Summary: "If you touch Tom, I promise you, your nightmares will become a reprieve from your reality," she lowered her voice threateningly at the figure before her. A shrill, manic laugh pervaded the space, "Gone soft for the enemy have you, Granger?"
Warnings: This story is going to get exceedingly dark as it goes. This is a slow burn time travel Dark!Tomione AU, no redemption arc. It has chapters in Part I that take place during the first and second World Wars. You can expect things like: Slash, Violence, Death, Brutal Murder, Torture, Manipulation, Sexual Content including consensual BDSM in detail (mostly later), PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Personality Disorders, Blatant Psychopathy/Sociopathy and more. So basically, if it gets too dark for you, or you think it might, please don't read. In Part I I'm not going to hold back how dark the World Wars, especially WWII, were. And how going through traumatic events can reshape a person. I will be writing these kinds of scenes with as much realism as I can muster and try to do them justice. Hermione will be changed by the events of Part I and will not be the Hermione Granger we all know and love. In Part II, I won't be making Tom into a nice guy. We're dealing with the OG Death Eaters, the Knights of Walpurgis.
HUGE thank-you to Catherine Morgenstern for being the most phenomenal beta that ever lived, in my humble opinion.
Updates every two weeks for now. Might change down the line.
History never really says goodbye. History says, 'See you later.'
Cold, abrasive wind swept across a grassy plane nestled deep into the English countryside not far from York. Over the past several hours rain had fallen from dark thunder clouds and drenched the land, leaving the fresh scent of cleansed earth in it's wake. Jarring gusts made it over the tall foliage and stroked the small figure, unconscious and shivering under its uncaring ministrations. It was there in this field that Hermione Granger woke; a trembling, damp mess.
Groggily, she opened her eyes. A sharp pain shot through her temple and was mirrored in her lower back when she fell forward clutching her head. Only after having put herself through the unnecessary, additional pain of straining her back further did she register the ache that seemed to pulse through her entire body. A throbbing that felt as though she had just gone a few rounds with Gwamp and clearly hadn't been the victor.
The first thing she noticed was the darkness and if the moon was any indication it was nearing midnight. Wind ghosted around her and made her wet clothes stick to her clammy skin uncomfortably. She reached for her wand intent on remedying her predicament. She gripped the familiar wood in her right hand and spoke the incantation necessary to warm herself, and then cast a lumos allowing the light to illuminate her surroundings.
Hermione had no idea what had happened, or why she woke up where she did, she would never typically be this discombobulated or irresponsible. If she were to hypothesize, however, she assumed it was somehow connected to her twentieth birthday party this evening.
"Get up, Granger," she told herself before ignoring the pain and pushing herself up to her knees. She huffed a few breaths and stabilized herself as best as she could while trying to prepare herself mentally before going a step further by attempting to stand up. She was still wearing her party dress from the time she'd spent at Grimmauld Place. At the sight of her dress, a memory flashed to the forefront of her mind.
"HERMIONE! Happy Birthday!" Ginny squealed happily.
Hermione smiled genuinely at her friend, even though the air was tense between her and Ron as they stepped out of the floo. Ginny grabbed Hermione, pulling her into a tight hug which the brunette reciprocated eagerly while pretending not to notice how Ron silently walked out of the room before disappearing around the corner.
Pushing down the feelings of self-loathing and bitterness that threatened to assault her, Hermione kept her attention solely on Ginny and gushed, perhaps a bit overzealously, "I feel like I haven't spoken to you in ages! Harry told me you were getting ready to try out for the Harpies?"
The beautiful ginger grinned proudly, pulling Hermione by the arm towards the living room, "Next week! Can you imagine? I've been training outside the Burrow with the boys almost every night for a solid month."
"Ginny, you will do spectacularly," Hermione encouraged, despite her discomfort at being dragged into the party before she was ready.
Ginny beamed, winking at her friend as she spoke. "If Hermione Granger thinks I can do it."
The living room, once they entered it, was packed with friends from the Order and school. George was steadily waltzing Angelina around the room in the most awful Ballroom style dancing that Hermione had ever seen performed in her entire life. She hoped he was only joking, it was his forte, and although he was still mourning the loss of Fred, he seemed to have Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes' revenue up and thriving.
Hermione spotted Harry, conversing with Minister Shacklebolt in the corner of the room. They seemed to be in a heated debate so she chose to keep away from her best friend for the moment. Instead, she noticed Neville by the drinks table and went over to catch up with him.
"Hi, Neville, how's apprenticing with Professor Sprout?"
She'd obviously asked the right question, because Neville turned to her with the largest grin on his face and a blush. He waxed poetic about plants and how wonderful Pomona had been, teaching him everything he needed to know about Herbology and grooming him to take over when she retires. He'd gone on for nearly twenty minutes before Minister Shacklebolt pulled her away, seemingly finished conversing with Harry, apologizing to Neville for stealing her. Neville had only laughed and headed over to where Hannah Abbot stood, speaking with Luna Lovegood.
Hermione was then pulled into a conversation about how utterly tedious being Minister truly was.
"Hermione, it's insanity! Now that most of the ramifications of the war have been straightened out and the Death Eaters are all in prison, it's all meetings with foreign dignitaries and fundraising dinners."
Biting her lip in an attempt to quell her rising anger, Hermione forced herself to smile sympathetically at the Minister. "After a few more years you'll be able to retire the position, perhaps even head back to the Auror department."
Kingsley looked as if that were highly unlikely, but chose not to respond.
Unable to repress her ire, and nursing her swollen lip from where she'd bitten down just a tad too hard, she decided to speak up. "Kingsley—off the record, I would sincerely appreciate it if you looked over that Azkaban renovation and parole proposal I've been working on."
It was a well-known fact in their group that Hermione Granger, of all people, opposed the post war treatment of the Death Eaters. Most had been given upwards of two life sentences in Azkaban. There was no parole option for good behavior—they were meant to sit there and drift further into insanity until they perished. A year after the end of the war, having finally graduated Hogwarts, she had pulled strings with Kingsley for a tour of Azkaban. The Death Eaters, though far from being her favorite people, were in chains; bloodied and mere shells of the men and women they had once been. Some, like Rabastan Lestrange for example, had regarded her with pure animalistic ferocity and had snarled (actually snarled!) at her as she passed. She would have attributed this to the fact that he was Rabastan Lestrange and hated her on principle for who she was, if she hadn't witnessed an Auror zap the man with a wave of magically conjured electricity seconds later.
Nothing had sat right with her after that. Prison wasn't meant to be a permanent solution to a person's wrongdoings. It was supposed to be a punishment of confinement and loss of personal freedom until the lesson was learned. Always the 'bleeding heart' she'd taken up arms against the mistreatment of prisoners, called for repairs to Azkaban (proper ventilation and a full-time healer available at all hours), therapy, and parole for all prisoners who showed good behavior, by evaluating them every five years.
She had been laughed out of the Wizengamot the first time.
The second time she'd been thrown out.
This would make her third attempt.
"Hermione, no one is going to consider a parole plan for Death Eaters. They're undeserving of it, you should know that better than anyone," Kingsley scolded, bringing her out of her thoughts and back to the task at hand.
She did not back down, instead opting to look him straight in the eye. "Prison doesn't erase the problem, it only creates worse. Prison was supposed to be confinement; a punishment for bad behavior, to teach them a lesson before earning their freedom back. What can the Death Eaters take from this lesson? How can the learn from this? Reform because of it, if they get no chance to do so? The purpose of prison was rehabilitation, not permanent institutionalization."
Kingsley pinched the bridge of his nose - clearly exasperated with Hermione's persistence. "Some of your proposed legislation does make sense. Azkaban is in dire need of reparations, and there does need to be medical staff on hand. I will even put a personal stamp of recommendation on your proposals for employing mental health treatment staff at Azkaban." He looked at her unappeased, scowling face and sighed. "There is no way the Wizengamot will go for the parole option. Not yet. If you try again in five years they might be more open to it— that is, of course, if any prisoners have shown exceptional, amicable behavior."
Hermione wasn't satisfied, but she let it go for the moment, deciding that arguing with the Minister wouldn't get her anywhere tonight, birthday or not.
When she finally got a moment's rest, it was already half past ten and she was growing tired. She'd been working double shifts in the office to pick up the slack of other employees for weeks and she had to be back at it once again tomorrow. It was past time for her to sleep.
Hermione suddenly recalled that she hadn't seen Ron since he had flooed in. She'd been vaguely aware of this all night, but hadn't had the time or the desire to go looking for him.
The shock of her knees hitting the ground jarred Hermione out of her recollection. Coming back to the present, she was still no closer to discovering the truth of what had happened. The memories that had come to her hadn't given her any useful information. They'd only alerted her to the question of Ron's whereabouts.) She groaned as her muscles went from aching to being a jittery mess. She slapped her hand to the ground, sighing when mud caked through her spread fingers, and pushed herself into a standing position once again. Taking a tentative step forwards, she felt her legs give out, once again sending her to her knees.
Growling in frustration, Hermione slapped her hand against the hard ground once more and allowed a few silent tears to escape her. Irritation flooded her senses and, instead of panicking, she forced back the tears, pushed herself up to sit back on her calves and reached into her bra. She dug past the extra pocket she'd stitched into the side of the left cup, feeling around and then produced a miniaturized bag with a slight grin.
"Engorgio," she stated clearly, pointing her wand at the bag and watching as it swelled back to its natural size. She could almost kiss herself for the paranoia that had yet to leave her following the war. She never left home without her beaded bag.
"Accio tent. Accio Pepper-Up potion."
She waved her wand to erect the tent. Hoping to feel better quickly, Hermione pulled the stopper off the Pepper-Up potion and downed it in one greedy go. It wasn't the best tasting liquid and it emphasised just how parched she was that she enjoyed drinking the vile thing. She crawled into the tent as quickly as her aching body would allow before summoning a bottle of water from the bag.
Now that she was out of the frigid wind, Hermione could think more rationally. She pointed her wand at the door of the tent and summoned her patronus.
"Harry! I don't know what happened, but I'm lost somewhere I don't recognise and my body is too weak to apparate."
The otter, despite having a recipient, did not move.
That was when Hermione realized she was in deep shit as another memory bombarded her.
After a few minutes of asking her friends if anyone had seen Ron, without results, Hermione began to do what Ron said she did best; worry. No one had seen him since the beginning of the party, not even Harry. Instead of kicking up a fuss and organizing a search party, she decided it was best to go looking for him herself first.
Walking along the familiar and yet so different halls of Grimmauld Place, Hermione opened each door as she went, in search for her boyfriend. Ron and she had been together since the end of the war— nearly four years at this point. It wasn't the easiest of relationships; they found that they were at each other's throats more often than not.
And things had been strained for the past year, ever since the miscarriage.
Ron blamed her for it. She'd spent too much time working for the Ministry and not enough time taking care of herself. Too much stress, his mother had said, and he'd mirrored the sentiment vehemently, throwing it back in her face when she'd come to him, a sobbing wreck, after being told she'd lost the child.
After twenty minutes of searching inside the house without luck, she decided to check if he'd escaped to the back patio. It was possible, he'd taken up smoking muggle fags when he'd seen her father do it three years ago after he'd gotten his memories back. Ron had been enthralled with how… settled ... Mr. Granger had become after a few puffs when he'd been raving angrily at Hermione not a minute prior.
Hermione made Ron smoke outside their house, unable to stand the smell.
She stepped out, jumping at a crack of thunder in the distance. Taking a step farther, she realized just how dark it had become. It was going on eleven in the evening now, and the dark clouds were obstructing the moon. There was no light outside and the stillness before the storm was eerie. Hermione remained there a few moments longer to admire the utter silence.
Just as Hermione decided to walk back inside, because Ron clearly wasn't outside, she heard a faint noise coming from just around the corner where the yard and the house met. She quietly crept over the deck, casting a silencing charm on her feet, intent on finding out what the origin was.
As she got closer, she could make out low grunting. A timbre she knew well—from Quidditch practices she'd been forced to watch and hearing the same disgusting noise on top of her several times over the past two years. It was clearly Ron.
She wondered what on earth he could be doing in the dark. Practicing Quidditch was unlikely without any light to see what he was doing, and if he were playing when there was lightning, Hermione would plant a swift kick up his backside. Ron was daft, but he wasn't that foolish.
One word from his lips halted her approach.
The woman whose name had been groaned out in a voice that was meant only for bedrooms responded in a similar tone, breathily uttering his name in return.
The memory flooded Hermione's senses as Ron's betrayal hit her. It was jarring. She'd never thought Ron capable of such cruelty. They'd had their problems of course; their friendship hadn't been an easy one most of the time. Their romantic relationship only deviated from that by the addition of sex to ease the tension between them. And that was a whole other problem they hadn't addressed.
In short—they were not meant to be. Hermione had already known this. They had been steadily working on that and coming to terms with it. It came as no surprise that he'd found someone else. What hurt was that he thought so little of her, cared so little, that he could stomach betraying her by falling into the arms of another and not even having the decency to break up with her before that. She had fought the war with him, she'd stood by his side for years, loved him for a decade.
But she was not worth his respect, or deserving of dignity?
She pushed back the tears that had welled up once again, deciding she needed to focus on why her patronus had not gone to Harry.
Something was clearly wrong; things still weren't adding up. She mentally took stock of the things she'd learned so far. She was in a field, it was night, Ron was fucking Padma Patil, and she felt as though she'd been struck by li—wait. . . struck by lightning?
The force with which the memory hit her was staggering.
Silent tears slid down Hermione's freckled cheeks as her hand came shakily upwards and collided with her mouth before she could let out a noise. The two that were just yards away from her still hadn't noticed her presence and were romping like two sixth years testing the limits on how long it would take for Filch to make it down the corridor and spot them before they had to run.
Hermione didn't know what to do, so instead of confronting him in the act, she turned and calmly stepped back inside the house. She pressed her back against the door for a moment to catch her breath and file away what she'd seen long enough to make it home. She would confront him later—perhaps after calling in to work the next morning? Or tonight, when he finally made it home and tried to crawl into their bed and pull her against his naked torso.
How long had this been going on, she wondered.
Hermione took a deep breath and returned to the party to say her goodbyes. Harry seemed to pick up on her distress and pulled her aside just before she stepped into the floo.
"You're not alright, are you?" he asked, pulling her into a tight hug.
She shook her head. "No, but I'd rather not talk about it right now, Harry."
His bottle-green eyes appraised her wearily for a few moments, before he released a pent up breath and stepped away. "Alright—but I want to hear about it tomorrow. Meet me for lunch?"
Hermione had nodded her assent, offering a small smile to her best friend. He returned it, saying, "I love you, Mione, have a good night and happy birthday."
"I love you too, Harry." She smiled at him and stepped into the floo, calling out her home address and disappearing in a swirl of green fire.
In the end, her home had been filled with too many memories of her and Ron from the early stages of their relationship when things had still been decent. She hated that she could see his face everywhere she looked; at the dining room table, in the kitchen, in the bathroom.
She'd avoided the bedroom altogether and hadn't even bothered to go inside to change.
Hermione found herself walking out of her apartment around eleven thirty, deciding that the air of her home was much too stifling, and headed in the direction of the nearest children's park. The rain was pouring by the time she'd made it there, but she trudged on, ignoring it completely. Even though she noticed the flash of lightning and rumbling thunder in the distance.
The walk wasn't terribly long. When she'd made it Hermione sat down in one of the swings and contemplated her life. It wasn't what she wanted. Sure, she had a ministry job—mostly working as an intern until she could begin doing 'real' work. All her activism had thus far been for naught as every proposal she'd made continued to be squashed by unyielding bigotry. Her home life wasn't much better, nor was her sex life.
In short, she was not living up to her potential.
With bitter resolve to change things tomorrow, starting with the dumping of one Ronald Bilius Weasley, Hermione stood from her seat. Her feet landed in a large puddle of water that had coagulated underneath the swing where children dug their feet in to slow themselves down. Her hands wrapped around the metal chains to steady herself as her shoes seemed to sink into the wet ground.
A crack of lightning flashed and Hermione's head flew up just in time to see it strike the swing set she was touching.
And then the world went black.
She was going through electric shock, it was a wonder she hadn't been electrocuted! This explained why her body felt as it did and her slow stream of memories. Hermione groaned and took stock of her body, looking for red marks that would indicate the electric shock externally, but finding none. She realized the Pepper-Up hadn't worked, because it was the wrong potion to take.
If this was how the Death Eaters felt when the guards of Azkaban zapped them with magic, then she would begin working twice as diligently to get that legislation passed.
But first, she had to get home. As informative as her last memory had been, it still offered no explanation for having woken in the middle of a field. She had been shocked in a children's park, not far from home. Her body wasn't yet up to the task of apparating.
Hermione realized she'd have to wait for her body to be ready before apparating home.
It had taken several hours for Hermione to feel like she could be certain she wouldn't splinch herself in the process.
It was still dark, though she believed dawn to be fast approaching. Hermione materialized to a completely unfamiliar sight, and for a moment thought she may have envisioned the wrong place. Instead of her backyard, she landed in what looked like a farm yard to her. It was dark, so she was unable to be sure, but she thought she could hear cows, and saw a lantern moving in the distance, near the place where her small house was supposed to be. Looking out over the farmland, there was only one house and it most certainly wasn't hers.
"Who goes there?" called a gruff male voice from behind the lantern that was moving closer to where Hermione stood.
Quickly, Hermione disillusioned herself and stayed perfectly still.
The man strode across the land with heavy foot falls in the wet grass, every step accentuated by deep breathing, drawing closer as he walked. He stood before her, shining his lantern around the area where she stood, holding her breath so as not to alert him to her presence. Hermione noticed many things about this man right away. He was an older gentleman with a thick grey beard that was cut just to the top of his chest. His wrinkles made him appear stern. He was clearly a working man, but not one of her neighbors.
Observing him more closely, Hermione noticed he wore a linen tunic that was open at the neck, exposing a spattering of pepper-colored chest hair. She couldn't make out the type of trousers he wore, but found it odd that he wore a shirt resembling clothing from the turn of the twentieth century. He was clearly a muggle or he would have noticed that someone stood disillusioned before him. Or at least he would have known someone had apparated there, recognising the sound.
"Damn children, 's too early in the morning for the Taylor kids; need a good Batty-Fang those brats." His heavily accented voice spoke as he turned to move away from where Hermione stood, muttering to himself about 'teaching those children a lesson' as he went.
As soon as he was far enough away, she let out a shuddering breath, fighting to control her breathing from having held it in so long. She was certain she would have to breathe and then obliviate the man when he heard it. Once she had that back under control, she thought back on the detail that had struck her the most.
The lantern had been lit with a flame.
Taking a deep breath, Hermione began to run through her options in her mind.
She knew she hadn't misjudged where she had apparated to the moment the farmer's lantern ghosted across the house as he went back inside. She recalled that structure. She was able to see it from her backyard. The simple fact that the stone farmhouse was there and intact, instead of in ruins that hadn't been touched since the end of WWII was enough to convince Hermione that she was in the past. The man's clothing and slang terms only solidified her assumption. Not even George Weasley could have set up a prank this elaborate.
How far in the past, though, she couldn't say. She'd gone far enough back that she was pre- WWII at least. Hermione shuddered to think she was in the war era, knowing that the Wizarding World had been in just as much turmoil as the muggle world during that time.
She tried not to hyperventilate at the thought of going through another war.
"First thing's first, Granger, pull yourself together; find the date," she scolded herself.
She was just about to apparate to the area around the nearest town and walk into whatever pub or inn was still open before she stopped and looked down.
"Shit," she said, staring down at her clothing. No matter what year she was in, this was not acceptable attire before at least 1980, and wearing it would surely draw unwanted attention to herself. Then she would have to use her wand and it may alert the Improper Use of Magic office. Alerting the Ministry to her, especially prior to finding out any information on her own, wouldn't be the best of ideas. Merlin, alerting the Ministry to her existence would be a threat to the future.
They might even kill her for being so far in the past, simply to protect the timeline.
Thinking quickly, Hermione pulled her bag out of the lining of her bra, restoring it to its original size and shoving her arm in, looking for her travel cloak. It would have to do until she could find something better. She had plenty of galleons on her, half of her Order of Merlin reward money.
The half that she hadn't used to buy her home. She cringed at the realization that it was gone.
She pulled the cloak tightly around herself and without further ado, Hermione apparated to the nearest town.
As she walked towards the lights of York, she wasn't overly shocked to see the streets lit up with oil lanterns. Clearly they did not have electricity in this village yet. Which meant she was at least prior to 1910. At this realization Hermione found herself on the verge of hyperventilating again as things just kept getting worse.
"Get the date, Granger, then hatch a plan." Hermione told herself, summoning every ounce of her Gryffindor bravery and looked around for an inn or a tavern.
Hermione strode through the streets, passed by a boy whose arms were loaded with papers, which he threw at each doorstep he came by. In the east, she could see the slow trickle of light rising above the horizon, casting a blue hue. It wasn't enough to illuminate the small village, but enough to know dawn was swiftly approaching. As soon as the boy was far enough away, Hermione turned towards one of the houses to snatch up the paper and moved into the candle light situated in the doorway to be able to read the print.
The headline read 'British Troops Leave Bombay for South Africa' September 19, 1899.
She'd gone back one hundred years.
"Wat's a pretty li'l fing like you doin' out this early in the mornin'?"
Hermione was jolted out of her thoughts before they spiraled by a thick Yorkshire accent. Looking up, she saw a clearly drunk man stumbling towards her, though she wasn't sure whether it was from drinking all night or drinking this early in the day. She opted for the former as he began to move closer.
Instead of talking to him, Hermione bolted.
He was behind her in an instant, following her down the streets far less gracefully than Hermione. She ran behind the building and disillusioned herself before he had a chance to turn the corner with a racing heart.
"Now where could she 'ave run off to?" The man questioned aloud, reaching up to scratch his filthy head.
He walked right past her and Hermione breathed a sigh of relief before apparating away.
Once again, Hermione Granger found herself in a tent in the Forest of Dean, hidden under thick layers of wards that would shield her from the world; muggles, wizards and animals alike. She sat on the bed she had shared countless nights with Harry, bundled up together for warmth during the winter months on the run, and cried.
She cried for her family, she cried for Harry, and for everyone who'd died in the war and everyone who'd survived it. Lastly, Hermione cried for her situation. For two years the war had been over, two whole years, and she'd accomplished none of the goals she'd aspired to. She had a shitty entry level job that took her for granted, a boyfriend who cheated on her, and now she was stranded one hundred years in the past with absolutely no one she loved by her side.
She was on her own.
Hermione pulled in a shuddering breath and felt her resolve harden.
She would not let this destroy her.
She would find a way home.
She grabbed her beaded bag from where she had left it beside the bed and pulled out a notebook and pen. She had found they were much easier to carry around in her bag and avoided ink spills. Besides, it was easier to write with a pen than with a quill anyway, if she was being completely honest.
Step One: Retrieve period clothing and get out of Britain.
Fluent languages; French, Spanish.
Passable knowledge; German.
Best destination, France.
Step Two: Create Alias, hide in the Muggle world.
Step Three: Find a way home.
Step Four: If no way home is found, assimilate.