Chapter 1: Black Bitten
Chapter 1: Black Bitten
The atmosphere in the Alley was tense and subdued. So far removed from the Diagon Alley she had first entered as a fresh faced eleven year old that Hermione almost couldn't recognize her surroundings. Witches and wizards alike all walked by, apprehension written on their faces as they hurried on their way. Reeking of fear, their pheromones cloying and overwhelming. Mothers clutched children's hands and Aurors roamed up and down routinely.
Some shop fronts were boarded up, others sporting shorter opening hours. Dark clouds threatened a downpour and the brown haired teen couldn't help but feel as if it were a forewarning of what was to come.
"Now you three, I want you to stick together. Any sign of trouble call out and someone will be with you quick as a flash, alright?" Molly Weasley's motherly tone broke her out of her inner musings. The older Omega stood with a look of concern adorned on her face. Effectively pulling Hermione's attention back to the immediate moment in time as she hid her wince. Ever since that incident with the Polyjuice in second year she had always found it rather difficult to listen to the Weasley matriarchs' far too loud and shrill voice.
Her glamoured ears picking up far more sound than the 'normal' ears of her school friends. She was grateful that Professor Dumbledore had come up with the glamour that she used to hide her ears and tail behind. It would have been awful if she had to walk around with the evidence that she had 'failed' in making a potion. Even if at the time she had been a thirteen year old second year making a potion that even the seventh years struggled with.
It was much simpler to appear normal, she didn't need to give the world anymore reason to torment her.
She had accompanied the Weasley family and Harry into Diagon Alley to pick up their school supplies for the approaching sixth year that started September first.
"Of course Mrs. Weasley,” she replied seriously when the motherly woman looked to her for a response. Nodding politely, she grabbed Harry's arm as she felt Ronald move to stand beside her. Subtly using her green eyed best friend as an excuse to avoid Ronald's attempt at moving closer. Ever since the boys had presented, Harry as an Omega, Ron as an Alpha, she had noticed Ron's growing attention. She was sure he thought that if she had been able to present like her peers had that she would have been his Omega. The thought made her shudder.
Merlin knew she loved both her best friends, but only ever as brothers. The knowledge that her ginger haired dunderhead of a friend had developed a bit of a crush on her made her skin crawl as she silently hoped he got over it quickly.
"Where to first?" Ron asked, looking as if he'd rather be anywhere else. They had made their way out of the Leaky Cauldron and onto the main shopping lane, shivering as the chill permeated their skin.
It was far colder than it usually was this time of year and Hermione believed it to be a result of the brewing war. The people out on the street behaved no better than those who she had seen inside the pub. The Alley too was filled with competing pheromones. Fear, anger, loathing and angst dominated the usually clean smelling street. Making her nose scrunch in disgust as she wordlessly led them towards the Apothecary.
A little while later the three teens stepped out of Flourish and Blotts, Hermione pouting slightly at being dragged out from the stacks of unread books inside. If it were up to her she would have spent another hour at least browsing the books. She was no further ahead in making a cure for her current ailment, and more advanced subjects would help fill her time. She was no further forward in creating her own cure. She had been working on it for years but she was loathed to stop searching for any clue that might bring her an answer. She refused to believe that Dumbledore was right because she didn't want to be stuck like this forever, she didn't like having to hide behind a glamour.
She scowled when Ron shoved her shoulder playfully in response to her pout. Laughing quietly at her while Harry attempted to hide his smile behind his hands.
"Oh give over." she mumbled, rolling her eyes, stepping forward to begin their trek back to the Leaky. The hand on her arm tightened, Harry staying where he was, jerked her back and pulled her hurriedly behind the wall of the nearest shop.
She went to snap harshly at him for pulling her so roughly but her mouth shut quickly at the look on Harry's face. His eyes were wide, his finger held up to his lips, then directed her and Ron’s attention to the corner of the Alley between Diagon and Knockturn.
She followed his gaze, letting her eyes fall upon the Malfoy family, standing in plain view. The gorgeous Narcissa Malfoy neé Black, her son Draco Malfoy and Husband Lucius Malfoy all stood proudly, their backs straight, clothing impeccable and their white blonde hair styled pristine. They were engaged in a heated argument. Narcissa had her hand on her son's arm as she spat something at Lucius.
Whatever was being said wasn't good. Draco, her school bully, looked paler than normal. His normally pale skin looking rather sickly. She couldn't currently scent him but if she had to guess she would say he would probably smell of fear judging by his facial expressions.
Lucius moved quickly, bringing his cane down twice on the hard cobblestoned path. Looking furious he grabbed Draco's shoulder. Hermione held her breath when the man glanced up towards where they currently hid, as if he could sense they were there. He turned away, spitting a last few words his wife's way, pulling his son down into the Alley, heading down the street. Narcissa moving off down a side street seconds later.
Hermione furrowed her brow as she watched the Malfoy matriarch and heir split ways. She turned looking to Harry who nodded at her, each of them taking off to trail after a different Malfoy.
The brunette tilted her head, stretching her ear up slightly as it twitched, listening intently for anything of use as she followed Narcissa Malfoy into an alleyway.
She gasped as she ran into a dead end, head whipping around in search of the blonde.
Closing her eyes to calm herself, she took in a deep breath, nearly purring as the scent of parchment and honeysuckle reached her. It was the same mouth watering scent that haunted her from the World Cup two years ago. It was here? She had to find it, had to taste it.
A hand snaked around her and clasped over her mouth, warm body walking her forward and into the brick wall of the abandoned alley, pinning her into it. She felt her wand removed from her pocket as the scent from before swarmed her senses, nearly drowning her in it. She whimpered, hips jumping.
A warm throaty chuckle ghosted over her ear in a breath of hot air. The form shifted more firmly against her, causing her to let out a moan that was a cross between pleasure and pain as her tail was pressed uncomfortably in an odd angle between them.
“What’s a young unclaimed Omega like yourself doing following an alpha into the dark and dank alleyways of Knockturn alley?” A smoky feminine voice purred against the shell of her ear. Hermione’s knees nearly buckled as the silk like voice of the other woman. She keened, needing to hear, smell, and feel this woman in every way possible.
Hermione shuddered as she felt the woman lick then suckle her lobe. She let out a needy whine in response, struggling slightly in the elder woman’s hold.
A soft chuckle permeated the air, the echo bouncing off the ratty brick walls. She felt the blonde smirk against her neck as she pressed her body flush into the chestnut haired girl. “What’s this?” She felt a surprisingly warm hand grab at her aching tail, “curious,” she stroked it softly for a moment before pressing more firmly against her. Her eyes widened as she felt the woman’s arousal.
Hermione let out a moan, unintentionally grinding her hips back against Narcissa’s erection.
The blonde groaned against her neck, teeth scraping the gland. The brunette writhed, unsure if the canines against her were meant to be a threat or some sort of promise?
“Careful now darling, you smell so good. I’ve never smelled anything like you before.” She dug her nose into the Omega’s neck, dragging it down to where her neck and shoulder met. She laved her tongue over the area before clamping her mouth completely over it, suckling against the scent gland hungerly.
She grabbed ahold of the tail once more, giving it a gentle tug.
The Omega gave a weak growl, clawed nail chipping the brick under her hands. What was this feeling? She felt so… safe, and loved. And she knew she should feel anything but. This woman was dangerous. She was an alpha, and also a supporter of the man hell bent on ridding the world of her kind.
The Alpha, a natural legilimens behind her, snarled in response to the brunette's thoughts, causing the blood to freeze in her veins. She bared her throat more for the blonde, soft apologetic whimpers leaving her lips.
Narcissa continued to let out harsh growls, teeth scraping against her throat aggressively, pinning Hermione tighter against the wall with her hips. She shifted the Omega’s legs open wider by nudging her feet apart and grinding forward into the younger woman. “Mine!” She hissed against the skin coated in her scent.
Hermione’s heart skipped a beat, her inner Omega excited at the prospect of being claimed by a powerful Alpha, but her mind reeling at the realization that this woman was not in control of herself.
The teeth pressed more firmly into her gland as the Alpha seemingly started to rut gently but urgently against her, causing her to whimper and wiggle in her hold, her eyes starting to glaze over as she inhaled the Alpha’s pheromones. A mixture of possession, anger and confusion creating a heady concoction that seeped into her every pore.
A loud growl reverberated against her neck, followed by a sharp pain as Narcissa sank her teeth into the scent gland, effectively claiming her.
Hermione’s knees buckled completely from beneath her, crying out as white hot pleasure coursed through her. She whimpered as wetness trailed down her trembling thighs. She took deep gulps of air, inhaling more of her Alpha’s scent as she did. Letting the scent slowly ground her once again.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO HER?” Shouted a frantic Harry.
“OI! Get your bloody death eater hands off her!” Followed Ron, voice shaking with rage.
Narcissa gasped, ripping herself away from the younger girl who sank to the dusty ground, unable to keep herself upright.
The blonde stared at the bloody bite mark that stood out colorfully against the pale and otherwise unblemished skin of the girl’s neck.
“No…” she whispered, hands starting to tremble. “What have I done?”
She reached a hand towards the Omega who sat slouched on the floor like a sack of potatoes, before jerking back harshly. She turned, darting back down the alley past the two screaming boys and vanishing from sight.
Hermione let out a loud distressed whine, wanting that feeling of safety she only found in the arms of her Alpha.
“Bloody hell!” Ron’s obnoxious voice tore her from her daze, causing her to wince in pain as she looked up at him.
She reached up, dirty fingers grazing over the bite wound that pulsed angrily.
Harry bent down, wrinkling his nose. “What is that smell?” He grumbled, face contorting from worry to disgust.
“You reek of Malfoy’s mum,” Ron growled, reaching down to yank her back up into her feet. He peered down at the bite, his expression hardening. “We need to get out of here, before she comes back!”
Harry looked back to where Narcissa had vanished, “I’m not so sure she will be coming back. She seemed panicked.”
“Better not to risk it,” he grabbed Hermione’s arm, gently guiding her back to the safer grounds of Diagon Alley.
Once they reached familiar territory he released her hand, turning to mutter back and forth with Harry about what they had stumbled upon. Not at all noticing Hermione had stopped following them.
The brunette was left in a trance like state, eyes bleary and mind clouded and unable to focus. Her heart was tugging her back to that alley, back to her moment with the blonde alpha.
“Hermione?” A soft melodic voice met her ears, tugging her attention to familiar blue hues. Honeysuckle and jasmine met her nose, causing her to purr softly.
Andromeda stood staring at the young Gryffindor in shock.
Hermione took a hesitant step forward, feeling light headed and unsteady. She attempted to launch herself into the familiar arms of The older woman, comforted from the confusion of the last few minutes. Andromeda caught her and Hermione felt her whole body sink into the older woman, sobs wracking her body as she clung to her.
The curly haired alpha clutched the omega closer, shushing her and rocking her soothingly. She gently shifted hair out of her face, peering down at the woman in her arms with concern. She watched as the omega’s blinks became longer, mouth slurring as her mind faded into the welcoming darkness.
Andromeda blinked in confusion before forcing herself to calm and take in a deep breath, scenting the witch in her arm. Her eyes grew wide as she brought her hand up to Hermione's neck, pulling her collar out of the way and exposing the bite mark. Fresh and unhealed. She could smell her baby sister all over the wound.
She sighed, holding the girl tighter as she turned on the spot. Apparating away from the Alley with the unconscious witch, determined to figure out how to help both Hermione and her careless baby sister.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2: Heated Discussions
We are back with the second chapter for you all!! This one was honestly so fun to write together. So following a lot of late night working, a whole load of laughter and the mildest bits of stress we are so glad to be able to post this update for you all.
Thank you so much for all the love and support, the reaction to chapter one was astounding. Genuinely blessed by you all and as always we love to hear from you all.
All our love: BabyFoxling & Nell ❤ xoxo
Chapter 2: Heated discussions
Hermione groaned audibly as consciousness crept up on her slowly. Her body felt heavy and lethargic, her mind just as hazy as the rest of her. She could feel soft sheets under her bare arms and tail. She was warm, and she felt safe as she forced her body to remain still. Unwilling to move before she had taken stock of just what had happened to her.
She took a deep breath to calm herself, inadvertently causing her wound to flare up in protest. The skin where her neck and shoulder met throbbed painfully. A soft whimper escaping her lips in response.
"Hush Hermione try not to move for a minute" a familiar warm honeyed voice spoke up from her left, startling her. The owner was obviously standing very close to where she lay. Her eyes shot open as she whipped her head around towards the person who had spoken. Forcing herself to sit up abruptly. Sending a burning jolt through her shoulder and neck.
She winced visibly, her hand coming up to clutch the source of the pain, feeling an open wound under her palm that was obviously still weeping. Her eyes taking in the sight of Andromeda Tonks. An order member she had met recently at headquarters. Her wild brown hair pulled up into a bun of messy curls atop her head.
The sudden intensity of the Alpha woman's scent around her did absolutely nothing to help the brunette in clearing her head from the fog she had awoken in. She tried to take a subtle breath, inhaling more of the familiar honeysuckle and jasmine.
In fact it only increased her bafflement. She couldn't recall a time where she had ever been affected so much by someone's scent. Never having presented properly meant it hadn't ever really been an issue for her like it had for some of her classmates. Yet the scent from the Alley and Andy’s scent made her feel alive. Lighting a craving in her she wasn't sure what to do with.
"Lay back, take a minute. You've been out for a good few hours darling" The older woman soothed. Laying a gentle hand on her shoulder. Pushing her back until she was lying properly on the bed again.
She whined quietly in distress. Not comfortable with the amount of confusion she currently felt. She was Hermione Jean Granger for Merlin's sake!! She didn't do uncertainty. She needed facts, truths! Anything else was simply not good enough.
Yet here she found herself, laying in an unfamiliar bed in Andromeda Tonks' home she presumed with not a clue as to what in Morgana's name was going on.
"You're alright Hermione, I promise" Andromeda continued to coo, her scent caressing Hermione's nostrils as if it were a lullaby. The brunette found herself unwillingly responding. Her muscles relaxed against the silky comforter below her. Her neck was still throbbing but at a more manageable level now she was no longer so tense.
"What happened?" She asked softly, almost afraid of the answer. She couldn't imagine in what world waking up the way she did would be the result of something that wasn't about to tip her world from right under her. Especially seeing as her muddled brain couldn't put anything over the last few hours together.
The last thing she could remember clearly was talking with Harry and Ron in Diagon. Then…. nothing. As if she had simply ceased to exist and in place of the memories of what had happened lay a hazy fog of unknown. Vague awareness of a scent she had to have more of and little else.
It was vexing and more than a little worrying.
Though the pinched look of concern and the hesitancy shining back at her from startlingly blue eyes didn't help her feel any better about her current situation.
From what she knew about Andromeda, the Alpha woman was unapologetically opinionated, never caring much about filtering herself. The way she seemed to be struggling with what to say now though quite frankly terrified the younger witch. Anxiety flaring through her already tense body.
Hermione furrowed her brow, the sharp pain of her neck mixed with the dull throb in her abdomen making her mind whirl. What was happening to her?
“Andy?” She questioned, hand clutching at her stomach. “It hurts, and I’m so warm.” She let out a low whine. “What’s happening to me?”
Andromeda’s eyes grew darker as the pungent scent of Omega blanketed the room.
A low growl slithered through peeled lips, causing the hair at the back of Hermione’s neck to stand up and a shiver to wrack her body. The pool of heat dipped lower in her belly and the bite wound from the woman’s younger sister throbbed on her neck.
“Andy?” She tried again, wanting to back away but feeling herself lean into the Alpha.
Andromeda stared at her with eyes so dark a blue that They nearly looked black. “My sister bit and claimed you.” Her voice was low and husky, causing a shudder to roll through the young
“But why?” The younger woman furrowed her brows, “I’ve not presented, and…” she trailed off, thinking back to the blissful moment in the alleyway. As the memory of what had happened came back to her she paled at the realization that she had wanted Narcissa to bite her. She looked up to Andromeda. With a gulp she realized she desperately wanted Andy too.
The older witch hummed a moment, tilting her head as she chose her words carefully. “Narcissa was forced into a marriage with another Alpha, there is no balance there,” she stated, glancing over to a picture frame perched on the mantle of the fireplace. In it three young women in Hogwarts robes smiled at the camera, one with black wild curls seemed to be trying and failing to scowl as she held a much smaller blonde’s head in a headlock under her arm. The said blonde had a look that was crossed between being scandalized and being joyful of the affection. A brunette who looked near identical to the first in the photo watched on in adoration with her arms crossed. It took Hermione a long moment to realize this was a picture of the Black sisters in their Hogwarts years.
Andromeda continued, “She’s never had an Omega, and she got too close to you too fast,” she mused, “the smell of a true mate can make even the most patient Alpha falter.” Her eyes narrowed, blue never leaving brown.
“True mate?” The curiosity in the girl’s voice caused the Alpha to smile.
She nodded, unruly hair falling into her face with the motion. “It’s euphoric finding your true mate. They will be perfect for you. Their smell will entice you and you could drown in it, get drunk off it.” She leaned down, their noses brushing. “You’ll want to get as close as possible, and stay smothered in them. Desperate for them to wrap you in their arms and fuck you, consume you.”
Hermione shuddered, “that sounds almost like mind control or compulsion.”
The older witch hummed in thought, “I suppose it could,” she pushed the woman back down gently onto her back. “But it isn’t at all a compulsion, you are in control, even if you don’t feel like it.”
Her neck throbbed again in pain and she let out a whimper.
“I could attempt to fix it,” she paused, lightly tracing her fingers over the wound from her sister, “I’m not sure it would work though. I can’t actually use a spell to heal it, typically only your true mate can heal it herself with her saliva and you biting her back.” She leaned over the younger girl, straddling her.
“H-how would you f-fix it?” She stuttered, growing flustered from their position. The feel of Andromeda's weight resting on her thighs, effectively pinning her while the Alpha's scent continued to invade her senses was intoxicating. Drowning out any sense of logic Hermione may have grasped on to.
"Hmmm, I'd bite you of course" the response, uttered in a breathy whisper, had her baring her neck subconsciously, tilting her chin up in a silent offer. Hermione felt the witch on top of her trail a single digit up her sternum, grazing the side of her wound and bringing her finger to stop just beside it. "Right here" tapping the spot for indication.
Her ears twitched, a needy whine escaping her flushed throat as she tried desperately to think through her addled mind. Yet her prided intelligence failed her, logic evading her grasp as she all but pressed her exposed throat into the Alpha’s face.
A throaty chuckle met her sensitive ears, causing her to rock her hips up into the woman atop her. She let out a low moan at the feel of her arousal pushing back against her.
“Wh-“ she gulped, throat bobbing against smirking lips, “what happens if you b-bite me?”
"Well, you'll be mine of course" those same smirking lips replied, one hand coming up to possessively caress the side of her throat. Ripping a groan from the younger woman. "At least for a little while" Andromeda continued. Pressing gentle, teasing kisses along her jawline.
Her arousal spiked, prompting Hermione to press her legs together tightly, seeking some sort of release from the building pressure between them.
The Alpha growled, barely restraining the growing need to take; she adjusted her position on top of the pinned Omega, pushing her left leg between Hermione's. Breathing deeply in appreciation, savoring the scent of the girl's arousal as she lay helpless and trusting beneath her. "Then we will let it fade if that's what you want. You would only have to keep it long enough for my darling little sister's mark to fade."
"Ugh wi-" she tried to speak, gasping in pleasure as the older woman's leg pressed deliciously against her clothed core. "Will it work?" She managed eventually. Voicing her question as she threw her head further back into the mattress below.
An act that Andromeda took full advantage of, pressing her lips harder, nipping and sucking at the girl's neck. Reveling in how responsive the Omega was to her touch.
Hermione bit her lip, letting out small whimpers as her abdomen bubbled with pressure, the molten heat threatening to boil over and erupt.
Andromeda released her neck with a purr, licking up over Narcissa’s bite. “In theory,” she tilted her head, “Though maybe it will convince your body to fully present for me.”
Brown eyes snapped up to lock with cobalt, “a bite? That’s what will make me finally present?” Her cheeks flushed at the possessive tone the older witch used, core clenching painfully.
"Hmm it's a possibility, though from what Dumbledore has shared anything is possible with you darling" hand stroking up and over one of the younger brunette's ears to highlight her point. Frowning at the tense of muscles below her.
"He told you!?" Hermione squeaked, unable to hide the insecurity she felt about her condition as it leaked into her voice.
"Only in its relevance to the order, nothing more" the older woman replied. Pressing her leg harder against the brunettes center as a distraction. Not entirely comfortable with the younger witches' apparent self depreciation.
She hummed when Hermione couldn't stifle her pleasured gasp, nose running over her generously marked neck. Inhaling deeply as she purred in approval, her own scent mixing with her sisters. The more possessive side of herself idly wondered what it would take for her own scent to overpower her sisters completely. But something in her also loved their scents mingled on the Omega’s skin. “Though It wouldn't just be a bite, love.” She nipped at the bite gently, purring at the surprised squeak that fell from small thin lips. “It’s a scent mark, as well as a claim. If Cissy isn't your true mate, her’s will fade and mine will stay until it fades or I heal it.”
“And if she is?” Her voice wavered, throat going dry in anxiety and trepidation. What would she do if she was? Why did the implausible chance that she was her true mate, excite her just as much as it terrified her?
The chocolate haired woman held a proprietorial gleam in her eye as she looked down upon the woman below her. “Then my mark will fade and hers will remain.” mouthing gently at the patch of skin right beside her sister's mark. She trailed her hand down over Hermione’s stomach, eyes flicking down as she felt the muscles quiver. “What will it be, Hermione ?”
The Omega shuddered, a moan tearing from her lips at the breathy tone with which the Alpha whispered her name. “Please,” She whimpered, tail coiling down Andromeda’s leg in a desperate attempt to keep her in place.
A grin spread slowly across the Alpha’s face, her mouthwatering scent of honeysuckle and jasmine growing more musky, causing her legs to tremble. She nuzzled her sister’s mark, taking in every individual indent of her teeth where it tore through the Omega’s skin. She watched as the wound seemed to pulse angrily, as if waiting for its owner to come back and sooth it.
She paused, considering the mark a moment longer before latching onto it and suckling. She closed her eyes, the scent, the taste, of Narcissa exploding across her taste buds, a deep growl reverberating in her throat. Having something of her baby sister that was so tangible after all these years felt euphoric. Warming that part of her heart that had long since gone cold when she had lost her sisters.
"Are you certain darling?" The Alpha murmured, pulling back slightly to look into needy eyes. Needing consent from the witch below her before moving forward. Hermione could only whine and nod her head quickly, desperate for any sort of relief from the torment being wrecked on her body. Every nerve filled with pleasure and need , a need she knew only the Alpha above her could grant. She pushed her body upwards, trying anything to get as close to the older woman as possible. Craving the contact between their bodies.
Andromeda caved at the sight of the omega’s pleading eyes. Her desperate little whines driving any sort of hesitance or restraint from her mind. Loving just how much the little witch wanted her. The intoxicating scent of arousal filled her lungs as she dipped her nose in again, inhaling straight from the chestnut haired girl's gland. Pressing her body flat against the squirming witch below her.
The Alpha let herself get lost in the sensation, grinding her own arousal onto the girl's core. Slightly irritated at the lack of direct contact. She trailed lips and tongue down her neck before latching on to the perfect spot right beside her sister's. Sucking the skin harshly before biting down, hard.
Groaning in satisfaction as the Omega tensed below her, unintelligible words and sounds of pleasure escaping small thin lips. Her back arched, hips bucking up hard into the bulge pressing firmly against her core.
Andromeda sank her teeth down harder, breaking the skin as she rocked down against the woman. Her teeth tightened as her peak rolled through her in hot waves, knot rubbing uncomfortably against her strained robes, wishing so desperately to be buried in the woman below her. Knowing it would feel so much better if she could feel the omega clench around her as the younger witch rode out her own wave of white hot pleasure, gasping and panting in the Alpha’s ear.
A scream tore through the Omega’s throat, clenching around nothing as her bliss flooded her veins. Her release spilled out of her like an unrelenting tidal wave, vision blurring before going white. She clutched at the woman above her, desperately trying to ground herself as she came down from her high.
Whining quietly as the Alpha licked gently at the new wound on her neck, curling her arms around her to hold her gently. The older witch purred, wanting to make sure the younger woman felt secure and content in the moment.
Pulling away from the brunette's neck, Andy brought their foreheads together. Taking a minute to simply breath and bask in the feel of holding the now boneless girl below her so close. Watching as hazy brown eyes blinked up at her slowly. A frown gracing pretty features.
"Still hurts." The younger witch murmured after a minute, prompting the Alpha to glance at the bites. Her brows furrowed in confusion as she took in the two prominent bite marks sitting side by side. Both showing no signs of fading. Her heart skipped a beat.
"Hermione," Andromeda husked, eyes growing wide in concern "the marks, they aren't fading."