…Also known as 'The author jumps outside the series she's writing about'.
Disclaimer: Do you really think the author of the Harry Potter series would be writing fanfiction about it? Actually, that would be awesome. But she doesn't. I am not J.K. Rowling. Nor do I own any part of Jim Henson's brilliant movie Labyrinth. Although I do write fanfiction about it. Blatantly self advertising? Me?
Robert, Katie's boy and Professor Alxemia are all my brain children. Poking them with sticks is frowned upon.
Warning: Dramatic Hermione back story. Don't hate me for bullying Ron.
For once my dreams did not haunt me. Instead I woke up refreshed and, despite Evil 'Mione's whining, happy. Whistling a jaunty tune, I picked out casual clothes for the day and looked at my planner.
Visit the Burrow was marked for today. I brushed out my hair and smiled brightly at the mirror in the bathroom.
"We're off to see the Wizard," I sang, laughing at the irony. "The wonderful Wizard of Oz - or the Burrow, anyway!" It was a rare day when I woke up happy. Usually it took at least two cups of coffee and some music to get me into a decent mood. But today was a day to celebrate! Harry and Ginny wanted me to come over to discuss wedding plans. Luna, Cho, Padma and Parvati, Angelina and Katie would also be there, since they were all bridesmaids as well. And I would be seeing the Weasleys again. I loved their busy, loud house. It was so different from my quiet little apartment or my parents' house with just the three of us. I brushed my teeth, put on my cloak and went out the door. No sense in Apparating when they were only a few miles outside of town.
When I got to the Burrow, I stopped outside the door. Inside I heard the usual sounds of loud arguing, laughter and Celestina Warbeck. I raised a hand to knock on the door, but Mrs. Weasley opened the door before I could.
"Hermione, dear, come in! How are you? Ginny's just so excited. Are you hungry?" I shook my head and grinned at her. She closed the door behind me and bustled over to turn the radio up. Everyone looked up when I walked into the busy kitchen. I looked around at all of my friends. George was leaning against the counter, drinking a cup of amber liquid. I resisted the urge to wince when I saw the dark hole where his ear used to be. The absence of Fred was another painful reminder of the war. I blinked once, hard. Angelina was standing by the stove next to George. The girl was a few years older than me, but we had always gotten along reasonably well. She smiled at me when she saw me looking at her. Sitting at the large, scratched up kitchen table was Luna in her Muggle clothing, black overalls and a bright green T-shirt, her hair pulled up into pigtails. She had left the radish earrings at home, but her appearance was strange anyway. The Muggle clothing she was wearing stood out in the room full of wizard's robes.
Next to Luna was Cho, looking mildly uncomfortable in the Burrow's kitchen. Harry's old girlfriend was radiant as ever, although her hair was cut in a strange pixie do. Sitting together next to them was the twins, Parvati and Padma Patil. The girls were dressed identically, right down to the long black braid that went down each of their backs. Padma was whispering something in Parvati's ear. Katie Bell, the oldest out of any of us by a month, was sitting on a stack of boxes in the corner with a blonde boy I didn't recognize.
"Hey, 'Mione," she mumbled. A long white scar stretched across her face, permanently pulling half her mouth into a scowl. Bellatrix Lestrange had tortured Katie in Malfoy Manor before I was during the war, and since then she had never been quite the same. A shadow of Bellatrix always lingered in her glassy green eyes. The boy next to her had an eyepatch over his eye and I guessed he had been injured in the war as well.
I shivered suddenly. My adopted family was broken and scratched. We had mostly survived, but the fabric of our happiness was torn. It could never really be perfect again, no matter how we tried to patch it.
"Oh, morning, Hermione." Ron Weasley shuffled down the stairs. His hair was messy the way it always was. I remembered when I thought that was cute. Now it just seemed annoying.
"Hello, Ronald." If he was going to be formal and call me 'Hermione', I was going to do the same to him. He leaned awkwardly next to George. The difference between them was apparent. Where George's clothes were neat and clean, Ron's shirt was stained and his pants showed too much ankle. George had brushed his hair. George was wearing matching socks.
"Okay, now that we're all here, let's get started!" Ginny clapped her hands to break the awkward tension between Ron and I. I looked at her. Anything to avoid looking at my old boyfriend. Ginny was saying something, but I couldn't tell what. I felt kind of numb. Harry put his arm around Ginny's shoulders and smiled at her. The pang of loneliness I had felt before in the coffee shop hit me again. I kept my face pinned into a smile.
I miss Ron, part of me whispered.
No, you miss having someone to be with. Not Ron. I corrected it. We don't like Ron anymore, remember?
It was after the war that we broke up. I remembered it as if it had happened the day before.
The ruins of Hogwarts were slowly being pieced back together into the castle I remembered. Ron and I were fixing part of it together. It was hard to believe the war was really over. I couldn't help but look over at Ron every few moments, glad he was alive, glad he was with me, glad he was mine. My thought streams were a single word, and that word, that glorious word was Ron.
A little apartment was what I wanted. Ron wanted me to move in at the Burrow. There were reasons I couldn't do that, and all of them started with 'F'. I didn't want to think about my short lived, rocky relationship with the older Weasley, especially not when Ron was with me, and living upstairs from him would be way too weird. Ron and I fought about it. In the end, I won, and I bought a little apartment near my mother's house. He visited every day, and we were happy three months after the war.
Of course it was going to end badly. We fought and fought and fought about everything, no matter how small.
"FUCK YOU, Hermione!" He yelled. May 14, our anniversary. It was his fourteenth swear today, as opposed to my twentieth. That meant he needed to curse me six more times to catch up. It also meant our relationship had been reduced to simple addition, and my dreams of multiplication and having children of my own were dead.
We stayed together for a while anyway, because we didn't know any better. We drifted into awkward silence broken by painful glares and lots of snogging. He talked to his friends on the phone more and more, came home later and was nearly always drunk.
I went to Lavender Brown's for a visit while Ron was supposed to be out of town.
I found the living room empty and the bedroom - the bed - full. Ron and Lavender. Wide eyed I stared at the mess my life had become. I hated him. I hated her. I hated myself. "I get it," I whispered. "You choose her." For a heartbeat, we were silent.
"Oppugno!" I chased him home with birds and curses, tears burning in my eyes. I would not let the tears fall. Not yet.
The next day he came in from work with a bouquet of red roses, my favorite flower. I wanted desperately to accept them and forget everything. Why not? He was Ron. He was supposed to be my soul mate.
"Give them to Lavender. I. Don't. Want. Them," I told him.
" Go give your stinking roses to your stinking whore, pig!" The argument raged full force after that, and I shouted at him until I could barely speak. When both of us had screamed ourselves hoarse, I looked at him in the silence that followed.
"My god, we're broken, aren't we?"
Just like that the door slammed behind him, and everything collapsed in on itself in my mind. I didn't want him here. I didn't want him gone. When he called the next week I hung up. I ate tons of ice cream. I did nothing but cry for days. My thoughts died down to a single word, and that word wasn't Ron anymore. It was 'no'.
And here we were, in this moment, the silence we were so accustomed to filled with Ginny's chatter, our glares drowned out by a dozen other distracting objects, my still mending heart throbbing in my chest.
Draco Malfoy is carved into my heart.
No! I screamed inside my head. No, I will not let anyone else into my life! I won't let it happen again.
"And I want all the bridesmaids to come to Twilfit and Tatting's on Wednesday to try out dresses," Ginny interrupted my thoughts with another clap. "Okay, that's all." In a current of amiable chatter we left, Katie's blonde boy limping behind. All the remaining vestiges of my good mood were gone.
I won't let it happen again.
Morning came too fast, and dawn woke me in a daze of dark dreams. I woke up in a fighting mood. I wanted to kill something today, or at least maim it. But the war was over, and killing Muggles was a sure way to get myself a one way ticket to Azkaban. The Malfoy credentials that had gotten us safely through the war could only do so much. So I sighed and got up. Another normal day.
I walked to work that day. No sense in wasting a murderous mood. May as well use it for exercise. It was a beautifully clear autumn day, the kind that made you want to spin in circles and climb trees. Not that I ever would, that's preposterous.
There was a job for me today. I picked up my clipboard and read the items, written in a spidery handwriting in green ink.
Newt eyes-Salem Witches' Institute, Salem, MA, USA
Candles-Circle Rites Goodie Shop, Cheshire, VT, USA
Witches' Robes, size 7-12-Senora Malkin's, Brazil
I left the building, ignoring the greeting from Smith on my way out. With a quick turn I willed myself into the airless tube between places. Determination, Deliberation, Destination. I really hate Apparition. When I felt the air return I took a deep gulp of oxygen and broke out in a fit of coughing. I recovered quickly and looked around.
I had overshot a bit and ended up near a farm with a big white house. A quick whispered "point me" spell told me that I was in Salem, but half a mile south of the Institute. I sighed. Guess I'll have to walk.
I had nothing against walking. It invigorated me and besides, Salem was a pretty place. Although if Bellatrix ever knew I preferred a Muggle way of transportation, she would murder me. Literally.
The Salem Witches' Institute was immediately identifiable by the strong smell of magical perfume that floated out the large open windows. How do they keep this place hidden with that smell?
I made my way up to Professor Alxemia's classroom with my magical black bag and flung open the door. Large amounts of purple smoke billowed out into my face, smelling of burnt sugar. I coughed and waved it away, venturing deeper into the classroom.
"Oh, here you are, Malfoy! I was beginning to wonder if Emma had gone astray. She's usually quite good with tracking people down, but we all make mistakes, you know." The Potions Mistress emerged from the smoke, patting her slightly singed ringlets into place. Who's Emma? "Sending an owl before you came would have been better, but that's okay. Once we clean up the amortentia you can do your piece."
"Pardon me…what?" I asked. "I just came to deliver your shipment of newt eyes." I gestured to my bag. Alxemia looked puzzled.
"Oh, my. Then I suppose Emma didn't find you…" She trailed off. After a moment her face brightened again. "Do you have time to stay and talk to my Juno girls next period?" She asked. I considered it. I had two more deliveries to make today, not to mention the Granger plan and the fact that Bellatrix was in town and probably wanted me to come to tea with her again that afternoon or something. I slowly shook my head.
"My apologies, madam. I haven't got the time today," I told her as politely as I could. A Malfoy is always courteous, especially to females. Damned misogynistic Malfoy code. She bobbed her head, the smile affixed to her face.
"Alright then. I'm sure Emma will give you the note soon – it's from me. Owl me when you get it," she said. The witch winked and bustled over to her students, tapping her wand on their cauldrons to clean up the spilled and burnt potions that dripped all over the room. She's too soft. Snape would have made us clean it up ourselves, and probably drink it if we couldn't clean fast enough. I grimaced at the memory, the phantom taste of badly brewed Pepper Up Potion staining my tongue. I put the box of newt eyes down on her desk and left the room, closing the heavy wooden door behind me.
Next was Cheshire, a small town in Vermont that I had dealt with several times. I Apparated to the Circle Rites shop and went in, enjoying the sound of the tinkling bell on the door.
" 'Lo, Draco." A tall man with tawny hair that stuck up like a lion's mane greeted me. How does he do that with his hair? No matter how hard I tried or what spells I used, I could never get my hair into that style. His British accent hadn't gone away, even though he had lived in America for five years.
"Don't say the name!" He interrupted me. I raised an eyebrow skeptically. "No one's saying my name this week. Although…" His lips quirked up into a cruel smirk that was possibly even more charming and dangerous than mine. "By next week they'll be screaming it." His laugh could have made Bellatrix look like a Hufflepuff. It was also strangely seductive…whoa there, Draco. I shook my head a bit to clear the thoughts out. "Just call me 'J' instead," he suggested.
"Er, okay. I have your candles," I said. I pulled the box out of my bag and held it out to him. J reached out one gloved hand and took the heavy box effortlessly, placing it behind the counter. He dropped some money into my palm- unlike large companies and schools, the Circle Rites Shop paid directly. I counted the money. J was a notorious cheat, and was so charming he usually got away with it. It was the right amount, but he had slipped a small metal pendant into the coins. I looked up at him in confusion.
"What is this?" I asked.
"It's called a triskelle. It's a protection amulet, essentially. Not the phony kind they hawk on Knock Turn Alley," he added quickly, seeing I was about to protest. "This is old magic, as old as evil itself. It's something for a lady. The full moon is next week and if I know my magical creatures – and I do – it's certainly not a time to be out without some kind of protection." J's gaze bored into mind suddenly and he had read my mind before I could block him out. "Give it to the Granger girl…she looks too familiar to be safe." He glanced at the picture on the shelf next to the counter, crammed beside all the junk they sold here, charmed cigarettes and books on Dark magic and silver knives like Bellatrix used. The picture was of a girl with long brown hair and a wide, intelligent gaze. Her face was rounder than Granger's and her hair was straight, but the resemblance was definitely there. J sighed, suddenly melancholy.
"Who is she?" I asked. "You look at that picture all the time, but you never tell anyone why." J looked at me with a small smile. I couldn't tell if he was amused or about to hex me into oblivion.
"Her name is Sarah. I look at that picture all the time for the same reason you're pursuing Granger," he said flatly.
J laughed, making my blood run cold. He was a villain in a past life, I'm sure of it. How the hell does he do that? "Revenge, love, because I can, who knows? What matters is that she's mine. I'll get her in the end," he said. Love? "Yes, love," J answered and I realized I had spoken out loud. "As much as I hate to admit it. Damn woman got the best of me."
This was confusing. Revenge I could understand. Hatred I could understand. But affection tangled in revenge, love so close to hatred the difference was imperceptible? I knew nothing of this.
J evidently noticed my confusion. "Haven't you ever hated something so much that you had to destroy it or it would rip you apart?" He asked. I nodded. This I had felt, this I could understand. "And…ah, it's hard to explain. Explaining the concept of love doesn't make much sense. Where I come from it's not a commonly used word." I realized I had absolutely no idea where J was from. He had never told me. I didn't bother trying to tell him I didn't need him to explain love to me. J wouldn't listen to something like that.
"Perhaps, do you know the feeling of humiliation? Being defeated when you least expected it?" J asked.
The memory of Granger's stiletto heels hitting me flashed in my mind. I nodded viciously. That I could definitely understand.
J kept talking, a steady flow of neutral words, as casual as if he were talking about the weather. "And the memory haunts you every night, and it won't let you sleep and you know that the person who did this to you has to learn their lesson? You can't stop thinking about it. You can't stop hating them. You just can't stop." He was more talking to himself now than he was to me. His voice began to waver. Is he okay? J never shows emotion like this…"In the end you know that they owe you something, they owe you your pride back…and there's nothing you can do but take your pride back from them, because really what else is there to do? Is there any other choice at the end of the day?"
J looked at me, his strange mismatched eyes clouded over in some faraway dream. I nodded again, slowly. How is that love? Love of revenge, maybe. Wounded pride. Not real love, though.
"At the beginning, I loved her. And at the beginning I believe she loved me," he said quietly. I could sense there was a story here, and suddenly I desperately wanted to hear it.
"What…what happened?" I asked. Some part of my mind was telling me that I had another delivery to do and Operation Granger Heartbreak hadn't progressed at all, but the rest of me needed to know the story.
"It doesn't have a happy ending," he warned me.
"That's okay. You can tell it anyway…only if you want to, I mean," I said awkwardly. J ran a hand through his hair, the black leather gloves he wore shining in dark contrast to his blonde locks.
"Give the triskelle to Granger. Finish your mission and see it through to the end. Then I'll tell you," he said. I'm not getting any more answers out of him today, I realized. J smiled at me, less cruelly this time. "Good luck." I had been dismissed, as if I were in the court of a king.
I walked out, clutching the metal charm in my hand, letting the edge bite into my palm. The pain felt somehow good, but when I licked away the blood, my skin tasted bitter.
It was Sunday, so I didn't have work that day. I wandered down to my favorite bookshop in Ottery St. Catchpole to pick out something new to read. The fantastic thing about Cozy's was that they let you stay in the shop for as long as you wanted without buying anything. I sometimes sat in there reading for hours, passing the time on dull days.
"Hi, Hermione!" The boy shelving books greeted me brightly from atop his ladder when I walked in. His shaggy brown hair fell gracefully over one eye. The boy was a few years younger than I was and we had gotten to know each other on the slow days in the shop.
"Hello, Robert. Anything new in today?" I asked, the way I did every week when I was there. The boy yanked a book down from the shelf and tossed it to me. I missed it and had to pick the book up from the floor. It was a small, red book that was in decent condition. I could tell it had been well used, though.
"This one's actually a play," Robert informed me. "An American girl brought it in yesterday, told me it was 'haunting her'. Robert made air quotes with his hands and nearly fell off the ladder.
"Careful!" I yelped. He grinned amiably at me. One of his front teeth was chipped.
"No worries, Hermione. I'm okay," he assured me. Robert laughed at my expression. "Anyway, this girl from the U.S. came in and told me the book was haunting her. It had an owl feather marking a page in it, too. Barn owl, if I'm not mistaken. I don't know why she wouldn't want to keep a nice feather like that, but then again a play was haunting her, so…" He shrugged. "The play doesn't have any enchantments on it, either. I think she was just crazy."
"Thanks!" I took the book to my favorite reading chair and began to flip through it. It was almost a children's tale, although I certainly wouldn't have read it as a bedtime story for a kid. I became absorbed in the book and was only interrupted by the alarm on my watch ringing a few hours later. It went off at 5 PM every day to remind me when to eat dinner. Often I forgot without an alarm. After the third week of forgetting to eat dinner and binging at breakfast, I finally just set my watch to go off.
"Oh, bog," I muttered, book marking my page. Do I really need to eat right now? I didn't feel hungry. I shrugged and went back to reading. Food could wait for now.
Sarah: It's not fair!
Villain (smirking): You say that so often-
The bell on the door jingled.
"Evening, sir," Sandra, the girl working behind the counter said.
"Good evening," an all too familiar voice replied.
Does this officially count as a crossover now?
For those of you not catching my obvious references, there are multiple blatant references to the 80s movie Labyrinth in this chapter. I suggest you go watch it, then re read this chapter to better understand Draco's conversations with the mysterious J. That would be a fantastic title for a cult film or an indie album.
Draco's Conversations With the Mysterious J, starring Hermione, Draco and J himself! Watch a tale of romance, betrayal and coffee unfold in the sleepy town of Ottery St. Catchpole. Will Draco ever get his revenge? Will that play haunt Hermione? Will J ever let us say his real name? Find out- Coming to a theater near you.
Draco's Conversations With the Mysterious J, the fourth album of Child
Sacrifice. Hear the true account of J's fall set to a delicious backdrop of screaming guitar and the ever-talented Hermione Granger on the bass! That's right, for the first time ever J himself has stepped forwards to tell the tale. Draco will ask the important questions – can one find love again when it has been lost? Will both of their revenge plans work? Will hearts be broken in the end?
One thing is for sure: At the end of the album, you'll know for sure where you
stand on the issue of the King and his Champion, as well as the more relevant case of the Ferret and the Mudblood.
Why yes, I am insane. Thank you for asking.
The talk about triskelles and the full moon alludes to The Thirteenth Rider, a story by HachimansKitsune that you can find on this website. You don't have to read it, as the triskelle was really just a passing reference.
Also, I know I've been really slow updating. I'm not going to justify that with anything because I hate it when authors try to do that.
The problem here is mainly that I know exactly where this story is going, but I don't know how to get there. My car got sucked into a tornado in the middle of this crazy road trip and we all ended up in Oz.
I'll give 50 points and my eternal love if you can leave a review with the source of that reference.
Please review! It stops me from dying a slow, painful death due to lack of words or something.
Love you both, my small fanbase!