[Summary] (An Ottermione story!) Voldemort botched his attempt at immortality when he tried make his first Horcrux and tried to murder someone and ended up defeating himself. Idiot. Now, no one likes a Slytherin, and the world just seems… mad.
A/N: This one is for shayalonnie, who is, like me, trying to shake a horrible bout with the flu. Ottermione makes everything better!
Beta: Calloniel (and cal looked at it! She did! I swear!)
Glad It Wasn't Me
Once upon a time, there was a Dark Lord. Or rather, he would have been a Dark Lord had he not been so insufferably arrogant that he never saw the wands coming for him. He attempted to make something called a Horcrux on his quest for immortality. The spell reflected off his first victim and trapped the entire soul of Tom Riddle into a diary that very conveniently detailed the entirety of his sins for all to see. They decided to destroy the diary in fiendfyre to insure it couldn't be put back together again. They realised when the screaming stopped that they had just rid themselves of a Dark Lord rising.
It was a glorious day for the Aurors. It was an even more glorious day for the Wizarding world. It was a horrible day for Pureblood supremacists—especially the ones so fanatical to the cause that they had a skull and serpent tattoo branded into their arm with Dark magic. It was a dark day for Headmaster Dumbledore, who blamed himself for introducing Tom Riddle to magic. No one truly blamed the man, though, and the Wizarding world picked itself up and went on.
Due to the shaming of Slytherin House after Tom Riddle, I wasn't sure what to think while sitting on the train to Hogwarts that first year. I kept my mouth shut as to what I wanted to be in, and unfortunately I and my best friend of however many years were separated during the Sorting Ceremony. That lasted maybe twenty minutes for the announcements to be made, and then Lily dragged me by ear to meet her new friends in Gryffindor. They all seemed pretty bummed that I was in Slytherin, and who could blame them for thinking I had the shaft. Tom Riddle, failure Dark Lord and successful psychopath had come from Slytherin. Obviously the PR department needed some reorganisation for Team Slytherin. Even the Head of my House seemed flustered to be affiliated with it.
Black always said I was better off hanging with them, anyway, pointing out how Mulciber ate nightshade paste as a kid, and Avery was dropped on his head as a baby when his mother was hit with a stray Cruciatus. Lucius was always very hush hush about about happened in that regard, and no one in Slytherin wanted fess up or confess to what had really happened. Lucius' father was convicted as a Death Eater and imprisoned in Azkaban, dying shortly after from Dragon Pox. As if the shaming of being one of the idiots that supported the Dark Failure wasn't bad enough, his father had sprouted scales, breathed fire, and died sitting on top of a horde of toilet paper in Azkaban as he screamed, "Precious, my precious!" for, like, a week straight before he finally died of consumption. I mean that literally. He ate the entire pile of paper. It was not a dignified death. Lucius distanced himself as far from Death Eater material as he could get. He wanted nothing to do with the shadow of his father. He learned extra strong Lumos spells just for that reason. Muggles would have called it a psychosis, perhaps, but at least wherever we went I never had to worry about tripping around in the dark.
Potter and I got off on the wrong foot, and he tried to turn me into and elk at the dinner table. He claimed it was a spell his parents taught him to entertain others at parties. Lupin told me to just put a sticking charm on his hands so he'd stick to the first thing he touched after lunch that day. Let's just say Potter had some explaining to do to many influential people at Hogwarts as well as his parents. He never tried to make me the brunt of anything too horrible after that.
One year, Peter Pettigrew led me out to this haunted shack outside Hogsmeade. He said Lupin was in trouble and that Peter couldn't get in to help him. The shack had no visible doors or windows. Who builds that kind of thing? And I thought my father was horrible planner. There was apparently someone even more hermit-like than my drunkard father. I heard Lupin screaming on the other side of the wall, and I tried to find a way in. Peter let me to path that he said he saw Lupin run up before.
What happened after pretty much cemented the friendship with the Gryffindor crew. Peter had apparently thought "scaring Snape" was still the best after school activity to be had and lured me into range of the resident werewolf. Black and Potter had saved my life by driving me back towards a closeable grate before turning into animals to drive the slavering werewolf away from me.
After it was all said and done, Lupin was horrified at what had almost happened, but nothing—NOTHING—was as terrifying as Lily Evans' wrath upon one Peter Pettigrew. Headmaster Dumbledore's expelling of Peter from Hogwarts seemed to be almost a relief to Peter after Lily was done with him. Correction, she hadn't finished with him at all. Dumbledore had rescued him from a fate worse than death. All I could think was I was hoping I never pissed her off like that.
After that event, Potter and Black convinced me to be an Animagus with them to keep Remus company. It only took me a year of study, much to their dismay. I, unlike Potter and Black, took lessons from Professor McGonagall and registered with the Animagus Registry. I may hang out with bloody Gryffindors, but I still had a Slytherin's sensibility. They told me it took them two years to obtain their full Animagus form. Ha. Amateurs.
As it turns out, I ended up a bloody cave lion. That was overkill. Whenever Lupin got out of line, I just sat on him. I literally just sat on him. Ever wondered how large a cave lion actually was? Lupin didn't wonder anymore. Even Potter looked nervous around me. Professor McGonagall asked if I minded being poked and prodded by Wizarding archaeologists, "For science," as she put it, and I had accepted. Because of that, however, I gained the attention of some great Masters, gained an apprenticeship, and was on my ways to Potion Mastery before I even graduated with my N.E.W.T.s. Professor Slughorn seemed to think I was putting the honour back into Slytherin. I was just glad I would have a job when I graduated. I had my priorities, after all.
Time passed. We all graduated. Lily and Potter got married, predictably. I tried not to hurl during the ceremony. The Black brothers became Hit Wizards, spending equal amounts of time tracking down dangerous criminals and lying in the hospital beds with their names on them at St. Mungo's trying to recover from said dangerous criminals. Potter became an Auror, Lily worked at the Ministry and managed to replace a witch named Dolores Umbridge, who had been found lying on her documentation of interrogating 'suspects' and was guilty of multiple other horrible crimes against just about everyone. No one had been sorry to see that woman thrown into Azkaban. I had seen her once from a distance. She was very... pink. That was all I needed to know. She probably deserved everything she got.
Now, some fifteen years after my graduation from Hogwarts, I thought I had seen everything as a professor. I'd had people try to blow themselves up, try to blow other people up, turn themselves into Acromantulas, and even had a couple de-age themselves into toddlers. Unfortunately, I'd been caught in that last chaotic mess, and found myself the only professor at Hogwarts that had been turned in bloody teenager. Albus had some contacts that were willing to work with me to change the children back into… older children. They managed to turn me into a twenty something before they determined that the amount of potion it would take to put me back to where I had been would probably kill me. Wonderful.
Black, of course, said to look at the bright side. I apparently now had a much larger dating pool to work with. I hexed him, and, as he was rolling on the ground moaning in pain, I told him I wasn't taking dating advice from a canine who couldn't keep a girlfriend for longer than a month. His brother, Regulus, had agreed with me. Regulus had always been the more level headed of the Black brothers. It was good to know he hadn't lost that over the years of exposure to insanity in the form of his sibling.
As I stared down at the floor of my Potions classroom, I saw Potter's spawn… er, son, his best mate, Weasel—uh, Weasley, Longbottom's inept klutz of a son, and a boy named Finnigan, who liked to blow things up just by looking at it. And as I stared down at them, fingers tapping a rhythm on the worn wood of my desk, they were all looking utterly guilty. At their feet was a pile of garments: a school uniform. In the middle of that was an… otter.
"What the bloody hell did you do to Hermione?" Lucius' son screamed from across the classroom. Ah, Draco, I thought with something resembling fondness. Your lungs are just as functional as they were the day you were born. Painful and unnecessary lungs that they are.
The small otter, not quite fully grown as otters went, stared up at me with wide, scared brown eyes. I leaned down and wrapped my hands around her, pulling her up with the pile of discarded uniform, and the moment her webbed paws wrapped around my fingers and her eyes locked into mine, I felt a jolt of magic. Despite not having a familiar in all the years I was at Hogwarts, I knew that was what it was. My heart melted, and the little creature crawled into my arms, snuggled into my robes, and adamantly refused to leave. As the beat of her small heart thudded against my skin and the whisper of her breath against my neck caused an almost visceral desire to hug her tight, I knew I was doomed. I knew it was all going to land me in the place I always ended up landing in: Albus' office.
The otter, or Hermione Granger, stalwart friend of Potter's son and the youngest male Weasel was sitting in my lap, fussing with one of Albus' lemondrops. She was licking at it with enthusiasm, apparently unaware of the unspoken rule that everyone refused Albus' lemondrops. By all accounts, she was the brightest witch of her class, and despite her tendency to recite book knowledge word for word, she had shown herself to be quite bright and keen on learning, unlike her peers. Minerva, for example, had already taken her underwing as an apprentice, supplementing her studies as she did her normal classes. Albus had even given her permission to use a time-turner to fit all of her lessons into one day and still have enough time to sleep.
"You're sure, Poppy?" Albus was muttering.
There was a thump of weight in my lap, and Minerva was sharing space with the otter that was Hermione Granger. She lay beside her, and the young otter squeaked appreciatively, snuggling up to the silver tabby as though her situation was the most normal thing.
Poppy nodded. "It's a true familiar bond, Albus," Poppy answered. "Even if you find a way to change her back, that bond will remain until either she or Severus dies."
Hermione went very still in my lap, and Minerva began licking the top of her head furiously to comfort her. My hand stroked both the otter and Minerva, since they were both sharing my lap. Both seemed to approve, and I wasn't sure how to feel about either of them being there.
"What does this mean, Poppy? For Miss Granger? For Severus?" Albus asked. "What does this mean to Minerva? They already have a Master and Apprentice bond! What am I going to tell the Board of Governors?" Despite the words of concern, the Headmaster didn't appear all that concerned. In fact, he seemed rather amused by the situation, hand casually resting against his lips to hide a smile.
Poppy looked at the Headmaster like he'd grown a fifth head and skipped over the second, third, and fourth. "Just because you have one bond, Headmaster, does not mean others cannot form. You can love more than one person. You can have multiple working relationships at once."
"Poppy, this is hardly a natural occurrence," Dumbledore protested, stroking his beard. "A familiar is expected to be around their partner more often than not. She's apprenticed! She's a student!" I thought his shoulders might be starting to quiver—if he started laughing...
"She's also sitting right here, Headmaster," I said with a heavy sniff. "Her hearing is also not damaged." My hand had already found the perfect spot to rub the otter behind the ears in order to get her to make an adorable and disarmingly cute purr-squeaking sound. With every touch, the familiar bond was growing stronger, and I knew before long, the Headmaster's entire tirade would be moot. I was already craving sea urchins on her behalf. I was pretty sure that wasn't a normal thing for me.
Albus stroked his beard a little faster. "Well I know that—" he started to say and then stopped as a sudden chuckle escaped his lips, which he proceeded to mask as a cough. He avoided my harsh glare in favor of handing Hermione another lemon drop. She happily accepted, despite her currently unfinished candy, and dropped it in replacement of the new treat..
Minerva meowed and nudged Hermione with her nose. The otter squeaked a reply. Minerva lifted her head and jerked it towards where Fawkes was swinging on his perch, his tempting tail feathers draping down to the floor. Hermione shoved her candy into her cheek as the pair jumped off Severus' lap and dove under the sofa dust ruffle, disappearing from sight.
Albus, so busy attempting to avoid his chronic laughter, didn't even notice the two shadows approaching Fawkes. Minerva was taking her role as master and apprentice very seriously. Hermione wasn't letting her ottery condition deter her soaking up of knowledge. The bond between us thrummed, and I could feel her amusement in her mind. In my mind. The corner of my lips twitched upward.
As Albus continued his conference with Poppy, I struggled very hard to remember my Occlumency. Out of the corner of my eye, a wiley otter was running off with one of Fawke's tail feathers, who chased after her with avid focus, while Minerva was swinging back and forth on the abandoned perch. I was never more glad for Dumbledore's more recently distracted mind.
To my credit, when Albus finally finished whatever long, drawn out sentence he had crafted, and turned around to see Minerva curled up on his desk with a young otter snuggled up to her fur and Fawkes roosting on top of them like a brooding, flame-coloured hen, I kept a straight face. Poppy didn't, but she could get away with a lot of things, considering all the times she patched up every occupant in the room over the years. Miss Granger was not an exception to that, either. She had already demonstrated a proclivity to turn herself into a different species and get herself petrified on her friend's behalf. I was going to have to teach her a better sense of self-preservation. It was the least I could do.
Albus slapped himself in the face with his palm. "Fine," he said at last. "The both of you can train her, otter or not. Connect your quarters together and tack on an apprentice quarters for her, and I'll get the paperwork filed with the Board of Governors and the Mastership Guild. I'll contact Gilderoy Lockhart. He just came back from some groundbreaking work with accidental transfiguration according to the paper he published. He owes me a favour. Maybe he can assist you and Minerva in at least restoring her to her normal form before Mr and Mrs Granger wonder why their daughter didn't show up for Christmas holidays."
Lockhart… Lockhart… where had I heard that name before?
And why did I feel the sudden urge to maim? Hmm.
"As you wish, Headmaster," I said neutrally, scooping up Minerva and Hermione in my arms. The otter squeaked cutely and snuggled into my arms like it was her job. Minerva did what most cats do and looked sickeningly comfortable.
As I walked out of the office, Fawkes landed on my shoulder, apparently thinking where his tail thieves were going, he was going too. I managed to get halfway back down to the dungeons before Albus quietly appeared before me, stopped, transferred Fawkes to his shoulder, and then drifted down the hallway muttering a fond, "No loyalty amongst phoenixes, either," and "Next, I'll learn Lockhart is a charlatan who can't cast the most basic magic."
I looked down at the otter in my arms and the lazy silver tabby and smiled in amusement. I wondered what my life would have been like had the Dark Lord not been the failure he had turned out to be.
Whatever it would have been, it couldn't be worse than what I hear Peter Pettigrew was doing. Muggles had caught him out in his rat form and used him for product testing. He's been peeing fluorescent green for years and was completely bald.
Damn, so glad that wasn't me. Now, if I could just get Mr Longbottom and Mr Finnigan to stop blowing up the spare cauldrons (I was starting to run out) the world could breath a little easier.
Suddenly, I remembered the lesson Lupin had taught me back in the day when Potter was picking on me.
"Ms Granger," I addressed the sleepy otter. "How do you feel about learning wandless magic and sticking charms?"
Hermione perked up in my arms and squeaked excitedly.
I felt the grin spread across my face. "Excellent."
A/N: Hope this cheered you up, Shayla 3