1-A) This fic is a canon-divergent for Harry Potter, and AU for Marvel (meaning Bucky's storyline is not dependent on/divergent of any particular MCU film plot). Some elements from the canon storylines will still have taken place/be present, others will not. The specifics will become clearer as the story progresses.
1-B) What canon elements will be used in this fic are based in MCU, rather than the MARVEL comics, and there is some discrepancy in the films as to the length of time between Bucky's capture and Bucky being thought/declared killed in action (it's indicated as both 1944 and 1945 in the films). For story purposes, we're going with 1945, giving me 2 years of time to work with between his capture/initial experimentation and when he fell from the train to his [at the time] assumed death.
2) As with all my fics, the status of this story is Updated Sporadically, because of both the number of fanfictions I have, and a need to split what writing time I have between fanfictions and novel work.
3) Very loosely inspired by the time travel element presented in Twelve Monkeys (film, not television show).
[If you're new to my work, and enjoy this chapter, please be sure to pop on over to my FFN profile and check out my story list for any of my other crossovers that might catch your fancy ;D]
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Harry Potter or the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Any affiliated characters or canon components are the property of their respective creators, and franchise owners.
Hermione exhaled sharply, giving her head a shake as she crouched down, looking for Harry amid the smoke and chaos. There wasn't much time, they needed to find an exit, fast—and not the one she thought he might suggest.
"Hermione!" His shouted voice came from somewhere behind her.
Whirling on her heel, she started blindly in his direction. She nearly darted past him, but he caught her at the last moment, slinging a hand around her elbow and pulling her into the alcove where he was hiding.
The witch bit back a surprised yelp as she skittered backward, crashing into the wall beside Harry with a loud smack that was luckily buried beneath the din.
"Ow!" Hermione reflexively bowed forward pressing a hand to the small of her back.
"Sorry," he said with a shake of his head that was both apologetic and exasperated.
Harry ducked his head around the bend in the wall, trying—just as she had moments ago—to see through the mayhem of the WWII-era Muggle military facility coming down around them. Or, rather, what was left of one, anyway. The place had been a charred, antiquated heap, fortunate to still be standing, long before they'd arrived there earlier in the evening.
Go to Austria, Kingsley said . . . . You two have been so bored since apprehending the last of the fugitive Death Eaters. Dark wizards poking about outdated Nazi-occult technology seems just the sort of case that's up your alley, he said.
Groaning, Hermione proved she was thinking along the same, unhappy lines as she asked, "When we get back to England, do you want to give the Minister a right, swift kick in the bollocks, or shall I?"
Shrugging, Harry gave a sideways nod. "I'll cast the sticking charm to hold him down, you kick him."
"Joking aside," she said, leaning around him to look, as well, "we need to find a way out of here. I don't think apprehending anyone is in the cards, this time, Harry."
He groaned and rolled his eyes. "Shit, you're right. Of course, you're right. So much for my perfect record."
Mimicking his gesture, she shook her head. But, she'd spotted an exit—anything to keep them from using the emergency route. They could always Apparate, she supposed, but then, neither of them were familiar with the area, at all. That severely limited their chances of being able to Apparate some place near enough that the travel wouldn't injure either of them. She settled back against the wall, once more, uncertain where, exactly, their quarry had vanished to, and untrusting of the notion that they'd simply left.
"Okay, there's a window on the far-right corner of—" A loud crash cut into her words.
The pair exchanged a quick, crestfallen look before they both leaned around to look toward the area Hermione'd just mentioned. A portion of the ceiling had collapsed, the flaming mass of rubble blocking their exit.
"Just our luck, isn't it?" Harry sighed.
As Hermione opened her mouth to respond, someone shouted out to them. "You're really so desperate to catch us you're willing to die here?"
Once more, witch and wizard ducked out to see the center of the room. A pair of robed figures stood amid the wreckage and fire and smoke.
"Come out and face us. Better to die fighting than choking to death, don't you think?"
And beyond them . . . .
"There's a door, and they're deliberately blocking—" Hermione threw her arm over her face, covering a sudden fit of coughing.
"He's right about one thing," Harry said with a shake of his head. "If we don't get out of here, soon, the smoke, alone, will kill us. We could take them, I'm sure of it, but we might not have the time to engage them and get out alive."
"All right, fine," she said through gritted teeth. "But I don't like this."
He nodded as she tugged the long, gold chain out from beneath her shirt and looped it around his neck. "I suppose we go just far enough back, we can catch them before they start this chaos."
"Sounds good. So that'd be . . . couldn't have been more than an hour, so only one turn."
As she gripped the dial on the Time Turner, the tip of a wand appeared, aimed straight at them. Harry responded, first, striking before the other wizard managed to get off a spell. The hurried footfalls of the man's partner met their ears.
"Come back for me."
"What?" Hermione demanded, but Harry had caught her off-guard, speaking as he moved—he'd slipped out from beneath the chain, his free hand nudging hers to turn the dial.
In a blink, time was whirling backward around her. But something was wrong. As the sound of her own shriek died in her ears, she couldn't make sense of the strange blueish hue the rewinding of time had taken on.
And she'd felt the dial turn at Harry's prodding. He'd only pushed her fingers to turn it once. Somehow, the actions of one hour earlier came and went, and time was still unwinding.
In an oddly Muggle fashion, Hermione shook the artifact and slapped it against her palm, trying to get it to behave. Fat lot of good that would do her, she knew, but she was desperate.
Both she and Harry had noted the place had felt off—perhaps that was some effect of the outdated Nazi occult-technology that had lured the Dark wizards they were pursuing to this desolate location. She'd never heard of something powerful enough to interfere with a Time Turner, but it was possible that whatever caused that unsettling sensation had also caused a problem with the artifact. If they'd had time to actually find what those fools had been searching for, this could've all been avoided.
Time was still moving, even as she tried to consider how this was happening. Honestly, the dizzying movement of time—lots and lots of nothing but day melting into night for several years, it seemed—was starting to nauseate her.
A sudden bright flash forced a startled gasp from her. An explosion had torn through this place. It was a wonder it was still standing back, or maybe that was forward, in the twenty-first century.
Then the blooming light and pulse of the explosion ebbed, drawing away like an awkward special effect.
The whirling finally ceased and Hermione was surprised she was still standing. She was so relieved to be out of the vortex, her knees nearly buckled.
But she didn't have time for relief, or panic, or anything but finding out when she'd ended up. Panic could wait.
Griping her wand tight, she listened to her surroundings for a time—there was the shuffling of papers, and someone muttering to themselves. Was he speaking with a Swiss accent?
Shaking her head, she peeked out around the bend in the wall. A short, round man was stuffing files into a case in a rather apparent hurry. There was a small bank of monitors and odd devices in front of him.
He looked shifty, though. She suspected revealing herself to him would only bring more trouble for her. The rest of the room seemed empty, save for that console. Maybe one of those monitors would have a readout of the date.
The man whirled on his heel and rushed through the room toward the exit. He certainly was a spry little man.
Biting hard into her bottom lip—this could be a really bad idea, but it was the only option she had—she darted out from the alcove and made a beeline for the monitors. He was so distracted with fleeing that he didn't notice her as she slipped into view, practically on his heels for a moment, there.
Even as she neared the console, she could tell the technology was strange. Not quite like anything she'd seen in reality, it was more like something out of a film. Outdated, yet high-tech, at the same time. Probably precisely the sort of thing that would be considered Nazi technology.
Frowning, she looked from screen to screen. No such luck on the date, but now she had a sinking feeling she knew why that man had been in such a hurry. Just as there had been utter chaos in her own time, so too, was utter chaos happening right now. Utter chaos leading to the explosion she'd witnessed in reverse.
She had to get out of here.
In a scramble, she put away her wand and started looking about the desk for any scrap of information the man might've missed. Nothing atop the desk before the monitor bank, and she'd no idea how to operate the antiquated computer.
Wrenching open a desk drawer, her heart sank. Still nothing, and she didn't have time to . . . . A slip of paper was wedged in the corner.
It tore as she pulled it free, depriving her of whatever message might've been on the paper—was it a telegram? She knew the military of various countries had still communicated via telegrams as late as World War II, and given the look of this place, she was betting this particular missive was quite recent.
The date was clear on the ragged corner of paper pinched between her fingers. Despite both her hunch and all visible evidence, it was not until she read the year that she thought her heart might stop in her chest. "1943?"
Again, no time to panic, Hermione! Maybe that's what the strange tugging sensation in her solar plexus was just now—her body begging her to be allowed to go into panic mode.
There was chaos all around, she could hear fighting and commotion and shouting voices filtering toward her from some distance. Everything had happened so fast, she was certain it hadn't even been a minute since that little man had toddled out of the room.
Surely no one would notice if she slipped out amid the tumult already going on. She winced as she started toward the door, that pulling sensation getting stronger.
Yet, the run Hermione wound herself up for never happened. Nearing the door, she spotted a old-fashioned hospital bed—really, who was she kidding? Everything there was old-fashioned. Before she could even wonder what the hell it was doing here, she saw the man strapped to it.
That other man had just left him here? Maybe he was dead.
But if he wasn't . . . ?
Groaning at herself, she swiveled on her heel, heading to the man's side, rather than continuing out the door.
She rubbed at the center of her chest with her left hand, hoping to ease the bizarre sensation. With her right, she checked the pulse in his throat.
Slow, but steady. Good, Hermione thought, ignoring another wash of poorly timed relief.
She looked to the straps pinning him to the bed. Maybe he was dangerous? Oh, that didn't matter; she couldn't leave him to die!
As she slipped her fingers around the straps, looking for a way to open them, he muttered something. And Hermione nearly jumped out of her skin.
Bracing her palms on his arm as she caught her breath, she said in a hissing whisper, "Don't do that! You scared the life out of me!"
"Sor—sorry," he said, though his voice was weak. Once more, he started mumbling. Was he still asleep?
Oh, someone who'd apologize to a stranger couldn't be so terrible. Maybe if she got him to wake up—damn bloody uncomfortable feeling in her chest that would not leave her be!—they could help each other escape this place.
She started tugging at the straps binding him. "Sir? I need you to wake up, please!"
He opened dazed eyes in a series of drowsy blinks that seemed to require a great deal of effort. "'Sir?'"
It was an odd moment, but it somehow made her pause, mid-motion. She tried not to notice he actually had rather lovely blue eyes—this was not the time. "Well, I don't know your name. Are you all right? What happened to you?"
And damn if that feeling in her chest wasn't getting worse. Like a thrumming that was speeding up to an unbearable rhythm.
"My name's—my name's Bucky." His voice was weak, unsteady. "I don't know what happened."
Licking her lips nervously, she glanced about. Were those footfalls coming down the corridor toward them?
They had to move!
She drew her wand to deal with the straps. "Bucky? My name's Hermione, and I'm going to—"
Before Hermione could finish her sentence, the room, and the man with the lovely blue eyes, were ripped away from her. Forcing a gulp down her throat, she looked to what was going on around her.
She thought it might well be the strangest thing in the world to stand perfectly still in the center of this vortex of blue and white crackling energy. But . . . the tugging in her solar plexus has stopped.
It had stopped the moment the vortex had swallowed her up.
How was she ever going to get back to Harry like this?
Bucky blinked in confusion. He'd just watched a woman vanish into thin air, right before his eyes.
He must be delirious.
Letting his eyes drift shut, he started muttering to himself, once more. He wasn't even sure what the hell he was talking about, come to think of it.
He could hear the commotion outside, and footsteps rushing into the room.
He was so convinced the familiar voice was another hallucination that, even as he let his eyes open, he kept on mumbling. Trying to ground himself, trying to give himself something to hang on to.
He saw Steve. He heard Steve's voice . . . . Yet, it wasn't until he was freed and Steve was helping him stumble down the corridor that he believed any of it was actually happening.
Steve Rogers being nearly an entire person larger than he'd been the last time they'd seen each other certainly hadn't helped Bucky feel like he had a good handle on the situation.
Or his sanity.
It also didn't help that, once he'd had a little time to recoup, and they were all safely in a London bar, that beautiful dame in the red dress had utterly ignored him. She'd been gorgeous, sure, but it hadn't really been until he'd heard her speak that his interest had truly been piqued.
It had been clear she only had eyes for Steve, but Bucky couldn't help at least trying. Since when had he had a thing for British girls?
He knew he was being ridiculous. The entire way back home, he'd reprimanded himself for trying so hard to remember the girl he'd imagined before Steve had rescued him.
She'd spoken with a British accent, hadn't she? Leave it to him to imagine a weird name like Hermione.
Give it a rest Buck, he thought. They were back home—familiar sights and sounds. Maybe the medics were right, and he could do with a little more rest before whatever crazy mission Steve was about to drag them on.
Sighing, Bucky unlocked the door to his apartment. He had to admit, as he stepped inside and closed the door behind him, it felt really good to be home. Dropping his duffle, he flicked on the light and set down his keys.
He inhaled deep and let out a sigh. He could smell cleanser in the air. Mom must've come by and cleaned the place for his arrival. He'd have to stop by his parents' house tomorrow and visit with them for a bit to thank her.
For now, he just wanted to get some shut eye.
Hermione had gotten so abysmally bored in the center of the vortex, that at some point, she simply sat down. It couldn't have been more than five minutes, she was aware; it was her inability to track time in this setting that made it feel so long. She examined the Time Turner as she tried to make calculations, but the constant swirling around her made focusing so damn difficult.
Then, the vortex vanished.
And she dropped out of mid-air to crash into the floor.
"Bloody hell, not again," she said, coughing out the words as she rolled onto her side and curled up. Twice in one day she'd impacted hard on her lower back. Brilliant.
The loud bang in the other room startled Bucky, drawing out the soldier in him. Not all his neighbors knew he was back—a burglar probably thought his place an easy target.
Though he wished for a sidearm right about now, he settled for the baseball bat he kept near the front door. Hefting it over his shoulder, he inched across the living room on silent footfalls.
He thought he could hear a whimpering sound. Maybe the idiot who'd broken in had hurt themselves in the dark.
As he neared the doorway, he pressed to the wall and peeked inside. He could make out a small figure on the floor of the room. Brow furrowing, he looked around—he could tell by what light there was filtering in from the living room that none of the windows were broken, or even open.
So, how had they gotten in?
Reaching into the room, Bucky switched on the light. At the flood of illumination, he gripped the bat with both hands, prepared to swing. He was prepared for the burglar to jump up, alarmed at being discovered, but they didn't move. Well, at least no more than the shifting against the floor they were already doing.
"Yeah, you stay right there," he said with a shake of his head. "I'm calling the cops."
Hermione didn't think she'd recognize the voice of the person who'd entered the room, but she had just heard it what only seemed to her like minutes ago.
Painfully turning onto her other side to face the speaker, she lifted her head to look at him. Sure enough, there stood the same man she'd just seen strapped down in that strange facility.
Mirroring his bewildered expression, all she could manage was, "Bucky?"
He tipped his head to one side, not quite believing his eyes—or his ears. Though he refused to slacken his hold on his bat, he stepped closer to her.
The girl winced as she pulled herself to sit up. She moved just as he lowered himself to sit on his heels in front of her.
Bucky gave her a once-over before he found his voice. "Hermione?"
She nodded, relieved when he set down the bat. She didn't know this man from Adam—maybe he was the sort to swing a bat at an unarmed-by-Muggle-standards woman.
He blinked several times in rapid succession, as though unable to process the sight before him. All he was really certain of was that something very strange was going on. "Who are you, anyway? How did you get here?"
Hermione sighed—time was not supposed to be meddled with, so going to any Wizarding community to ask for aid was out of the question. She possibly had no choice but to confide in this man. How had she found her way to him a second time, anyway? Time Turners were not capable of moving someone to a different location, and she wasn't certain she'd be able to understand what was happening with only the information currently at her disposal.
There was a loophole or amendment for a situation like this in the Statute of Secrecy, she was sure. There had to be exceptions for when a Muggle was the only person a witch or wizard could possibly turn to for assistance. Although, she imagined it likely included a stipulation about using a memory charm on them afterward.
And if there weren't any such amendments? Well . . . she'd simply arrange a petition to add it in when she got back.
"It's a long story." She tried to straighten up, only to let out a hissing breath from between clenched teeth.
"Are you okay?"
"D'you happen to have an ice pack or something? I'll explain while we tend to what's probably a very lovely bruise on my back."
Bucky climbed to his feet and reached down for her hands to help her up. As she slipped her fingers into his, he was nearly overwhelmed by the relief at how solid and real she felt.
"I thought I'd imagined you," he said, chuckling at himself as he pulled her up to stand.
Hermione nodded. "Ice . . . and a very long story. And a drink, if you've got."
"Are you going to need that, or am I?" he asked as he slipped a gentle arm around her waist to guide her from the room and toward the small kitchen. He thought he was handling the situation—whatever that actually was—spectacularly well, under the circumstances.
Against her own better judgment, she let herself lean against him as they walked. She was in pain, she was sure it was justified. "Pretty sure we both are."