Hermione left Slughorn's office, deciding that being in the same room as McLaggen was definitely too close. She could go back to Gryffindor Tower, but Ron would be there. She didn't want him to see that she hadn't had a good time and she definitely didn't want to watch him snogging Lavender. She could go to the library, but her reputation meant that McLaggen might look for her there. Besides, it would be closed by now anyway. She couldn't just wander the corridors aimlessly. That was against the rules after hours. She was a prefect after all. Suddenly, an idea came to her. The kitchens! They were perfect. McLaggen would never look for her there and the house elves would be glad to help her. Maybe a little too glad, she thought.
Hermione turned the handle that had moments ago been the image of a pair and opened the door. Standing in front of her was a purple-haired house elf carrying doilies. The elf appeared startled. "Is there something which I may assist you with, Miss?" asked the elf. Hermione was surprised by the elf's mastery of English. It was something that she had never witnessed before. However, she quickly chastised herself. After all she was trying to convince people that elves were equal to witches and wizards. "I'd like to spend some time here if that's alright." said Hermione.
"Is it your desire to evade capture by a teacher?" asked the elf, "For if that is the situation, then to aid you would be in defiance of Professor Dumbledore's orders."
"No, not a teacher." said Hermione.
"It appears that we have a loophole in that case." said the elf, "Would you be interested in obtaining nourishment? Inkyrius is an excellent baker and is looking forward to trying a new banana nut muffin recipe."
"Thank you." answered Hermione, "That sounds delicious." The elf proceeded to walk off to find Inkyrius.
When the elf had returned, Hermione was already sitting down. "I'm Hermione Granger. What's your name?" she asked. "My name is Vaarsuvius." answered the elf.
"Why are you carrying doilies?" asked Hermione.
"I was busy returning them to their storage area." answered Vaarsuvius, "I am not particularly adept at most domestic tasks, yet I procure and return doilies as I then have an opportunity to study their patterns which hold a key to ultimate and complete total arcane power." Hermione looked at the doilies. They looked like the ordinary doilies one could find in a muggle home. "Of course, you witches and wizards would ban other magical beings like myself from using such power as you banned us from using wands." Hermione could barely believe her ears. After all this time, had she finally found an elf upset with the oppressive laws on magical creatures? "Would you like to own a wand?" she asked.
"Definitely." answered Vaarsuvius, "It is my greatest wish to study magic further and increase my arcane power. When I am fortunate, I am able to use magic to light the fireplaces. I enjoy fire. However, that is practically the limit of the practice that my talent receives." Hermione liked fire-based spells as well. She imagined what it would be like to return to the muggle world where she was not allowed to use magic, but this time she was also not allowed to study it and that she would remain there for the rest of her life. The thought was unbearable. "That does sound terrible." she said, "I've been trying to educate other wizards on the injustice of wizarding law regarding elves, but most believe that none of you would want anything changed. The only exception that I know of is Dobby whom likes being free." Vaarsuvius scowled.
"He is deluded in believing that he has freedom." the elf said, "How can living in an oppressive regime where one is forbidden from practising one's natural talents or using tools granted to all those in power. Not until I may pursue my studies without hindrance will I be free." Hermione smiled.
"With your help, I'll be able to make a difference for your people. Do you mind telling others about your views? I'd really like to introduce you o my friends. One of them is Harry Potter. People will listen to him!" There was a glimmer of hope in Vaarsuvius' violet eyes, but then they disappeared. "I appreciate your concern, however there have been elf-rights activists in the past. They have never achieved much. Professor Dumbledore has also spoken for my people, yet his efforts were also fruitless."
"Maybe, this time will be different." suggested Hermione. Vaarsuvius smiled.
"Your enthusiasm encourages me. Tales of your intelligence and resourcefulness have developed great renown. Listening to you gives me hope."
"I've enjoyed listening to you as well Vaarsuvius." answered Hermione, "I'll come back to see you very soon."