Title: You Know Who?
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter and am making no money from this story. The characters belong to J. K. Rowling; I am just playing with them for my own amusement and hopefully those of others.
Characters: Hermione Granger, Lord Voldemort, plus the general cast of characters appearing in Deathly Hallows.
Main Pairing: Hermione/Voldemort (note: when it says Voldemort it means Voldemort, not Tom Riddle).
Summary: What would you do if you woke up with no memory, looking like a monster, stuck in a room with a giant snake? Well, Lord Voldemort is in exactly that situation when magic brings him to the home of Hermione Granger.
Author's Notes: Getting a review of this story from Torticolis and watching the film of Deathly Hallows: Part One galvanised me to finally do something about this story. I feel really guilty about abandoning it the way I did, but I had no idea what to do next. Anyway, I finally sat down to finish chapter thirteen. However, rereading the tale in order to write it made me very unhappy. A lot of things didn't make sense or relied on assumptions made before the seventh book came out. I began this story before Deathly Hallows and so a lot was based on guesswork and doesn't match up with the book – like Snape being captured, the Order still using Grimmauld Place, etc... The Severus Snape plotline I had was stupidly schizophrenic and didn't do the character justice either. Also, I began the tale as a humorous story (hence the Dark Lord having dinner with the Order), which rapidly went dark and angst-ridden on me. That's why the beginning was light-hearted and felt disjointed from the meat of the tale. Therefore, I have decided to fully rewrite it. Don't worry though, all the Hermione/Voldemort stuff will be pretty much the same – it's mainly what's going on around them which will change (and I'd like to think that I'm a better author these days too). Thank you, all my readers, for being so patient with me. I know it's a drag to have to suffer through a rewrite, but I swear it will be worth it and that I will finish this blasted thing!
For those reading this story for the first time, the only thing you really need to know is that my Voldemort is left-handed. I know the beginning is rather cracky, but from the second chapter onward the story becomes less so.
Chapter One: The Snake Under the Bed
I awaken in a strange place with pains in the cavities of my face and a throbbing in my head. There is no light here – but I can still see. I'm not sure how. Dimly, I am made aware that I'm in bed, my limbs a careless spread under the sheets. The room is well-furnished, yet solemn in its richness, with dark marble walls of verd-antique, and stylised Rococo serpents twist about the décor. Someone has carefully arranged a display of lilies on the bedside table, nestling in a silver vase. Underneath their perfume I can smell that they are slowly dying. The aroma is nauseating. The whole effect is that of a horribly over-designed hotel suite. It makes me feel uncomfortable and out of place.
I yawn, bringing a hand to my face. It fascinates me and I flex my fingers, bringing my other hand up, holding them level with my eyes. They're long, so long, these bony, almost inhuman fingers. These are not my hands, surely? I do not know what my hands looked like before – but they definitely weren't these chalk-pale, skeletal things. Perhaps I am dreaming…? I stop staring at my fingers and rub my face. The geometry of my features is all wrong. My eyes are curiously slanted, my brow hairless, and my nose… my nose?
Flinging the blankets roughly aside, I gaze down at my naked form. I am a wraith. I have not an ounce of spare flesh, just milky skin clinging desperately to elongated bones. My knees are what most fascinate somehow: incredibly knobbly. I run those creepy fingers over myself, exploring all the way down to my toes, sitting up half-cross-legged on the soft mattress.
Panic flumes up within me: what does my face look like? I scramble off the bed, shivering in my nudity, and cast about for a mirror. In all this useless luxury, there isn't a mirror to be had. It will be all right, I tell myself, you will fix this – you are good at fixing things. Somewhere this registers, but it is not terribly helpful in the search for a reflection or in stemming the rising tide of my fear. I throw open a trunk – presumably my luggage – full of weird glass bottles, glittering weaponry, thick books covered in strange symbols, and even what appears to be a human skull, my efforts causing a cloud of dust to rise into the air. Finally – there – a mirrored pyramid about the size of my palm.
Even a cursory touch of my face was enough to tell me something was not right. And it truly isn't. I have no human nose. I haven't been injured or any such thing, as there is no scarring – it is simply not there. Instead, there are two almost reptilian slits. I inhale deeply and they widen a little. But my eyes are my most disturbing feature: blood red with feline pupils; so very large, so very frightening. They stare back at me, nightmarish, their lurid colour relegating the rest of my features, even my strange nose, to comparative obscurity.
I place the pyramid shakily on the dark floorboards and run my other hand across a perfectly hairless cranium. That too, is bizarre. It isn't that my hair – I am sure I am supposed to have hair – has been shaved off, as I can tell it hasn't because there are no hair follicles on my body whatsoever. I am a monster – a real monster. Not some sorry, deformed wretch… but something so much worse than that – something sinister.
There is a sudden rustling from under the bed. Expecting who-knows-what, I draw back – fearful – tripping over my own over-long limbs in my effort to get away from the bed as a great snake slides out, moving fast toward me. My whole body seizes up, hoping that if I don't move it will pass me by. It's the only thing stopping me from hyperventilating. But its yellow gaze is on me, its forked tongue flicking the air as if tasting my fear.
"Master, why do you smell of fear? Are you wounded?" the snake asks, sounding perplexed. You know, says a little voice inside my reeling head, I have just worked it out – I am in a mental hospital. This is actually a padded cell for crazy people who think they can talk to snakes. It's all some sick delusion. Still, the snake seems to know more than I do at the moment, so it would be foolish to provoke it.
"Who are you?" I demand. My voice is harsh and high-pitched: an unnatural sound.
The snake comes even closer. "But I am your Nagini. What has happened to you, my love, my master?"
Surely I am not in a consensual relationship with a snake? Having no better idea, I tell the snake the truth. "I… cannot remember. It… the only memories I have are of the past few minutes. Do you know my name? Whether I… my parents… or family? Why I – look…?"
The snake appears worried – although how I recognise this is beyond me. "You are my Master and if you truly remember nothing then we both are in much danger… for there are many fickle humans who would turn on you in your weakened state, my love."
"Why can I not remember? Who am I?"
"My love, you are the most powerful, and the most feared, wizard in Europe – or so you have told me, and I have seen enough to believe your words." The snake's words are full of pride. Wait – wizard?
"A… wizard? Do all wizards look… as I do?"
The snake – Nagini – shakes her head, a curiously human mannerism. "No… only you have renounced the warm blood of the prey. You have become pure… beautiful… even more attuned than I to the cold visions. You are immortal, my lord, your soul split into seven, your body remade by magic."
Immortal sounds positive – but the concept of soul-splitting is possibly more bizarre than anything I have heard so far… "What do you mean… split? How do you split a soul?"
"By a kill, of course."
"So I have killed seven people?" I knew somehow that we would inevitably come to this. It was something to do with the eyes. Those red eyes look fit for murder… I am a killer. Am I on the run? Are there police after me? I do not exactly blend in – is that why I'm hiding in this dark hotel room? Is this even a hotel? Do I own this overdecorated place?
But the snake just laughs. It is actually laughing. "Not seven, my love! Many, many humans you have killed… sometimes you let your Nagini eat them."
Feeding people to a giant snake? "Where do…" I inhale slowly, trying to keep calm – don't think about it – very calm, "…where do I keep my clothes?"
"In the wardrobe by the door," the snake answers, "we must go quickly, master. If you have truly forgotten all you say." I open the wardrobe. Black robes of various materials stared out at me. I take out a warm-looking one and pull it over my head. The sleeves are voluminous, trailing – and give me confidence. I also take out a warm, thick cloak with a deep hood, adjusting it around my shoulders.
Returning to the chest, I empty an old leather bag of a bone knife and the remains of some dried plants and shove in another couple of robes. Nagini slithers over with a stick her mouth. For an odd moment I wonder if she wants to play fetch. But the snake places the stick on the floor, "Your wand… my lord."
…A magic wand? I pick it up in my left hand and instantly a warm, beautiful, tingling sensation shoots through the long, white fingers I still cannot think of as my own. "How does it work?" I ask with baited breath.
"You explained it to me once as a matter of will. I think pointing it at something focuses the magic. Sometimes you speak words."
"Hmm," I point it at my naked feet and focus on them being covered with sensible leather boots. And they are – just like that. I stare down, frozen in amazement. Footsteps echo beyond the room.
"It is the rat – we must go."
How a rat might sound human footsteps I do not ask. Perhaps it is to a rat as I am to a serpent? "Is there anything else I should take?" I whisper quickly.
"No – you need only your wand."
I slip the bag over a shoulder. "How do we leave, then?"
Nagini curls up tightly around my feet. "I do not know, my love, you always wave the wand diagonally and we reappear elsewhere."
So – just like the boots. Focus on where I want to be… which would be useful if I remembered anywhere. Somewhere safe, I think, somewhere safe, somewhere safe…with someone who can help me… who knows who I am... I swing the wand down hard. There is a deafening crack and I feel the world contract to the size of a pea and then explode inside-out.
It is a small bedroom. A girl's bedroom, with a sliver of moonlight shining through the curtains, illuminating the many cramped bookshelves and the lilac wallpaper… and the sleeping girl under the covers. Bereft of the last room's baroque height, I now realise I must be almost seven feet tall, as my head nearly smacks into the creamy plaster ceiling; Nagini, sensing perhaps that her presence is inappropriate, slithers under the bed in between some brown boxes. There is, under the circumstances, only one thing for me to do. I kneel beside the bed and gently touch the girl on the shoulder, sliding my fingers through her bushy hair.
"Go'way, mum…" she mumbles. How old is she? But this is where the spell brought me… and I feel I ought to respect such things. I shake her slightly. "...What?" She turns over and freezes. Her eyes stare into mine, horrified.
I dash my right hand over her mouth, "Do not scream," I order the girl, "I shall not hurt you, I promise." When she seems no longer likely to cry out, I remove my hand.
A wand is pointing directly at my forehead. "W-what have y-you done to my p-parents?" the darkness and her bushy hair hide the hatred and fear I can hear in her voice.
"Nothing," I reply, "I have never so much as met your parents. I came here… the magic sent me here when I asked for somewhere safe."
This doesn't seem to reassure the girl at all. "Y-you'll get... nothing f-from me! I'd... I w-will die rather than betray H-harry! S-so you can j-just k-k-kill me now, b-because I-"
"Look," I hiss angrily, exasperated, "I do not know who Harry is, and I am certainly not interested in any information you have regarding him!"
The girl opens her mouth, only to close it again. "Y-you… don't know who Harry is?" her wand lowers slightly as her arm becomes a little less tense. She sounds confused.
"I have explained," I sigh, "I simply wished for somewhere safe and the magic brought me here."
"And you've…" she began to laugh slightly hysterically, "you've c-come here?"
The girl is trying my patience. How many times do I have to tell her? "Evidently…"
"I... I don't... I don't suppose you could tell me what you've done with the real D-dark Lord?"
"Well, that happens to be the issue, you see. I… woke up in… this body and… that is all I remember..."
Suddenly, the girl smiles a rather loopy smile, "Oh, I'm so stupid… this is a dream…!"
"I assure you, quite the contrary – although I admit I thought that too, for a while…"
She shudders and something rattles under the bed. "What's that?" her voice is a shrill squeak. Fear is stamped all over her… I can… smell it.
"Oh, that is Nagini, my snake. I believe she likes to sleep under beds."
"There's a giant snake under my bed?"
"Ah, so you've met Nagini before? I must admit, I was shocked too… but the snake listens to my directions. You need not be afraid."
"I'm NOT afraid!" I stand up and she shrinks back. I do not wish to frighten her, as she is clearly more experienced with a wand than I, despite her youth. She is probably a sweet little thing normally. I just stare at her… unsure how to proceed. I could always disappear again with Nagini – but surely I was brought here for a reason? I am unable to quell the fatalistic notion. "L-look," the girl begins, "what you're... saying is... it's insane… but I guess I... I m-might believe you… if you g-give me your wand."
I swallow. The wand is in my left hand, still warming my fingers. Do not let it go… it is your only security… I need only my wand… what happens without it? This chit could be anybody. She might not even be a girl – trust to nothing! It is as if the wand itself does not want to be let go. But I need someone to assist me with this strange predicament. "If I give you this, you will promise to help me?"
She gives a stiff, serious nod. "I... yes, I promise."
I give her the wand. "You have not told me your name…" I say, uncomfortable with the way she grips my wand, as if she's aching to snap it.
"H-hermione Granger," she says with seriousness beyond her years – she looks to be somewhere from her late teens to early twenties – "and if you... w-well, if aren't him, who are you?"
I smile and sit at the end of her bed, my tall body awkward, careful to avoid her legs under the duvet, "I… wish I knew. Nagini believes I am her wizard lord, but I really couldn't say for certain."
She frowns, "I suppose someone could have hit you with an especially powerful obliviate. Only... it seems pointless – it doesn't make sense. If someone could hit you with a spell like that, they'd have killed you already."
Nagini pokes her head out from under the bed. "Do not trust her – she will betray you to them."
"My lord, my love, the Order of the Phoenix, those who work to bury you in the earth!" the snake flicks its tongue angrily at Hermione.
"I wish you had told me that before I gave her my wand…"
"What did she say?" Hermione interrupts.
I turn to her, accusatory. "She said you would hand me over to something called the Order of the Phoenix. She disapproves of my trusting you. Have I made a mistake?"
"I don't know. I guess that depends on what you were hoping for."
"Tell her nothing!" Nagini hisses.
"I wasn't… hoping for anything, exactly; someone who might help me, I suppose. To explain things better than Nagini…"
My snake emits what I might call an exasperated sigh and retreats back under Hermione's bed. The girl herself tilts her head thoughtfully, "You really remember nothing?" I can see her eyes widen with curiosity as she leans forward into the shaft of moonlight. I can't help but notice the prettiness of her soft features, surrounded by all that wild hair.
"Nothing at all."
She nods and puts my wand in the pocket of her pyjamas, leaving her own in her right hand. She picks a gold coin off her bedside-table and flips it nervously. "Well, I suppose I ought to fill you in. Your mother died giving birth to you and you killed your muggle father because he-"
"What is a muggle?"
For some reason this question makes her uncomfortable. She bites her bottom lip with a frown. "A non-magical person – anyway, you killed him for… well, I'm... I'm not sure to be honest… you set a Basilisk loose in a school at fifteen, which killed someone… you've killed a lot of people… but when you tried to k-kill Harry Potter – m-my friend – it backfired and you were a… spirit for thirteen years, then you got your body back and... you've been back to killing people ever since."
"What an edifying life," I comment dryly. "How have I avoided the authorities all this time? I assume wizards have a police service?"
Hermione nods vigorously. "Very much so – the department of Magical Law Enforcement, that's their equivalent of the regular police and the aurors – an elite force trained to combat and catch dark wizards."
We creep down the corridor in order not to wake her parents and she opens a door at the end of the hall, ushering me into a cramped guest room with boxes stacked neatly in a corner. A musty-looking brown and orange quilt covers the bed. "You can sleep here," she says, shutting the door softly behind Nagini and me. She still has my wand.
"Nagini, is it possible to do magic without a wand?"
"Perhaps – you have seen things without a wand, master. You always see if others humans are lying."
Surely it is possible to do it without one – if there truly is a difference between wizards and muggles then there must have been wizards without wands at some point. Suddenly, I feel exhausted. Lying down on the bed, my feet stick out; I bring my knees level with my navel and rub my legs together in an attempt to warm them. Tiredness drifts over my limbs and I fall asleep...
Lord Voldemort is asleep in my spare room. It's insane. The only reason I didn't stun him as soon as he passed me his wand is because I was afraid of his enormous snake. I have no idea what to do. There's no textbook available for this. I've warded the room so that nothing can get in or out – hopefully my subtle Sleeping Charm (I've only tried it once or twice on Crookshanks) and the Anti-Apparition Jinx will hold. My hands are shaking. For a second, I just stand in the corridor, hugging myself to fight off panic now the immediate danger has passed. I still can hear his unnerving voice whispering in Parseltongue to his monstrous snake. His horrible gaunt face and terrifying scarlet eyes. I don't want to leave him here with my sleeping parents, but we're not connected to the Floo network, so I can't let anyone know from here. I'll have to apparate.
I can't go to Harry – he's still with his relatives until tomorrow night and – unlike me – he isn't seventeen yet, which means he still has the Ministry Trace. How strange that this should happen just when I was planning to obliviate my parents… I guess going to Ron's is my best option. Hopefully, some of the Order will be there already and I can floo them if they're not. I focus on the fields outside The Burrow, pray mum and dad will be okay for a few minutes, and disapparate with a crack.
Remus Lupin is standing in the dark field under the stars, working on the Burrow's protective charms. His patched coat flaps in the breeze and he turns as I walk through the wards, lighting my wand. "Hermione! Good to see you again… Molly said she wasn't expecting you until tomorrow."
"Change of plans, Professor Lupin." I explain, not answering his smile, causing him to frown, worried; adding ten years to his weathered face.
"Something tells me this isn't the time to have another conversation about you not calling me professor. What's wrong?"
"It sound mad, but... You-Know-Who has... has lost his memory and he's... well, he's at my house." Those red eyes filled with a strange earnestness; an almost childlike trust...
"Sorry, what was that?" Lupin pushes tawny-grey hair out of his face, "I don't think I heard you right."
"You-Know-Who is at my house and has lost his memory. He didn't even remember what muggles were! I've um… well... locked him in my spare room and put him in a bewitched sleep." I hold out the infamous yew wand as proof.
His eyes go wide in disbelieving shock, staring from me to the wand. "I'll get Alastor."
Next Chapter: Voldemort learns he's been betrayed…