"If I could be killed," Tom Riddle said, "it would be for love of you."
"I sacrificed the world for you," Hermione Granger said.
"Regrets?" he asked, hand on the back of her neck. "Remorse?"
She leaned back against him as they looked out the window at the world they owned. "As long as I have you," she said at last, "the world can burn."
They traveled. They traveled for years until Abraxas Malfoy went home and married a suitable girl and Thoros Nott went home and married a less suitable one and they were young and beautiful and strong and they watched the world age as they gathered power until it pooled out of them, until it sparked from their skin, until their very eyes glowed with it.
They never grew old.
And the Death Eaters formed and reformed and the Ministry was theirs and the school and if blood ran in the streets and fires raged it was nothing they had not expected.
Who could have predicted how closely entwined they would all be? Certainly not the men who'd sent her to him. They probably wouldn't have cared for the way the pair of them had interpreted 'salvation.' Of course, they were all dead now.
She never liked the snakes. She'd roll her eyes at Tom and them and bury herself into a book and he'd tease her by wrapping one of the little ones around her arm.
The snakes liked her. "Warm," they'd say and fall asleep against her skin
Hermione would stare at him, sometimes, and roll the wand she'd taken from Dumbledore between her hands as if she were waiting for him to try to take it.
He kissed her on the temple once, very lightly, and whispered, "I trust you with it."
It was the first time he'd admitted he knew what it was.