A/N: Thank you so, so much to my Beta, lozipozivanillabean huhu ily.
Lol, so some of your theories were really close to what I've planned. So um yeah, enjoy hahaha.
and darkness will be rewritten
(I'll Keep You Safe by Sleeping at Last)
October 29, 1981
Voldemort firmly believed he was leading a bunch of imbeciles.
His order was simple – find the Potters and the Longbottoms, and kill their sons. It wasn't the hardest order he'd given to his Death Eaters and yet, September soon bled into October. Still, there was no sign of either family. He knew they were smart enough to hide under the Fidelius Charm, but finding their Secret Keeper had been futile. No matter how persistent he'd become in deploying more Death Eaters in search of a possible lead, he could still not discover who their Secret Keepers were.
All the Dark Lord could think about was the prophecy and the fact that most likely, Harry Potter or Neville Longbottom would be the one to cause his downfall. And he surely, surely could not accept that. He'd worked hard just to be where he was right now. He'd sacrificed too much and lost a lot of himself along the way. A mere baby could not destroy that.
Despite numerous Cruciatus curses, his followers never gave him any useful information. Loath was he to admit it, but Voldemort was growing desperate.
He curled his hands into tight fists, annoyed at being bothered during one of his times of solitude. He directed his glaring eyes at his insolent follower, but then paused upon seeing Regulus Black standing in front of him. The young, Black heir wasn't part of his inner circle. Usually, the young Death Eater would keep to himself in their meetings, standing at the side-lines while he let the other, more experienced Death Eaters converse with the Dark Lord. Seeing him here today, willingly seeking an audience, surprised him greatly.
"My Lord, I bring you good news."
The young wizard looked nervous, yet confident and resolute. Other Death Eaters his age usually cowered in his presence, choosing to blend into the shadows and make themselves as invisible as possible. Regulus Black, apparently, was a delightful exception.
"Come forward," he then finally said, gesturing Regulus to come closer.
The Black heir stiffly followed and once he was at a decent distance, he stopped. Wordlessly, he pocketed his hand and pulled out a crumpled piece of parchment. Voldemort warily eyed the seemingly unimposing paper in his hand, a small frown now stretching on his pale face.
"It recently came to my knowledge that the Potters' Secret Keeper was Peter Pettigrew, my Lord," Regulus said. A mocking scoff escaped from his lips, clear disbelief in his silver eyes. "We've done your bidding. We've constantly followed those who were close to the Potter family. Frankly, if I may be so bold, choosing Peter Pettigrew as their Secret Keeper seemed terribly obvious."
"And yet, you've only managed to discover that after months of their hiding," Voldemort hissed. It gave him some grim satisfaction when Regulus flinched.
"Dumbledore and the resistance knew we were looking for the Secret Keeper," Regulus reasoned out. "Everybody is on high alert. You—"
"Silence," he boomed. Quickly then, his wand was in his hand, a soft 'Crucio' escaping from his lips.
The young wizard screamed in agony and was brought onto his knees. He'd only kept the spell running for mere seconds, but once he'd removed it, there were already beads of sweat on Regulus's forehead.
"F-forgive me, my Lord," Regulus said, forcing himself back onto his feet. He then weakly extended his hand, the crumpled parchment sitting on top of his upturned palm. "I managed to get the location of the Potters' hiding place."
Voldemort slowly frowned. He knew about the complex magic of the Fidelius Charm and its restrictions. If Regulus had forcefully stolen the bewitched parchment from the Secret Keeper, it wouldn't work at all. "And what of the Secret Keeper?" he sniped.
Despite his pale face and slight shaking from the Cruciatus, a sinister smirk appeared on the Black heir's face. "Peter Pettigrew has been dealt with. He put up a fight, but I prevailed in the end." His silver eyes melted into dangerous mercury as Regulus dared to take a few more steps toward his master. "You need not worry, my Lord. The cowardly buffoon voluntarily surrendered the Potters' location."
A feral grin slowly grew on Voldemort's face. He didn't even mind when Regulus slightly flinched and backpedalled a bit when he quickly strode towards him. Voldemort snatched the parchment away from his hand and glanced at it – The Potter Cottage is at Number 27, Godric's Hollow.
Utmost relief spread throughout his veins. "You've done well," he said. Voldemort then slowly walked back to his chair and sat back down.
"Well then, Regulus," he silkily said, calmly interlacing his fingers. "Perhaps, it is time for me to pay them a visit."
October 30, 1981
"Master Regulus is expected in the Dining Hall for breakfast," Kreacher croaked, popping into his bedroom.
"Very well, Kreacher. Thank you," Regulus replied, ignoring the curious glint in his house-elf's eyes. He knew it was mighty suspicious that he was awake already - before Kreacher had come to wake him up. But, after everything that had happened last night, Regulus was at his wit's end.
He still firmly believed that this whole plan was bloody fucking insane. He wasn't sure if Pettigrew had been thinking properly when she'd concocted this ridiculous plan. Perhaps, being cooped up in a house with no one else besides her idiotic husband and their child had driven her insane. He really, truly wanted to protest that things would not end well if at least one of them wasn't able to properly do their roles. 'Not end well', meaning, Hermione Pettigrew—'Potter'— would die and Regulus, for the life of him, could not accept that.
But Dumbledore had his utmost trust on whatever ill-conceived plan Hermione had concocted, even adding a few ridiculous embellishments of his own just to make everything work. Who was he to defy the leader of the resistance? Dumbledore may be a better madman than Voldemort in all ways but still, he was a bloody madman. Regulus did not want to imagine what Dumbledore would do to him if he cowardly ran away instead of sticking to his role.
Besides, he owed this much to Hermione. No, scratch that. He owed everything to her. If she hadn't been an annoying, terrifying witch, persistently poking her nose into his business even when he'd made it clear numerous times before she should just fuck off, then Regulus knew he'd be an Inferius, swimming around the dark lake back at that stupid cave.
'Damn you, Pettigrew,' he thought, his fingers climbing up to his temples to ease his throbbing headache away. A part of him still cursed the strange stirrings in his heart that were evoked merely by Hermione's presence. He'd long accepted this certain fascination he'd had with Hermione Pettigrew back in their fourth year had bloomed into something more, but of course it was ridiculous now since she was married to James fucking Potter.
'Damn you, Potter,' he thought with a dark scowl, hauling himself out of his armchair and striding out of his bedroom. If Potter hadn't gotten to Hermione first, she wouldn't be in this situation at all!
He knew it would have been better if he'd kept his distance when she started dating the git, but Hermione… Hermione had been really kind and bright. She offered this stupid hope that he'd long given up once he became Branded with the vilest mark he'd ever known. Although he admittedly wanted to be closer to her, Regulus told himself being her friend was enough. It was a hard fact to accept, but if he wanted to still be a part of Hermione's life, then he had no choice but to be just that. A friend.
'You know what? Damn you instead, Regulus Black,' a voice hissed inside his head.
His foul mood followed him until he'd arrived at the Dining Hall of Grimmauld Place. He made a face, wondering why the whole place still felt cold despite the roaring fire behind Walburga Black. After spending much of his time at Potter Manor, Grimmauld Place was steadily becoming drearier and gloomier for him. Regulus couldn't wait to get out of here today and report to the Headquarters once more.
"Good morning, Mother," he coolly greeted, sitting in the empty chair on Walburga's left. His mother gave him a slight tilt of her head and continued to sip her tea.
"Slept well, Regulus?" she asked.
The Black heir blinked his eyes. Walburga never engaged him in small talk; she deemed it beneath her and only chose to speak when the need arose. She'd always been a chatty bat, sniping sharp words that Regulus had long been immune to. He still remembered all those eventful meals he'd shared with his mother and brother, his eardrums almost bleeding from the shrill shrieks from Walburga.
Ever since Orion had died, however, his mother had become… well, subdued. This had startled Regulus immensely because he used to think his parents merely tolerated each other for the sake of keeping the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black intact. Orion was the Head of the Black family after all. Reputation and appearances were everything.
But perhaps, there was at least some level of affection shared between his parents. Regulus wasn't too sure, especially now that he'd been spending less and less time in Grimmauld Place due to his double life as a Death Eater and Order member. He really had no time to deal with his complicated family.
"Well?" Walburga repeated, quirking an eyebrow whilst her lips curled into a small sneer.
'Ah yes, the Mother I know and love,' he thought, slightly grimacing, before pasting a small, pleasant smile on his face. "Very well, Mother," he replied. "I hope you did too?"
"Oh, very," she huffed with an expression that almost looked like a smile. Regulus's couldn't stop his eyes from widening. Walburga then pushed the latest edition of the Daily Prophet towards him. "You were here last night, weren't you, my dear?"
Regulus's heart wildly thudded inside his ribcage as he glanced down at the newspaper. Splashed on the front page was the familiar neighbourhood where the Pettigrews lived. Overhead, the ominous Dark Mark glowed, the snake slithering out from the skull. He was immediately brought back to the day when he'd found out that Anya Pettigrew had been attacked in her own home, the same Dark Mark spelled above. Regulus was in the middle of a meeting with Voldemort and the other Death Eaters at the time and it took all of his strength to stop himself from bolting out of that ridiculous meeting to make sure Hermione was all right.
"I was," Regulus clipped. Walburga's eyes lit up with a mixture of delight and curiosity, but he slowly shook his head. "You know that I cannot divulge too much information about my current… work to outsiders, Mother. The Dark Lord will not be pleased."
"Of course," his mother sniffed, although there was clear disappointment in her eyes. "Nevertheless, I am proud of you, Regulus. You truly are the perfect heir for the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. You need not worry about Cygnus, my dear. Soon, it will be you who will be wearing the family heirloom."
Regulus thickly swallowed the rising bile, wondering what diabolical schemes his mother was concocting to get rid of his uncle. Walburga was mighty convinced Cygnus was the one who'd caused Orion's death; his death was still an enigma to them all, thus surely it was the work of very dark, very obscure magic. His mother had been obsessed over this simple fact and had tried to come up with various ways to snatch the coveted seat of power and offer it to the rightful heir. Him.
"Thank you, Mother," he forced himself to say through gritted teeth. Walburga sweetly smiled at him and squeezed his arm, before retreating back to her chair.
The throbbing headache he'd tried to ease came back with a vengeance. Regulus wished for all of this to end just so he could stop this stupid pretence.
Sighing, he snatched up the newspaper and scanned the front page so he could distract himself.
Young Auror Attacked at Home
By Elphaba Twist
Regulus took a deep, shuddering breath, hoping to still his loudly beating heart. His silver eyes quickly darted towards the small photo of Peter Pettigrew in the corner of the picture, his large eyes blinking widely at the camera.
Various snippets from the newspaper caught his attention.
"… Auror Peter Pettigrew, 21, found attacked beyond recognition at his home. His mother, Anastasia Pettigrew, was thankfully not present during the attack…"
"… DMLE believed this was instigated by Death Eaters…"
"… 'We are still currently investigating why he was targeted,' Alastor Moody, Senior Auror of the DMLE, reported…"
"… currently in critical condition at St. Mungo's…"
"… Hermione Potter, nee Pettigrew, 20, sister of Peter Pettigrew, whereabouts currently unknown…"
Regulus then calmly placed the newspaper aside. He made himself some tea and tried to keep his shaking at bay, lest he made his mother suspicious. But who could truly blame him? He couldn't help the nervous anticipation now coursing through his veins.
Everything was still going according to plan.
And soon… soon Voldemort would die and Regulus would finally be free.
October 31, 1981
They reappeared at the Apparition point of Godric's Hollow. Voldemort coolly looked around the empty streets, sneering at how sickeningly domestic and cheery it looked. The different houses, Muggle and Wizarding alike, were lined with various Halloween decorations, blissfully oblivious of the murder he would commit shortly.
"This way, my Lord," Regulus murmured, gesturing at a narrow street with a cobblestone pavement. Across from them stood a proud obelisk, with carved names he knew were of those who'd fallen during the Muggle World War.
Their journey towards the Potter Cottage had been a silent affair. Voldemort had ordered Regulus to accompany him that night, wanting to test if the boy really had what it took to become a brilliant Death Eater in the future. Regulus asked if it would be wise for Voldemort to ask for more Death Eaters to come, but the Dark Lord merely sneered, and told him it would be a waste of time and resources.
As they neared the Potter Cottage, his anticipation grew. The magic in him pulsed erratically, waiting to be unleashed. But his agenda for today was to only kill the boy; his parents, he could spare. He'd heard a lot of things about Harry Potter's parents—reluctant, glowing praises from their schoolmates. James Potter was a brilliant Auror; Hermione Potter was hailed as the brightest witch of her age. Although they'd defied him numerous times, perhaps if he could convince them, they'd finally join his side. After all, who could deny such power?
They'd finally stopped in front of a stone-walled house, with a lovely lawn and flower-lined windows. Voldemort's face twisted in disdain, glaring at how obviously well-loved this house had been. He tore his eyes away from the façade of the house and glanced at one of the high windows. He could see the mother's silhouette from where he stood, a small bundle pressed against her chest.
"Fools," he snarled, now pulling out his wand from his robe. He waved his wand and felt a pulse of magic course through his wand hand. The wards they'd erected were quite complicated, which didn't surprise him at all. He'd heard from loyal Regulus how Hermione Potter knew spells that were very advanced. Most of the wards that were placed around the home were undoubtedly her doing.
One by one, he breached them all. Until, all that was left was the locked doorknob which could be remedied by a simple 'Alohomora'.
"Must I accompany you inside, my Lord?" Regulus inquired as soon as they heard the soft click of the lock.
"No," Voldemort ordered. "Stay here. It won't take long."
Perhaps it was his imagination, but he thought he saw something peculiar in Regulus's glinting, silver eyes. He'd never seen that look from his followers before, one that held such ferociousness, hatred and… and triumph.
Voldemort glanced at Regulus once more, but his face was the perfect picture of indifference. He probed into his mind, sifting through his memories to see if there was even an ounce of betrayal from the Pureblood heir, but all he saw were various memories of his Hogwarts years and previous Death Eater missions. What was amusing, however, was his obvious dislike for James Potter.
By the time he pulled away, there was a thin sheen of sweat on Regulus's forehead. The young wizard had grown paler too, but still kept himself upright.
"Stay here," Voldemort said, dismissing such thoughts from his mind. He'd look into it more once he finished killing the boy. Harry Potter was his priority, after all.
"Of course, my Lord."
He hadn't been sleeping properly for the past few days. James was already running on coffee most of the time, and although Hermione forced him to rest, he couldn't sleep a wink. The thought that Voldemort would dismantle their wards and barge in any day, any time, had made him restless and paranoid.
It was a miracle he was wonderfully composed every morning, able to brush up on his duelling skills and take care of Hermione. Once nightfall came however, when he had nothing else to do, he'd be wide-eyed and agitated, mercilessly wondering if they would still emerge triumphant.
For the following days, James also made sure he didn't go anywhere without his wand. Even when he just had to go to the loo, his wand was safely clutched in his hand.
"When James Potter—the other one—had confronted Voldemort, he had been defenceless," Hermione had told him once. "Make sure you do not make the same mistake as him."
Regulus Black had assured them that everything was still going according to plan. He had received various messages from the spy through his coin bewitched with the Protean Charm and James had been reverently relaying these messages on to his wife. Truth be told, never in a million years did James imagine he'd be willingly conversing with the Black heir every single day, but Merlin, here he was now. He still did not fully trust the smarmy git, but Regulus obviously cared for Hermione – too much, to his displeasure. Sirius's younger brother disliked him too, for very obvious reasons of course, but he knew he'd also willingly work with James if it meant Hermione would be safe.
Hermione had been rigorous too, constantly practicing her wand work with an almost obsessive glint in her eyes. And yet, at night, after she'd worn herself out from her constant practicing, she'd slip into their bed and let her tears silently fall. James merely held her tight and soothed her, until she was quiet and sleeping.
This had gone on for days and James was slowly losing his mind. Millions of 'what if's' kept on running through his mind – What if Hermione's plan didn't work? What if Voldemort didn't come? What if… what if, in the end, Harry Potter would still be orphaned?
These terrible thoughts had worsened last night, when Regulus had relayed that the Dark Lord was planning to pay them a visit tonight. Both he and Hermione hadn't slept a wink, minds too preoccupied with possible scenarios that might happen.
They'd breezed through the day mechanically. Hermione constantly repeated her plan. Again, and again, and again. James could recite it even in his sleep, but he'd indulged his wife, knowing full well Hermione needed to know that they'd adhere to everything, just so that on the thirty-first of October, no one would die in this house but Voldemort.
Right now, James was in their living room, nervously waiting for Voldemort's arrival. Hermione was already in Harry's nursery and in a few minutes, James would join her.
The night stretched on and even the warm, crackling fire from the fireplace did nothing to soothe his troubled heart.
He was jolted out of his troublesome thoughts when something suddenly burned against his pocket. He pulled out the small knut and drew it close to his eyes.
He's here. Get ready.
Blood rushed into his ears as something warm also bloomed against his chest. James's fingers clutched onto the amulet Hermione had given to him before and predictably, it was glowing ominous green.
It only meant one thing: danger was near.
He was instantly on his feet when he felt their wards one by one being banished. And when he heard the soft click of their doorknob, he hastily climbed the stairs two steps at a time.
When he burst inside Harry's nursery, he was wide-eyed and breathless.
Hermione tensely looked at him.
"It's time," he announced.
Tears gathered in Hermione's eyes but she firmly nodded. James was instantly beside her, clutching onto her hand for dear life and together, they waited with bated breath for the Dark Lord's arrival.
Her breath was almost knocked out of her chest when she heard footsteps downstairs. Her hold on James's hand tightened with every second, silently relaying how she was very much afraid. But no, no, there was no time for any fear. Voldemort fed off his enemies' fear. Hermione must make him understand that invading this house – her home – was a terrible mistake.
Her heartbeat matched Voldemort's footsteps, growing thunderous and deafening as he climbed their stairs. Beside her, she heard James's stifled gasp when the doorknob turned.
A pale hand with long, thin fingers peeked through the crack as Voldemort deftly pushed the door open. He stepped inside, his heavy cloak still drawn over his face. James stood slightly in front of Hermione, as a stuttered gasp escaped from her lips.
She swore she stopped breathing when he removed his hood and showed his face. Hermione was half-prepared to meet the red eyes and snake-slit nose, because that was the Voldemort she had become acquainted with. But then, standing opposite her, was a very pale wizard, with an aristocratic nose and proud chin. His dark brown eyes were sunken and wide, glinting in the dark room in clear amusement as he beheld the couple. His rich, raven hair, definitely tidier than her husband's, had a few streaks of grey. There were hints that he had been handsome during his youth, but his experimentation with the Dark Arts had left permanent marks on his body.
"Good evening," he coolly greeted, his voice a rich baritone. His greeting slithered out from his mouth and drew horrified shivers down Hermione's spine. This was a man with a mission and from the way he cracked a menacing grin on his face, Voldemort wouldn't leave this house without getting what he wanted.
"Please," he continued, "I wish you both no harm. Give me your son and I will spare you."
"Like hell we will!" James spat with ferocity.
Voldemort's eyes hardened, obviously angered at his defiance, but Hermione watched as he carefully crafted a mask over his face and hid whatever emotion he was feeling. His eyes then swept towards Hermione as he continued, "Give me your son, and I will spare you both."
She took a deep, shuddering breath and summoned all the Gryffindor bravery in her body. "We will never give you Harry," she strongly replied. "Never."
Voldemort tightly pursed his lips. "You leave me with no choice, then." One moment he was empty-handed, and the next, his wand was clutched tightly in his hand. Hermione reacted quickly and pushed James away from her. Her husband toppled down onto the floor and groaned in pain. At the same time, a green spell whizzed just over where James's face had been a while ago, hitting one of the windows instead and shattering the glass. Cold, biting wind rushed through the gaping hole and Hermione involuntarily shivered.
Deafening silence followed Voldemort's assault and Hermione started to expel loud, shallow breaths. She kept her emotions at bay, almost sobbing in relief that she had been able to react quickly. If she hadn't, then James… James would be—
'Focus,' a voice hissed inside her head. Hermione swallowed down her fear and tensely watched as Voldemort took a few steps closer to Harry's crib, the Avada already on the tip of his tongue. But then, he paused, eyebrows knitting together. His brown eyes had grown wider, utter anger in them as he glanced at the silent Hermione. "It can't be!" he growled.
In three quick strides, Voldemort was hovering over the empty crib, the little boy nowhere in sight. "Where is the boy?" the Dark Lord thundered, hurtling a blasting spell at the doll in Harry's crib, managing to break his bed into two.
"You will never find him," James spat, slowly standing up from the floor. His hazel eyes glinted defiantly as he steadfastly met Voldemort's furious gaze. "He is safe, somewhere far away from you." Her husband slowly walked back to Hermione's side, his hazel eyes never leaving the Dark Lord's form.
"Where is the boy?" the furious wizard demanded once more.
Hermione took a deep, shuddering breath and pierced him with the darkest glare she could muster. "You will never find Harry," she tightly said. "You will never lay a hand on him. You will never hurt him. Never! I won't let you."
"Fool," Voldemort snarled, baring his teeth at the seething brunette. "You think you are a match for me?"
"You will never kill anyone else," Hermione continued, her heart constricting in pure anticipation and fear – and everything in between. Her mind rushed with various memories – of both Hermione Granger and Hermione Potter – and all that was stark and clear from the memories was Harry – past and present – green eyes morphing into blue. Hermione didn't even care if tears now leaked out from her eyes, because Voldemort was finally here, at their mercy, and the bloody fucking bastard did not even know it. "If anybody is going to die tonight, it will be you, Voldemort."
She spat his name with so much vehemence, so much disgust, it only made the dangerous wizard angrier.
"Do you honestly think you can kill me that easily, girl?"
Despite her swimming vision, Hermione managed to crack a small, almost maniacal smile. "You think so highly of yourself," she continued, her hand already slipping inside her pocket to pull out her trusted pouch, spelled with the illegal Undetectable Extension Charm. Voldemort threw a dark spell towards Hermione, but she was ready this time, erecting a powerful shield that deflected his spell. The violet stream of light rebounded and Voldemort calmly stepped aside, not even breaking Hermione's gaze.
James had also thrown a powerful shield towards his wife when Voldemort continued to throw a barrage of multicoloured dark spells towards the brunette.
"Did you know? We already discovered your secret," she yelled above the ruckus he was making, pulling out the destroyed diadem and throwing it on the floor, near his feet. Voldemort's assault was drawn into an abrupt halt, his eyes widening in horror as he recognised Ravenclaw's Diadem. "This was the easiest to find."
She pulled out another destroyed horcrux, Helga Hufflepuff's Cup, and threw it on the ground too. "I have to especially thank Regulus Black. He was the one who was keenest to kill you, you know." He took a stuttered breath in disbelief as she pulled the diary out next and threw it down. "You should clearly choose which follower you put your trust into, Voldemort. Regulus has been most helpful. Did you know that he was the one who stole this? Right under your precious Malfoy's nose?"
She then pulled out Slytherin's locket and flung it on the ground with the other destroyed horcruxes. Voldemort had grown blurry because of her tears now, and Hermione knew this was a dangerous game they were playing. But he looked honestly horrified, watching as she displayed his destroyed horcruxes one by one. Truth be told, she felt like Voldemort had stopped breathing all together. "That little bugger almost cost me my life, but I've been told I am mighty stubborn."
And lastly, she pulled out the Gaunt ring, a crack in the black gem, and flicked it down to join the other horcruxes. "You've lost, Voldemort," she said, voice barely above a whisper. "We've destroyed all of your horcruxes. You are not invincible anymore. And tonight, you will die."
Anger dangerously flashed in the Dark Lord's eyes as he raised his wand to hurtle another spell at Hermione. The brunette didn't even think when an Avada whizzed towards her, ducking down as fast as she could to avoid the spell purely due to her war-heightened instincts. She threw a well-aimed Sectumsempra in retaliation, and predictably, the Dark Lord was able to deftly deflect it with an equally powerful shield of his own.
Too distracted with his blinding rage and clear intent in killing Hermione this time, Voldemort wasn't able to notice an overgrown rat scuttling from where he had been hiding underneath the cabinet in Harry's nursery. Noiselessly, the rat transformed. For a moment, his blue, tear-filled eyes met Hermione's and, with a determined nod, he slashed his wand in a lightning bolt pattern and snarled a booming 'AVADA KEDAVRA!'
Hermione knew it was impossible, but she swore time truly slowed down when the green light travelled through the small space between her brother and the evil wizard before hitting Voldemort squarely on his back. The wizard then toppled over and joined his destroyed horcruxes on the ground, unmoving.
For a moment, none of the trio moved. Peter was loudly gasping for breath, his hand still tightly clutching onto his wand, lest Voldemort, by some miracle, stood back onto his feet. James edged closer and kicked the unmoving body on the floor, enabling Hermione to catch sight of Voldemort's eyes.
Glassy and empty.
Dead. Dead. Dead.
This realisation hit her in such force, that heaving sobs tore out from Hermione's lips as the brave mask she'd worn throughout the encounter shattered from the powerful force of her emotions. At the same time, she heard numerous pops resounding in their house, until a few Aurors—including Sirius and Remus—burst inside Harry's nursery. Amongst them was Regulus, silver eyes wild and crazed, unable to swallow down a gasp at seeing Voldemort on the floor.
Sirius cautiously stepped towards Voldemort and kicked him thrice. When he didn't move, another Auror bent down and pressed his finger against his pulse point, before releasing a jovial shout. "He's dead!" he exclaimed. "Voldemort's death!"
His loud words prompted Peter to hastily reach for Hermione, stumbling a bit over Voldemort's body due to his clumsiness. Peter threw his arms around his sister and tightly held her close as the Pettigrew siblings released loud, guttural sobs that shook the whole household.
Hermione's blue eyes then sought out James. Her husband was shaking terribly, tears also leaking from his hazel eyes, but the smile on his face was wide and blinding. "H-Harry," she stuttered. "I must… my son…"
James understood what she was trying to say. He reached for both Hermione and Peter and Side-Along Apparated them away from their house.
They reappeared a few meters away from the Snapes' House. The façade of the Snapes' House was visible to Hermione, but the usual flowers wrapped around the white, wrought-iron gates were withered, as if projecting some illusion of neglect and abandon. She glanced at the windows, but try as she might, she could not see any movement inside.
From an outsider's point-of-view, it looked like the house hadn't been lived in for weeks. But Hermione… Hermione knew Dumbledore had also done his nifty little trick at the Snapes' House. Inside, she knew that her son was there, protected by her best friends. Inside, she knew her bright, healthy, baby boy was waiting for her and she needed to see him right now.
"Here," James said, hastily thrusting a crumpled piece of parchment into her hand when Hermione's desperate blue eyes met his gaze.
She was unable to take in the words, but the magic of the Fidelius Charm held true as the powerful, protective cloak blanketing the house was removed. Hermione had already torn herself away from Peter's arms and was loudly banging on the front door, uncaring if her loud ruckus was rousing the whole neighbourhood.
The door was yanked open, a furious Sev standing behind it. His wand was clutched tightly in his hand, ready to release a spell to protect his house, but his eyes widened upon beholding Hermione.
He briefly glanced over her shoulder, able to notice the other two wizards standing behind her.
"How—" Sev thickly swallowed, piercing Hermione with his dark eyes. "How do I know it is truly you?"
A strangled laugh escaped from Hermione's lips, her swotty mind wanting to point out that they were placed under the Fidelius Charm just a while ago and that her presence meant she was able to read the bewitched parchment bearing their address already. But all she was able to say was, "Get out of the way, you bloody sourpuss. My son… Harry… I need to see him. Please. Please."
Hope shone in Sev's eyes. "It's done?" he breathlessly asked. "Voldemort… he's… he's truly gone?"
Hermione vigorously nodded her head and pushed past Sev. Thankfully, he let her in and Hermione began blindly searching for Harry.
She stumbled into their small kitchen, spying Lily standing alert and stiff in one corner, Harry tightly pressed against her chest. Her knuckles were already turning white from how tightly she was clutching her wand, but once her emerald eyes flew to Hermione's, tears leaked down onto her cheeks.
The baby in Lily's arms started to squirm, merrily gurgling upon recognising his mother. "Mama!" he cried, already extending his arms towards Hermione.
Hermione's face crumpled as she ran through the kitchen until she was standing in front of her best friend and her son. Lily immediately passed over Harry to Hermione, stepping aside as the brunette started to loudly cry on Harry's hair. The child looked marvellously confused at his mother's tears, but was already busy entangling himself in her impossible curls.
She then felt a strong arm wrapping around her and her son. Hermione's blurry eyes met the beautiful hazels of her husband. James had a soft look on his face, unabashedly letting his tears fall too, as a small smile grew on his face.
"Harry is safe," he gently proclaimed.
Hermione's hold on Harry tightened. Her heart threatened to burst out from her chest due to her overwhelming emotions, but she found herself grinning widely at her sweet, sweet boy.
"Harry is safe."
November 3, 1981
Hermione took a deep, contented sigh and beamed at the scenery in the Potter Gardens. It was already a terribly cold winter morning, but snow had yet to make an appearance. The brunette had bundled herself up and Harry until they were warm and toasty, and even spelled a few warming charm around them for added comfort.
She glanced down at the babe in her arms, her smile turning fond when Harry blinked his wide, blue eyes in return. Her son then showed her a gummy smile with hints of his few baby teeth. Harry slowly gripped her curls and happily tugged them, oblivious to the pained grimace his mother had showed.
"I'm starting to think you just love me because of my hair," she sighed in mild exasperation.
"Yes!" was Harry's happy reply.
Hermione huffed out a laugh and pressed Harry closer to his chest, marvelling at the feeling that she was once again holding her baby in her arms and very much alive.
Although Harry's transfer to the Snapes was a necessary part of the plan, in case things blew out of proportions and they weren't able to still kill Voldemort when he sought them out at Potter Cottage, Hermione still had terribly missed Harry. She was so used having him by her side, taking care of him, watching him do his firsts, and thus, the first few days of Harry's absence had been one of Hermione's saddest days. The thought that she might not see anymore had plagued her while she and James prepared for Voldemort's arrival. At the same time, that very same thought had fuelled the bravery she desperately needed when she confronted Voldemort at their home, intent of killing him once and for all.
"What are you doing outside, sweetheart? It's cold!"
Hermione and Harry snapped their gazes at the new arrival. Hermione's smile widened, beholding a bemused Anya just standing a few meters away from them. "We've been cooped inside for a very long time, Mum," she explained with a laugh. "Harry and I are just enjoying the outside world."
Anya's gaze turned fond as she approached the mother-son pair. She then hooked her arm around Hermione's and for a moment, the trio just stared contentedly at the garden Euphemia Potter had worked very hard to maintain.
"James and Peter still aren't back?"
Her mother glanced at her and shook her head. "Some Auror work, I'm sure," Anya said. A snort flew out of her mouth, the corners of her lips twitching in delight. "You haven't gone out of hiding for a week, but that husband of yours is already rigorously doing his work."
"James Potter wasn't meant to stay put," Hermione pointed out with glinting eyes. "I'm not even surprised."
"Your brother, however…" Anya trailed off, humour evident in her clear, blue eyes. "Let us just say he still isn't used with his newfound fame."
Hermione brightly grinned as she recalled the morning edition of the Daily Prophet today.
Predictably, when the Potters went out of hiding after Voldemort's death, the whole Wizarding world had pieced everything together. Although none of them knew exactly what had transpired—and why they were being targeted—what everybody discovered was that it was Peter Pettigrew who killed Voldemort. The media had swarmed around this fact, constantly trailing behind Peter and demanding an interview, as he was now hailed as the bravest hero of the Wizarding World.
It was entirely laughable, especially because Peter looked deeply flummoxed and horrified at the same time. Peter had one time insisted that it wasn't all him, that his sister was behind all the planning that led to Voldemort's death, but Hermione had merely smiled when she was asked for an interview, reasoning out that she'd rather spend more time with her family than be bothered for a ridiculous interview. Sometimes, she'd deliberately show off Harry just so they would back-off. The media had soon left Hermione alone and instead latched onto Peter, opting to sensationalise his heroic deed. Hermione still laughed at some of the articles speculating Voldemort's ultimate death, embellishing ridiculous scenes that surely, surely never happened.
"Everybody missed you and your family, Hermione," Anya then said with a fond squeeze to Hermione's arm.
"I've missed everybody too," Hermione said, followed by a soft sigh. "I'm just… I'm just glad everything's over. I know there are still rogue Death Eaters flurrying around, but with Voldemort gone I think… I think…" She closed her eyes and took another deep breath. "I think I am finally at peace."
Her eyes fluttered open when Anya touched her cheek. Her mother had tears in her eyes, but the smile on her face was bright and warm. "You've been through a lot, sweetheart," she said. "You deserve this. You deserve everything."
Hermione's gaze turned soft, wrapping an arm around her mother to give her a one-armed hug. "You know," she slowly started, "I was angry at first the potion I took made me a Pettigrew."
"And why is that?" Anya asked in surprise.
The brunette sadly smiled. "It's… well, suffice to say, the Peter Pettigrew that Hermione Granger knew wasn't as brave and kind like my brother," she vaguely replied.
"And now?" her mother quipped.
Her smile turned bright. "Now? Merlin, I'm infinitely thankful to all the cosmic stars above I was born as Hermione Pettigrew," she answered with a soft laugh. Hermione lightly pulled away to catch Anya's gaze. "You've been very kind and sweet, Mum. And Peter was a great big brother. Our childhood wasn't exactly pleasant, but you've made up for it by filling our home with so much love."
Hermione wrapped her arm around Anya again and felt her eyes misting with emotion. "If by some bizarre reason I am forced to take that dark potion once more, I hope I'll still be born as a Pettigrew with you as my mother and Peter as my brother."
"Oh, sweetheart," Anya tearfully sighed. "I'm glad you are a Pettigrew too."
The brunette laughed and tightened her hold around her mother. At the same time, Harry started squirming in her other arm, annoyed at being squished in between the two witches.
Hermione and Anya broke apart and laughed at the squirming babe. His grandmother plucked him out of Hermione's hold and cuddled with him, sweet words slipping out of her lips that made Harry burst into a fit of giggles.
Hermione was contented in watching them interact. Anya by then had placed Harry on top of the table in the gardens and the two swapped stories, mostly about what happened to the Wizarding World while Hermione and her family were in hiding.
"What do you plan on doing now, Hermione?" her mother had then asked. "Now that Voldemort is gone and your family is safe, what do you want to do now?"
The younger witch blinked at Anya's question, mulling over what she would answer. "Well," Hermione started, her gaze shifting towards the horizon, "to be honest, I… I don't know." A silly laugh slipped out from her lips as her eyes filled with tears. "But, it doesn't matter. I now have all the time in the world to figure it out."
A/N: Did you honestly think I'll make these babies unhappy in the end? I didn't write a fanfic with 300k+ words just so these characters will not have their happy ending. Hermione, most especially. I truly love my own version of Hermione and I know she frustrated you all very, very much, but I wanted her to have understandable faults because of her trauma from the previous war she ran away from and watching her best friend die right before her eyes. Canon Hermione was really great and so, so BAMF but Canon Hermione didn't watch her best friend die or wasn't reborn into a different person with a great burden of a possible future she didn't want to go through again. LOL, I can legit write a whole character analysis of HotS Hermione citing extensive sources if I can, but I don't have the time.
Also, when I said I wrote this fic because I wanted to give Peter Pettigrew a bigger role, I really meant A REALLY BIG role. Canon Peter's betrayal was the reason why Harry Potter was orphaned so, you know, I think it's just fitting HotS Peter will be the one to kill Voldemort in the end to give Harry two, very alive parents he deserved. That Animagus scene was hinted numerous times before too haha – Hermione pointing out he could escape an evil wizard because of his form, Peter able to pass his Concealment and Disguise with flying colours, Moody unable to find him in this form… I know, really miniscule facts, but hints nonetheless. I hope Hermione's whole plan made sense too hahahaha. Peter's staged attack is needed so Voldemort won't think he'll cause trouble now that he discovered about the Potters' hiding place. Hermione taunting Voldemort with his destroyed horcruxes was just something I wanted our heroine to do because the least I can do was give her this opportunity to rub it in Voldemort's face that he lost. Again, as what I've always told you, all these things made so much sense in my mind so I hope I'm able to convey them properly hahaha.
I'll save the long, dramatic post after I've posted the epilogue. It's still being edited so I'm not sure if I'll be able to post it tomorrow. Rest assured that I'll be able to finish this story within this week, though.
So that's it haha
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