This starts off as complete and utter crap guys, I'm sorry. I love Gladio and I love Hermione, so my muse decided she was going to throw this at me. And she won't stop now that it's been started. Therefore, I give you guys this newest WIP. I hope you enjoy.
Update 07/26/2018- Generic Trigger Warning: There may be things in this story that can be potentially triggering for people. I will not post what for each chapter, but am warning everyone now so that they are prepared. If you have a question about if a specific trigger will be in the story, PM me and I'll let you know which chapter to avoid if there is.
Let me know what you think in the reviews!
Hermione made her way back to her office, tomes blocking her view of what was in front of her. Not that she needed to worry. Everyone knew by now that the studious war heroine cared little about who was in her path. They either moved out of the way or were subjected to a scolding when the inevitable happened as it always does when people collide. Even the Minister of Magic was not immune to her rants.
Five years after the wars end and four years since completing her Hogwarts education, Hermione Granger was now an Unspeakable for the Department of Mysteries whose primary function was to research. Those who knew her best would agree the position suited her, and Hermione couldn't disagree. She could fight like her Auror best friends because it had been a necessity to learn and she could not stand to be bad at anything, but her brain was her superpower. Since her appointment upon graduation, not one incident had occurred during her time at the DoM. Her files were always complete; no stone left unturned in her quest to have all the information.
Besides her brief romance with one of her best friends, and the surprising relationship she'd had with one Draco Malfoy that had lasted a good year, Hermione was the most secluded of her friends. She preferred it that way, using her time to gain two Masteries and finding new ways to promote rights for magical creatures. She didn't feel her life was lacking anything, even if her best girlfriend insisted she needed a man in her life. Hermione had a feeling that particular train wreck would happen when she decided to move to a place where the terms 'Hermione Granger' and 'War Heroine' meant nothing.
Until then, Hermione was content to play aunt to her best friend's children and the many Weasley offspring that seemed to grow every year.
Hermione was surprised, and a little irritated, to find her office open but the feeling faded as soon as she saw the blonde figure fixing tea and waiting for her. "Luna," Hermione exclaimed. "What a lovely surprise! I didn't know you were back in Britain."
Luna Lovegood turned to face her, a dreamy smile on her face as she carried two cups of tea to the desk. "Oh yes, I've only been back since this morning. My dreams decided I was needed here."
Already used to Luna's nonsense talk, Hermione just smiled as she set the tomes she was carrying on the desk. Deciding she could spare some time to catch up with her friend, Hermione made herself comfortable and picked up the tea Luna had prepared. The taste was odd, faintly metallic but Hermione felt compelled to keep drinking it.
They made small talk for a couple of minutes, Luna pouring Hermione another cup of tea while they talked. She smiled as the witch immediately took a sip. She said, "I'm sorry for having dropped in without so much as an owl. It was rude of me."
Hermione shook her head, waving off Luna's apologies. "You're always welcome Luna, no owls needed. I'm just surprised you came here after only getting in. I imagine you'd want to see Neville."
Luna looked down for a moment. "Neville and I decided to remain friends. I heard he's seeing Hannah Abbot now."
Hermione inwardly cursed, not having heard this piece of news as of yet. "I apologize Luna. I didn't know."
Luna smiled at her friend. "I was not too upset. We have different callings."
Nodding, Hermione didn't ask what that was supposed to mean. Instead, she asked, "Is there a reason you came to see me? I don't mind in the least. It's just a little unusual. I would imagine you would want to see Ginny. Baby James is a couple of months old now."
Luna laughed, "Yes, I had heard Ginny had had the baby. They are my next stop. It was you I needed to see first."
Hermione's interest was piqued. "Did you need some help with something?"
"I was actually hoping to help you." Luna reached down and retrieved a book bag that Hermione had missed when she'd come into her office. She took out an old book, the leather worn and cracked in places. "I was recently going through some old chests of my mum's when I found some things."
Hermione took the old tome from Luna, carefully examining the title. "The Hexatheon?" She looked to Luna for permission. "May I?"
Luna nodded, and Hermione wasted no time in opening the book. The first page read:
Titan, The Archaean, steadfast as stone
Ramuh, The Fulgurian, sharp as lightning
Shiva, The Glacian, gentle as snow
Leviathan, the Hydraean, relentless as tides
Bahamut, the Draconian, unbending as iron
Ifrit, the Infernian, fickle as fire
Since time immemorial, they have watched over Eos
There was nothing else on the page. Hermione raised a brow, confusion marring her features. "This sounds like a list of deities."
Luna nodded, pleased. "Astrals to be precise."
"And they watch over a place called Eos," Hermione said slowly, waiting for Luna's confirmation. When the nod came, Hermione frowned. "I could have sworn I'd read every magical fairy tale there was to offer. How did I miss this?"
Luna frowned before smiling as if she'd remembered something. "Did I ever tell you that my mum's family isn't from this world?"
Hermione placed her head on her desk, headache in full swing since Luna's visit. Why had she let Luna fill her afternoon with tales of make-believe lands instead of finding the information for a project the head of her department was asking to be approved? Hermione knew Luna was not all there but other realms? She knew it wasn't a total impossibility, but Luna had spun a story so unbelievable that Hermione had used the last of the politeness her mother had drummed into her to get through the rest of the visit.
Astrals? Daemons? Oracles and another Merlin-be-damned prophecy? Honestly, where did the girl get the imagination?
What was worse was the books Luna had given Hermione to back up her story. They were obviously old, how old Hermione could not say for sure. She'd entrusted them into Hermione's care, the blonde giving her locket a knowing glance before departing with the promise of coming over again the next day. Somehow, Hermione had a feeling Luna knew precisely what her locket was and that unsettled her more than anything. No one but Minerva knew what it was other than Hermione. The board that oversaw the Masteries had been all too happy to accept her former professor's word that Hermione had completed her project without needing to know the details. Not even Harry and Ron knew, thinking her completion of an Animagus transformation had been the final step to earning the title of Transfiguration Mistress.
Hermione knew she should continue the project she had been assigned, but the allure of knowledge, no matter how improbable, was difficult to resist. The world Luna had described had been real enough to the people who made these books. Maybe they had been the stories of a lost magical country? That seemed more of a possibility to Hermione than the alternative.
Giving in to temptation, Hermione opened the Hexatheon again. By the time she'd finished, everyone not currently engrossed in a project had gone home for the day. Deciding to leave the rest for tomorrow, she stored the books in her locket and headed home.
Later that night, she fell asleep to thoughts of a nonexistent Pantheon.
Luna showed up every day for the next week, the women drinking tea that Luna had prepared and discussing Hermione's readings. Hermione had asked about the blend that Luna was using only to be told that it was one she had made herself and would help Hermione in the future. Normally, Hermione would demand more information, but once again she'd been compelled to take Luna at her word. It was no hardship, really. Luna had Hermione's utmost trust.
It was during one of their conversations that Luna once again said something that made Hermione give her undivided attention. "Excuse me? Did you say the Veil was the way your ancestor came to be here? The Death Veil?"
Luna gave Hermione a small smile. "It's hard to believe, isn't it? The Ministry was built around the Veil, you know. Wizarding Britain didn't just decide to build their power base in the middle of a muggle populated area for nothing. It has had many names, but people once believed that the Veil could take you to other worlds. Of course, as no one ever returned, it was widely assumed that they were really dying as they passed through; hence it's current name."
Hermione thought about Sirius, who'd been a victim of the Death Chamber and about Harry's insistence of hearing voices of people long dead. She shrugged. "It's hard to believe otherwise. It was used for executions for a long time, and some have said to hear voices coming from the arch."
Luna stared at Hermione, something she couldn't name swimming in the blonde's eyes. "I bet if you went in there, you would hear the voices as well."
Hermione blinked. "You think so?"
Luna shrugged. "Call it intuition. We could check it out if you like?"
Startled at Luna's suggestion, Hermione brought her cup to her mouth to give her time to respond. She frowned when she realized it was empty. She stood to pour some more but found the kettle empty as well. She turned to Luna, realizing she had finished it and hadn't seen Luna drink any. "Oh Luna, I'm so sorry. You didn't get to have any of your tea."
Luna smiled at her. "Don't worry Hermione. It was not meant for me. I think we should check out the Veil."
Hermione chewed her lip, thinking about it. Permission needed to be granted by the Head of the Department to have access to the Death Chamber. She looked down at her attire, grimacing at her jeans and Gryffindor sweatshirt. She'd dressed down today, determined not to see her boss who usually wanted those who worked under him dressed professionally. If he saw her now, he'd give her a lecture on representing the DoM to the best of her ability, and that meant dressing up more than what she currently had on.
Still… Luna seemed to really want to go see the Veil. In truth, Hermione was more than wary of the arch. Who wouldn't be with its reputation? Yet, Hermione had also always wondered how the Veil worked the way it did. She had known before Luna told her that the Ministry had been built around the arch, meaning it had been here long before they'd established a government. The magic was old. On her 'official tour' during her first day as an Unspeakable, her Department Head had made it clear that many dedicated their career's to solving the mysteries of the Veil only to fall short. It had been made clear to her that should she wish to advance up the Ministry ladder, she needn't follow their example.
So she'd left it alone. Even when Harry had inquired as to whether anything she'd read had suggested a way to bring people back from the curtain, Hermione had shut it down as impossible. He had taken her at her word, believing she had already looked into it. She hadn't had the courage to correct his assumption. Even at his lowest, when he was feeling guilty for death's that were not his fault, she hadn't given in and done more research into it.
So why was she considering Luna's request?
She shouldn't be. What valid reason would she give her boss for entering the room? There was none. She could pull strings and get the access, but that was the fastest way to ruin her hard earned reputation. She could sneak in, but Hermione liked to think she followed most rules set before her these days.
Luna's curiosity would have to go unsatisfied.
Hermione opened her mouth to speak, and Luna sighed, "I was hoping it wouldn't come to this." Before Hermione could blink, Luna's wand was out, and a fog entered her mind.
When Hermione's head cleared, they were in the Death Chamber.
Blinking in confusion, she turned to Luna who was facing the Veil and singing a range of notes. There were no words, just Luna sounding out notes that formed a tune. Hermione would later think it sounded pretty, but right now she was very much conscious of the fact that they were standing way too close to the curtain for her liking.
Luna closed her mouth, the beautiful melody fading away as it's last notes echoed across the chamber. The curtain fluttered, a slight breeze passing through them. Hermione opened her mouth, but Luna shook her head. She said, "One day you'll understand."
And with that, she reached out and pushed Hermione through the Veil.