Author: Svelte Rose
Title: Kill Time, Injure Eternity
Characters: Hermione Granger, Tom Riddle, various ancestors
Warnings: The madness that I have pulled from my mind and transfused into this work.
Date: September 2nd, 2007
Note: I have finally written a TT fic involving one of my favorite pairings of all time. There's another one in the works and both are going to be monsters of a project. Lord help me because I really should be focused on other, more important matters right now…
He was a very pleasant boy, charming everyone he encountered. Like the old fairytale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, he was the star of the story with skin as white as snow, hair as black as night and lips as blood red trying to escape a stepmother who was evil personified.
Except he was the evil personified and his 'Seven Dwarves' were much more vicious than the helpful men in the children's story.
She lifted her eyes up for a scant second and then quickly looked back down to the open page of her book, catching a short glance of the Slytherin Prefect. He had an uncanny way of catching people who stared at him and she'd rather not let him know she existed; after all, she wasn't even supposed to be there. Her appearance made it easy for the thousand and some students of Hogwarts to swallow her up, so even if people did bother to spare her a single glance, all they'd see was a tiny slip of a girl and just cast it off as another face in the crowd.
She could feel it. She could feel his eyes, the cool, assessing gaze of his crawl over her like a million little spiders and it took every fiber in her being not to shudder. Forcing herself to concentrate on the letters before her, she waited until the feeling passed. It was a mere second, but to her it felt like a lifetime.
Then, he was gone.
Her eyes would have blazed with hatred…
Had she not lost the ability to feel long ago.
"Hermione! Is he…" Parvati left the question unspoken as the curly-haired witch stormed into the castle looking worse for the wear. Not too far behind, Seamus and Dean came limping both looking just as worn as Hermione did.
"Remember the warding charms I taught you?" She said instead in a quiet voice, her eyes eerily calm. The only thing that belied her calm countenance was the fist tightly clenching her wand. "They won't hold, but they will give the remaining survivors time to escape."
"What about Ron and his group? They're still outside aren't they?" Hannah questioned, her own wand tightly clenched in her hand.
Seamus and Dean would not look at her. Hermione forced a smile on her face, "Please, they won't take long to break through."
A sob barely made it past Lavender's lips before she threw both hands over her mouth, face wrenching in pain as the unspoken information registered.
Turning away, light brown eyes narrowed in concentration while a string of spells were muttered in coordination with a series of intricate wand movements. Despite the wound on his leg, Dean was the first to lift his wand and began casting another series of protection spells on the Hogwarts' entrance. Seamus quickly caught on and pretty soon, there was nothing but the sound of spells hitting the wall as each spray of magic enforced the stone barriers. A faint shadow of their opponents could be seen coming towards the castle from a distance.
That had meant their first and second line of defense had fallen.
Seamus threw a nervous look at the curly-haired witch to his right and gulped hard. She was right; they didn't stand a chance with their mediocre spell-casting, small numbers and unskilled duelers while their opponents possessed them in spades and then some. The wards would hold but not for long. They probably wouldn't even hold long enough to-
"LOOK OUT!" Hermione shrieked just as something hit the castle and shattered the glass windows. Knocking herself into the girls, both skidded across the stone floor while a cacophony of glass fell down on them.
Colin pulled Parvati and Hannah up and those that could move were already dashing off towards safety.
"Find the survivors! Get them into the secret passage!" Dean bellowed as he stayed put with Seamus and Hermione.
Seamus was concentrating on levitating several large pieces of furniture to hold against the thundering doors.
A harsh cough caught Dean's attention before the marble floor of Hogwarts was littered with a spray of crimson blood.
Embedded in Hermione's neck was a piece of glass. Blood dribbled down her chin as her eyes glazed over in pain.
"Hermione!" Seamus screamed.
Her eyes snapped wide-open, taking in the darkness while her hands clutched tightly at the sweat-soaked sheets and a bead of perspiration slowly made its way down her temple. Her heart was going a million miles a minute as her mouth opened and closed, gasping for the much needed air.
Taking a much needed moment to gather herself, she took several deep breaths until her heart rate had returned to normal. Shoving the curtains aside and brushing aside a sweat-drenched lock of short hair, she crawled out of bed, leaving a bunch of tangled sheets and covers in her absence. Her feet padded softly across the wooden floor, careful not to wake any of the sleeping habitants.
In the bathroom, she splashed a handful of icy cold water upon her pale face and was chagrined to find how haggard her appearance was. Lackluster blond hair (charmed to remain straight) hung in limp, clumpy, short strands around her gaunt, angular face. Purple circles under her eyes stood out prominently against her pale cheekbones and her lips were cracked and bloody- probably from being woken up so roughly by the nightmare of hers.
She sighed and silently conjured a towel to dab at her face with. Breathing in the fresh cottony scent of the towel, she clenched her jaw and willed the memories away. She had been able to survive thus far and damned if she was going to let a psychological breakdown ruin it for her.
The sound of a door opening made her stiffen slightly and from the corner of her eye, she watched as a sleepy Ravenclaw made her way to one of the stalls. The girl pulled the curtain closed without a single glance at her and then the unmistakable sound of someone relieving themselves filled the air.
She took her leave.
Every time she entered the classroom, she found her control slipping just a fraction. Even if she was able to gain it right back, the idea that the tight reign she had on herself could falter any moment sent a chill down her back. Despite the negative emotions it garnered, it wasn't a hateful place at all- in fact, it was the very opposite. Not only had it been the room of her favorite subject but she found that she very nearly adored the two latest teachers who attended the post of the Transfigurations' professor (and they in return). Then when heentered, it was all she could do not to run across the room and throw herself in his arms, spilling every thought that plagued her so. Whoever said pain erased with time had probably never felt true pain before because no matter how many times she entered this classroom (every school day for several weeks now), she felt the same intense emotions.
It was uncontrollable and she certainly could not have herself losing her hold on sanity in a fit of water works. But at the same time, his presence provided a semblance of peace she thought she had long forgotten, a peace she had belied to her friends but did not possess when she was alone by herself in the dark. Everyone wore emotional masks and this was hers.
Head bent down and fingers stained with ink, her quill recorded every word that emitted from his mouth. Sometimes, she even let herself revel in the brief comfort that it seemed only he could provide.
"Professor, what Animagus form are you?" A sixth year Gryffindor questioned ardently.
This caught her attention and involuntarily, her head snapped up, plain light brown eyes meeting twinkling blue orbs. Most of his students seemed to share her adoration for their professor.
He chuckled, "That, my dear, is a secret. Can't have you knowing when I go sneaking around, can you?"
Some students gasped while others snickered and giggled. To her surprise, she found her mouth twisting up in a rarely used expression (these days).
"I am registered with the Ministry, however, so that they know when I go sneaking about." He chuckled to himself.
As she glanced at the students throughout the room, she was met with smiles all around. She had not come across this much content since…
"Alright, students, do not forget that your essay is due tomorrow and do remember to prepare for your quiz." He announced. The students, realizing class was dismissed hurried to pack their bags, shuffling papers and books.
With a pair of eyes digging into her back, she too, hurried and much more quickly than others. Papers were jammed into her bag, ink and quill following not too long after. She needed to get out before-
"Miss Ronegn, I need to speak with you."
She stiffened immediately, her hand in the middle of closing her over-stuffed bag. Slowly turning around, she clasped her hand behind her back and calmly nodded, "Yes, Professor?" The students walked around her and quickly filed out of the room.
She was met with his unwavering gaze.
He whirled his wand in his slender fingers before he tucked it into his sleeve and stood up mimicking her posture of clasping his hands behind his back. He seemed to hesitate, as though carefully choosing what he wanted to say. She waited patiently, a deep sinking feeling growing in the pit of her stomach.
"I have come across many a powerful witches and wizards in my time, most of them during my career here at Hogwarts…" He began while his curious blue eyes flickered to her stoic stance.
She nodded, letting him know she was listening.
"Some choose to advance in their fields by taking up a profession in regards to it and others choose to pursue it in less than admirable ways."
She shifted her weight onto the other foot, eyes seemingly avoiding his.
"However," He paused with a finger stroking his long auburn beard, "I have yet to come across a student who is more than brilliant, purposefully holding herself back and I can't seem to figure out why."
Her blood ran cold as her lips distinctively tightened, "What are you saying, sir?" The words were defensive, fighting even.
His unwavering gaze was now focused on her, looking as though he could see right into her soul and she could not help but fidget a bit, "You, Miss Ronegn." Then his voice changed from calm to admonishing, "You, who transferred to our school so suddenly and who promises of great potential…why are you holding yourself back?"
Her mouth opened several times and she wondered how she would answer. The Dumbledore she knew, the same that was standing before her, seemed to know everything and this proved it. Even if she did say something, he would probably be able to pick out the falsehood in her words. But what other option was there?
Tell the truth?
That was out of the question.