Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter in any shape and form … sadly. Nor do I own Scabior which is an even greater loss.
A/N: And in true fan-girl style I am refusing to allow Scabior, our beloved Snatcher, to die. That is right: he survived his little fall from the bridge (I have to say of all the ways to go I am proud he was pawned by Neville – the ultimate crouching moron, hidden badass of the Potter books). But anyway here he is, back again – with HERMIONE in the ultimate UST fic I have ever written – and yes canon relationships (canon is god afterall) will still apply which makes it more screwed up and twisted which = fun!
Note: hasn't been beta'd.
She didn't know what compelled her to seek him out.
After the battle, after they had buried their dead with honour, they had to sort through the rest. There had been so many bodies, more so than they thought because of the delay in helping their foes. What could they say though other than they were short of supplies and thus saw it fit to heal their side first – it was fair, wasn't it?
Everyone had been desperate. Everyone had committed a crime. There was no true light but a stretch of dark. It was left to her and others to sort through the legal side of it all. Ron and Harry had taken the rebuilding approach – Harry especially becoming the poster boy, the leader in the wake.
He didn't sleep a lot, but neither did she.
Ron did but only because of all the potions he took.
It was hard to stay logical, hard not to get emotional but she did it. You couldn't lock everyone up, you couldn't and so work parties had to be organised, pardons had to be organised, and their enemies needed to be buried respectfully.
It was when they had gone to identify bodies that she became consciously aware that the Snatcher from the forest (so long ago it seemed and yet, him standing there, bathed in moonlight, face flushed and breathing her in with dark eyes was always with her) wasn't there.
Odd because Neville had told her about the bridge, told her of the wild man with a red streak, wolf eyes and checked pants who had led the assault. He had fallen.
There should be a body.
There was a small cottage where two men sat recuperating. One was more boy than man, with handsome features and cruel eyes. The other was wild. They were quiet, talked in low voices and drank firewhiskey. The younger one wished to go home, the other one wished to just get out of this god forsaken country where he had lost everything.
She found them both with members of the Order, tracked them down as they had done themselves as their work under his reign of power.
She asked the wild one, "How did you survive?"
He looked at the younger one, who just smiled and said in a strange, light European accent. "Sea turtles, m'am."
As it turned out the younger one had remembered they were wizards at that last moment of free fall and the quick thinker he was (no brainer as it turned out he had been running from Swedish Aurors since he was sixteen), had cast a charm on himself and Scabior.
They'd been knocked out but not dead and miraculously had not been hit by the burning bridge.
He was sitting there.
He was sitting across from her with that same smile and those same eyes. Everything else was different though. Gone were the dark smudges of dirt, the overpowering smell of the earth and blood, the tangled hair, and the worn leather jacket. They weren't standing this time, she wasn't the one tied up, and they weren't in the forest. She was older, smarter, and wiser. She was nineteen going on twenty, an adult.
She couldn't work out why then she still felt like she was seventeen.
It was the way his dark eyes stared at her: unwavering. It was the way he leaned back into the wooden chair, despite the bonds that tied his hands, and the ropes that wove around his body, holding him still – holding him in place. It was meant to ease her mind, keep her safe. It did nothing of the sort. He was still him, and she could still picture him leaning in, lips brushing against her cheek as he inhaled.
She shouldn't have taken his case. She should've handed it off to someone else. But she hadn't because she was the one who had found him so he could face justice, whatever it was (it was hard to see clear these days). She needed to sit across from him and be in power – this was power, holding his fate in her hands just as he had when she was seventeen.
She had power – she thinks.
"Well, haven't you grown up, Beautiful,"
His voice surrounded her, his eyes holding her.
"C'mon, love – not even a –"
"Mister Scabior," she cut in, "As lovely it is to catch up I think this is neither the time nor the place,"
His eyes darkened. "You're right … Miss Clearwater," the name fell from his lips like poison, "I would hate to take up your precious time,"
It's all she can muster and his lips quirked. Her eyes dropped to his file, fighting the burn that threatened her cheeks. She drew a short breath and glanced up: eyes gleaming, eyes fierce.
"Now, Mister Scabior …"
She continued on autopilot, trying not glancing up at his eyes – eyes that had held her briefly as he drew a – and pulled on her mask. She was Hermione Granger, the brains of the Golden Trio, the Muggleborn Who Dared To Rebel. She hadn't let the Malfoys undermine her and so she wasn't going to let him. He was just a good for nothing Snatcher.
(there were so many good for nothing Snatchers, people, whatever, all desperate and had only been trying to survive)
As she spoke his eyes didn't leave her. She was conscious, so conscious of the deep and slow breaths he took, as if savouring something – her – and how his eyes – dark eyes – seemed to grow darker by the second. Not in violence, there was no violence.
There were promises in those eyes. Promises for a naïve seventeen year old as her captor leaned in and whispered into her ear. Promises that were never fulfilled, promises she wished were – no, wait, she didn't want that.
She stopped in mid-sentence, brow furrowing. "What?"
His eyes swing down and hers follow. She stared at her left arm where the scars Bellatrix Lestrange inflicted never truly healed. Mudblood – her memory of the War, her scar that reminded her of everything she had lost and everything she had gained.
They all carried scars.
She looked back at him, saw how his eyes softened.
"Why are you sorry?" she asked.
He smiled, he shrugged, he didn't reply.
"Get on with it, Love," he said dismissively, "I do want to go home,"
"You didn't answer my –"
"And I'm not going to." He spoke firmly, like he's her father lecturing her, like he's the one in control.
"Fine," she snapped, and he fought a grin – not cruel, just amused. She narrowed her eyes, pulling back that calm and cool and oh so clever exterior she was famed for. The Impartial, the Logic – all things that described her and were her.
She swallowed. "Also it has come to our attention that you have a ward,"
"Yes," she said, "You are the godfather and de facto guardian of Anna Griffin, the daughter of Lorena and –"
"Warren Griffin," said Scabior, eyes soft and looking down, "He was my best mate at school," He looked at her and she could understand that. She had best mates too, best friends, people closer to her than family ever could be. Scabior continued, "He defected, didya know? The Carrows, they hurt Anna because she was helping her half-blood friend. Little Anna – she was eleven, a tiny first year – didn't tell him but he heard. Heard how they crucio'd her."
"Haven't you had enough of death, Miss Granger?" he asked.
She didn't know what to say. Why didn't she know what to say? She should. She should always know what to say. She always did.
Fortunately he spoke. "Why isn't she with Lorena's parents?"
"They died," she said, "Anna was with them but … and there is just …"
She looked at him, and he nodded.
They both knew.
So many families had been torn apart and there were so many children without homes. Temporary homes had been set up but they were over-crowded and so there was a push for children to be raised with families, guardians – even ones with war crimes like him. That was the way the wizardring world worked. There was a strong sense of inheritance, of raising one's own family. It wasn't perfect of course, there was a risk but like with so many things there was just too much work and sometimes they had to give the orphan to their questionable guardians.
There were checks.
But it was something.
"Miss Granger," said Scabior, "if it eases your conscious, helps you sleep a little better at night," there was a hint of a leer but then it was gone, "just know that I would never hurt Anna,"
"That's good," said Hermione, "That's real good – because she really wants to see her 'Uncle' Elmo,"
There was a warm smile: one so separate from the man she knew, for a moment.
He frowned. "She doesn't know?"
(Doesn't know that he hunted some of her friends parents, that he turned them in, that he got them sent to the camps, to their deaths.)
His question is a world of unspoken.
"She knows," she said slowly, "And that's why I hope I can trust you."
"The Carrows killed Warren," he said, "Fenrir then told me to be a good boy for Anna or else - in saying that I won't say I regret any of it,"
Anna Griffin was fourteen years old. She was at that awkward stage between childhood and adolescence. She had long, reddish blond hair that was braided back and overalls with a tear in the knee. She has been living with her guardian for a month and is looking more cheerful, more alive, and more happy than Hermione had seen her back in the Homes.
She was happy that her guardian, her 'uncle' Elmo, was back – even if he was a son of a bitch who had hurt people because at least he was family, more or less – and he had brought her a cheap racing broom (Hermione mentally noted that the black market was still going strong). Anna also didn't mind the older boy who lived with them, her guardian's friend and unofficial big brother.
"Micke is really nice," said Anna simply when Hermione asked her about him, "And he knows lots of magic – and he taught me how to play poker,"
And he also was the one who found the Carrows graves, dug them up and blasted them to shreds – but no one knew that except Anna, Scabior and Hermione.
Hermione found out when he reached out with Legilimency to show her.
She didn't report him and she never understood why he showed her.
She supposed he just liked letting people know what he could do.
Micke was Mikael Blomsky, the Swedish boy who had been granted safe haven in the UK during the War in exchange for his services as a Snatcher. He was the one who had saved the man who haunted Hermione's dreams.
They had decided to keep his safe haven, because even though he was a cruel yet charming bastard, he did know a lot about magic, was very powerful and had helped reset most of the wards at Hogwarts with Bill Weasley (they had checked them afterwards though).
The Swedish Ministry hadn't been too pleased but in the end let it go.
Like so many things it seemed at the moment.
Hermione soon finished her check-in with Anna and wished her luck for her third year at Hogwarts.
Scabior watched her from the shadows the entire time.
She started looking forward to those days, when he would come to the Ministry. He would swagger in, sit opposite her and be perfectly respectful and repulsive at the same time. There was this undercurrent, this charge, and this tooth and claw to their meetings.
It was a constant fight, her heart fluttered a bit as his eyes undress her while calling her 'm'am', 'Miss Granger' and everything proper.
She goes home afterwards and kisses Ron senseless.
(she sometimes wonders what he tastes like though)
"Now what do I owe this pleasure, Miss Granger?"
"Standard check-up," she said, hugging her coat against her, a whip like wind making her cheeks flush.
"Anna is staying at –"
"Just let me in," she snapped, glaring at him, "It's freaking cold,"
He stepped aside. "And I wonder how did you survive …" she shot him a death glare and he let the statement trail off.
His home was the same as always: messy with the smell of smoke and ash. There was a roaring fire, heavy curtains drawn – it was a change from his 'shit-hole' of a flat he had had in Knockturn. There were a collection of arm-chairs, a large wooden table – all of which lacked the usual wizardring look but on further inspection had the IKEA look – no doubt an influence from Mikael.
The Swedish wizard in question was sitting by the fire, reading a heavy tome.
"Please sit," said Scabior from behind.
Hermione nodded, turning slightly to face him and noting how close they were. Mere centimetres, just like back in the forest: it always came back to the forest, it always did. Him and her: scents mingling together before he stepped away and realised who 'Ugly' was. His hands came forward, catching hold of her cloak and her heart skipped, pupils dilating slightly.
"Easy," he murmured.
He smiled: it was meant to be disarming.
She stiffened as he unclasped it from her, trying not to breath, but trying to relax. She had come here after all – she had come here, to his home even though check-ups should occur in the Ministry. That was the rule. But like so many things since the War Hermione had stopped putting so much stock in rules and laws.
Ironic since she was the future Head of the Magical Law Enforcement.
"Done," he said softly and he moved to put away her cloak on the stand. When he was done, he passed her and went and slumped on one of the armchair.
He watched her, dark eyes lazy in the heat.
"You gonna sit?" piped up Mikael, looking at her.
"Yes," she said, moving and sitting down on the opposite side of the room.
Mikael shot Scabior a look and the older wizard grinned. Hermione felt her stomach flutter – or was that a twist? –at that. It was an unspoken conversation that portrayed a magnitude of different meanings: and she could read them all.
"So, Love, what do we owe the pleasure?" asked Scabior as he pulled out a cigarette, "Because in case you didn't realise – Anna ain't home. She's at Hogwarts for the winter break,"
"Standard check-ups on you two," she said with a shrug, "Make sure you both are keeping your nose clean,"
(the thing was their check-ups had officially ended a month ago)
"Ahhh," Scabior lit his cigarette and inhaled deeply.
"Standard?" repeated Mikael, "Is it standard to come to our home now? Alone?"
No. No. No.
Mikael saw her silence, and turned to face the fire, but she could see the way his lips quirked upwards. He said something in Swedish to Scabior, who smirked before replying.
Hermione ground her teeth together.
"Don't get upset, Beautiful," said Scabior.
"I do have a name, you know,"
"Oh I'm aware – but you get this cute little flush …" he paused, taking a long drag, "Does it go all the way down?"
"I don't –"
"Course not," he winked at her.
She wished he'd do more than just wink and tease.
(but she doesn't because what about Ron?)
She didn't go back there for a long time.
"Hi, Miss Granger,"
Hermione was in Flourish and Blotts buying a new book when Anna Griffin found her. She often came here after work and pursued the shelves, never really looking for anything in specific. It was nice – reminded her of simpler times, better days when she was small and her eyes were on the stars.
"Hi, Anna," she said, glancing down. She frowned slightly, wondering why she was here and then it hits her – it's the summer break now, Hogwarts is over for now. She smiled. "How was school?"
"Really good thanks," said Anna brightly.
"Ancient Runes going well?"
"It's the best – that and Arithmancy – I placed top of my year in them both,"
"Are you sure you weren't meant for Ravenclaw?" teased Hermione.
"I just work hard," shrugged Anna, "No big deal – besides Dad had already taught me basic runes when I was little so it's a little bit easy,"
"That and you're brilliant," came a familiar voice.
Scabior poked his head around the shelves and came around, placing his worn out hands on Anna's shoulders, giving them a slight squeeze.
"Hello, Miss Granger,"
Dark eyes held her.
"Hello, Mister Scabior," she said stiffly. She glanced at the clock, "I need to go home – bye Anna, study hard and all that – bye Mr Scabior,"
She could feel those eyes on her all the way home and had to take a shower.
She and Ron were hand in hand, going out to dinner when she saw him come through the fireplace at the Ministry: tall, dark with a leather jacket and that swagger. Ron didn't notice, talking about a job he and Harry had just been sent on in Wales and she tried to focus on her best friend turned boyfriend with fiery red hair.
He passed out of sight and when they reached another fireplace he looked at her.
"You okay, 'Mione?"
"Yeah," she said, "Just really tired – long day,"
Ron gave her a light peck. "You work too hard,"
(no work, no play)
"Have I ever not?"
She smiled and returned the kiss.
A/N: Thank you for reading this - any and all thoughts are appreciated: did you love it? hate it? like it? - it doesn't matter even ifs its just a one liner, I would love to hear your thoughts.
I hope you enjoyed this.
Also a minor note – this can be considered a sequel to 'Live Fast, Die Young' (my take on Scabior growing up), 'Snatching Moments' (series of oneshots about the Snatchers in general) and 'Want' (Scabior's perspective in DH1) as it does feature OCs from each, but you don't need to read that to understand this – trust me.
Seriously – this can stand alone.
AND I will have to put this in M rating next chapter, just letting you know btw.