A/N: Hi everyone! Here is the first chapter of my new story...it's a Regumione and a time travel. I imagine that it will be about 50 chapters, around 2k words per chapter. I really hope that you like it! Huge shout out to alasseablack for beta reading this chapter!
Please let me know what you thought of chapter one and be on the lookout for chapter two soon!
In the dark, decrepit townhouse, Hermione had never felt so hopeless. Listening to the creaking of the building's bones while the wind battered the windows was eerie enough to keep the girl awake long after Harry and Ron had slipped off to sleep. She wondered how it was possible for the pair of them to sleep so soundly when she was plagued by worry and fear. Sitting up from the musty green couch she'd been using as a bed, Hermione crept past Ron's sprawled body, hoping that the loose floorboards wouldn't betray her midnight wanderings.
Looking around the remains of the library, Hermione wondered if Grimmauld Place had ever been as grand as she could imagine. Even when everything was polished and whole, she doubted that it was ever a place of warmth, if Sirius's memories were anything to believe. Now, it was a hollow husk, holding only painful memories and faded dreams.
Hermione wished that they didn't have to stay there, but she couldn't deny that it was the best bet that they had at the time. It was still Unplottable and the Black family blood wards remained as long as Black family members still survived. Ron was convinced that Professor Snape would reveal their location at any moment, but Hermione was positive that the Death Eaters had already been by and found the hideout lacking. It was certainly in quite a state when they'd found it.
Kreacher had explained to them that Mundungus Fletcher had been by, stealing from the Ancient and Noble House of Black, including the locket that they were looking for. Now, Harry had the hairbrained idea to steal the locket back from Umbridge at the Ministry that she'd reluctantly agreed to, knowing that her life was forfeit, if they lost. She would make that sacrifice, if only to provide future generations a better chance.
Creeping up the stairs, Hermione followed where her feet were taking her, unsurprised to find herself standing in front of Regulus's bedroom door. Tentatively placing her hand on the knob, she turned the broken brass before stepping inside the younger Black's sanctuary, pointedly ignoring the sign that forbade entrance without Regulus's express permission.
Talking with Kreacher had been illuminating in more ways than one. They'd learned the true identity of R.A.B., knowing that Regulus had sacrificed his life, thinking that he would be able to take down Lord Voldemort in the process. After hearing Harry's description of the cave and the army of inferi, the trio knew that there was no hope of Regulus surviving that on his own. At least, Hermione mused, they finally knew the truth of what had happened to him.
She just wished she could have told Sirius that his brother had made the right choice in the end.
The room smelled stale and she was very aware that it had not been disturbed until recently. It felt a bit ghoulish to be breaking the stillness that was likely out of respect for the son that Orion and Walburga had lost. Hermione certainly didn't like the shrieking memory in the painting downstairs, but she couldn't imagine what it would feel like to never know what had happened to your child.
The walls of the room, which had probably once been a brilliant silver and emerald, had slowly faded over the decades they had been left untouched. Letting her fingers caress the forgotten walls, she slowly made her way to the small, neat cluster of hangings Regulus had up on his walls. A hint of a smile, Hermione thought that it rather reminded her of her own room; except, where she had pictures of Harry and Ron, Regulus had very serious pictures of himself from his time playing seeker for the Slytherin Quidditch team.
The Regulus in the wizarding photograph did not wave or smile at her, and she was taken aback by how intense his grey eyes truly seemed. As though he already had the weight of the world on his shoulders at only seventeen. With a sigh, Hermione supposed that she could relate to that.
Turning, she let her eyes flicker to the other major difference between her and Regulus. There, on the green walls, was a cluster of newspaper clippings all focused on the good work done by Lord Voldemort. The paper had yellowed too long for her to be able to read, but she could imagine all the wonderful propaganda that Regulus had just eaten up. Knowing that he died still didn't change the fact that Regulus had been a Death Eater at one point and she had not.
The rest of the room was incredibly neat, except for the desk, which had been clearly rummaged through, papers stepped on and strewn about the floor. Sighing, Hermione used her wand to restore the desk to it's usual location. Knowing it was incredibly nosy of her, she could not stop herself from reaching down to pick up the top paper. A bittersweet smile tugged at the corners of her lips when she realized it was a potions essay - one that he'd gotten an O on.
Coming to sit down on the school trunk that remained at the end of Regulus's bed, Hermione looked around the room thinking about just how different it was from Sirius's, who was still decorated with pictures of scantily clad girls and motorcycles. Although Hermione had enjoyed Sirius while he was alive, and mourned for his death along with Harry and the rest of the Order, Hermione couldn't help but think that she would have preferred Regulus's personality to his older brother's. They were just so different, diametrically opposed, Hermione almost couldn't believe that they were related to one another. But, at the same time, she knew the elder Black brother was always trying to push the envelope with his traditional parents.
Rubbing her hands up and down her arms, she hadn't realized how chilly it had gotten in the old townhouse at night. Deciding it was probably best to return to the library where they'd created a small fire, Hermione stood from her spot, only to let out a little shriek of surprise when she noticed the figure in the doorway.
"Kreacher!" Hermione shouted, with one hand over her heart and the other over her mouth. "Oh Merlin, you frightened me. I didn't hear you come in."
The elderly house elf looked at her with something akin to confusion in his huge eyes. "The mudblood is in Master Regulus's room," he croaked from his post between her and freedom.
Suddenly, Hermione felt especially bad for having entered Regulus's room. She knew it had been left as it was by Walburga, but she hadn't even thought about how special this shrine would have been for Kreacher, who she knew had a particular kinship with his deceased master. Harry or Ron would have yelled at the poor thing for calling her the ugly slur, but Hermione knew that he was far too old to try and make any changes.
"I'm sorry Kreacher," she bit her lower lip, trying to think of a suitable excuse for why she should be there. "I was distracted and I guess my feet led me here without realizing. It's probably because of...what you shared with us earlier."
"Master Regulus made Kreacher promise to… destroy the locket," Kreacher said, his eyes slipping closed, as he was transported back to a memory. "Kreacher tried and tried to do as he was asked, but...the locket could not be destroyed."
"Yes," Hermione agreed, her heart aching when she thought of the horrible guilt that Kreacher must have lived with for years. He hadn't been able to disobey Regulus, though, and save the man instead. "And I just feel so sorry for poor Regulus. No one deserves to die that way."
Taking a step forward, she knelt down so that she could meet the house elf eye to eye. A sound echoed in the the room, and Hermione quickly realized that it was Kreacher, groaning, perhaps remembering those horrible memories. It was clear that Kreacher's pain ran so deep, so profound, that it affected him to his day. Cursing herself, she wondered just how insensitive she could be that she'd just stomped all over Regulus's room, the one last piece of his favorite master that Kreacher had. She'd been so unthinking, unintentionally cruel - something her Gryffindor roommates and former muggle friends constantly complained about. It seemed that Hermione could never get a real grasp on social norms.
Knowing that he would not take kindly to her hugging him, Hermione kept her hands pressed down next to her sides. "But Kreacher, don't worry, we're going to find the locket, and we will destroy it," Hermione said, willing him to believe her, "I promise you that." She wondered if this was the first time that anyone had decided to serve Kreacher in his whole, miserable life.
Kreacher did seem to brighten up at that. "The mudblood will destroy...the locket?" he questioned, his voice gravelly and tired.
Nodding enthusiastically, feeling better that she hadn't completely ruined the little elf's day - that she might have given him a bit of hope, too - Hermione found herself explaining further. "Yes, we are going to get the locket back from the woman who has it, and once we do...we will destroy it," she found herself telling him adamantly, trying not to worry about the fact that she had absolutely no idea how they would go about destroying the horcrux once they got their hands on it.
He looked at her, his eyes slipping closed again, before letting out a deep sigh, as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. When his eyes opened again, they were bright and eager, with just a hint of mischievousness. "Mudblood Granger will help Master Regulus?"
Hermione nibbled on her lower lip, knowing that there was nothing she could do to help Regulus at this point, seeing as he'd already passed. But, she was sure that finally completing the act that he'd given his life for would bring his...soul some peace. And perhaps, once the war was all over, she could dedicate herself to making sure that everyone knew who Regulus really was. That he'd died a hero. It seemed a bit cheap to make the promise to Kreacher, but she just wanted to ease his mind. Without realizing it, she was nodding. "Yes, I will help Regulus, Kreacher. I am sure that it will be much easier once we finally get rid of the locket once and for all. You will have fulfilled your promise to Regulus, too."
She was shocked when the ancient elf - more creaky than the house itself - took a step towards her, taking her hands in his own knobby fingers. The way he was looking at her, with awe and wonder, gave Hermione pause. For the first time since she knew Kreacher, she was worrying that something might be seriously wrong.
"Yes, the mudblood will help Master Regulus," Kreacher said, his grip growing tighter and tighter on her hands. "Kreacher could not destroy the locket on his own, but the mudblood can destroy the locket and save Master Regulus."
"What are you talking about Kreacher?" Hermione demanded, trying to pull her hands back, but finding his grip surprisingly strong. "Let me go."
"No one will care when the mudblood is gone," Kreacher said, clearly talking to himself and not to her, as though he were trying to convince himself of something. Tugging at her hands, Hermione was increasingly nervous about how he was talking about her. "If Kreacher sends the mudblood back, she can destroy the locket then and Kreacher will have fulfilled his promise."
Hermione could feel the tingle of elf magic in the palms of her hands, and wanted to scream at the top of her lungs, only to find that she was unable to. Her vision swam with tears as she felt her body go through the worst kind of side-along apparition as she was ripped backwards through the years, her vision slowly going black.