Who Do You Think You Are?!
disclaimer: no, neither ladykyo nor the separatesisters own Harry Potter, or the characters therein. We'd like to , but we don't. Feel free to give them to us if you like, though.
Chapter 1: The Trip to Snape Manor
Hermione Granger was past furious. Her beloved headmaster was dead, her parents had been taken into protective custody by the Order, and her best friends were lying in hospital, recovering from injuries sustained in a major battle at the beginning of the summer. She was supposed to be getting ready to begin her final year at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, as Head Girl alongside Ron as Head Boy.
Instead, Hermione was on a fly-by-night top secret mission that was supposed to have gone to a senior member of the Order. Actually, Hermione's original mission was to deliver a missive from Nymphadora Tonks to Sirius Black, newly back from Beyond the Vale. Not even owls were entrusted with these messages, and Tonks had been counting on Hermione to do the Hermione-thing: deliver, no questions asked, and without looking at the note herself. The note had been delivered to Hermione at St. Mungo's, where she was attending to Ron and Harry, and Hermione had been all set to do just that, but as she left the hospital room where Harry and Ron were laid out with various casts, something snapped.
Hermione kissed each young man before she slipped her cloak around her shoulders. She tightened the laces at her throat as she read the letter:
You have full and utter authority to use whatever means necessary to take down Viper and avenge the Man in the Moon. The Quiet One knows nothing of the contents of this letter, lest she warn the King and the Power. The Tiger will take care of the rest.
Hermione growled low in her throat as she read and re-read the note. She made a decision right there, grabbing Harry's invisibility cloak and slipping it into her bag. She trotted over to the door, and before she left she turned on her heel and ran back to Ron's side.
"Ron, I love you. Please know that, no matter what I may have to do," Hermione cried as she kissed him passionately. Even though he was heavily sedated, Hermione could feel him start. She kissed him one last time and left.
Hermione kept her cool as she made her way out of St. Mungo's. She was polite to the nurses, making her excuses and whatnot. Better than arousing suspicion, because they all recognized her, as she had been at the hospital everyday since Ron and Harry had been admitted at the beginning of the summer. Both men were being kept in medicated comas because they would undoubtedly try to get out of bed and join the fight again if they were conscious.
Hermione could think only of her lover and best friend as she made her way through the hospital grounds, searching for where she'd stashed her broom. She had been the one to make the decision to put Ron and Harry into the comas; Arthur Weasley was still not quite stable, and Molly couldn't make the decision. Hermione had made it for her, and Ginny was still angry with Hermione for it. Ginny was at the hospital even more than Hermione, keeping vigil over Harry's still form. The healers said that the men would be well in plenty of time for the coming school year, but Hermione still fretted.
Hermione found the broom and grimaced. She still hated to fly, even after six years of practice. She flew quite well, yet being up in the air with nothing more than a stick with more sticks sticking out of it unnerved her.
Hermione spoke to herself as she kicked off and headed for the nearest wizarding village.
"Viper must mean Snape, and Man in the Moon must mean Dumbledore. Sirius is obviously Cerberus. But the Quiet One, the King, and the Power?" Hermione wondered as she climbed through the air, pushing her hair back from her face. "I'll have to do something about that."
Hermione flew for about an hour before she landed. She stashed her broom in a slightly more accessible place before she flicked her wand over the top of her head to change her appearance slightly. She reached in her bag and grabbed a quill and some bound parchment before she headed into town.
"And now not even Rita Skeeter would know me from any other journalist to be," Hermione laughed to herself, entering the town. She had perched small glasses on the end of her nose, changed her eye color and hair color, and pulled her still-wavy yet deep-navy locks back in a clip. "Although, the blue hair . . ."
Hermione made her way into the town, her head held high in confidence that she wouldn't be recognized. Besides, Ron and Harry had always been more recognizable, Ron with his infamous Weasley-red hair and Harry with the Potter-black waves and scar; Hermione had always been the somewhat plain best friend who was supposed to stay on the sidelines, quietly researching. . .
"Fuck! Tonks thinks I'm the 'Quiet One'!" Hermione screeched, then slapped her hand over her mouth. She composed herself and entered the nearest tavern, The Slimy Frog. "Lovely," Hermione groused under her breath as she entered and got a butterbeer from the handsome barkeep.
"What's a lovely little miss like you doing out in Little Wormstead?" the barkeep asked, his eyes roving over her body salaciously. Hermione swallowed the vomit she felt rising in the back of her throat.
"I'm looking for Snape Manor, and someone told me the best way to get there is to ask about it here in Little Wormstead," Hermione said, hoping he would take her hesitation as her being a coquette, not utterly disgusted by his overwhelming nearness and assumption.
"Well, I'll tell you, but it is a ways outside of town, and a wee little reporter shouldn't go out there by herself. Why don't you wait and I'll go with you?" the barkeep leaned forward, and Hermione caught a whiff of his awful breath and his teeth, which were rotting out of his head.
'Ugh,' Hermione thought to herself. She was the child of dentists, after all, so the sight of such awful teeth was particularly sickening for her.
Hermione was desperate to buy herself time. People were beginning to get interested in the discussion, so she took a shot. "But you haven't even told me your name."
"Mackus, Mac for short. And yours?"
"Belladonna," Hermione said, hoping he'd get a hint from the name of the deadly plant. "And nothing for short. So, where is this place? And I don't need a protector, certainly not one without a solid tooth in his head."
Mac reared back from Hermione and she braced herself carefully for the punch she was sure was coming. "Fine, ya lil' bitch. Head east out of town and go through the forest about three kilometers. Ya can't miss the place. It's a bloody eyesore."
Hermione smiled a saccharine sweet smile at the noisome man. "Thank you kindly. Tata!"
She turned on her heel and fled the tavern and town, letting her disguise fade along the way, so no-one would be able to identify her or her alter ego. She headed south first, exiting the town and grabbing her broom from the underbrush where she'd hidden it and circling around the town to the eastern side, cutting into the woods as Mac had said. She didn't dare try to kick off and fly on the off chance that Snape Manor could only be accessed on foot or was invisible from the air. Besides it was only three kilometers, and Hermione didn't want to show up for vengeance with a sick stomach.
It was taking Hermione longer to get through the forest than she thought, and it wasn't as if she'd left early in the morning. It was pulling up on seven o'clock, and the sun was receding while the forest seemed to encroach on her every step. Hermione whispered to her wand and was granted light, but every step was in a darker forest she'd never been in before. She estimated that she only had about a quarter kilometer to go when she heard something snap behind her.
Hermione raised her wand higher, focusing on it to make it shine brighter and farther. She moved it slowly to get the best view of the area, but it was no use. She whispered to her wand again and it went out. She decided to make the rest of her trip by the moonlight filtering through the thick canopy of trees overhead.
Which was probably the worst decision she could have made. She heard more noise behind her, and she started to trot, then run in the direction she'd been heading, hoping she'd reach the clearing the Manor would be in so she could fight on level ground. She pocketed her wand and secured her cloaks, readying for hand-to-hand combat as she had trained with other members of the Order. Tonks and Shacklebolt had been adamant about everyone learning to defend themselves should something happen to their wands.
Hermione saw the end of the forest about fifty yards in front of her when she was overtaken by her pursuer. She kicked and screamed and bit, trying to stop him. She tried to breathe, but a hand went over her mouth. She inhaled through her nose and recognized the stench: Mac.
"Now, Bell, dear, you should have told me you were Severus's little pet. I would have gladly delivered you. In pieces after I had my fun. After all these years, women still prefer the bastard. D'you know he's not even a pureblood?" Mac hissed in Hermione's ear as he groped her through her cloaks and muggle streetclothes.
"Of course, I know, you dolt! I attend Hogwart's, same as every other underage wizard and witch in the Isles," Hermione gritted as Mac removed his hand for a moment. Hermione's arms were stuck to her waist in Mac's sickening embrace, and Hermione was praying to some higher power to save her.
"Well, well, well, he shouldn't have gotten involved with a student, should he have? Now, we're going to have some fun, and then I'll leave Severus a not-so-neat little present. Shall we?" Mac said, turning Hermione around so abruptly she fell on her arse.
'damn, this is like a bad movie,' Hermione thought to herself, trying to push herself off the ground. Mac was upon her, and Hermione couldn't find the strength to save herself. She got angrier and angrier, but between not being able to reach her wand and Mac's rather substantial weight, she was quickly running out of options.
Mac swatted Hermione legs when she tried to kick him, and managed to pin her legs. He grabbed her breast and pinched, twisting as he pulled on her. Hermione bit her lip before she cried out. He laughed and smacked her across her face. Hermione lifted her head up, and Mac hit her again, and her head smashed into the ground. She screamed and screamed, hoping anyone would come, or perhaps she could jolt Mac off of her.
Mac pulled Hermione's robes open, laying her muggle clothes to his view.
"You're a muggle bitch?!" Mac roared, punching Hermione. This time, she didn't even try to raise her head. She screamed once more, then settled for crying.
Mac reached for the snap and fly on her jeans, and the last thing Hermione saw before she finally passed out was a curtain of black hair and a pale hand snaking out and around Mac's neck.