A/N: They've casted Noma Dumezweni as the new Hermione Granger, right? For the sake easy narration, let's have an Asian Hermione. Think Liza Soberano. Hermione to me, is an epitome of every girl who visits these fan fiction websites because she stands for who we want to be; intelligent, brave and strong. Therefore, she doesn't just belong to one race but to the entire female gender as a whole.
This story is inspired by watching Red Cliff 1 and 2, obviously casts Takeshi Kaneshiro as Zhuge Liang. This story follows Red Cliff, historical facts on some perspectives and the Romance of the Three Kingdom loosely. Harry Potter epilogue and Hermione/ Ron romance in the latter books ignored. No Voldemort, there was still a troll and Hermione, Harry and Ron still became friends.
Swatches of Time
Hermione woke up in a daze and to a hand wiping her face with a wet cloth. "Who are you? Where did you come from?" An Asian teenager wearing weird clothes kept on asking in a language she did not understood. She looked around the strange shelter, she was supposed to go to her next class. But as she was turning the dial of her time turner, something went wrong. She saw a flash of light and here she was.
'He's speaking in Chinese. I just don't know what dialect. I better try this universal translation charm.' She thought to herself as she watched him struggle to communicate with her. She groped within her jeans pocket, which she charmed to expand and put things in, particularly her wand. "My name is Hermione. I came from England. Where am I?" Hermione asked using the most basic words she can, given the fact that the universal translation charm is limited in its translation.
Instead of answering her question, the boy looked at her curiously. "You're like me aren't you?" He asked looking pointedly at her before glancing at her wand. Hermione then watched with both fascination and awe as the young teenaged boy effortlessly cast a wandless spell.
His name, Hermione would eventually find out, is Zhuge Liang, a farmer who is also a scholar. She's not familiar with Chinese history, but she can swear she's heard that name before. According to his story, he saw her fell from the skies in a flash of light, she was lucky to have landed on the fresh hay stack they have just prepared. Luckily, there had been no one around except for him and his younger brother, Zhuge Jun. He carried her to their small resting nook within the fields and asked his brother to return to their home.
He asked his brother to keep her falling from the sky and now, her abilities, a secret, given how people will react. He had been given a wide berth seeing that the Zhuges were a respected family. But having magic in these very superstitious times is revered at best and persecuted at worst. Hermione took a while to absorb this, seeing that it means that she was sent back to a time before the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. She took the clothes he gave her and as she struggled to put these on, he helped her forgetting the modesty his times dictates in the excitement of seeing another with the same abilities as he.
She had been at his home for a few days now, helping out with the chores as he and his brother taught her. In some aspects, it was almost back breaking labor, she however can't complain seeing as she'd actually been given the lightest of the household chores. But cleaning a thatched cottage in the middle of a rustic farm is no joke. Both Zhuge Liang and Hermione had no idea if she's ever coming back to her own time seeing as the time turner lost all of its sands, so he took the liberty to lend her their older sisters' clothes and brought a few things for her as well.
Hermione had been adamant that she does something, given the fact that the brothers are giving her shelter and food. Zhuge Liang started teaching her household chores, but she did not take to it as well as she did most things she sets out to learn. She severely lacks the ability to do much of these much to her chagrin. The older brother just told his younger one that she grew up in a household, which did not require her to do much of these and the younger just assumed that she grew up from a wealthy household.
One evening meal, as Zhuge Liang and Zhuge Jun struggled to swallow Hermione's burnt rice and almost inedible viand, Zhuge Liang had an inspiration. "Your name is too peculiar for these lands." He said standing up. Zhuge Jun nodded in agreement. Zhuge Liang looked at her yellow dress*. "Huang," he said, before looking out at the bright full moon, "Yue Ying." He said as he looked at Hermione intently. "The name suits you. You are also very smart and as beautiful as a moon flower." He said before blushing and going back to his seat in embarrassment. Zhuge Jun took this opportunity to tease his older brother who summarily ignored him. Hermione smiled. "I like that name." Zhuge Liang grinned, before sitting down and continued to try to eat his meal. "From now on, we'll call you Huang Yue Ying." Zhuge Jun announced with the two grinning at him.
One day while she and Zhuge Liang were practicing charms, he looked at his wand. "It doesn't feel like a right fit. This is also too conspicuous." He said. Yue Ying nodded, seeing as she'd already told him about the wand process of her time. "What can you carry in your hand often, without it being suspicious?" She asked. "How about a fan?" He answered. It would take some time before he managed to make his own wand. A fan made from crane feathers. He then offered to do the same for Yue Ying who refused him. "It's the last real connection, I have to my world." She answered.
"Do you miss your time?" He asked. Yue Ying nodded. "Yes, I miss my time, my friends and of course, my parents." Yue Ying looked at Zhuge Liang quizzically. "You've asked this of me before." She continued. He merely nodded. "Yes, but when you first came, I was admittedly more interested in the knowledge you bring rather than stories about what happens in your time, seeing that you could be gone before I know it." He replied. "You don't think I'm coming home, right?" She asked. He shook his head. Yue Ying sighed. "Just tell me about your home, maybe I can help ease your "migration"?" He joked. Yue Ying laughed at this and started telling him about the modern advances of her age.
A few days later, she took a shower in what seemed to be a manually ran hot shower which used bamboo pipes. She was so surprised and pleased that she hugged Zhuge Liang who smiled with pleasure at her happiness. This was the first of the many things he'd be doing to please her.
In retrospect it had been a slow burn. It was inevitable seeing that the two are like-minded people with the same "peculiarities" as Zhuge Jun branded them and they share the same roof. It was in lingering touches as one or the other would pass a bowl over a meal. It was in the gentle friendly "almost" embraces while they helped each other out in chores or spell casting. Then, it was in Zhuge Liang's more increased efforts in his work and studies. Or at least that is what his brother noticed. She had only been in their farm for five months now, but with Zhuge Liang's increasing efforts, the household became a more comfortable place to live in and the farm flourished. He had never been lazy before, just more laid back, but it seems in his brother's eyes, he had found a reason to work harder.
Yue Ying didn't know exactly how it happened, but one day they were practicing to duel when suddenly they started kissing. Yue Ying, still being Hermione told herself to calm down as this was just a side effect of being a hormonal teenager and given the fact that they are both teenagers and are often in the vicinity of one another, it is just a natural… She forgot the train of thought she was trying to distract herself with as their kissing deepened.
In the end, it was Zhuge Liang who drew back. "I'm sorry. I couldn't help myself. You're under my protection. I shouldn't have…" She looked at him and held his face. "I think I have feelings for you. I'm even starting to think I'm in love with you." She told him. He smiled. "I don't just think. I've been in love with you for some time now." He answered with all seriousness as he drew her into his arms. "But there's a right place and the right time." He continued. The two quietly embraced for a while before resuming their duel.
A couple of days later, Zhuge Liang then consulted a feng shui expert for the arrangement of furnishings around their home. He then brought a huge bed and placed it in what was his room and took to sharing the bedroom with his brother. Zhuge Jun suddenly stopped teasing them and instead started on helping whatever weird preparations his brother was doing. She didn't know what was going on but since he didn't want to talk about it, she didn't bother him.
One day as they were walking in town to get some supplies, she heard a bunch of people talking amongst themselves as they looked at her and the two brothers. "I heard that the reason she's veiled is because she's so ugly," said one gossiper. "They say her name is Huang. Is she of any relation to Huang Chengyan?," Asked another. Yue Ying walked up to Zhuge Liang who was checking pottery. "I'm ugly?" She asked. He laughed. "People would always talk and it is in human nature, in whatever time you'd find yourself in, to believe the worst. If you listen to what others will say, you will never be happy." Yue Ying scowled. "Easy for you to say, they don't think you're ugly." She retorted. In turn, he started teasing her about vanity.
"Liang? Why are you doing all these preparations for?" She asked in effort to change topics. "I'm working towards being happy." Zhuge Liang answered vaguely as he patted her head sending her off. He'd tell her soon enough.
It was their wedding night. In what seemed to be one ceremony after another, even reading poetry, it was finally over. She had even met Huang Chengyan, who took it with good humor to affirm the rumors when people asked if she is his daughter. Even up to the point of telling them she's veiled because she has a real bad complexion.
To say Yue Ying is nervous is the understatement of the year. Nervous about an act she'd never done before and nervous about the fact that this conniving manipulative boy managed to rope her into marriage before she even knew what was happening and it's been less than a year since they've met. She didn't even know why she agreed to the marriage in the first place (at the age of 15 years, she's practically still a child in her time) and why she agreed to the traditional ceremony. But after they saw off the guests with cigarettes and candies as token and they walked together, finally alone, into the bridal chamber, she remembered that she consented to marriage because she loves him. Despite the difference in culture, she's here now and it seems she's here to stay.
His touches were gentle, reassuring and caring. He had always been these way. As she moved to remove her clothes, he stopped her. "No, not now, you don't have to do this. We'll make love when you're ready." He told her as he pulled her down to lie beside him in their new bed. He held her in his arms as they drifted off to sleep.
From the manually ran hot shower (which her husband's brother also appreciates), the gadgets he created to make their farm more profitable, to the make-shift ice box her husband constructed to keep food (the idea came from her story of a refrigerator), Zhuge Liang did everything he could to ensure his wife's comfort. He did not pressure her to make love and even when they did, he assured her that there's no pressure in having children yet. However, when they did try to have children, Yue Ying suffered three miscarriages and a still born on one occasion. Upon seeing his wife's grief, he made sure to use the contraceptive charm he'd learn from one of her books, again to prevent unwanted conception. When she tearfully asked him about it, he'd assured her that they didn't need to have children seeing that they have each other. If need be, they can always adopt one of his brothers' sons as his heir seeing that both Zhuge Jin and Zhuge Jun are married and have children of their own.
Despite liking his sister-in-law, Zhuge Jun, suggested, as was the custom of their time, that his brother take a second wife, given that Yue Ying have not given him a son in their almost 10 years of marriage. This was the first time Yue Ying saw her husband get angry at his brother. "I promised her love and care. How can I give her all that I am and all that I have, if I take another wife?" He raged. She and Zhuge Jun tried to calm him down. Zhuge Jun tried to rationalize his suggestion but Yue Ying kept quiet. Zhuge Liang sighed and just shook his head. "I won't have any other. I love my wife, brother. There will be no one else for me." He reiterated. Zhuge Jun nodded in understanding, despite the ideas of his time, he'd seen that his brother loves his wife as he'd yet to see any other man his wife such love and devotion.
Zhuge Jun had built his home in the property nearby and Yue Ying took to helping take care of his daughters. In many aspects, their Aunt Yue Ying had become a second mother of sorts for them.
Her husband just turned 27 years old, when Lord Liu Bei came to know of Zhuge Liang through the recommendation of Xu Shu. This had him visiting the home of a man, who for the most parts, is considered a hermit. On his first visit, a servant Zhuge Liang hires for the heaviest chores, told the Lord and his companions, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei that his master is not home. Yue Ying had to laugh at that, her husband's avoidance of military service is well-known. While technically he is not at home, he actually just went out to go fishing in some parts of their property.
The next time the lord visited, Zhuge Liang went out to "check in" on their livestocks. Yue Ying had to admire this lord's perseverance seeing that he went to their home in the middle of winter. Their servant led the lord and his retinue to Zhuge Jun, his master. Technically speaking, this was true, seeing that it was Zhuge Jun who hired the boy in the first place. Liu Bei had even mistaken Huang Chengyan, her "father", to be Zhuge Liang. Huang Chengyan was actually visiting Zhuge Jun.
Come spring, Liu Bei returned once again, this time her husband did not even put up the pretense of going out of the house but merely took a nap. Even Yue Ying was stunned to see Lord Liu Bei's persistence when he just waited for her husband to wake up. After passing his small test, Zhuge Liang will present his plan of reunifying the fallen Han Dynasty to Liu Bei. Historians will call this the Longzhong Plan.
What many historians did not note was how Zhuge Liang would often times bring his wife to his campaigns or wherever he goes for that matter. It can be noted that the reason for this is because men would bring women with them or just visit brothels, but what is notable in this matter is that he brought his own wife while others would often bring a female slave or a concubine. In his devotion to his wife, Zhuge Liang had neither.
By now he had more servants on his property and with his sister-in-law at the nearby farm, he can now fully turn his attentions to serving Liu Bei. He checked the plans he formulated with her, often asking her to see holes within them. Yue Ying was not really a strategist but she was good at supporting her husband and giving help to his campaigns. She took to healing soldiers, albeit without magic, some even with the aid of potions. She served her husband food as he often times forgot to feed himself while he is immersed with work.
All this time, she was still veiled or at least her face was often covered with a mask, covering the lower half of her face. When General Zhang Fei asked Zhuge Liang about this, he merely smiled. Rumors from their home still filtered through to Liu Bei's ranks. Liu Bei shook his head at Zhang Fei's inquisitiveness and the man uncharacteristically apologized to Zhuge Liang seeing that he might offend the man. But Zhuge Liang just smiled and nodded.
While he looked almost unfazed, the Battle of Changban scared Zhuge Liang, given the fact that they horribly lost as Liu Bei insisted on protecting the civilians he was leading. It was the first time she'd seen so many deaths, her husband's hand gripping her arm tightly as he watched the battlefield from a distance. She started to understand the compassion her husband admired in Liu Bei but she can't help but think about the number of men who died in what she sees as a senseless war. This was a difference in ideology between her and her husband. He believes in waging a war that ends all wars but she told him she'd heard this before and it never really ends.
He wanted to send her home but she insisted on staying with him, saying she's of more help here in the battle field than she is at home. He caved in when she told him that if they fail in the war against Cao Cao, not only would he most probably be dead but Cao Cao would reach the territory of their home. His own childhood where Cao Cao's power hunger led to his family's displacement and indirectly led to his father's illness forced him to see her side.
Thus, as she'd always done, she accompanied him on the dusty rode to the Kingdom of Wu.
Sun Shangxiang was a tomboy and found Xiao Qiao and Huang Yue Ying to be an anti-thesis of who she is. Xiao Qiao's quiet subservience to her husband and his efforts and Yue Ying's strong determination to set up a healthy medical tent for the soldiers seems too tame for the young princess. But Huang Yue Ying had other issues to settle with. While she knows she would be considered by many as pretty, she is not as young as she used to be, although she still looks younger than most women of this era given how her husband takes care of her and her longer lifespan given the fact that she is a witch. But an insecurity she cannot shake off is her seeming inability to carry a pregnancy to term and while at 25, she is not too old to have children (witches are known to have children even in their 60s) her husband's refusal to risk her being pregnant once more grated.
For once in their marriage, Yue Ying was jealous. Her husband usually found most girls of his time to be too uninteresting as a topic of discussion but they have on two occasions discussed the princess. The first had been when she knocked out Lu Su's horse and the second when discussions came about a possible betrothal to his lord. Her jealousy was illogical and her husband had not shown any other interest, but she couldn't help but "accidentally" drop her mask as she entered the women's quarters. She merely sighed when she heard the women gasp and stared while she took her sweet time to dust off her mask and put it on. The princess' serving maids and even the two women were surprised that her looks are nothing like how the rumors perceive her to be.
So began the strange story of how she pretended to be ugly to test Zhuge Liang and how now, in his possessive nature, he had continued veiling and masking her to prevent male eyes from seeing her beautiful face and thus, preventing them from coveting her. She really had no idea how these people came up with their stories. When she teased him about this as they prepared to sleep for the night, he looked at her seriously and said, "I honestly don't know how much veiling and masking you comes from solely protecting you or if there's truth to those rumors that I'm just a jealous possessive husband." He replied honestly. Despite the fact that she knew she should feel angered by his admission, she can't help but feel more secure in her place in his life.
The night when Xiao Qiao left for Cao Cao's camp, before going off to play guqin with Zhou Yu before the battle, Zhuge Liang looked at his wife with grief in his eyes. "I don't know if Zhou Yu can continue on without Xiao Qiao. In fact, I don't think I can continue on without you, if I were in his shoes." He told her.
After the battle of Chi Bi (Red Cliff), Zhuge Liang asked his wife if they could adopt his nephew, the younger son of his brother, Zhuge Qiao, an adorable four year old. Yue Ying, of course, gave her assent. She knows how he feels, of how fragile and utterly mortal humans were after seeing two battles with so many deaths.
Zhuge Jin, who was serving Sun Quan asked for his lord's permission, which the latter readily gave, seeing that he also planned to marry his sister off to Liu Bei to secure their fragile alliance. Thus, the married couple finally had a son.
Zhuge Liang and Yue Ying took to parenthood like ducks to water. Zhuge Liang took to having his son ride his shoulders as he went about his daily tasks. Yue Ying would often have to steal the boy from her husband to help him in his studies, which Zhuge Jun, now a ranked officer in Liu Bei's army, found too early. While both are often busy with tasks, not only around the sizeable property Liu Bei gave them, but in Liu Bei's war efforts; the family took the time to eat their morning meals together.
Zhuge Liang is now 47 years old, despite looking younger than his years (given the fact that he is a wizard), his eyes reveals the fact that he is tired. Cao Cao had been dead for 7 years, his lord, Liu Bei had been dead for 4. He had now been Prime Minister for the past 5 years. Liu Bei told him to take over as ruler if his son, Liu Shan proved to be incompetent. As it is, the boy turned out to be a wastrel and had been as incompetent as his father feared, but Zhuge Liang continued to serve him loyally, in what most can see as loyalty to the boy's father.
Many of the generals he'd served with had already died. Zhang Fei had even died by the hands of his subordinates, which led Zhuge Liang to bid his wife to stay at their home. Thus, he did not know that the last time he stayed with her that in his tiredness, he'd forgotten to cast the contraception charm. While he often came home to check in on things, his wife deliberately hid her pregnancy until the baby passed the second trimester. She gave birth to their first son, Zhuge Zhan.
But with this joy comes sorrow, for a year later their adopted son, the one they will always consider to be their first born, would die. Many more problems would follow in the front, which would lead to her husband to demote himself three grades lower given the fact that he lost a strategic position. But as they lost one son, they would gain another as Yue Ying, aged 47, gave birth to their second son, Zhuge Huai. Her husband was already 49. These two boys were the pride and joy of their father's heart but the rest of him was divided in the struggle to maintain the kingdom that Liu Bei left and keep the plans they had together.
Her husband was only 54 years old when he died, of an airborne illness he caught and from fatigue as he worked himself into exhaustion. He had made preparations on whom to succeed him, plans for the kingdom and even plans for his family. Yue Ying was angry, at her husband for not taking care of himself and making her stay away, thinking that she might catch the same illness and at her brother in law for not telling her sooner. As she held his body before they carry his body back to the capital, a strong light engulfed her, which had her brother in law rushing inside the tent with a few other officers. Slowly, before their eyes, Zhuge Liang's wife disappeared.
It took Professor Dumbledore and the Unspeakables several days to get Hermione back from where she came from. When they did, they found her on the corridor where she disappeared from wearing clothes that Dumbledore surmised came from Ancient China and she was crying her heart out. She refused to have her parents informed of what happened and did not tell her friends of what she went through. She merely said she disappeared in one of the vanishing cabinets. Apparently, a seventh year Slytherin cast a spell at her, which reacted with the time turner she had around her neck.
Despite living through a lifetime in another era, Hermione was back to being the 14 year old girl she was when she left, at least, in appearances. When she told them what happened to her, the Unspeakables theorized that time is not as linear as one might think and that she probably occupied another body in that particular time and age, seeing as her body did not belong there. Thus, when she returned to her proper place, she returned to her proper body.
But Hermione herself was irrevocably changed. She was no longer too aggressive in voicing out what she knows, in fact she rarely answers the teachers' questions unless nobody comes forward to answer. She stopped nagging her friends to do their work but instead focused on her own and when they seek her help in answering homework, she'd point out that she'd help them come upon the answer but not to supply it readily. She became more dignified, more mature and more perceptive. She also started having a different goal. She asked her parents to enroll her in a correspondence school where she would be able to continue on with her regular non-magical studies akin to homeschooling as she continues with her magical ones. With her perseverance, she finished her A-Levels faster than she finished her magical education. She studied Mandarin, Chinese history and when she came across the folklores about her husband and in some parts about her, she cried tears of laughter at how rumors somehow become historical facts as time goes by.
Despite not wanting them to, some boys paid her attention, she even went to the Yule Dance with Viktor Krum. As usual Ron was jealous. But none of these really felt "real" to her. She all turned them down and shied away from their attentions, she had even told Ron pointblank that she only sees him as a brother. He spluttered at this, denying adamantly that that wasn't the reason why he got angry. But she kept on repeating this mantra to him that eventually they went back to normal.
Her old clothes, the ones she wore from the Han Dynasty from when she came back home were hidden in a compartment in her trunk, spelled for preservation. These were the clothes she wore when she grieved for her husband. Despite being a young, supposedly never been married minor, Hermione Granger, is still a grieving widow to a man who died a good 1760 years before.
After Hogwarts, she studied Oriental Studies at Oxford University. When she came to China for a study, she surprised scholars at her knowledge of Ba-Shu Chinese, the original form of Sichuanese, which while extinct can still be learned through the materials left behind by the Han Dynasty in its literature. She spent most of her time in China studying about the Zhuge clan, her sons' fates (crying that her eldest died early with her grandson in tow) and the Han Dynasty and even wrote her paper on it. While there, she went to Zhuge Liang's tomb at the Wuhou Temple and cried her heart out.
Meanwhile, back home, Ronald Weasley just got married to his childhood sweetheart, Lavander Brown while Harry and Ginny Potter awaited the birth of their first child. Hermione stood as maid of honor in their wedding and she and Ron are to be the child's godparents.
At the age of 21, Hermione finally earned a degree in Oriental Studies and continued on with her graduate studies at Harvard University (her father's dream school), taking up Masters in History. She finally accepted to meet up with the guy her roommate wants to set her up with. She was still uncomfortable with it but she realized she has to move on. She sent up a prayer to Zhuge Liang, given that people considered him a minor deity now, and begged for his forgiveness, telling him that while she will always love him, she probably ought to move on.
He seemingly sent his answer in form of a guy she accidentally poured her Java Chip Frappucino on. "I'm so sorry!" She apologized. "No, no, it's okay. I wasn't looking at where am going," replied the guy with a slight Japanese accent. He looked at her and grinned. She then looked at him stunned, taken aback by his appearance. "This is not a pick up line, I assure you. But I feel like I've known you for a lifetime." He said almost breathlessly. Hermione almost felt tears at her eyes. "No, I understand what you mean. I feel the same way too."
Forgetting his dripping suit and the mess of coffee between them, the man extended his hand. "I'm Takeshi Yamamoto. I teach Japanese Studies, and you are?" Hermione shook his hand. "Hermione Granger, I'm a graduate student." Takeshi smiled. "I lost you your coffee, would you like to have coffee with me." Hermione smiled sheepishly and followed him in line. She feels as if she'll always follow him where he leads.
* Ba-Shu Chinese became extinct during the Ming dynasty. I'm just guessing what dialect he spoke.
* 黄 Huang- means yellow
A/N: I think I don't need to tell you that Takeshi Yamamoto looks a lot like Takeshi Kaneshiro, do I?