Authors Note: holy shit! I cant believe this I have three weeks till I write my final exams and what do I do.... I get back and write again hahahaha. Ok sorry guys this is a bit of a weird chapter I wrote this when I was on a lot of flue medication ( ha Im really really sick). I hope its up to standards if not yell at me. Sorry again this has taken so long to update. Almost a year now. I'll try and keep up with it. Any questions please email me. Anyway on with the story.
The old wizard hadn't changed a bit. He was exactly the same man that she had met on her very first day at Hogwarts. His eyes held their familiar blue twinkle. Hermione would swear that he enchanted them daily so that they would maintain their youthful mischievous glow.
The old wizard stood up straight, climbing out of the hearth, brushing off the little acid green flames that clung stubbornly to him and refused to leave his robe. One particular flame had decided it rather liked his beard and was growing merrily feeding off his hair. Quicker then anyone would have expected he drew his wand and dowsed the pesky flame with a simple swish.
"Pesky little things aren't they? Oh well not much can be said about floo powder, very convenient but highly... flammable." Chimed Headmaster Dumbledore.
Every one in the room just gaped open mouthed at the peculiar old man. As he stepped clear of the hearth Hermione took a moment to try and compose her self. In vain she couldn't halt the tears from flowing freely down her face.
"There, there Mrs. Granger, certainly I am not that horrible to look at." Smirked Dumbledore moving towards the distressed woman and pulling from his robes a silken handkerchief (which for some odd reason looked disturbingly like one of the tapestries at Hogwarts).
Hermione gave him a small smile and attempted to laugh. She only managed a slight choking noise from her throat. She sighed and took the hanky gratefully from his wrinkled grasp.
Dumbledore gave her a look of understanding. " Its quite all right child, it was a bad joke."
Black snorted as if to say that it was an understatement, causing Dumbledore to recognize the very confused party before him.
"Now then" He chirped, clapping his hands together. "My dear Lilly and James, may I congratulate you on your beautiful new baby boy. I'm sure he will be the cause of many new grey hairs to my already highly silver head of hair."
James and Lilly laughed looking proudly at their little boy who took this opportunity to burp and soil himself. Dumbledore smiled proudly at the happy family.
Turning to Sirius and the Lupins Dumbledore continued. "As a gift for the new parents I suggest you three take the new parents and new babe out for a nice dinner, I feel the atmosphere in here is a bit stifling" He stated in a manner that was much less a request as it was an order.
No one argued.
"Very well Albus" Grumbled Sirius and Remus in unison, neither was please about leaving Hermione alone.
Lilly on the other hand seemed ecstatic at the proposal; she had no plans on spending this happy occasion spoiled by the return of the bushy haired lady.
"Well then lets go, I'm starving!" She cried.
"Lily you know now that your not pregnant anymore you cant just eat everything." remarked a goofy faced Sirius.
"Shut up!" came the rebuttal from everyone in the room.
Five minutes later the Potters, Lupins and Sirius Black had left for some undecided location leaving a highly distressed Hermione Granger to the powers of Albus Dumbledore.
Hermione stared blankly at the old coffee table in front of her; the photo album lay forgotten, as did the mirror. Tears of pain, sadness, grief and plain exhaustion rolled down her cheeks. No matter how she willed it she could not stop them.
Albus took a seat next to her; the couch sagged under the added weight. He placed a comforting hand on her skeletal shoulders and gave them a comforting squeeze.
"Welcome home Miss Granger." He smiled down at her.
Although nothing of great importance had just been said, this simple comment brought on a rush of tears and cries. Dumbledore did little to silence her, just holding her giving her comfort was all that he could do for the poor woman. After a few moments Hermione finally composed herself enough to speak.
"Why am I back?! Headmaster what am I doing here?! She cried in dismay fresh tears breaking through yet again.
"Miss Granger... Hermione I need you to calm yourself. You need to approach what I am about to say with a clear mind." Exclaimed Albus indicating in a polite way that she needed to stop crying.
Hermione nodded in agreement then proceeded to gasp and quiver in attempt to try to calm her crying. The tears after a few minutes began to slow. Finally she turned her attention to Albus.
"I'm sorry headmaster. I'm acting like a child." She whispered trying to will herself not to cry again.
"Hermione" Soothed Dumbledore "You have never in all my years, acted like a child. I have more a chance of acting like an adult then you do acting like a child."
Hermione forced a laugh at this. It wasn't a real laugh, she didn't believe she ever would laugh again.
"You have experienced something that no one in all their life should be subjected to and you have handled it like a woman wise beyond her years." Dumbledore continued.
"What is going on Headmaster?" She cried softly, her arms wrapped around herself in a fetal position.
"I am afraid I have very few answers to give you Hermione." Replied Dumbledore sadly.
"What can you tell me? Why am I here?" she whispered in defeat.
Dumbledore simply sighed. "Hermione, when Tom removed you from your original time he altered the fabrication of the time he sent you too. This was what he had hoped to accomplish, what he didn't count on happening as far and I can tell was you coming to Hogwarts instead of being trapped from day one in his custody."
"That still doesn't explain why I'm here...." She interrupted.
"Miss Granger please allow me to finish." Piped Dumbledore.
Hermione went red in the face for not showing him the respect he deserved.
Dumbledore just smiled at her with his annoying twinkling blue eyes.
"What Tom did not count on Hermione, or at least as far as I can tell was you coming to Hogwarts and thus influencing those around you in some way."
"Influencing?" repeated Hermione.
"Yes influencing those around you. Whether it was intentional or not, your position at Hogwarts many years ago changed the paths of every one you came in contact with, directly or indirectly. A prime example is Narcissa and Remus Lupin. With out your intervention neither would have the happiness they have now." Dumbledore looked gravely at Hermione. "You know what might have happened in the future had they not."
Hermione nodded. "What does this have to do with my re-insertion into this time period?"
"I'm getting to that." Hushed Dumbledore. "By changing the course of history, you set off a new chain of events that affected not only the magical world but the muggle world as well."
Hermione looked uncomfortable at these words. She was not accustomed to not understanding things, especially those as important as this.
"In changing certain events, many things that were destined to happen... they never occurred." Dumbledore looked a little uncomfortable in what he was saying. Hermione's eyes went wide as it clicked into her mind what it was he was saying.
"You mean that...." She started, trying desperately to fully understand what it was that she was about to say. "I was never born?"
Dumbledore nodded. "Yes...you were never born, your parents Hermione never met. I'm not sure what chain of events was interrupted to prevent this but never the less you parents never met, married or gave birth to you...."
Somehow through all this Hermione felt that she could not cry. Something inside of her began to numb, to solidify, to harden. She had never been born that meant that her parents would never die because of her being a muggle born witch... they were safe....
"Why then am I here Headmaster?" she said, her voice sounding harder then the whisper it had been moments before.
Dumbledore registered the change and looked sadly at the woman before him. "You are here Hermione simply because Time has willed it to be so."
"I don't understand" replied Hermione.
"The night Time took you into itself, the night that you supposedly died to the world. That was times way of removing your existence from the fabric, it re – wrote itself, while every thing you had done could no be undone, you yourself were removed as a way of prevention of further tampering."
"So it pulled me out so I would ruin its plan any longer." Stated Hermione.
"Yes... and no. Time removed you because of two things, one you technically could not exist with out any prior past in this time, and two your genetic makeup was beginning to unravel as their was no reference to your birth that time could draw on. That is why you "faded" away."
"I still don't understand Headmaster." Hermione pleaded. "If I don't exist then why am I here, why tonight?! Why am I back?"
"Hermione, for a witch who has topped Hogwarts with records that may never be broken you have the patience of a gnat!" Dumbledore laughed, his laugh seemed to light the room, Hermione swore that she saw the lanterns glow brighter.
Hermione blushed and smiled. The headmaster of Hogwarts had never playfully teased her before ... well stranger things had happened.
"Hermione you are here.... Well let me rephrase that. I believe you are here because the fabric of time can no longer continue with in a balance with out your presence. It appears to me that a certain event must occur and you must be a part of it, that is why I believe time has brought you back, because you belong here." Dumbledore gave her a look that could have spanned the ages, it seemed to seal what he had said as fact.
"So I have a purpose, that I don't know what it is? That's how I'm supposed to live my life? Awaiting till this 'event' occurs and then get stripped from time once again and thrown back into euphoria?" She growled in frustration.
Dumbledore now looked at her in the eyes, his own brilliant blue ones loosing their twinkle ever so slightly.
"I honestly don't know Hermione, there is a possibility of that happening."
'I don't believe this! I get taken out, put back in, only to be taken out again!? What am I a permanent player in a fucked up life version of the hokey – pokey!?"
Dumbledore said nothing, he just let her seethe away her anger and frustration. She hissed and swore, snarling out words that made even Dumbledore raise his eyebrows at. After a few moments she calmed and managed to string a few sentences together with out any profanities.
"What do I do? Headmaster? I have no life here? No living, if I am to wait around till I'm yanked away again, I have to have something to live on." She stated.
"I believe I have a solution to this. You must come and join the staff at Hogwarts." Chimed Dumbledore, clapping his hands together.
"Staff?!" She gasped. "As in teach? Dumbledore not only did I not graduate, I'm also the age of a student!"
Dumbledore laughed at her yet again.
"You know I'm beginning to think that the world is out to make a big joke of me." Grumbled Hermione.
"I'm sorry dear, but I should have assumed you have no had a good look at yourself since you arrived." He smiled waving his wand he transfigured the hand mirror into a large full body mirror, levitating in mid air.
Hermione froze. Her eyes looked at the mirror as it reflected back a person that was not her. Her hair was matted from the rain, but had lost many of its curls and frizz, it was now a tamer and wavier mane, all though she suspect that it would puff up once it was dry. Her face was longer and more mature, skin was pale as always but with out freckles and the rose colour of youth. Lastly she could tell even though she was seated that her body had filled out, she had been stick thing with little curves but now sported the features of a mature woman in her prime, even if she had no tone to speak of.
"Is that me?" she gasped in wonder.
"Yes, a full grown woman." Dumbledore beamed with pride.
"I Look like a cream puff!" she screeched!
Dumbledore snorted. "Well you can't expect time to do everything for you!"
"I believe I understand now" she growled. "Because I was never born, I never learned how to walk, run, just and all those other things that even two year olds can do. I have had my age accelerated, destroying years of my life making me an age I do not know, can you at least tell me why?"
"I don't have all the answers but things of this magnitude happen for a reason. You will simply have to relearn all that you known, allowing your body to catch up with your brain. I have no doubt that your 'cream puff' state as you call it will be gone in a matter of months"
"Why couldn't it have just left me to sleep. I was at peace." She growled in frustration of having to relearn something for once in her life.
"Hermione, you have in a sense been given another chance at life. Do not waste it on wishing that you could be at rest." Explained Dumbledore in a tone that left little to be argued."So what do I do now? I never finished school, I can't walk, let alone stand. I have no identity. HA! Some second chance." Hermione scoffed.
"Your inability to walk, I believe that therapy would help you to stand, walk and run in less then a few months. Your brain does still remember how to do these things, your body just needs to be taught how." Dumbledore seemed to have it all planed out.
"So what do I do then? You mentioned something about staff at Hogwarts" she mumbled whipping her tears.
"Hermione I would like you to come and teach at Hogwarts after the summer holidays. As our new Defense against the Dark arts professor."
"ARE YOU SERIOUS!?" she screamed with glee, the thought of teaching a subject that had so many resources at its grasp, the amount of research and the chance to be back at Hogwarts gain made her fidget with excitement.
"I wouldn't have asked unless I was." He stated smartly
"Headmaster I cannot thank you enough. I don't know what to say honestly."
"You can start by calling me Albus, as we are now colleagues." Smiled Albus.
"Now Hermione, I believe we should find you a place to live. I believe London would be an appropriate place to find suitable accommodation." Dumbledore said getting off the sofa. Hermione looked at him and then around the room trying to fathom all that had just occur. Her eyes traveled the beautiful home and landed back on the worn photo album on the coffee table. Dumbledore watched her intently.
She pulled the album once again onto her lap, her arms straining under the added pressure. She traced the page she had looked at not to long ago, this was a memory.
"Sir, if I ... I don't understand something." She whispered looking at the picture of her, Lucius and Severus.. "If I was never born, and left this time how is it that I am still in the pictures?"
Dumbledore just looked at her. " Even I do not have all the answers Hermione."
Hermione just nodded and watched the figures in the photo.
"Sir?" she mumbled.
"Can you answer a few questions for me?"
Dumbledore nodded. "I can answer only those that I know the answer to."
Hermione smiled. "Sir, what happened to ... to Lucius? I never asked when I was in the infirmary that night"
Dumbledore smiled. "as I said Hermione, your intervention into the lives of others in your short time changed the course of history. Lucius as you know did not marry Narcissa"
"Yes I know" she mumbled.
"Lucius did however marry. Rather surprisingly he married a young muggle born witch, from your year."
Hermione froze. "Lucius Malfoy! Married a muggle born witch?!"
Dumbledore laughed. "Truly amazing the outcomes of a different opinion to influence your own."
Hermione joined him in a small laugh. "What is he doing now? Did he suffer from that night?"
"Lucius is now deputy Minister of Magic, and no Lucius has had nothing from that night affect him in the normal wizard world. He never had the mark burnt on his body and none could testify that he had actually been there. Anyone who would have know would have given themselves away as being a member of the circle."
Hermione looked at the picture. " Then he is safe."
Dumbledore smiled. "Yes... well for the time being.... He won't be safe from everything in about a month's time. Poor boy will be severely sleep deprived."
Hermione looked at him questioningly.
"Lucius is going to be a father Hermione." The headmaster said with a twinkle in his eye.
She froze, remembering Lucius first son, the vile rodent Draco Malfoy. With all that had changed she never gave him much thought. She had a warm feeling about this new babe. "I think this time...... he'll get it right."
"I do believe you are right my dear" Beamed the headmaster.