Like so many fanfictions that feature Hermione and Bellatrix this story will include time travel. Although I have done a lot of research on JK Rowling's version of time travel I still find it rather vague and there are a lot of anomalies. So I apologise in advance for any weirdnesses in the time travel elements of the story but I have tried my best.
I don't know why I love this pairing so much but the ideas for this story have been buzzing around in my head for so long. I hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, locations or concepts.
A chilly September breeze whistled through the hallways of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as Hermione Granger wandered through them, making her way to nowhere in particular. She couldn't stop herself from scanning the sandstone walls looking for scars left behind by the battle that had raged within the building only months before. She had spent the last few months working alongside Minerva Mcgonagall rebuilding Hogwarts to her former glory. Once the reconstruction was complete most other people had rushed away from the castle, eager to distance themselves from the horrors they had encountered there during the war with Lord Voldemort. Even her own best friend Harry Potter and boyfriend Ron Weasley couldn't wait to leave, desperate to get their careers as Aurors started. For Hermione Hogwarts was the only place she could imagine being, the brunette felt as though she had unfinished business with the old building. She was sure that if she changed her mind she could walk into any job at the ministry that she wanted, her reputation as the brains of the Golden Trio preceded her. But Hermione had always treasured her education and knew that were she to leave it unfinished she would spend the rest of her life regretting it.
Although Hermione had been at Hogwarts for months the other students had only returned yesterday, classes were due to begin tomorrow giving everyone a chance to settle back in and the first years an opportunity to get themselves acquainted with the enchanted castle. During her first time at Hogwarts Hermione was used to wandering these halls and being ignored, she had never been the main attraction while Harry was around. But now that she was the only remaining member of the Golden Trio she could feel eyes on her everywhere and hear whispers around every corner. Right now for example she could sense the small group of first year Ravenclaws following her. The four girls had excitedly squeaked as she rounded the corner and they caught sight of her. Hermione had tried to lose them by picking up her pace and taking various random turns, but they seemed determined to stick at her heels whispering and giggling. The brunette witch thought that perhaps if she found somewhere to sit in the courtyard and read her book the first years might eventually get bored and leave her to her own thoughts.
"Hi Hermione" An excited voice called as she stepped outside into the crisp air. She turned to look for the source of the voice, finding a 4th or 5th year Hufflepuff boy she did not recognise looking at her expectantly.
"Erm…Hi" Hermione replied tentatively with a weak smile, trying to figure out if she had ever encountered the younger boy before. "How're you?"
"I..I'm good thank you." The boy stuttered excitedly almost tripping over in his excitement to get a step closer to the brunette. "Are you ok?"
Hermione used all of her strength to contain her sigh as she realised she did not know this boy at all. "Just fine thank you." She offered curtly before turning away from him and making her way over to one of the benches on the other side of the courtyard. The four Ravenclaw girls rushed over to the young man, even from this distance their excited chatter made its way to Hermione.
"Do you know her?" one of the girls asked in an annoyingly high pitched voice.
The Hufflepuff boy threw the girls a cocky smile. "I've seen her around the castle. When she was here, you know…before."
One of the other girls gasped "Can you believe she spoke to you?" she asked the boy enthusiastically.
"Maybe she'd talk to us if we went over to her." The annoying voiced girl said in an excited tone and all four girls huddled together and began chatting animatedly.
All of this new attention unnerved Hermione greatly; she just wanted to sit her NEWTs and be left in peace. She had done her bit for the wizarding world, she had given up a year of her life, she had spent months living out of a tent, she had been tortured at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange, she had wiped her parent's memories. Was being left alone too much to ask for? All of the eyes on her just served as a constant reminder that; although Voldemort was gone nothing was ever going to be like it was. Hermione made a spur of the moment decision to make her escape from the courtyard now before the Ravenclaw girls plucked up enough courage to come over to her. Hermione quietly stood up and headed to the one place she knew would be empty; quickly she made her way across Hogwarts' grounds treading a path she had walked many times over the last few months.
A sense of utter relief crept into Hermione's bones as she jogged up the last few steps to the owlery and slipped through the doorway. She made her way to the back of the round room and hauled herself up on to her usual windowsill, peering through the glass at the sweeping landscape that surrounded the building. The Owelry had become her sanctuary as the months had passed; the soft hooting of the owls, rustling of feathers and haunting whisper of the wind calmed her mind in a way that nothing else could. As the summer had crept by she had begun to feel suffocated by her relationship with Ron and had sought out a place where she could just be. They had spent every single day together for months as they worked tirelessly to return Hogwarts to the beautiful building they all loved. Hermione had been excited to begin with, happy to have someone next to her at night to chase away the nightmares and relieved to have a loving family in the Weasley's after losing her parents. But as weeks became months Ron's constant closeness to her had started to frustrate her to no end. His hand was too clammy as he kept it permanently clasped around her own. He took up too much of the bed; always encroaching on Hermione's side until she almost fell out every time that she moved. He always wanted to kiss her when she was in the middle of something and looked like a puppy that had been kicked when she didn't respond with the fervour he was expecting. He didn't understand the way that she felt about things, being entirely unable to get his mind around why the brunette would want to remain at Hogwarts when the new term started. Ron wanted her to get a job in the ministry with him and for them to rent a flat in wizarding London, to get their lives together started as soon as possible. But Hermione had spent too much of her life beholden to somebody else's plan and somebody else's expectations of her. She wanted to do something for herself. She and Ron were not suited to one another and Hermione had begun to believe that their relationship may have all just been a kneejerk reaction to the confusion that surrounded the Battle of Hogwarts. She had wanted so desperately to feel grounded and to feel like she had some degree of control over just one element of her life and by kissing Ron she had taken that control. If she was brutally honest with herself she hadn't expected to survive the battle so hadn't expected to have to deal with the consequences of the kiss.
As Hermione traced the Hogwart's Express track with her eyes until it disappeared behind the towering hills she prayed to whoever was listening that her feelings would change now that she had some time away from Ron. Now that she wasn't with him 24/7 she hoped some of the excitement she had originally felt might return because the thought of what would be left if they were to not work out terrified her. Ron had been her best friend and she knew they could not go back to that after they had been so intimate with each other. She was also acutely aware of the fact that it did not just affect the two of them; it would force Harry and Ginny to have to sit squarely in the middle of them and that was not a position she was prepared to put her best friends into.
Hermione squeezed her eyes shut as she felt the tears sting, trying desperately not to let them fall. She knew that if she started now she would never stop. Taking deep gulps of the cold air she managed to compose herself just as she heard footsteps tapping up the staircase leading to the owlery. Her sanctuary had been invaded. She turned her head to the side, looking at the doorway, ready to face her intruder head on. Hermione couldn't help the smile of relief that cracked her face when she caught the flash of blonde hair as Luna dreamily skipped into the room. If anyone could make her feel better it was the younger witch.
"Hi Luna" Hermione spoke softly to announce her presence to her friend. She was glad that the other girl had decided to return to Hogwarts this year, her warm nature was a great source of comfort to the bushy haired witch.
"Oh hi Hermione." Luna looked her way. "I haven't interrupted a deep thought have I? I fear I have a bad habit of doing that." The girl continued with a worried expression in her blue eyes.
Hermione released a breathy laugh. "I think you may have. But believe me; you are doing me a favour. If I'm left alone with my own thoughts for too long I start to let them get on top of me."
Luna moved closer to Hermione, smiling a crooked smile as she leant her back against the windowsill close to the brunette's feet. The Blonde witch stood looking out at the room and Hermione could see the younger girls face in profile as her eyes danced up to the rafters of the owlery looking for creatures most could only imagine.
"They say a problem shared is a problem halved." Luna offered, giving Hermione a chance to put voice to her worries if she wished to but not demanding anything of her.
Hermione heaved a heavy breath. "I was just thinking about Ronald."
"Hmmm…yes." The blonde hummed pensively. "I have often thought you two to be an odd match."
"Luna how did you…" Hermione paused shaking her head in disbelief at the younger witch essentially being able to read her mind. She had offered such little information. "How did you know that was what I was thinking about?"
"Ron is a good person." Luna replied, ignoring Hermione's question all together. "But you need someone who challenges you, someone who matches your fire. Harry would have been a better choice, but he loves Ginny." She continued as if she was discussing the choice between having jam and marmalade on her toast.
"People underestimate you Luna, did you know that?" Hermione asked rhetorically as she let her head fall back against the window frame. She scanned the rafters herself as she allowed herself to wrap her mind around what Luna had said. She did need someone to match her, to push her and someone who would confront her. She needed a leader, someone with their own mind. But Ron was a follower. Hermione knew that if Harry had decided to stay at Hogwarts this year the ginger boy would have just done the same. He was incapable of stepping out on his own.
"I can see why you like it here so much." Luna commented in a cheery voice, breaking Hermione out of her reverie. "There are not nearly as many Nargles here as inside the castle."
"And not nearly as many prying eyes here as inside the castle." Hermione countered with a bitter tone to her voice, remembering what had driven her here in the first place.
"I have noticed people find you much more interesting lately." Luna said conversationally. "Since beating the Dark Lord."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "It would seem I'm quite the tourist attraction."
"It's a shame they couldn't see it before. I've always found you quite intriguing Hermione." Luna turned her face to look at the brunette witch and smiled.
Hermione felt some of the tension melt away thanks to the ethereal blonde. "Thank you Luna… I think." She said with a nervous laugh. "We should get back to the castle; it's almost time for dinner."
"I'll follow you down in a second. I have to send this letter to my Dad." Luna replied holding up the envelope she had been holding in her hand. "I promised I'd write to him and tell him if the staircases still moved."
Hermione stepped into the Great Hall; hoping she could blend into the crowd of students and make it to the Gryffindor table without being stopped by someone she didn't know or didn't want to talk to. Her eyes scanned the four long tables that ran the length of the grand room, her attention mostly on the table bedecked in red and gold as she looked for somebody that she knew. Finally Hermione spotted the fiery red hair of her best friend Ginny Weasley who was sat laughing with Neville Longbottom, Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan. Her heart swelled with relief as she thought about how lucky she was that so many of her friends had returned to complete their 7th year alongside her. Hermione made a beeline for the group and slipped onto the bench beside Ginny, smiling as the ginger girl turned to look at her.
"Where have you been all afternoon?" Ginny questioned in a demanding tone that reminded Hermione acutely of Molly Weasley. "Please do not tell me you have been in that bloody library already. Classes haven't even started."
"Oh hi there Ginny, it's lovely to see you too. Yes I've had a fantastic afternoon thank you for asking." Hermione responded, sarcasm dripping from her every word.
Ginny threw her a patronising smile. "You didn't answer my question. Have you been in the library?"
"No, I've been in the owlery." Hermione sighed. "I needed a little bit of time to myself. It's crazy here now, people following me around like I'm some kind of celebrity."
"Well you kind of are Hermione." Dean offered with a shrug, reaching over to stab his fork into a steaming roast potato that had appeared on the platter in the middle of the table.
"It is pretty intense now that everyone is back." Neville replied with genuine sympathy in his voice. "We were lulled into a false sense of security over the summer. Everyone that stayed to fix up Hogwarts had fought in the war; we were all in the same boat." He too began piling food onto his plate.
"Things will calm down though Hermione." Ginny reassured her. "People stopped caring about who Harry was pretty quickly. And they would have forgotten about him all together if he hadn't been getting himself into trouble every five minutes."
"Yeah." Hermione laughed, remembering fondly the trio's antics in their early years at Hogwarts. In the simpler times before Voldemort had returned. "I'm sure I'll be old news by the time the quidditch season starts."
"That's the spirit" Ginny grinned bumping her shoulder playfully into her brunette friends. "Now eat something. Before Mcgonagall comes over and loads your plate for you."
Hermione's eyes automatically snapped up towards the teachers table, sure enough the headmistress's eyes were fixed solely on her. Mcgonagall knew of the younger witches concerns about coming back to Hogwarts without the support of Harry and Ron and knew that she was apprehensive about the effect her celebrity status would have. Hermione had predicted that her former professor would find excuses to check on her as much as possible. So to pacify the older woman she picked up a chicken leg from one of the platters and took a large bite, holding the rest aloft and raising her eyebrows with a smile. Mcgonagall rolled her eyes and shook her head but the ghost of a smile flashed across her features as she turned back towards Professor Flitwick, pretending she had been listening to him the whole time.
Hermione had eaten quickly so she could get back to the Gryffindor common room while the corridors were still relatively empty. She couldn't wait for classes to start; the quicker things got back to normal the better. She heaved a sigh of relief as she realised she was now painfully close to the portrait of the Fat Lady. As she was about to round the corner something stopped her in her tracks, somewhere ahead of her she could hear the unmistakable sound of people arguing. She crept closer to the corner, straining her ears as she tried to listen in to what was being said but the words were still just angry murmurs. The voices were moving closer though and Hermione began to panic a little, she didn't really want to be caught hiding and listening in to somebody else's private moment. Wasn't that what had her so on edge? People not granting her a moment to herself.
Any panic or trace of guilt quickly vanished as the one word she hoped to never hear again assaulted her ears, and it had been hissed in an all too familiar voice. "Mudblood" The word echoed through her brain. "Mudblood" it made her head spin. "Mudblood" it made her skin crawl. "Mudblood. Mudblood. Mudblood." It seemed to reverberate off the inside of her skull with every beat of her racing heart. The scar that Bellatrix's dagger had caused prickled on her arm, her hand inadvertently covered it before she drew her wand and strode around the corner. Finally she came face to face with the owner of that voice she had grown to hate over the years.
"Some things never change do they Malfoy?" Hermione ground out through gritted teeth. She levelled her wand at the blonde boy's chest, cursing how her hand shook with the rage that filled her veins. "You might be able to remove the Dark Mark but you can never kill the Death Eater."
Draco Malfoy looked genuinely shocked to see the bushy haired witch appear in front of him and he gulped visibly as his eyes dropped to Hermione's wand. "Now Granger, don't go doing anything you'll regret." He said slowly, trying to sound confident but his voice betrayed a slight tremor.
"And why would I regret anything I do to you after what I have just heard?" Hermione countered with a hard voice.
Draco's eyes flicked to his companion, Hermione only now registering Blaise Zabini standing slightly behind the blond boy. "Because you don't understand what you heard…"
Hermione didn't give him a chance to finish what he was about to say, she took another step towards Draco. "I don't understand?" She all but shouted. "I understand just fine. I understand that you are a disgusting, pathetic excuse for a human being who should never have been allowed to come back to this school."
"I know what you're thinking Hermione…" Draco tried but was cut off again by the brunette witch.
Hearing her first name roll off the blond boy's tongue almost made her want to throw up. "How dare you presume to know what I am thinking?" Hermione hissed, her nostrils flaring. "How dare you come here, to the only place that I have left and use that word? The word that your aunt made sure I could never forget." She pulled the sleeve of her jumper up to reveal the angry pink scar that still stood out starkly against her pale flesh.
Draco clenched his jaw and looked away from Hermione's arm. "If you want to hex me, go ahead. I'm not going to stop you. I'm not going to fight with you, not anymore." He rushed out in a broken voice.
"I want to tell you that I'm better than that. That I'm better than hexing you." Hermione almost sobbed. "But I think the part of me that was better than that died on your drawing room floor some months ago."
Hermione flicked her wand and a red jet shot from the end of it, hitting Draco square in the chest. He flew backwards several feet and his skull hit the stone floor with a sickening thud. He groaned slightly as he tried to push himself up from the floor but didn't quite manage it, blood ran from a wound on the side of his head dripping on to the floor. Hermione marched over to Draco's crumpled form and pointed her wand at him again. Draco looked up at her from where he laid, his grey eyes met Hermione's and she just had chance to see the broken look within them.
"Miss Granger, move away from Mr Malfoy this instant." A stern voice demanded from behind Hermione. Her head whipped around and her eyes took in the livid face of Professor Mcgonagall.
The headmistress swept passed Hermione and crouched down next to Draco, looking over his body for any signs of injury; other than the obvious. "Can you stand Mr Malfoy?" she asked with a clipped tone.
"I think so." Draco replied quietly as he pushed himself to his feet, reaching out for Mcgonagall's arm to steady himself for a second.
Professor Mcgonagall spun around to her other two students. "Mr Zabini, please take Draco to the Hospital Wing at once. Ask Madam Pomfrey to check him over."
"Yes Professor." Blaise nodded as he grabbed Draco's arm and led him in the direction of the school infirmary.
Mcgonagall turned blazing eyes on Hermione. "Miss Granger. With me. Now" The headmistress said in a voice that left no room for argument. The older witch spun on her heel and set off in the direction of her office while Hermione trailed behind her looking defeated.
Hermione settled herself into the chair in front of Professor Mcgonagall's desk; the headmistress sighed and shook her head as she looked at the young girl opposite her. "Miss Granger what on earth were you thinking?"
"I heard him professor. I heard him say mudblood" Hermione demanded through gritted teeth.
"And you think that is justification for attacking him?" Mcgonagall asked incredulously.
Hermione stared at her professor with an expression that would have made anyone else shy away but the headmistress just met her gaze with equal fire. "No one gets to use that word. Not anymore. Not after all of the things that people have sacrificed to rid this world of bigoted thinking like that. No one gets to say it. Especially not Draco Malfoy with all of the things that his family has done."
"I can understand why that word affects you the way that it does. But if I remember correctly, you were one of the people who spoke out in favour of the Malfoy family being pardoned." Mcgonagall pointed out.
"That was when I thought they had changed." Hermione stood up out of her chair as her anger took hold. "But people like them can never change Professor. Draco proved that this evening."
"I would not have allowed Mr Malfoy to return to this school if I did not think he had changed." The headmistress said in a measured tone. "Everyone can change Hermione. Just look at you. Before this war you would never have attacked anyone without just cause."
"But…" Hermione began, stopping short when Mcgonagall raised her hand.
"I am not finished Miss Granger." The older woman ground out. "In what context did Mr Malfoy use the word?"
"Context?" Hermione asked bewildered. "What does it matter what context he used it in?"
"Hermione, it makes all the difference in the world." Mcgonagall said gently. "If Mr Malfoy had called you a Mudblood I could understand how it would make you so angry. But if he simply used it in conversation you have hurt the boy for no reason."
Hermione scoffed. "What conversation could he be having where saying that could be justified?"
Minerva Mcgonagall observed her student over her glasses for moment, reminding Hermione distinctly of Albus Dumbledore. "Perhaps you should find out."
"And how do you suggest I do that Professor?" Hermione shot back. "Surely you aren't proposing that I seek Draco out and have a jolly little conversation with him about it."
"Certainly not Miss Granger" Mcgonagall said in a hard tone. "I would not trust you within 100 yards of Mr Malfoy."
Hermione spun around the glare at the older woman. "You don't trust me?" she asked in a voice that cracked with emotion. Professor Mcgonagall had always been her favourite teacher, her mentor and now someone she classed as a friend.
"This version of you, Hermione?" Minerva asked as she stood up too, moving around her desk to stand in front of the bushy haired girl. "I don't know the girl that I saw tonight. A girl that would gladly attack an unarmed boy. The thing that has always made you so special Hermione is your strong sense of justice and that you can see past what other people cannot. That you can see the true heart of a person."
"Professor, what if that girl is gone?" Hermione asked as tears began to slide down her cheeks. "What if I can never be the girl that I was before the war?"
"Oh my dear." The older woman sighed as she pulled Hermione into an embrace. "Of course you can never be the person that you were before the war. Experiences like that leave an indelible mark on your soul. But that does not mean that you have to lose the qualities that make you who you are."
Hermione gripped onto her professor's robes, breathing in the woman's scent and finding that it eased the aching in her chest. "I'm so angry all of the time." She admitted.
"Of course you are." Mcgonagall said, squeezing the girl tighter. "So many thoroughly unfair things have happened to you. You have been forced to grow up well before your time. You have been forced to endure things that grown adults would struggle to recover from. You have seen things that no person should have to see. You are entirely justified in feeling angry. But I think tonight you may have directed your anger at the wrong person." The older witch leant back to look at Hermione. "Draco Malfoy is not to blame for the things that Bellatrix has done."
"I know Professor." Hermione nodded as she untangled herself from Mcgonagall's arms.
Mcgonagall moved away from the younger girl and headed back around her desk. "I want you to have a better understanding of what happened tonight." She said as she pointed her wand at the top drawer of her desk and unlocked it. She slid the drawer open and took out a familiar object. "Maybe if you saw the incident from another perspective you might gain a new perspective on Mr Malfoy."
Hermione reached across the headmistress' desk and carefully took the time turner from the older woman.
Thanks for reading.
If you liked it let me know. Anything else you'd like to see just drop it in the review.
I have a really busy job so I will try to update every week to every other week.