A/N: Hi! I really have no overall excuse for taking so long to update other than... I was so stuck on how to write the Council. Hopefully this is okay? Thank you for sticking around so long. Thank you to the anon on Tumblr who sent a message about this story the other week. You're what finally gave me energy to write this.
The Council: Yaddle, Yarael Poof, Even Piell, Ada Gallia, Eeth Koth, Depa Billaba, Yoda, Mace Windu, Oppo Rancisis, Ki-Adi-Mundi, Plo Koon, Saesee Tiin
The walk into the Jedi Council chambers felt suspiciously like her many trips with Harry and Ron to Professor McGonagall's office. This time, though, Obi-Wan and Quinlan Vos rounded up the trio, with Master Qui-Gon a few steps ahead as he led them in. The two masters who had found them in the corridor below, Koth and Gallia, had entered a few minutes before them to explain the situation.
"It would seem something interesting has happened, for Qui-Gon Jinn to willingly come into the Council chambers," a modulated voice rang out.
Hermione had seen a lot of things in the past near-decade she'd experienced in the Wizarding World. She was especially thankful of her exposure to magical creatures, because while she logically understood that before her were… non-humans, at least she was able to mask her surprise at their appearances.
For instance, the individual who had spoken was a being with leathery orange skin, black goggles, and a matching mask that connected to two extending appendages from the sides of his head. A glance at his lap showed that his clasped hands were clawed and had four fingers.
The world was truly wondrous sometimes.
As the meeting began, Hermione stayed silent but internally groaned at some of the formalities. She hoped this wouldn't be anything like the stuffiness she had to put up with in the Wizengamot. Although, at least back home she was apart of the 'Gamot. She wasn't even sure of the rules here.
She knew the basics from Obi-Wan. These positions were elected and the members were some of the best of the Jedi Order. As a padawan in training, Obi-Wan would still have years to go to be among their rank.
"Oh yes," Master Koth agreed. "I think there is much for us to hear from Padawan Kenobi and his soulmate."
"Soulmate?" Quinlan couldn't help but gasp.
Amusement thrums in the air, and Hermione can't help but suck in a breath at the energy levels she feels. It's almost like being back at Hogwarts, how potent magic would feel there. She can feel Obi-Wan's slight embarrassment, but she knew it was because he planned to introduce her to his friends after this meeting.
"Lady Hermione Granger-Black. We found out last year," she introduced herself and supplied. She was used to attention being on her, even if she wasn't always a fan of it. She could work with this. "There's a tapestry in my ancestral home that charts the family tree, and we believe that's related to how this came about. There was evidence of prior Jedi soulmates among my… family." The word still felt strange on her tongue. "My great-great grandmother was part of a soul bond."
"She was bonded to Master Thame Cerulean," Obi-Wan elaborated. "And there were other names as well—we noted them down to search for in the archives later. All of the bonds were between a Jedi and witch or wizard, like Hermione."
"I would like to hear these names," one council member with long hair and a beard—really, was he all hair? —piped up.
"And how do we know you are truly a witch, Lady Granger-Black? While it helps that Master Qui-Gon has vouched for you, it still is a bit... far-fetched."
Hermione glanced at Obi-Wan, who inclined his head slightly, and then she turned to address the council at large. "I suppose this is a good time for a demonstration."
She reached into her robes slowly, hoping to appear nonthreatening as she retrieved her enchanted bag that she always traveled with nowadays. There was no way at all she could get the list without summoning it, not with the amount of the items stored within. She took a calming breath, opened the drawstring with one hand while sliding her wand out of her sleeve and into her other palm, and called out "Accio."
Barely a few seconds later and the thick parchment scroll was zooming out of the too-small bag. With an extra swish and flick of her wand, it hovered in the air before her as she closed the bag and stashed it away again. When she looked up to grab the parchment, Hermione caught sight of the Council's reactions. She was surprised to see them all deep in thought.
"Levitation is a known skill of Force-sensitives," Master Gallia mentioned neutrally.
"Apparate," Qui-Gon suggested from where he'd moved to the side, his voice sounding incredibly smug.
Hermione wondered absentmindedly how much magic he'd been exposed to with Sirius. On second thoughts, she didn't want to know.
Keeping her expression neutral, Hermione spun quickly on her heel and disapparated with a light crack, reappearing on the far side of the room in front of the door. It was a struggle for her to keep her wand stowed instead of reflexively drawing it upon her landing. This was a safe environment… hopefully.
"More convincing, that was," one of the short green creatures on the council chuckled. "Test her more, must we?"
Hermione silently hoped not, but she'd do it for Obi-Wan. This was far different than being asked to perform for entertainment's sake.
"That's enough for now," the dark-skinned man beside him sighed, before turning to observe Quinlan. "I'm still trying to understand how Padawan Vos came to be involved in all this."
Master Koth spoke up in a low but gentle voice. "His psychometry was triggered by an artifact that Lady Granger-Black carries."
Quinlan's lips tightened into a thin line. "It was her house ring, Master Windu."
"The older bloodlines in our magical world all have rings that designate their Head of House." Hermione rolled her shoulders back and tilted her chin up proudly, hoping her blood-purist ancestors were rolling in their graves. "I am the current Head of House Black. Unfortunately, some of the members in previous generations supported a racist zealot. Quinlan saw something that one of the former family Heads did." She looked around the room, knowing she was speaking to teachers and philosophers: individuals who would understand the nuance of her words.
"We can only be responsible for our own actions," a short, bald man with house elf-like ears and a missing left eye replied in the lull following her explanation.
Hermione hoped her responding expression was more smile than cringe. She agreed with the sentiment, but it was hard not to think back to her first-hand experiences with the Unforgivable that removed one's control over their actions.
In the interim silence, Hermione did her best not to interrupt; it didn't take a Legilimens to know when a conversation was going on between their minds. Her eyes continued being drawn back to the masked council member, and despite his opaque goggles, she could tell his gaze was on her as well.
"Your Force signature appears to be marred by something quite dark, young warrior," he said calmly with a tinge of curiosity. "I can tell it is not from you."
His words aimed the other masters' attention back onto her. Hermione winced slightly as it felt they were looking through her.
"You're right," Master Windu nodded slightly, his eyes narrowing in focus. "It's a foreign influence." He looked between her and Obi-Wan. "Lady Granger-Black, were you aware of this?"
Hermione glanced at Obi-Wan, still unsure what they were all referring to. His cerulean eyes drifted down to her chest meaningfully before trailing up towards her shoulder and returning to her face. She swore she could hear an echo of his voice in her head whispering, "your scar."
A resigned sigh left her as she shut her eyes briefly before looking back at the Council. "I believe you're seeing the effects of a dark curse," she informed them. She reached up to shrug her robe and shirt off of her shoulder, revealing the top of the branching purple scar that crossed her entire chest. "A dark wizard named Dolohov struck me with it in a battle almost three years ago."
"Three years ago?" A woman with looped brunette braids asked. "But you cannot be older than most padawans yet!"
"I was sixteen when it happened," she agreed. "War doesn't discriminate by age."
"Something else, there is," the other tiny green creature piped up, his hands—claws? –clutching his wooden cane. "Of your aura, at the edges they are."
Hermione used a smile that hadn't appeared on her face since her fifth year with a certain pink professor. In truth, she was uncertain what it could be. She'd been hit with dozens of full body curses during her lifetime. It could be anything… but running quickly through the options, she knew what it most likely would be. It wasn't a topic of discussion she was willing to have in front of a group of strangers here to judge her.
She especially wasn't about to explain the events of her second year to Obi-Wan in a public setting. Not only would that be unfair to him or their relationship, but practically speaking, she knew from life with Harry what could happen with accidental magic when someone received an unwelcome shock. Who was to say the same wouldn't happen with a Jedi?
"It's the lingering remains of an old curse," Hermione settled on saying before giving her best "Minerva McGonagall" resting bitch face. She felt something—someone –brush against her occlumency shields once she finished. It didn't even take a spare thought to brush them aside with a mental smack; hopefully, the intruder would be feeling that headache for the rest of the day.
To cover the moment, Hermione returned to the scroll still grasped in her hand, murmured a quiet geminio and impervius, and then levitated the copied scroll over to the council member who had asked for the names on her family tapestry.
"You can keep that," she waved off casually.
"Many thanks, Lady Granger-Black."
"If we can get back to the matter at hand," Master Windu attempted to redirect the conversation with a stifled sigh. "Lady Granger-Black, Padawan Kenobi: clearly the Force has linked the two of you together. As our records and your own both show, Jedi in the past have indeed continued their duty to the Order while having and maintaining a soul bond. We are not one to go against such a sacred link, but that said…" He turned his gaze to Obi-Wan. "This situation does not give you special exemption in regards to your training or current position within the Order."
"Yes, Master Windu."
"Well, technically, shouldn't Kenobi and Granger be assigned to use the larger rooms set aside for marriages or mating pairs?" Quinlan blurted out, smiling a bit too mischievously as the attention returned to him. "Not that I know those rooms exist… or that there's currently an empty one right down the hall from Master Qui-Gon's quarters…"
"If that'll be all, masters?" Obi-Wan jumped in, his voice raised in embarrassment and cheeks already beginning to flush pink.
"That is all for now, Padawan Kenobi," the masked one chuckled. "Thank you both for your time. Master Qui-Gon, if you'll remain for a moment?"
Hermione didn't restrain her grin as Obi-Wan grabbed the back of Quinlan's robes and dragged him hurriedly towards the exit. Definitely a Gryffindor.