A/N No copyright infringement intended and no profit has been made. This is merely a writing exercise.
The story is rated M for sexual content, language, adult themes and violence. Do not read this story if you are not of legal age to do so. This story is A/U and OOC. It is dark.
This story is a Bellatrix/Hermione story and will end that way. I want to thank everyone who has read and reviewed, faved or followed this story. Of all the stories I have written, this one was the one I enjoyed writing the most. Knowing someone else likes it is what keeps me writing. Reviews are my Scooby snacks.
When I originally posted this story I did not have a beta. I am re-posting it and hopefully the grammatical gaffes and other mistakes have been corrected. The re-post is merely to fix mistakes and I have not dramatically changed the story. If you see something we missed feel free to P.M. me.
Thank you to Asher Henry. Asher beta'd this in record time. She has been absolutely amazing as my beta and I highly suggest checking out her stories as she is a brilliant writer as well.
As she sat on the dais she looked around at the crowd and she marveled at her surroundings. Today she would be receiving her Order of Merlin, First Class for exceptional valor and heroic services to the Ministry. If someone had asked her if she, the brain of the golden trio, the bookworm that hid in the library, the mouse, would ever end up here she would have laughed. In her mind it was always going to be Harry getting the accolades, not her, and that was how she wanted it. She never wanted to be standing here but that's how some things work out. The Minister started into what she knew would be a very long winded speech. She used the time to reflect on how she got here.
Thinking back it all came down to the Battle of the Department of Ministries. That's where everything changed. If that night had not happened she would have stayed the brains of the trio and would have never been considered a factor in combat. She would never have been recruited so early by the Order and she never would have ended up here as a war hero.
She frequently wondered where she would be if things played out differently that night. She knew she wouldn't be standing here and she didn't know how she felt about that. She wasn't just the bookworm anymore; she was a soldier and Head Auror for the Ministry. She was about to be made a department head of a new department. She was highly ranked and well respected both within and outside of the Ministry and overall her life was great. Sometimes at night she lay awake thinking about everything that she had done and she knew she was the greatest hypocrite to ever live.
She knew from the beginning the Department of Mysteries was a trap. She warned Harry, but he didn't listen. He never listened. The six of them went, Harry, Ron, Ginny, Luna, Neville and her. They shouldn't have been there and they shouldn't have brought Neville who wasn't ready for combat. The boy was too sweet for his own good.
The Department of Mysteries is where she first saw her, the woman who would change her life. Bellatrix Lestrange taunting Neville was a memory that still stuck out in her head. On Harry's orders they had lashed out with the reducto spells destroying the prophecies and getting a chance to escape. The fighting broke out as the Death Eaters pursued. They did well considering Hermione was the oldest one at 16. They just didn't do well enough to not take casualties. That's how it started. That is when she went from bookworm to fighter. Dolohov hit Neville with a curse she had never heard of, he had screamed "Attero pectus pectoris" slashed his wand and Neville dropped. Hermione ran to Neville as Harry battled Dolohov. When she rolled him over she realized he was dead. He looked so peaceful. Neville had been protecting her and she was overwhelmed with guilt and anger. She didn't really remember much of the battle after that. She went after Dolohov and hit him with a Crucio while he was fighting with Harry. She held it and wouldn't let him go.
Harry put him in a body bind and pulled her away finally breaking the spell. She looked back to see the man who murdered her friend twitching in a pool of his own urine and felt justified. They ran down the hall and came across Ron and Ginny fighting off Lucius, Nott and Rookwood. As they joined their friends, Luna soon appeared around a corner being chased by the Lestranges. Harry and Ron laid down a bit of cover fire for her as she joined their small protective circle. As they exchanged spells the five found themselves being backed up into a large room that looked a bit like an auditorium. In the middle was a large arch with a misty glow to it. They were outnumbered two to one and were being backed towards the veil. Hermione could hear whispering from inside the veil and she knew they needed to avoid it.
Ron was struck in the thigh and Luna moved to cover him. As she moved into a defensive stance near Ron, Rudolphus Lestrange hit her with Sectumsempra. Hermione felt a warm sticky splash and she was covered in Luna's blood as the curse tore through the airy girl. She reacted on pure instinct as Luna fell to the ground. She screamed "Avada Kedavra!" at the top of her lungs and a green jet shot out of her wand. Bellatrix Lestrange snarled at her as she watched her husband fall next to where Luna lay.
"You little mudblood bitch, you will suffer more than any person has ever suffered" She looked to the other Death Eaters, "No one touches her but me!". Bellatrix raised her wand and Hermione engaged her. The others were now even more outnumbered as Hermione dueled with Bellatrix, Hermione was getting tired and several spells had hit her. Her right arm was burned, she had a gash on her forehead and she thought she had a couple of broken ribs. She was not the best dueler and she was clearly outmatched. She soon lost her wand. She looked toward her friends and realized they had been subdued. Ron was holding Luna trying to stop the bleeding while being guarded by Mulciber and Nott. Hermione was surprised she was still alive. Lucius had Harry pinned to the floor and was holding the prophecy. She looked back to Bellatrix. The witch was twirling her wand while laughing at her. She knew she would die but she wouldn't cower. She looked Bellatrix square in the eye, held her head high and waited for the inevitable. Bellatrix looked a bit taken aback by Hermione's gall.
"Hermione Granger, mudblood know-it-all. I have read your file. I wouldn't have thought you had it in you."
Hermione smirked, "then your file is wrong."
Bellatrix hit her with the Cruciatus curse. As Hermione dropped to the floor she felt as though her body was on fire. She actually wished for death as it felt like ten thousand needles were hitting her body. It stopped abruptly and as she gathered her wits about her she realized the Order had appeared. The Death Eaters were retreating and Lucius was running out the door with the prophecy. She got up to chase after them. She righted her wobbly legs and sprinted up towards the lobby where they had headed. The Order was following as were the remaining D.A. members. She shot a stunner at Lucius but Mulciber blocked it. Mulciber, Rookwood, Bellatrix and Rabastan were covering the escape of the others. Dolohov was being carried into a floo by Rabistan and then they disappeared. Lucius followed with the prophecy. The remaining Death Eaters were battling with the Order. Bellatrix honed in on Harry this time but Sirius stepped in and the cousins were ferociously throwing spells at each other.
Harry grabbed his scar in pain and fell to his knees and upon seeing this Hermione instinctively took a defensive stance near him and looked around. She barely got up the shield spell as a red light flew towards Harry. Hermione went to engage the attacker and found herself facing Voldemort.
She was lucky to be alive after Bellatrix, she knew she was done for against Voldemort. She almost dropped her wand but she found her courage again as she was flanked by Harry and Ron. In the five years they had known each other, the three friends had accumulated a laundry list of stupidity: running a gauntlet of traps and tests designed by their professors, chasing after basilisks and giant Gryffindor eating spiders, taking on a werewolf, aiding and abetting a wanted criminal, taking on a dragon and merpeople, befriending a giant, leading the current headmistress to be captured by the Centaurs (she got warm fuzzies thinking about that one), creating an underground army and of course attempting the ritual known as dating. Nothing compared to the trio deciding to take on the most feared wizard in history. The Order was focused on combating the Death Eaters and clueless to the trio's brave and foolhardy actions.
They started trading hexes with the Dark Lord. One or two of the trio would cast protective spells while the others attacked. They alternated between hexing and shielding which kept them fresh and Voldemort off guard. Fudge entered the Ministry with several Aurors and Percy Weasley in tow. He saw the man battling the trio and took off his hat to mourn for his career. Fortunately the Aurors and Percy were quite a bit nobler than the soon to be ousted Minister and they jumped into the fray forcing the rest of the Death Eaters to escape through the floos. Sirius also flooed out upon the arrival of the Aurors least he end up in Azkaban again.
Hermione smirked as she noticed Dumbledore walked up behind them. Emboldened by their new backup the trio closed the ground towards Voldemort. As the approached Voldemort laughed and cast a Serpensortia. Instead of one particularly cranky cobra, the trio was faced with approximately thirty very annoyed snakes of various venomous breads. She thought of her personal mantra for the last 5 years which helped her in all of their adventures, WWID. What Would Indy Do? Before anyone else could react to the snakes, Hermione cast several Lacarnum Inflamares. Fire shot out of her wand in huge streaks backing the snakes away. Everyone in the room, Dumbledore included, were impressed with the move.
"Clever, you're the mudblood bookworm aren't you? The file says you do poorly in duels and physical challenges. I am surprised."
"That seems to be a recurring theme today, might I suggest updating the file" She had no idea where her courage was coming from but she knew she needed to keep him distracted while the Order and Aurors surrounded him.
"I think you're right" Voldemort gracefully bowed, "until we meet again."
With that he turned to a mist and disappeared. The Order members ran to them as mediwizards and healers were sent downstairs. Neville and Rodolphus were dead as expected but Luna was alive, if only barely. The other Death Eaters had escaped.
Their statements were taken in the visitor's lounge at St. Mungo's as they waited for news on their friend. Hermione had cast two unforgivables, one of which being the killing curse, and was under the highest scrutiny. Of course this was a society that literally had its prisoners' souls sucked out piece by piece, day by day. As the victims were Death Eaters she would be hailed as a hero but an investigation was still necessary. She was too frazzled by the day's events to know how she felt about that.
Neville's grandmother came, but Hermione didn't know what to say to her. She didn't need to though. Instead of wanting an explanation or revenge, the witch thanked her. She told Hermione she only wished she had Avada'd Dolohov too. When the witch left, she looked to Harry to see his reaction. She knew he was thinking the same thing she was, she had just killed a man and tortured another and she was being congratulated for it. He was the only one who saw the horror in her actions. Even Ron had 'atta boy'd' her.
She had maintained her cool facing Bellatrix, Voldemort and a Ministry Inquiry. She had held herself together for hours waiting to find out about her friend. She needed to break down a bit. She walked out to a small garden in the back of the waiting area curled up on a bench and cried. She stayed like that until she felt something brush against her. She looked up and saw the Headmaster handing her a handkerchief.
She scooted over a bit and he sat down next to her.
"Ms. Granger, you will hear many things over the next few days. You will be treated like a hero, a villain, a savior and a pariah. Don't be afraid to cry and don't be afraid to lean on your friends. You are different now; don't let that change alienate you from others. You can't change what has happened and after this your soul will be a darker, don't let this push you to the shadows. The Order will make sure you get through the Ministry investigation but there are bigger problems."
She looked up, "Voldemort?"
"We are so confident that you are going to clear the investigation because pressure is coming from both sides. Tom wants you cleared and I am not sure what his end game is. You killed Rodolphus, he may want to make sure you end up in Bellatrix Lestrange's hands, but usually his actions are self -serving. We need to address your safety until we know where this is going; under the circumstances I am assigning you a mentor. You will be able to talk to him about how you feel and he will train you to defend yourself. We both know Tom's file is not wrong; you're clever but not a great dueler. Severus Snape will be training you; you will learn combat, occlumency and defensive skills. You will train over the summer and if you still need watching next year then we will tell people you are acting as an assistant to him. You cannot tell your friends." He raised a hand to stop her from interrupting.
She bit her tongue and let him continue.
"As you now know, Harry is vulnerable and Voldemort can still use his connection to find out information. Ron is noble at heart but his jealousy is his great weakness and makes him hot headed at times. I am sorry Hermione, but you are now deeper in to this than any of us had planned. You turn 17 in two weeks; fortunately the Ministry doesn't know this. Your time turner usage is unrecorded and that gives you an advantage of four months of training under the radar. You will spend the summer at Grimmauld Place and you will be inducted into the Order while you are there. The trace will automatically cease upon your birthday and you can spend the time improving your skills without interference from the Ministry."
"What about my parents, they will go after them."
"We anticipated that. Your parents have already been moved into a safe house. We will arrange for you to see them before you begin training but after that they will be moved again and only a handful of people will know there location. Welcome to the war Hermione."