Hello hello hello! I'm super jazzed about the reviews I've been getting and just want to thank you all for your encouragement! I just thought I'd let you know there just MIGHT not be another chapter for the next couple weeks after this one… I'm heading down to Maine for 2 weeks with my family!
I really hope that I get even more popular before then, because maybe JUST MAYBE there might be another sneak update before I fly away to blissful sand and waves! Yes, I'm slightly guilt tripping, but reading the reviews puts a smile on my face as long as the Great Wall of China. Not even kidding.
ONWARD TO CHAPTER 4!
Oh! And I want to thank the newest addition to my story team Synderella Toxik. You can thank her for a wonderful lack of idiotic sentences and spelling errors. :D
Disclaimer: begging, pleading, crying and having tantrums haven't worked yet… but I'm still working on it. Maybe one day I'll actually own Harry Potter instead of JKR. *wistful sigh*
Chapter 4: The Slytherin Choice
Shit and double shit.
If I was able to think properly, I would have been thinking of how to get out of this stupid situation. Damn it because at the moment I was in absolutely no position to be facing Severus right now. Even as a teenage wizard, he was insanely good at sneakily looking into others minds.
Right now he was not ready to die. Right now he wasn't in James freaking Potters arms. Right now he wasn't being recovering from being tortured by friggen mouldy Voldie. Oh fuck! How could life get more complicated?
I should know by now not to ask stupid questions…. But I guess that's one of the things the Hogwarts resident know it all never learnt. Oh how they would laugh at me now! I slammed down on my inner conflict to focus on the situation at hand. I couldn't let myself lose concentration now.
Apparently while my mind had been high on a little self induced pain relief, my occlumency walls had faltered. Did I already mention shit and double shit?
Severus pulled away from my eyes with a hiss and looked at me with a stony face. I vainly tried to read any emotions on his unyielding face when my back burst into painful flames across my back. Screw fucking Snape…I needed to get away from here.
Ignoring how every miniscule movement made my body protest, I slowly made my way out of Potters arms. There was no way in hell that I was going to sit here like an infant and let them continue on fighting above my head. I'd faced bloody mouldy voldie… these two are no bloody match for me. On top of that there was no way I was going to let them see my weakness.
I somehow managed to get on my feet without immediately kissing the floor again. Constant pain thrummed through my body as more dark magic was realised and even more scars were re-opened. I wanted nothing more than to apparate home, but because of the ass that is Dumbledore I no longer have one.
I was sent unwillingly on this stupid mission, for a man who doesn't and never will care about me. Oh and did I mention that I was sent by a meddling old fool who doesn't have the sense to mind his own business?
A sudden sharp pain exploded through my back; gritting my teeth as my body crumbled to the ground. Black dots spotted my vision and my head spun as I tried to battle with my body. My breathing was becoming heavy and I could feel the blood dripping down my legs along with the delighted pulse of dark magic that was slowly seeping out with them.
My vision was beginning to tunnel and I began to get even dizzier. Any moment now I knew I would lose conciseness. Another wave of pain tore through my body but this time I couldn't stop the groan of pain . I was seriously considering taking my early trip to hell instead of dealing with this.
My back was arching with the pain and I kept crying out, dimly aware of the frantic voice of Harry's dad. Every time he would go to touch me, unimaginably pain would erupt over my skin. Almost as if the darkness couldn't handle his… goodness. This though disturbed me more than I would ever let on… if I ever survived this that is.
"Fuck! Make it FUCKING STOP!" The last part was tore from my throat as a fiery inferno erupted across my body. "MAKE IT STOP!" I collapsed on the ground, convulsing under the onslaught of pain. I would take the cruciatus any day over this. This pain made cruico look like child's play.
I opened my eyes wildly, looking for something, anything to focus on to drive away the pain, but what they landed on was definitely not what I was expecting. Sadly I couldn't decide if he was a godsend or another pain in my ass.
It was probably the later. Damn it.
LuciusMalfoy strode towards the three of us with a look of glee painted on his aristocratic face. It was hard for me not to flinch at the sight of him... and keeping the memories at bay was hard. This man was the… bloody ass who-
"I need you to calm down." I started at the sound of his voice and almost immediately became suspicious. What the hell was he being… nice about? He was the evil, beastly, corrupt asshole who is mouldy voldies number one supporter.
"I said please calm down!" There was the little bit of anger I was expecting. Through the fog of pain I turned my eyes to look at him, and suddenly the pain started leaking away.
I couldn't tear my eyes away from Lucius as an almost sickly green light enfolded him. It was almost as if he was absorbing the dark magic from my scars. I felt my face loose the little colour it had. I was basically feeding LuciusMalfoy dark magic!
"Stop!" I tore my eyes away from him, and thanks to the lessened pain I was able to stand up and take in my surroundings.
Malfoy stood eight feet away from me, basking in the glow of his new magic. I had no doubt he was happy about it, but I had no doubts it would fade. Rookwood might have sealed the wounds so that the magic had to stay, but there was no way Voldemort would have given me dark power that I could actually harness.
James Potter stood against one wall looking torn between being completely terrified and completely pissed off. He was covered in my blood and had a wand pointed shakily at Severus, although I could tell he also wanted it pointed at Malfoy.
Damn, poor kid had seen too much. I needed to fix the situation without totally betraying how much power I actually had. Nothing like having an advantage over the Slytherins I guess. I smirked at the thought of finally taking down the mighty Lucius Malfoy. After what he'd done to me he'd better run.
Finally my eyes sought out Severus who was between me and Malfoy with definite interest. Shit. They'd all seen to bloody much, but then again I might be able to use this as an advantage to get closer to Severus anyways, but I still don't like the calculating way he's looking at me. Aww fuck, when did life get so bloody complicated?
Oh right, with the introduction of Albus Dumbledore. Stupid man. Stupid men actually, men in general.
I turned my gaze back to Harry's dad, thinking about the decision I had to make here. I had at least a couple options, but not very long to think. Sooner or later Malfoy would come off of his dark high, Severus would snap or James would have a Harry like explosion.
I could ignore the two snakes, and go with Potter. The two of them would undoubtedly try to get to me anyways. I'd displayed too much dark power for the Dark Lord not to hear about me. Lucius would be charged to get me or at least coerce me into joining the Death Eaters.
Severus on the other hand would lurk. He would never actually approach me, but he would watch silently until he knew enough about me to confront me. Not necessarily the best way to gain his trust because he'd be wary about me.
I could ignore all of them and apparate to Hogsmeade. Then from there I could change my appearance, go to Wizarding London and try to find a way back to my time.
I thought back to the glass that Albus handed me, and grudgingly gave the old man a nod of respect. He knew he could never get me to willingly touch a time turner, so he put on in the glass. Handy bit of magic that is… no doubt got it from his 'Manipulators 101.'
My last option had two roads.
One, obliviate James and clean his clothes. Then proceed to ask Malfoy just what the hell he was doing, agree with him and become the Slytherin sidekick. Or maybe they're queen… I'm feeling particularly ambitious today.
Of course I would have to hide my blood status, maybe I could make it seem pure with a charm? I'd have to do research as soon as I could. Assuming that this was the route I took.
Two, don't obliviate James and let him know that I was a rather not nice witch. He'd see me leave with the 'bad guys,' making me his insta-enemy.
On top of James hate, I'd have the whole of Gryffindor after my ass and even though in reality I could take all of them on and still be fine, I really didn't feel like being the scapegoat for all bad things in the Gryffindor's lives.
Yeah. Route one seemed like the best idea.
Grimacing slightly at the twinge of pain that ran through my body I slowly unsheathed my wand with a quick and comfortable flick of my wrist. I knew by how Severus and Malfoy stiffened, but James the gullible Gryff didn't notice. Typical.
Quickly I pivoted on my foot and swung my wand up to point calmly between his eyes. Damn I hated this spell… but if everything was going to work it needed to be done. Under my breath I muttered an untraceable charm onto my wand and thanked Severus of my time for teaching me wandless magic.
"So sorry but this is for your own good. Obliviate!"
Quickly I muttered scourgify making sure all of my blood was off of him and the ground and hastened to hide behind a suit of armour. I felt no need to hide myself further as I heard to two Slytherins dealing with the situation. I needed them to find me anyways.
"Snape! Leave me alone! You know as well as I do that this is neutral territory, the hallway by the library is off limits and you bloody well know it!"
Obviously that was Harry's dad, losing his temper as per usual. I guess like father like son, in that regard anyways.
"I'd shut your mouth James or head boy is going to have to give you a detention… and relieve Gryffindor of some of those points you have."
That was Lucius and now that I thought about it, wasn't Severus one year younger than Lucious? Damn it! Dumbledore must have sent me back further than he'd told me. I realized quickly I was in Snapes sixth year instead of seventh. What a joyous discovery to make this such a better experience. I have to be at least two years older than him… probably more aided by my exclusive time turner use in third year.
"I wasn't talking to you Malfoy. I was talking to your trusty fucking sidekick!"
"Twenty points from Gryffindor Mr. Potter." I heard incomprehensible spluttering and had to hide a smirk. Harry really was a lot like his father, a hell of a lot alike actually.
"I suggest you get back to your common room before I decide to take more." I heard some grumbling, that I assumed to be James, and some softly laughter that followed seconds after. Now… here was the bloody moment of truth.
"You can come out now." It was spoken mildly, but I knew a lot was resting in these moments. I was either going to kill my chances or make a leap in the right direction. Silently I straightened out my hair and clothes before stepping out from behind the armour.
Both Severus and Malfoy's faces revealed nothing, but then again neither did mine. I'd dealt enough with Slytherins to know that emotion was a weakness with them, a weakness I could not afford.
It wasn't very surprising when Malfoy spoke up instead of Severus.
"If you don't mind me asking, but who are you and how did you manage to get into Hogwarts?" I looked at him coolly. Yeah like fuck that information was passing my lips now. I didn't have a lie planned yet.
"I'm afraid I can't tell you." I kept my voice calm and smooth. I could tell it puzzled Severus, although Luciusseemed to get slightly pissed off.
"And why is that?" Point one for me because that was a frightfully stupid question.
"Because I can't trust you asshole." Again I said this so calmly that Malfoy did a double take, and I couldn't help but smirk slightly. I just one upped the Slytherin King. That's right bitches!
Before either of them could say a word more, I spun on my heel and started walking to the Headmasters office. I needed to get settled and figure out who I was going to be the next couple years. Obviously I couldn't be just me… but I didn't want to completely hide myself either. Or what was left of it anyways, very little of sixth year Hermione remained anymore. She was killed off through experience, her innocence was lost.
"Where are you going?" It was Severus' quiet voice that questioned me and I was surprised to hear the difference between his voice with James and his voice with me. There was still and edge on it, but it was so slight I might have missed it.
My eyes narrowed. Great more fucking Slytherin game just what I needed! Although, when I think of it… how utterly unlike Severus it was so follow someone. So utterly unlike him… that it was immediately suspicious. I obviously have the upper hand here, knowing him somewhat personally. But there was a snowballs chance in hell that he was going to find that out.
"To see the Headmaster of course."
"How do you know where it is?"
"I was told."
"What the fuck? Is this bloody twenty questions? Leave me!" I stalked forward. Who knew that Snape was such an annoying prick as a kid. I mean damn!
Not paying attention in my enraged walk, I didn't realize what Snape was pulling until too late. My back slammed into the wall and my mouth opened in agony. I could feel that blood again seeping down my robes and pain pulsed through the length of my body.
"No one speaks to me like that you bloody bitch! No one!" He shook me by the shoulders once for good measure before letting go. I let my head drop and I winced feeling my back ache. I didn't notice Severus hadn't left until I lifted my head.
He was standing there looking at his hands with what could only be a horrified look gracing his face. Where his hands had gripped me were covered in blood. His hands shook as he kept looking and his face became more emotionless.
"What? You can't handle a little blood?" I said softly. The statement was mocking but my tone wasn't. I couldn't afford to drive him away to much after all. Before he could leave I quickly banished the blood to a little vile I kept around my neck. "Just can't leave my blood laying around can I now?"
He gave me one last look before turning and fleeing, legs whipping around his legs. I couldn't help but let out a small chuckle at how similar it was to how he walked as an adult. Of course he'd eventually made it a more refined and sensual (in my opinion), but he had the gist of it.
Suddenly my back twinged again and I fell down to my knees, muffling my moan in my sleeve. Who would have fucking knew that time travel would have affected my back so much? Then it seemed as if my thoughts began a whirlwind of activity.
If I thought back far enough, to the beginning of my treatment for my back the only time my back ever really hurt was in while I was in Mungo's. When I left basically an hour later my back was fine again. The only time was really around any lingering dark magic, was around Rookwood.
But then again… my back also fucking ached whenever Harry would give me a hug. This thought made my thoughts freeze in fear.
"No… it just can't… he couldn't have..." I was muttering gibberish fear mixing in with pain. Did Harry not really kill Voldemort? Did part of his evil soul still reside in Harry because the monster wasn't really dead after all? "No…."
Shuddering I brought my face down into my lap and started rocking back and forth. What if all of that had been for nothing… what if we'd died for nothing? The pain that tore through my heart was worse than any pain my back could throw at me. We'd done all this for nothing! Fred, Luna, Flitwick, Ron! Everyone had died for nothing.
"HE NEVER FUCKING DIES!" The scream tore out of my throat, ragged and hoarse. I fought the urge to punch the ground and wail to the heavens. Why the hell was I here? Right about now, jumping off of the astronomy tower seemed like the best action. As selfish as it was, I could not… would not….put myself through another war. I couldn't watch my friends die like that again.
"Who never dies?" I jumped back feverishly and leveled my knife and wand at his throat. It was Severus.
I stood watching him warily before quickly wiping away at the tears on my face, mingling with the blood from my hands. Shit, he's seen me weak too many times; I can't let it happen again.
"I wasn't aware I was speaking to you." I tried to keep my voice cool and calm, but emotion still quivered in between the lines. He knew I was upset, and I couldn't help but wonder bitterly how he was going to use the information.
"You were screaming."
"Well no shit Sherlock."
"You're muggleborn." Damn it! Stupid ass pays far too much attention to everything. Bloody sneaky Slytherin. I couldn't bring myself to lie, my brain was still in shock from the earlier realization.
His eyes sharpened on mine, glittering gently in the firelight from the torch on the wall. What would I do to know what the hell he was thinking!
"I'll help you get to Dumbledore's office." I shied away from him as he reached out to grab my arm. I couldn't let him touch me, what if he drank up the dark magic too! Shit!
"Don't touch me!" I hissed at him again levelling my dagger in his direction. "Don't you dare bloody touch me!" My wand was now out to and I had to curse at how much my hands were shaking. I couldn't deal with this right now. Too much blood loss and hysterical emotion release.
I closed my eyes and started to breathe deeply in and out, unknowingly trusting Severus to stay where he was. I could feel myself regaining control and masks slipping back into place. I sighed in relief.
I opened my eyes to see Severus giving me the oddest look that I had to smirk softly in his direction. It wasn't his fault I was mentally fucked up; he actually tried to save me. He was my little spy after all, and he'd never known of my feelings for him.
"I'm sorry for my loss of control Mr…" I deliberately trailed off having to take control of the situation. I had to have the upper hand here.
"Snape. Severus Snape."
"I'm Hermoine Granger." Both of us politely shook hands before I needed to get back down to business.
"Mr. Snape would you mind showing me to the Headmasters office?" I tried not to smirk at the thought of him being on actual equal ground with me now. I wonder what he'd do when I came back… he would remember me, but then again he'd be in Azkaban. So probably wasn't something I should worry about at this exact moment.
"Of course Miss. Granger." He strode away, robes again whipping around his legs.
I had to walk quite quickly to catch up to his long stride; damn he really hadn't changed much.
"Snape! Wait up longlegs, if you hadn't noticed I am rather short." He looked at me in disbelief as I caught up to him quickly.
"Longlegs?" He sneered softly. "That's definitely the most ridiculous insult I've ever heard in my life." I couldn't help but shudder at the sound of his voice purring the insult to me. I knew that one day he would come to realize just how attractive his voice was, but right now it was a tool he wielded unknowingly.
"It wasn't actually meant to be an insult… I just needed you to slow down before I died trying to keep up with you. I'm not exactly the tallest girl out there." He took a step back and eyed me critically, and I couldn't help but uncharacteristically squirm under his gaze.
It had been so long since a male had looked at me without pity in his eyes. Since long before the war had ended actually. With being on the run during seventh year, being raped and beaten during the war and finding out about the after effects, no one had looked at me like he was for a very long time.
"Yes you are rather short aren't you?" He said mockingly. I sighed; I guess it was just too to ask that he would have something nice to say?
"The Headmasters office?" He smirked at me, as if knowing what I was thinking and again took off in the direction of Dumbledore's office. Although, much to my relief, at a slower more comfortable pace.
After many minutes of walking he broke the silence.
"Why did you obliviate Potter?" I couldn't hear anything mocking in his voice, but that didn't mean it wasn't there. It also didn't mean that he was testing me, seeing whether or not he could begin to trust me.
"He had seen too much. I don't know him, but I am willing to bet that he had a group of friends that he would have told everything too. I can't afford to have a group of angry or well meaning idiots running after me during my time here."
I could see Severus, from the corner of my eye, giving me a faintly surprised and impressed look. I smirked, he was going to find out a lot about 'hermoine granger' and she wasn't as Gryffindor as she appeared.
"And why not Lucius and I?" Here I had to tread carefully. I couldn't let him see that I hugely favoured him over Malfoy. He couldn't see that I hated Malfoy.
"You both tried to help me and didn't have a tantrum at the sight of my blood." Well mostly, and I could tell by his flinch that he remembered his frenzied exit but no need to bring that up now. "You were both calm, and I could tell you wouldn't tell anyone this." Unless you would get something for it sneaky Slytherin that you are, but he also didn't need to know I knew that.
I couldn't help but let out a snort of laughter at his mocking tone. Yes, I know what I said sounded snobbish and arrogant but, what the hell, he was going to have to learn to deal with it!
"Who was the man with red eyes in your thoughts?" My step faltered and I would have kissed the floor again if Severus hadn't caught my arm.
I glared at him and shook my arm out of his grasp, wincing as my back momentarily raced with pain at the thought of the dark lord. I knew he'd gotten a glance, but I didn't know he'd gone so damn deep. How is it that I always get myself into these fucked situations?
"You had no right to be in my mind like that." My voice was low, and he could tell I was pissed.
"Your mind was open."
"I was in pain you fucking ass! If you use legilimecy, then you should use it knowing full well of the manners that come along with it! Use only when having permission to do so! What the hell would you do if all of a sudden I jumped into your mind to battle at your walls so I can look into your personal thoughts?
"What would you do if you were in pain and I took the opportunity to look at your secret nightmares that you thought you would never have to share with anyone? If I looked into your darkest desires that no one but you should ever know? What the fuck would you do if I asked you about them the next day expecting a calm, rational explanation of what you'd seen?"
I could tell by his facial expression that he wasn't impressed by my threat because he didn't think I could do it. Despite his mockery, I could also tell that my point was driven through. If he ever looked into my mind again, I would look into his mind. I would mock him about his nightmares. It was less than he deserved.
He resumed walking and I could only trail after him, furious at myself for letting my guard down. He couldn't get a hint of where I was from. He couldn't figure it out.
"Would you please tell me? He looks… powerful." I let out a bark of laughter at his choice of word to describe the mad dark lord. Powerful. I know what memory he saw, and yes it was powerful, but it was also terrifying.
It was the fleeting image of the dark lord whipping my back during the final battle. The whip just coming down to flay across my back as he laughed and muttered the dark curses into the mangled flesh. He yelled down at me about my mudblood heritage, yelled how I was a whore and slut. Yelled and laughed at how he was going to kill me and use my body as an example to his rebelling prisoners.
"If I tell you something will you shut the fuck up?" We were now standing in front of Dumbledore's office and I was nervous to face the man. I needed to get settled here.
I looked deeply into his eyes and decided to reveal a little more than I'd officially planned.
"The man you saw, his human name was Tom Riddle."
I saw the confusion flitter across his stern features and calmly stepped into the moving staircase.
But I was already gone, but knew that he wasn't going to wait for answers long. He was going to search me out. I sighed, I just had to hand him a little more information than necessary didn't I?
I knocked softly on Dumbledore's door and waited for him to invite me in. Right now, he was the one who was deciding whether or not my stay here would be pleasant or not. He really could royally screw me right now.
"Come right on it dear! The doors open."
I took a deep breath and turned the handle and stepped into the same office I left 21 years ago.
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