Summary: During the final battle, Hermione is unexpectedly swept headfirst into a dystopian world of opposites where Dumbledore rules as Dark Lord and Muggle technology and the Dark Arts have revolutionized Britain. Light wizards who attempted resistance under Tom Riddle and the Malfoys' leadership have been left to a nightmarish fate, giving Hermione a new cause - and very different allies - as she impersonates her own 'reversed' incarnation, an elite beauty queen called "My," to survive. But can she help save another shattered world... and still get back to her own?

HG/DM, more pairings TBA, HBP friendly.

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*IMPORTANT NOTE BEFORE YOU START: This story is a strange canon/AU hybrid that really does its best to stick to details from the original books. However, I sketched out the outline before Book 7 was published, so the facts inside it only follow canon directly up until and including Book 6. After HBP, it will be partially AU. Much of the Horcruxes/storyline/details from Deathly Hallows will be included, but the "final battle," the ultimate fate of some of the characters, and a few other scenes are different (for the purposes of this story, the final battle was not the Battle of Hogwarts).

The Prologue takes place a year and a half after HBP occurred, and the final battle six months after it did in canon.

Let me know what you think! Please don't forget to leave reviews along the journey of reading this fic - hearing your reactions, thoughts and comments are the only form of payment we fanfic authors receive (aside from the intrinsic satisfaction of satisfying our muses), and they really and truly mean so much!

Rating: M for violence, dark/adult situations, and some language. I tend to be a 'realism writer,' but not a particularly sexually explicit one, so expect anything that may fall into that area to be on the tamer side for an "M"-rated story. (And I'll warn you if, for some reason, it isn't.)

Disclaimer: I do not own anything that you may even remotely recognize. Many thanks to JK Rowling and her imagination for the brilliance of the original Harry Potter characters and for creating the monumental expanse that is the HP universe.


Prologue [The Final Battle*]

It came in flashes.


Rain. Blinding, frigid rain.

Debilitating wind, so strong it almost blew even Hagrid over.

Screams; wails of pain; spine tingling laughs of delight; shouts; moans.

Hardly any light save the typically fatal, multicolored crisscross beams of wandfire, and the occasional spark of lightning that illuminated the most haunting vista Hermione had ever seen:

A field. Quite likely it had been only an ordinary field outside a bucolic town until that night.

And bodies were everywhere.

Some were recognizable, wearing the faces of both friends and foes.

Many were not.

Old enmities emerged the minute Ron saw the back of Draco Malfoy's unmistakable blond head across the battlefield, an Order member down at the end of his wand, and, presumably, a dark curse. It was supposed to be 'a cinch,' Ron told her with a sloppy grin - his most endearing smile, though she'd never admit it - and then became serious again, urging her and Harry on while he dealt with the ferret who had betrayed Dumbledore and the Light the year before.

Ron never came back.

At least, not before the duel to decide them all began, and whether he came back afterward Hermione would never know. All she did know was that in one moment Harry was beside her, and in the next moment he wasn't, and Voldemort's red eyes, far too close for comfort, were unmistakable in the near darkness.

Hermione was so busy fighting for her life that she missed most of it. A Stunning spell grazed her shoulder; clutching her rucksack, she flew halfway across the field, but it was mild enough that she was able to whip around in time to send a Reductor squarely into her assailant's chest, visible in a flash of lightning. In the same breath, she shouted a Confounding charm toward a Death Eater who was nearly on top of Remus Lupin –

"Expelliarmus!" - "Avada kedavra!"

They were only three words, shouted simultaneously and carried on the wind, but every person on the battlefield, Hermione included, froze the second they were uttered.

For a moment, neither Death Eater nor Order member breathed.

Abruptly, another burst of lightening exploded, revealing that Harry was upright. Granted, he was on his knees, but he was still alive.

Voldemort was not.

The lightning faded and the scene again plunged into darkness. Stunned into paralysis, Hermione stood, mouth partially agape. Was it over? Had they won?

Harry had still been standing. Voldemort was not.

From the sudden silence exploded shrieks of joy mingled with those of panic and a cacophony of loud cracks, as if witches and wizards were Apparating away in droves.

Sweet Merlin, it was over!

"HARRY!" she shrieked, her soaked hand pumping the otherwise useless rucksack into the air. An indescribable wave of triumph and relief rushed over her, so powerful that she almost fell to her knees. She blindly stumbled forward in the darkness in a desperate desire to get to her best friend, to sweep him into her arms, to victoriously scream to heaven and hell and anyone who was listening that it was finally finished -

But her words were drowned out in the thunder and jubilant yells that followed… as was the incantation behind the sparkling stream of blinding white light that cut through the night like a sunbeam.

Before Hermione could comprehend what was happening, the light had cleanly penetrated her abdomen with an almost inhuman scream – or was it her own? – and an excruciating explosion of agony worse than the Cruciatus Curse, as if her body itself was being ripped apart.

And then… light. Beautiful, invigorating light, and a tingling at the tips of her fingers that triggered a nearly overwhelming wave of relief.

Thank the gods, she had not died.

But, as Hermione was soon to discover, that was the moment when the real darkness began.