A Strange Engagement

A Change of History

When her body stopped spinning, Hermione opened her eyes and found herself standing on an empty street corner overlooking a tiny village. It was around noon, she could see that by the huge clock that towered over everything. However, she could also tell that they were nowhere near London at this point. She turned to Draco, who was sitting beside her on the ground, taking in their surroundings. "Draco, where do you think we are?" she asked him.

"Well, we have to be in the future somewhere, because I said the spell next to the one that brought us into the past."

Hermione nodded, but something was still troubling her. "We can't have gone all the way into the past, could we? I mean as far as we wanted to go originally. This just doesn't seem like the place we wanted to end up. It's too small and lonely."

Draco looked up at her. "There seems to be a village down there. Let's go there and see if we can't discreetly figure out where we are and when we are."

Hermione snorted. "Don't be silly. The village looks to be quite a walk away. I don't want that much exercise and I doubt you do either."

Draco nodded. "Good point. It's a shame we're in the middle of nowhere and there aren't any places that would sell cars."

Hermione nodded ruefully. "I guess our only choice is to walk if we want to know anything."

They began walking together down the road when all of a sudden, Hermione heard the roar of a finely tuned engine and to her surprise, a car drove up alongside them. It was big and looked much older then any car Hermione had ever seen. But when the driver of the vehicle let down the window and asked them if they need a ride, she was sure that they were not as far into the future as they wanted to be.

"You two need a ride?" the young man asked. His smile was warm and friendly, and his brown eyes and bushy hair were very familiar to her. Draco said yes and gave her a strange look when she resisted. Finally, she gave in and allowed herself to be dragged to the vehicle.

"Where can I drop off you lot?" the driver asked. "Anywhere in the village?"

"Yes, please." Draco answered. "We had a car too, but it broke down a ways back."

The driver nodded, and when Draco was sure he was otherwise occupied, he frowned at Hermione and whispered "what is wrong with you? It was you who pointed out we shouldn't walk down to the village, and when we do get a ride, I have to all but carry you bodily into the car!"

"Draco, does our driver seem familiar to you in any way?"

He shook his head. "No, should he?"

Hermione nodded. "Yes! That is Ariella's first husband, and my great-grandfather, the muggle Stanley Granger! Since he didn't recognize me as Ariella, we have to be in a year before they met. God, we could be changing history right now. What if this day isn't supposed to happen?"

Draco scoffed. "Don't be silly. One little car ride is not going to stop him from meeting Ariella and having kids."

"You don't know that," Hermione said warningly.

"And speaking of changing history, would you like to know who the blonde at the Black Cat was, and why the two of us were snogging?"

Hermione nodded. "I would very much," she answered stiffly.

Draco sighed. "Her name is Marguerite Sharpe. She was the girl Valerian fell in love with after he left Ariella, and consequently, the mother of my grandfather."

Hermione looked at him, shocked. "If she fell in love with Valerian after he left Ariella, then why were you snogging her now?"

He looked away. "The snogging at the bar was kind of the catalyst for their whole relationship."

Hermione nodded, and for awhile, the car was silent. Then, just as they reached the village, Stanley asked them if it was their first time in town. When they told him that it was, he began rattling off all the things there was to do, and most of the time forgetting to look at the road, which was getting very narrow. Hermione looked out her window and noticed another car coming right at them.

"Stanley, watch the road please," she said and he laughed.

"Don't be silly, I know these roads like the back of my hand." And he kept talking. Suddenly, a car coming towards them from the village and eager to have them out of its way, hit them head on and sent the car spinning off the road and bouncing into a field of grass. Hermione and Draco braced themselves against the shards of broken glass that jiggled free with every bounce. Cut and bleeding, they managed to pull themselves out of the car, which burst into flames. It was then that they realized Stanley Granger was still trapped inside and would not be coming after them.

As she watched the car burn, Hermione frowned at Draco, nearly in tears. "And I thought you said a little car ride wouldn't change history! Look at that. Stanley's dead, and that means I'm never going to be born!"

Draco said nothing, but put his arms around her, shielding her from the sight of the burning car.

"Do you want to get out of here?" he asked.

Hermione nodded. "We can't do anything more. Let's just do the future spell again and try to get home."

The next time the spinning stopped, they opened their eyes to see a cold, dark room lit all around by tiny torches. Hermione was amazed to find herself sitting on the floor, tied to a post and dressed in a beautiful off-shoulder red gown. There were people in the room and Draco tried to shout at them to ask where they were, but no one paid any attention to him. It was almost like he wasn't there.

Finally, one of the people in the room, a tall dark man, untied Hermione and then got two others to carry her to a stone table, where her wrists were tied again to restrict her movement. The man looked at her for a moment. Then he called for a young man to come. When she heard the young man's name, she realized where she was.

"Draco!" she whispered loudly, just as the young man reached her, "We're at the first sacrificing ceremony!" she cried. "Since Valerian wasn't there, that's why no one can see you! Do something to distract them, so I can get free!"

He looked uncomprehending for a moment, then realized what she was saying. He didn't bother to look for wood just yet, but instead delivered a right hook to the jaw of the vampire nearest to him. The look on the vampire's face made Hermione grin, and when Draco brought down some more, she was able to loosen her knots and get free. By the time the vampires noticed anything, she'd managed to get a hold on her wand and freeze the room.

"Well, what should we do now?" Draco asked.

Hermione thought a moment. "Let's at least kill some of them. Then we'll have less to deal with when we get away." She looked at the young man who was standing over the table, looking at the empty space below him eagerly. "I think I'll start with him. That's Arion, can you believe it?"

Draco looked at the young man and shuddered. "Ariella's second husband and the sire of Fallon, the one person who made my life a complete and utter hell. Can I help finish him off?"

Hermione nodded. "And we should probably do away with the leader too. That way, there might still be vampires, but then they'll have no direction, as well as any others who threaten our lives. Then we get out of here."

Draco nodded. "That makes sense. You know, this is a whole other side of you that I've never seen before. I think I like it. Unfreeze the room now."

Hermione did so, and immediately the fight began. Draco handled the vampires who were guards and random unfortunates trying to tap into his veins while Hermione faced off with the Clan leader, not Gammried this time, but a young male vampire named Arleyan. She had to admire his gumption and drive. By the time he was a pile of ashes, she was bleeding heavily and out of breath. But she couldn't stop. She took a deep breath and with a burst of speed, ran up behind a surprised Arion, hitting him and knocking him to the floor.

When Draco saw what she was doing, he quickly dispatched the vampire he was fighting and ran to help her. After a struggle, Hermione had Arion down on the floor and Draco held a splinter of wood he had found over the vampire's heart. Before Hermione had time to look away, Draco brought the stake down, turning a screaming Arion into a big pile of ashes.

Groaning in pain, Hermione grabbed Draco's hand and the two of them ran from the Clan castle. Once they were on the road, Hermione took stock of her injuries and magically healed the ones she could. The rest she could bear having until they healed. Before Draco said the spell that would send them into the future, and hopefully, home, Hermione put a hand on his arm.

"You know when we get back, Ariella and Valerian won't be together anymore," she said quietly. "I feel bad doing that to them because they seemed so happy."

Draco nodded. "My life depends on Valerian's second relationship, but in a sense, we did what we came back to do. We stopped Ariella from having to sacrifice herself. In fact, you should be happy. You saved her life."

Hermione nodded. "I guess so. I can't wait to see what we have to go back to, since we messed everything up so bad."

Draco smiled and took her hand. "Well, let's find out." And taking her hand, he said the spell one last time, sending them to a home they knew would be very different, but just how different, they had no idea.

A/n- Next chapter is the last one!

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