A/N: Hey guys! I'm sorta back. Going to update as much as I can because I have so many ideas that I want to share with you! I love reading your reviews, so please keep doing that. At this point, I'm going to give you a hint… if you're interested, look up the surname Selwyn in the HP universe. Not that it affects the storyline, but just a bit of fun. And no Alexis isn't secretly Astoria Greengrass. Haven't planned on her showing up but you never know. I realised when re-reading the fic (because it has been so long) that there are a couple of minor inconsistencies, but all will hopefully be fixed soon.
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Chapter 7: Mischief Magicked
The Granger-Selwyn household was anything but normal. Of course, both occupants noticed and would occasionally remark on it, being witches, they noticed things that were out of the ordinary. But being witches, they also knew the importance of secrecy and the danger of assumptions, which is why the conversation never went further than the excuses each would come up with to hide any magic.
There are of course small incidents like the time that Hermione (during a stressful time and bout of uncontrolled magic) accidentally turned Crookshanks green and had to make an excuse as to why the dye wouldn't wash off ("I don't know Alexis, the box might've said permanent?"). It was miraculously fixed the next day. Or the time that Alexis asked whether Crookshanks was part Kneazle. It wasn't major, but suspicious, nonetheless.
What you will read now are the four major incidents that toed the line between 'out of the ordinary' and Sherlock's 'whatever remains, however improbable must be the answer'. To be fair one of them was Fred's fault and completely avoidable, by the way, but no he just had to wind up Hermione. So, three major incidents and one prank.
Incident 1: The Great Crockery Breakage of '02
Washing the dishes had become a fun pastime for Hermione. Washing dishes by magic, of course. Who enjoys washing them by hand anyway : your hands get all wrinkled and the water gets everywhere because you forget that spoons cause it to bounce off. So magically washing dishes had become a way to relax. Also, it was the first household spell that she had mastered, and she was very proud and very good at it.
She had everything going at once. Some dishes were being washed, others were being dried and some were being put away. Hermione had decided on washing everything. She had a free afternoon and seemed like a good idea at the time.
Because everything was being done for her, Hermione had gotten distracted. And 'Pride and Prejudice' was such a good book. A good book that is very easy to get lost in but is not ideal when you're trying to hide magic from your roommate. Hermione had gotten so distracted that she had barely heard the key in the lock. Just as the door was being opened, Crookshanks (who is a very good cat and would never hurt Hermione or anyone he loved on purpose) ran over and swiped at Hermione's ankle. Yelping in pain, Hermione reached over to grab him, but it was only then that she heard the door.
Not wanting to break the Statute of Secrecy, Hermione - in a panic, distracted and ankle in pain - flicked her wand. Which should have worked, meaning that the dishes should've been put down gently. Instead…. Everything came crashing down. Cabinets, dishes that were being washed and dried, dishes that had been put away. Everything that could've have fallen, fell. Everything that could've been broken, broke.
Hermione looked at the wreckage, not knowing where to start. It had already been an awful day and now this. She didn't know whether she should say to hell with it and fix it all by magic or start cleaning up. Crookshanks started to rub up against her and meow pitifully, so she picked him up and rubbed her face into his neck.
A soft hand on her shoulder broke her out of her reverie. "Did a bomb go off?" Alexis asked trying to keep her tone light-hearted, but Hermione detected a small waver. Hermione shook her head numbly and mumbled something unintelligible about washing dishes. Alexis gently moved her into the sitting area.
"Would you like a cup of tea?"
"The mugs are all broken."
Alexis crouched down and started to sift through the broken bits of crockery and cups, trying to find something salvageable whilst Hermione stared numbly at her back, racking her brains for an explanation for how the cabinets came down. After a while Alexis stood up and wiped her hands on her trousers before asking, "How did this happen? This is what… the fourth time this month alone?"
Hermione adjusted her grip on Crookshanks and willed the cat not to make any noise that would contradict her own story. "I don't know... they just fell down so suddenly." To help matters, Crookshanks looked over at Alexis with the most angelic look with, widening his eyes a little to make them look bigger.
Alexis moved back over to the sofa and started to scratch Crookshanks behind his ears, earning a deep, rumbling purr. "You're really lucky you're okay…. That could've been so much worse. I'm glad that the worst that has happened is that we've lost a few dishes." Hermione didn't perk up at that and continued to stare at the dishes. "We'll go shopping this weekend, pick out some patterns together?"
"The blue ones…" Hermione started but felt her voice waver and stopped. She breathed in and out slowly and restarted "The blue plates... my parents had them in their house…" Alexis nodded and made her way back to the pile, where she paused and sifted through the pieces carefully, making a little pile to the side.
"What are you doing?" Hermione asked, walking over, Crookshanks still balanced on her hip.
"Finding pieces of the blue plates. It can be our arts and crafts project over the next couple of weeks!"
Locking Crookshanks in her bedroom, Hermione made her way over to Alexis and started looking for pieces of blue. As their pile grew larger, Hermione look over to Alexis who was just as absorbed in her task as if she were writing a briefing paper for the Prime Minister.
"Move in with me."
"What?" Alexis looked over abruptly and stared at Hermione.
"Move in with me... here, that is," Hermione said hurriedly. "You practically live here and most of your stuff is here. The work on your apartment is taking forever, so you might as well figure out an alternative place. You don't have to- "
"Yes, I'd really like to!" Alexis replied cutting her off. "Your apartment is much better anyway."
"It's a compliment, take it."
When they could find no more blue pieces, they decided to call it a day. Leaving the damaged cabinets and dishes to one side, they put rubbing alcohol on their hands just in case of cuts (Hermione would've preferred dittany but really didn't have the energy to explain herself).
"To our new partnership," Alexis said raising a plastic cup that she had found down the back of somewhere. "And mischief."
"I won't drink to mischief," Hermione replied withdrawing her own cup.
Alexis rolled her eyes. "The first thing then," she amended reluctantly.
Hermione tapped the cup lightly to hers and leaned back contently. It could be better; she could have dishes and some cabinets. But she wouldn't have to live alone, so that was a bonus. Dishes were replaceable.
The next day the cabinet was fixed, the dishes neatly stacked and not just the blue plates. They looked new, and not crazily stuck together by someone over-caffeinated. When asked, Alexis just shrugged and said that she had some workmen from her flat come by to put the cabinets up, but didn't even try to explain the dishes. They never discussed it again.
Incident 2: Spontaneous Combustible Curtains
"How did the curtains come to be on fire?" Hermione asked, her voice increasing in pitch and volume. She pinched the bridge of her nose, but she could already feel the stress headache coming on.
Alexis shrugged. "Magic?" she suggested, half-joking, half seriously. Hermione scoffed and threw her own hands up.
"Everything's fine!" Alexis insisted, "it's not like the fire is spreading anywhere!"
"The curtains… are on fire! Did you even try to put them out?!"
"Yes I used everything...water, fire extinguisher, putting a damp cloth over the flames… everything!"
Hermione looked around helplessly, but there was no smoke, nothing that would normally put the fire out worked. Alexis paced away, head in her hands, in thought, but then she just kept walking.
"Uh... where are you going?" Hermione walked around to cut her off. "The curtains are on fire, and you're just… just... leaving?!"
"Um yeah!" Alexis sighed. "Look, nothing's working. I say leave it for a couple of hours and we'll uh… see what happens." She pushed past Hermione and waved. "If you need me, or if it gets worse… I'll be in my room." And then she shut the door behind her.
Hermione scoffed in disbelief. Taking her wand out she muttered an incantation, but the fire still wouldn't go out. Eyeing the curtains warily she decided to make a cup of tea. As she was finishing her third cup, the fire spurted up once again before simmering down and disappearing without any smoke. Hermione cautiously approached the curtains, inspecting them carefully. But they weren't damaged in the slightest and they were still the deep purple curtains that she knew and loved. Not knowing what else to do, she let go of the soft material that she was holding and let it fall back to its companion.
Neither witch has claimed responsibility or knows exactly what happened so this incident can probably be chalked up to some accidental magic.
Incident 3: The Exploding Lightbulb
Reading at night was a habit for Alexis. Not in bed though, it was occupied. On the couch, near the blue lamp that never shone brightly enough regardless of the number of times the light bulb was replaced.
One rule of magic is that electricity and magic don't mix. Considering it is a big rule, only a small portion of the magic community are aware of it at all. Mostly muggleborns.
Most nights, the light from the blue lamp didn't bother Alexis, it was just a part of the routine. Nightmares or terrors, reading by the blue lamp, a light sleep for the remaining time before work, repeat. But tonight wasn't normal, it was 4am and she wasn't feeling any more tired than she did 3 hours ago. Her skin still crawled and twitched from the memory of the Cruciatus, and as long as she could still remember what it felt like... well... there was no falling asleep like that. What was worse is that she was losing interest in the tempestuousness of Cathy and Heathcliff's relationship. If only the lamp were brighter and would stop flickering….
Setting her book aside, Alexis stretched out lazily like a cat waking up. She flexed her fingers and concentrated on the magic flowing through her veins, and paused for a second, rubbing her temple to get rid of the crease between her eyes that she was sure was there. She didn't often use wandless magic, but her wand was in her room and desperate times… Or maybe it was laziness, it was hard to tell.
Facing her palms towards the lamp she whispered, "Lumos." It probably wasn't the right spell but concentrating on her intent should hypothetically shape the spell. To her happiness, the light increased. The lightbulb grew brighter… and brighter… and brighter, in fact dangerously so. Alexis just had a moment to shield her eyes before the glass began to crack and then exploded outwards around the room. Glancing furtively around to see if the sound had disturbed anyone else, Alexis carefully moved over to the kitchen sink and picked any stray glass from her hair and clothes. Turning around she came face to face with a bleary-eyed Draco clutching his wand in front of him. Seeing it was just his…well... he cast a non-verbal muffliato before turning his attention back to Alexis.
"What happened?" he asked slowly, rubbing the sleep from his eyes, considerably doubting that he would get any more after this.
"Be careful, there's glass."
He swore and backed up, checking his feet after every step. "You didn't answer the question."
"I tried making the lamp brighter but didn't have my wand." Alexis replies shrugging nonchalantly.
"So, you used wandless magic?"
"I adapted a spell using wandless magic. It nearly worked."
Draco shook his head and cast several spells with his wand. One to clean up the glass and the other to throw it out. After a thought, he conjured a ball of light and stuck it under the blue lamp head. Once the risk posed by the shattered glass was taken care of, he walked over to Alexis and proceeded to inspect her for any glass that she had missed.
"You're bleeding." He said holding her hands with her palms facing upwards, brushing them lightly in case any bits of glass were stuck. "But the cuts aren't not too deep… shouldn't need stitches, but I'd like to put some dittany on it… just in case."
"Yes, Healer Malfoy."
He gave her a pointed look. "You're meeting my mother tomorrow, and I don't want her getting the impression that I'm treating you badly."
"So, treating my wounds is entirely for your own benefit?" Alexis asked raising an eyebrow and biting the inside of her cheek to stop a smile from escaping.
"Of course, why else would I help you? It's not like you're important to me or anything."
"Good." She kissed him on the cheek. "We wouldn't want emotions to cloud your judgement while you're helping out a patient now, would we?" His eyes crinkled and suddenly he scooped her up, Alexis having to stuff her face in her hands to suppress the surprised sound she made as he did. Touching his nose briefly to hers he adjusted his hold and carried her, bridal style, back to her room, if only to protect her feet from any stray glass, of course.
"How come the blue lamp's on?" Hermione wondered out loud the next morning, walking over to turn it off. She took the lamp head off and was confronted by the ball of light Draco had conjured the night before to give the impression of a functioning lamp. Frowning slightly, she replaced the lamp head and took a step back, before looking at it from various angles. After a two-minute debate with herself, she felt like it was probably safer not to ask and focus on something else.
Incident 4: The Levitating Bowl feat. Fred Weasley
"-all I'm saying is that I've had better," Fred said following Hermione through her front door. He paused for a second once stepping through. It was the first time he'd been there, after all, he didn't know what to expect. It was open plan, with a small-ish kitchen in the farthest corner that was separated from the rest of the room by an island. A square dining table with chairs stood at the opposite end of the room to his left and straight ahead was probably the sitting room with everything you'd normally find in a sitting room. The couch was facing away from him towards the TV on the wall opposite him, with armchairs flanking it. A coffee table stood in the middle, with a random plate or bowl, which random papers and books taking up the remaining space, that were probably from the multiple bookshelves made from light wood placed around the room. Two end tables stood on either side of the couch, one with a lamp, the other was empty. He looked around several times each time noticing a detail that he had missed previously. It was an eclectic elegance of different shades of blue that he had come to associate with Hermione, an organised chaos that she managed to make work. The only hint of her Gryffindor past was a red blanket folded neatly on the couch. Hermione held her hand out for his coat, which she then hung on a set of hooks to the left of the door.
"Would you like some tea?" she asked, hurrying towards the kitchen before he could answer.
"Milk and sugar, please." He said following her and taking one of the stools. Placing his elbows on the counter and his chin on his hands, he stared off into the space just above the kitchen sink for a minute. "How's work?"
"Work is…" Hermione trailed off and waved her hand dismissively.
Hermione went completely still and for a second Fred was scared she was going to fall. But then her attention snapped to her left. Fred followed her gaze and it fell on the girl in the picture that Hermione showed her a month ago. Meeting her eyes, his skin began to tingle... but in a way that made him very aware of it. It was familiar but he couldn't quite place how.
"Alexis how is work like," and Hermione made the gesture that she had just made to Fred a few seconds ago.
"Our boss is an idiot," Alexis clarified. She extended her hand. "Alexis Eurydice Selwyn, but I think we've met before?"
"I don't think we have… Frederick Gideon Weasley." He replied shaking it. "Eurydice, really?"
"I take it you're familiar with Greek mythology…. And I'm pretty sure we have…" she stated drily. She looked at one side of Fred's head and then the other. "When did you re-grow your ear?" She lifted her arm as if she was going to pull on them but stopped, probably regaining some awareness that social etiquette dictated that you shouldn't randomly pull people's ears.
"Would you like some tea?" Hermione asked jumping into the conversation before the situation escalated as she was pretty sure it would. "And Alexis, you can't just ask someone why they have two ears."
"I wasn't asking why he had two ears, I was asking how he had two ears… last time I saw him, he only had one." She replied. "And tea would be great, thanks."
"Trust me, I'm no saint," Fred said. "My twin on the other hand…"
"You have a twin?" Alexis asked, looking thoroughly amused.
"Why wouldn't I have a twin?"
"I've seen enough films to know that … it's never twins."
Fred looked as if he were about to argue, but Hermione gave a quick shake of the head. She wasn't sure if Alexis was kidding or not, but she felt like this was a line of argument that could result in more nonsense than it solved. She also couldn't quite figure out why Alexis was so surprised by Fred's two ears, after all, it's not like she could've met George.
"I better get going." Alexis said sliding off the stool. "Briefing papers about diamonds to write… people to screw over… wars to support… ya know."
"The aim isn't to screw people over!" Hermione yelled after her, but Alexis had already swept dramatically out of the room, still clutching her tea.
"Tell the Prime Minister that!" came the relatively muffled reply. Hermione sighed dramatically and turned back to Fred who was watching the exchange with relative amusement.
"I'm not entirely sure what happened but…" he trailed off and the nagging at the back of his head made sense. And then it hit him like a literal bolt of lightning. He sat up straighter and started patting Hermione's arm. "Oh my God she's part Veela!"
"Now I know you're losing your marbles." Hermione said pulling herself away. "She's a Muggle. Sure, there have been some… strange occurrences… but as far as I know that could've been me!"
"I'm serious 'Mione... When I met her, I got the same feeling that I got during the World Cup and then again when I met Fleur… I will bet my share of Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes that she's part Veela."
"I'd take that bet, but I wouldn't know what to do with a joke shop."
"I'm like 90% sure that I'm right."
"That's not enough to risk breaking the statute of Secrecy!"
"If you don't believe me, I'll just have to do something drastic." He looked around and his eyes landed on the bowl, and he had what he was pretty sure was called a 'light-bulb moment'. He pointed his wand to the bowl and clearly said "Wingardium Leviosa." Considering it was a levitation charm, you can probably guess what happened. "If she comes in and freaks out, then I was wrong, if not... then she must be part of the magical community!"
"Fred, stop." Hermione hissed. "Think about what you're doing… if you're wrong, best-case scenario you are sent to Azkaban. Worst case… your mother kills you and then I kill you because you made me your accomplice!"
"Calm down and sort out your priorities… no-one's getting sent to Azkaban." And as loudly and clearly as he could, Fred called, "Alexis Eurydice Selwyn, I have a question!" Hermione glanced fearfully at the corridor, released the breath she didn't realise that she was holding and casually went to fetch her wand.
Fred watched her out of the corner of his eye "You know I can just repeat the charm after you cast a finite incantantum?" he asked. Hermione cursed herself for being so predictable, but in that time, the door had begun to open. In a panic, Hermione tucked her wand into the back pocket of her trousers, leaped over the couch and stood on the coffee table, holding the bowl up as if she were in The Lion King. James Bond himself couldn't have done it better. Alexis leaned lazily against the door jamb at the entrance of the corridor and asked, "You called?" Surveying the room, she did a double take when she spotted Hermione. "Watcha doing?"
"Re-enactment of the Lion King," Hermione answered giving her a broad smile. Alexis considered it for a minute and then shrugged as if that were a completely reasonable explanation.
"Well, don't let me stop you." She said gesturing for Hermione to carry on. "I'd like to see it. Although why you wouldn't use Crookshanks is beyond me."
"Um…" Hermione considered her options and none of them seem good. Most of them included either obliviating or knocking Alexis out or convincing her that the Force was real. As she said, not good options. "From the day we arrive on the planet..."
After the first couple of lines, Alexis unable to keep her face straight, doubled over in laughter and had stuffed her hands over her mouth as hard as she could. Fred just sat paralysed, not entirely sure what to make of the situation, but it was clear that he was also thoroughly enjoying himself as Hermione continued her shaky but in-tune rendition of 'The Circle of Life.' When she had finished, Alexis was completely red and was having trouble breathing, so Fred started rubbing circles on her back and was holding out a glass of water, but he was also beet-red. Eventually Alexis started fanning her face, but she was looking much better, and her breathing was more even.
"Thank… you... I... ha… needed that." She said breathlessly and clapped one hand on Fred's shoulder. She glanced at him briefly before turning back to Hermione and nodding slowly. "I like this one… and now back to the factory!" And with that – and still clutching her water – she extended her arm like a sword and marched back to her room, shutting it dramatically. When she was sure her roommate was gone, Hermione's smile dropped and within seconds her wand was in her hand, then she cast a disarming charm and Fred's was also in her hand and the bowl was safely on the coffee table where it belonged. Clasping her wand so tight that her knuckles turned white she marched up to Fred and stuck her wand in his face, so close that it was nearly touching his Adam's apple. He swallowed nervously as he was well aware of her temper, after all she looked furious.
"You... will... never... tell... anyone… that I did that." She whispered slowly. "Are we clear?"
He nodded quickly, trying to create as much distance as he could between them even though there wasn't really anywhere that he could go. Satisfied, she handed him his wand which he stuck in his back pocket. Sliding onto a stool she grabbed what was remaining of her tea and took a large gulp. Sitting on the other one Fred leaned over so that he was right next to her ear. His breath ruffled her hair as he spoke, he was so close. "You should sing more often… it wasn't awful."
"Not a word, Weasley. Not. A. Word."
A/N: Please review, follow, and favourite! Hope you have a good New Year's!