Title: For All Intents and Purposes
Genre: Friendship, Romance, Adventure
Characters: Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Severus Snape, Remus Lupin, Lucius Malfoy, Draco Malfoy, Ron Weasley, Ginny Weasley
Warnings: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Violence, DH Spoilers, EWE
Summary: A moment of inattention transports Hermione to one year after the fall of the Dark Lord, but with no way back to her own time. Her only clue is a small object that she finds between worlds and she enlists the aid of a young Professor…but he has his own plans.
Disclaimer: Don't own it.
Edited by: thymeisacat
Chapter 1 – Alligators on the Brain
"I can't believe you volunteered our summer to muck out that greasy git's dump," Ron Weasley grumbled as he nudged a stack of moldering newspapers with the toe of his shoe, wrinkling his nose as the yellowing pages crackled under the gentle pressure.
Hermione sighed gustily, tired of that particular mantra; he had repeated it at least once every day that they'd been by to clean, varying only the insult he used to refer to the house's late owner. Mopping her brow and smearing gritty dust across her forehead, she adjusted the bundle of moth-eaten towels in her arms and gave her own version of the oft-repeated conversation. "He was a very brave man and suffered more than any of us could have imagined. Without his aid, we would have never defeated Voldemort. The least we can do is fix up this place to offer a memorial for all of his hard, unappreciated work."
"He was still a git."
Rolling her eyes, she stomped out of the kitchen door to the rubbish heap and released her load of towels. Git or not, she still felt guilty for Severus Snape's ignoble, lonely death. If only she'd known, maybe she wouldn't have given his cooling body a brief glance before heading back into the tunnel leading away from the Shrieking Shack. Perhaps she would have tried a bit of first aid, or verified that he was, in fact, dead and not suffering silently as he was left to bleed out on the floor.
Even after his deeds had come to light in those tumultuous weeks of celebration and mourning lost friends, few had cared to give him the respect that Hermione felt he had deserved. Only Harry and select members of the Order of the Phoenix seemed to acknowledge that he'd given Harry the final key to Voldemort's demise. Hermione had been shocked and dismayed at the resistance put forth by Hogwarts' Board of Governors to having Professor Snape's portrait added to the ranks of late Headmasters and Headmistresses. Not even Headmistress McGonagall had put much effort into getting the motion passed. So, four years after the revelation of Snape's true loyalties, few people knew and still fewer cared.
Always the champion of the underdog ('or underbat,' Ron's voice joked in her mind), Hermione had started the Association for the Acknowledgment of Severus Snape. One of the goals of A.A.S.S. (Ron routinely dropped the first 'A' when referring to her Association) was to get that bloody portrait painted and hung where it belonged. The other was to build a place where people could learn more about and perhaps gain an understanding of one Severus Snape. His Muggle home would become a memorial and museum of sorts. It wasn't her fault that the year she had finally acquired permission to "muck out the dump" happened to coincide with an unusually warm summer. As her long-standing boyfriend, Ron had been obliged to help her, as unenthusiastic about it as he was.
Hermione really didn't see the need for all of his complaints. She was just as hot and sticky as he was. More so, since she had been doing actual work instead of buggering about and griping. She knew there was a reason she loved him, even if she couldn't quite remember it all the time.
Granted, the chore would have been easier if they had been able to use more magic, but they were still uncovering traps that a careless spell could trigger, causing much unpleasantness for the caster. However, she didn't resent the manual labor: it helped to bring her closer to the man she had grossly misjudged. He must have been miserable here, living in this horrid, industrial neighborhood in this squalid little house. Nothing she had found so far implied an ounce of enjoyment in life. Even the dusty books that lined the shelves were of a Dark and grisly nature.
Propping her hands on her hips, Hermione gazed out over the back yard of Spinner's End: a barren patch of earth scattered with stunted dry, brown grass withering in scattered, uneven tufts. A gnarly tree jutted from an uneven ring of stones laid close to a rusty chain-link fence, beyond which was a rambling field of more dry grass bordered by a dirty, sluggish river off in the distance. Tall, thin towers of a factory reached for the sky like the spidery fingers of the house's late master, raised in supplication… but for what? What would Severus Snape have wanted? Hermione didn't know.
The lowest branch of the tree, thick and sparsely leaved, was faintly scarred in long, vertical strokes. The marks of a swing, perhaps? She snickered as an image of Professor Snape, perched on a tire and swinging with his long, skinny legs stuck out in front, his black robes billowing behind, rose in her mind. "Not bloody likely," she muttered quietly and wandered over to the tree.
Scars or no scars, there was nothing left of a swing, not even a bit of rotting rope. They could have been scorch marks left by a spell, for all she knew. Pursing her lips, her amusement evaporating like drops of water sprinkled on the front sidewalk, she circled the tree, gliding her hand absently along its rough bark. Her way was partially blocked by an old, decaying pallet leaning against the fence, the bottom edge sitting mere inches from the base of the trunk.
"This will have to go, too," she sighed as she bent down and grasped the sides of the pallet as close to the top edge as she could, hoping that nothing too beastly was crawling on the underside of the wood. With a grunt, she lugged it up as she stood, gasping as its true weight made itself known. Tottering a few steps and then dropping it as her muscles screamed in protest, Hermione glared at the pallet. A quick glance at her hands showed that no insects had decided to crawl onto them, and she was just about to head back to the house to fetch Ron when something caught her eye.
There was a hole in the chain-link fence. It was triangular in shape: not very large but intentionally widened, if the two sides of bent and folded wire mesh were any indication. Curious, Hermione crouched down by the hole, testing the mettle of the wire with gentle prods of her finger. She estimated that a fit woman like her could get through it, albeit with a little wriggling, and a child could definitely get through, but a grown man would not fit. Testing her theory, she hunched her shoulders and eased her upper body through the hole, glad that she had worn a tight fitting camisole and shorts instead of typical witch's robes that would have snagged on the wire. As it was, her breasts dragged in the dirt and one of the side pockets of her shorts got caught on the tip of a wire that hadn't been bent backwards, but all in all, she got through unscathed.
Brushing dirt from her front and shoving her wand back in her shorts pocket, she ambled along the fence line, scanning the field with bright, inquisitive eyes. An odd formation that might have been rock but seemed too angular to be natural jutted out of the grass several meters deep into the field. A closer study of the field showed many such protuberances, all dark and ominously obscured by dead grass. Despite the heat of the summer afternoon, Hermione shivered, wondering if a young Severus (she liked to think of him by his first name when imagining him as a child) would have felt the same grim oppression from this place as she, a battle-hardened adult, did. Then again, he'd been a boy, and boys liked creepy things.
Shaking off her apprehension, she approached the first of the strange shapes she had seen, keeping a careful eye on the ground in front of her. At ten paces, she could see, indeed, that the object was not rock. Rusty brown and corroded, it was a chunk of metal half-buried in the dirt. Time and weather had worn away its true purpose, leaving it an empty carcass.
She let her feet carry her as she wandered to each large scrap of metal in what she now dubbed the industrial graveyard, trying to picture a young boy with oily, black hair squirming into a waffled, pitted tube here or resting in the shade of a rusted-out structure there. Finally, the sound of her name, muted by distance, shocked her into realizing that she'd been in the field for longer than she had planned.
"Coming!" she shouted back, surprised to note that she couldn't even see Ron's red head or the hole through which she'd passed. She knew the general direction, however, and quickening her pace, headed back to the fence line.
"Hermione!" Ron's shout sounded closer and just a tad impatient. Huffing, Hermione shouted back. It wasn't like she'd been out that long. He probably just wanted to take a quick breather (from not working) and have a glass of something cold to drink, maybe do some light whinging. Honestly, he complained nonstop about his training at the Auror Academy; one would think he would appreciate the break away from it. But no! He had to go and—
Hermione's silent diatribe was cut off mid-stream as her foot hit something wooden and hollow. With a dull crunch, the wood beneath her shoe cracked, falling away into nothingness and taking her with it. She had barely released a shriek when she was plunged into unforgiving blackness. A moment later, the daylight above her was extinguished.
After her third scream, Hermione realized two things: one, that she had been suspended in air for far too long to have fallen into a normal oubliette, suspended seeming to be the right word because she didn't hear the rushing of wind in her ears that she would normally associate with falling, and two, she could see a light.
It wasn't the whirling tunnel of cloud and shining love described by people who died and been resuscitated; nor was it a fast approaching bit of daylight that would mean the end of the shaft. In all actuality, it reminded her of a lightning bug, like the kind she'd seen in Florida when her parents had taken her on an educational trip to the Everglades. She'd also seen alligators in Florida; the memory of the long rows of fearsome teeth almost stayed her hand as she reached blindly into the blackness for the light, desperate to find purchase on something other than the void surrounding her.
Her fingers closed on nothing, the light continuing to twinkle at an unknown distance ahead of her. The space she occupied was odd, really: seeming to have no dimensions, no top or bottom. She could feel no pull of gravity on her body. Thinking about her situation in analytical terms helped calm the frantic beating of her heart, though she still gasped in fear and quailed at unseen, probably imaginary, enemies hidden in the blackness. 'Alligators,' her mind whispered and she shuddered.
"Alligators, my arse," she said out loud, testing the sound of her voice on the space around her. It fell flat and two-dimensional, lacking an echo or reverberation, but not muted or muffled. That ruled out her floating in a cave or shaft, but was otherwise very little help. With a shrug and a steadying breath, she reached for the light again, kicking against the air for good measure. Whether or not it did any good was anyone's guess, but the light did seem to bob closer. Encouraged, Hermione kicked and reached in a parody of swimming (decidedly not thinking about alligators), stretching her fingers ahead of her.
It was just about when Hermione had wrapped her fingers around the point of light when she realized that it was not only gently illuminating her hand, it was also reflecting off a round, gaping maw and countless rows of needle-like teeth bearing down on her fingers. Squealing in horror and terrified disgust, she snatched at the light, catching it just before the mouth snapped shut with a squelching click. She backpedaled, her eyes wide and straining, her breath hitching in thin, hysterical shrieks as she clutched the light to her chest. The light flared brightly, creating a halo in the void that did nothing to pierce the darkness except to expose the giant, maggot-like creature with a gullet full of teeth wriggling straight for her.
The light flared again, completely blinding her, and then her rump hit hard ground. Wincing and wringing another scream from her already raw throat, Hermione kicked against the ground, even as her eyes adjusted enough to see that she was now flailing at the bottom of what appeared to be a dry well. And she was alone.
Almost faint with relief, she twitched and shuddered with the strongest case of heebie-jeebies she had ever had the misfortune to contract, including the time she had found moth larvae wriggling about in the biscuit she had been nibbling. After a minute or so, she pulled herself together and opened her hand. Instead of a lighting bug or fairy or tiny, fallen star, she was clutching a small, faceted crystal vial that tapered to a sharp point, stopped with an ornately carved topper. It was very beautiful, but it was not glowing and appeared to contain only a bit of fine, gray dust at the bottom.
Voices echoed down the shaft and Hermione scrambled to her feet. "Ron! RON! I'm down here!" she shouted, waving her hand at the empty patch of sky overhead. Impatiently, she tucked the vial into one of her shorts pockets, freeing her other hand to wave with the first. "I'm down HERE!"
"It is coming from over there."
"What do you put down that thing, anyway?"
Though faintly familiar, neither of the voices sounded like Ron, but Hermione didn't really care. They were probably volunteers from her Association. Even if they weren't, they were potential rescuers, and Hermione wanted out. "Please, help me! I'm down here!"
"Who is down there?" the first voice, a rich, irritated baritone asked.
"If it's a Muggle, then I say leave it," the second voice said in smooth, cultured tones.
Hermione gasped in outrage, and then remembered the wand stuffed into the other pocket of her shorts.
"Never mind," she called up coldly, insulted by the second voice's words and annoyed by her own empty headedness. She'd spent almost thirteen years in the wizarding world and still occasionally forgot that she was a witch. Pulling it from her pocket, she cast a non-verbal Hover Charm on herself, levitating toward the sunlight. 'Odd,' she thought as she floated out of the unobscured well opening. 'Didn't I break through something when I fell?'
"Well, she's got a nice arse, even if she is a bit slow," the second voice drawled appreciatively. With a flick of her wand, Hermione turned in midair and then stepped neatly onto the ground, titling her head to fix the owner of said voice with a disgusted glare over top of her nose. He was young, mid-twenties or so, well built, handsome and possessed a thick mane of shoulder-length blond hair that he wore free. The cut of his robes seemed a bit off, but they were obviously expensive.
Flushing under the blond man's appraising scrutiny, she chose to address the attack on her intelligence and pretend her posterior had not been mentioned. "I thought I had broken my wand when I fell," Hermione lied defensively. "Good thing for me that I hadn't." Sniffing, she added, "I suppose they're right: chivalry is dead."
Another sniff, and Hermione realized she smelled of rancid sweat and probably looked like an urchin who'd been crawling through the dirt, which is exactly what she'd been doing earlier. With a discreet swish of her wand, she cast a non-verbal spell of her own design that not only cleaned her clothes and body; it pressed the wrinkles from her garments, dusted her with a light, citrus fragrance and tidied her hair.
The blond's companion snorted. In stark contrast of his friend, he was thin and pallid with long, lank, black hair, a beak of a nose, and a surly expression that spoiled any handsomeness that his face might have possessed. He looked to be in his late teens or early twenties, though the soul glistening in his black eyes seemed tired and bitter.
Glaring suspiciously, he asked, "What you are doing here?" His clipped enunciation wasn't as cultured as his companion's, but it was far silkier. He shifted his grip on the strap of a small canvas sack that he had slung over his shoulder.
Hermione was positive that she should recognize these men, though she couldn't remember where she'd seen them. Their names weren't on the tip of her tongue, more like lodged at the back of her throat, but they were there. She also had the feeling that something was very, very wrong.
"I was out for a walk, and I fell in," she said firmly; it was no less than the truth. Glancing around the mouth of the well, Hermione spotted a roughly made, rectangular panel made of a pallet that had had the boards taken off one side and nailed between the boards of the other. It was distinctly lacking a Hermione-shaped hole. Of course, she wouldn't have had to fall through that exact cover; she hadn't gotten a good look at it. However, she would expect to see some evidence of her fall, and there was none. Had someone removed it while she had been attacked by the giant, man-eating flobberworm?
"Likely story," the dark one snapped, narrowing his eyes. "You've moved the cover off the well. Who are you and what do you want?"
"She looks like a Mudblood to me," the blond said in a scornful stage whisper.
It didn't stop him from eyeing her legs, Hermione groused as she tried to relax the grinding of her molars. Oh, how she wanted to slap the disdainfully wrinkled nose right off his pale, pretty face. Swallowing her ire and adopting the haughty air trademark of certain pureblood families, she straightened her spine and sneered, "Of course I look like a Muggle." She let the silent "you idiot" linger in a the air a moment before adding, "I'm in a Muggle neighborhood."
"Ah, yes. Of course," the blond man agreed, his demeanor lightening as he smiled charmingly and grasped the fingers of her right hand. "And might I have your name?"
"He..Heidi," she responded, catching herself before she said her given name. The squidgy feeling in her stomach told her that it just wasn't a good idea. "Greenglass."
"Greenglass, was it? The Bristol Greenglasses or the Portsmouth Greenglasses?" the blond asked idly, now staring at her chest and leering. His companion was also staring at her, piercingly, as if he could see through the flesh and bones of her face into her very thoughts.
"Canterbury, actually," Hermione dissembled again, determined not to fidget under the penetrating gaze of the dark man. She wasn't about to let a man barely out of his teens intimidate her. "Do I know you?"
"I've forgotten my manners, Miss Greenglass. Lucius Malfoy, at your service." He sketched a quick, informal bow and smiled into her eyes. Hermione shivered; though younger and softer, those stormy eyes were still slick with malice and cunning. And it was impossible, wasn't it? All of the time-turners had been broken at the end of her fifth year! She wasn't aware of any time traveling spells, let alone had cast one! Had someone ambushed her in the field with a spell or device? Perhaps there had been a trap at the bottom of the well?
Malfoy misinterpreted her gobsmacked expression and smiled genteelly, kissing the backs of her fingers. With a disgusted glance at his companion, the dark man stomped up to the well and slung his sack from his shoulder, reaching into its depths. Dazed, Hermione followed his jerky motions with her eyes until the blond tightened his grip on her hand, bringing attention to bear once again on him.
"Yes,the Lucius Malfoy. Not someone you'd expect to meet in this kind of neighborhood, no? I'm slumming it, you might say." He gave her a conspiratorial wink as he tucked her hand into the crook of his arm and began to lead her to the fence line and a low gate that she hadn't noticed before her fall. It was all Hermione could do to not tug her hand out of his grasp and wipe it on her shorts. Considering her predicament, however, she hummed and nodded as he babbled amicably. "I'd stopped by to ask Sev, here, to brew me up a potion. He's quite talented at brewing, you know. Come along, Sev!" he called over his shoulder, as if summoning a pet dog. "He's the Potions master at Hogwarts," he continued, not bothering to wait for his companion.
Feeling the approach of a tension headache and trying to pay attention to Malfoy's words over the roaring in her ears, Hermione glanced behind them at the dark man, who was shooting them both furious glares as he held an empty, glass container upside-down over the well, then tossed in a handful of white powder. Stowing the beaker back in his bag, he pulled the wooden cover over the mouth of the well, kicking it in place with the side of his boot. There was little doubt in her mind whom "Sev" could be. But the question was: how?
A/N: This fic is heavily influenced and inspired by the anime Inuyasha. Readers familiar with it will recognize certain parallels. It is also influenced by the works of Douglas Adams, Tolkien, and a number of other fantasy and sci-fi authors. Thank you for reading.
This fic is also almost finished – I have 17 out of 20 written and am working on 18.