This series was created after I wrote Dean's reaction in Hermione's Hounds about finding out Sam and Hermione remembered the alternate universe. The more I worked on this, the more it became it's own piece. So instead of being tied to Hermione's Hounds, this is a standalone drabble series.
Harry Potter met Voldemort in battle at Hogwarts Wizarding School. It was the final skirmish of the second wizarding war, and neither Harry, nor Voldemort survived. When both sides realized neither of their "leaders" had lived, chaos erupted. Death Eaters began massacring students with impunity, while members of both sides fled.
The death count was astronomical, and the effort to rebuild the British Enclave was delayed with funerals and fear of reprisal. Many survivors, like Hermione Granger, chose to simply leave entirely.
The young witch told no one of her plans as she applied for asylum with MACUSA, nor did she share when they granted her citizenship in an unprecedented speed. Her new government didn't have to tell her why they'd chosen to fast track her application. Despite the lack of assistance from the international wizarding community, knowledge of the in the British Enclave had spilled past the borders and into other countries.
Hermione received the revelation with apathy. She'd buried too many friends and family to bother reacting to the news that it hadn't been necessary. In the dark recesses of her mind, Hermione already knew that the deaths were avoidable, but unfortunately, power corrupts. A group of school boys chose to set their world on fire for a taste of power and a misguided belief of superiority.
Arriving at Ellis Island's portkey checkpoint, Hermione Granger was ushered into the naturalization process for magical immigrants. The efficiency of the progress astounded her, but the inclusion of Supernatural Classes positively fascinated the young witch.
Unlike the United Kingdom, America was home to thousands of supernatural creatures, all of whom differed greatly from Magical Creatures and Beings. Hermione rediscovered her love for learning, and delved into the information, memorizing as much as she could. Despite the amount of interest she held in the subject, Hermione decidedly want to avoid all manner of supernatural beings.
MACUSA helped her settle down in Columbus, Ohio. A city large enough to disappear in and have a small wizarding district. At least that's how they described it to her originally. Once she moved there, Hermione learned that the wizarding district was interwoven throughout the muggle one. Certain shops catered to both magical and muggle alike, with hidden sections for the magically inclined. Other magical shops were set up directly adjacent to muggle ones, with the relevant magic to deter muggles.
It was fascinating.
For nearly four months, Hermione did nothing, but explore her new city. Each day she'd discover a new hidden gem, and not think about the death and devastation she'd escaped. Nearly four peaceful months, she'd evaded Harry's unfortunate penchant for attracting danger.
It was four months of bliss, until she answered the door today and came face to face with two hunters.
"Afternoon ma'am," the man greeted her when she'd cracked the door open. He and his partner were both holding up an excellent forgery of an FBI badge for her to see. "I'm agent Robbins, this is Agent Baskins. We're investigating a few deaths in the area, and would like to ask you a few questions."
"Baskins and Robbins," Hermione repeated, skeptically examine the two men. Agent Robbins gave her a sheepish grin.
"Our boss has a sense of humor," he explained.
"I'll say," Agent Baskins muttered. "I'm lactose intolerant."
"Have you seen anything odd?" Agent Robbins asked after rolling his eyes at his partner's comment. "Anyone appear out of place or just acting strange?"
Hermione shook her head, "No. I'm new to the area though, so I'd probably wouldn't have noticed anyone acting out of sorts."
The inquisition went on far longer than Hermione was comfortable with enduring. Each time she thought she'd cleverly ended their line of questions, one of the
would think of yet another. The witch didn't relax until both men had left her flat, and she was sure that they weren't monitoring her.
"Fuck," Hermione muttered under her breath. She would have to be exceedingly careful until both hunters left town. No deviations from her routine, or Merlin forbid, bolting for it. She'd never get rid of them then. She remained undisturbed for two more days.
Each Saturday morning, Hermione walked down to the local farmer's market to buy fresh produce for the upcoming week. It gave her a chance to meet more of her neighbors, and explore her community.
Walking up to her front door, the bag of groceries slipped from her grasp and crashed to the floor. Her wand was in her hand, before she realized she summoned it. Habits developed during the war ensured she had already put a silence charm over herself before slipping past the door.
"Bloody hell," Hermione muttered as she cast a homineum revelio charm silently. It came back with only one ding, identifying that she was alone. The destruction of her flat, however, told her that someone certainly had broken in. Shattered glass; shards of windows, mirrors, and all of her dishes covered every inch of her floors. Her books lay in tattered pieces alongside the glass, broken spines of beloved novels. Throw pillows and her furniture had their stuffing ripped out and tossed carelessly away.
Not even magic could repair the damage to her home. She was nearly in the center of the sitting room when her Occlumency Shields were attacked. Blinding pain focused on her mind sent her plummeting to her knees. Glass embedded itself sharply into her palms and knees, yet all she could feel was the violent attempt of turning her mental shields into ribbons.
Had Hermione remained cognizant of her surroundings, she would have realized two men were frantically searching through the debris of her flat. Instead the witch was lying prone moaning while she poured her magical reserves into preserving her mental shields.
The scent of smoke filtered into her nostrils first. Then the pain in her hands and knees filled into her pain receptors. The very last thing Hermione noticed was the man talking to her and attempting to help her stand.
"Bobby! Bobby I found another one!"
"Burn it!" Bobby, the man assisting her, called back.
"Don't!" Hermione ordered, gasping the word out. "There's a box on the kitchen island. Lead lined."
"Rufus, bring it in here," Bobby called, helping her walk over to the kitchen counter. Hermione was grateful that he'd understood her intention. When his companion joined them, Bobby emptied out the contents of the hex bag and then slammed the lid shut. Hermione watched as they burned the bag. It lit up in blue flames.
"Who do I kill?" Hermione asked stowing her wand in its halter. She slowly pulled shards of glass out of her palms, wincing at the stinging sensation it caused. Neither hunter had managed an answer by the time she'd retrieved an unopened bottle of Johnny Walker Blue whiskey, though Rufus' eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas.
"We haven't quite worked that out yet," Bobby admitted as the girl tossed a healthy gulp of whiskey back before she handed the bottle to Rufus. "I do have to say miss, you're taking this awfully well. Most people tend to be freaked out when they're attacked."
"It loses the shock value when it happens repeatedly," Hermione answered. "Now it just pisses me off. Fucking borrowers."
"Borrowers?" Rufus asked passing the bottle to Bobby. "What the hell is a Borrower?"
"I thought you were hunters," Hermione said looking at them suspiciously.
"We are," Bobby answered. "Still never heard of a Borrower."
"They're a type of witch," Hermione answered grimacing. "At least they use the moniker. In reality, they're far closer to Warlocks."
"Warlocks get their powers from making a pact with either, pagans, fairies, demons, etc. Anything with the ability to give them power. However, if you piss off your new deity, poof, powers gone. Borrowers are similar in that they get their
from a deal. Except they only make those deals with demons, often stupidly trade their souls, and only have access to a few shitty parlour tricks."
"You a hunter too?" Rufus asked, sounding skeptical. "You seem awfully well read about the current situation."
"No," Hermione answered, before pulling her wand out and setting it on the kitchen island. "I'm not a hunter. I'm authentic."
"You going to poke someone's eye out with a stick?" Rufus asked as Bobby glared at him. "What? She's got excellent taste, figured she deserved a little leeway."
Hermione rolled her eyes and blasted a hole in the nearest wall, before turning back to the two men.
"Yes. I use this to poke people's eyes out," she answered.
"She's a mage, you idjit," Bobby said before pulling the bottle of whiskey out of Rufus' hands. "Except, mages supposedly died out during the Dark Ages. Clearly that was a lie."
"We concealed ourselves from Muggles, those without magic, considering several covens of Borrowers and Students incited the witch hunts to begin," Hermione answered. "We aren't taught to control our magic until age eleven, and after several families died protecting their children, the Statute of Secrecy was enacted internationally."
"You expect that many people to keep a secret?" Rufus asked.
"When the punishment is prison, guarded by soul sucking wraiths," Hermione said, "then yes."
"Exactly how are you going to avoid magical prison since you're telling us about it?" Bobby asked earning a bit of grin from the witch.
"MACUSA, the Magical Congress of the United States, created a law that classifies all hunters as employees of theirs who are vital to containing supernatural creatures, which prey upon innocent civilians, both magical and non-magical, and preventing unnecessary deaths. It's a clever loophole."
"They seem to have forgotten to pay me," Rufus muttered. "Think they'll honor back pay?"
Bobby ignored him to ask, "What exactly are Students?"
"An unexplained enigma," Hermione answered. "Thy manage to master magic by studying it. There are theories that magic is sentient, and the existence of students certainly seems to support it. Most students end up blowing themselves up or burning out their magic by trying a spell they can't control. The last group is also the rarest, Naturals, simply have magic. We try to catch them early on, and then most of our world simply assumes they're just another muggleborn."
"What about the students? Can't you help them too?"
"We've no way to track their magic," Hermione said, sadness coloring her tone. "That's who we find Naturals, because when they're young enough, their magical outbursts trigger our underage detection wards. If a Student gets our attention….it's usually because they've gone too far and have to be put down."
"Like a dog?" Bobby asked grimacing.
"The magic that they practice is just like that of Borrowers. They only difference is that they don't have a demon corrupting their souls. They all use the same ritual magic, slaughtering animals, for example. Now granted, there are some potion ingredients that are rather gross, like rat spleen, but we have apothecaries which are regulated by our governments. You can't just walk around slaughtering animals in your house to get a magical curse. In fact, the vast majority of our potions industry is heavily regulated, to prevent certain substances from being peddled."
"It's all unnatural," Rufus muttered. "Rat spleen, gross, what's next Eye of Newt?"
"Belladonna and Arsenic are both natural, but they'll still kill you," Hermione pointed out. "Besides, Eye of Newt is actually a mustard seed. It became a popularized witchy ingredient after Shakespeare included it in Macbeth."
Neither Rufus or Hermione expected Bobby to erupt into laughter.
"You're a pistol girl," Bobby said.
"Thanks, I think," she said as she tapped the nearly empty bottle of whiskey. Rufus and Bobby's eyes widened as they watched it become instantly full again.
"Did she just…" Rufus asked before his voice trailed off.
"Yes," Bobby said. Rufus was the first to snatch the bottle and take a drink. He wordlessly handed the bottle to Bobby while he stared at Hermione like he'd found God.
"How do you feel about older men?" Rufus demanded.
"Keep it in your pants iidjit," Bobby said, rolling his eyes. "We've got more important things than fueling your alcoholism."
"Don't suppose you have a witchcatcher handy?" Rufus asked.
"No," Bobby answered. "Nor would it be helpful in this case."
"Just making a suggestion," Rufus said holding his hands up.
"A stupid suggestion," Bobby muttered. "Easiest would be a bullet to the head. Aside from that, I don't know, fire?"
Wordlessly, Hermione conjured her signature blue bell flames in the palm of her wand hand.
"Neat trick," Bobby said as the flames went out. "We should head back to our motel room. All of the information we've gathered is there, and you can't stay here."
Hermione didn't argue. Instead, she pulled her beaded bag out of her pocket and shoved the lead box into it. Before she left with the two hunters, Hermione summoned the single picture frame that was in the flat. Bobby and Rufus watched silently as the photograph of three teenagers was pushed inside.
The witch didn't bother looking back as she followed Bobby and Rufus out.