This was for the recent, 2017 hp-dark arts horror fest on live journal.
Title: The Enchanted Tsarevich
Prompt: #8: Draco travels back in time to stop Voldemort's death
Pairing(s)/Character(s): Draco Malfoy/Hermione Granger
Word count and/or medium used: 3,032
Disclaimer: Harry Potter characters are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: "Let me tell you a story, love." In the aftermath of the second Wizarding War, a new Dark Lord has risen. But this is one regime that Hermione Granger has no intention of ending.
A/N: I've written horror before, but this is just twisted.
"Awful things happen to wizards who've meddled with time."
If she closed her eyes, she could still see it; a cascade of light, colour, magic, and blood. After months of planning, scheming, and watching him from her gilded cage, the night of the Revival Ceremony had finally come. She was ready.
Music drifted through the halls of her pseudo home; a haunting lullaby only heard in this part of the world during the festival of Samhain. The guests wore masks to hide their identities; they were not the usual type of Death Eaters, however, but those of newly devout wizards and witches who had gathered for the time of rebirth. It was this auspicious day that would mark the return of their Dark Lord. For hours, they had been celebrating while the Celtic druids chanted; their host was about to use forbidden magic that would make Voldemort look like a fluffy bunny by comparison.
Like guests at the Mad Hatter's tea party, they looked upon the evening's festivities with maniacal glee; poised but hungry with dark desires, they waited for a sign that would never come.
It was time. She closed her eyes and focused her mind.
Accidental magic was a phenomenon reserved solely for underaged wizards and witches, but Hermione Granger wasn't called the brightest witch of her age, for nothing. She found a way around it. It had been inside her all along.
Roaring flames of green crashed over the gathered guests, but they didn't scream; mouths open, eyes wide in shock, and their magic breaking under the pressure of the ceremony. The epicentre was an explosion of light and washes of pigmented colour as time itself seemed to freeze.
This wasn't supposed to happen.
The music stopped; only the sound of the raging fire could be heard as Hermione braced herself for the worst. He would not let this go unpunished. Fear coursed through her as they made eye contact. Lust, love, and obsession; she couldn't separate them from each other as she stared into those unfathomable, grey eyes. Eyes she loved as much as she hated. He held her here against her will – their relationship was twisted and irrational, but after so long of only being with him, she would have no-one else.
Hermione took the time to appraise his appearance as those eyes continued to watch her; his platinum hair off-set the emerald green of his robes, covered in the soot of the green flames as he made no move to run from the heat racing toward him. There was nothing either of them could do about it anyway, and Hermione cried silent tears as Draco Malfoy vanished into the fire.
"Do you belong to me?"
"Do you love me?"
"And, you live to please me?"
"So, you would do anything for me?"
"And I would do anything for you."
"But you have to be a good girl."
Hermione Granger nodded her head mechanically. "I know. I–"
"Are you a good girl, Granger?"
"Tell me, my love, are you a good girl?"
The edge in his voice sent vibrations through her body – a promise of the blood to come. Her reply was meek. "N-no."
"Tell me you're a bad girl."
"I'm a bad girl."
"Louder, like you mean it, love."
She forced the words out, trying to sound angry. "I'm a bad girl."
"Yes, you are. And why are you a bad girl, Granger?"
He waited expectantly as she fought against his compulsion, in vain.
"I broke the rules." She let out a breathy groan.
"Be more specific."
"I lied to you."
"Yes, and what else did you do?"
Hermione continued to struggle against his voice in her head, even though he always won in the end; he'd developed a nasty habit of not speaking out loud to her when she angered him like this. This was more unnerving than the fact that he claimed to love her while treating her like a slave. This way, he could control her while patronising her; his Imperius was the strongest on record since Voldemort's regime. Even Harry Potter couldn't fight this off forever. It made her feel less like a failure, but she hated herself for this weakness, regardless. She whimpered, physically ill as she continued to fight him. Hermione wanted to confess her sins, but also didn't; the contradiction rose in her throat like bile and she coughed out what he wanted to hear, fighting to breathe.
"I killed you."
The silent tears dissipated; now she sobbed uncontrollably, hugging herself tightly as the full weight of her betrayal hit her. If he had not discovered the secrets behind the Philosopher's Stone, he would be dead now. Shortly after the second Wizarding War, she had discovered Nicholas Flamel's journal, and the secrets that Dumbledore had hidden from the world were laid bare before her. Her brilliance coupled with his natural affinity for alchemy – they were a volatile and powerful combination.
His obsession for her had ruined any chance she'd had at a normal life. But Hermione also blamed herself.
The Hermione Granger was stronger than this. She was a fighter. She had held out for months against his initial mental assault; the very real fear that he would learn her darkest secret, kept her from breaking. It was a morning much like this one, where they'd stood on the battlements he'd had added to Hogwarts after the fall of the Order, covered in snow and warmed by magic, that he'd finally broken her.
Her greatest weakness was those she loved, after all.
So, he discovered her secret and everything changed. She still fought him, but now he always broke her; now he knew how to control her.
"Let me tell you a story, love."
Breaking out of her stupor, Hermione remembered where she was. Their bedroom still overlooked Hogwarts, as a home away from Malfoy Manor – his childhood home merely served a military purpose these days. She had not been there for years, and he never stayed more than a few hours at a time.
She watched as Draco Malfoy placed a music box on her vanity and waved his wand at it; the music was not the one from the night before, when she'd slaughtered his followers, as she'd feared. His guests were gone, and whatever remained of their charred bodies had been magicked away by the house elves, but she could still smell them outside the comfort of her cage.
Hermione closed her eyes, letting the music wash over her like a welcomed lover; she was frighteningly aware that Draco had conditioned her to react to this melody. It was her punishment, but he wanted her to feel pleasure at the sound of it.
"The Enchanted Tsarevich." He projected his thoughts to her, talking to her like she was a child, waiting for a bedtime story. "Once upon a time, a merchant made promises to bring gifts back to his three daughters when he returned from his travels."
He paused and she frowned. The Russian version of Beauty and the Beast?
He chuckled. "Nothing so Muggle. He was a greedy merchant, my love, caught trespassing on private land while picking flowers for his youngest daughter. Your Muggle story has a happy ending where love of a beast wins out to defeat an invisible enemy. This is a true story, where the merchant stole a beloved, magical rose, and was hunted down to pay for his crime. But the cowardly Muggle begged for his life, offering his daughters up as a sacrifice in his stead."
Hermione closed her eyes tightly, hating this story already.
"Sorry to burst your Muggle-loving bubble." Liar. "The man deserved to die for what he did, and the wizard he stole from told him so. The rose had been plucked and would wither away because of that selfish Muggle. But offering his youngest and most beautiful daughter up to the beast won the foul Muggle his life. You see, it became apparent to the wizard that the youngest daughter was in fact a Muggle-born witch. She would undoubtedly discover her powers and kill the wizard once she discovered this."
Draco glared at her for her thoughts. "But instead of the furry beast you Muggles conjured up to coddle your sprog, the beastly prince was actually a three-headed snake. He was a descendant of Salazaar himself."
The melody from the music box continued to force Hermione to listen and believe.
"The daughter complied to her father's selfish wish, wanting to see more of this magic to see if she can steal it for herself. Her beauty and wit beguiled the enchanted prince and she convinced him to let her visit her family one day, in the hopes of stealing away with his magic."
Draco paused again, perhaps for dramatic affect. His eyes never left hers, and she wondered what he was thinking.
"Heartbroken from the betrayal, the prince attempted to kill himself, but was thwarted when the girl returned. The magic she had stolen brought her back to him, to return what was taken. But again, he spared her life, because he needed an heir and she convinced him she had learnt the error of her ways. Wary of her previous treachery, he cast the Imperius charm on her to make sure she never ran away again."
Draco reached out and pulled her to him and hugged her tightly. Hermione leaned backwards, relaxing against him, and focusing on the warmth emanating from his body. Hermione forced her mind to comprehend what his story meant for her imminent punishment. He was identifying with the prince from the Wizarding version of Beauty and the Beast, and she was the treacherous Muggle-born who claimed to love him when she didn't.
'But I do.'
Hermione pushed that thought to the back of her head. It would do no good to give him ideas.
"You kept me from my prize without fully understanding what that prize really was."
His lips were on her ear, kissing their way down the back of her throat, and she coughed lightly. "You… wanted Voldemort alive?"
Hermione's eyes widened and she twisted her head to look at him, surprised. "No?"
But he was using the Revival Ceremony to go back in time! He talked about Voldemort's power! He'd been planning to bring the snake back to life!
"You wanted his power?"
Even with the knowledge of immortality, true power escaped him. Was he really that desperate? He had everything he could want, now. What more could Voldemort possibly offer him?
He chuckled and realisation dawned on her. Draco had planned to go back in time and grab the last vestiges of Voldemort's power as he died and bring it to the present without anyone from the past being any the wiser. He wasn't trying to change anything.
"Why bother going back at all?"
Voldemort had made so many Horcruxes that he was not fully human by the time he was killed – after the Battle of Hogwarts, the snake had fled and then attempted to create more. He became a shell of his former self, making it easier for his enemies to hunt him down and turn him inside out. Literally.
But what power could he possibly have that would interest Draco Malfoy? With the Elder Wand at his disposal and a new generation more loyal than Death Eaters, there was no need to expend that much magical energy just to go back and get more.
Hermione had known, living with the man for years, that he'd grown power hungry, but this was insane.
"You need to be punished."
Yes – she had killed his most loyal, and now the blood must be paid. He wouldn't kill her – he had never physically assaulted her, it wasn't in him to do that – but he had ways of making her wish he would. Hermione avoided his gaze, trembling; but he had no sympathy.
"You need to be punished." He projected into her mind again, his voice echoing in her head.
Hermione sniffled, nodding. "I know."
"You will unlock the cage."
Hermione shook her head vehemently. When she'd first thought to interrupt his ritual, she'd decided any punishment would be worth preventing the revival of Voldemort. But this had been a complete waste of time, and now she had to…
"Please, no." He hadn't forced her to do that for months.
"Tell me you're a bad girl, love."
She sobbed as he handed her the familiar, vine wood wand. "No, please, no."
"I…I'm a bad girl."
"And what do bad girls deserve?"
"To be punished."
"No, please Draco." Hermione let out a shuddering breath, trying to control herself. "Please don't make me–"
"You are going to open the cage, Granger."
She whimpered, feeling the compulsion probing her mind and urging her forward. "Y-yes."
He made her walk. They left their bedroom, made their way down the staircase outside the hallway that joined their room to the west wing, and turned sharply, heading for the dungeons. She couldn't make her feet pause, let alone stop, and Hermione spent the next ten minutes trying to prepare herself for what she was about to do.
The dungeons were spelled silent so that anyone above ground level didn't have to be bothered hearing the screaming or moaning of Draco Malfoy's war prisoners. He had the allegiance of the Dementors, like Voldemort had done, but he also had a measure of control over them. They guarded all his prisons, and kept the Muggle world subservient. They were also prevented from breeding further without his permission.
"Open the cage, love."
Hermione hesitated, standing in front of the door to the permanent residence of her once upon a time friend. He no longer looked up at her with hope when she visited. He sat in the corner, counting his fingers and toes from start to finish, and then repeating the process – over and over again. She doubted he even realised she was here, anymore "Please, no."
Draco's hand rested on the small of her back, and she shivered at the sudden contact. "Do it."
The scrape of metal unused to being moved pierced her eardrums, but Hermione only had eyes for the prisoner who jumped reflexively at the sound. He was aware of her now, but still refused to look up. "I... I'm sorry."
"Don't be sorry."
"I can't help it."
Draco sighed and pressed his hand further into her back, without causing pain. "Just do it, Granger."
As though he had heard her name, the prisoner stirred to life, and those dark eyes turned up to look at her. But still, he said nothing. Hermione took a deep breath to steel herself, unable to tear her eyes away from the ragged, dirty, and pitiful appearance of her old friend. Impatient, Draco grabbed her elbow.
"Raise your wand."
She whimpered. "N-no, please."
"Don't you love me?"
She couldn't focus, the image of Neville beginning to blur through the haze of her tears. "Please, don't make me do this."
"But you love me so much. Don't you?"
"Y-yes!" She struggled not to scream the word, but it was true. Gods, it killed her but she did love him.
"Then raise your wand."
Her hand shook and she struggled to control her breathing, but she did as she was told.
"You know what curse he deserves. Do it."
She had cast the Unforgivables at his prodding before, and knowing that this was more about her punishment than Neville's, Hermione let the Crucio slip from her mouth. She didn't mean it, so it didn't have the full effect, but over the years, Draco had taught her to hurt them all, regardless. Neville cried out once and then writhed silently; his mind was almost gone, and that disconnection with his body helped him bear this.
After what felt like an eternity, Draco spoke into her mind, again. "Do you want to stop, love?"
That sounded like a trick question. "Yes."
"Then end it."
Hermione released the spell and turned her head to watch as Draco stepped up to the cage bars. He looked thoughtful.
"He is as good as dead, now. Finish him and end it."
When she didn't respond, Draco's slender fingers snaked under her chin and he glared at her. "DO IT!"
Without looking at Neville, Hermione's hand trembled as the curse forced its way past her lips, almost like it had a mind of its own. Green light, much like the light she'd used to burn away his followers, emanated from her wand and lit up the dark hallway. Soundlessly, Neville Longbottom left this world.
He was dead, but…Hermione felt a sense of relief, too. He would no longer be tortured. He could finally be with his parents, with Luna, and with the rest of their friends who were fortunate enough to avoid a world dominated by Draco Malfoy.
Hermione's vision blurred and she felt herself falling; strong arms encased her and she felt the familiar sensation of being pressed very hard from all directions. They were back in their bedroom. Draco carried her over to their bed and carefully placed her on her side before climbing in next to her. She clung to him as she cried and he just held her as she let it all out.
Killing her friend was torment enough, but what she really hated was how relieved she was that he was gone. She justified it with him being at peace now, but she would never join him; Draco would never let her go, let alone die. She was as precious to him as his own life.
Once her sobs began to subside, Draco opened his mouth and finally spoke to her. "You understand why I am doing all this, don't you, love?"
She nodded her head, all the anger, hate, and pain fading away; she was too exhausted to care about it anymore.
She snuggled into him as he rested a hand on her bulging stomach and kissed her forehead. "For our son."