Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Angel the series (or BtVS, for that matter).
A/N: I played around with timelines a bit. It’s S5 for Angel and Post Hogwarts for HP.
Part 1: The Book Girl
“Come again!” Hermione called, watching the old man waddle out of the shop, leaving in his wake a ring from the bell above the door. She rolled her eyes, hearing him mutter something about her ‘overpriced, understocked selection’.
Los Angeles, the City of Angels. An accurate name if you’re counting Lucifer’s gang,
she mused, leaning back into her chair with an exasperated sigh.
In all honestly, she had no idea why she was still at work at this hour. After all, most sane customers were probably off in their beds, snugly tucked away (sort of like how she should be). Alas, most of the other ‘rare’ book stores in this city seemed to keep late hours as well, and she had to keep up with the competition if she was planning on turning any form of a profit.
Hermione sighed, standing with a stretch. She tugged down her skirt, crossing the space of her shop with a set of keys in hand. A moment later, she had the security gate in place and the front door locked behind her, both of which were basically for show. After all, the wards she’d placed around the building alerted her every time someone entered the premises, a convenience considering that she wasn’t constantly watching the front door during working hours.
The young witch didn’t plan on heading upstairs to her little flat anytime soon. Oh, no, there were papers to file and inquiries to fill out. She glanced down at her desk, glaring at the computer in front of it. There was a time and place for muggle technologies, but she was getting sick of taking the slow route at every task she performed. However, this was the small price she paid for having a life of her own, one that was at least somewhat private.
Any hopes of revisiting her school career had ended a year ago, along with the war against Voldemort. Thankful, she had made it out unscathed beside her two best friends Ron Weasley and the savior of the wizarding world, Harry Potter. Others hadn’t been so lucky as those three, and the thought of the lives lost on both sides weighed heavy on Hermione’s heart. Seeing death had changed her, as much as it had her relationship with Harry and Ron, especially Ron. A love life was not what she was searching for after the last battle, especially after seeing the pain of broken homes and dead loved ones. The trio broke only a few months later, not in fights or tears but with “I’ll see you around” and “I just need a break”.
Hermione had been the first to actually leave, though, sick and tired of the publicity, of the bureaucratic bull that was pushed on her for being friends with the boy-who-lived. A trip to Australia would have been easy for the witch, but she had decided against looking up her parents after she left her friends. That could wait; what she needed was time, for recovery, for rest, so she found a new location altogether. She was correct in assuming that even the greedy quills of the Daily Prophet wouldn’t bother crossing the ocean to interview a side kick. Just as an extra precaution, she’d chosen not to live in one of the few North American wizarding towns, instead selecting a location and business (thanks to a bit of coin that Harry had given her as a going away present) in a larger, muggle city.
Besides her curiosity and the city’s size and location on the west coast, Hermione had absolutely no idea why she had decided to move to LA. Gangs, crime, and strange occurrences were numerous in this place, and she was beginning to wonder if she’d made the wrong decision in coming here—a thought that she would never pass on to her normal, muggle parents who assumed that they had no daughter and were currently living a life as sweet as peaches-n-cream. Over the past few months, she’d dodged several magical locations and kept a low profile, focusing on trading and selling rare muggle books (though, ever the reader, she did have a private back room for ‘special’ customers) and only carrying her wand as a precaution.
Yes, she was quite proud that she’d been able to set up a new life so easily.
Hermione smirked, imagining Ron attempting to do something similar. He’d never survive
, she realized, laughing aloud. She sat down at her desk, her amusement fading at the sight of a small stack of envelopes. Bills: minions of hell if there ever were any. No, Ron would not like this situation at all.
“I’d be surprised if he made it out of The Burrow,” Hermione stated. She looked up with a frown. “Oh, for Merlin’s sake, I’m talking to myself again.”
A static charge swept over her, the hairs on her neck standing as she shivered off the strange chill. “What was tha . . .” Her voice broke, a bright red spark catching her eye as it zoomed around every wall like a firecracker on tracks.The ward! But it’s never been red before
. . . Her eyes widened. “Red means danger!”
She quickly pulled out her desk draw, snatching her wand before she stood again.
A crash sounded from the back of the shop, followed by the cracking clutter of book shelves collapsing. Her breath caught in her chest, every fiber of her being screaming for her to run, but instead she froze, watching the closed curtain that led to the back room.
Something was approaching, closer and closer, almost at the entrance way. She raised her wand, training it on the spot that intuition announced was most crucial.
Her heart stopped as the curtain moved suddenly, jerked off the doorway along with a shower of debris. She cried out as a figure appeared, skidding to a halt behind the counter.
To her surprise it was a man, bleeding, short white-blond locks matted in clumps of crimson.
“Malfoy?” she hissed.
But then he looked up and it was not her old childhood bully staring back at her. The face Hermione saw was not one she recognized; though, she didn’t much imagine even his own family could do a better job from the swelling of his left eye and the mass of broken skin over his chin.
“What?” he asked, dumbstruck, his voice somewhat slurred from the blood pouring from his lip.
“Who the hell are you?” she swore, aiming her wand at his chest.
“None of your damned. . .” He looked away from her, back at the rooms he’d just left behind, a grimace on his face. “Get out of here!”
“I’m not going anywhere!” Hermione snapped.
Then she saw what apparently had broken the man’s face so terribly. It was a creature, a monster, one which Hermione had never seen in all her years of education. But she could assume its name, as vague as it might sound, to be Demon.
“Oh, Merlin,” she whispered.
The thing turned toward her, canines dripping reddened saliva, talon-like claws held up in front of its massive, hairy torso, its head bent forward so that its two horns were horizontal and threatening. With feline-like slits studying the young woman, the monster let out a low growl and charged.