Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all related characters/scenarios/etc belong to JK Rowling and whoever else has rights given to them by some lawyers and contracts. I am not part of any of those groups, and so nothing belongs to me.
Author's Note: AU, obviously. Bits from the book, bits from the film, all sort of jumbled together. I think I rather like this pairing. There's just something so... interesting about Hermione/Barty Jr.
Ear pressed to the door, Hermione Granger waits and listens. She hears people come and go but cannot make out what they are saying. Except one word:
And then she hears a voice. A voice she recognizes. A voice that makes her blood run cold and almost stops her heart.
It's his voice. Telling them, the enemy, what happened.
He does not mention her.
Part of her is glad of this; she has no desire to be thrown in Azkaban. But there is another part of her that resents his silence. He could not have kept the charade up this long without her help. And she had been company for him, someone to talk to, someone...
Someone to love.
That was the other thing. She'd spent so long fighting with and pretending she liked Ron Weasley, always hiding the truth. Though she is only fifteen, she knows who has her heart, and she will not give that up for anything or anyone.
His voice is raspy and dry and painful to hear. It is painful to hear his recollections of all the people he's killed and tortured, and it is painful to hear the insanity in his voice.
Hermione remembers the first class she ever had with him. She remembers the way he performed the Unforgivables on the spiders, the way she begged him not to use the last. The way he did so anyway, glancing apologetically at her while feigning nonchalance and unable to hide the gleam in his eye. He is on the side that killed and tortured. Nothing can change that.
Could she, though? Could she really? She tried, certainly, when they had time alone together. She tried to change him. But in the end, Hermione had to admit that he had been a Death Eater for too long.
She doesn't want to be part of that.
Hermione listens. She listens to his story just as she's always listened. The same way she listened, a long time ago, when they first met. When she first caught him out of his disguise, when he almost modified her memory--or possibly killed her, she can't be sure--she listened. He trusted her then, she trusts him now, and she hopes he trusts her too.
Because she knows she's his only hope.
The cleverest witch of her age, she's been called. That Hermione Granger, she's going to be Minister of Magic, Headmistress of Hogwarts, uniting Wizardkind. She's always been bright, always been ambitious.
But right now she's none of that. Right now, she's a scared fifteen-year-old girl who's eavesdropping and plotting to save the man she loves. The man she loves beyond all reason.
There's always logic. Always some logic to justify her actions. Try as she might, she can't find it. All she sees is her shattering heart, the devestation they will both face if he is thrown back in prison.
His talking stops.
Hermione presses herself against the wall as Dumbledore, Snape, and Harry all file out. She wants to ask Harry if he's okay, but she can't risk it. Sneaking a peek back inside, she notices McGonagall is still guarding her love. He's bound tightly with ropes, she sees, and it brings a lump to her throat. She needs a distraction.
McGonagall's back is turned. She's defenseless. Hermione wonders if her old self would dare... No, she decides. A year ago she panicked at the prospect of attacking a teacher. But she's not that girl any more. And she needs to get to him.
Without thinking, Hermione whispers under her breath, pointing her wand at the teacher's back. Stupefy. McGonagall falls, stunned.
Hermione. His lips form the words, but no sound comes out. She's made quick work of freeing him from the ropes, and now cradles him in her arms. He's weak. The excitement of the evening has begun to take its toll.
She stands and offers her hand, helping him unsteadily to his feet. Someone's coming.
The voice she recognizes as Cornelius Fudge's. The Minister of Magic. And...
Cold sweeps over both of them. Hermione remembers pain and loss and suffering and fear...
She pushes it out of her mind. There are more important things at stake here. All that matters is that Fudge has got a Dementor.
A Dementor that, she knows, would be more than happy to kiss her love the moment it sees him.
Come on, she urges him. Come on, love. We have to get out of here. They've got a Dementor, and if I'm caught in here...
He wraps an arm around her and manages to find his voice. I won't let anyone hurt you, Hermione. I can... I think I can hold them off...
No. I'm coming with you.
He doesn't argue. She's risked everything so far, and staying could only make things worse. If there are any witnesses, if anything goes wrong, she'll be thrown in Azkaban alone. This way, he can protect her.
Leaning on her shoulder for support, he manages to overcome some of the disorientation. He can get out of here. He can leave here alive. He can get back to his master. He can--
And then what? What about Hermione? Is there truly a place for her among the Death Eaters? Hermione, who has been Harry Potter's best friend for the past four years, who has thrived under Dumbledore's school, a Gryffindor, a girl who detests his master?
Even worse, she's muggle-born. A mudblood. A filthy little--
No. She's not. She's not a mudblood. She's a witch, and he loves her, and even though she's only fifteen to him she seems years older. She's wiser and cleverer than most of the Ministry and probably all of the Death Eaters. He doesn't see her blood. He only sees her.
And she only sees him.
And he can't let that happen.
Hermione wakes up in the hospital wing. What happened? she wonders. The nurse comes over and dabs something on her shoulder. Her whole body aches.
It was that man, that Death Eater, who was impersonating Professor Moody. You stood in his way. He attacked you and fled. He's gone.
She doesn't quite understand. He couldn't--he wouldn't--
It hits her. He Stunned her and left, because he knew there was no other choice. She should have known they couldn't run away together. He was a Death Eater, loyal only to his master, and where would she fit in? The little mudblood schoolgirl he fell in love with... They'd both be killed.
But because she loves him, and he loves her, this isn't the end.
She'll keep helping Harry hunt Voldemort. She'll draw as much attention to herself as possible. She'll do everything a loyal best-friend-sidekick should, in the hope that maybe the Death Eater she loves will come back to her.
And maybe this time Hermione Granger and Barty Crouch Jr. can finally be together.