Continuing Tales

Past Imperfect

A Harry Potter Story
by Vitellia

Part 13 of 27

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Hermione apparates into the library at Grimmauld Place under the invisibility cloak, hoping to find it empty, but no such luck. Sirius is sitting slumped in an armchair drinking firewhiskey and his elf is carrying a tray into the room.

"Kreacher has brought Master's tea."

"I don't want any fucking tea." Sirius slurs.

The elf pays him no mind. "Kreacher has brought Master's favorite jam tarts," he says, putting one on a plate and pouring tea.

Sirius takes a bite of the tart and drinks some tea. He mutters obscenities under his breath when Kreacher picks up the glass and firewhiskey bottle, but doesn't protest.

Hermione moves quietly past them to the door and down the hallway to the kitchen. Kreacher is right behind her so she ducks into a corner and waits. He is puttering around, walking back and forth in front of the doorway Hermione needs to go through to get to where the elf keeps his pilfered treasures. She leans against the wall, waiting.

Half an hour later, with her back aching and her feet falling asleep, she hears a crash that sounds like Sirius has upset his tea tray. Kreacher hurries off to see to Master, and Hermione makes a dash through the door to Kreacher's lair.

It's disgusting. That elf is a hoarder. She paws through the detritus of years' worth of petty theft before she sees a glint of gold, and pulls the locket out of the mess.

"Thief!" Kreacher shrieks. "Mudblood thief!"

Hermione stuffs the locket into her pocket and starts to apparate but Kreacher is quicker. The elf grabs her and apparates her to the library, where Sirius squints at her with bloodshot eyes. She glamours away the straight, dark hair and blue eyes.


"Hello, Sirius."

"'Swonderful to see you, Mione."

"Master, this Mudblood was –"

"How many times have I told you not to use that word, you wretched little beast?"

"Kreacher is sorry, Master. But the Mu– the thief was stealing Kreacher's treasures."

"You mean the treasure Kreacher himself stole from the House of Black after Master Regulus died?" Hermione says. "That treasure?"

"Kreacher was only keeping it safe, Master."

"What treasure?" Sirius asks.

"This," Hermione says, holding up the locket. Sirius reaches his hand out. "I wouldn't if I were you. I'll explain why, but can you ask Kreacher to give us some privacy first, please?"

"Out, Kreacher!" he orders, then tilts his head to the side, looking at Hermione. "You look different. And so pretty." He stares at her tits, then frowns. "How old are you, Mione?"

"Sirius," she begins, then stops. What's the point, really? "Obliviate," she says, and apparates away.

There's no one in sight when she arrives at the gates, so she takes a basilisk fang out of her bag and puts paid to one more piece of Tom Riddle before walking back to the castle. The Horcrux was already making her feel unsettled and hopeless. She remembers how awful she and Harry and Ron felt during those long months in the tent. She wonders whether maybe Kreacher was a lovely, cheerful elf before he took a Horcrux back to his sleeping nest.

Severus is in his lab when she gets there and tosses the blackened, broken locket on the table next to a ring in a similar state.

"Feel better?" Hermione asks.


"Two Horcruxes in one day," she says. "That's definitely a record."

"You've told me the original version, with the escaping on the backs of dragons and whatnot, and, well, it all feels a bit anticlimactic, doesn't it?"

"If having your throat ripped out by a snake with a bit of Riddle's soul inside is the kind of climax you're after…"

"Not exactly. But riding a dragon rather appeals."

"You sound like Malfoy," she says, a little sadly, he thinks.

"You sound like you miss him."

"I do. My Malfoy, not the boy in my class, who may grow up to be an entirely different sort of Malfoy."

Her Malfoy? She's always talked about him as though he were a friend, but there's something wistful in the way she says my Malfoy, something that suggests he was more than a friend.

"You still haven't given me the book that has the Horcrux potion in it," he says.

She's tense again, he notices. Why? She pulls it out of her bag and opens it to page marked by a black silk ribbon. She slides the book across the table and watches him as he reads.

He looks up at her. "Virgin's blood? Do you know what that costs? If you can even find a supplier?"

"I brought it with me."

"Where did you get it?"

"What difference does it make? I have it."

Her own, he supposes. She knows enough about potions not waste such a valuable ingredient by not harvesting it when the opportunity presented itself. She's right about the brewing itself. It isn't difficult. He looks at the book without seeming to read it, his index finger stroking his lower lip. "We could brew it now."

"After the cup," she says. "And I really would like to work on the Time Turner potion. If there are complications getting the cup, I might have to stay here longer than planned."

"I should think you'd want to get that thing out of Potter sooner rather than later."

"He had it for three more years in my time. It only started doing real damage in our fifth year. When will you be able to get some of Lucius and Narcissa's hair? Your future self seemed to think it wouldn't be a problem."

He pushes two bottles across the table toward her. One is labeled N, the other L.

"When did you go?"

"I actually had both of them on hand already." At her raised brow, he says, "You never know when you might need that sort of thing in my line of work."

"You're almost obsessively well prepared."

"Says the woman who keeps virgin's blood on hand."

She flushes and looks away.

"And after the last Horcrux?" he asks.

"I go back, I suppose."

"And we all live happily ever after?"

She's quiet for a moment. "I have no idea."

Past Imperfect

A Harry Potter Story
by Vitellia

Part 13 of 27

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