Wish Fulfillment via Time Travel
The silence was what got to prisoners first. Not the cold, not the gaulers, not the conditions. The silence. There was no dripping water, no screams of fellow inmates.
She sat, staring at the bars of the room, waiting for an end to come. Would she mind death? Would she care if the end came? No, not really. Her master was still out there, but broken and destroyed. She could feel it in the tattoo on her arm. She knew he still lived, somehow, somewhere. But he was not here. He could not break her from this imprisonment.
And that was important.
It took her twenty-three minutes to realize someone was standing on the other side of the iron bars.
She imagined the person as bad as herself. Stick thin and as physically broken as herself. She could see the remnants of her muscles through the near-translucent skin. What was left of her hair was matted and clumped, as she stared at the person behind the bars.
Middling height, thin and wasted, but she caught something in the person's eyes. She stared into them, realizing they were a plain brown color after another four minutes. She found what she was looking for. It was something she knew on a most intimate level, something that was just burgeoning in this soul, but that she had spent long years cultivating into the very finest of perfection before being trapped within this cage.
Violence. Madness. A want - no - a need for death and blood. And something else.
For the first time in ten long years, she smiled.
"I'll do it," she said, her voice rasping out the words, part of her knowing just what was about to happen, all of her not caring. It was an escape, a release from this pit of despair.
She pulled herself to her feet, the first time in a long time, and walked to the door. She did not stumble, or simper, or crawl to the door as she had done before. She knew who she was, again. She was not some pathetic creature trapped in a cage, now. She was a witch, she still had pride, dignity, and she held it aloft.
A hand reached through the bars and took her by the chin, thin claws holding her face, petting her cheek. She could read the words burned into this thing's arm.
She recognized the style. Oh, she certainly recognized the style. She smiled into the thing's eyes, and recognized the remainder.
Oh, yes. She would love this.
Griphook glanced up at the witch. He hadn't heard anyone step through the doors, but some of them were as silent as death, he found. He ignored her, and went back to his ledgers.
"I require access to my vault," said the witch. "And I have lost my key."
He lazily looked back up at the witch. She was dressed quite well, not in formal robes, but quite resplendent. When his eyes reached her face, though, he realized his mistake.
He dropped the bag of coins he was counting as violet eyes stared down at him. Long, flowing black locks of hair surrounded the face. The cruel smile on it just added to his fear.
"Ye-Yes, of course," said Griphook. "B-Blood here," he said, pulling out a parchment on his desk. Would they report this?
The woman put her thumbnail to his index finger, then pressed the finger on the parchment. Blood seeped form it, and the magic activated. A key quickly materialized on the parchment.
"The carts will take you to your vault," said Griphook, maintaining enough control over himself to not stutter his way through the sentence. As soon as she was on the cart, he immediately ran to the security chief.
Even Goblins recognized Bellatrix LeStrange.
The security detail that sat at the entrance of the bank, including several curse breakers who weren't informed of just who was coming back up the rails, a number of mountain trolls, and seven gargoyles weren't surprised in the slightest when the cart came to a screeching halt at the top of the tracks. None of them went to investigate it. They could plainly see that it was empty, and instead of investigating, the cursebreaker sent a blasting curse at it. The cart shattered, pieces of shrapnel launched down the corridor into the mines below.
Instead, what surprised them was the roar, and the sudden glow of orange flame that erupted from inside the shaft. Four of the gargoyles melted and all the mountain trolls ran screaming, half of them on fire.
All the cursebreakers immediately had a moment of "fuck this shit" as the vast bulk of an albino dragon stomped up out of the depths of the mine. Empty eyes scanned the bank, and with another roar, it sent another tongue of flame into the teller counters. It smashed open the outer doors.
Had anyone paid any attention at all, they would have realized Bellatrix LeStrange never left the bank through the front door.
"Mistress! Wait- you- you aren't Mistress! WHAT ARE YOU?!"
"Be silent, Kreacher. Where is the locket Regulus gave you?"
"To complete your task. To destroy it. Bring it here, and it will be done, here. Now."
There was a scrambling, and a locket with a stylized S on it was placed on the table. She picked it up, holding it in her hand. Her countenance changed, rage crossed her features, and her hair seemed to float, as though she were drowning. Her hand crushed the locket, a screeching noise that made Kreacher wince in pain. He could feel the twisted cries of the magic that emanated from the thing, but ignored it, feeling the joy of his last orders completed.
The thing that wore his Mistress' face showed him the destroyed locket, letting him inspect it, allowing him to smile as he knew he was a good elf. He had finally, after ten long years, completed his orders. That wretched and evil thing was destroyed.
"It is done," said the thing. With a trailing of mist, she was gone.
A small shack in Little Haggleton had it's door torn off it's hinges. The skeleton of a snake was scattered along the ground, and a loose floorboard was torn up. A small box was picked up, and the entire shack exploded with violent force.
"Hmph," was all that was heard as the wreckage descended from the heavens. The box was immolated, and all that remained was a simple ring, with a stone set within it.
There was a screech of pain as the ring warped and twisted, molten gold running between the fingers of a closed fist. The hand opened, and a simple green stone remained, a triangle containing a circle and with a line bisecting it carved into it's suffice.
"It's never that easy, is it?"
There was a sigh, and the stone was pocketed.
The Hogwarts Express was still sitting in the station when Harry entered an empty compartment and sat down. He took a nervous breath, but continued to watch the red-haired family talking about meeting Harry Potter. He paid so much attention, he didn't hear the door open.
"Can I sit here?" asked a girl's voice.
Harry started, and looked at the girl. She had lots of bushy brown hair and buckteeth.
"Sure," said Harry.
"Hermione Granger," said Hermione. She looked rather nervous.
"Harry. Harry Potter."
"It's good to meet you. Is this your first year, too?"
"Ye-yes," said Harry, somewhat surprised that the girl didn't even ask about his scar, or who he was, or was he really Harry Potter.
"I'm so worried about all of this. I mean, my family didn't have a lick of magic in them, and now I'm starting at a new school" she said, trailing off. "Oh, I'm already worried about my grades. What about you?"
"I- my parents were wizards," said Harry. "But I was raised by my aunt and uncle. They- they knew about magic, but they don't like it."
"Well then, it sounds like we'll be starting in the same place. Let's stick together, then."
A red-haired boy stopped outside the compartment, and considered going in, but something about the girl seemed off. He moved on.
Hermione spoke for a time about her family, and about her worries in going to Hogwarts. She dismissed them, in the end, with a simple statement.
"But here we are. We've got to make the best of it. Oh, I'm talking to much again. What about you? What are your aunt and uncle like?"
On this Harry was silent, and frowned.
"Don't like to talk about them?" asked Hermione, with a kind smile.
Harry found himself talking about just how little love he had in his home.
If Harry had been raised properly, he might have realized that Hermione never stopped smiling.
Severus Snape was disturbed. The Granger girl was staring at him. Again. She was staring at him in a way that tickled some primitive reptilian part of his brain. It raised the goosebumps of his flesh. His heart beat faster, as his fight or flight instinct was triggered at a level he could not understand.
Then he realized what, precisely, it was.
The girl knew, too. Oh, she knew. She smiled when it dawned on him. And then she stayed after class, slowly packing her books, and sending sending the Potter brat ahead. Saying she had a question.
Snape stood, glowering at the girl as she gave a twisted smile. He held is wand, his entire body tensed for the likely fight to come.
"Sev-er-us Snaaaape," said the girl, letting his name roll off her tongue in that sing-song voice.
"Bellatrix," said Severus, hoping and praying she wasn't going to immediately kill him.
Instead, she laughed. Laughed and laughed, cackling with a sadist's glee that even Severus had never heard echo from her.
"That's funny," said the girl. She kept smiling, but took on a more innocent quality. "But no, I'm not Bellatrix. I ate her, but I'm not her. She died well, wanting the chaos and havoc and bloodshed that I'll cause. Tell me, Severus, is Quirrell in his place? Is Quirrell on his tracks?" asked the girl, walking forward. She was taller, now, taller than him, looking down at him.
"Quirrell? What about him?" asked Snape, his back against the wall as the girl (what was she now?) pushed him back against the wall with her mere presence. Brown/Violet (which were they?) eyes stared at him, through him as she came closer and closer - as Severus tried harder and harder to sink into the wall behind him, her wand held in hand. Hair streamed behind her, held aloft by a wind he couldn't feel, warmth and cold flooded the room, the contradiction of feelings tearing at his mind.
"The stone! He's still trying for the stone, yes? You're still working to stop him, yes?"
Snape nodded, even as he prepared to kill her.
An eleven-year-old girl stared up at him. Both Snape, and his stomach dropped to the ground. He took the breath he hadn't realized he was holding.
"Good. I'm glad, Professor. By the way, I'd recommend leaving out the logic puzzle. Have a very good day."
With that, she turned and left.
"Honestly, Severus, according to Minerva, she's one of the smartest witches she's come across. The girl's mastering transfiguration left and right."
"She asked specifically about Quirrell, and whether or not I was keeping track of him going after the stone."
Albus stopped, still staring at the paperwork in front of him, but unmoving for a moment.
"She asked you that?"
"Yes. Her eyes were violet, I think. Maybe they were brown. Or both."
"Both?" asked Albus, still unmoving. "Specifically both?"
"Oh, you're talking about me?" said a girl's voice. Both men turned, to see Granger standing with the Sorting Hat covering her eyes. "It's not nice to talk about someone behind their back."
"How did you get here?" asked Albus, his wand already pointed at the girl. Fawkes gave a squawk of disgust at Albus.
"How do I get anywhere?" asked the girl back. "Come, come, we have the same goal. Well, almost the same goal."
"Goal? What goal is that?" asked Albus.
"As the seventh month dies," said the girl. "There's a bit before it, and a bit after it, but I know it all. I've known it since Harry told me five years from now,"
"What are you?" asked Severus.
"I am I," said Hermione, flashing perfect, white, even teeth at Dumbledore and Severus.
"Hat, what is she?"
"Insane," replied the hat. "I can't get anything beyond that."
"And you sorted her into Gryffindor?" asked Severus.
"It was either that or Ravenclaw. The mind is still here, but it's... it's..."
"It's something else," supplied Dumbledore. "Which means you are responsible for the assault on Gringotts."
"Oh, dear. I've been caught out," said the girl. "I don't think it matters at this point."
"Why are you here?" asked Albus.
"Your plan failed," said the girl. "Harry died at the hands of Voldemort, but no one had the strength left to defeat him. Hogwarts fell, and with it the hope of Wizarding England. The Statue of Secrecy was destroyed and with it the NATO invasion of England to take it back from the Death Eaters. It spread form there, when it was realized they didn't have the ability to contain the Death Eaters. Muggles destroyed most of the magical villages and schools within a year or two."
"Muggles can't even find the magical schools," said Albus. "They're layered with notice-me-not charms, and most of them are unplottable. And the wards alone would prevent muggle bombs from landing."
"Rendering a school unplottable doesn't change the location of the school," said Hermione. "And nuclear weapons only need a general location. The first one to destroy the wards, the second one to destroy the building itself. They learned that from Malfoy Manor, I understand."
"They destroyed Beauxbatons and Drumstrang?" asked Albus, unsure to believe this or not.
"Oh, yes. It's all your fault, Albus. I trusted you. Harry trusted you. We all trusted you. And you had us die, because you were too foolish to not touch the stone, when you knew it was cursed by Voldemort."
"The stone?" asked Snape.
"The stone," intoned a far older Hermione. She was taller, her body filled out. She was dressed in muggle clothing, and she looked down upon them with wrath and rage. "You know the stone, both of you. It was with that in his hand, that Harry walked to his doom. It was with the cloak, he walked to his doom. It was as Master of the Wand, he walked to his doom. He was not Master of Death, Albus. He merely died."
"You saw this?" asked a horrified Albus, contemplating the very concept.
"Once I became what I am, I made the journey to witness the end of the Wizarding World."
"And just what are you?" asked Snape.
"You have seen what I am, Severus, just as I have seen what trust is placed in you. Know this, little men. Our savior's death shall be prevented at all costs. Our enemy's death shall be ensured at all costs." Hermione reached within her robes and retrieved three crushed items. One was a gaudy golden locket, another a tiara, the third a golden cup. "Four have seen their end, two remain, and one remains unmade."
She placed her hands on Albus' desk.
"Are there any questions?"
"What were they?"
"Anchors. Did you think Voldemort's boasting of immortality was just bragging, Albus? We all know he still clings to life. These were how."
"And the fourth?"
"All of them are protected, not just in location but in their physical defense. You were foolish enough to forget that. While Riddle thought it merely the Gaunt family ring, you recognized it easily enough. And thus, without raising a finger against you, he had destroyed the hope of the Wizarding World."
"Harry was not a hero?" asked Albus, carefully.
"No. Not in anyone's eyes. He's the Boy-Who-Lived. What impossible standards do you think he was held to?" asked Hermione. "No, the entire world was dropped on his shoulders." She laughed. "Two remain. Lucius has one. Severus, allow him to unleash it upon the school. Perhaps he will, perhaps he will not. If he does not well, there are ways. One other remains. I will deal with it."
"Why should we trust you, thing?" asked Severus, finally finding his voice.
In an instant, the thing was all to close to Severus, even as he attempted to push himself further back in his chair. He felt a tongue lick across his throat even as a mouth with far to many rows of teeth filled his eyesight.
"You have little choice," whispered Bellatrix's voice.
And then she was gone.
Albus sat in his chair, pale as a sheet. He waved his wand, and a bottle leapt from a nearby cabinet onto his desk, while two glasses were conjured. The bottle poured itself before settling down on the desk. Severus ignored the offered glass, too disturbed by the events to drink. He needed his head cleared, not muddled by the effects of alcohol. Albus, however, looked to need it, and began pouring himself a second glass.
"What do you think?" asked Albus.
"There's no reason to trust her, just as there's no reason not to." He glanced at the three shattered objects on the headmaster's desk. He poked them with his wand, recognizing the locket of his house's founder. He didn't need to cast a diagnostic charm on them, he could feel the broken malevolence radiating from the objects. "What are they?"
"Evil," replied Albus. He was shaken - that the stone was found? He coughed, something burned his chest. What was it?
"Oh, Albus?" said Hermione, invisible- Albus checked and- the cloak! The cloak was gone! "I suppose I should ask you a question before you die."
Severus jumped, dropping the glass.
Albus looked to Fawkes, and he could see the disgust on the animal's face. It did nothing as he fumbled to the floor. Severus stepped away.
"Not you, Severus. Just Albus. Tell me, Albus, why did you let the world see Harry as Dark? Insane? Moody? Arrogant? Why did you let them assume he was a Dark Lord in training? Why did you let them all say he was the Heir of Slytherin? It's odd. All of your power, and you never tried to fight the rumors and hatred that everyone attached to his name. You claimed him a grand-son, but you never did a damn thing. Tell me, Albus, why would you not have your weapon against the Dark Lord know he had allies in high places? Why would you leave a child amongst what your deputy would call the worst sort of muggles? Severus, you remember Tuney, don't you? Does she strike you as someone Lily would let near her child?"
Albus looked up and about, even as his body failed him even as Severus shoved a Bezoar into his mouth.
"Go ahead, Albus. Eat the bezoar. I'm interested in seeing how long it will prolong your life against the Basilisk venom. I know what can, but unfortunately, Fawkes knows your crimes. Perhaps he can save Harry where you failed."
It was another two minutes before Albus collapsed to the ground, unmoving.
"It's a good thing you didn't drink any," said an eleven-year-old Hermione, packing the silvery cloak into her bag. "Although questions will be raised, given who gave Albus that bottle of Fire Whiskey."
Severus glanced at it, and realized it was one of Lucius' favorites. Well, at least for giving as a gift.
"I see," said Severus.
"By the way. Don't be surprised if Lucius dies tomorrow."
Narcissa Malfoy was questioned under Veteriserum. Her testimony was terrifying.
Bellatrix LeStrange walked into Malfoy Manor, disabled the house elves and Narcissa, and Imperious'd Lucius Malfoy into opening a blood-warded safe in his Drawing Room Floor. No one knew what was removed from it, but the cache of Dark Artifiacts was more than enough to incriminate anyone. That Narcissa disavowed all knowledge of it's contents under the serum was enough proof for the Aurors. Granted, the Malfoy house-elves were still cleaning pieces of Lucius out of the nooks and cranies of the drawing room.
Between this, Albus Dumbledore's assassination, and the sudden murder of Quiriness Quirrell, no one noticed a muggle change of guardianship application, giving one Harry Potter to Emma and Dan Granger.
Harry did wonder why Hermione asked for his help in destroying some old leather journal, and also wondered about a weird dream that had Quirrell and a green light. The light seemed familiar, somehow, but Harry didn't pay it much mind. Afterwards, he dreamed about his parents, and how they loved him.
Now, though, he was looking at the letter his friend Hermione handed him.
And he was crying, because he was going to be living with her. He was going to be living with people who loved him.
And it was wonderful.
Notes: This is crap. Badly executed, poorly planned, but it has some weird shine to it that deserves to go someplace besides the archived heap. It's obvious some of the bones of it found their way into Fate's Bitch.
In case it isn't obvious (mostly because it isn't) Hermione has snapped, and launched herself off the deep end with a sub-orbital rocket. She's turned herself into some horror from beyond space and time. Except, doing this, she loses her ability to cast magic. Enter Bellatrix, who merges with Hermione for the lulz.
This is a classic example of wish fulfillment writing, where one fixes everything, and then everything everywhere is hunky-dory and unicorns and sunshine and puppies come out of my ass. The correct answer to these sorts of stories, is to promptly shit on them, and then flush. If your hero survives, it might be a good story.
Sorry, I'm ranting. I do that at 3am while listening to the Final Fantasy 7 soundtrack. I should replay that game. It had standards.
2nd Note: I did replay that game. Also,I am not rightly certain how long ago I finished writing this. It was a while back. Maybe a year? Either way, I should mention why nothing's been updated in two weeks.
It started with a training course I had to drive to (I do my writing on the train into work), and then it turned into "Well, this chapter hates me." I've been bouncing between things, a little bit of Jamie Evans, a little bit of the Epilogue for Something Wicked (It's about two thirds done, at this point), a little bit of Chapter 45 of Something Wicked, and a little bit of... other things. Hopefully I'll have the next chapter of Something Wicked up soon... assuming McGonagall cooperates. Not a healthy assumption at the moment.