Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all its characters belong to J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., Bloomsbury, and Scholastic respectively. Star Trek is owned by Gene Roddenberry, CBS, and Paramount Pictures. All canon characters, plots, and situations are not owned by me, and I make no profit from this story.
Set: Three years after the Battle of Hogwarts, and right before the Narada incident.
Beta Love: Scarlet Dewdrops, Insanity-Red.
It had been a little over three years since the War ended. Hogwarts, and many other buildings, businesses, and homes destroyed or damaged by Voldemort and his Death Eaters had been painstakingly rebuilt in a community effort.
Lives were not so easily rebuilt.
For the Weasleys, the pain of losing Fred was still very near. Naturally, it was hardest on George – but with the help of his loving family and Angelina Johnson, with whom he had grown very close, he had slowly begun to move on with his life.
But even those who had not lost someone personally were not spared from the nightmares. Some had them more than others – but what was universal was the way the dreams seemed to linger. Maybe they would never go away. Maybe that was the price of living through a war.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione had done their best to move on with their lives and help rebuild the Wizarding World.
Harry and Ron had opted out of more schooling in favour of starting their careers as Aurors. Choosing the accelerated track, they successfully completed the requisite training within a year and began their work as members of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement – largely focusing on hunting down the Death Eaters who had evaded capture. Now, three years later, there were only a handful of them left running around loose. The rest were safely in Azkaban or, like Lucius and Draco Malfoy, pardoned. Unfortunately, the remaining rogue Death Eaters were getting more bold, desperate, and dangerous.
Hermione, bookworm and overachiever that she was, had decided to return to Hogwarts, finish her seventh year, and obtain her N.E.W.T.s.
Upon graduating, Kingsley Shacklebolt had insisted that she complete at least the basic Auror training course, regardless of her actual career intentions; with remnants of the Death Eaters still around, targeting those who had played a part in the downfall of Voldemort, he felt it necessary that she learn to defend herself from experts.
Alongside the Auror training, Hermione had also began the process of becoming a Healer. At first, her only motivation had been learning a few basic healing techniques for when her best friend inevitably got himself into trouble again. She hadn't realized that learning to heal, to mend, would be such a breath of fresh air after seeing the death, devastation, and horrors of war. Investing her mind, heart, and magic into helping people and healing them made her feel good in a way that she hadn't felt in a long time.
Hermione had always wanted to do something worthwhile in life, and she'd begun to think that Healing was the occupation where she could accomplish that – that it was what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.
But then, she'd received an offer she couldn't bring herself to pass up – a position as an Unspeakable in the Department of Mysteries.
At first, she'd been reluctant to return there after the events that had transpired in her fifth year, but her curiosity and love of knowledge eventually won out. Since all the Time Turners had been destroyed during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, and many of the Unspeakables who worked in the Time Chamber had been killed during the War, the DoM was in need of brilliant minds more than ever – to build new Time Turners and, hopefully, advance the other projects involving Time. The Unspeakables in upper management had all agreed that one such mind would be Hermione Granger's. After all, she wasn't known as the brightest witch of her age for nothing – and, as a bonus, she already had past experience with the subject. And even though she had begun her career as an Unspeakable researching Time, she had also begun working in the Death Chamber. The Unspeakables were always somewhat understaffed in that particular area, given how naturally unsettling the subject matter was to most. Hermione, who had long since learned there were worse things than death, had picked up some of the slack – particularly in regards to examining the Veil.
For the past year, Hermione worked as an Unspeakable specializing in Time and Death. She loved her job and greatly enjoyed the constant mental challenge she was faced with in her work – and the fact that it, for once, didn't involve her or her friends in mortal peril.
Not only was her professional life flourishing, her personal life was too; her relationship with Ron was going wonderfully, and Harry was happy with Ginny.
All was well. But she had no idea what was coming . . .
October 15th 2001 – London, England
It was another gloomy day in London. It was drizzling and the clouds simply refused to part. Contrary to the weather, Hermione was in sunny spirits – in large part due to the new diamond ring on her left hand.
Last night she and Ron had gone out for dinner, and he'd proposed! The entire setup had been beautiful to behold; she never would have thought that he could be such a romantic! That was probably one of the reasons why she loved him so much – he was full of surprises.
They'd started dating right after the War, and had never looked back or elsewhere. They were always there for each other – on good days and bad. As expected with any couple, they disagreed and argued, but were able to make adjustments for one another and find compromise. They seemed to balance each other out; Hermione's sensitivity and maturity challenged Ron to grow up and strive to better himself, whereas Ron's sense of humour and lightheartedness provided much needed levity in Hermione's life, encouraging her to be more flexible and spontaneous.
And now they were engaged! Their parents would be thrilled.
Speaking of parents . . . Hermione was very happy – and very grateful – to have hers back in her life. A month after the War ended she'd been able to track them down in Australia and return their memories. They'd been very angry with her at first, but in the end had understood why she did it. So now they were back in England and in Hermione's life once again.
As for Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, they had always treated Hermione as their own daughter – and, to be honest, had probably been expecting her to join the family for quite some time now. That said, the Weasley family was rapidly expanding. Bill and Fleur had had a daughter last year, named Victoire because she was born on the anniversary of the War's ending; Percy and Audrey had married last year and were now expecting a baby in a few months; Harry and Ginny had gotten engaged three months ago, and the preparations for their wedding were underway; Ron had mentioned that George was shopping for a ring, which meant that he would be getting engaged to Angelina soon . . .
Hermione was sitting in her office and pondering all of this, when a cacophony of rattling walls and faraway screams startled her back to reality. In the blink of an eye, she was out of her office, wand in hand, as she sprinted down the hallway in search of the disturbance. As she turned the corner, she came face to face with absolute chaos. The coloured flashes of flying spells filled the corridor. Many of her coworkers were on the floor and some looked still enough to be possible corpses. Her Healer training kicked in and she desperately wanted to run to them and help them, but logic held her back as she realized that she'd be a sitting duck until the immediate threat was taken care of.
There were three of them, she noted with growing horror. At least, three that she could see. All dressed in Death Eater robes and masks.
How did they get in here? she thought, alarmed and astonished.
But she didn't have any more time to ponder this question. A curse whizzed by, only an inch from her left ear, and exploded into the wall behind her. She forced herself to unfreeze from her momentary bout of panic and get moving. At the other end of the corridor she saw a group of Aurors, Harry and Ron included, firing jinxes and curses at the intruders.
She was relieved to see them, up until the moment someone grabbed her from behind and put a wand to her throat.
Harry's familiar voice shouted, "Expelliarmus!"
The force of the spell threw Hermione and her attacker backwards through the wall that already had a gaping hole in it. She heard Harry and Ron shouting her name as she landed in the room on top of her attacker, her back on his chest. She quickly scrambled to her feet and pointed her wand at him, but it was unnecessary – he'd hit his head on one of the broken pieces of the wall and fallen unconscious. Just in case, she cast a full body bind on the Death Eater (whose face was unfamiliar to her) and noted that his wand was gone. It had probably flown out of his hand when Harry cast the disarming spell on him.
Hermione turned to let Harry and Ron know that she was alright but then the wall exploded once more. Two Death Eaters came marching in, masks off. These ones, she knew: Yaxley and Dolohov. Her eyes flicked back and forth between the two, her face a mask of determination and her hands steady.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't the Mudblood!" spat Yaxley. "Too bad we didn't kill you when we had a chance at the Malfoy Manor. Although, Bellatrix did a decent job in cutting you up. Crucio was fun too, wasn't it? Would you like a reminder of how that feels, you filthy Mudblood?"
Curses began flying at her, so Hermione forced herself to keep her mind clear of that dreadful day. She was outnumbered, but her Auror training helped her hold her own.
I'll need to thank Kingsley for this later, she thought as she moved further into the room while dueling them.
As she stepped back, familiar chills began to creep up her spine, and she immediately realized which room they'd entered; it was the Death Chamber. She had an ominous feeling that this wasn't going to end well – and not only for the Death Eaters. And, despite a few wrong calls in school, nowadays her feelings on certain things were almost always correct.
As though the universe took her feeling of dread as an invitation, a curse caught her side a moment later. She nearly fell over, and the next curse might have finished her off had Harry and Ron not appeared on either side of her with shield charms at the ready.
"What took you so long?" Hermione asked, panting through the pain of the unknown curse.
"Sorry, 'Mione, there are at least fifteen of them in the corridor. We got here as soon as we could," said Ron, his free arm around Hermione's waist as he held the protective shield while Harry went on the offense.
"Fifteen?" Hermione managed to gasp out, still struggling to catch her breath.
"Yeah, I know . . ." muttered Ron darkly. "So much for them being all but gone."
He glanced over and finally noticed her pained grimace.
"Are you alright?" he asked with concern, worry written plainly in his features.
He gave Hermione a quick once-over, panic immediately appearing on his face as he caught sight of her right side.
"You're bleeding, Hermione!"
"I'll be fine, Ron. I can heal this easily," she said, moving her wand to do just that.
But before she could begin the spell, a third Death Eater barged into the room and threw a curse at Ron. Caught off guard, he was violently thrown backwards, collapsing bonelessly as he hit the stone floor, head first.
"Ron!" Hermione screamed, her eyes lingering on Ron's limp body for a fraction of a second before she whipped around to throw herself into a fight with her fiancé's attacker.
With a cleverly aimed spell, she split his mask to reveal his identity – it was Avery. He was already injured, so it was relatively easy for her to disarm, stun, and bind him. Hermione ran over to Ron and cast a quick diagnostic spell on him. She let out a sigh of relief when the spell didn't reveal any serious conditions.
Hermione reluctantly forced herself away from Ron, running to help Harry against the other two Death Eaters.
Where are the other Aurors? All these Death Eaters in the Ministry should garner a much quicker response than this! she thought in agitation as she fought Dolohov and Yaxley side by side with Harry.
As if in answer to her silent question, the still intact part of the wall exploded, and more fighting could be seen and heard in the corridor.
"Ron?" Harry managed to ask breathlessly between firing spells.
"He's alive . . . Protego! . . Just unconscious," she responded hurriedly, taking a moment to block a horrifyingly familiar jet of purple fire from Dolohov.
It was as if her fifth year venture into this department was happening all over again.
"He's alive, but not for much longer," taunted Dolohov rather arrogantly, spinning his wand like a showman as though he wasn't in the middle of a duel, and ignoring Yaxley's frantic curses as he tried to cover for his colleague's idiocy. "He'll be next – right after we squish the two of you like the bugs you are!"
"We'll see about that," Harry said simply, not rising to the bait.
"You've gotten rather good, Potter," Yaxley snarked venomously. "There was a time when I could take you down with my pinky!"
"What, when I was a baby?" Harry said sarcastically. "But then, Voldemort apparently thought that too. Didn't work out so well for him, did it?"
"You filthy Half-blood! You dare mock him?!" Yaxley shouted in rage, and then continued angrily,"But no matter, you and your Mudblood friend won't walk away from this alive. The Dark Lord trained us well. Even if we die today, we're taking you with us."
Harry raised an eyebrow and scoffed, "Really? And how would dead men manage to do anything?"
Thankfully, unlike Dolohov and Yaxley, Harry continued firing non-verbal spells as he spoke so that Hermione didn't have to cover for him.
Dolohov laughed cruelly. "Oh, but Potter – don't you see? Our ranks have expanded. There are those who want to continue what the Dark Lord started. We've been recruiting right under your noses! Where do you think all of your precious Auror colleagues are right now? They're fighting the others who came here with us today! There are more of us than you thought. A lot more."
"Well then," Harry said confidently, probably more confidently than he felt. "We'll just have to be more thorough this time – starting with you!"
Without further ado, Harry cast an Expelliarmus at Yaxley, powerful enough to both disarm the man and blast him backwards. Harry wasted no time in casting a full body bind on his downed opponent, not wanting to give him the chance to get back up.
Meanwhile, Hermione was getting rather exhausted as she fought Dolohov. The wound on her side was not helping, the blood loss making her head dizzy and her movements sluggish. But she wasn't ready to give up just yet. She would muster up her Gryffindor bullheadedness and fight until the end, whatever that end might be.
She smiled weakly to herself when she noticed out of the corner of her eye that Ron was stirring. The sounds of battle in the corridor were also starting to die down, and she could hear wonderfully familiar voice of Kingsley Shacklebolt barking out orders. The Death Eaters were being rounded up. Reinforcements were near, she knew it, but she dared not take her eyes off Dolohov. Seeing Harry take down Yaxley gave her a bit of a second wind, knowing it was now two on one in their favour.
Everything seemed to be looking up.
Then, the still-present chills down her spine seemed to worsen, and she had the horrible realization that the fighting had moved them all much too close to the Veil. Her heart sank, but even as she tried to steer at least Harry and herself farther away, spellfire kept them on the undesirable path. Instead, she focused on overpowering Dolohov, with Harry chaining curses and Hermione focusing on defense, in hopes of wrapping things up quickly.
Then it happened.
It all occurred so fast that no one could have done anything, even as Kingsley burst into the chamber with a few Aurors in tow, and Ron clambered to his feet with his wand at the ready. Dolohov had realized that he had no chance of winning. In a final act of desperation, he threw an acid green light at Harry and Hermione; it was immediately evident how powerful the newest curse was. With his famously quick reflexes, Harry conjured up a second shield to layer with Hermione's – but the spell was strong enough to rip through one, and collide with the next. The force of it was enough to throw the two of them backwards.
White light enveloped Harry and Hermione as they fell through the archway of the Veil.
Stardate 2258.42 - U.S.S. Enterprise, Starbase 1 spacedock
"Ladies and gentlemen, the maiden voyage of our newest flagship deserves more pomp and circumstance than we can afford today." The authoritative voice of Christopher Pike was loud and clear as he walked across the Bridge towards the captain's chair. "Her christening will just have to be our reward for a safe return. Carry on."
He took his seat, pushing a button on its arm to open the ship's intercom. "All decks, this is Captain Pike. Prepare for immediate departure. Helm, thrusters."
"Moorings retracted, Captain," reported the helmsman. "Dock control reports ready. Thrusters fired. Separating from spacedock."
The ship's nacelles roared to life and purred with a low, potent drone. The other ships of the fleet could be seen through the view screen also separating from the spacedock.
"The fleet's cleared spacedock, Captain. All ships ready for warp," the helmsman continued to report.
"Set course for Vulcan."
"Aye-aye, Captain. Course laid in."
"Maximum warp," commanded Pike, turning towards the helmsman. "Punch it."
The helmsman wrapped his fingers around the shiny, never-before-been-used lever and slowly pushed it forwards. The other spaceships began to blast off around them, leaving nothing but a streak of pale blue light behind. But the Enterprise didn't move. A tense silence settled on the Bridge, the crew exchanging uncertain and confused looks.
"Lieutenant," said Pike, trying not to show his disapproval. "Where is Helmsman McKenna?"
"He has lungworms, sir. He couldn't report to his post," said the young helmsman, attempting to remain calm as he tried to figure out what went wrong.
He turned towards the Captain and respectfully said, "I'm Hikaru Sulu."
"And you're a pilot, right?" said Pike, trying – and somewhat failing – to hide his sarcasm.
"Very much so, sir," assured Sulu with a smile as he continued checking the control panel and his screen for any indication of a problem. "I'm not sure what's wrong here."
"Is the parking brake on?" Pike was not even trying to hide his sarcasm now.
"Um . . . No, I'll figure it out. I'm just –"
"Have you disengaged the external inertial dampener?" First Officer Spock suggested from his seat at the science station.
Understanding dawned on Sulu's face as he quickly solved the problem.
"Ready for warp, sir," he reported a moment later.
"Let's punch it."
As Sulu 'punched it', a blinding white light filled the Bridge, making everyone squint. As the light disappeared, and the crew's vision cleared, they saw two figures on the Bridge's floor, right in front of the view screen – a young man with a mop of jet-black hair, bent over the unconscious form of a young brunette woman.
"Hermione!" the man sounded frantic. "Hermione, please! Please, don't be dead!"