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Ascendant

Chapter Text

They're written down in eternity
But you'll never see the price it costs
The scars collected all their lives
When everything's lost, they pick up their hearts and avenge defeat
Before it all starts, they suffer through harm just to touch a dream

Legends Never Die

Against the Current, League of Legends


Magic filled the air as curses, dangerous ones, and hexes that were fired rapidly on these sacred grounds. Hogwarts used to be Hermione Granger’s sanctuary, but today it was a battlefield.

She stepped back and pressed her back to Harry’s chest as a curse flew over the head. She ducked her head as debris, and stone, scattered above them. Dust and stone brushing against her face and body as she shied away.

She had to protect Harry, to finish this. They were so close to ending this war. She looked around the small fires that blazed in the courtyard and, with Harry and Ron, bolted across.

She ducked and weaved her way through the massive boulders, taking cover behind them. She also had to jump over bodies that fell at her feet. She didn’t want to look; she didn’t want to see who wouldn’t be coming home tonight.

“Hurry, Hermione!” Ron yelled as he twisted his body to fire a curse as someone.

Her body thrummed with panic at the tone of his voice. She reached back and grabbed Harry’s hand and yanked him to her side. They were almost there. They were almost to the path that led to the Shrieking Shack.

Ron fell and Hermione screamed out his name, wanting to go back for him, but Harry gripped her hand and kept moving. “We can’t stop now, there’s nothing we can do for him. We need to end this!”

They made it to the shack and her breath caught in her throat as they crouched low when they heard the papery thin voice of Voldemort. He was talking to someone. It took her a moment to recognize the black billowing robes of her professor. She pressed her body next to Harry and looked over at him with wide eyes.

She flinched when Nagini, wrapped in a perfective sphere, sank her deadly fangs repeatedly into Professor Snape’s neck. She loathed the man, the man that killed the leader of the light, but her heart clenched painfully in her chest as she heard his gurgling breath.

When the coast was clear, they waited a beat before they step inside the shack and looked at their professor. He was still alive, but barely.

Memories, he wants Harry to take memories from him.

Harry murmured something low to Professor Snape as he gathered them, and Hermione looked over her shoulder, the back of her hair sticking up being exposed. He had been here.

Then they were running again.

The fighting had stopped, a small reprieve as they made their way to the headmaster’s office. They needed to see what was so important that Snape used his last breath to ask for them to take some memories.

Harry reached out for Hermione when he poured the memories into the pensive. She didn’t think twice about grabbing his hand and dipping her head in.

Harry’s mum, so young, and carefree, meeting a shy Severus. Their friendship budding over Severus telling Lily she’s a witch.

The Sorting at Hogwarts.

They watched as a young Severus was bullied by Harry’s father, and the Marauders. He was hung upside down, taunted, and slurs thrown at him, his trousers being yanked up so they could see his greying pants. Snape calling Harry’s mother a dreadful slur, and then later begging for forgiveness. Forgiveness that never came.

Another memory, and then another, one right after the other.

Hermione tightened her grip on Harry’s hand on the implications she had learned. What they had to do to end this.

They fell out of the pensive, both panting, and Hermione threw herself in Harry’s arms, holding him tight. If she held him here in this moment, he would be safe and here with her forever.

“I need a moment,” Harry said gruffly. His arms tightened around her before he loosened his hold and released her.

“Okay,” she croaked.

She turned from him; her body throbbed with each step she took. She didn’t want to leave him alone, but knew Harry better than anyone. He needed his space at that moment.

She walked through the castle; her heart heavy as tear misted her eyes. She looked around what once was the Great Hall and her bottom lip trembled. So much death and destruction.

Bodies were neatly laid out, side by side. All ages and races. War didn’t care what house you were from, race, age, or background when it came to killing.

Her eyes found the Weasley family and sniffed, taking the back of her hand and wiping angrily at the tears that sprang to her eyes. They had lost Fred and Ron.

Ron, who she just shared a kiss with, finally both of them realizing they loved each other. Now, that dream was yanked from her viciously as soon as it started.

A hand brushed against hers, and she looked up to see Harry.

“I need to go.”

She knew what he meant, knew what he was. She had suspected it for some time, but her heart didn’t want to accept what her head knew. He was Harry, her best friend. She looked at him, and his emerald eyes were dull as he looked at the death that surrounded him. She had already lost one best friend and didn’t want to lose another.

“It’s not your fault,” she croaked.

He swallowed, his throat working trying to speak, but he remained mute.

He pulled her into his arms and held her tight, “I can end this, we can,” he said fiercely. “Find the snake, and he’ll be mortal once more.”

“I can go with you,” she said.

“No,” he said in a quiet voice. “I have to go alone. The others need you here.” His eyes roamed her face and nodded, his resolve strengthening. “I’ll see you soon,” he said and pressed his lips to her forehead.

She didn’t know the order of events after that. She watched her best friend fade into the distance, and then she was fighting for her life once again.

She watched Neville fall, the giant snake Nagini wrapped around him, her fangs imbedded into his throat as he swung the sword of Gryffindor and missed. It only took a moment before Nagini landed the killing blow on dear sweet Neville.

Hermione screamed and fire shot after shot, knowing it would do no good. Nothing would kill the snake, nothing but a Basilisk fang, or the sword proper, but she was so tired, she wanted this bloody war over. She wanted him dead.

She ducked and weaved through the debris that littered the hallways, and then all fighting suddenly stopped with the scream of Ginny Weasley.

Hermione blinked, as she was yanked back, a scream on her lips until she saw McGonagall, her face hard as she pulled Hermione away from where people were gathering. They ended up in the headmaster’s office once again, and McGonagall closed it with a bang and locked the door with a swish of her wand.

Hermione’s body trembling with adrenalin as McGonagall moved about the office. Her eyes strayed to the pensive where she and Harry stood a short time ago.

McGonagall muttered to herself, moving around the room. The Portrait of Dumbledore was awake for once and speaking to her as she rummaged through one of the drawers.

She looked out the window and onto the courtyard as the castle rumbled once again. She let out an anguished cry at the body of Harry Potter. The dead body of her best friend that was yanked from Hagrid’s arms and kicked viciously to the feet of him.

They had failed.

McGonagall turned her from the scene and pressed her palms against her shoulders and looked her in the eyes. “You need to go back,” she said.

“I know, Harry…”

“No, the war is lost,” McGonagall said and pulled a satchel from around her waist and dug into the confines. “I’m sending you back in time,”

Hermione expected a time-turner, but McGonagall pulled out a potion and swished it around. It was a violet blue and look viscous.

“What’s that?”

“It doesn’t matter, what I can tell you is that Albus made a back-up plan in case things went wrong. Harry is dead and we are depending on you. I know it’s a lot to ask, Hermione, but we need you to go back and fix what went wrong.”

Hermione swallowed her fear and nodded.

Dumbledore tried to speak, but McGonagall shushed him with a glare. “You’ve done enough, Albus,” she barked at him. “Too many secrets and downright lies!”

“It was for the Greater Good.”

McGonagall scoffed and turned her back on him and concentrated on Hermione. “This potion will bring you back, how far, I don’t know. You’ll be reborn. You’ll cease to exist here, you will die,” she croaked. “But your soul will live on, and you’ll be born as another. You’ll still have your memories of this life, but this life, it’ll cease to exist.”

“But we can’t meddle with time, Professor Dumbledore…”

McGonagall shook her head, “No, this is not meddling with time or changing history, you’ll not be put somewhere you don’t belong. You’ll belong there, born into a different family. You need to interweave your life there. This time, this line will wink out of existence for you. You’ll create a new one. You have all the information you need to end this, Hermione.”

Hermione thought about the ramifications of taking the potion. She thought of her mother and father. They were dead. They had found them in Australia and made an example out of them, hoping Hermione would come out of hiding. Tears misted her eyes as she grasped the potion, thinking of all the lives lost. She didn’t really have anyone here any more. She was an orphan, just like so many. Could she change the future and make a better world for everyone?

She took a shuddering breath and looked out at Harry, who lay there unmoving as Death Eaters hexed and cursed his dead body in celebration.

Not taking her eyes off her Harry, she whispered the words that would change everything for her. “I’ll do it.”