Disclaimer: I don't own the series or characters.
AN: This is a sequel to Why Not?
New Year's Day, 1927
Hermione Grindelwald paused outside the orphanage and looked around at the empty street.
If anyone had been watching, they would have seen a beautiful curly-haired witch who looked to be twenty or so years old. If they had seen her face, they would have fallen to their knees in adoration at the rare sight of one of the ageless rulers of modern Europe.
Once Hermione had agreed to Gellert's plan to conquer the wizarding world, she had had a thought. Why stop there? After all, what was to stop them from conquering the non-wizarding world as well? As it had turned out, nothing. Or at least nothing insurmountable. Oh, there had been some fuss when they first moved through Europe, but in the end, people had seen the light.
The fact was that the Grindelwalds were actually pretty popular, for all that theirs was a dictatorship. They had united the magical and muggle worlds, which had led to more cooperation in every field and made it much easier for muggleborn children, who no longer had to leave everything in their world behind.
Wizarding schools were also completely under their domain and they had already made significant changes, especially at Hogwarts. Children were no longer sorted by house, but instead by year. There were no longer the idiotic house rivalries starting in childhood and continuing into adulthood that she had so loathed. Electricity and following that technology has also been made not only a part of the school, but it's mandated curriculum.
However, as she had learned the day before, not everything had changed. Merope Gaunt and Tom Riddle were apparently destined, because even with his full knowledge that she was a witch, they had married, this time without the aid of love potions. He had left her when she got pregnant, which just went to prove, in Hermione's mind, that some men were simply gits, no matter which way you spun it.
Despite an excellent counseling and welfare program designed for such occasions, Merope hadn't recovered from the loss, and just a few hours earlier, after giving birth to her son, she had hung herself in her room.
According to Hermione's instructions that any and all of the Riddle family's activities were to be reported to her immediately, she had been notified that the child was now at an orphanage in London.
She looked around again, wanting to delay entering the building. It had been over 25 years since she had been pregnant, but the presence of children still made her jumpy.
The final battle in their quest for Europe had been in England, the island having kept to itself whilst Gellert and Hermione marched across the mainland. It had been a well-aimed curse by some young teacher named Albus Dumbledore that had destroyed not only their heir but her ability to ever have children.
Gellert had killed him instantly but it hadn't done anything to save their son.
She shook off the thought abruptly and hurried up the steps to the door. The woman who opened the door paled when she saw Hermione. "Madam Grindelwald, we were surprised to hear that you had taken an interest in this child. He is a Half-Blood according to his paperwork, which is why he was sent here rather than to a muggle orphanage. Were you acquainted with his mother?" She found it unlikely, but her curiosity got the better of her, a fact she regretted when cold brown eyes turned her way.
"My reasons are none of your concern. You are a muggle?"
"A squib. I found this job through Act 35."
Act 35 had been one of Hermione's favorites, helping squibs and muggleborns' parents to find jobs that straddled the two worlds.
"I would like to see the child."
"Of course. It's just this way."
"I would prefer to go alone."
The woman looked startled and then dropped her shoulders. "Of course, Madam."
"Thank you, Ms.-"
"Ms. Thomas, I'm am sorry if my manner has offended you, but that was not my intention. I am simply dreading the task at my hands and took it out on you." It came out not as an apology, but as an explanation, which was exactly Hermione's intention.
"Oh, of course, Madam," the woman smiled easily. After all, this woman and her husband had been good to people like her, who used to be hidden away in the shadows of the magical world. "I imagine no one wants to work on New Year's."
Hermione smiled. "Yes, but here we both are. It was this way?" she pointed up and receiving a nod, headed toward the stairs.
He was the only one in the nursery. She could feel his magic pulsing. He wasn't sleeping, she realized as she peeked in the cradle, just watching. His vivid green eyes looked like they were devouring the room for information.
She had expected to feel fear at the sight of him, the wizard who had made her childhood a living hell, who had tried to exterminate not only her kind, but her personally. She had expected pity for a child who was already alone in the world on his first full day existing in it. She hadn't expected warmth. Those beautiful eyes made her heart trip in her chest in a way it hadn't since-.
She closed her eyes and shook her head. No. This wasn't going to happen. She was going to find him a foster home, a good one, preferably a wizarding one, where he could grow up knowing his place in the world and not having to constantly be searching and destroying to make one. They would keep close tabs on him, and if and when he became a threat, he would be eliminated. That was the plan.
She opened her eyes again to see him staring into them. She might have turned away, but he reached one chubby hand up to grasp for hers on the rail, and she didn't.
Picking him up and feeling the rightness of him in her arms, she Apparated away.
Arriving at Buckingham Palace in their living quarters, she called out in a shaky voice, "Gellert darling, I have a surprise for you."