~ In Another Life ~
Chapter 1 – Fairy Dust
Quick Note: I do not own anything from the wonderful world of Harry Potter by JK Rowling.
Hogwart's Grounds – 11/13/1998
"This is all your bloody fault, you know that?"
"My fault?!" Hermione Granger growled, "You're the one who started the taunts in the first place and threw the first hex!"
"It's always your fault, Granger!" sneered Draco Malfoy. "If you hadn't sent those stupid, loud, twittering birds of yours towards me, Vector wouldn't have heard us quarreling and we wouldn't be in this fucking mess!"
"I wasn't just going to let you degrade my friends and my family, Malfoy. If you haven't noticed, the War is over, and people like yourself need to build a bloody bridge and get over your stupid prejudices! I can't believe that after everything we've all been through, you and your friends continue to choose to be cruel," she snapped, her brown eyes fiery as she glared angrily at him. "Grow up."
Merlin, Hermione was so sick of it. She'd only been in Hogwarts for a few months now, but was already tired of fighting with Malfoy and his pure-blood cronies in Slytherin. She thought the end of the War would mark the end of all these stupid prejudices, but she was wrong. It seemed the War only exacerbated things.
The pure-blood families associated with the Dark Lord became outcasts and the heroic families, such as the Weasleys, who were on the side of the Order of the Phoenix, became huge celebrities after the War. Naturally, the pure-bloods were completely out of their element. Many had been fired from their jobs on the grounds of crimes committed during the War, and almost all families were forced to turn to their Gringotts accounts to survive. Even though they had more than enough money to feed themselves for the next couple hundred years, the pure-bloods were still furious at the circumstances.
On top of this, the general animosity towards Slytherins was heightened this year. After all that occurred just last year during the War, the other students no longer disliked Slytherin – the House was hated. Their attendance was so low – only three people were brave enough to come back this year – that McGonagall had to force all seventh years to return. There were a few exceptions, of course. Harry and Ron decided to go on and become Aurors rather than further their education, despite Hermione's nagging and protests. Education was important. Just because they were offered jobs at the Ministry did not mean they could shirk finishing their schooling. Even after all their numerous conversations about the topic, however, the two still decided to go skip out.
Unfortunately for the brunette, the people that she prayed wouldn't return, did. Draco Malfoy, Parkinson, and Goyle were made to come back as well as many others. They had been running her up the wall ever since the first day of classes, uncaring of her status as Head Girl.
Although they cut back on their insults – Parkinson entirely, which was a nice relief – they still continued to deprecate those around them with their horrid words. Hermione supposed it was their own way of coping with the fact that they lost the War. Regardless of their standing after the War, they should be making amends, not fighting at every turn. With tensions so high this year… it was like the Slytherins were purposefully trying to cause trouble.
To Hermione, it was honestly only a matter of time until an all out war started between the Houses. The brunette already couldn't control herself just this past hour with Malfoy, and she had been enduring their ridicule – his in particular – for almost seven years. It was bothersome how easily she gave in to the urge to kick his arse. Even though he started it, she knew she should have just walked away. She was Head Girl for crying out loud! She should not be getting detention and acting like a child!
Hermione hoped the Headmistress knew what she was doing when she forced everyone back this year. McGonagall had said there was serious reconciliation needed between Slytherin and the rest of the Houses, and by forcing everyone back, it seemed she hoped they would get over past issues and animosity. Although Professor McGonagall had only the best of intentions, Hermione wasn't sure if the execution, per say, would be at all beneficial to everyone…
Glancing at Malfoy only confirmed her suspicions. He looked absolutely furious.
"Oh shut up!" Draco snarled, rounding on her as they left the castle, "I laid back on the mud-blood insults, didn't I? It doesn't mean I'm going to automatically start sitting next to you and your stupid house mates every morning. Thank Merlin your bloody boyfriends aren't here, too."
"Excuse me?" shot back Hermione hotly, "Ron and Harry are not my boyfriends! Ron is my–"
"Do I look like I even give a fuck, Granger?" spat Malfoy, crossing his arms as they stormed towards the Forbidden Forest. "Either way, they're both complete idiots. Especially my dearest Weaselbee."
"You are such a horrible, cruel–"
"–cockroach?" he ended, a vile smirk on his face.
After another twenty minutes of bickering over which direction to take at the edge of the Forbidden Forest, the two finally decided on going Hermione's way.
"I swear to Merlin," she hissed, storming to Draco until they were nose to nose, having had enough of his pathetic reasons to choose his direction. "I will punch you so hard, you won't be able to see through your right eye for days unless we go my way."
He swallowed visibly, obviously remembering their wonderful encounter back in third year when she slapped him.
"Pomfrey can just reduce the swelling," he bit back.
Her eyes narrowed.
"But, we can go your way," he added quickly.
She gave him a sardonic little smile.
"I say we call a truce."
Malfoy stared at her as if she just grew three heads.
"A truce," she repeated meaningfully.
Malfoy raised an eyebrow.
"I'd rather not."
Hermione rolled her eyes.
"Sorry, Malfoy, but I don't want to be killed because of our bickering."
She stared at him in disbelief.
"What?" she said, her voice acerbic, "You can't manage to stop your taunting for a few hours?"
"No," he snapped coldly, "I just don't want to have anything to do with you, mud-blood."
Clenching her hands, Hermione glared at him.
"I don't care about what you think or what you want, pure-blood. We have to stick together otherwise one of us will get killed. The Forbidden Forest is aptly named. I should think you'd know that considering how quick you were to abandon Harry to Voldemort in our first year–"
His face darkened as anger flashed through his eyes.
"As if you would have stayed with your enemy," he spat, "If it were you and I in that position, would you have abandoned me?" he continued, an eyebrow arched, as if daring her to disagree.
Hermione did just that.
"Of course I wouldn't have, Malfoy!" she replied defiantly. "I wouldn't have abandoned you. I would have tried to help."
His lip curled into a nasty sneer.
"Of course you would have. Noble, muggle Granger–"
"Dishonorable, pure-blood Malfoy."
They glowered at each other for a long while.
"Truce?" she finally bit out.
"You honestly expect me to fucking–"
"TRUCE?" she bellowed, cutting him off.
Silence. Hermione closed her eyes, her right hand outstretched, still trying to keep herself from hexing him. She just needed patience. He knew that working together was their best bet for finding what they needed to find and leaving unharmed. After all, he wasn't second-best in school for nothing.
When nothing happened, and she was sure she was in control of her anger, she opened her eyes to see him leaning against a tree and eyeing her.
She raised her eyebrows, waiting.
"Fine," he hissed.
In two strides, he was in front of her and grasped her hand tentatively before giving it a quick shake.
"Damn," he muttered, "Now I have to Scourgify your germs off my hands."
"Damn," she imitated him, "Now I have to Scourgify Death Eater germs off my hands. Disgus–"
Before Hermione knew what happened, she was thrown against a tree roughly. Shrinking back when she saw the intensity in Draco's eyes, her hand immediately tightened around the wand in her pocket. She was not expecting him to lash out so violently. It looked like she'd hit a sore spot.
"I am not a fucking Death Eater," he growled coldly, his eyes full of hate, "And don't you dare call me one ever again. You have no idea what the fuck I've been through."
She opened her mouth, but he silenced her.
"No, shut your mouth, Granger," he snarled viciously, "You think you and your precious little Potter and Weasley have been through hell? Well, try living under my roof with an insane aunt and the Dark Lord breathing down your back every day and let's see how far you'd go to save your own skin and your family's."
Hermione doubted she'd ever resort to what he did. She would have found another way. There were always options. Always. However, she was smart enough, being roughly shoved against a tree, to not voice her thoughts. Placating Malfoy was now number one on her list of things to do. She had seen him angry, but never to this extent. It scared her. On top of this, she had this eerie feeling… like they were being watched by something. Since they were both in the Forbidden Forest, she was positive they actuallywere being watched by something. She needed to get him to stop so they could move on.
"Malfoy, I und–"
"No, damn it, you don't!" He slammed a hand against the tree loudly, causing her to jump and gasp in fright. "None of you ever will, so stop saying that. I know what you all think. All of us in Slytherin do. You all thought we had other options. You and everyone else thought that we could have gone to the Order or refused the Dark Lord – well too fucking bad. When you live with the Dark Lord, you have no options. So stop looking at us like we had a choice. Because guess what, Granger?" he leaned in, sneering venomously, "None of us did. Have we ever pretended like we were proud of what we got?"
Hermione kept her mouth shut, knowing it was a rhetorical question. Frozen to the spot, goosebumps broke out over her flesh and she found it hard to breathe as the feeling of being watched intensified.
"Maybe in the beginning," he continued coldly, unaware, "But the novelty always wore off after the first few days. Seeing your arm bleed the first few times the Mark burns tends to do that to a person. Imagine, Granger," he leaned in, his lips by her ear.
She shivered, trying to move away. Her wand was still clenched tightly in her hand, but she was too fascinated by Malfoy's tirade to bring herself to threaten him with it, in spite of the fact that he was dangerously close to her.
"Imagine seeing your arm bleed around the Dark Mark. Imagine feeling it burn in complete agony. Then, of course, it barely scabs over before the wound reopens again the next time he calls. As for the pain, you can only wait until it subsides. Imagine feeling that," he whispered, "Oh wait," he drew back, "you can't. You can't even imagine."
"Yet," he continued on, vehemently, "That doesn't even cover it. You have the emotional stress, the threat of failure looming over your head, the realization that your family could die if you don't do what the Dark Lord says."
There was a moment of silence. Hermione held her breath.
"And, yet," he cut her off, his eyes hardening, "you all have the audacity to say you 'understand' to our faces and in the Prophet and at ceremonies, but behind closed doors, chide us and mock us and hate us for our supposed lack of strength and our weakness." His eyes were full of wild emotion, "Well, mud-blood," she winced, "in my opinion, doing something you hate… enduring pain the way we have these past two years just for the sake of our family… now that's real strength. And you call us heartless…" he let out a cold laugh. "If only you knew the shit we've all had to go through this past year. But, of course," he finally backed away, his hands raised in defeat; Hermione released a breath she didn't even know she'd been holding, "you don't. You only recognize yourpain. Apparently, it's easier to believe we all just don't exist, rather than acknowledge we may have been in a situation just as difficult – even more so, actually – than all of you."
Unsure what to say, the brunette rested with watching him warily.
There was another moment of silence.
"It's always about all of you," Malfoy said with resentment, his grey eyes flashing, "What about us? Sure, Potter gave my mother and father his word and exempted them from Azkaban, but what about Pansy, Blaise, Theo, and Goyle? What about the Greengrass sisters? Don't worry," he spat bitterly when she didn't respond, "I wouldn't expect you to care. You're all hypocrites. You say you care for the welfare of the entire Wizarding world, yet you cover up what we've been through. You've destroyed our lives, destroyed our families and our names, and haven't given a damn. You've willingly sacked every last one of us. So, please excuse me," he added sarcastically, his grey eyes flashing, "when I, and the rest of my house, don't fall over ourselves to greet you and your fucking shitty friends every morning. We're still picking ourselves back up, and by the looks of it, it will take awhile, if ever. The Dark Lord may have started this mess, but you all added to it after the War. There will never be peace unless you all accept the fact that we had no choices, no way of changing anything, even if we wanted to. Not unless we wanted to die. You all need to move on and try to forget what you all think happened and stop pretending like we no longer exist because we do. Simply put: our lives were fucking hell. Every single day. You think the Dark Lord terrorized you? Try living and working under him," he snarled.
Draco's chest was heaving by the time he was through, his hands in fists at his side. Hermione was still watching him, her wand still clenched and her eyes wide.
It was so much information. So much. She had never heard Malfoy, or any other Slytherin for that matter, speak about such personal things and so passionately as well. They were all extremely tight-lipped about their lives. Was what Malfoy said all true? Maybe some of it.
She refused to believe the Ministry was covering up so many things about the pure-blood families. Sure, the Ministry had been a bit shady while she was growing up, but Hermione would like to think that they were all getting past that – that the Wizarding world as a whole was creating a newer and better government. One that didn't keep things from their people for no feasible reason.
"Well, Granger? Has your disturbingly ugly little cat got your tongue?" he asked cruelly.
"You're not the only ones who suffered through hell, Malfoy," she said quietly.
He threw his hands up in the air.
"Oh sure. Start your little speech. I'm sure it's been building for awhile now, am I correct? I'm sure you're wondering how much of what I said is true and how much is a lie and you know what?" he snapped, "That's one of the reasons why we will never settle into a quiet post-war life. You'll continue to outcast us, much like you're doing now, and mark my words, another fucking Dark Lord will pop up and spread destruction and ruin and no one will be able to stop him this time. Not even your bloody precious Potter–"
"I was tortured in your house!" Hermione cried, her anger building. How dare he assume they didn't have their own share of problems! "I know what it's like, Malfoy. I know! I had to Obliviate–"
She swallowed, cutting herself off as moisture suddenly flooded her eyes.
"I had to Obliviate my parents," she finally whispered. Hermione leaned against a tree, her voice cracking, "I spent the past few months searching after the War and I can't… I can't find them…"
She took in a huge breath, her eyes fixed firmly on a tree to the right of Malfoy. She was afraid to look at him, unsure of what she'd see.
"I think… I think they're…"
She stopped talking then, the tears spilling over and down her cheeks.
If they are…
Hermione shook her head, unable to allow herself to think about the fate of her parents. They were still alive. They had to be. She did everything she could to keep them safe.
"I watched as people died. Your aunt carved…"
Hermione stopped talking, one of her hands slowly finding its way under the arm of her shirt. She had done this so many times and each and every time she hoped she wouldn't feel the same scarred skin spelling out her heritage. It was no different now. As her hands slowly caressed the familiar scar, she swallowed thickly, tears falling once again. No matter how much she wished she could get over it, and no matter how much she told people she had, she really never could. She had been judged for the past seven years on that alone – the fact that she was a muggle-born witch, a mud-blood. Everyone expected her to fail right from the start. She'd proved them wrong of course, but still. What she wouldn't give to just have her blood status not matter or to change it sometimes – to see how different life would be as a pure-blood or even a half-blood…
"You're not the only one, Granger," Malfoy said after awhile, his voice almost gentle, "I just wish you all would see how much worse it was for us–"
She looked at him then, brushing the tears away furiously.
"For you?" she whispered incredulously, her brown eyes filling with fire, "We were the ones who had our families killed! Us. Mud-bloods and muggles and half-bloods and blood-traitors. So, do excuse me, when I say that we had it worse off. We, the famous Golden Trio, were on the run. No food, no shelter, no safety, no allies, nothing. Just ourselves and, even then, we couldn't really rely on that."
Hermione thought back to Ron's lapse in judgment and the big fight with Harry that made him leave during their search for the horcruxes. She took a deep breath as she watched as Malfoy's face hardened instantly.
"Walk a fucking mile in my shoes, Granger. You wouldn't last a bloody day, I promise you."
She walked up to him boldly, "Same goes for you, Malfoy. I promise you."
There was a moment of silence as the two glowered at each other, before an odd feeling washed over the pair and they stepped away from each other, dazed. Hermione's eyes fluttered as she tried to get a hold of her surroundings. She felt like she was going to faint. Staggering around, the brunette suddenly dropped to her knees. Her wand fell from her hand at that moment, but she couldn't be bothered. It seemed Malfoy had the same problem because he was holding on to the nearest tree, his head in his hands.
"Is that an agreement I hear?" said a whimsical, female voice.
Hermione turned, trying to find the voice's owner as she fought to get a hold of herself. She twirled a few times, growing dizzy, before seeing a light over by a pond maybe twenty, thirty feet away.
"Who… who's there?" asked Malfoy wearily, his back against the tree trunk and his wand up and pointed at the pond.
A light, tinkling laugh rang out and Hermione shivered.
"You should know, shouldn't you, Draco? After all, you and Hermione have been searching for one of us…"
Hermione's eyes widened. How did she know?
"You needed fairy dust, am I correct?"
Hermione's mouth dropped as the light by the pond grew until it was bright, like an overly large Patronus. She shielded her eyes, as did Malfoy.
After a few moments, the light died down and she looked over at the pond once more to see a beautiful fairy with long, blue hair, white skin and bright, cerulean eyes. She was floating in the air, her blinding, wings fluttering, yet it seemed as though she was walking on some invisible path towards them.
"How did you know?" asked Malfoy, amazed.
"Isn't that your punishment? Collecting ingredients for potions for the next week every night?"
"I…" Hermione was at a loss for words.
Another tinkling laugh echoed through the forest.
"I shall take that as a yes, Hermione."
Her throat grew dry, and unable to formulate words, she just nodded in response.
"See… I would help… but I actually have another idea."
Hermione didn't like the sound of this. The fairy's blue eyes were twinkling knowingly between the two. It reminded her a lot of Dumbledore and she felt a painful pang of sadness in her chest.
"I hope you find what you're looking for, and once you have fulfilled your promises, all will be well."
Hermione looked over at Draco who grew pale.
"W-What do you mean?" she asked, her fear growing steadily as the fairy's words replayed in her head.
The fairy winked at her and slowly faded. Panic gripped Hermione, and she got up and ran towards her.
Just as she thought she had a hand on her leg, the light faded altogether and she was left in darkness once more. Confused, the brunette turned and looked back at Draco, who was as pale as ever.
A warm, unnatural breeze caressed her, and the hair on the back of Hermione's neck stood on end. Her breath came light and fast as her knees buckled. The brunette's eyes swam as everything spun and she frowned deeply, her hand flying to her head, as if trying to assuage the uncomfortable feeling. Gasping for air as black spots popped up in her vision, she tried hard to call out for help, but it was hopeless.
She couldn't be sure, but she thought she heard faint, tinkling laughter.
Just as Hermione was about to go under, she heard the same whimsical voice of the fairy whisper to her one last time, her voice soothing and melodic.
"Trust in me…"
This plot bunny has literally been on my mind for a year. I first came to fanfiction July 6th, 2011 and this idea popped into my mind a few weeks after. I wasn't sure if a plot like this ever came up, where Draco and Hermione go back in time and assume the other's life (not body-swapping). I've been meaning to write this out for the longest time, if only to get it out there. If you don't understand what exactly I mean with the whole life switcheroo, stick around. The next chapter is the actual switch... that is... if you all review enough to get me to write it :)
Question: What time period do you think the two will warp back to?
Please do favorite/alert/review!