Disclaimer: I do not own anything!
A/N: Hi, holy crap, I made another story and it's all thanks to quarantine. So this story was born from two things: 1) my current unhealthy obsession for anything James Potter, and 2) something I'll reveal in the next chapter for some surprise. This is my first time writing a fic set on the Marauders Era and by extension all the characters notable in this timeline. All my characterisations are mainly based on the fanfics I've read so far and from basic research. I am really, really nervous about this fic because this is beyond my comfort zone (which is Dramione, of course) but I've been trash for rare pairs ever since and this plot bunny won't leave me alone.
I hope you'll give this a chance! It's going to be a wild ride – meaning, the length of this multichip is monstrous (50 chapters or so). I've already finished the whole outline so basically, the entire plot is already fleshed out.
This story is currently un-Betaed. Since this is going to be super long, I think it's better if I ask help from a volunteer to be my Beta. English, as what I've always pointed out in ALL of my fics, is not my first language. I'm atrocious with prepositions and I tend to ramble a lot so if anyone's interested, PM is the key :)
Genre: Friendship/Romance, Marauders' Era, Time-Travel/Alternate Universe
Story Warnings: Depictions and mentions of domestic/child abuse, depictions and mentions of violence, persistent cussing, innuendos, underage drinking, future sexual content
Hero of the Story
you taught me the courage of stars
(Saturn by Sleeping at Last)
December 14, 2000
It was inexplicable how Hermione could still feel irrational terror whenever they ventured out in the open. They had been doing this for a long time, after all, had rigorous escape plans in case things blew out of proportions, and Harry's Invisibility Cloak proved to be a very reliable saving grace.
But one thing Hermione Granger learned from this unending war was that things always didn't work out, no matter how she was sure everything would turn out well at first.
(Example A: She and her best friends knew that the only way to bring Voldemort down was to destroy his horcruxes. Months passed, and still, they hadn't destroyed the last two.
Example B: She knew that after the end of it all, she would marry Ronald Bilius Weasley, pop beautiful, fiery children to reign terror over their quaint little garden. Not even an hour had passed during the Battle of Hogwarts, but Hermione witnessed firsthand how Dolohov had hit Ron with a well-aimed Avada.
Example C: She knew that she would continue fighting up until her last breath. But the year was coming to an end, and Hermione had already lost all hope).
Harry had been a constant companion. The-Boy-Who-Lived, who used to be the beacon of all light and hope in Hermione's starry eyes, was now reduced to an empty shell, hardened by war and grief. His emerald eyes held emptiness and despair that clenched the very strings of her heart. Looking at Harry was difficult nowadays because if her hero had blatantly lost hope, then what was Hermione supposed to do?
When Harry came to their small tent after a raid one time, he brought a questionable book that was thick with suffocating dark magic. Hermione had seen Harry's eyes by then, how they had gleamed with life and sudden light she hadn't seen these days, and hope blossomed in her heart.
"I brought a solution," he then had said, placed the dark book in front Hermione and flipped through the pages. When he paused and pointed at a curious potion, its illustration emitting dark blue steam she had never seen a potion emit before, Hermione's eyes quickly devoured the words racing out of the yellowing pages.
By the time she finished reading, she had glanced at Harry, the hope in her heart now morphed into horror. "Harry…" she started. "But… this is—it's dark magic!"
Harry aged quickly before her eyes as he slumped forward, his forehead almost touching the book. "Hermione," he whispered, his voice flowing into the frigid air and biting her cold cheeks. "It's been too long. The war had stretched for too long and -" His breath hitched as his eyes shone, furiously looking away from Hermione to hide the tears she knew were forming. Harry always hated to cry in front of her. "I'm so tired of fighting, Hermione."
She choked out a sob and tightly held onto his hand with both of her own, clutching onto him like he was her lifeline.
Therefore, although reluctant, she finally relented and started brewing the potion to appease Harry's weary heart.
For the next few days, it felt refreshing to know that they were finally focusing on a plan. Hermione swallowed down her trepidation – 'Will this work? Will we really escape from this reality?' – and her mind, which hadn't been challenged for a very long time, focused solely on perfecting the potion. Hermione sometimes fancied herself into thinking she was back at the Potions laboratory, trying to best Malfoy into brewing the perfect potion which Snape even couldn't deny. Harry had a newfound vigour too, as he procured the ingredients that were too rare and dangerous but was still able to collect them all. Hermione never questioned his methods of obtaining such things. She knew by the way Harry's hand shook while he slept that it was through things he would later on regret.
Soon, months flew by, and the potion was nearing its completion. The last ingredient it needed was chimaera scales which Hermione knew could never be found in England but on the outskirts of France, safe from the hands of people who would use it for their personal gain. They packed away their things and Hermione carefully placed the potion under the Stasis Charm, risked the use of an illegally-made International Portkey, and found themselves blinking widely at a quaint, beautiful French town that never seemed to be touched by the Second Wizarding War.
Unknowing tears formed in Hermione's eyes as she watched the little children running around, throwing snowballs at each other until they were wet and cold and happy.
"We should finish it quickly before they find us," Harry whispered, voice strangely choked as he started trudging towards a lovely hotel at the centre of the town.
As Harry, hidden under the Invisibility Cloak, went out of the hotel to roam around, in search of the elusive chimaera scales, Hermione found herself rereading the texts about the potion that was nearing its completion. "… beware for the effects had been unknown. The potion brewed from the darkest of ingredients, harvested from dangerous creatures, might take a month, a year, perhaps a hundred more. Once completed, with a shade of the darkest blue, two gulps are all you need to escape from this reality. No one knew where you would be brought. In another time, perhaps in another universe, but know this, drinker, that wherever you are brought to will be far away from your reality."
The potion's description almost sounded like it was written for a cheap, fiction book. It never offered facts, of accounts and testimonies of witches or wizards who attempted to brew the potion. There were no statistics of success, of deaths and accidents due to a botched potion, and Hermione's rational brain could not accept the ridiculousness of it all. But Harry had been adamant, explaining that if they wanted to get another shot in life, they should try this. Hermione once suggested using a Time-Turner. She could experiment, tinker with it a bit until she built a prototype that would bring them a few years back and not mere hours so that they could change the course of the events if they wanted to win.
But Harry… Harry was laughing, maniacal and helpless and so, so anguished and Hermione started crying. "Don't you understand, Hermione?" he croaked, reaching out for her shaking hand with his equally shaking one. "I don't want to live this life anymore."
Hermione never voiced aloud that the potion could kill them if it weren't brewed perfectly. With the amount of dark magic emitted she would create after finishing the potion, she knew that once consumed, it was either you become successful or you die. There was no in-between. And Hermione knew that Harry had this inkling, too, and she didn't like the look in his eyes every time she complained that it wasn't the right shade after adding a pint of each of their blood, or how she had added a little too much basilisk venom. Harry looked like whether he lived another life in a different world or died in this reality, it wouldn't matter to him because he could finally escape this cruel burden.
When Harry went back that night, excitedly telling her about an old merchant selling chimaera scales living in the woods near the small town, Hermione tightly smiled and let Harry prattle on about how he was going to live in this other life. He always wanted to be a Professional Quidditch Star, or maybe he'd be a dragon tamer, too. His maybes flowed out of his mouth like a raging waterfall, breaking through with a might Hermione knew she couldn't stop, and by the time Harry was recounting his hopes and dreams, he was a shaking heap on the wooden floor and crying his heart out.
Harry fell asleep on the floor that night and Hermione didn't try to move him on the bed. Sleep had been elusive to Harry Potter for a few years now and the way his chest rose and fell with quiet rhythm meant it was a peaceful sleep. Hermione crawled beside Harry and gently removed his glasses. She then draped an arm over his shoulders, cradling his head against her chest and silently cried in his hair.
Hermione shot the old merchant a suspicious glance while Harry carefully placed ten chimaera scales into a pouch. He had been acting strangely ever since they went inside his store.
"Harry, come on," she murmured under her breath, grasping his hand and pulling him away. Hermione could feel the man's eyes piercing their backs and the hair at the back of her neck prickled with fear. Her hold on Harry tightened, and she almost felt naked under the kind smiles of the townspeople despite their practised disguise.
Harry looked lighter and happier by the time they reached the lobby of the hotel. "Do you think I should be the one to place the chimaera scales?" he asked, his emerald eyes gleaming playfully under the brightly lit lamp of the hotel.
Hermione blinked and glanced over her best friend. "And ruin the potion?" she teased. "Not a chance, Harry."
He threw his head back for the first time and heartily laughed. Hermione had forgotten the discomfort she felt when they ventured into the old merchant's shop and smiled genuinely at him. She couldn't wait to see them happy once again.
But then, Harry's face darkened into an equal mixture of shock and rage. His wand was quickly on his hand, poised to attack, and with dread, Hermione followed his line of vision and swallowed. The kind receptionist, a pretty, blonde girl of nineteen who had blatantly flirted with Harry's disguised self, was pinned to the wall, held in place by various scraps of metal from the exploded cash register beside her. She stared at them with the familiar lifeless eyes of those who died under the mercy of the Killing Curse and Hermione felt instantly dreadful.
Her wand slid down her sleeves and she slowly glanced around. The lobby was devoid of any people and the air was so still it almost felt like a sin to breathe and disturb the silence.
Outside, a loud 'MORSMORDRE' reverberated through the walls, bathing the whole hotel with ominous green they had been acquainted with for years.
"RUN!" Harry screamed as numerous spells flew through the windows, crashing the glass and blasting the wood altogether. Through the chaos, Hermione was able to grasp onto Harry's rough hand and blindly followed him through the foray, hurtling practised hexes and protective spells over her shoulder at the flurry of robes and footsteps closely following them from behind.
The air was hazy with smoke, dust, and blinding flashes of light and it was a miracle when they were able to stumble into their small room. Hermione breathed out a sigh of relief when she saw that the potion remained untouched. "Give me the chimaera scales!" she exclaimed, and Harry threw her the pouch without even looking at her.
Hermione fell in front of the potion and shakily placed exactly ten chimaera scales. Outside, the chaos grew louder and harsher and Hermione had to stop herself from hovering her face over the potion to keep it safe from her terrified tears.
"Hurry, Hermione!" Harry rasped out and Hermione stiffly nodded her head and vigorously mixed the potion, concentrating on not mixing more or less than twenty times.
Their door was suddenly blasted off its hinges and the glinting masks of Death Eaters greeted them menacingly. Hermione's breath hitched when one Death Eater was able to disarm Harry and kick him down onto his knees.
"HA—" She tried to scream but he cut her off with a hovering hand.
"You've lost, Harry Potter," a Death Eater said and despite the mask, Hermione knew they were rejoicing.
"Harry," she weakly whispered, stopping her mixing to stare at her best friend's back hopelessly.
Harry craned his head over his shoulders and looked at her. His emerald eyes were gleaming with life and radiance, despite the darkness that surrounded this small, dingy room. Various colours from the chaos outside cast over his face, but she was able to see a slight smile on his face.
For a moment, she saw a glimpse of the old Harry – her old Harry – who was reckless and brave and so very kind. Gone was the warrior wearied down by war and turmoil, but a child once more who genuinely wanted everything to become good and wonderful.
"Go, Hermione," he whispered, a small tear slipping down from his glinting eyes.
"No, no, I can't go without you," she sobbed, clutching the ladle to her chest.
Harry briefly closed his eyes and when he opened them once more, they were of those filled with love. "Live a happy life, Hermione," he said. The Death Eater snarled and exclaimed a booming 'Avada Kedavra'. Hermione screamed when the green light hit Harry squarely on his chest. The light from his bright eyes dimmed until there was only emptiness.
Harry slumped onto his side, unmoving.
Sudden rage fueled her veins, glaring furiously at the Death Eaters through blurry eyes. She placed the ladle back into the cauldron and mixed once, twice, thrice, until it boasted the dark blue colour it was supposed to have.
Numerous wands pointed at her. Hermione desperately grabbed onto the steaming cauldron, ignoring the scorching pain that had bloomed on both of her palms. Three green lights shot from their wands, the Avada hurtling towards her, and before they hit her on her chest, Hermione took two mighty gulps and everything burst into a blinding light as white as the morning's snow.
A/N: Fun Fact #1: Milky Way's colour is said to be as white as the morning's snow. Fun Fact #2: I'm going to use lines from songs of Sleeping at Last and Sara Bareilles as chapter titles for my story. I love them both so much, they are both underrated, and I hope by the end of this story, I managed to convince you all to listen to their song.
Please drop a review! Things are so stressful right now and I've been busy on twitter trying to call out boomers and trolls on said platform. Have you heard what's been happening to the Philippines? Crappy right? So, to keep me sane, I turn to fanfiction because fanfiction makes everything a little better, you know. So yes, I hope you are okay wherever you are. I hope you are all fighting for what is right and just. We can't afford to be silent right now. We need to make a noise because all those in power need to know that we're tired of their bullshit. I'm sorry it got a little political it's just I'm so mad with our government right now huhu.
That is all! I'll try to update weekly! Again, any willing Betas?