The road to hell is often paved with good intentions. LV/HG, Complete.
a/n Since I had this chapter in my head since I have started writing the story, it wasn't difficult to write it so quickly.
You have to give credit where it's due, so, this story has been influenced by different stories:
"Death of Today- HP/LV", "Game Over- HP/LV", "Solace in Shadows- LV/HP" and "Illumination- HG/LV". They are all on my favourites list, and if you haven't read them, then I suggest you do. Brilliant authors and really well written stories.
I don't read crap, and crap does not inspire me XD
I haven't read that many HG/TR/LV stories lately, and I focus more on LV/HP and...Sailor Moon :)
I'm a really complicated, weird person ;)
Thank you all, guys. Those who reviewed and helped me build the story, I am forever grateful. I want to become an even better author, even if I do know that I am not a bad one...Talk about self-absorbed people...However, it is what it is :)
The silent readers, who have read every chapter, but never commented... You could do so now, with this last chapter, and that's all I am asking for.
I have changed the summary to the one me and my beta chose together.
If you want to leave your opinion, you will. If not, then not. It is simple when you don't overcomplicate things.
I will also be removing Tom from the list of characters, as I need to replace him with Harry. It makes more sense, as Harry is a big part of the story.
I'd like to thank Laura for being an inspiration, and two more people.
Serpent In Red, thank you for having the patience to beta more than a half of those forty chapters. I know I am a slave driver, and I am extremely grateful for your support and the confidence you have given me. You are a great friend, twin. :) Thank you, not-Euro- Serp :)
And I'd like to thank Julie, who has offered to beta the rest of the story, and it has been a pleasure 'working' with you. I learn a lot from you, and I hope something stays in my head. You're an awesome beta, and I am forever grateful to you. Thank you, Julie!
For those of you who are wondering, English is not my mother-tongue, so it complicates things a bit.
The music for the story has always been "Nero" by Two Steps From Hell. I tried to tie the story to the music, and I hope I succeeded. Those guys write soundtracks for Pirates of the Caribbean and other mega awesome melodies, so I definitely suggest to check the 'soundtrack' for the story. Not mine, btw. Belongs to the composers.
The characters and the world belong to J. K. Rowling, however, the plot and the world I have created, are mine. The only one who can use my works is JKR. Wishes...
If you pay me, I'll write anything you want ;) Call me XD
Joking. Or not. :)
Two Steps From Hell
Beta: Julie. fjad
Two Steps From Hell
Swallowing tears of humiliation, she raised herself on all fours and then got up.
She would not show them the pleasure of seeing her tears.
A new kick landed onto her stomach and she almost cried out, biting her lip until it was bleeding.
Half of her hair was missing, having been ripped away by the hard fist.
She was going to be strong.
Blinking the tears away, she swallowed her fury and anger.
She hated them all.
"You, freak!" Mrs. Denley glared at her from behind her thick glasses and threw her tray with food onto the floor, making today's gourmet menu, which consisted of watery porridge and a single piece of bread with a thin layer of butter and a piece of cheese, splash around on the floor.
So, today she was going to be hungry again.
With a sigh, Hermione put away her book and walked towards the bowl and shaking her head, lifted it to her mouth. The door behind the caretaker had closed seconds after she had thrown the meal, as no one dared to spend time alone with her, in her solitary room that looked like a cell.
Willing her tears to disappear, her hand traced her naked head, which now was clean-shaven.
Her long, curly hair had been shaved away because they had claimed she had lice, even if she knew better. They hated her and she hated them.
The face of an eight year old girl with a bald scalp was looking at her from the mirror.
They could shave her hair all they wanted. It would grow back faster than they can laugh out loud at her.
There were two things she liked about her appearance the most, and luckily, hair wasn't one of them.
The scar on her chest that consisted of a circle and an overturned checkmark, and her eyes.
You will not break me, Hermione thought, and watched her eyes shine in dim light of her room, their unusual colour reflecting in the mirror.
The beating from the older girls and boys had been more brutal than usual, and Hermione clutched her stomach, trying to soothe the pain.
It hadn't been her fault that when she was younger, strange things happened to her. It wasn't her fault she could do things others couldn't.
Was she really a freak?
Hermione felt a rush of magic and holding her breath, she watched a figure materialize before her own eyes.
She wanted to sob from joy because this was her angel.
Her guardian angel who would heal her and punish the others.
She had seen him six times already, every time when she thought she would give up and allow to admit herself to the nuthouse, just like the caretakers wanted to, he would appear.
She couldn't see his face as he was always wearing a long, dark cloak and a hood that hid all his features from her curious, purple eyes.
He walked slowly towards her, and with a wave of his hand, the pain disappeared. Hermione was looking at her angel with a smile and she knew he was smiling back even if she couldn't see it.
"I don't think reading you a fairy-tale to bed would make you sleep well. How about some refreshing screams instead, hm, Hermione?"
His voice was like his gloves, velvety and smooth, taking her nightmares and pain away.
The children at the Orphanage were some of the most violent in London, and because she was different, for as long as she could remember, she had been bullied without mercy.
She also knew no one would remember anything.
Why should she show mercy to them, when they had never shown her anything but hate and fear?
Her hair was long again, and with a smile, she went to lie in her bed that now had the softest bed sheets and smelled divine. But only for tonight.
Tomorrow, her bed would be hard again and the softness of the sheets would be gone, but it did not matter.
Her angel had left her room and a minute later, horrifying, bone-chilling screams filled the air.
'Goodnight, my friend.'
Yes, she had a mental friend.
She was not crazy.
She was four when she first noticed them.
Now, she was nine.
Whenever her Orphanage had an excursion or any kind of outdoor activity, they would be there.
At first, she believed it to be a mind trick, however, her friend had also seen them.
'We can turn to them without fear.'
Fear was not the word she'd use to describe what she felt when she saw their figures.
She supposed they caused utter, gut wrenching terror in others, however, all she felt was relief.
When those masked figures in long, dark cloaks were watching her, very bad things happened to people who wished her harm.
With a smile, Hermione winked at the masked figure standing under the tree, observing her.
She could feel emotions of other people, and now, she felt his surprise and then joy.
He beckoned for her to come over, and glancing at her busy classmates, Hermione approached the man, who was now crouching, removing the difference in height.
His mask was gone when she came closer, and now she was looking into shiny, brown eyes. The smirk that was on the handsome face of the relatively young man was good-natured, and the tongue that peeked out reminded her of a snake.
She liked snakes.
His brown eyes widened, and then he threw his head back and started laughing, before wiping the tears in his eyes and looking at her with adoration.
"You really are his family."
Whose family? She had relatives?
"I am afraid I don't speak the royal language of snakes, little one."
There was a snake language? And she spoke it?
She knew she could speak to snakes, but to know that it was a different language…
The man took out a roll from his sleeve and gave it to her, smiling awkwardly.
"A birthday gift."
"What is your name?"
"I am Barty."
Two years ago she had received her first ever gift, and it had been her birth certificate.
The biggest shock was not to know the exact names of her parents, it was to see the moving pictures.
A man with brown eyes and brown hair—her dad—who had died on the same day as her mom, in a car crash, or so the caretakers have told her.
She was two when she was brought to this orphanage.
Her mother had been a beautiful woman, with a kind and open face.
And this year, she got the biggest gift ever.
She knew it!
I knew it!
Tightly clutching the letter in her hand, she smiled at her reflection, her purple eyes shining with happiness.
She wasn't a freak.
'I told you so.'
Yes, you did.
Her friend, whom she named after Bram Stoker's character.
She was special.
She was a witch.
And she was going to Hogwarts.
She didn't know who would come for her, to bring her to Diagon Alley, but whoever she thought it could be, she never dreamed it would be her angel.
She trusted him.
He wasn't an angel, though.
"No, I am not." She knew he was smiling and a smirk grew on her lips. Why did his speech have a hissing quality that she noticed only when she concentrated?
"Hold on tight," his hooded figure said while offering her his elbow, clad in dark velvet.
"I will." She nodded and gripped his arm.
A second later, she was standing before large, golden gates.
'Magical Union' Hermione read the words on the gates, and still feeling giddy from the feeling of flying, she looked up at the tall form of her companion.
She didn't even know his name, but she felt protected like she never had.
"How should I address you?" She asked, licking her lips.
She knew he was smirking, his head tilted to the right, the hood hiding everything from view.
The Hood, she thought, and felt her friend, Dracula, laugh quietly somewhere in her mind.
The Hood—she had to have a name for him before he provided her with an appropriate one—suddenly let out a small laugh as well, and Hermione shook her head before extending her hand.
"I am Hermione, but you already know that."
Her small palm was now between two gloved hands, and then she heard his name.
"Call me Marvolo."
She wanted to run to the shop on her left, and then to the one on her right, and then again to one on her left…
There was so much to learn, so much to understand, that Hermione started to hyperventilate.
"Come, let's get lunch before we go for your wand and your books." Marvolo was looking at her even if she couldn't see it. She felt his gaze.
"I'd prefer to get the wand first, if that is alright with you, si—" She caught herself on the word 'sir' and at his nod, she continued. "If that is alright with you, Marvolo."
"Wise choice, little one." And then he offered his arm again.
She had tried twenty wands already, and she was getting desperate.
Her last try had been a wand that was 10¾" long, made of vine wood, and possessed a dragon heartstring core. It almost broke in two when she touched it.
She would be a freak even in the magical world.
Ollivander kept on rambling about the complicated magical pattern, and only Marvolo's presence calmed her, stopping the panic.
What if no wand suits me?
'Stop fidgeting. We'll be fine.'
'Easy for you to say. It's not your hand that keeps blowing up wands.'
Hermione had been busy paying attention to Dracula, and she missed the first part of the speech.
"—and I thought that maybe this wand could be the one for you," Garrick Olivander finished and opened a new holster where a wand lay.
"Take it, Hermione."
She knew it even without touching it, without grasping the white handle that looked to be made of white bone, without touching the black, sharp tip.
The wand was in her hand, and a rush of power went through her body.
"Hawthorne, 13 ½ inches, with a phoenix feather as the core."
"Why are the streets so empty?" She asked after eating her lunch and wishing to lick the plate.
There were a maximum of ten people on the streets, and shop owners behaved weirdly, not chatting or making small talk to her.
Or was it Marvolo?
"I didn't want any children to scream into my ears," he explained calmly and took a sip of wine.
She didn't believe him. He wasn't exactly lying, but he wasn't completely honest.
It was a nightmare to feel what others felt. With Marvolo, however, she could barely get any feelings.
He was blocking her.
"That is correct."
"How do I learn that?"
"With time and dedication."
She had both, she thought, and she knew he was smiling now.
She had crossed the wall barrier and was now looking at the red train that would bring her away from the Muggles to where she belonged.
She had read all the books Marvolo had bought for her, and since for some reason—that probably had a hood— all the caretakers had left her in peace, she had been able to spend all her time reading.
Magic was wonderful, she thought, once again caressing her wand.
She was standing on the pavement, observing everyone, when she noticed a group of people.
The group was surrounded by men and women in uniform— Excubitores—and Hermione paid closer attention.
A woman with long, shiny, black hair that was curly, was crouching in front of a boy with black, styled hair.
Even from here Hermione felt the adoration and love that radiated from this woman and towards the young boy.
"My itty bitty baby is all grown up."
"My cookie, mommy will cry so hard that you won't be at the Manor anymore. Who will take care of you? I'll come and rip their throats out if they even look at my baby-"
"Bella, calm yourself and stop making a spectacle."
A man with long, blond hair was standing tall and proud, and Hermione recognized him from the books.
Lucius Malfoy, the Head Minister of Magical Union.
Wow, now those people were VIPs.
The woman who couldn't let go of the boy, turned to glare at the blond man and then returned to face her son. In those seconds when her expression turned from love to murder, Hermione realised that this woman was all lovey-dovey only to this boy.
"Tell mommy something special, my baby," she begged the boy, who with a tired sigh hugged her and hissed.
"I am not a cookie."
Hermione barely held back a laugh and she saw Lucius Malfoy shake his head in amusement as his red eyes were looking at the dark haired boy.
No, it must have been a trick of the light, as even from here Hermione could see that his eyes were pale grey and they were looking at her now.
She fell onto the floor before she could understand what had happened.
A boy with red hair and freckles, dressed in clothes similar to her own from the orphanage, was getting up from the floor and glaring at her still lying figure.
"Watch where you go!" He screamed at her, only to shut up as a blond boy who had been standing near the black-haired 'cookie', walked over to them.
A hand was in front of her face, and Hermione realised it was the black-haired boy, who was now standing near the blond one, in front of the orange-haired menace.
She took the offered hand and got to her feet, dusting off her new, expensive clothes.
They were all purebloods while she wasn't…
She didn't want to imagine the reaction of the group of world rulers when they would find out she was a Mudblood.
"She ran into me!" The orange-haired boy sneered at her, and then looking at her closely, he asked, "You're a Mudblood, aren't you?"
"Ronald Weasley! If I hear you say that word again, I will wash your mouth with a detergent!" A woman ran towards them and was now glaring at the boy.
"Is there a problem, Weasley?"
She heard an arrogant voice and knew without looking at the blond, long hair that it was the Head Minister of Magical Union.
He'd send her away and the dream would be shattered.
"Minister Malfoy, if I may?"
Another older boy with red hair approached them, and Hermione wondered how many Weasleys there were.
"You may, Percy." A lazy wave of a hand and Percy, licking his lips, pointed at her.
"Head Minister, the Law states that all Mudbloods are inferior to the Purebloods, and that in case of an argument, all Mudbloods must apologize before the Pureblood."
She would not be apologizing for standing where she wanted!
"Ah yes, how can I forget when it is my own law?" The last part was said in a cold, unforgiving voice, and Hermione would have already said her dreams goodbye, had she not felt the change in those cruel eyes when they were looking at her.
"I think you should start apologizing now."
Minister Malfoy's voice had a mocking note to it, however, it was an order, not a request.
Hermione opened her mouth to say that it hadn't been her fault, when the man with blond hair shook his index finger.
"Not you, Hermione."
"What do mean, not me, Minister Malfoy?
The horror she read on all the redheads' faces was refreshing, and only when a shocked expression appeared on the faces of the whole VIP crowd, Hermione started to doubt she was awake and not dreaming.
"What is your name, child?" The plump woman with red hair asked, her lips trembling a bit.
Now she will be booted from the wizarding world for having a muggle last name.
She had looked at the bloodlines in the books she had, and whereas Malfoy had been on the very top, her last name wasn't even on the pureblood list.
She was a Mudblood.
"I am Hermione Gaunt."
The woman with long, black hair was now looking strangely at her, and the rest of the VIP crowd glanced at her with completely different eyes. Like Barty had.
The redhead woman was ready to faint, and Hermione couldn't help but wonder at their regime where only blood mattered.
Yes, she agreed, that to them, she was the freak again.
There was a very big difference between growing up in the wizarding world or coming from a muggle hell-hole into a dream you discovered too late.
It was magical, it was inspirational and it felt good.
When she thought about her muggle ' home', Mrs. Denley came to her mind, and Hermione would kill her if she could get away with it.
A caretaker who hates you is not your idea of fun.
She was always the freak.
Like she had been her whole life.
What would it take to have a beautiful childhood, even when you're eleven already?
"Yes, I am Hermione Jean Gaunt. Is there something you want to tell me?"
Yes, tell me everything.
"I—I would like to apologize for my son, Miss Gaunt. It has not been my son's intention to somehow offend you ." The woman with red hair was looking at her pleadingly, and Hermione didn't know what to do.
She lifted her gaze and looked into the clear, blue eyes of the blonde woman who was standing near a young, blond boy.
When Hermione thought of an Ice Queen or some sort of a beautiful villain, it would be Narcissa Malfoy.
Narcissa was looking at her with a mixture of fear and interest, however, it wasn't a hostile look she was receiving from Mrs. Malfoy.
"I accept the apology."
She'd be polite.
The wizarding world was like a fairytale, and Hermione didn't want to start her journey with a fight.
If they were crazy then it didn't mean she had to play along.
She didn't want to be a Mudblood. After all those years of being a freak, she wanted to be accepted. Accepted by society. A pureblood. Dreams for dreamers and hard, clear reality for realists.
She was a realist.
No, that was wrong. She was a dreamer who had to function as a realist would.
She didn't believe in miracles before she met her angel.
The only one whose reaction hadn't changed since the moment he saw her was Minister Malfoy.
"Lucius for the family."
Everyone was looking at Lucius—family?—with strange expressions on their faces, and Hermione thought for a second she had gone crazy, before she saw the young boy with black hair nod in agreement several times.
"Family is what matters."
The hissing in his speech was a little heavier than in Lucius', and then Hermione finally understood why everyone around was feeling uneasy.
Nobody understood them.
She had been listening to the snake's language and she didn't even notice it.
And she spoke it too.
"Who is my family, Lucius?"
Again, the only one not surprised was the blond man.
He was really handsome.
The smirk he was giving told her all she needed to know.
She was eleven, but when half of your time is spent between hormonal teenagers who also often drank, you get unneeded and unwanted knowledge.
She was unfortunate enough to get into an orphanage where she was the freak since the moment she could remember.
Freak who spoke to snakes.
Freak, who could bend spoons with a simple glance.
Freak, who could put fire to a piece of paper without a match.
Freak, who tried to move clouds.
Freak, who healed quickly.
"They are freaks, not you. You're of the purest blood in Europe."
Mister Malfoy took a step closer and offered his hand.
"It's a pleasure to have you back with us, Miss Gaunt."
What was he saying? She was a pureblood?!
A known pureblood?
The boy with shining green eyes and styled black hair was nodding again, this time whispering something to his…snake.
A large, poisonous snake that curled from somewhere in the bag.
Yes, snakes as pets were allowed.
She didn't get any pet, though.
Marvolo had bought her a wand and then they had lunch—the best food she ever ate— but she had refused to get a pet that would get killed by her charming neighbours.
"Minister Malfoy, for how long should we delay the departure of the train?" A man in uniform asked in a respectful and snivelling voice, and Hermione saw the moment when Lucius's eyes burned red again.
It had not been a trick then.
Maybe red eyes weren't that rare? She had purple, so who was she to judge?
"We're done, Mitter." Lucius waved his hand at the man and then turned to his son, the blond boy who had approached her when Ronald had pushed her onto the ground. "Draco, Harry, it's time for you to board the train. Miss Gaunt, we will see each other sooner than you imagine," Lucius said in a calm, unrushed tone that was filled with amusement and curiosity.
The woman with black, long hair—Bella— smiled at her and nodded her head a bit before hugging Harry again.
"I know, I know. My precious baby, mommy will—"
"Bellatrix, stop this madness! They are going to Hogwarts where your brother-in-law, Harry's and Draco's uncle, is the Headmaster, and they are not being sent to Azkaban. You can visit anytime you want, so, please, sister dear, shut up." The woman with blonde hair was close to smacking her sister, and only when the train let out a loud "Tuuuut" did the black haired woman release her son and kiss him on the forehead where a lightning bolt scar was.
It looked like she wasn't the only one with curious scars, after all.
"Hermione, are you coming?" Harry asked while already taking her trunk.
They were accepting her.
Harry and Draco were looking at her with curious but friendly eyes, and Hermione smiled in agreement.
"Get out, Weasel."
Hermione stood to the side, not used to ordering around. At least not when she had so many witnesses.
They bullied her as a gang. And she...
She got them one by one. She scared them even when they were all together, against her.
She didn't ask for help. What help could she have when she had no one and could do things others couldn't?
Once, Hermione had locked all the locks in the building and turned on the fire alarm.
They had killed her kitty, and she would make them pay.
Now that had been a pleasure to watch. How suddenly, the all mighty bitches were screaming in panic, tears of fear in their eyes.
She didn't attack, but she would gladly return the hit. She wasn't Jesus.
She was the Antichrist.
Or so Mrs. Denley had said.
Crazy, pathetic human being that lived to make things harder for the others.
"I came here first and—"
Whatever Ronald wanted to say was shushed by two palms that closed his mouth.
Two more boys— identical twins— were now shaking their heads at Ron, while holding his mouth.
"Ronnikins, we think you need some more time with us before we can release you to the free world," one of the twins, dressed in Hogwarts uniform with green and silver tie, muttered to his younger brother while the other saluted Harry.
"Harrikins! You have finally decided to grace us, the lowly worms, with your shining presence!"
Harry was holding in a laugh, as was Draco, and Hermione relaxed when she understood that there would be no fight.
The twins were friends with both Harry and Draco.
"I am Gred."
"And I am Forge."
They said it simultaneously, and judging by their expressions, they were a pair of naughty pranksters.
"Fred, George, a pleasure." She smiled at their gobsmacked expressions, and extended her hand.
The smiles on their faces were brighter than the sun, and then they were shaking her hand, both at the same time.
"We are going to have so much fun!"
She must be dreaming.
What was it with her last name?
"Do you know who your father is?" It was Draco who asked her the question when they finally sat in their comfortable train compartment.
"I do. Morfin Gaunt Junior."
Harry and Draco changed their glances when Hermione took out a scroll that had been given to her by Barty.
With eager eyes, the boys started reading, and Hermione leaned a bit into the seat.
Maybe they could help her understand what it was with her name that got such reactions from the people around?
She now knew she wasn't a Mudblood.
"Well, I told you she was his great-niece, and not a daughter." Harry was looking at Draco with raised eyebrows and extended hand.
"Fine, fine, you win. Here's your card!" Draco huffed in response and took out a card from his pocket. "Be careful with it, I don't have another one yet!"
"It's not like you cannot ask uncle Lucius to get you a new one, is it, Draco?"
"Why don't you ask your godfather for one? It's much easier, no?"
Hermione leaned forward and wanting to see what the boys were talking about, she took out the card that was in Harry's outstretched hand.
When she saw the moving picture, her heart went to her throat.
On the moving picture was a man, dressed in a long, velvety cloak with the hood up.
Moving her eyes below, to where his name stood, Hermione felt her fingers tremble.
THE DARK LORD, The Sole Ruler of the Magical Union, protector of Magic and magical creatures was written on the card and she had to swallow hard.
Her angel, Marvolo, was the Dark Lord.
"Have you met him already, Hermione?"
She heard Harry's voice like through the fog, and nodded, making Draco gape at her.
"He came to help me out, when I needed him. He took me to Diagon Alley to buy my wand and books," she muttered while still looking at the figure on the card.
Now she understood why Diagon Alley had been so deserted and empty, or why the shop owners, Mister Ollivander included, behaved the way they had.
She had been accompanied by none other than the Dark Lord himself.
"How did he tell you to call him?" It was Harry again, who asked the question.
Draco's wide eyes told her that it wasn't normal.
"How do you call him?" She asked Draco and Harry.
They said in unison, and now it was Hermione's turn to widen her eyes in surprise.
"But why…" She didn't know what to ask.
Why the Dark Lord himself was giving her his time and attention.
"You said "a great-niece and not a daughter". Were you talking about the Dark Lord?"
She was related to the Dark Lord.
"He's the only other Gaunt, Hermione. You're his family, distant, but family."
OH MY GOD!
Then why had she spent nine years in a fucking orphanage?!
She must have said it out loud as Draco and Harry's eyes were full of pity and compassion.
"He has a reason for everything he does. He says that what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." Harry's now red eyes were looking directly at her, and she could only stare back. "It made you stronger, didn't it, Hermione?"
It did. It certainly did.
"You need to talk to him, Hermione. He'll be at the Sorting ceremony this time."
Draco was now staring at Harry, hurt and betrayal written on his pale face. "And you forgot to mention something like that to me, to your best friend and cousin?"
"Seriously, Draco, I forgot. He told me that yesterday only, and then dad took me hunting, so I forgot." Harry was apologizing and it must have been not very often, as Draco was now smiling again.
He'll be there, was all she could think about.
'Yes, he will be. We're done with Muggles and their orphanage now, my dear. We are free!'
Yes, we are.
The hall was huge, just like in the books, and Hermione wanted to scream with joy. Something was nagging at her mind, and suddenly, she had a sense of déjà-vu.
She had a feeling she had been here before when she knew she hadn't.
She had never been outside of her horrible, muggle orphanage.
In front was a raised tribune, and Hermione's curious eyes took in the people she could see sitting there.
A woman with a tight bun that somehow reminded her of a cat, a man with sandy hair, then she noticed someone she knew.
He was sitting next to a man with hard, smart green eyes and black hair. She recognized him as the Headmaster, Rabastan Lestrange. He wasn't, however, sitting in the Headmaster's chair.
When her eyes landed on the figure in the middle, leaning back into a large, royal looking chair, she felt goosebumps run all over her body and the hairs on her neck stood when she looked directly into his pale, icy-blue eyes.
He couldn't be anywhere near the correct age, so Hermione started to doubt her conclusions.
From the seating alone, she could already tell that the man with black hair and pale eyes was the highest power here, and judging by the now bowing Lucius Malfoy, who had just arrived and was taking his seat to the man's right, it could be only one person.
The Dark Lord.
The ruler of Magical Union, the most powerful sorcerer in the last thousand years, the descendant of Salazar Slytherin.
Salazar Slytherin who could also talk to snakes.
Gaunts were Salazar Slytherin's descendants.
The Dark Lord was the only Gaunt.
She had the blood the Dark Lord had.
His hood wasn't there, and Hermione's hungry eyes took in all the handsome features and the elegant clothes.
Her heart was beating wildly and something in her was stirring, like a wave of memories where she knew those eyes well.
The sensation went away as quickly as it had appeared, and then the woman with the tight bun who had told them about the rules—Professor McGonagall—rose and went to the stool with a large hat on it.
It was time for the sorting.
She thought the names on the list were in alphabetical order, but they weren't.
Everyone else was sorted but her, Harry, Draco and Ronald.
She had been watching the Dark Lord—Marvolo—during the sorting, and he didn't even raise his eyes towards the students, instead he had been talking in hushed hissing to the man next to him, Lucius Malfoy.
Draco's name was called and both men now were watching the sorting.
The ones whose sorting did interest the Dark Lord were left last.
As soon as the Sorting hat had touched Draco's blond hair, its big mouth opened and it screamed.
Draco's neutral coloured clothes changed to green and silver, and happily, he went to the Slytherin table, after a quick glance at his father and the Dark Lord.
Lucius Malfoy was beaming with pride, and the Dark Lord nodded his head a few times.
Lucius was now looking at the youngest Weasley with disgust, and the Dark Lord was almost smirking.
The smirk on the handsome face turned real, and Lucius shook his head in disdain.
Ronald didn't look too happy as his clothes turned yellow and black, and he went to his table, head hanging in defeat.
Which house was he aiming for?
Only her and Harry were left, everyone looking at them now.
She tried not to fidget under the attention, raising her chin high.
No one will break me. No one will make me bow. No one will scare me.
Harry looked at her and Hermione remembered what Harry had told her on the train.
'We'll be friends no matter which house we'll be sorted to.'
She'd like that very much.
Harry approached the stool and looked at the high table, nodding at his uncle and godfather.
The Dark Lord was Harry's godfather, so that meant Harry was also her family?
A second later, the hat opened its mouth and screamed so loud that many put their palms to their ears.
The Dark Lord had a proud smile on his face that was directed at the black-haired boy who now was sitting next to Draco and waiting for her sorting.
Professor McGonagall cleared her throat and licked her lips before calling her name.
The hall had been silent all this time, but now, she could hear her own heavy breathing, as she started to walk towards the sorting hat and the stool, trying not to stumble and fall flat on her face when those pale eyes didn't wander from her even for a second.
The Dark Lord was leaning forward in interest, his lips in a thin line, and Hermione shuddered again before putting the hat on.
'Such a brilliant mind and so much potential…and…what is this?'
The voice of the hat was in her head, and Hermione felt the moment where the Hat met the young boy she had known all her life.
When she thought about it, he reminded her of Marvolo.
Is that a house?
The hat was taken from her head, and without a thought, Hermione turned to look at the raised tribune.
A true, sincere, happy smile was on the Dark Lord's handsome face, and then he started to clap.
One by one, teachers and students followed, and Hermione found herself among the clapping hall.
"Welcome home, Hermione."
Her clothes were now bronze and blue, her purple eyes were shining with joy, and then Hermione finally smiled.
From the corner of her eye she thought she saw a woman in a blue cloak and shining, purple eyes smile and wink at her before turning to golden dust and disappearing, but when Hermione looked closer, there was nothing there.
"Thank you, Marvolo."
A sly smirk was all she got in response before the ruler of their country winked at her.
She was going to be great.
The nightmare her life had been was now officially over.
He had killed Dumbledore with a simple knife, slamming it into the neck, hidden by grey hair, when Albus had rushed into the room, in panic and with a horror stricken face.
There was no need for dramatics when the solution available was simple and elegant.
Severus…He had tortured Severus for many days before finally killing his sneaky servant.
Had he not killed Lily Potter, he would have given Severus a chance. However, since the Mudblood was dead, then Severus had to die as well.
He took Dumbledore's wand, found the cloak in Hogwarts and then the stone in the Gaunt's house.
Then, he destroyed all his Horcruxes by ordering his basilisk to bite the objects.
And then, he turned to Death, receiving not only immortality, but all his gone Horcruxes as well.
His soul was complete.
Lucius…Lucius had gotten the shock of his life when he had appeared in Malfoy Manor and simply threw a charged with 'Ut Morta' Killing Curse at the blond. He wasn't going to repeat the nightmare he had witnessed from the memories from the future.
Then, he returned to the Lestranges who were still shocked at getting a baby who used to be a Potter. After he had fired off the second Killing Curse mixed with 'Ut Morta' at Harry, the Lestranges had changed their attitude completely.
Bellatrix went crazy with her motherly duties, wiping the dust from Harry's toys herself.
His loyal servant was given the task to raise a worthy pureblood from a boy who had a piece of his own soul. To say that Bella had been ecstatic at having her own little Lord Voldemort to be with twenty-four seven, would be an understatement.
He had only two Horcruxes now, keeping one spare one for the Death Eater that would prove himself the most.
He had found Hermione straight after killing Albus. She was in a wreck of what once had been a car. He wasn't the only one to receive memories from the future. While he was an adult and possessed an insane amount of magic, he still found himself on the floor, in a haze. She was just a toddler, and when her magic exploded, it caused her father to crash the car, killing himself and his wife, Hermione's mother.
He had taken her from the wreck and locked her memories. She would be able to access them one day. Until that day, Dracula would keep them safe. His Horcrux remembered what he himself remembered and would help where he could.
He wanted to keep her in the wizarding world, maybe giving her as a daughter to the Malfoys or Rabastan, however, he had to eliminate the reason why everything went wrong in the other timeline.
The Ambassador for Human Rights, the proud Mudblood who praised Muggles, would get a taste of her own medicine.
She would get a childhood he, Lord Voldemort, had had. And Harry, in the previous life.
She would be the freak she needed to be.
His Horcrux in her wasn't a Horcrux anymore.
Hermione must have accepted his magic, and because of her Necromancer soul, it merged with her.
Dracula's magic was her magic now.
An extra piece of himself that didn't count as a Horcrux.
Hermione's new wand was an example that she was now a different person.
Gregorovitch had later said that hawthorn "makes a strange, contradictory wand, as full of paradoxes as the tree that gave it birth, whose leaves and blossoms heal, and yet whose cut branches smell of death."
The core was the same as his and Harry's. After killing Dumbledore and going to Hogwarts for the cloak, he managed to see that blasted bird of Albus cry and then fly away, leaving one more feather behind.
He had given the feather to Ollivander and prohibited to sell to anyone before he, himself—and with Hermione in tow—would come for it.
Hermione was a complicated person, and he loved challenges.
He knew she would have really hard times at the orphanage, especially with her purple eyes and wild, powerful magic, so he chose the Orphanage with care.
St. Brutus Orphanage for aggressive and violent children.
He was a bastard, but he couldn't make the same mistake twice.
There were many things he didn't understand, even after a decade, and he wasn't going to let Hermione go this time around.
He had changed her birth certificate, leaving the pictures of her real parents but changing the names.
A daughter of Morfin Gaunt Junior and Stella Malfoy. A daughter of his uncle's son. His great-niece.
When she turned 18—he was not a paedophile, no matter what others believed, he didn't find children attractive!— it would have been awkward for Hermione, had he been her guardian, or close related uncle. Or Merlin forbid, father.
He wouldn't mind, but Voldemort really didn't want any moral complications.
Lucius had helped to create the documents, and was the only person beside himself who knew that the birth certificate was a false one.
Not that he would share that information with others…
Hermione would never see prejudice from the wizarding world.
She would be the highest ranked pureblood there could be, and she'd grow up to appreciate her life among her kind.
He would wait until the sorting ended to give her the orange menace that almost scratched Nagini's eyes out, and the square necklace with a black and white stone that had appeared together with the cat.
Onto his bed in Slytherin Manor.
Now, he had a lot of time, and he wouldn't rush anything.
Hermione wouldn't have to return to the Muggle world, as then she'd never forgive him, and he didn't want that.
He was great, and he would make sure all his plans went the way he wanted them to.
The nightmare he had seen was now in the abyss of time, and he had taken two steps away from it.
Two steps from hell.
a/n The end. Seriously :)
If you have questions left, feel free to contact me, and I'll see what I can do. I don't think anything is left unclear, with only a few mysteries here and there. And they can also be explained. If you don't want to leave a review or PM me, but do have questions, you can find me on Gutter City Tomione Convention.
You see, there was no need to feel sad ;) ! I love happy endings!
Thank you all for reading. It was a joy to write this story, and I hope, you enjoyed it as well. Waves!