Flight of the Stars
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters, the world, or anything else in this besides the plot. That belongs to me. Everything else belongs to J.K. Rowling. Except the computer. That belongs to my parents. So I literally own nothing except for the plot. *grumbles in a corner*
Chapter 1: Reducite
Hermione pulled her jacket closer as she trudged through the streets, one hand in her jacket pocket where she clutched her wand. Harry - Auror Potter now, she supposed; she really needed to get used to calling him that in public - had cautioned her to always keep her wand close when traveling through Muggle London. Although, of course, she would have done that anyway; she was so skittish and jumpy from the war that she never parted from her wand, not even to use the restroom. Not to mention the paranoia - once, she had blasted her bedroom wall into bits because she thought a Death Eater was standing in front of it. When she wasn't obliterating her apartment, she would wake up screaming, because she had seen -
No, she mustn't think about that.
Merlin, but she hated days like this. Cold, misty, and darkly overcast, without even a hint of sunshine peeking through the thick, grey clouds. It all too closely reflected the general mood now that the war was over. Harry had won, of course, but there was not a single witch or wizard who had not lost someone close to them. Everyone was grieving. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the Death Eaters were still at large. She, Harry, and Ron had assumed, incorrectly, that the remaining ones would flee into hiding now that Voldemort was gone. They hadn't expected them to continue fighting, albeit more desperately - and in their case, desperate meant that they were more reckless, less calculating. More dangerous.
She shivered, and not just because of the cold.
Scanning her surroundings, she opened the battered door to the Leaky Cauldron and stepped inside to its comforting warmth, smoothing her damp hair out of her face. The inn was mostly deserted, although a couple of tables were occupied near the back. Tom the barman glanced at her hopefully, but she shook her head and maintained a firm grip on her wand. Just because she was eighteen now, it didn't give her an excuse for a drink, which was the last thing she needed at the moment. She needed her senses on high alert.
Making her way briskly through Diagon Alley, she stopped near the side of a deserted building and pulled out a coat button. "Avenseguim," she whispered. The button glowed for a split second, rose up uncertainly, then, as if it had picked up a trail, flew ahead of her and turned a corner. Straight into Knockturn Alley.
Brilliant. Of course it had to be Knockturn.
Casting a quick Disillusionment charm, she turned the corner and followed her tracking charm. She crept quietly down the dark, narrow walk and, reaching Cobb & Webb's, where the button was tapping against the doorknob, she murmured a Finite and caught the button, flattened herself against the side, and watched the door carefully. Her stomach rolled. The shop fairly reeked of Dark magic. She grimaced and settled herself against the wall.
Hermione shivered despite her jacket. Cold and misty. These were the conditions when she went on her first independent mission as a Junior Auror? It was pathetic, really. Hermione Granger, bookworm-turned-war heroine, sent to track down a low-ranking Death Eater, just a boy, really, Stun him, and bring him back to the Ministry. She'd done more impressive feats during her time at Hogwarts. And she was freezing. She sighed bitterly and tried to wrap herself more snugly in her jacket, but just ended up getting her hands wet.
She supposed she could just use a warming charm, but casting the spell would just draw unnecessary attention to herself. Lost in thought, she stared unseeingly at the wind-torn poster left over from the war, showing Harry's face above the words "Undesirable No. 1". The words began to blur as mist clung to her eyelashes.
The bell rang over the door of Cobb & Webb's, and she snapped her head to the left to see a man with hard, blunt features and a pale blond braid that hung down his back step out of the shop. Her stomach tightened and her heart sped up as adrenaline started to kick in.
He certainly wasn't who she had been tracking. Yaxley had been one of Voldemort's Inner Circle, ruthless and cruel and proud. Her grip on her wand tightened, turning her knuckles white. She prayed to Merlin and Godric and anyone else up there that he wouldn't see her.
He saw her.
His unpleasant smile turned into a sneer. "Now, what is a filthy Mudblood like you doing all the way down here?" His voice was quiet, but it was far more deadly than a snarl.
Hermione's eyes hardened at the swear word. "I could ask you the same thing," she said through gritted teeth.
Yaxley's lip twitched. "Mudbloods don't belong here, any more than the vermin. Leave while I'm being merciful."
Hermione cast a Stupefy at him. He blocked it effortlessly and smiled, cold and unpleasant. "Very well."
He sent a Dark cutting curse, she blocked it, and then they were a flurry of spells, casting, blocking, casting, blocking, until she could barely tell whose spell was whose. Despite her quite, if she was being honest with herself, exceptional skill, Yaxley had been trained by Voldemort himself. It came as no surprise when he slashed his way through her shields and sent a beam of white light at her. She felt blinded by the whiteness that surrounded her, and when it finally faded, she only barely managed to jump out of the way of an oncoming bus.
Wait, bus? Wasn't she just -
She spun around, her wand held out in front of her, and scanned the area for Yaxley, but he had vanished. So, apparently, had Knockturn Alley. Where in Godric's name was she?
Her heart beating in her throat, she examined her surroundings. She appeared to be once again in Muggle London, only it looked… different. Women dressed in strange clothes, old-fashioned cars driving down the road, only a few in number, and young men in pompadour hairstyles. The air felt warm, far warmer than it should feel at the beginning of spring. Her eyes widened as she took it all in. no no no no no no no…
Just to be sure, she hurried over to a man in a corduroy jacket and asked hurriedly, "Excuse me, sir, but what is today's date?"
"The 24th of August," he smiled.
August. It had been March when she had left. "And the year?" she pressed.
He gave her an odd look. "1944."
Hermione almost staggered and clutched the side of the building for support. She collected herself, gave him a tight smile in thanks, and walked away, her head spinning. She forced herself to relax, to think.
Yaxley must have hit her with the Reducite spell. That was the only explanation for her having gone back in time without a Time Turner. Highly illegal, Dark, and possessing potentially disastrous consequences. Of course he had used it against the Muggle-born. And as far as she knew, there was no possible way to get back.
She was stuck in 1940's London.
A/N: Sorry this chapter was so short. I'm still working out the outline, but I promise that the next ones will be much longer. Thanks for reading!