Longing for Lethe
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. I am not anywhere near JKR's writing style because I am not her. I just happen to be borrowing her characters for a little bit so I can get this story out of me. Don't sue, because I am a typical college student, and have nothing.
Author's Note: This will be my first piece with chapters. I have the feeling that this will be a fairly lengthily piece of writing, so I hope you all bear with me. This first chapter is the setup of getting Severus and Hermione together in a hopefully plausible way. Also, I do not own any of the things alluded to in this chapter. There are four references in here to things that I am quite familiar with. Take a stab at finding them. And without further ado, may I humbly present "Longing for Lethe" the first chapter:
She had gone up there to think, yet thinking was the last thing she wanted to do. Sighing, she sat with her back to the window, watching the moonlight gilding everything pale silver. This was the third time this week she'd gone to the Astronomy Tower, to clear her head and to try to figure out where her life was headed. A sudden noise caught her attention.
"I thought I'd find you here, Mublood. By Merlin, you are so predictable. Now, you don't have Potty or the Weasle to help you out, and I plan on having great fun with you."
Hermione gave a small gasp as Draco stepped into the moon's glow. However, that was the last sound she consciously uttered that night. Draco pulled out his wand and stunned Hermione so she couldn't move or speak. As he walked around her prone body, he nonchalantly began to kick her, hard enough to leave bruises, yet not hard enough to cause her to pass out. Tears ran down her face, and when he noticed them, Draco knelt down and licked them off. "The tears of a Mudblood. How strange they'd taste so sweet," he said before he kissed Hermione on the lips. "Ah, yes, this will be fun," his voice shaking her to the core as he began to grope her chest. Faster the tears came, and this just made him laugh.
As he began to pull her robes up, a noise at the door of the tower stopped him. "Draco, Filch is coming!" came a voice from down the stairs. "Shit!" exclaimed Draco, and then his eyes alighted upon the window. Easily lifting Hermione onto the sill of the window, he muttered, "Finite Incantatum" before pushing her out of the highest tower of all of Hogwarts. He then turned and ran, afraid of getting caught.
She was falling fast and couldn't stop herself. She didn't want to die like this, it wasn't fair, she didn't deserve this! She let out a scream of terror before closing her eyes and praying that it would be fast and painless. She passed out from sheer terror a few seconds later, never seeing the man below frantically trying to save her.
He had come out here to forget. 'The waters of Lethe could never erase what I've done from my mind,' he bitterly thought. Hearing the sharp scream on his second circuit of the castle, he looked up to see someone plummeting towards the ground in front of him. He whipped out his wand and began to mutter a spell that would slow her down. 'It's too late, she's too close to the ground, going to fast, I can't save her.' Those thoughts pushed him to say the incantation faster, over and over in a vain attempt to stop her from hitting the ground.
Her body hit the earth with a dull thud. Running over to her, he checked for a pulse. Finding one, he conjured up a stretcher and carefully lifted her onto it. Making it float behind him, he carefully made his way to the infirmary. Setting Hermione down on one of the beds, he ran to Poppy Pomfrey's bedchamber.
"Poppy, wake up! There's been a horrible accident!" he yelled as he pounded on her door.
"Alright, Severus, I'm up! Give me a moment to get dressed," she answered him. Appearing a few moments later, with her hair still disheveled, she asked him what was wrong.
"I think that our Miss Granger has tried to kill herself. I saw her plummeting to the ground and managed to slow her descent, but she still hit the ground pretty hard," he replied to her query.
Together they went into the infirmary and Poppy took over from there. "Pull the curtain closed around her bed so that I can examine her, Severus." He readily complied, and soon Poppy was alone with her patient. She took off Hermione's robes, and saw the mass of bruises that covered her body. "These are fresh - there's no way that this was an attempted suicide," she murmured to herself. As she probed the bruises on Hermione's torso, she saw the poor girl wince. But when she pressed the ones on her legs, there was no reaction. Fearing the worst, Poppy cast a spell over the prone girl that confirmed her worst fears - Hermione had a spinal cord injury. However, things were not as bleak as she had believed, for the injury wasn't permanent. With help, Hermione would walk again. Conjuring up a soft flannel nightgown, she carefully dressed Hermione, and then opened the curtains. Severus looked beside himself with worry, but was careful to conceal that the moment he looked up and saw Poppy emerge.
"How is she?" he asked, he voice tinged with something akin to fear and regret.
"Well, it wasn't an attempted suicide, like you thought. Her body is a mass of bruises that could not have been caused by her fall. She also has a spinal cord injury that has left her temporarily paralised from the waist down. Stay here with her whilst I get Dumbledore." She then hurried from the room.
Pulling up a chair next to her bed, he sat down beside her. Smoothing her hair back, he cursed himself for not seeing her sooner, not being able to help her. He then took her hand in his, not realising he'd just damned himself to loving her.
The side of light was losing the war. Hermione watched from the side of a river as more and more men on white horses were mowed down by men clothed all in black. Suddenly from the ranks of the light there came a man dressed in black armour from head to foot astride a huge white destrier. Tied around his wrist was a red string that floated off into the air towards her. When she looked down at her own wrist, she saw the other end tied firmly in place. She wondered what the symbolism was behind this red string, but all thoughts were pushed aside as she watched the Black Knight mow down combatant after combatant.
"Impressive, isn't he?" a voice asked from out of nowhere, startling her.
"Who are you, and where are you? I don't see anyone around me." Hermione spoke as if to the air itself.
Suddenly, a cloud began to form in front of her. When it had dissipated, Hermione saw standing before her a girl of about seventeen years. This girl had beautiful red hair done up in the weirdest style Hermione had ever seen. The girl's hair was parted down the middle, and on each side of her head, the hair was in a circle with two plaits hanging down. It looked like a bow was formed of her hair. Her eyes were a deep forest green, and Hermione thought they looked older than the rest of the girl. The girl's short green sundress fluttered in the slight breeze, and Hermione could swear that she could make out the barest hinting of gossamer wings on the girl's back when the light struck a certain way.
"Your true love is trying to win your war for you."
"What do you mean, my true love?"
"The Black Knight. In Japanese mythology, it is said that when you dream of one who has the red string attached to both him and you, it is your true love. But he has his own demons to fight, and cannot overcome both without your help."
Indeed, it was as she said. Behind the Black Knight, who was engaged in a sword battle with one from the dark side, there came horrible monsters. Hermione found herself screaming out a warning to this brave soul who was trying to defeat her fears and enemies with no thought of keeping watch over his. He beat back the monsters, who turned and fled, but vowed they would be back. He then turned back to the dark side and continued to fight. This stamina seemed to rouse the other soldiers of light, who rallied under the cry of "The Black Knight, Hermione, and Love!"
Turning back to the girl, Hermione again asked her first question. "Who are you? Are you related to the Weasley's?"
The girl gave a small laugh. "No, I'm no kin to the Weasley's. I am the guardian of this river. It is called Lethe."
"Lethe, that means to forget, right?"
"Something like that, yes. With a taste of these waters, I can have you forget all that has happened to you. But you wouldn't lose only the bad memories, you'd lose all memory of yourself and what you were. You'd still have the raw talent, but would be unable to use it."
"Why are you telling me this?"
"Because, my dear, you have three choices to decide from, all with very serious consequences. The first option is to follow my friend Thanatos to the afterlife." A young man on a pale horse appeared, and Hermione gave a small shudder. 'So, death is one of my options,' she thought as Lethe's guardian continued. "Second, you may drink of my waters, and forget everything - from your name to your great magical abilities. And you last option is to go back to the living world whole, with all your memories intact, and face the hardships that await you there."
'Hardships? What could she possibly mean by that? My mind would be intact, she said, if I chose to just go back. Maybe I was horribly disfigured by the fall. I couldn't face everyone having another reason to avoid me. Maybe I will follow Thanatos into the afterlife…"
Lethe's guardian seemed to read her mind, for just after Hermione thought those words, she spoke once more. "I must warn you, my dear, that if you go with my friend Thanatos, your love will follow shortly after. Being unable to deal with this final demon, he will commit suicide and you will never be together. Neither of your souls deserve the afterlife right now - you still have long lives to lead."
Steeling herself to face the world she left, Hermione told the girl - "I choose to go back to my world with my memories intact. Thanatos will not have two souls from my decision here today."
Smiling, the girl waved away Thanatos, who looked pleased at Hermione's choice. Suddenly a cheer arose from the battlefield. The dark side had been vanquished. "They're waiting for you, Hermione."
"Your friends, and your love," the girl said as she gave Hermione a hug. "Be patient, my dear. Your love, your true love, is someone you'd least expect. He has no idea that he loves you yet, or if he even can love again. The last time he did, the results were disastrous. Gain his trust, earn his respect, and make him your own. Now return to your world and your love. He's been beside you this entire time, cursing himself for being unable to fully help you."
"But who is he?"
"You'll discover that when you awaken." With those words, the cloud again appeared, obscuring the guardian from Hermione's view.
"It's time for me to wake up," she told the air once more. And the air listened.