Title: Into the Veil
Summary: In OoTP, Hermione was never wounded at the Ministry of Magic. Instead of Sirius falling through the veil, Hermione did and landed in a world where her kind does not exist. Magic and supernatural forces are dangerous and dark in this strange universe, but fraternizing with them may be her only way back home. Maybe not.
Warning: Swearing, gore, sexual innuendo, implied sexual situations, and miscellaneous horrific images and implications. Possible OOC.
Early January 2007
The rough rope chaffed the skin on Hermione's wrists. They were tied above her head, and she was hanging from the ceiling of the abandoned storage cellar. Her arms hurt from the weight of her dangling body, the tips of her boots barely touching the concrete flooring. She was becoming light-headed from the smell of gasoline Walker doused her with minutes before. Small miracles happened when his BIC wouldn't ignite. He thought she had done something to keep it from producing a flame, but she hadn't. The moment he dumped the gasoline on her, all her bravery and focus left her. Her heart leapt into her throat at the smell, and she knew she wasn't going to make it out of this one alive.
"Burn, witch, burn," he had chuckled before trying to flick on the BIC.
No matter how hard he tried, not a single spark came out of the lighter. Not even enough warmth to tantalize the fumes coming from her. He left her to get another, and men like him usually had a stash of those somewhere near them. Walker's car couldn't' be far, and she wondered what was taking him so long. Was he purposefully being slow as a form a torture? Wondering if her heart would give out before the big show?
Hermione couldn't get ahold of her emotions. Her nerves were frayed, and she couldn't think clearly. There wasn't a chance she'd get herself calm enough in time to remove herself of the situation. Even if she could, her go-to method would be to burn the rope and that would only kill her. When he returned, she could try again to wrap her legs around his neck and choke him, but he was armed. Two knives and a gun all around his waist, waiting to be used if necessary.
Walker could have simply killed her by stabbing her or shooting her or both, but he drowned Alison Packet, hung Nancy Derek, and stoned Katherine Jones. Hermione never met them but heard about their deaths and thought she had a case. Early upon her arrival to Kansas City, she discovered that these women were a part of the same community. As in witch community. This coven wasn't like the one she came across in Augusta where the teenage daughters of the rich, white politicians gallivanted in the forest, dancing in see-through slips and singing chants to the sky. The coven here in Missouri definitely was a dodgy group. Hermione knew that right away when she walked in on them in a classroom at the college, the girls standing around a beheaded dog and making scarlet swirls on their mostly naked bodies.
After firing a few bullets into the air, she got their attention and they screamed like a gaggle of little girls. All except for one. One of the girl's eyes turned black and accused her of killing three of her pets.
As many of the girl started running around the room, trying to get as far away from her and the demon as possible, the exorcism chant flowed off Hermione's tongue fluidly. The demon tried to fight her off but soon succumbed to the spell. Black smoke poured out of the girl's mouth.
The girl possessed was dead. Hermione checked the body for wounds and found her neck broken, and by then all the other girls had vanished. She'd find them. They weren't smart, and she saw their faces. Most likely they went to the school. It would've been easy to pick up and leave, give the young women mercy. But Hermione kept her eyes and ears close to the ground before finding there coven. Many cases of slaughtered pets and missing children littered the area, and she knew the demon hadn't done all of that. Demons loved watching humans succumb to monstrous behavior more than they liked committing them.
While scouting the campus for the girls, mostly by hanging out at the local bars, she came across Gordon Walker. She knew who he was the moment she overheard him introducing himself as an FBI agent to campus officer. The man didn't even bother using an alias instead of his real name, the ponce. Soon, though, she found out he was the one who killed those three girls and was looking for the others. Hermione would've let him be, but he was offing the girls in a very bad way. Symbolic. Historical, in nature. Torturous.
Sometimes the job meant dealing with bad people and not supernatural monsters. When that happened, it meant using methods outside of mans' law. The law wasn't designed for witches, pagan-god worshippers, hunters, etc.
On previous occasions, Hermione had been able to make some of those dabbling in human-sacrifice to turn themselves into the local PD with a full confession. Most of the time, they refused.
Hermione never tortured those she had to kill. The shot she took was immediate and clean. No mistakes. No suffering. Walker was different, and he had confused her for a witch.
Which she was but his accusation was founded on her being a woman and in the wrong place at the wrong time. Actually, she was rifling through the trunk of her beloved Prius in the campus parking lot at midnight when he came up behind her and saw her large and questionable stash of goodies she got at the local Wiccan & Co. shop. She had tried to dissuade him, but he was having none of it.
It was embarrassing how easily he knocked her out, but she wasn't expecting a male hunter to punch her in the face. The ones she met were mostly gentlemanly. Perverts but sexist in the sense that they saw her as unthreatening.
She woke in the cellar and was immediately doused in gasoline. It certainly was ironic that she was going out that way. She was the only real witch in the world, so she might as well die like one.
Hermione's stopped breathing when hearing the cellar doors open. Walker was back. She heard him come down the stairs and frowned. There was a second pair of footsteps. Both pairs of feet were wearing sturdy, heavy boots. Had Walker brought a friend? Well, that completely eliminated any chance of getting out of here alive. She was weaponless, tied up, and against two fit men.
"Smell that?" she heard a man, not Walker, ask.
"Gas," said the other man. He was not Walker, either.
Without a second of hesitation, she screamed, "Help! Help me!"
Two shadows rounded the corner, and she saw the metallic gleam of two guns being pointed at her. "Don't shoot! Don't shoot!" she begged.
"What are you?" one of them asked. It came from the shadow of the shorter one, but she reckoned he wasn't short at all.
"Human," she replied. "I'm human. Get me down."
The taller one started towards her but was stopped by the other. "She's a witch, Sam."
"She's human, Dean."
"She killed those kids."
"I didn't. I'm a hunter. Walker was confused. I swear."
The taller one lowered his gun as the shorter marched towards her. The closer he came, the more she saw of him. He was handsome but mean looking. He was clearly a hunter himself. He had that look. His light brown hair was short and spiky in the front, and his eyes were green and pretty. Not the prettiest green eyes she'd ever seen. Far from it, but they were a nice pair. He had stubble on his cheeks, and he was close enough she could smell the scent of beer, pizza, and coffee on his breath. Oh, yes. Hunter, indeed. American flavor.
"My God," the man muttered while examining her. "Sammy, she's a kid."
"I am not!" she screeched as the taller came forward to look at her. She felt like a zoo animal.
"We'll get you home," said the Sammy one. His voice was softer than the other man's. Gentler and sweet. His dark brown hair was longer and flipped out at the ends like many of the college-aged boys these days. His eyes were bluer than green but seemed like they should've been brown. His face was smooth like his voice, and she wondered if he had ever gone through puberty. Height said yes. Everything else said no. His breath smelt more of coffee than anything else.
"I sincerely doubt that," she said and rolled her head to the side, looking as pitiful as possible. "I hurt. Get me down, so I can go kill Walker for being a complete imbecile."
The shorter one, who Hermione believed to be Dean, pulled out a large knife from his belt and sliced at the rope. In moments, she was on her feet and unwrapping it from around her wrists. "He's gone," he said. "Saw us and drove off. Knew he was torturing witches and saw the cellar."
"Is there anyone we can call?" asked Sam.
"I promise I'm older than you." She stared at Dean. "Maybe even you." Her kind aged slower than non-magical human beings. She was twenty-seven and was still asked for identification when buying cigarettes, alcohol, and renting a hotel room for the night.
Damn! Walker was gone and even though she was furious for what he did, the hunt for retaliation would have to wait. She was hungry, tired, and smelly. Her entire outfit, not that it was anything splendid, was ruined. And she still had to track down the other members of the coven. She was tempted to just leave town and come back if the killings started again.
"Are you here because of the coven?" she asked while stripping off her gasoline-drenched, jean jacket.
"We were here because of the women dying. We found out about the witches not long after. Found out Gordon was ganking the girls by irony."
Hermione frowned at Dean's amused tone. The girls may have deserved to die but not by the means Walker chose.
She refrained from stripping off all her clothes. The jacket would have to be enough for now. Though there wasn't anyone they could call, she did have a favor to ask. "I need a ride."
"You're smelling up my baby."
Hermione arched an eyebrow and assumed Dean meant the car. She caught his gaze in the rearview mirror's reflection as she rolled down the window, letting the night air filter through the vehicle. "It's not something I can help."
"Where are you from?" Sam asked and craned his neck to glimpse at her. He must be referring to her accent
"Not from here, obviously." She then belatedly added, "I was born in England."
Dean whistled for some reason and said, "Far from home."
"It's not my home."
"Got family?" Sam asked.
She knew why they were asking questions, so they could suss out if she was a credible person or not. Nevertheless, she hated it. Coming to America and choosing not adapt to the accent made her stick out. People wanted to know everything about her, especially if they were hunters. They didn't trust her. For a lot reasons. One, she was a woman. Two, she was short. Three, she looked nineteen. And four, she was English. Every time an American saw the gun in her holster, they thought she was a joke.
"No," she said.
"I'm sorry," Sam said and he must've assumed they were killed by some monster. She'd let him believe that. She wasn't about to tell them how she got here. They wouldn't believe her anyway.
"Where are you staying?" Dean asked as they entered the city limits.
"Holiday Inn by the campus," she said.
"Nice digs for a hunter," he commented.
"I don't have to eat as much as you." She eyed the backseat in intrigue. "Gas can't be cheap either."
Sam made some strange, sputtering sound. "It's not."
Hermione paid for relatively nice rooms by taking trips to Atlantic City, Las Vegas, or Reno. Whichever gambling city was closer. She played, counted cards, and got out before things looked suspicious.
"We never caught your name," said Sam.
"You look like an Elizabeth." Dean smirked and it was not the first time an American had said that to her.
"Really?" Sam's voice shifted several octaves higher as his head whirled around.
"No, you idiot. It's Hermione."
"Force me to keep you as a prisoner,
Not like a guest; so you shall pay your fees
When you depart, and save your thanks. How say you?
My prisoner? or my guest? by your dread 'Verily,'
One of them you shall be."
"Sam, what the hell?" cursed Dean.
Hermione stared at Sam's ear for a long time, wondering about him. Not many hunters, American or even English had ever made that connection before. It was always like Dean's reaction. Her name was rare and was often mispronounced, especially if one were trying to read and say it at the same time.
"Winter's Tale," said Sam and looked back Hermione. "Right?"
"Yes," she replied slowly. "Where did you study?"
"Stanford. How about you?"
"I didn't." The boy was trying to make polite conversation while digging deeper, but she could answer honestly about this. She finished secondary school because she had to but never went on to uni.
"Your dialect indicates-"
"Really?" Dean glared at Sam who became quiet. "Forgive my brother. He's kind of geek."
Brother? It made sense, but she wouldn't have guessed. They hardly looked like each other.
"Sam and Dean. That's your names," Hermione verified.
Dean chimed, "Sam and Dean Winchester."
Hermione felt the powerful urge of opening up the door she was leaning against and jumping out. Of, bloody, course. Winchester! They just had to be the ones to find her. Word was that they were toxic to whoever they came in contact with: monster or human.
"I'm sorry about John," she muttered and the car swerved, both boy taking their eyes off the road to stare at her.
"You knew him?" asked Sam.
"No," she answered truthfully. "The hunter community is small. I met him briefly in passing at Singer's." And he belittled her because of her height, appearance, and accent.
"You know Bobby," Dean said. He thought she was lying.
"Hardly. But yes. Everyone does."
"We're almost there," Sam said.
"Spot on." Hermione saw the Holiday Inn sign up ahead. When they got into the parking lot, she thanked them.
"You go on ahead and get out of town before Walker catches your scent again. Once he thinks you're something, he's won't get the idea out of his thick skull," Dean said and she snorted.
"The hunt is far from over, Dean. There are six other girls who need to answer for their crimes. I'm the only one who knows what they look like, where they like to get drunk, and what time. I'll take care of this." Hermione climbed out of the car and Dean called after her.
"Sure you can handle it?"
Hurriedly, she rushed through the lobby of the hotel and took the back stairs to avoid the guests and staff. When she got her room, she remembered she had her key back in her car. Sucking in a deep breath, she her hand on the door knob. The small light turned green and she heard a click and entered. She stuffed her clothes into a bag and showered and got dressed into another pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and some boots. After putting her hair back into a tight French braid, she winced at the shiner Walker gave her. Her reflection told her it was deep purple and somewhat swollen. Going through her toiletry bag, she found her favorite face and body cream and rubbed a small amount around the tender flesh. In a matter of seconds, the injury disappeared and left behind unblemished skin.
She packed up her belongings and took her bag of clothes, dumping them in the parking lot dumpster. She treaded over to the campus, and put her bags in her car, and she opened up her trunk and found what she was looking for earlier when Walker knocked her out.
Lucky for Hermione, the six remaining girls were roommates living in a small house by the campus. She parked her car a half-mile away and hiked through shrubbery to get there. Since it was a week night and after three in the morning, she trusted the girls were home. Maybe not asleep but home, nonetheless.
The house was foul smelling, reeking of copper and rotted flesh. The scent was pungent, and Hermione debated the idea of calling the police and sending an anonymous tip about the missing children and local pets. She changed her mind, though. She always did.
The sitting room was empty, but the couches were well-worn and squishy looking. The girls were using them, so Hermione crept towards the piece of furniture and slid a small, tied-off canvas cloth underneath it. She put another inside the television which was a bit trickier. She'd come and retrieve them the next day. Six simultaneous deaths of young women were bound to attract attention from other hunters, and all of them hated Hex Bags.
Unlike the ones Hermione came across in the past, these were going to do nothing but make the girls fall asleep and stop breathing. They wouldn't even know what was happening. They'd sit on the couch, turn on the television and die to Good Morning America. It was kinder than shooting them all in their sleep.
The next night, she returned and gathered the bags and placed a phone call to the local PD, reporting six dead bodies, using the house's landline and wiping it down afterward. She had done her best to evade the law, but alas, her prints were in the system.
Her wallet was looking rather thin and sparse, and she decided it was time to take a trip to Atlantic City. Maybe she'd play a few extra rounds to make up for the clothes and shoes she lost. Stay an extra night even to lounge about the indoor hotel pool with a good book. It'd been a few months since she was able to sit down and read a book besides the bible. Demon possession was on the rise. One or two a year used to be the norm. It was the first week of January, and she had one so far.
Something was coming. She could feel it.