Disclaimer: None of the characters that you recognise are my own, instead they belong to Christopher Nolan and J.K Rowling respectively.
Hermione looked up from her book, shocked. Who would be talking to her? It was a boy, he had the messiest hair she had ever seen and his uniform was just as messy. The school tie was undone and hanging off his shoulders, the boy's required vest and shirt was rumpled and untucked. His pants had patches of dirt. This boy looked like trouble and she regarded with a careful air.
The boy chuckled, sliding into the seat next to her, peering over her shoulder.
"Looks complex, sure you can read it all?"
Hermione frowned, her chest tightening with emotion.
"Of course I can, this is my third time reading it."
The boy looked at her, chin in his hand. "Liar."
Hermione blinked back tears. "I'm not a liar and you're mean!" Standing abruptly, she pulled her book to her chest, grabbed her book bag and quickly ran from the small library. Leaving the boy to stare after her in a state of confusion.
The next day Hermione was surprised to see the boy there waiting for her at her table. Approaching cautiously, she hugged her book tighter to her chest.
"What are you doing at my table?"
The boy smiled, showing all his teeth and this set her nerves on end.
"Well I noticed you sit here everyday and I wanted to apologise for yesterday apparently we had some type of misunderstanding – I wasn't trying to be mean."
"Well you were!"
The boy's smile dimmed a little. "Well I am terribly sorry for the way I acted and I would love for you to forgive me but I would understand why would might not, my mum says it did sound like I was being mean."
Hermione titled her head slightly, her bushy brown hair falling to favour one side. "You talked to your mum?"
The boy nodded, his grey eyes brightening. "Yup. I felt awful at making you cry."
She pouted at his words and felt the need to defend herself in front of the boy even though his words were true. "I didn't cry!"
If the boy knew she was lying he didn't tell her so. "Well I am sorry for yesterday," he reached for his bag and began searching it.
All sorts of things came out of it; Hermione could spot at least three different types of colouring pencils and crayons, and a dozen pieces of colourful paper. There was also a packed lunch in a fancy looking lunchbox – it was silver with splashes of vibrant colours; it made her stare with envy and (what she assumed) his initials engraved on the top (E. J. E), overall it was rather stylish.
More things began to accompany the pile but the lunchbox held her attention before she spotted Pride and Prejudice and she instantly went to grab it before stopping herself, after all it wasn't her novel – it was EJE's one. What a boy was doing with a famous romance novel was curious.
"Ah here we are!" Hermione looked up startled, EJE was holding up a card that looked like colour had been spewed on it. She looked at with caution. EJE smiled and handed her the card. "Since I was such a bully yesterday I thought I'd make you something to apologise."
The card was in the form of a book – it had bits of paper sticking out of its sides to represent the pages and where the title would go was the words 'I'm sorry' written in messy eight-year old handwriting, and where the author's name should be was the words 'by Mister Eames'.
Carefully she peeled open the card and frowned. She should have known this was a joke. No one was ever sorry and to think she had actually thought EJE was being sincere.
Inside was a drawing of her at least that is what the arrowed word 'you' was pointing at and it made her mad. The image looked like a mutated bush had grown legs and bucked teeth and was trying its best to blend in. Looking up from the card, she glared at the boy. Which wiped EJE's smile off his face, replacing it with confusion. The big git.
"You are the biggest bully ever and I hate you!"
Throwing the card down at his feet, she stormed out of the library once more, anger bubbling through her like nothing she had ever felt before.
For an eight-year old Hermione thought that she was rather intelligent but what she couldn't understand was why EJE had not left her alone. Usually the bullies had their fun and then left but he hadn't and this confused her. He was like a fly that wouldn't go away after you had told it to. No matter what she did he was constantly there, always at her table and when she moved to a different one he would be there the next day. Stupid boy.
She knew he was popular, when he wasn't in the library waiting for her, she knew he was out playing soccer or rugby with the other boys in her class. Sometimes she saw him acting out scenes of overdramatic romance movies for the girls and each time they would laugh. He was what the teachers called a 'class clown'. Even then, she had seen that he had gotten top marks for their last spelling test – he had even beaten her.
Yet, that didn't stop him from being a stupid bully. Not one bit.
It had been a week after the EJE incident and he was still waiting in the library each day, sometimes leaving small gifts, but she wasn't having any of it. He was a bully and that was that. Nothing could change her mind. He was just trying to make her feel as though he wanted her to be his friend and then once he had done that and she had gotten comfortable he would pounce.
He would say that she was nothing but a freak that would only ever have books as her friends because that is what Mary Jane had done when they had been six. It still hurt and just made her that bit more careful.
EJE wasn't going to make her hurt like that – not now, not never.
Hermione tensed but didn't look around. Maybe they weren't talking about her? She surely hoped so; she didn't need their taunts today. Not after Mister Snuffles passing away, her poor pet rabbit. Sniffling she picked up her pace, hoping to get away from the cruelty of her peers.
She was nearly around the corner of her street when something wet, sticky and mushy hit the back of her head. Whipping around she stared at the pack of boys and girls, all holding balls of mud in their hands. Tears stung at the corner of her eyes. What had she ever done to them? A ball of mud went sailing into the air and Hermione instinctively held up her arms to protect her face. Yet the blow never came.
Pulling her arms down she was shocked to find herself staring at the back of EJE – she could recognise that hair anywhere.
There were shouts of outrage, stinging insults thrown but EJE did not move, and Hermione stood there rooted to the spot. Some of the comments were rather nasty and made EJE's shoulders tense and his fists shake but not once did he move. Not until the nasty comments and shouts of outrage dimmed down to nothingness. It was then he turned and faced her, a crooked smile on his face – masked through the mud that covered it.
"Are you alright, Hermione?"
She nodded mutely and just continued to stare. EJE continued to smile and placed a hand on her shoulder.
"Well that's good. Don't let them get to you, you hear because they aren't worth it, not in the long run anyway."
Those were wise words, Hermione thought, but before she could comment on them, EJE was gone. Already running down the street and out of sight.
A new year and a new class, it was days like these when Hermione wondered if there was something out there playing with everyone's lives. Surely there must be, because who else would find it amusing to have herself and EJE as seating partners for the whole year. Now she couldn't just up and leave if he was mean. No, she was stuck having to put up with it. Life was just not fair.
"I see we are seat partners, guess that means I'll actually have to introduce myself won't it?"
Hermione scoffed at EJE's words, spoken so casually as though he automatically thought she would be charmed by his wit. Hardly.
Ignoring him, she set to work; placing her writing utensils to one side of her desk and her writing books in the middle. She waited for the teacher to enter – having read ahead (like any ten-year old should) she was well prepared for anything the teacher might ask. Sparing a glance at EJE's side of the desk she inwardly frowned, his desk had nothing on it. It was as if he didn't even want to be here.
"Why haven't you gotten out your materials yet?"
EJE seemed delighted that she was talking to him, if the way his grey eyes lit up at her words were any indication.
"The teacher isn't here yet."
Hermione raised both eyebrows, surprised at his answer. "But it doesn't hurt to be prepared."
EJE laughed slightly, covering his grin with his hand. "Yes, but what if the teacher doesn't want us to have our books and pencils out – it would be terribly troublesome to pack it all away."
"But we always need our books and pencils out!"
"Not really, it depends on the task."
"It does not."
"You need to stop seeing things as one way and one way only Hermione – sometimes it is best when you are being spontaneous. At least that's what my grandad is always saying."
Huffing Hermione turned away, feeling highly irritated. EJE was obviously unreasonable – how could he think that being prepared was wrong?
Their mornings usually began like that – Hermione always insisted that they take out their materials while EJE insisted that they wait for the teacher to see what they would need. Each day EJE would get in trouble for not having his materials out and each day she would smile at being right.
Hermione had gotten use to their system that when EJE didn't come in one morning or at the start of class she was worried. Why wasn't he at school, he had never missed a day before. Surely, something horrifying had happened. That day no one talked to her, instead they all avoided her. EJE wouldn't have.
It had been a week and EJE hadn't come to school at all and this left Hermione in a sense of loneliness and the need to analyse why she felt lonely without EJE there. It had taken one conversation with Mrs Snuggles (her pink teddy bear that she had since forever) and one conversation with her mum to conclude that, maybe – just maybe – she consider EJE a friend.
She didn't have many friends, especially just maybe friends so she was determined to find EJE and find out why he hadn't been at school for the past week. She even had all their homework ready for him catch up on, once she found him.
She didn't have to look far, or wait very long as he was back in class the very next day. This made her happy – not that she would ever tell him that. Not ever.
"Where have you been?"
EJE looked at her with mild surprise and such sad eyes that it made Hermione want to hug her just maybe friend.
"My grandad and mum died – they were driving to get me a birthday cake when some driver wasn't paying any attention to the road and now they are watching me from above. At least that's what my Gran says."
Hermione gasped softly and flung herself at EJE, who looked rather shocked at having her clinging to him.
"I'm sorry, that sounds absolutely horrible I wouldn't know what to do if my mum died."
EJE smiled softly, even though he still looked rather sad – almost like a kicked puppy. "It's okay, they're still with me."
Hermione nodded and let him go, wiping away the few tears that had fallen off her face.
It was the summer of her third year of being a witch when she met EJE again. He still looked the same, all smiles and messy hair but there was something different about him. Something that she couldn't put her finger on.
EJE turned and looked at her, his smile growing. "Hullo Hermione, it has been a while hasn't it?"
She nodded, still trying to figure out what was different – he was like a puzzle. A puzzle that she was determined to solve.
"So how have you been, you up and disappeared when we were eleven. I mean I've seen you here and there during school hols but other than that you just seem to not be here. It's rather shocking – have you up and joined the circus or something?"
Hermione frowned, he always did think he was charming when really he was just a stuck up git. Just a maybe friend – not a best friend like Harry or Ron.
"I'm attending an elite boarding school for the gifted."
"Oh ho, the gifted – surely they must have made a mistake."
"Hardly, you're just sore that they didn't pick you."
"Now, now Hermione there is no need for the snark, I'm only teasing. You've never been able to understand that now have you?"
Hermione huffed. "If that's teasing then you do not understand the word at all."
"You merely take things to seriously Hermione you need to lighten up. Otherwise the fun will pass you by and you'll regret never stopping to see it."
"I have lightened up; it's you that hasn't grown up. You are still the insufferable toerag that thinks he is god's gift to society."
EJE looked hurt by her words. Not that she cared. "If that's the way you see me, then I will leave you be. I hope you achieve your very best at your school Hermione."
Then he was gone – almost as if he had been hit by a vanishing spell.
It was her sixth year when she had seen EJE again, this time his hair was shorter but just as messy and his grey eyes harden by experience. It didn't suit him.
"Ah Hermione, what do I owe this great pleasure."
"I saw you sitting by yourself and thought I'd say hello."
"Well now that you have said so, what is your plan now?"
"Perhaps we should catch up?"
"I was under the impression that you didn't like me much."
"I'm not impressed by you, that doesn't mean I don't like you."
"Really? It seems like the same thing to me."
"Why must you have that insufferable grin on your face when we speak to each other?"
"Because it makes your skin crawl. You mentioned something about catching up?"
"Well yes, I'm in my sixth year of schooling. What of you?"
"I wasn't aware – " EJE cut her off with a dismissive wave of his hand. "It is a special type of military. Apparently I have skills that they find useful."
Hermione's interest was peaked; after all, there was nothing truly special about EJE. A boy who's name she had never bothered to learn.
"What skills would that be?"
EJE smiled softly at her, his grey eyes growing brighter under the light of the lamppost, underneath the park bench where they were both sitting, below the stars and moon.
She raised an eyebrow, disbelief clear in her features. "Isn't that illegal?"
EJE laughed. "Different kind of forgery."
Shaking her head, she crossed her arms over her chest, shivering from the cold night air. "I hardly doubt there is another type."
"Do you still dream Hermione?"
Before she could answer his bizarre question EJE was gone, already masked by the darkness of the night.
It was a few months later when Hermione was granted the answer of her unspoken question. EJE was at the end of her driveway, smiling and holding a silver briefcase. Hermione had followed when he had asked and was now lying down on a lawn chair, wondering just what she had gotten herself into and it wasn't long before the silver briefcase was open showing a maze of wires and machinery that she couldn't understand. It was even quicker when she felt the slight sting of a pinprick and her eyes felt extremely heavy and the darkness soon took over.
When she woke she was in the same warehouse and on the same lawn chair that she had fallen asleep in but without EJE in sight. It set her nerves on end and left her feeling vulnerable. Where was he? Surely he wouldn't have left her alone where anyone could walk in and kill them both. Especially Death Eaters that could make it look like a harmless accident. Yet there was something that wasn't quite right – as though this wasn't really the warehouse.
Grabbing her wand from her jeans pocket she waited, for anyone to come walking through that door. When someone did, it wasn't who she thought it would be. Instead, it was a busty blonde in a black dress that barely reached her knees. The woman was smiling, her slightly wavy blonde hair bouncing as she walked towards Hermione.
"Well are you coming or not?"
The woman's voice was low and seductive and it sent chills down Hermione's spine, her mind screamed at her that this was a trick. That this wasn't real and that she needed to get out. Before the Blonde could kill her. Gripping her wand tighter, she levelled it to the Blonde's chest – directly at her heart.
"Who are you?" Hermione was surprised that her voice didn't shake and was merely irritated that the Blonde continued to smile – as though this was all a game to her.
"Someone you have known for years Hermione."
"I've never met anyone like you. I'll ask again and you better answer truthfully this time. Who are you?"
The Blonde sighed and shook her head. That was when Hermione screamed, the Blonde was melting away and instead EJE stood in her place. He looked amused and slightly concerned at Hermione's panicked reaction.
"What? How did you do that?"
EJE smiled. "I told you, I forge."
"That wasn't forging that was…" Hermione glared, he was obviously trying to play with her emotions – yet it wasn't something that Tonks would do, it looked like something completely different. "That can't be real."
EJE chuckled. "Of course not, it can only be achieved in dreams – which we happen to be having right this moment."
Hermione blinked. "We're dreaming?"
"Yes, you caught on rather quick – your projections are quite the terrifying bunch. Outside this warehouse they are tearing up the place, looking for me since I'm the dreamer and you are the mark. Interesting isn't it?"
Hermione studied EJE, really seeing him for the person that he was and saw that he was telling the truth. Yet, it couldn't be possible – people couldn't enter people's dreams. Especially muggles. Yet here it was staring her in the face.
"So, you're a witch then Hermione?" Hermione took a step back, shocked that he even knew that. "Oh don't worry I found that out real quick. Did you know that you keep all your secrets in a library – unusual since they generally go in banks and stuff like that I was mildly surprised? Not about you being a witch mind you, just that your secrets were in the library. Not that I should be, I mean that's where you were all the time." He chuckled fondly and Hermione wondered just how much EJE knew about her without looking through her secrets.
Shaking Hermione approached EJE and slapped him. She watched as his head whipped to the side and his eyes grow with shock and slight amusement. Why did he always have to think everything was one big joke? Honestly.
"You had no right to go browsing around in my mind!"
He looked at her sheepishly, scratching the back of his neck. "You're right, I shouldn't have done that and I'm sorry. How about I forge whoever you want to make it up to you?"
Hermione crossed her arms to her chest, eyes blazing with anger. "I hardly doubt you could forge into anyone I know."
EJE seemed to take this a personal insult and straightened up, puffing out his chest. A look of determination on his face. "Try me."
Hermione laughed, a smirk forming on her lips. "Fine. Try forging into Ronald Weasley."
EJE nodded, staring off into space – concentration pinching his face. Hermione watched as he grew a few inches taller and his hair turned a shocking red and slowly EJE became Ron. It was…amazing.
Not-Ron grinned, eyes twinkling with mischief. "Skill, dear Hermione, skill."
He even sounded like Ron!
"Why, Hermione I do believe I have finally impressed you. Only took me eight years and a handful of misunderstandings."
Hermione felt her cheeks colour and she mock glared at him. "I hardly count it as eight years."
"Oh contrary Hermione, you may have not noticed me but I have always noticed you."
Feeling flustered Hermione looked away. That was until Not-Ron's hand cupped her cheek and turned her towards him. She flushed. It was uncanny how much he looked like Ron.
"You can do whatever you want to me, Hermione. No one will ever know."
She went to speak but instead found her kissing Not-Ron, the pain of Ron being with Lavender becoming too much. Why couldn't he understand that she had feelings for him? Hands moved and bodies interwined until she came screaming Ron's name and him speaking hers so softly it almost broke her heart.
Then they woke up.
EJE smiled at her and she looked away flustered. "What?"
He chuckled softly, hiding his grin behind his hand. A habit he seemed to have and something Hermione was only beingning to notice. "Oh nothing, but I was serious Hermione no one will know what happen down there. Only you and me." She looked away, her facing heating even more. "And I'm sure if you just told Ronald how you felt he would feel the same. Just take a leap of faith you'd be surprised on what you might find."
This time Hermione was gone before she could hear anything more and she vowed never to speak to EJE ever again.
"I see you took my advice."
Hermione jumped, clutching her handbag. EJE stood before, all cocky grins and mischievous grey eyes. "I did not."
"Really, then Ronald isn't your husband? And those aren't your two children?"
"It wasn't your advice that I followed, it was my own."
EJE chuckled, "Well I must say you seem to be doing well. Family and all."
Hermione scoffed. "What are you jealous that I have something you don't?"
This brought a spark of hurt across EJE's face. "You may think I am the bully Hermione but sometimes you are plain cruel."
"I'm merely stating fact."
"Maybe the truth hurts, surely you would know that Hermione?"
His words were spoken calmly but Hermione could feel the venom in twisting her insides. "I'm sorry, have you got a family?"
"Hardly, well they are more a mix of people that I consider family."
Hermione regarded him curiously. "Do they do the same thing you do? Are you even still doing that?"
"Yeah, except we all have different skills. I mean I am still a forger, the best one in the business I might add, but then you have Arthur who is the best damn point man you will ever meet. Then there is sweet Ariande, best damn architect in the business and then finally you have Yusuf, the best damn chemist in the world. Of course, there is always Satio, damn useful businessman and a great friend. Gets us whatever we need for a job."
Hermione smiled. "Well that sounds wonderful, you haven't got a wife or anyone like that?"
EJE laughed. "I don't they'll ever notice me."
Hermione smiled sadly, and stood on her toes pecking his cheek. "Maybe you should try harder."
EJE smiled, this time it reached his eyes that looked like they had seen too much, much like her own if she thought about it. "Indeed. Maybe I should take a leaf out of my book and dream a little bigger?"
Hermione laughed, covering her smile. "Yes, maybe. Now I have a question that I've been meaning to get answered."
"Oh, yes and what is that, dear Hermione?"
"What's your name?"
He laughed, it was a loud and carrying sound and it had her smiling brightly. "I was wondering when you would ask me that. It's Eames."
Hermione looked at him strangely. "But your initials are EJE"
Eames smiled brightly. "I know, maybe I'll tell you my full name another day?"
Then he was gone, reaching two people she assumed was Arthur and Ariande.
Hermione would always consider Eames the puzzle that she never could solve and the man that impressed her in her dreams. She never did find out his full name but maybe that was for the best.
After all what is life without a little mystery?