One Shot written for Marvelously Magical's Bingo 2018. My square was Stephen Strange/Hermione Granger
Hermione Granger was working on her most recent proposal to the wizengamot when it happened. A hole just opened up in her wall and a man stepped out. He was wearing a white linen shirt and linen pants. He had an unruly goatee, his dark hair was mussed. He was wearing no shoes. As soon as he stepped into the room, the hole that had opened behind him closed, and he looked around, confused.
"Excuse me, miss," he said, his accent betraying him as American. "Can you tell me where I am?"
She tilted her head to the side and narrowed her eyes. "Who are you?"
His eyes widened. "Oh, you are British, so I must be somewhere in the UK. Well, this was good progress, I'm not in the snow on top of a mountain. Going to call this one a win in my book. Now if you'll excuse me." The man turned around waved his hands in a weird pattern and then took a stance, and waited. Apparently what was supposed to happen didn't, because he waved his hands again, and then took his stance and waited again. Nothing.
"Can you please tell me what you're doing in my office?" Hermione asked.
The man sighed and turned toward her. "You won't believe me if I tell you, and I don't have time to explain everything to you."
"You came out of a magic portal into my office, I'm sure I won't have any trouble believing you," Hermione retorted.
The man sighed. "My name is Stephen Strange and I've been training with a group of people in Kamar-Taj to travel through the Mirror Dimension using, I guess you would call it magic. Basically in simple terms, I'm training to be a sorcerer."
"A sorcerer?" Hermione asked. "Like the Ancient One?"
"You've heard of the Ancient One?" the man asked.
"I've read about him. In books. But he's a legend. You're telling me he's real and you're training under him?"
"Her," the man said. "The Ancient One is a woman. And yes, I've been training under her."
"How? How did you come across her?"
The man, indicated to the chair in front of her desk. "May I?"
"Of course," Hermione said. "I'm sorry, I feel a bit rude not offering sooner."
The man pulled out the chair, and sat down. "So, I'm Doctor Stephen Strange, I am, I was, the premiere brain surgeon in Los Angeles. I'm sure you've heard of me? I'm pretty world renowned."
Hermione shook her head. "I have not heard of you, I'm sorry."
The doctor tilted his head to the side, as if seeing her for the first time. "You're dressed strangely," he stated matter of factly.
Hermione scoffed. "Have you seen yourself lately? You're not exactly dressed normal."
"Why do you look like you're attending a graduation? Is this a university?" He looked around the room and frowned. He stood up from his chair and moved to look at something he spotted on the wall. "Wait, these photographs are moving." He moved back to the desk and picked up her nameplate. "Department of Magical Creatures? Are you a sorcerer, too? Is that the real reason you know who the Ancient One is?"
Hermione sighed. "I'm not a sorcerer, I'm a witch. Now will you please sit down and maybe we can fill each other in on what is going on. How did you manage to get on with the Ancient One?"
Doctor Strange sat back down in the seat. "As I was saying I was the premiere brain surgeon in Los Angeles until I had a horrific car accident. I damaged the nerves in my hands. So, desperate, I was trying to find a way to heal. So I asked around, and I was pointed to Kamar-Taj, and now they're training me to be a sorcerer. How did you become a witch? Like are you a witch witch or just call yourself a witch and you practice wicca or something?"
Hermione shook her head. "I was born a witch. I found out I was a witch when I turned eleven, but before then I lived as a normal non-magical child. I'm an anomoly. Most witches and wizards come from long lines of witches and wizards. At eleven we go to school to learn how to perform magic and how to be successful in the magical world."
"Magical world? You have your own world?"
Hermione nodded. "We do. Welcome to our ministry."
"What's your name?"
"Hermione Granger," she replied.
"It's nice to meet you Hermione, and I would love to stay and chat some more, but I think my trainers are going to be wondering where I am, so I must be off. I feel like I'll be able to perform the spell to return me home now."
He stood up gave her a little nod, and did his arm waving thing and this time, it worked. The portal opened up, revealing a stone room on the other side. He turned around and gave her a smirk. "I'll be calling on you again, if you don't mind?"
Hermione just stared at him and shook her head.
"Good, I'll see you around, Hermione." And with that the doctor stepped into the portal and it closed right behind him, leaving Hermione behind and wondering what exactly was going on.
The next time it happened, she wasn't even at work, she was at home, preparing her supper. She lived alone in a modest flat, ever since she and Ron had amicably called off their relationship. Crookshanks had sadly departed this life a year or so ago, and she was truly alone in the flat. Harry and Ginny were newly married, and living off on their own, and Ron had just visited to tell her that he had met someone as well, just so she wouldn't be blindsided at the next ministry function.
She was pulling down a plate when she heard the sound of the portal opening up in her living room, and nearly dropped it on the ground. She turned around, holding her hand over her heart, and watched as a familiar man walked out of the portal.
It had been months since she had seen him last, and she had all but given up hope of ever seeing him again, and finding out what exactly was going on. But here he was. Except this time he was wearing a bright blue tunic over his trousers, and ornate belt and a ridiculous red cape. His goatee was trimmed and his hair was shorter and slicked back. And he was injured.
"Oh my god," she said, rushing forward and catching him as his legs collapsed under him as the portal closed behind him. "Are you okay?"
He shook his head. "I don't know," he rasped out. "There was a big battle, I think I won by changing time. I don't know, as soon as the adrenaline began wearing out, I opened a portal and I guess I thought of you, because here you are."
Hermione pulled her wand out of her back pocket, and began casting some diagnostic charms. "Well, you're fine. A little beat up, but fine none the less. This is saying you are suffering from exhaustion though. So that may be while you're feeling a bit off. Can you stand?"
He nodded and she helped him to his feet, and moved him down the hall to he guest room, and helped him inside. He flicked off his cape and it moved of its own accord to stand in the corner of her room. If she wasn't a witch it would have been definitely something she would have looked twice at. He sat on the bed, and removed his boots and then laid down.
"Thank you, Hermione, for letting me rest here. I honestly wasn't really trying to get here, just somewhere to rest. I'm still learning how to perfect this whole thing. And learning the ins and outs, and I think I'm Sorcerer Supreme now, it's all very confusing, but I just want to thank you is what I'm trying to say."
Hermione laughed. "Yes, well, you're very welcome and you're lucky I have no life. So rest, I'll save you some food for when you're ready." She moved to the door and turned back around and gave him a smile. "I'm glad you're okay," she said.
But the doctor didn't hear her, he was already asleep.
Stephen woke up in an unfamiliar room, but well rested. He looked around and after a few minutes it finally came to him where he was. Hermione. He had said goodbye to Wong after returning the eye. And he had plans to stay at the New York Sanctum and continue his studies, but all of a sudden he had remembered the very pretty witch he had accidentally stumbled upon months before, and wondered what she was doing. And then when he opened a portal to go to his room, he had ended up here.
He didn't know how long he had been asleep, but he was certain it was a few hours. He looked down at his clothes and realized he was still in his sorcerer's outfit, and wow, did it smell pretty rank. He sat up in the bed and stretched before putting his feet on the carpeted ground and standing. He moved to the door, in just his socked feet, not relishing in putting the boots on again so soon. He opened the door and noticed the apartment was pitch black, and quiet. He moved to the bathroom at the end of the hall and took care of his biological needs before moving into the kitchen. A plate of food sat on the counter. It was probably the plate Hermione was saving for him. He grabbed the plate and the fork sitting next to it and moved to the table. He sat down and dug in. It was still hot. He shook his head and smiled. Magic.
The sound of movement behind him caused him to jump. He whirled around and saw Hermione approaching him with her hands up. He relaxed.
"I'm sorry I startled you," she said, quietly as she approached. "I heard you out here and I wanted to check on you."
"I'm sorry I woke you," he said, turning back to his food.
"It's fine," Hermione said, joining him at the table, pulling her dressing gown around her. "I'm not much of a sleeper."
Stephen frowned. "Really? Insomnia?"
She shook her head. "Nightmares."
She shrugged, and didn't say anything. Curiosity bubbled up inside of him, and Stephen really wanted to pry, but he held his tongue. It was none of his business."
"So," she said after a few moments of silence. "Are you feeling better?"
"Much," he said. "Thank you for letting me crash on your bed, and feeding me."
"You're very welcome."
"I was wondering if you had launder services here? I would like to take a shower, and my clothes are absolutely disgusting. Can your magic fix the clothes thing?"
Hermione smiled. "They could, but I do have a washer, and I find that makes the clothes much cleaner than a spell. My ex left some of his clothes here after we split, and he said he didn't want any of them back. You and he are about the same size, why don't I bring them to you, and you can change into them while we launder your clothes?"
Stephen smiled. "I would like that."
He watched as Hermione walked away, back toward the bedrooms. He couldn't help but take a moment to enjoy how she looked from behind. He shook his head. He was still dealing with the feelings he had for Christine. Now was not the time to check out another woman's ass. Especially not one who lived in London when he had responsibilities in New York. He turned back around and finished his dinner and brought the plate to the sink and washed it. He was setting it in the drying rack when Hermione returned carrying a few items.
"I wasn't sure what you would want to wear, and Ron didn't have very many Muggle clothes. So I brought you his entire Muggle wardrobe. When we ended our relationship, he left his Muggle clothes here because he didnt' think he would ever need them again. So I have denims, sweats, a couple t-shirts and a sweater. Take your pick."
She handed the clothes over to him, and he took them out of her hands. His hand brushed hers, and it felt like a spark passed between them. He quickly looked at her and he noticed her looking up at him, he could tell she felt it too. Whatever it was. He quickly grabbed the clothes out of her hands, thanked her and moved around her and beelined it to the bathroom, shutting the door behind him.
Hermione was sitting on the sofa reading a book when he emerged from the bathroom. He knew he should probably head back to New York, he had definitely gained back the strength he needed to open another portal and go home. But he found himself not in a hurry. He didn't want to leave. He looked around the apartment and found the small washer in the kitchen. He was opening it to put his clothes in when he felt her behind him.
"Have you ever used one like this before?" she asked.
"I have not," Stephen said. "I just figured I'm a neurosurgeon, I can figure out how to use a washing machine."
Hermione laughed and came to stand next to him. "Well, since I don't fancy my flat getting flooded or my machine breaking, let me just go ahead and do this for you."
She leaned down and messed with the machine, her curly hair brushing against his now bare arms as she moved. It was much softer than he had imagined, not that he was imagining her hair. Once she got the machine running she stood back up, and smiled.
"Do you have a television?" Stephen found himself asking.
She shook her head. "I don't. I just found it sitting in the corner gathering dust, so I sold it for money to buy more books," she laughed, and brought her hand up to run it through her curls. When she did, the arm to her dressing gown fell back, revealing a scar on her arm.
Stephen took a step toward her, taking her wrist in his hand and pulling the arm closer to him so he could get a better look at the scar. It was a word that had been carved into her arm and had scarred over.
"What does this word mean?" he asked not taking his eyes off of her arm.
She pulled her arm back from his grasp and hugged it to her body. "It means dirty blood," she said turning away from him. "It's a derogatory term some witches and wizards who are born to magical parents use for people like me."
Stephen moved with her as she went and sat on the couch, curling her body in on itself. He sat next to her on the small couch. "How did you get it?"
She shook her head.
"Is this what you have nightmares of?" he asked. "Of the time you were branded like a fucking animal?"
He watched Hermione swipe at her cheeks, as she nodded.
"Fuck," Stephen breathed out. "I'm so sorry that you had to go through that. Someone as kind as you are to complete strangers should not have had to endure something like that."
"You don't even know what happened."
"I don't need to know the details. No one gets a scar like that in an event that is not traumatic."
Silence fell between them and Stephen watched as Hermione stared down at her hands in her lap for a very long time. Finally she spoke up.
"There was a war in our world. I was a child when it started. Hell, I was a child when it ended. There was this wizard in our world. He wanted to control it, and he believed that non-magical people and muggleborns were less than, and he and his followers made it a point to exterminate them. My best friend was prophesized to defeat him, so that put us front and center in the war from the time we were eleven. When I was eighteen, we dropped out of school and went on the run. We were trying to find a way to defeat him. His name was tabooed, so if it was said, his secret police would come and grab you and arrest you. One day Harry said his name, and we were taken. One of his faithful followers thought that I had taken something of hers, so she tortured me. She used this curse that makes all your nerves feel as if they're on fire at the same time. When she tired of that she used a cursed blade to carve this into my body to alway remind me of what I am. I don't know what she would have done if we weren't rescued. Nearly ten years later, and I'm still having nightmares about that moment. It's why I don't sleep."
"Well, fuck," Stephen breathed out. "It's just as I suspected. Completely not pleasant. I'm sorry you had to suffer through all of that. Because I know what it feels like to have your nerves feel like they're on fire." He reached out and took her hand and placed it on one of his, moving her fingers so she was caressing all of the scars on his hand. "My hands were severely injured in my accident. All of the nerves were damaged. And as they healed it was a pain unlike any I had felt before. Because of the damage to my hands, I can't operate anymore, and operating on people's brains had been my life work. My life held no meaning. And then I found Kamar-Taj. My hands have become a bit more steady, but now I don't feel as devastated about losing my skill as a surgeon. I found a new purpose and it helped me heal. I would like to help you find a new purpose and heal."
Hermione looked up from their entwined hands, meeting his gaze with tear streaked cheeks. He leaned forward and captured her lips with his. She returned the kiss, and that spark that seemed to be present whenever they touched was very present. This was unlike him, kissing women he just met. It felt reckless. It felt forbidden. It felt nice.
He stayed a week before returning to New York.
This is another one I think I may expand later. Please review.