Hi lovies! I just want to quick let you guys know (whether you're re-reading this or are new here (hello if you're new, hope you enjoy the story!)) that I am currently revising it. Nothing major or plot-related is going to change. It's just surface level editing that I'll be doing over the next few weeks. It's been maybe four years since I've last edited this story, and it's high time it undergoes another revision to update it a bit. When I first started this WIP, my writing style was different, and I'm sure even with the editing I'm doing, you'll notice the change as you read on. So, I'm trying to edit it again and bring it up to speed. The chapters that have been edited will say so on the bottom of the page. Anyway, enough about this! Enjoy :)
~ 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 make fun of my friends, Malfoy. 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 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 friends. 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 on the side of the Order, such as the Weasleys, became huge celebrities after the war. Naturally, the pure-bloods were at a loss. Some had been fired from their Ministry jobs and were forced to turn to their Gringotts accounts to survive. Although many came from old money – their accounts filled with more than enough to feed themselves for centuries – they were still furious at the circumstances.
On top of this, the general animosity towards the Slytherins was heightened this year. After all that had occurred during the war, the other students no longer simply disliked Slytherin – the House was hated. Their attendance was so low – only three people were brave enough to come back this year – that the Ministry attempted to force more to come by making it part of their sentencing, if applicable. There were a few exceptions, of course. Returning was not mandatory for those who were heavily involved with the war, had extenuating circumstances, or had completed most of their education. Harry and Ron's absences were the two that stood out the most to Hermione. They decided to go on to become Aurors despite her nagging. No matter how many times she stressed the importance of finishing their last year and completing their schooling, the two still decided to pass.
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 to show they were cooperating with the Ministry and Hogwarts in an effort to make reparations.
Although they cut back on their insults – Parkinson entirely, which was a nice relief – they still continued to throw jibes at those around them. Hermione supposed it was their own way of coping with the fact they lost. Regardless, she felt they should be making amends, not fighting at every turn.
Hermione felt it was just a matter of time until an all out war started between the Houses with how high tensions were running. She 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 clear that the war had changed them all. Even though he started it, she knew she should have just walked away. She was Head Girl! She was supposed to set an example.
By forcing everyone back, it seemed McGonagall and the Ministry hoped they would get over past issues. Hermione was sure her favorite professor had only the best of intentions, but she wasn't sure if everyone would see it her way.
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 Mudblood insults, didn't I? It doesn't mean I'm going to automatically start sitting next to you and your stupid housemates 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–"
"Do I look like I 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 snapped, storming up to Draco until they were nose to nose, having had enough of him. "I will punch you so hard, you won't be able to see through your right eye for days. I know this forest better than you do, so stop being antagonistic for no reason!"
He swallowed visibly, obviously remembering their wonderful encounter back in third year when she slapped him.
"Pomfrey can just reduce the swelling," he retorted.
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.
"You can't manage to stop yourself from being an arse for a few hours?"
"No," he snapped coldly, "I just don't want to have anything to do with being amicable to you."
Hermione shot him a nasty look.
"I don't care about what you think or what you want. We have to stick together otherwise one of us will get killed. I should think you'd know that considering how quick you were to abandon Harry to Voldemort in our first year–"
"As if you would have stayed with your enemy," he spat, face twisted in anger. "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.
"Of course I wouldn't have, Malfoy!" she was holding her wand more tightly now as she glared at him. The urge to hex him was strong. "I wouldn't have abandoned you. I would have tried to help."
His lips curled into a malicious sneer.
"Of course you would have. Noble, Muggle Granger–"
"Dishonorable, pure-blood Malfoy."
They glowered at each other for a long while.
"Now that we've gotten your childishness out of the way, I'll ask again. Truce?"
"You honestly expect me to fucking–"
"TRUCE?" she bellowed, cutting him off.
Silence. Hermione closed her eyes in an attempt to hold onto her sanity, her right hand outstretched. She just needed patience. He knew that working together was their best bet for finding what they needed and leaving unharmed. After all, he wasn't second best in school for nothing.
When she was sure she was in control of her anger, she opened her eyes to see him leaning against a tree and watching her.
She raised her eyebrows, waiting. 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–"
Before Hermione knew what happened, she was shoved against a tree roughly. Shrinking back when she saw the intensity in Draco's eyes, her hand immediately tightened around her wand again and lifted it to dig into his throat. He barely seemed to notice it, if at all. 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 anymore, and I never was by choice," he snarled, 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, Granger," he continued, his eyes darkening. "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 what choices you'd make."
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 not to voice her thoughts. She had seen him angry, but never to this extent. It scared her. On top of this, she had this eerie feeling they were being watched. Since they were both in the Forbidden Forest, she was positive they actually were being watched by something. She needed to get him to stop so they could move on.
"I know what you guys think," he continued, his voice lower now as their eyes locked again. "All of us in Slytherin do. You and everyone else think that we could have gone to the Order or refused the Dark Lord – well too fucking bad. We were forced to comply or be killed. So stop looking at us like we had a choice. Because guess what, Granger?" he leaned in so close, too close. "None of us did. Have we ever pretended like we were proud of what we had to do?"
The feeling of being watched intensified and goosebumps broke out on her flesh.
"Maybe in the beginning we gloated," he continued, unaware, "But the novelty always wore off rather quickly. Seeing your arm bruised and bleeding 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 in disgust and attempted to move away, but his hold on her was tight. Her wand hand had lowered while he spoke, and she immediately brought it back up and against his neck as a warning.
"Imagine seeing your arm bleed around the Dark Mark. Imagine feeling it burn in complete agony. Then, of course, it barely heals 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."
There was a moment of silence. Hermione held her breath.
"You all have the audacity to say you 'understand' to our faces and in the Prophet and at ceremonies, but behind closed doors, you're all the same." His eyes were full of barely-repressed fury, "Well, Mudblood," she winced, "in my opinion, doing something you hate… enduring pain the way we have… now that's real strength. You and your lot, however, only recognize your pain. 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, she remained silent, watching him warily.
"It's always about all of you," Malfoy said with resentment, his grey eyes flashing, "Sure, Potter gave my mother and father his word and exempted them from Azkaban, but what about everyone else? 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 we're treated like nothing. 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. The Dark Lord may have started this mess, but you all added to it afterwards. There will never be peace unless you all accept the fact that we had no choice and no way of changing anything, not unless we wanted to die. Our lives were hell every single day. You think the Dark Lord terrorized you? Try living and working under him!"
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 pressed against his neck, her eyes wide.
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. Sure, the Ministry had been a bit shady while she was growing up, but Hermione would like to think they were all getting past that – that the Wizarding world as a whole was creating a newer and better government. One that wasn't corrupt.
"Well, Granger? Has your ugly little cat got your tongue?" he snarked.
He seemed to realize her wand was against his neck. He scoffed, shoving it away, before stepping back from her. She finally like she could breathe again.
"You're not the only ones who suffered through hell, Malfoy," she whispered.
He crossed his arms over his chest.
"Oh, sure. Start your little speech. I'm sure it's been building for awhile now. You probably don't even believe me, 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 and mark my words, another fucking dark wizard 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 again. "I know what it's like, Malfoy. I know! I had to..."
She swallowed the lump in her throat.
"I had to Obliviate my parents," she finally whispered, her voice cracking. "I spent the past few months searching after the war and I can't even find–"
She stopped speaking abruptly. He was the last person she wanted to talk to about this. She took in a huge breath, her eyes fixed firmly on a tree to the right of Malfoy. She didn't want to look at him, didn't want to see whatever cold expression would be on his face. Shaking her head, she pushed the thought of her parents and their fate out of her mind. They were still alive. They had to be. She did everything she could to keep them safe.
"I watched as people died. My classmates, friends, and people I thought of as family. Your absolute bitch of an aunt–" she hesitated, 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 raised skin spelling out her heritage. It was no different now. As her fingers slowly caressed the scar, she swallowed thickly. No matter how much she wished she could get over it, and no matter how much she told people she had, it was still incredibly difficult to keep it from affecting her. She had been judged for the past seven years on that alone – the fact that she was a Muggle-born witch, a Mudblood. Everyone expected her to fail right from the start. She'd spent nearly half her life proving them wrong, but despite that, she still wondered far too many times how different life would be as a pure-blood or even a half-blood.
Malfoy flinched visibly before looking away, uncomfortable at the mention of her.
"You're not the only one, Granger," Malfoy said after awhile, his voice calmer now, "I just wish you all would see how much worse it was for us–"
She looked at him then, her anger coming back full force.
"For you?" she whispered incredulously, her brown eyes filling with fire, "We were the ones who had our families killed! Us. Mudbloods 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 for a year. No food, no permanent shelter, no safety, nothing but a few clues and a book of fairy tales. We could only rely upon ourselves and, even then, we couldn't really trust that."
Hermione thought about Ron and that fateful night she begged him to stay with them, all antagonism courtesy of bloody Tom Riddle and that horrid locket. She took a deep breath as she watched as Malfoy's face harden instantly.
"Walk a fucking mile in my shoes, Granger. You wouldn't last a day, I promise you."
"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 staggered away, dazed. Hermione's eyes fluttered as she placed a hand on her head and closed her eyes to get a hold of herself. She felt like she was going to faint. Stumbling, the brunette tripped and fell to her knees with a gasp, her wand rolling away. It seemed Malfoy had the same problem because he was breathing deeply and holding on to the nearest tree, his head in his hands.
"Is that an agreement I hear?" said a whimsical, female voice.
Hermione blinked and turned, trying to find the voice's owner as she fought to clear her head. She grew dizzy as she saw a light over by a pond maybe twenty or thirty feet away.
"Who's there?" asked Malfoy sharply, 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 a large Patronus. She shielded her eyes, as did Malfoy.
After a few moments, the light died and she looked over at the pond once more to see a beautiful creature with long, blue hair, white skin and bright, cerulean eyes. She was floating in the air, her blinding wings fluttering.
"How did you know?" asked Malfoy, amazed.
"Isn't that your punishment? Collecting ingredients for potions for the next week every night?"
Hermione was at a loss for words as another tinkling laugh echoed through the forest.
"See… I would help… but I actually have another idea."
She didn't like the sound of this. The fairy's blue eyes were glittering knowingly between the two. It reminded her a lot of Dumbledore, and she felt a pang of grief 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 mounting as the fairy's words replayed in her head.
The fairy began to fade. Panic gripped Hermione, and she got up and ran towards her.
Just as she thought she could reach out and touch her, the light disappeared altogether and darkness flooded the forest once more. Confused, she turned and looked back at Draco, who was paler than 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 and eyes swam. Everything spun and she frowned deeply, her hand flying to her head, as if trying to assuage the uncomfortable feeling. As the wind blew more furiously around them, she started to gasp for air, black spot popping in her vision. She tried hard to scream for help, but it was hopeless.
Just as Hermione was about to go under, she heard the same whimsical laugh of the fairy one last time.
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 ;)
Please do favorite/alert/review!
Revised: August 2019