the pearl


Hermione came back from the war different. Everyone could see that, more so than they could see their own changes.

Her hair was shorter, curling and spiralling around her chin. Her clothing was subdued, simple, dark khakis and darker buttoned cotton shirts. Gold hoops sparkling in her ears.

And the tattoos. Swirls of Arabic on each wrist, spiralling up her arms. Circlets of Hindi around her ankles. A single delicate bumblebee, nesting in the soft fold of her upper ear. Those were the tattoos people could see, peeking out from behind worn cuffs.

But only I saw everything.

The first night we were together, she came to me, eyes wide and glowing with knowledge. She stood in front of me, gleaming in the torchlight, and slowly, carefully, unbuttoned her shirt, revealing an entire universe scribed into her skin.

A line of runes block printed across her collarbones, stark against her pale skin. Ourobouros wrapped around each nipple, the snake eating its own tail as her nipples tightened against the gold rings piercing them. Between them a Golden Spiral, all curves and rectangles, a nautilus chamber over her heart.

Her stomach was bare, save a single long jagged scar, running diagonally across. I shyly kissed my way across it, looking up for approval, and she smiled, pushing my shoulders down further.

Her back held the cosmos—literally. Hermetic astrology symbols on concentric circles mapped in right angles and straight lines, with the sun and the moon smiling from each shoulder blade. A botanical sketch of a mandrake mid-scream sat upon her lower left back, while the basilisk smiled upon her right, tail curling down to cup her cheek.

In the centre, right where her skin dimpled as spine met hips, a single arithmantic equation, carefully written out in her own hand.

There was another tattoo, on the nape of her neck, a single word in small delicate writing. I smiled, kissing it, mumbling the word against her skin, and she stopped me, suddenly.

"That word is not for you," she said, her voice soft but firm. "That word is mine."

I blushed, and stammered out an apology, but she smiled, and kissed me again, her lips sweet against mine. "There are other words," she said softly. "Find them."

There were names scratched into the basilisk's hide, names of family and friends that had become legends. There were ancient Greek and Latin chants, created by men of science and magic, circling planets, stars, constellations.

A single line of text curved along her hairline, barely glanced at in my haste to delve further. A sigil laid below it, resting upon the curve and dimple just above the delicate golden ring piercing her hood.

I laughed, and began to spell out my own words.

This Harry Potter story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at