Hello, everyone. As I have mentioned before, I was running the Hermione Smut Exchange on Livejournal this year. Not only did I run it, I wrote a story for it, which is one of the reasons I have been somewhat absent lately. This story is completed, nine chapters, and available in its entirety over there, but I will be posting one chapter a day until it is fully up here as well.
Without further ado...
Title: Unexpectedly Bound
Author: to be announced
Prompt: Hermione accidentally binds herself to the most powerful men in the universe. How will they and she react?
Summary: Looking over the scroll was part of her job, and it seemed so harmless. Nothing could prepare her for what happened when a little blood finds her whisked to Asgard to meet her new bondmate, the God of Lies.
Genre: Smut with substance, romance, drama
Warnings: Heterosexual lemons, profanity
Spoilers: Canon through DH, EWE, first Thor movie
Word Count: Approximately 44,000
Author's Note: Many thanks to ria_binger for being my beta and putting up with all my insanity while writing this.
This story stays with the cinematic Marvelverse, post Thor, pre Avengers
Disclaimer: I am not any of the long list of persons or entities that own either Harry Potter or Thor characters, settings, and situations. I'm borrowing the characters and returning them in as close to the same condition as possible. This work is done under fair use, and I make no profit from it.
The lights went dim as the bank around her slowly closed. Out in the corridor she could hear goblins chatting as they walked to the exit, but she didn't care to pick up the conversation. Normally the lights going off was her cue to leave, but today she had no desire to go home. Part of it was the large haul the treasure hunters had brought in for her to look over. Her job was to study each object, figure out how old it was, and, most importantly put a value on it. The goblins were really only concerned with that last bit of information. Gringotts dealt with a lot of history, but for those who ran it history was only worth something if it was monetarily valuable. And as much as she loved her job, memorizing each piece and painstakingly researching the history, there was hardly a rush to it. The items weren't going anywhere until she was finished with them, and the goblins would rather she do her job well than do it quickly. The new cache of items was merely an excuse to stay late. The real reason she wanted to remain in her office, quiet and secluded, was because her ex-fiance was stopping by to get the last of the things he had left in their shared flat, and it was an event she was keen to miss.
She had never expected to give the Prophet as many news stories as she had by her twenty-eighth birthday. Unfortunately she had a string of exes who, in and of themselves, were fodder for the gossip pages. First there was Ron. He lasted two years after the war, and when the furor died down, when the speaking tours ended and he was expected to start to settle back into life out of the limelight, the relationship started to fade. Their breakup catapulted them back into the spotlight, but that faded quickly as they insisted on having an amicable split. Her next lover was, once again, Viktor Krum. Viktor had lasted three years, and part of the reason they worked so well was because they didn't see each other very often. As the relationship progressed, however, he started to find more reasons to be around her, and she started to feel smothered. Viktor needed her, not for money or attention, but to be someone who overshadowed him whenever they walked into a room. He never liked the being the center of attention, and made sure his schedule was full if she couldn't attend an event with him. After Viktor she had taken a year off, started her new job, traveled a bit to learn some history, and settled herself independently. Her relationship with Draco Malfoy had been somewhat of a surprise even to her, he worked in the bank as an account manager, and over six months or so he started spending more time around her, inviting her out 'as friends', until, somehow, friends became more. Even more astonishing to her was that she didn't seem to mind being more than friends with her former enemy, and the relationship went smoothly for three years before he had asked her to marry him. Again she was surprised at how happy it made her, and in retrospect she felt she should have realized that things were too good to be true. She would never blame Draco for his bisexuality, people were what they were, but she could certainly blame him for the boyfriend he had kept in the shadows for most of their relationship. He cared for her, or at least claimed he did, but she knew she was an acceptable (if not ideal) relationship in a pure-blood society that had to stretch to accept a Muggle-born dating one of their own, and where same-sex relationships would often mean being disowned. Hermione didn't mind Draco's sexuality, but she did mind being an unknowing participant in his multiple relationships, and she had called the engagement off, though she didn't sink to giving the real reason to anyone, and she and Draco remained friends, even if she did not want the reminder that the engagement had failed.
And so she vowed to be working late that night. The items she was working on were all from an old tomb-like structure in Norway, though no bodies, caskets, nor evidence of anyone being buried there were ever found. Instead it seemed the structure was more an ancient monument to a great battle that supposedly happened when the area was being overrun by frost giants, and Odin himself came to save the day. She was thinking of taking a trip out to the structure herself to see the runes and examine everything where they found it, but the treasure hunters in the field had sent a few items for her to look over before making the decision to go out.
The first item she had looked at was a staff carved with runes talking about war, prayers for strength and guidance, and honor upon the death of the carrier. It had been used, one end was badly dented, though she would never be able to tell if it was from a rock or someone's skull. She dated the staff at about the same time as the building of the monument. There was some value to it, though it was nothing the goblins would want to hold onto in hopes of it gaining value. She valued it as three hundred galleons, sent one copy of her report to her superior, then put the staff and her information in a drawer for safekeeping.
She reached into the box, thinking she'd probably pull out another weapon, and was surprised when she came up with a stone tube that had a note attached to the top.
Good luck, Granger, this is completely illegible. It looks like a four year old tried to write in runes.
Sighing she looked over the markings on the tube, though this in and of itself was curious, as several of these indicated that the tube was much newer than the monument itself. Feeling a tingle of excitement that often accompanied a mysterious object she carefully pried the top from the tube, finding a surprisingly well-preserved bit of parchment inside. Slowly she rolled it flat, tucking the corners into a special holder to keep it from curling into the position it had held for so long. She looked at a few things first, the condition of the parchment, the type of parchment used, the type of ink, basic things that might help her date the thing. Then she looked at the writing itself.
"You're being thick, aren't you, Theo?" she muttered, scanning the paper. The runes were a more rare type, but they were easily legible, and Theo, who had always given her a run for her money in runes class, should have been able to translate with few problems.
She got to work documenting her finds. "Paper is a hemp and linen blend," she muttered as she wrote. "Not introduced to the area until the mid fourteenth century, though the monument was built in the tenth century, give or take a hundred years. Though there's always a chance we weren't the first to go in. It has been over a thousand years since it has been built."
She ran her fingers over the ink, brow furrowing. "Ink unknown," she grumbled irritably. "What the hell did they use on this? I've never seen it before." Pulling out a scrap piece of paper she started translating the scroll.
She who can read this is blessed with great power, loyalty,
bravery, intelligence, cunning, and kindness.
It is in her strength that two realms shall unite,
Asgard and Midgard, allies.
She shall be bound to the son of Asgard
whose mind is restless and heart divided,
For she is the one who can light his path
through her compassion and patience.
Their blood shall seal this contract,
and their realms brought together in their bond.
She shall be given the gift of Asgard,
and he the best of Midgard.
"Well, that is a rather specific personals ad," she muttered, re-reading it, and noting at the bottom there was a scrawl of sorts that might be a signature, but that part was completely illegible. All she knew was it was in a different hand than the writing, the strokes lighter, the ink a dark red with a brownish tinge, the flourish with it was written suggested woman or a rather composed man. She looked at the words on her scrap paper again and chuckled, "But at least she gets a rather important man out of the deal. Though this paper is centuries old, so he's been waiting a long time, hasn't he?"
The light from the entrance hall went out, and she knew she was left alone in the building with just a few guards. If she stopped for takeaway at her favorite fish and chips place she would get back to her flat well after Draco was supposed to leave. She took her time packing things up, though her being careful with her work was nothing new. As she gathered up a stack of papers she felt something sharp slice into her finger, and she swore, dropping the papers as she felt blood drip from the cut. Pushing the stack aside she found her letter opener sitting underneath, though it was surprising it could do that much damage. Quickly she pulled her wand to heal the cut, then started sorting papers, realizing she had gotten a bit of blood on some of them.
"Damn," she muttered, realizing a couple of drops of blood had gotten on the parchment scroll. She picked up her wand again, hoping a turgeo charm would be enough to save the paper when something odd happened. The blood appeared to soak into the scroll, disappearing as it did so, and in its place writing began to appear.
Her vision blurred as a sudden feeling of disorientation overcame her. She shook her head to banish the feeling, and looked at the paper again. The writing was looking very familiar, it was only partially through but she recognized it anywhere. Her signature.
"What the hell?" she muttered, trying to wave her wand and erase the scrawl, but her hand was trembling so hard she couldn't aim properly. Another wave passed over her, and she realized something very wrong was happening. She needed help, but knew trying to cast a patronus was useless. Her vision was so blurry she had to use her hands to feel her way towards the door, which was thankfully propped open. Stumbling into the hallway she called for help before the disorientation completely overtook her, and she passed out.
Loki was brooding in his chambers, confined there because it was better there than the dungeons. Odin wouldn't banish him, not as he did Thor, because he did not trust him to learn from the experience and knew there was a good chance the move would come back to haunt him. Odin knew better than pretty much anyone that if he enraged his son and sent him to another realm there was a good chance he'd be cleaning up a disaster. So he had forced Loki to help fix the Bifrost with a rather ingenious bit of magic, then confined him to Asgard, and the palace when not with Odin himself, where he could keep a close eye on his adoptive son, and hoped time would cover up the mess Loki had made during his short reign.
Being confined was almost worse, his future hanging in the balance, knowing that one false step would result in his imprisonment. Meanwhile his brother, a fool in every sense of the word, had publicly declared his distaste for the throne, leaving his father with quite the conundrum. One son who didn't want it, one son who proved he shouldn't be allowed to have it. For now he remained king, but that wouldn't last forever. Something would have to be done, and Frigga had once confided he was hoping that something drastic would happen that would show him the right path to follow. Loki smirked, looking over the city spread below him, and to the place where the newly-repaired Bifrost stood, waiting for its first use. It would happen. Thor's Midgardian plaything would age and die, and Thor would reluctantly accept his position as King, and after Loki would flee. Odin felt some sort of guilt towards him, resulting in an odd sort of compassion that was the reason he was in the strange limbo between freedom and imprisonment. Thor held no such feelings, and would realize the best way to deal with his wayward brother would be to lock him in a place where his mischief could not result in harm to others or the realm.
Something was happening on a veranda not far below his. A chatter of excited voices, a hint of speculation in their tone. He could see guards assembling, though their formations were not protective. They took the places they normally took when they had a visitor of particularly high importance, to make an impression, to emphasize the grandeur of everything around them. Far below the horses were being put to stable save for the purest white ones, which were being hitched to the most luxurious carriage available, servants cleaning the mess the horses had left in the grass. Everyone was suddenly readying themselves for quite the important visitor, and annoyance crashed over him as he realized no one had informed him of who was coming, or, more likely, why he should stay well away from them.
He knew who to summon to give him information. Sif held him in a relationship of sorts, one where they each fell quickly in and out of the others favor, though occasionally it occurred at the same time and during those times things would get quite heated between them before one of them, usually him, would anger the other and they would cool off for a while. Still, she knew what was going on most of the time, and he knew just which of her strings to pluck to get her to sing. Turning to leave he was startled to see his door already opening, Frigga entering alone, a wide smile upon her face.
"What is going on, Mother?" he asked, not moving towards her.
She didn't answer until she came to a stop in front of him, looking up into his face. "The bond has been sealed," she said softly.
"The bond..." he started, but a rush of anger and confusion passed over him as he realized what she meant. "Impossible," he spat.
"It is done," she assured him.
He shook his head and turned away from her. That damn scroll his father had insisted on leaving on Midgard. The thing was practically vibrating with magic when Odin confronted him, ordering him to seal his blood to the bond. He had done his best to avoid it, but he could see Odin's trust in him wavering as he stalled, and in the end he resorted to magically draining himself by subtly changing the contract with his blood offering. While none watching would see anything different, he had strengthened the requirements of 'the woman' to levels he thought impossible for a single human person to possess. The woman would have to be a contradiction of herself to exist, a warrior and a pacifist, highly intelligent but impulsive enough to agree to such a bond, someone who carried great compassion but knew when to hold that compassion in need of a harder solution, someone who held unwavering loyalty to her loved ones but would be willing to go against those she to whom she was most loyal. And so powerful she would be able to hold her own against him. He thought he was safe. That no Midgardian would ever be able to meet the high standards.
"You are wrong," he muttered, looking out at the rainbow bridge as though he expected her to appear from the air.
"Your father is quite assured that it is happening. You will be required to greet her."
"I have no intentions to meet her because there is no her, I assured it."
She smiled knowingly. "You underestimate them. It has taken many years, but she does exist."
"I should not be held to the thing. I was so young when forced to agree to that damn bond."
"And yet you made it, and you are now called to it."
"Some idiot girl probably found the thing and accidentally cut herself on it. I should not be held to some sort of mistake."
She placed a hand on his shoulder. "You should meet her before you make such a judgment about her."
"Meeting her makes me seem compliant with this farce," he shot back.
"It is no farce. You are bound, as is she."
He set his jaw and started planning his escape route.
"You will accompany me downstairs," she said firmly. "The woman will arrive soon. I shall be waiting outside your door."
He shot her a look of deep anger, but she stared right back at him before turning and leaving. As soon as the door was closed the small table next to his bed flew after her, slamming into the thick wood and shattering. He stood, rigid, as he weighed his options. First, he could run. Find somewhere on a different realm where he could blend in with the native population and wait until the Midgardian could insist he abandoned his side of the bond and she'd be able to call the contract broken, as it was Asgard who had made the offer to begin with. But, upon agreeing, she had been given an extended lifespan, among other 'gifts' to put her body more on par with his so their years together weren't severely limited. That route was unappealing in that it could be centuries before he could return, indeed he'd have to wait for Odin, or Thor if he became king, was willing to admit they had lost control over him and that she needn't wait any longer, and when he did return he'd forever be labeled a coward. He knew enough of Midgardian politics to know they had their own problems and would not hold the girl to any standard, very few of them even knew there was another realm. Still, he did not want 'coward' added to the many labels his realm saddled him with, so leaving was not an option. That left two options; convince the girl to run long enough for him to find a way to break the bond that had been offered by his realm and accepted by her, or actually going through with it, pretending to sincerely enjoy the bond, carrying on as though she were changing him, then arranging an 'accident' for her later, after sufficiently convincing everyone around him he was so enamored with the girl he couldn't have anything to do with her untimely death. Poor Loki, finally changing for the better, his love torn from him. Everyone would be scrambling to make sure he didn't start an inter-realm incident in his grief for any whispers of suspicion to go anywhere.
Growling in frustration he went to change into his ceremonial clothes. He knew he would have to meet the girl before making a final decision. He put up with a lot of frustrating things in his life but there was a good chance the girl would be too annoying for even him to put up with for long.
The first thing she became aware of was something cold pressed against her head. She came-to rather rapidly after that, blinking a few times to orient herself, and found herself in the security office of Gringotts. She was in a small room of the office used during the day by the head of Security, but it was night, and there were only two guards on duty in the office part of the building. They were perched just outside the door, whispering to each other, and entered when they saw her coming to and removing the ice pack they had placed on her head.
"Miss Granger?" one of the guards crouched in front of her. "How are you feeling?"
"Remarkably well, actually," she replied softly, because it wasn't a lie. Something about her felt different, stronger, and prepared for anything, like the feeling one gets when waking up from a long rest.
"Do you know what happened?"
"I, um," she thought quickly, not wanting to tell anyone about the odd scroll. "I opened an old canister. I probably should have made sure nothing was in it, but it looked fairly inconspicuous. There must have been some form of noxious gas or dust inside, and I inhaled it. But I'm feeling fine now."
"You should get checked out at St. Mungos," he said, concerned.
"I will. I promise. I'll go there as soon as I leave here."
"I'll escort you, ma'am."
"No, really, I'm fine," she insisted.
He looked at her skeptically. "I have an incident report filled out, ma'am. Just let me add what you've said, and that you're refusing escort to the hospital, then you'll need to sign it."
"Go ahead," she nodded, and watched as he walked out of the office. The second guard decided to try his luck.
"Are you sure, ma'am? We were about to summon a healer here," he said, concern still thick in his voice.
"I'm sure," she nodded. "Really, I feel great. Whatever it was must have been old and less potent. It happens all the time, the curse breakers miss dangerous substances because it's not a spell. I was foolish for not wearing a mask while opening something, but I'm fine. Really."
She signed the paperwork and went to leave, first stopping in her office to pick up the scroll and carefully tuck it into her bag. Reaching out to push the door open she was shocked to find the door moved in front of her hand, she didn't have to actually touch it. A little frightened she pushed the second door open with her hip and stumbled out onto the street. It was a misty night, so Diagon Alley was less populated than usual. Those who were out walked with quick steps, staying close to the buildings so they could stay under the awnings, cloaks held over heads or tight over clothes. She threw her jacket on, and pulled an umbrella out of her bag. She hurried to the Leaky Cauldron, not wanting to use magic out of fear that something was actually wrong with her. She hurried through the pub without a word, then stepped onto the Muggle street beyond. She hadn't made it five steps before she saw something shimmering in the road in the intersection in front of her. Stepping forward she saw a giant circular pattern shimmering softly, though no one else seemed to notice it. Struck still she stared at the thing, then decided she had enough weird things in one day, and turned the other way, walking to the nearest tube station. Sitting alone and in silence during her ride she looked at her hands, feeling a new sort of power running through her skin. It was confusing and terrifying, so she focused on trying to keep herself calm.
Walking out of the tube station she saw the same shimmering pattern on the street, and this time she had no hesitations about running towards the safety of her home. Passing the last major intersection near her flat she saw the same pattern, seemingly invisible to the cars driving over it. Once again she skirted around it, and ran towards her flat, the roads getting less busy as she neared her building, but she stopped dead as she rounded the final corner. There was another of the shimmering circles right outside her door. There wasn't a way for her to enter her building without crossing it or using magic. It took her several moments to decide to try to figure the circle out. Carefully she approached it, each step making her skin feel more electrified. Taking a deep breath she stepped on the outer part of the circle, and slowly the thing started to solidify, seemingly carving itself into the gravel of the street and sidewalk. Above her head storm clouds started appearing out of nowhere. Every part of her wanted to run, but somehow her brain wouldn't comply. Part of her wanted to know what was going on, wanted to figure out the puzzle of the scroll. Another part knew that her life would change completely if she didn't leave the circle, and it was terrifying enough that she spun several times, trying to figure out what to do. Setting her jaw and summoning whatever Gryffindor bravery she still possessed she slowly walked towards the middle and looked up at the seemingly violent electrical storm above her. Without warning a column of lightning and swirling clouds enveloped her and lifted her away from the Earth.