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Match the quotes to the story titles. There are no red herrings this week as these are all nominees:
Happy Christmas by AprilGrey
Of Muggles and Magic by aurette
Whom The Gods Annoy by dickgloucester
A Dish Served Cold by Friendlyquark WIP (abandoned?)
The Left Hand of Fate by annietalbot
The Seven Year Wait by Atuliel WIP
In Spirit by ariadne1 WIP
The Silvering Divide by somigliana
Pumblechook by wartcap
The Lioness Prophecies by amr
1. When the selkie swims closer, Hermione can see that she’s got a lovely fish-like tail, but unlike the merpeople Hermione has seen before, her human-shaped torso also shimmers with a subtle luminescence as if pearl dust has been rubbed into her skin. She’s beautiful under the water, Hermione thinks. The greenish hair blends in with the water and the grass around her—the selkie looks like she belongs here, like she’s home. She stops when she’s a few metres away, still watching with wary eyes, ready to dart away at the first sign of danger. “I know you,” the selkie says suddenly. Down here, her voice is like a symphony, fluid and beautiful, and it carries across the water clearly.
Hermione nods. “Yes,” she replies. She waits again, afraid that if she asks the questions that are filling her throat like a swelling sponge, the selkie will disappear again.
“Kraken was chasing me. He saw you, so he left. Thank you.” The selkie ducks her pearlescent face downwards, as if she is ashamed. “My mother was very angry. I am not supposed to explore by myself.”
The giant squid was named Kraken? For a moment, Hermione doesn’t answer as she absorbs the mild amusement that arises and flickers around her clever mind. “You’re exploring again, aren’t you?” she points out gently.
“Yes.” The selkie lifts her chin defiantly, now. “But it is safe today—you are all here. And I like to watch humans. You are… interesting but very funny under the water.” She laughs and drifts closer to Hermione with wide, curious eyes.
“What is your name?” Hermione asks. “I am Hermione.” She smiles, now, truly charmed by the little selkie and her curiosity.
“I am Syrena,” she replies. She swims around Hermione in a circle, giggling softly.
2. “Your gran clearly didn't know the effect you have on women,” she purred, her breath like honey and cinnamon on his mouth.
Severus felt this was a little too unlikely, even for one of his own fantasies.
“Are you feeling quite well, madam?” he enquired. He got to his feet so as to look down his nose at her. That this was a bad move became clear as he realised that the tunic had not come provided with underwear and that she was looking up it at his somewhat enthusiastic member. “Oh, Circe,” he groaned.
Not the right thing to say.
“You have me right here, and you call for that pig-loving bitch?” snarled the woman. She jumped to her feet and advanced on him, backing him across the temple until his heel met a column, and he was forced to stop. “You speak that trollop's name when I am before you, ready to offer you all that I am? Consider wisely, o man, what your next utterance should be.”
Her magnificent bosom was heaving a mere fraction of an inch from his nose, and her sapphire eyes flashed down at him, and Severus thought he might be in heaven.
And then his Carrow-alarm went off, telling him there was already a Hufflepuff in trouble.
3. Several business-like flicks of her wand later, the archives’ resources were in passable order, and she made her way down aisles of floating metal shelves, seeking some human companionship.
She smiled inwardly at thinking of Demetrios as “human.” With just the two of them working the archives (he had frightened off several well-connected but entirely incompetent hopefuls before promoting Hermione out from under the Muggle Artifacts curator), she sometimes forgot that he was dead.
With his flute-like, contralto voice, his indiscriminate fondness for 20th-century music, and his uncanny ability to temporarily misplace valuable reference-scrolls right before someone requested them, he had taken her under his ghostly wing, entrusting her with the world-famous archive he usually regarded as his own personal collection - in which he often shelved materials not by content but by size.
“Size matters, dear,” he'd informed her.
She could hear him warbling through “Heaven Can Wait” somewhere near the rafters in the upper vaults. She was relieved he’d left off AC/DC; it had taken her a week to get “Highway to Hell” out of her head.
“‘And all the gods come down’… mmhmm… ‘to sing for me’… now, where have you disappeared to, my lovely? Ah… there you are...”
She started up a spiral staircase, grinning to herself as she heard Demetrios rustling through a pile of scrolls. A moment later, something small and metallic clanged off the handrail near her head, and she jumped.
Demetrios called down, “Hermione, dear, would you be so kind…”
“I see it, Demetrios. Half a moment.” She hurried down the stairs after the small coin he'd dropped and retrieved it from a dustbin.
“Heads or tails?” his voice piped down the stair.
She picked it up, turned it over, and laughed, heading back up the stairs. “Owl, of course - on both sides, same as always.
4. The door to the cabin opened. Hagrid had returned with a young woman. The gamekeeper gestured toward him before shuffling over to stoke the fire. Pumblechook moved as far away from the hearth as he could, cowering against the massive wooden headboard.
“Stop it, Hagrid, it’s bothering him!” cried the young woman. Pumblechook looked over to her. She was watching him with fear in her eyes, her rigid body pressed up against the door.
“He said it burns!”
You hear me, witch?
“Of course I do. Hagrid, you can hear him, can’t you?”
Hagrid stopped, the poker in his hand, and looked at the young woman. “I didn’ ’ear anyone ’sept you, Hermione.”
“Merlin, he just said my name.” She stepped toward him then, and as she did her face came into view. Her curly hair was riotous around her small, pale face. He recognised her! She was the girl from the train. She was older now, but essentially the same. And she could hear him. He could communicate.
“’e seems ’armless enough, if you ask me,” announced Hagrid. “Don’ look like ’e can fly or nuffin’. Lost ’is powers I’d say.”
She came closer then. “Is that true? You’ve lost your powers?”
5. Hermione had only a moment to notice the spare elegance of the room and the surprisingly warm, rose-and-lilac-scented breeze that drifted in through the three pairs of French windows. But before she had time to wonder about this, her attention was riveted by the imposing old man propped up against the pillows of the massive canopied bed.
He was clearly very old indeed, with finely wrinkled skin and long silver hair tied at the nape of his neck. Hermione was surprised to see that his face was a caricature of their Potions master’s. She had always thought Professor Snape looked like a bit of a caricature himself, but Mr. Snape’s chin was slightly more stubborn, his lips thinner and twisted in a much more unforgiving sneer, and his nose larger and with a more pronounced hook. His dark brows were more furrowed and sarcastically arched, and his eyes... Hermione quickly cast her own eyes down to her feet. His eyes were terrifying. She cautiously raised her gaze again to his hands, which were long-fingered and graceful, despite the spotted and wrinkled skin that covered them. They rested confidently upon an elegant ebony wand that lay across his thighs, polished with long use. He turned his head slightly to glare critically at her, and she swiftly lowered her eyes again. Very terrifying.
Mr. Prewett stepped forward to join Professor Snape, who was standing on the left side of the bed, his face inscrutable. The secretary bowed from the waist, and Hermione watched in amusement as Harry took note of the angle and depth of the bow.
“Mr. Snape, sir,” the secretary said, with an exaggerated deference that didn’t ring quite true. “I’ve brought Severus’ students, as you asked, sir.” He shot the two of them a smug, disdainful glance.
6. “Well done, Weasley! Well done, indeed!”
The three women crowded around Ron, patting him on the back, pressing a glass of beer into his hand, and ignoring the tear that tracked down his cheek.
“Just tell me...” he choked, but this was important. “Tell me she’ll be happy. Because even though I’ve got to know the git a bit better, I still can’t see how she could possibly love him.”
“We’ll do better than that,” Slog said. “We’ll show you.”
“Slog, it’s prohibited,” protested Tonic, but Shivvy sided with Slog.
“He’s earned it, Tonic. It won’t hurt to reassure him before we send him on his way.”
“All right.” Sighing, Tonic picked up Hermione’s spindle. Slog and Shivvy viewed the thread as she worked, finally signalling her to stop and beckoning Ron over to see.
Shivvy put her hand at the back of Ron’s neck and pushed him so his face was against the thread. “It’s rather like a Pensieve for people like you... you need to be in it...”
7. Pippin was hiding. He knew they were searching for him, and it was just all so embarrassing. He just wanted to be left alone for a good cry. There were so many places one could hide here, and just have a good jag. But now they were going to make a big stink about it. Thaddeus would be scolded for teasing him and maybe be forced for muck out the Hippogriff’s stall as punishment, but nothing would change. Even Emily laughed at him now. He was supposed to be the big brother, but without magic he might as well be a baby.
Pippin’s arm was caught in a vise-like grip and he was roughly yanked out from his nook. “What did I tell you, boy?” Filch gave him a bone rattling shake. “When they hurt ya, you come to me. I’ll fix ‘em good.” Filch looked scary, but Pippin knew it was just his way. His fellow Squib really cared for him, it was just that he went about things the wrong way. Pippin now felt about two inches tall.
“I don’t need to go running to you. I can handle things myself.” He lied, and coughed as the tears threatened to choke him all over again.
“Your running away don’t do a bit of good. Your father and mother are half sick to death worried about ya. Now come along, we’ll have a cup of cocoa and you’ll talk to your old Argus.” Pippin was dragged along by his arm. Mrs. Norris ran up ahead of them.
“It’s all right, Mr. Potter, sir. I done gone an’ found him.” Filch shouted at the figure outlined at the end of the hallway.
8. Elspeth's eyes opened as soon as she felt the bed dip behind her. She closed them tightly, to send a quick prayer of thanks, and kept herself very still. He could just need to sleep in a real bed. His nights in that chair last winter and those few days he'd spent at home in the spring would have been agony on any man's back.
Perhaps he simply didn't want to be alone. He'd looked lost and uncomfortable since she'd found him in the sitting room with the children.
It had been a puzzler, to use her old governess' word, how to make a man feel welcomed in his own home. She'd spent weeks planning and practicing, hoping she would get it right.
It was certainly out of her realm of experience. Henry had been all about pushing away. Severus was all about patience.
He was so strong, and yet the image she'd held in her mind, as she'd waited these long weeks for his return, was that of an easily startled bird. One wrong move on her part would send him flapping away again, and she knew that he would never come back if that happened.
She settled her wildly beating heart and tried to will herself back to sleep, only to feel his hand settle timidly on her shoulder. She rolled over onto her back and welcomed him with a tearful smile, unseen in the dark.
9. Hermione nodded her understanding. “Will I have tomorrow to settle in?”
“Of course, dear,” she replied, as though surprised she would ask.
They came to a stop next to the portrait of Loki, who was snoring most unconvincingly. McGonagall gave Hermione a long-suffering, apologetic look.
“I apologize for the choice of portraits,” she said sincerely. “I tried to convince the Headmaster that there were much better options, but he insisted you would be most comfortable near Gryffindor Tower. This was, sadly, the least…difficult portrait.”
“Excuse me?!” Loki suddenly barked, eyes shooting open. “I’m the least difficult, you say?! I take offense to that, cat woman!”
McGonagall rolled her eyes. “You behave for Miss Granger. She’s a talented young witch, and you know what talented witches can do.”
Loki eyed Hermione and promptly made a noise that sounded like a mix between a purr and a growl. Hermione blushed and folded her arms across her chest, feeling violated somehow.
“Yes, I certainly do, pussycat,” he drawled.
McGonagall rolled her eyes again. “Not that, you twit. Besides, you’re two-dimensional. What do you think you’re going to do?” She shook her head, but went on before Loki could answer. “I meant that talented, nice young witches like Miss Granger here can easily perform a hex that will have you Banished from this portrait and chained to that rock again in no time.”
Loki glared at her suspiciously. “She could not. Look at her—she’s a little bint! A wee thing! Tiny! Small! Petite!” He paused, then eyed Hermione again. “Nubile….”
“That’s what you said about poor Sybill, too, the last time she was up here,” McGonagall reprimanded sharply. “The poor woman had the misfortune of asking Severus what that word meant and she was in a state of shock for days.”
10. “Yes, well.” He paused and then sighed. “I wish you had been a more moderating influence on Taliesin of course, but what’s done is done.” Sabine merely nodded in reply, she had enough regrets to fill this castle. “What are we to do about Sarit? Eventually she will figure out what we’ve done.”
“He’s grown now. The Yidoni powers will be in full bloom and he will be more than a match for her, if he can be trained.” Sabine sighed and shook her head. “I should have done more.”
“Taliesin never would have let you near to the boy.” Albus reminded her and she shook her head.
“I know that, but I should have tried. He’s my grandson and I had a duty to him.” The words came out stiffly and she gave Albus an apologetic look. She was too much the product of her upbringing and history, too set in her ways to really change now, whatever her remorse might be prompting her to feel.
“It was far more important to keep Sarit from him. Her own seer powers are waning. Had she known that he had inherited them, she would have stopped at nothing to get him back to Nazareth.” Albus reminded her and Sabine shuddered at the thought.
“The powers of the Yidoni are dangerous, Albus, there is no doubt of that, but Sarit’s fears and visions have twisted her into something terrible. Her mother would be horrified and her grandmother would be utterly furious at the way she has gone about things.” Remembering the fiery laughing girl of her youth, Sabine felt the weight of her many mistakes crushing her thin shoulders. “I should never have argued with her. If only I could have kept my temper and reasoned with her, all of this might have been prevented.”
“If only – the two most useless words in the English language and the two saddest.” Albus gave her a sympathetic look. “We were all of us young and foolish, Sabine, all of us bear the blame to some degree of another. I could never reach Tom Riddle to turn him from this path, you could not convince Sarit her visions were only one possible future and none of us could keep Taliesin from pursuing Kaleen.”
“Now it is too late.”