she had grown three heads. Ron next to him wore a similar expression but was also holding a piece of bacon halfway to his mouth. Turning to look at the rest of the great hall, everyone's eyes were on her.

Hermione looked down to make sure she had in fact put on her school uniform, and not sleepwalked here in pajamas. But the first thing Hermione noticed was her amulet. It was now resting in between an ample cleavage- and the stone had fractured. The stone, no longer a blood red colour, was black.

"Hermione?" Harry whispered. His shock had changed into confusion.

"I have to go." Hermione quickly gathered her book and rose to dash out the great hall. What the fuck, she frantically thought as she fled. Why has it suddenly failed! It had taken her the entire summer between 4th and 5th year to first research how to achieve a long-term glamour, and then another two months to acquire the stone needed to house the magic. No one could take the amulet off her neck but she, and the stone was meant to be pretty much indestructible. And why go to all that trouble... for misdirection. You're too busy watching the magicians right hand holding the card when you should be watching his left that is switching a card out to complete the trick. And just like everyone was watching Hermione's right hand which showed her to be a plain, bookish, bossy girl who tried to enforce rules and doing the dreaded 'homework', her left hand was allowing her to live her life how she wanted without distraction or attention.

In reality, Hermione didn't care if anyone actually did their homework. That was a good cover to see her competitions work to make sure they stayed behind her in grades. Hermione didn't care if students were out after curfew. Usually, she wasn't even patrolling when she was meant to- too busy running around in the forbidden forest or researching a new spell or rune. Hermione didn't care people thought her plain, boring but pretty if she made an effort (which apart from the Yule Ball in 4th year she never did again). She didn't want boys ogling her as a distraction or more eyes than necessary following her movements. Some movements that boarded on illegal.

Running to the 3rd floor she quickly located the hidden groove in the stone near a tapestry of an opal-eye dragon flying around a castle. The wall shifted as the entrance to the secret room appeared. Sweeping through the door her three unlikely friends looked up from their chairs.

"We have a problem."