Continuing Tales

Past Imperfect

A Harry Potter Story
by Vitellia

Part 15 of 27

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"So this is what it's like to be beautiful," Hermione says, looking in the mirror. Narcissa Malfoy's icy blue eyes look back at her. Pale golden tresses frame a face so symmetrical Polykleitos could have carved it.

The transition was smoother than she's experienced before with Polyjuice. Severus says it's the quality of the brew. She watches as Severus tips back the little bottle labeled L and drinks. Almost immediately, his hair and eyes began to lighten, his lanky frame to grow fuller. Gray eyes look at her above a chiseled jaw and teeth that belong in a toothpaste commercial. A silken fall of platinum hair hangs past broad shoulders.

Severus transfigures his black clothes into silvery gray and a quill into a preposterous walking stick. Hermione startles when he transfigures her dress – which she brought back from the future for this very occasion and thinks is perfectly adequate – into a dress of fine blue silk that moves over her skin with a whisper-like caress. He's right. This one is better.

He offers his arm. "Shall we, pet?"


"It's what he calls her."

"I only remember him calling her my dear. Or love. Wait, no, that's what she calls him."

"So, are you ready, pet?" he smirks.

"Ready, love," she smirks back.

"Cissy doesn't smirk, my dear."

Hermione composes her face into the serene expression Narcissa so often wears. "Is this better?" she asks in a voice she hopes is sufficiently posh.

"Much," he says, and holds the door open for her. They're in private a room above the Leaky Cauldron, since they can't apparate from inside Hogwarts and can't walk through the castle looking like the Malfoys.

They go first to Ollivander's, where old Mr. Ollivander greets them fondly, recalling each of their wands by wood, core, and length as he does with everyone to whom he's ever sold a wand, like some wizard version of Rain Man.

Before Hermione can open her mouth, Severus says, "I'm afraid my wife has broken her wand and needs to replace it. We'd like to buy the twin to the one you sold her originally?" Do pureblood society wives not speak for themselves? Hermione wonders.

"Sometimes the wand that suits when a witch or wizard is young isn't the best one as she matures," Ollivander says. "Perhaps you'd like to try some others as well to see which best suits you?"

"No, thank you," Hermione says. "I'd just like to buy the twin of my wand, please."

"I really do think –"

"Mr. Ollivander, my wife and I are in a great hurry," Severus cuts in. "Please just see if you have the twin."

"Of course, Mr. Malfoy. Right away," Ollivander says and shuffles to the back of his shop.

Severus is standing extremely close to her, hovering protectively. His proximity and the numerous small touches have her nerve endings on high alert. She was so comfortable with him in her time, when he was oil on canvas, but everything is different now that he's a flesh and blood man. She wonders if he feels the chemistry between them the way she does, whether he finds her as attractive as she finds him. She isn't beautiful – well, she is today, since she's wearing Narcissa's face – but neither is he normally handsome. His features are…compelling. His eyes, his hands, and gods his voice all attract her, but the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Being this close to him - even if she has to look past Lucius's features, since she knows that underneath it's him – makes her ache to feel his magic twine with hers again.

Ollivander returns after a moment with a box that he opens for Hermione. "You're in luck, Mrs. Malfoy. I do have your wand's twin."

"Wonderful," Severus says, again annoying Hermione's inner feminist. After placing the correct number of galleons on the counter, he raises his wand and murmurs, "Obliviate."

"Poor Mr. Ollivander," Hermione says as they exit the shop.

Severus pats her arm. "Don't trouble yourself, pet. He didn't feel a thing."

"You're so in character, it's scary."

Hidden behind the face of a wizard universally acknowledged as attractive, Severus feels free to flirt a little, the way people do at a masquerade ball. "Relax and enjoy it, my dear. It isn't every day you get to be pampered and petted by a wizard of Lucius Malfoy's stature," he murmurs, his lips grazing her ear. He feels her tremble slightly with what, if he didn't know better, he would almost believe is desire.

"Lucius Malfoy is a blood purist wanker," Hermione whispers back, wanting to add that she'd much rather be pampered and petted by a wizard of Severus Snape's stature, but doesn't quite dare. Instead, she straightens her shoulders and puts on her best I am the serene and beautiful and rich Narcissa Malfoy face as they walk into Gringotts.

She hands the twin of Narcissa Malfoy's wand to the goblin on duty and he verifies her identity. It isn't quite as terrifying as the first time she Polyjuiced her way into Bellatrix's vault. Maybe it's because she's done it before, maybe because playing Narcissa is easier than impersonating her lunatic sister, or maybe it's because Severus is at her side, calm and confident where Harry and Ron were as terrified as she was.

Hermione tries not to frown when the cart in which they ride to the vault is much nicer than the ones she's been in before, and the pace less terrifying. So this is how the other half lives. Even the bloody goblins, who Hermione thought hated everyone equally, treat the golden Malfoys with kid gloves.

Once the goblin leaves them alone in the vault, both of them take another sip of Polyjuice. Hermione remembers where the cup was before, and spots it easily. Aware of the duplicating and burning traps, they don't touch anything, but instead Severus levitates the cup directly into a dragonskin bag Hermione holds open. With the bag tightly closed and warded, they leave the vault, ride back up to ground level, and walk out the front door without incident.

"Cissy, Lucius, how marvelous to see you," says a woman Hermione has never seen in her life. She hopes Severus has.

"Posy, you look as lovely as always," Severus says and brushes his lips above the woman's ring-encrusted fingers.

"Posy, dear," Hermione murmurs, accepting and returning kisses that just miss cheeks.

"Lucius, you must have a talk with Severus," Posy says. "Pansy tells me that she's not allowed to partner with Draco in Potions anymore because Severus has him brewing with that horrid little Mudblood."

Ah, so Posy Parkinson, then. Hermione wonders how many different genes code for bitchiness.

"I'll have a word with him," Severus says. "Do forgive us for rushing off, but we have an appointment." Then he raises his wand, but Hermione puts her hand on his arm.

"Allow me, love."

"Certainly, pet."

"Obliviate, you bigoted bitch," she says, and before the confusion clears from Posy Parkinson's dazed expression, Severus side-alongs her into their room above the Leaky. The Horcrux is affecting both of them, but Severus recognizes the symptoms now as well.

Hermione removes a basilisk fang. "Last one. Which of us should do the honors?"

"Last? Are you sure I can't use this on Potter?"


"Let's both do it," he says, and puts his hand over hers around the fang.

She draws in a surprised breath as she feels his magic twining around hers the way it did during their duel. It must be the Dark Magic in the Horcrux, she thinks as gray eyes bore into blue. Even though he looks like Lucius, he feels like Severus. He smells like Severus, in other words, divine. He moves almost imperceptibly closer, and for a moment she sways toward him, eyes fluttering shut.

She recovers herself almost immediately, and looks down at the Hufflepuff cup on the table. As attracted to him as she is – and there's no point in lying to herself about it at this point – there is no way she wants him looking like Lucius sodding Malfoy the first time he kisses her.

His gray eyes are cold and angry when she looks back up, and she tells herself it's just the Horcrux. "Ready?" she asks.

He lets go of her hand and steps back. "You do it," he says, words so sharp they cut like a knife.

She looks at him, confused.

"Either get on with it or give it to me, Granger."

She holds the basilisk fang out to him, and he takes it carefully, without touching her. He plunges it through the cup with such force that it makes Hermione jump, and the soul fragment screams and oozes oily black smoke.

As he vanishes both Horcrux and fang, his hair and eyes darken and Lucius's too-perfect features morph into the face Hermione prefers. Her own transformation is complete as well. With a sharp flick of his wand, Severus casts a Finite and they're back in their own clothes.

"I was rather hoping to keep the dress," Hermione says.

"It didn't fit properly. Narcissa is thinner than you are."

Stung, Hermione turns away. Yes, she knows Narcissa is thinner. And more beautiful. And more everything else a man wants. Apparently the only reason he looked as though he was about to kiss her a few minutes ago was because she had the form of blond, beautiful, thin Narcissa. She walks out of the room and down the stairs, not looking to see if he's coming, too.

Past Imperfect

A Harry Potter Story
by Vitellia

Part 15 of 27

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