Hermione hated dreams.
They only gave her thoughts that she would wish about and that would never come true. And they would only tempt her brain.
Tom used to say the same thing. And he was right.
Sure he had turned her thoughts negative and slightly pessimistic. But she was in such an incongruous position that it didn't matter to her anymore. If she would turn evil, she would not bow in front of Lord Voldemort's presence.
Hermione would not turn evil.
Tom hadn't been a good thing for her. She had been a good thing for her. Tom was a darkness in her light, but for Tom she was the light in his darkness. And she knew that Tom needed light.
She cried the entire day after the little 'incident' Tom and her had had. The dream was being to put in perceptive that they weren't meant for each other and that things would turn out unhappily. In cases like this, evil and good don't mix. Perhaps the dream had given her more of a sense of that things never end happily when you play with such dangerous things. Playing with snakes.
He would leave her just like he had never cared.
"But I love you!"
Tom just laughed, loudly and inhumanly.
He had laughed. He had laughed at her weakness and her clinginess to such evil. And yet she still loved him.
She wondered if she had changed history at all. Would years later, Tom even remember her? Would her influence make a difference in how he saw evil and good and how wrong it was to interfere with peace?
Of course he wouldn't. Hermione sniffed.
She hadn't seen him since last night. Which wasn't exactly a long amount of time, but for Hermione it felt like forever. She hadn't had a meal from him since yesterday evening, but she felt almost starved. She was curled up on her couch – no longer his bed – and hidden discreetly in the pillows.
Sniffing bureaucratically in one of the silky pillows, her eyes puffy, she heard a knock on the door. Whispering was followed behind the door, rasp and hoarse, and it sounded nothing like Tom. Contemplating that he might be with someone, she buried herself more into the couch, when the door blasted open and one of the nails to a hinge rolled around cantankerously on the floor.
Two, no three – four people in cloaks strode into the room swiftly, they're wands pointing out from their sleeves and their voices loud yet malicious.
"Where's the Lord?" One of them hissed.
"Most probably not here, unless he's with the mudblood somewhere."
Hermione shrunk farther into the pillows, realizing that the four soon-to-be-Death-Eaters were prowling around the room and most certainly looking for something.
One of them exploded the trunk Tom had kept his spare books kept in, scouring it closely.
"Well then where's the mudblood?"
The other boy narrowed his dark eyes, a dark shadow cast on his face from his hood. "Either she's gone to Dippet or somewhere in the common room."
When had Tom told even told all of his friends about Hermione? That was ridiculous, sending them in here to look for her and possibly more. Looks like reattempting her running away that evening was out of the question.
"Then why you just standing here?!" The main one barked, shouting at the three motionless Slytherins around him. "Look!"
Hermione had been afraid of that. Closing her eyes tightly, pretending to be asleep, she felt footsteps coming nearer to the couch. The floorboards creaked next to her. No no no no no.
"Avery. Avery," A harsh female voice spat, motioning somewhere over impatiently. "Avery! I've found her."
She couldn't pretend to be asleep anymore, not when she was about to be rather roughly accosted by a bunch of Slytherins who only listened to Tom's command. But why in Merlin's beard would Tom be sending such commands? Perhaps to kill Hermione? She was reminded faintly of her fourth year, when Bertha Jorkins disappeared mysteriously since Tom had used her for information… and then killed her.
She had known too much.
And now Hermione did too. Tom had even admitted it.
Waiting for the next set of footsteps appearing, she sprang up from the couch, using the Muggle style of fighting of simply fists-meet-face.
But that didn't get her very far. The female voice shrieked in surprise and fumbled for her wand, immobilizing Hermione immediately. The male one laughed. It was cold, but not as cruel as Tom's laugh.
Dragging her out with snickers, the four of them led her outside, wet dew among the grass. She felt herself being pushed up against a wall, before –
"Alright now." The female voice muttered, and unimmobilized Hermione.
She gasped for breath to regain her strength, but the Death Eaters had cornered her. She could even recognize some of the faces from the future… the Department Of Mysteries… that was –
"Avery!" She barked, as Hermione's eyes widened. "Get your wand out, will you!"
The still tied Hermione's hands and feet together, before pressing her against the greenhouse wall and smiling wickedly.
She struggled against her bonds instantly.
"Where's Tom? What did you do to him?" She spat out vigorously, her face livid. The four of them laughed in mirth as she fumed at them, doubting the fact that she actually had a chance at fighting them.
"Where's Tommy, Avery? Where is he? What's happened?" The other female one mocked – ridiculing, more or less, doubling over in cruel laughter.
"We call him the Lord," One of them said in a deep voice. "And soon you will call him that too."
"No… what's going on?" She muttered desperately, wishing for her actually to be where she was a night ago, safe in her own abyss of horrible nightmares instead of actually being in one.
She had talked enough. Hermione's shoes picked up tumbles of firm mud being ripped from the ground as they dragged her through it, until finally there was a dark figure in the back.
It looked horribly like her dream. She would have looked around for a wagon, and perhaps more Death Eaters, but it seemed as though the tendons in her neck had broken. Staying still and swallowing down her own tears (as she figured that struggling back would just bring her pain), even though in this world, pain had been all she'd ever felt.
And pain doesn't hurt when it's all you've ever felt.
The shadowy figure in the background was gently coming into view. She was propped up in the arms of the other male Death Eater, her knees weak and the tears welled up all around her eyes.
Tom looked at all of them impassively, his head moving along the crowd. The sky was entirely dark, only a tender starlight had been splayed across of them and the wet grass beneath their thudding footsteps.
Hermione looked up at his face, emotionless and blank (somewhat unreadable and unidentifiable) that couldn't be explained away just like an empty page, yet actually shining with tears that didn't fall. Hermione had never seen Tom cry, and actually gasped out loud. The angle from which she was seeing him had a ray of moonlight straight on his face, which illuminated all of his features, dark and wicked.
Her breath was no longer in her throat, it was somewhere along with her voice… but not here… all the people around her, beaming manic grins, were shadowed in the moonlight of shelter-like-trees. The person that had bound her hands together was laughing as Tom's tears seemed to vanish as he blinked down at her pathetic and helpless form and he smiled at her roped-together form. He took out his wand and let go of Hermione's footropes.
"Let go of her." He commanded softly and silently. The man stopped laughing, his grip on Hermione's wrist slightly tighter.
Hermione gasped, her eyes wide and glowing in tears, as Tom's words echoed in her brain.
"What?" The man asked incredulously. "But – no – my Lord… she is a mudblood!"
"Let go of her, Avery," He warned again. "Or I will make you." The warning was still interlaced with a hint of a wicked and evil smile, but it was so low that it was still dangerously coming out of Tom's lips.
Avery wiped his forehead but kept a firm grip of rough hands on her ropes, as though letting go of a mudblood would be a waist of… catching. Like when you hunted down a turkey.
Hermione couldn't bring herself to laugh as her face stayed fixated on Tom's face.
"Cruc–" He started fiercely, but Hermione gasped and shouted "No!" despite the fact that this man was holding her captive. Tom lowered his wand, looking at Hermione as though she had just appeared.
"Avery, nobody says no to an order from me. Stupefy!" Avery keeled over as the red flash of light hit him squarely in the chest. Tom's wand was still shaking in his hands.
"Carry all of it out." He ordered quietly, and the crowd of people hurried away.
"Now," Tom said urgently. "You are not safe here. They will not appreciate you. It's dangerous. Now go – go back to 1997 before you're hurt."
Hermione couldn't believe was she was hearing. Looking over, Death Eaters were still carrying out ingredients… the big potion that he was planning on making.
But she didn't think about that, when the words, caught in between his lips and traveling over to hers, started with a go back and ended in to 1997, when her heart seemed to explode. This was how he was ending things. He was letting her live but still breaking her heart.
He didn't love her.
"How?" She asked disbelievingly, tears of fear, the thought of leaving, confusion, sadness, hurt, anger, and frustration welling up. This was the last time she was supposed to see his face?
"Go to the Room Of Requirement and wish to be back. Touch the hourglass that'll appear in the room. Go!" Hermione would not go, though, people were pouring out of the castle again, carrying dark objects.
"I can't leave."
"Yes, you have to!" Tom repeated, more urgently.
"You're not a dark wizard, Tom, you told me so many times you were… and it's not true," She whispered, tears glistening in the light and letting go at her own words. They suddenly began streaming but she didn't wipe them away.
"But I am!" He said, more like he was convincing himself than Hermione. Biting on his lip to keep from crying, he laced one his hands with Hermione's. "That's why I kept secrets from you. And I lied to you. And I brewed an immortality potion behind your back."
Hermione was shaking her head all the while, barely even taking in the words of Tom saying that he was creating an immortality potion all this time when he sneaked out in the snow at five in the morning and when Hermione even left the common room to read up on the potion ingredients… it was all flying by her head.
"No, Tom, you're not persuading anyone."
Tom kept on going though. "No! No, Hermione… I have to… They depend on my greatness," He said desperately, motioning toward the followers dragging out the sinister and eerie objects.
Suddenly she felt a pang of jealousy. "Since when have you been so considerate about other people's feelings?" She shouted angrily, Tom opening his mouth to argue, but Hermione stopped him. "When you were about to torture Avery!"
"I have my reasons." Tom said shortly.
"And so does the heart!" She bellowed frustratingly, tears falling off her lashes and cheeks. She softened. "I… are you really going to throw all this away? I love you, Tom." She smiled weakly at him.
Tom looked down and bit his lip hard. "I have to do this," He whispered back, reaching out and releasing their linked hands. "I'm sorry…" He whispered gently, stroking her cheek tenderly with barely his fingertips in a simple brush.
Hermione stood up, straightening her back, and letting his hand fall off limply.
"You're not," She said stonily. "Otherwise you wouldn't be doing this." She whimpered, staring into his eyes coldly. Tears were now gushing out of her eyes and she watched him melt slowly.
"Don't do this… don't make it harder than it already is…" He pleaded.
"I will!" Hermione screamed. "I don't care! You don't care! About me! About them!" Hermione shouted viciously, motioning toward the shadowy helpers lugging things out. "And so," She said in a quiet voice, looking down. "I don't care about you. Goodbye, Tom."
She started walking away without any further goodbyes, the tears stopping suddenly as walking away starting feeling so right, so actually easy, so not evil for once in this dreary mist of wickedness. She didn't want to be here anymore. She wanted to go, never to have to see Tom or his menacing friends ever again. She covered her nose as the coldness of the castle settled in her, her skin shivering.
Tears started pouring again as people stared, tears staining her white Hogwarts blouses with salty tears. Hermione streaked past the students – she didn't want to be stopped.
Hermione slid behind the tapestry for the Room Of Requirement, her hands clenching her wand in one pocket, and gripping fabric in the other.
"Please, oh please – I want to be back," She wished desperately, her hands fists, but the churning of nails didn't feel her ears. Her tightly shut eyes snapped open and hut the wall. She couldn't leave without the hourglass. She knocked on the wall, her arm trembling – no, her entire body shaking – but nothing happened.
"I don't want to see Tom anymore… this has been awful for me… please, please… I don't love him anymore."
"I don't love him, I don't, I don't… please open…" She said, but again, the wall remained solid. Tom, or maybe the Death Eaters, might find her soon.
She sighed. "I love him. I love Tom, but I can't stay here. It's not for me, it's not my place…" She said, and in her surprise, the churning filled her ears entirely, the nails moving against rust and the metal wall protruding a door of chrome…
Hermione sharply gasped, but hurried into the room, where…
A simple, shining, hourglass was lying in the middle of the blank room.
Her fingertips were millimeters away from the glass, when –
The door hurtled open, Hermione gasping once again as her hand jerked away from the hourglass. Who knew what she was doing here exactly? Maybe Tom had told someone of his friends… before she could ponder further; she saw the dear figure of Tom bursting in, slightly breathless and panting. Several scratches were scarring his face with bleeding freely, his robe gone and his shirt somewhat dirty.
His hand shot forward immediately, and Hermione was surprised to see a deep gash on his palm.
"I… I can't leave you – I–" He stopped himself, sighing. "I… I love you." He mumbled, ducking his head down and wordlessly reached out to grab Hermione's hand. "I want to come with you," He stated with finality. "…p-please?" He raised his head.
Hermione's eyes widened as her face set a glance on Tom's. His eyes actually pleading and his entire face looking as though the world would end just if Hermione would say no. She sniffed hastily with her free hand. Yes, she did want him to come. He'd make a difference. There would be consequences, yes, there would, but…
She loved him.
But he'd be destroying the future. His followers, still on the prowl in the future, egged on by Tom's attitude, would start their own dark world. Hermione shuddered. She'd be in more danger than Harry…
What would he say? After being obliviated, and – and his lifelong desire to kill the person next to her – vice versa – would Tom still want to kill Harry? What about his goal of wealth and power? He might be able to leave his 'friends' because he never really felt connected to a person – but what about her? Was this just a clever plan to get to Harry? That's what he wanted in the beginning… was she being used? That had been the original problem.
"I can't." She murmured, and Tom held her other hand instantly.
"Why?" He said fearfully.
"You have a life, you have followers, you… you don't need me. Lord Voldemort does better without me." She said quietly.
And then Tom, cupping her face, so their eyes met in a lock of seriousness, he said very clearly:
"I don't want to be Lord Voldemort."
She smiled suddenly, closing her eyes in oblivion, before kissing his forehead gently. "Then come with me."
He beamed, teeth and all.
"Just promise me something." Hermione said.
"Don't leave me."
"I don't want to." And the world swam before them, their fingers touching the glass of the smooth hourglass without any more thoughts. Nothing mattered anymore – he was here, and now she could do anything…
AN: O.O OMG, YAY!! Oh, how I've missed all of you guys sooo much! HONESTLY. It's been forever, and I swear, it's been nagging me at the back of the mind forever. I'm still writing though, and roleplaying too. I positively CAN'T wait to see all of you familiar faces… er… words, I guess? Well, I hope that the people who read T/Hr haven't changed that much… I missed all of you guys, especially the regulars. Like, let me thank:
Mrs Pierre Bouvier: I just… AH. It's been. So. Bloody. Long. I can't believe it. Your reviews would still be greatly appreciated. :D
MiKaYGiRl: HAHA I still know your name!! Don't have to check!!!
Tom Riddle's Reluctant Bride: Oh, all of you guys are so lovely. Especially the regulars, like you. It kept this story going… and now it's back. Like, four months later. XD
Julia: I've stayed in touch with you. Thank god. But still, AHH. It's back. I know you'll be excited!!
Lily: OMG angst. I know you'll love it. :D
And for anyone else that didn't review chapter after chapter, but still reviewed a lot and I greatly appreciated their encouragement: Betrayed Innocence, LNluvsHostile17, Gueneviere, and Heatherness2134. THANKS SO MUCH, I SWEAR.
If you're not mentioned, I'm terribly sorry… but it's about… like… LATE, just, and I'm TIRED. Review, please.
JUST TO SAY, THERE'S ONE MORE CHAPPIE AHEAD. JUST ONE MORE, THEN IT'S OVER. SOB SOB. REVIEW, PLEASE.