AU of Harry Potter, post Hogwarts. Main characters: Draco and Hermione. After Hermione goes back in time to defeat Voldemort, she has to face the consequences of her actions.
It had been years since the end of the war with Voldemort. In a perfect world, perhaps in some alternate universe, all the loose ends would be tied up, but Hermione was getting used to cleaning up. It was hard to put a smile on this one, though. She settled for a grimace. Her job wasn’t always easy, and sometimes it was just plain shitty.
The blonde haired boy looked up at her, his mouth twisted into a seemingly permanent sneer. “If it’s not the mudblood. What? Have you come to clean me up, like the rest of your mess? I’m just an inconvenience now, aren’t I?”
“No matter how much I dislike you, it’s not right for you to remember. Shouldn’t you be grateful?”
“And maybe I like remembering. Maybe I like being important enough to the Dark Lord that I was given the mission to kill Dumbledore. Maybe I like remembering that the Dark Lord ever existed. Are you afraid that I’ll find out your secret and go bring him back?” If it was possible, he sneered harder. “Or are you afraid I’ll topple over the precarious peace you’ve worked so hard to build?”
“It’s over, Malfoy. The war is dead and gone. There’s nothing you can do about it anyway.” Hermione sighed. Most people were eager to forget. She would have thought Malfoy, of all people, would have repressed the memory. “You’ve seen some pretty sick stuff anyway. Or is that all a laugh to you?”
“Why can’t I enjoy the memory of your puny resistance failing? You’re of the light, aren’t you? So you can’t just take away my memory. That would be taking away my free will, and that would be dark magic. You wouldn’t want to use dark magic, would you? Not after you fought so long to stop it. Mudblood.”
Hermione was reaching the end of her patience, but somehow the words stopped her in her tracks. Could she really take away his free will? If the horrid boy wanted to remember all that had happened… But there was a problem with that. If she could fix everything, then she could take away her own memories and go back to being normal. She wanted to forget everything that had happened. She wanted to forget losing everything she held dear to Voldemort. She wanted to forget the desperation that had led her to twist time after Harry had died. Most of all, she wanted the blood off her hands from murdering a child before he could do any wrong. And Draco knew, didn’t he? That was why he wanted to remember. It must give him such a power trip.
“I’m darker than you ever were,” she snapped. “You didn’t even have the nerve to kill Professor Dumbledore. Severus had to do it.” If Severus hadn’t died, and therefore lost all his memories, he would have been a hard one to obliviate, since he had learned so much after betraying Voldemort. But Draco had learned nothing. She saw no change from the snobbish pureblood he had always been. “But me… I’ve killed, and you know it, too.”
“So you’ll destroy my free will just to have some piece of mind. Oh, very good, mudblood. You won’t even remember that you had to defile yourself with dark magic. You’re such a hero.”
“Look here Malfoy.” He sneered at her. “On second thought, look away. I hate your face, and I’d rather not look at it.” He continued sneering. “You should know that I can’t leave you like this. It’s an anomaly”
“Should’ve thought of that before you pulled a stunt like this, then, huh? I always liked your cleverness, mudblood. And what happens in this world that you’re so eager to go to. For some reason, I can’t remember you at all. Do you go back to your muggle parents and live a muggle life with them, like you ought?”
Hermione blanched. He didn’t know the truth, then. The only thing she had to look forward to… She didn’t want to think about it. She didn’t want to experience that. And it was that cowardly fear that led her to delay the inevitable.
“Alright, Malfoy. Let’s make a deal.”
“Is that a muggle reference? It is, isn’t it, mudblood? Pitiful.”
Deep breaths, she thought. Deep breaths. She couldn’t do anything unforgivable to him. “You can’t be around everyone else. The existence of you as you are is unexplainable. You disturb the natural order of things just by walking around.”
“The natural order,” he mimicked. “So natural, once you’ve obliviated everyone who remembers something you don’t want to remember. So natural, once you’ve destroyed everything cleaning up the mess you made.”
“Malfoy, do you want to live, or not?”
“And now you’re threatening me with death. Do you think I’m afraid of you, mudblood?”
“Will you stop calling me that!”
“What, mudblood? Don’t want to be reminded of your heritage? Well, good. You should be ashamed of it, mudblood.”
“The deal goes like this. I give you a room in the Department of Mysteries. You help me fix any other anomalies.”
The Department of Mysteries was an abandoned, unknown part of the Ministry of Magic. It had been opened during the first war in an attempt to stop Voldemort, but since nobody remembered that, it lay abandoned. Hermione had been shocked that the Department of Mysteries was still around, but considering that was where she had performed the time reversal, maybe it wasn’t so shocking after all. At any rate, it was where she made her home. A girl who wasn’t supposed to exist. Why not add another to that list? She couldn’t stand him, but, and she hated to admit this, at least he was company. At least she would have someone who remembered the war. It hurt, being so alone. She knew she was crazy to prefer Draco’s company to the loneliness, but she just couldn’t stand it any more.
Draco, the arrogant bastard, raised his eyebrows. “Do I ever get to reintegrate with society?”
“Yes. We will discuss how to manage it.” Maybe she could make an exception, and maybe it was just lies, but at least it was a way out. “In the meantime, send your parents a letter letting them know you’re moving away. I think it goes without saying that they can’t see you.” She almost choked on that bit, thinking of her own parents, but it wouldn’t do to show weakness to her enemy. And he was her enemy, no matter how tempting his company was. She had to remember that. If only she could forget everything else.
“Very well. Though do not think we are friends, mudblood.”
“Rest assured,” Hermione sniped. “I would never be friends with the likes of you.”
Hermione glared at Malfoy as she prepared to apparate him to the Department of Mysteries. It wasn’t protected by the anti-apparition wards the Ministry was covered with, thankfully, but she was the Secret Keeper of the place. By taking Malfoy there, she would be giving up the privacy of her home. Unfortunately, she didn’t have any choices. He had lost everyone too, and maybe she was just too selfish to keep doing her lonely job.
Harry and Ron had both died, so she had been alone when she reversed time. Now she was alone while she dealt with the consequences of her actions. A year ago she might not have felt this way, but now having someone to hate seemed better than having no one.
Malfoy himself didn’t look so good. Living as an anomaly in the world hadn’t done him any favors. She was surprised he wasn’t dressed in fine wizarding robes, as she imagined his parents would do just about anything for him, but it wasn’t her place to ask, either. Unless… No, that was too terrifying to be true.
“What do you want, mudblood? I thought you were going to take me to your secret home,” the blonde bastard sneered.
“You parents relationship was only ever the way it was because of Voldemort, wasn’t it?”
Malfoy flinched at the name, and flinched again at the implications of her question. “What’s it to you, mudblood?” Maybe he thought if he called her that despicable name often enough she would ignore him.
“You don’t exist in this world, do you? If I… did what I really ought to do, then you would just disappear.” She was rewarded with a briefly terrified spasm that crossed the arrogant bastard’s face. “So I’m right.”
“You should watch your mouth, mudblood. Because of your mess, I would disappear into nothingness, so you better keep me around. It’s all very nice to murder some child who becomes a monster, but am I really so horrible as to justify cold-blooded murder?”
Yes, Hermione wanted to say. She wanted to tell him he could go to hell. She wanted to tell him she was done with him, but her own selfishness, and the horror at the consequences of her actions, necessary though they were, kept her silent. Instead she bowed her head, taking in Malfoy’s ragged robes and impoverished appearance before grabbing his arm and apparating.
Space twisted around her in a nauseating spiral, then stopped just as suddenly, leaving her slightly woozy. Apparating had become harder for her, here, and despite the years, she still wasn’t used to it. Malfoy didn’t look any better. His pale face had changed to a rather pleasant shade of green. Perhaps she would enjoy apparating more, after all.
Hermione had apparated to the entrance of the Department of Mysteries. It was the only part of the place she hadn’t placed anti-apparition over. It pleased her that this was where Malfoy would be able to come. After all, finding her home took a series of puzzles that he would have no clue how to solve.
The two of them were in an antechamber surrounded by doors. No mark distinguished any one door from another, except ever so slightly different magical signatures. They were indistinguishable to most, but she had carefully learned each one so that she always knew where she was going. Every door but the correct one led into a trap that she had carefully created. If someone ever found out, they could undo everything she had worked for, and that would not do.
Of course, every door was also locked so that it would only open to her hand. No simple alohamora would undo her spells; she had made certain.
Malfoy stared around at the doors, his usual sneer displaced with a strange expression Hermione thought must be curiosity. She hadn’t even thought he was capable of such an emotion.
Hermione paused. Was she… sneering? She couldn’t let Malfoy influence her like that. She shook her head and pressed her hand to the center of one of the doors to the right. It melted away into warm light, and she stepped through, leaving Malfoy to follow after. She really didn’t want to see him at the moment.