Hermes' secret

Chapter 21

A/N: I don't know why I am having o say this ,because I believe that things lie these should be awfully clear to users ,but lately ,and not just for this story ,I am getting vulgar and unnecessary reviews that have nothing to do with my story. Reviews are for feedback and exchanging words with the author ,not a place to put up rude fantasies and whatnot. I will not tolerate this and have managed to delete many of them ,but am unable to do so for the others. My story is Rated K+, don't write Mature rated stuff in the reviews or ,stay a step ahead of me, and don't post rude reviews at all!

Sorry for my incessant natter.

Let's get down to the story...

Flashback

'Only we have faith in you; only we trust you; only we know your real parents; only we can be your real friends ,rival your intelligence; only we can show you what it is to be the great Hermione-'

'Hermione! Hermione!' Hermione felt herself being shaken gently ,but vigorously, by two strong hands. Sharply, Hermione opened her eyes and sat up ,breathing heavily ,as she tried to remember her dream. She was adopted?

Blinking rapidly, Hermione's eyes came into focus on Draco's face ,which was filled with worry. Almost instinctively, Hermione shuffled away from him ,remembering vividly how his face had contorted with disgust in her dream.

'Are you alright?' Ginny asked ,reaching out to place a hand on Hermione's shoulder ,but she avoided it silently. The red-head looked questioningly at the others ,who were all huddled around the bed.

'What happened?' Hermione asked ,not making eye-contact with anyone.

'You just collapsed' Blaise said shortly 'Right after you bound Potter'

'Dumbledore checked his wand ,but he didn't seem to have done anything to you' Theo added.

'We brought you straight to the hospital wing' Draco said 'We wanted to let you wake up by yourself ,but you were thrashing around so much'

'Was it a dream?' Pansy asked ,after a short silence.

Hermione didn't say anything.

Was it a dream? It had seemed real and those people at the end...Why did Draco had to have woken her up? Those visions ,though. They had all been real memories ,contorted and defamed. Were they true ,though?

Hermione looked over at her friends. Did they really think of her that way? That shrill voice stood out to her ,more defined than ever and Hermione knew for sure who it belonged to.

Bellatrix Lestrange.

Hermione shuddered involuntarily. Bellatrix must have planted those visions. They weren't real ,just placed there to...to...to do what? Hermione recalled the vision of Dumbledore. Draco thought he was hiding something too. It all made sense. But her parents? She couldn't be adopted ,could she? Maybe that was what Dumbledore was hiding. That she was adopted. Then who were her real parents? Was that part of the secret?

Thoughts ran through Hermione's brain ,making her feel dizzy. The hospital wing swam in and out of focus as she laid her head gently back on her pillows.

'Hermione?' Draco asked ,placing a hand on Hermione's arm. It was warm and felt nice 'Are you alright?'

'What?'

'You're crying' he said ,bringing his hand up to Hermione's cheek and wiping it gently ,showing her the tears. Hermione held her breath as Draco approached her with his hand and wanted to duck away ,but there was nowhere to go. She didn't feel comfortable with him touching her. What if their memory was true ,just like Dumbledore's?

'Yeah, I'm alright.' Hermione nodded hastily ,sitting up higher on her cushions ,as the headmaster made his way through the large double doors. Theo glared surreptitiously at him ,exchanging a look with Blaise.

'Ahhh, Miss Granger' Professor Dumbledore declared serenely ,taking a seat on a vacant chair near her bed 'How are you feeling?'

'Just fine ,Professor' Hermione said stiffly ,trying not to sound too rude. The professor looked at her with twinkling eyes for a moment before ignoring her reply and continuing.

'I heard that you collapsed ,while duelling Mr Potter. Quite a show you put on out there ,carrying on your duelling ,even though you weren't feeling well' Hermione scoffed inwardly. Flattery would get him now where. He looked at her questioningly ,as if expecting her to contradict him. Hermione didn't. 'I believe that Bellatrix Lestrange has struck again. Luckily, your friends got you up here in time before you transformed fully.' He looked over at the others for the first time ,since his arrival and smiled appreciatively ,as if in spite of himself.

'Has there been any different behaviour in Miss Granger this time compared to the previous time she was admitted?' Dumbledore asked Madam Pomfrey ,who had come to give Hermione her headache and recovery potions.

Hermione shook her head ,though, when the matron offered her the headache potion. 'I haven't got a head ache this time,' Madam Pomfrey looked shocked and offered her the different potions instead. Dumbledore nodded his head knowingly ,as if expecting it.

'Miss Granger was thrashing around when she came in here,' the matron replied to the headmaster 'Mr Malfoy had to wake her up'

Dumbledore looked at Hermione piercingly ,the twinkle in his eyes extinguished.

'Miss Granger,' he began sternly 'is there anything about you would like to tell us about your lapse from consciousness. Did Bellatrix do something more to you?' Hermione froze on the spot. What was she supposed to say?

'No...no...nothing Professor' Hermione found herself saying ,growing more and more confident as she said the words.

'Alright' Professor Dumbledore said ,looking down-hearted ,but he didn't loose eye-contact with Hermione as he stood up. 'If that's all?'

Hermione nodded firmly.

The moment he left the room, Theo beamed at her.

'You're not a bad liar' he said.

'Yeah, you seemed really confident in yourself after the first word' Blaise added.

'So what really happened?' Ginny asked.

'What do you mean?' Hermione asked ,surprised that they knew her so well.

'There was something different about this time ,wasn't there?' Pansy asked ,as everyone deflated slightly ,unsure of themselves.

Hermione looked down at her hands ,not sure what to say. Thankfully, Madam Pomfrey insisted that she have some rest and her friends leave her in peace. Ginny gave her a we'll-finish-this-later look as she left ,but Hermione didn't return it.

For the next few days, Hermione hardly spoke to the others. They took her to classes, had lunch together, studied in the common room together and to an outer eye, everything would've seemed normal ,but there was an unusual scent in the air. One that meant only one thing: guilt, confusion and scepticism.

Even while Potter was taunting them ,trying to save what was left of his dignity after the disastrous duel, Hermione didn't join ,simply settling to watch ,as her friends defended her, with a searching look on her face.

They all still researched on cursed scars in the library ,but there was a noticeable decrease in excited fervour. Everyone simply flicked through the tomes of old and dusty books ,yawning and playing with their hair.

'She's hiding something' Blaise said resolutely ,as Hermione left the library to go to the toilet. Theo nodded.

'As much as I hate to agree with you, it seems obvious. She still hasn't told us what happened when she collapsed'

'You don't think Bellatrix did something to her ,do you?' Ginny asked ,with worry.

'She might've and Dumbledore isn't telling' Pansy huffed ,crossing her arms.

'Maybe she's just feeling the aftereffects of the attack' Draco mused ,still in serious denial that Hermione was hiding something from them.

'Well, if she is, then I wonder when it's going to wear off' Blaise said ,exasperatedly. 'It has been a whole three days'

'Maybe it's private' Ginny suggested ,siding with Draco 'Something's happened back at her home in France'

'She'd probably mention it ,at least' Pansy thought aloud.

'You do realise that we're talking about her behind her back' Draco said ,looking around the bookshelves ,as if expecting Hermione to be standing there ,looking reproachfully at them.

'I know' Theo hung his head ,guiltily 'But we're doing it for her own good ,right?' Looking at the others in hope.

Hermione was weaving her way through the library bookshelves on her way back to their table at the back of the library. She was seriously considering telling them soon. She had no right to be suspicious of them. They were her friends and had gone out of their way to accept her into their group. She should be grateful and not suspect them ,because of a mere vision ,which Death Eaters had planted into her mind. She was just about to round the last corner ,when she heard something that made her stop in her tracks.

'You do realise that we're talking about her behind her back' she heard the soft voice of Draco Malfoy whispering. Hermione slammed her back against the bookcase ,making sure that they couldn't see her.

She couldn't believe it. It was true. Clutching onto the bookshelf for support, Hermione took in what she was hearing. Maybe they were talking about someone else. That was a possibility ,however small ,but something inside her told her that it wasn't true. Some nagging voice in her head ,which she'd been spending the majority of her time with during the past few days, was telling her that she was the subject of their conversation ,not some random Gryffindor. Shifting her hold on the bookcase, Hermione accidentally caught hold of a thick, hard book and saw it wobble precariously before falling with a loud thump right onto her toe ,the front cover facing up.

'Families of great importance and how they gained power' by Garrin Greengrass ,Hermione read.

Hermione picked up the book hastily ,just as Ginny came around the corner.

'We were wondering where you'd got to' Ginny smiled before taking a look at Hermione's face. 'Are you alright? You look a bit pale'

'Fine' Hermione said ,brushing her off quickly and proceeding to their table ,taking a seat as far away from the others and burying her nose into the book ,so she wouldn't have to look at any of them. From the corner of her eyes, she saw Ginny look shocked as she returned to the table and give a small shrug to Theo when he asked her something before glancing at Hermione.

Scowling, Hermione tried to read. It was only after a few moments, that she realised that the book she was reading wasn't on Cursed Scars at all. Feeling rather foolish, Hermione placed the book flat on the table, so the others wouldn't see the front cover and continued to read.

The most powerful of pureblood families are most notably known as the Riddles ,the most powerful being none other than the Dark Lord himself. Not many know His legal name ,Tom Marvolo Riddle. His grandfather ;however, is renowned in the wizarding world for his consistent disobedience to the Statute of Secrecy and had found himself and his son two cells in Azkaban for it. However Muggle-hating her father was, Merope Gaunt was completely the opposite ,choosing to run off with the filthy muggle Tom Riddle ,while her brother and father were in Azkaban. The decision was proved unwise ,as the muggle suspected sorcery and fled from her he moment he found out ,leaving her pregnant and homeless. It is a well-hidden secret that the Dark Lord was born in a muggle orphanage ,his mother passing away a few moments after he was born.
Hermione skimmed through the next few chapters on Voldemort's reign before reaching something of interest.
Rumours are known to flit in and out of fashion during Voldemort's reign ,but no rumour is more prominent than the one of 'The Dark Lady'. Towards the end of the first wizarding war, Voldemort had widely announced that he was trying for an heir. The witch or the celebration of success ;however, was never declared. Some believe that she is true and the Dark Lord kept her hidden to keep her from he aurors. Others believe she was just a fickle thought in the Dark Lord's mind ,while a far larger amount, think she is dead. Killed during battle ,most Voldemort neutrals liked to believe.

Hermione paused. Voldemort is capable of offspring and a daughter no less. The mere idea sounded crazy. Who would even care to bear his child and what kind of child would it be? She would've probably been brought up to continue the pure-blood mania into the younger generation. Hermione felt a pang of sympathy for the girl ,even though she ,most likely, didn't even exist. Imagine the pain the girl would've gone through ,trying to fulfil her father's high expectations and failing each time. Hermione sighed. She hoped that the rumours were false ,for the girl's sake at least.

'Are you alright?' Draco asked. Hermione looked up into those pearly grey orbs. 'You looked sad'

'Oh, yeah' Hermione nodded quickly ,closing the book so that the back-cover was facing up 'This book is just a bit gruesome ,you know ,with curses and stuff. I'm going to go put it back' It was the longest she spoken to any of them without interruption since the incident three days ago and they all looked up ,as if expecting some miracle to have taken place ,but Hermione already had her back to them and was tearing through the library bookshelves as quick as she could ,without causing great disturbance.

Rather than placing the book back where it belonged, Hermione proceeded to the checkout. She did not know why ,but she felt this unfamiliar urge to read and find out more about this nonexistent girl. Hermione still didn't believe she existed ,but the idea was intriguing enough. It would also keep her mid off the others.

A/N: Okay, getting a bit more interesting now. Wow, it went for a fickle story to something much more serious. Hope you liked the new chapter. It is rather longer than usual for your pleasure.

Don't forget to read and review -and think before you write!