Back to the Marauders: Starlight-Mist
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter series and all its characters belong to J.K. Rowling.
This took forever to get written (it's the longest chapter I've ever written) but it is thankfully in third person and has no blushing included. Thank you for all your support, per usual. Gigantic shout out to CatherineOld for checking in with me on the chapter and essentially reminding me that I needed to get this chapter finished and posted. For anyone who does not remember what the Golden Disappearance is, you might want to go back and just read through Chapter 21, just as a quick refresher because it plays a pretty big part in this chapter and future chapters. Chapter title (Back in the Golden Daze) is definitely a play on words and was inspired by "Golden Days" by Panic! At the Disco.
Starlight Mist, as of March 18, 2018
Still January 26, 1978
"Remus, that is Snape's patronus," Hermione hissed as she scrambled to cover herself. Part of her knew that the silvery animal floating in front of them wouldn't be able to transmit an image to its sender, but she still felt uncomfortable being unclothed in front of it. As she pulled her sweatshirt over her head, she asked Remus, "How does Snape know how to cast a Patronus? He's not supposed to..."
Her companion reached shushed her as the doe opened her mouth, the familiar voice of Severus Snape floating out, "A half-blood prince, a snake of platinum, and a serious girlfriend are anti-venom. You will meet us on the 31st, in a place of your choice."
"Wow, demanding much?" Hermione muttered as she smoothed down the shirt and jumped to her feet.
"It's Snape. What do you expect? Regarding the message, I imagine that he is the half-blood prince and the serious girlfriend is Mindy. As for the snake of platinum, I imagine that must be Lucius Malfoy?" Remus spoke, surprising Hermione with his clear logic.
"That would make sense," Hermione nodded in agreement as she began to pace, "and the part about anti-venom must mean that they are combatting the poison of a snake, which is most easily interpreted as the Dark side. Now the question is do we believe him or not?"
"Well, it would be easy not to believe him, for we know that he partook in the murder of Professor Stabbe," Remus reasoned, choking up on his late professor's name, "but that could be a reason for wanting to defect. Remorse."
"What do we do now?" Remus asked, catching Hermione as she walked past him and pulling her into his lap. "We transformed only two days ago, on the 24th. Snape is requesting a meeting with us on the 31st, and we're supposed to meet up with the group on February 1st."
Settling into Remus' lap, Hermione mused out loud, "Well, what could go wrong if we agree to a meeting? Especially if they have Mindy. We can spend tomorrow and the four days after that setting up a meeting place and making sure that it is secure. It's just a matter of finding a good place to meet."
"Why don't we just use Point A, the soup kitchen?" Remus suggested, rubbing his hands up and down Hermione's arms to warm her up.
"That is a definite no," the brunette time traveler answered firmly, "if something goes wrong, we would be endangering a whole lot of muggles. And besides, how would the three arrive without apparating? They have never been there before. We've at least scouted the place out and found a quiet place where we can apparate to. Additionally, because we agreed no communication for a full week just to be on the safe side, there's no way to tell the group our plans, and there's no telling what will ensue if they see Snape and Lucius there."
Remus frowned, "True. How about we leave a note at the soup kitchen to explain everything if we don't make it out of the meeting?"
Hermione nodded, "Good idea with the note. Also, what if we just meet here? I mean, we've already set up protective wards and it's not too far from a city, but not too close either. That means that we won't be disturbing or endangering other people if we use magic. We can tell them to meet us in Diagon Alley then apparate them here. That way, we will first meet them in a safe public setting, then take them to an area where we are in control and have the advantage."
"That sounds fair," her lover agreed, pressing a kiss to the side of her neck. "Let's get some rest and start preparations tomorrow."
January 27, 1978
"Lily, sit down," Amber barked as she took a sip of tea, scowling when the redhead stood next to the kettle, tapping her fingers in no particular pattern as she waited patiently for the kettle. An empty cup of tea sat on the counter, awaiting the hot water.
Lily had been restless for the past three days, and during the few times that Lily had headed upstairs to sleep, Amber had talked a lot with Jake and Angie. Both of them had agreed with her in believing that Lily was anxious for the hopefully safe return of the rest of the group, especially one James Potter. While Lily was often irritated by his flirtatious nature and his less than polite actions to her childhood friend, the two had formed a weird bond with each other, relying on each other for support. This was very evident, especially in the past few months.
When Lily continued watching the kettle, which released the smallest wisps of steam from its spout, Angie let out a small sigh.
"A watched kettle never boils," the quiet Hufflepuff called to Lily from where she sat on the couch, knitting a small pair of booties. The quiet girl had recently taken up the hobby to help prepare for the arrival of Amber's child, who was due sometime in July.
In response, Lily stopped tapping her fingers, but did not look away from the kettle.
Realizing that the red haired witch was going to stand by the kettle no matter what, Amber turned back to the book she was reading. They had agreed to continue working on schoolwork while they were in hiding, and she was currently reading up on Astronomy. It was a completely useless subject, in her opinion, but quite fascinating.
As she finished up the chapter, the kettle finally started whistling. The athletic woman closed her eyes and listened as Lily poured water into the cup, then walked over to join her, Angie, and Jake on the couch.
"Hey, Lily, you up for a friendly duel?" Jake challenged, drawing his wand. Lily simply stared at him over the rim of her teacup as she took a slow, long, sip of the burning hot tea. Seemingly unphased by the scalding temperature, she pressed her lips together and frowned.
"Maybe later?" she answered with a small shrug.
"Aww, c'mon Lily," Jake whined, twirling his wand between his fingers.
"I'll fight you," Angie offered, putting down her knitting needles and carefully wrapping the yarn back up before drawing her wand. Jake smiled at the younger girl, then the two stepped into the large area the group had cleared in the living room, which had been designated the 'danger zone'. Amber counted the two off, and the duel began.
As Jake and Angie dueled, Amber yelled out pointers, Lily occasionally taking a break from her tea to contribute as well. The two eventually ended the duel on a draw, and Amber wet two kitchen towels, whipping one in Jake's direction and draping one over Angie.
"How do you not smell like sweat?" Amber whined as the younger girl panted in exhaustion. "After a half-hour duel, you somehow smell like a minty summer's breeze whereas if I were to exercise fifteen minutes, I'd smell like a boys' locker room. Oh, the horror of body odor."
Angie laughed, as rested her head in Amber's lap. "If you want, I can grind up of my herbs and make some deodorant for you. Signature recipe. Been developing it for a long time now. Keeps natural odor down, for the most part."
"That'd be great. How did you learn so much about herbal medicine?" Amber asked.
"I've always taken an interest in healing," the Hufflepuff shrugged as she reached for her yarn. "Healing and taking care of people. It's kind of right up my alley. Just my sort of thing, like my core reason for existence, if that makes sense?"
"I get what you mean," Amber nodded as Angie picked up on where she had left off with the booties. "I feel the same about Quidditch. It's just something that means a lot to me and it's just a 'me' thing."
"It's kinda like dueling, for me," Lily commented, finally joining the conversation, having finished her tea during the last few minutes of the duel between Angie and Jake. "It just kind of comes naturally and encourages my interest in Auror work."
"That, and the fact that you have the brains for it," Amber teased, tossing a book at her.
Lily whined, "Not the way that Liesel does though."
"Liesel is from a completely different time though, Lily," Jake reminded her, "so she probably has more knowledge than us in many different areas. And besides, you are definitely Auror material; you and James both."
"If he would act a little more mature and less like a doofus," Lily argued, shaking her head as she thought of her counterpart Head.
"It's his way of life," Jake snickered, grabbing both ends of his towel and leaning his head back as he pulled.
"Okay, so I hate to be the person to make everything depressing again, but what is our action plan for the first? Point A is the soup kitchen, and we have that warehouse where we are apparating to, but how do we look inconspicuous?"
"Maybe wear our thickest clothes? I feel like homeless people need to try and stay warm a lot. And maybe don't shower for the next few days?" Jake suggested, throwing out ideas. "I've never had experience as a homeless person and I have no idea what it is like."
"I've never really considered what homeless people must have to deal with," Angie remarked, pausing in her knitting. "I suppose we can go with what Jake said? And it's probably a good idea to split up and get in the line separately. It would look a little weird if a group of four came in, or so I would guess. We can, of course, find a way to all sit together though."
The others nodded in agreement.
January 30, 1978
"Checkmate," Mindy proclaimed, internally cackling at the irritated expression on Snape's face. The dark haired man had lost three consecutive games with her so far, and was not pleased to lose yet another one. Lucius Malfoy sat on a couch next to them, a small smirk on his face as he tried not to laugh at his friend's expense.
"Very funny, Carver," Snape scowled.
"I thought so too," Sirius' girlfriend grinned as she cleaned up the game. "How's the homework going over there, Malfoy?"
It kind of bothered Mindy how familiar she had suddenly become with the two men.
"Terribly. I can't figure out the answer to this, and it's the last question," Lucius muttered, his mood suddenly crashing as he glared daggers at the sheet in his hands. Mindy ruefully shook her head, then walked over to check out what he was working on, groaning out loud when she saw Arithmancy homework. While one of her best subjects, she hated the homework with a burning passion. Grabbing the sheet, she flopped down on the couch and started working through the problems.
A few minutes, she sat back up, then started explaining the solution to Lucius. The first few times she had tried to help him, he had completely shut her down, refusing to take help from a "inept Gryffindor". However, she had eventually succeeded in proving to him that she knew the subject much better than he, and Lucius had reluctantly allowed her to tutor him.
"...and that is how you determine that," Mindy finished off, watching as Lucius finished scribbling down the last step.
The long-haired blonde let out a sigh of relief, finally understanding the solution.
"Alright, is this a good time to ask what is going on tomorrow?" Mindy asked, tucking her feet under herself. "From what you've told me, and from the patronus that was sent to me, Remus and Hermione will be meeting us tomorrow in Diagon Alley. Do we know where we're going after that? Also, you do know that they're going to want proof of your loyalty, right? How are you going to answer that?"
"No to both questions. We can make it up as we go," Lucius said dismissively.
The half-Indian woman raised a delicate black eyebrow.
"That is a terrible idea, Lucius," Snape said, putting it bluntly.
"Then what do you suppose we do, Severus?" Lucius bit back as he packed up his homework. "We're solely going on trust and the fact that we haven't murdered Carver here."
"Please don't add a 'yet' to that," Mindy snarked as she grabbed a slice of cheese and a few grapes from the plate of food the two boys had been able to smuggle out of the kitchen. She had been very amused to learn that her first meal in the Room of Requirement had been smuggled out of the Great Hall in a paper envelope, which had been filled in the Great Hall then delivered to the Slytherin rooms by an owl. Of course, in light of that fact, she had told the two boys about the location of the kitchen.
It had made for a good laugh.
"Not planning on it. How about you, Sev?" Lucius answered.
"If she beats me one more time at chess, I might consider it," Snape grumbled.
Mindy simply laughed.
January 31, 1978
Lucius, Severus, and Mindy sat on a bench in Diagon Alley. While Lucius and Snape had decided against a disguise, Mindy had completely changed her appearance, using a glamour to completely change her face shape. Her hair was cut in a maroon bob, and she wore an olive green t-shirt, paired with a warm sweatshirt and jeans. Essentially, she looked like a muggle if it hadn't been for the wand holster she carried.
"So, when do you think they're going to arrive?" Mindy asked as she took a large bite of a croissant.
"For the millionth time, Carver, I have no idea. They said afternoon. Now would you please stop kicking your feet? You look like a child," Lucius snapped, his patience running thin. The three had been sitting on the bench for at least three hours, waiting for the arrival of the two now-known lycans. Mindy, excited at the prospect of seeing her friends for the first time in over a week, had been endlessly pestering the two Slytherins.
Just to annoy the blonde, Mindy kept kicking her feet.
"Mindalaca effing Carver," Lucius threatened under his breath, "stop kicking your feet or I will put you in a Full Body bind."
Mindy stopped, scowling at the use of her full first name, "Someone's got a rod stuck up their arse today."
To their right, they heard a laugh, "Okay, that is most definitely not an imposter."
The three immediately dropped their jaws.
In front of them stood an incredibly short old woman, wrapped in layers upon layers of plaid scarves. In her hand there was a large pink purse, and on her face there was a pair of tortoise shell glasses. She wore an almost comically big kilt and a seemingly hand-knitted orange sweater with a pair of the ugliest shoes. Holding her hand was an impossibly thin old man, who wore a light blue shirt with grey suspenders. He was leaning on a knotted wooden cane, and his hair was so sparse that it was basically non-existent.
"Is that you, Liesel?" Mindy asked as she picked her jaw off the ground.
"Yes, but no. I'm Hermione. I'm going by my real name now," the old woman corrected. "And yes, this is Remus."
The two boys blinked in disbelief.
"C'mon now," Remus said, holding out his hand. "Take my hand. One quick motion and consider yourself under attack."
The three sitting on the bench looked over to see Hermione holding her wand behind the monstrous purse, ready to attack. Lucius took Remus' hand, then linked hands with Snape, who had already linked with Mindy. Hermione was the last one to link up, and the moment that she did, the group of five was pulled into Apparition. They landed on a forest floor and Hermione and Remus immediately jumped back and cast an Expelliarmus on the two Slytherins. Having expected it, Lucius and Severus did not protest the treatment.
"Alright, are you okay, Mindy?" Hermione asked as the Gryffindor undid her disguise.
"Perfectly fine," she chirped cheerily. "And how about you guys? These blokes told me that you went through a bit of a tough transformation during the full moon?"
"You know we're werewolves?" Remus asked, slightly irritated that more people knew his secret.
"Bellatrix basically told every single Death Eater out there," Snape commented, leaning up against one of the trees. "We only figured it was right for Carver here to know as well."
"I suppose so," the male lycan grunted.
"So, you guys are defecting from the Death Eaters, I hear. What did Vol-" Hermione began.
"Don't say his name!" Snape barked, effectively cutting her off. "Have you not read the papers? The Ministry issued a warning: the Dark Lord has placed a taboo on his name so that he knows whenever someone says his name. He's been organizing attacks on those whom are brave enough to speak it. Even Dumbledore has given up on his 'fear a name' mumbo-jumbo so that he can protect the students."
"Really now?" Hermione said, slightly skeptical and slightly exasperated. She had grown so used to saying the name that she was going to now have to think very carefully every time she wished to talk about Voldemort. "Just what I needed. What else do I need to know?"
"All Death Eaters have orders to search for you nine. There's a bounty on your head, Ellen, or should I say Granger?"
Hermione sighed, "They want me alive then. How about everyone else?"
"Dead or alive. Doesn't matter them, really, so long as they get you," Lucius answered, taking a seat on the forest floor.
"So now that you guys have joined up with us, what is your plan? Do you wish to join our group and leave Hogwarts and go into hiding, or are you guys planning on being informants for us?" Remus questioned.
"Informants," Snape answered, glad that Mindy had suggested they come up with a plan.
"Cool. We're taking Mindy with us then?"
The two Slytherins nodded, and there was a bit of an awkward silence, but Hermione broke it by asking, "Would you like to talk to us a little about why exactly you are defecting and what you are going to be doing? Also, Mindy, why don't you tell us your side of the story?"
After both sides had exchanged information and Mindy had told the two lycans about what had happened after Snape had kidnapped her, she asked, "Have you guys had any contact with Sirius recently? How's he doing?"
"Last time we saw him was the night of the transformation, but we're planning on meeting up with the rest of the group tomorrow. I don't think we should bring you, as the presence of another person might cause some questions, but we can bring the group back with us to this clearing," Remus answered, knowing she was anxious to see Sirius.
Lucius then cut into the conversation, "Wait, we need to talk about what happens if we wind up in a fight against each other."
"I suppose just attack us, but try not to kill us," Hermione said, shooting the two Slytherins looks. Snape and Lucius exchanged slightly guilty looks, both thinking about their recently-deceased DADA teacher, a death that was weighing heavily on their consciousness.
"That sounds fair," Severus nodded. "Let's try and keep it under the radar that we've turned traitor."
All in the clearing nodded in agreement.
"You guys should probably get going," Remus suggested, noting how late it had become. "How did you guys sneak out of Hogwarts?"
The two boys exchanged a look.
"Would you believe us if we said we just walked out?"
"Really?" Hermione groaned, facepalming. "They can't seriously be that lax with security, especially with His Royal Buttface Who Lacks a Proper Sniffing Device on the rise, can they?"
The two Slytherins snickered at her name for Voldemort, "Yes. They can."
Shortly after, Hermione and Remus had escorted the two boys to the edge of the anti-Apparition shield, then rejoined Mindy.
"So, how have you two been?" Mindy asked, waggling eyebrows at them jokingly.
"We've been pretty good," Remus answered, Hermione nodding in agreement as she heated a can of soup. "Just so you know, we kinda might be together now-"
"Aww c'mon!" Mindy exclaimed, gaping at the two, "I haven't seen you guys for what, a week!? What else do I need to know about?"
February 1, 1978
The next morning, Mindy woke up to see Hermione and Remus curled up under the same blanket. She shook her head, still in disbelief that the two had gotten together. She started heating another can of soup, which seemed to be the only item of food that the two had, and shortly after she finished her meal, Mindy woke the two lovers up.
After their breakfast, the three spent the rest of the day catching up and just talking.
"I suppose we should get ready to head out," Hermione commented as the sun started to dye the sky red. Remus nodded, then drew his wand, quickly transfiguring his clothes into more appropriate attire. A few changes to his appearance ensured that he wouldn't be easily recognized, but there was small enough changes that the rest of the group would be able to figure out it was him.
Hermione followed suit, casting a full-body glamour, then checking her appearance in a full-body mirror she had conjured.
"That's weird," Hermione mused out loud as she examined her disguise. "My ring didn't disappear."
Remus frowned, "Did your ring disappear when you were disguised as Liesel?"
The brunette shook her head in answer.
"I'm sorry Hermione, but you're going to have to take it off. Homeless people don't normally own silver. I can hold onto it for you," Mindy offered, stretching out her hand for the small accessory.
"Please be careful with it, Mindy," Hermione said as she slipped the dainty silver ring off her finger. "This ring came from my two best friends and holds a lot of meaning for me. If for some reason we get attacked and don't make it back, the ring is yours."
The dark haired witch nodded solemnly as she put on the ring, then held it out in front of her, looking at the beautiful golden feather that had been somehow been engraved into the band. "I promise that I'll take care of it."
"We'll probably see you tomorrow with the rest of the group. Take care tonight," Hermione told her, to which Mindy nodded. With a quick thumbs up, the two lycans Apparated out of the forest.
The line for the soup was long, and Lily realized for the first time how hard it must have been for homeless people. As she waited in line, as it slowly inched forwards, she looked around the room. A few people behind her, Amber and Jake were waiting, and a little further back from them, Angie stood waiting. So far, there had been no sight of their other companions.
Right as Lily reached the edge of the serving table, she saw the door open and James finally entered.
Thank Merlin, he's alive! she praised, trying to make eye contact with him as he walked towards the end of the line. However, the dark haired man kept his head down as he joined the line.
"Miss?" a voice called to her right. Lily turned to see one of the volunteers holding out a bowl. Gathering her wits, she accepted the bowl from the young man, then headed over to one of the empty tables. As she took a spoon of the hot meal, she let her eyes flash up to the end of the line. James still kept his head down, avoiding eye contact with everyone. A little while behind him, she saw Peter, and even further back she saw Sirius. Lily smiled to herself upon realizing that they had decided to split up, similar to how her group had done.
Lily continued eating, and shortly afterwards, Amber and Jake joined her at the table. Lily looked up at the line, nodding in satisfaction when she saw Angie receive her bowl of soup and look around the room as if she were searching for an open seat. She then made a big show of coming over to their table and asking whether she could sit.
The four sat quietly, waiting patiently for the three boys to join them; however, Hermione and Remus were nowhere to be seen.
"Hello, can I sit here?" a voice asked her.
She turned, expecting to see James smiling down at her, but instead she saw an unfamiliar blonde man. Before she could reply, the man sat down on her right, smiling widely at her. Slightly uncomfortable, Lily did her best to be polite, shooting a small smile at him.
The man seemed to take this an invitation to start talking, because he then started asking her questions about how she had wound up on the streets and how long it had been. Lily gave him short, clipped answers, taking a long time with each bite of soup so that she could avoid answering his questions. The man eventually seemed to get the point and stopped pestering her.
Finally, James came over to the table and asked, "Can I sit here?"
Angie nodded and James took a seat across from her. Lily snuck a quick look at him, looking at him through her long eyelashes and quickly scanning over his figure to make sure he wasn't injured. The prickly stubble on his chin was a very different look than she was used to, but it was still good to see him. Alive. Safe.
Peter and Sirius joined the table shortly after James, and the group exchanged very few words during dinner, patiently waiting for Remus and Hermione to arrive. After what seemed like hours, a couple finally came up to the table and asked if they could sit there. While their appearances were slightly changed, it was easy to tell who they were.
The man who had sat down next to Lily without asking finished his soup, and seeing that the group wasn't as talkative as other tables, bid them a goodnight, then left. The pretty redhead breathed a sigh of relief, cast a silencing spell on the table, and under her breath asked everyone, "We all safe? Uninjured?"
"Safe and uninjured. Nobody's following us," Remus replied, speaking for both him and Hermione. "Sorry we were late. We apparated all over the place, just to be super sure. We actually received a Patronus from Snape and Lucius a while back. They've defected from the Dark Side and have joined up with us. We met up with them yesterday and they brought Mindy with them."
"Mindy's with you?" Sirius asked excitedly, perking up and looking around the room, wondering where his girlfriend was.
"She's back at the forest we were in," Remus answered in low hushed tones. "We'll all go there tomorrow. We figured it wouldn't be a good idea to bring an extra with us, just in case you had suspicions. Also, we were just informed today that a Taboo has been placed on the Dark Lord's name. Don't say it or we're all dead."
The group nodded solemnly.
"How's Mindy doing?" Sirius asked, eager for details.
"She's doing good. She's considered, 'missing' because Snape sorta kidnapped her, but she's good," Hermione answered, to which Sirius grunted. "How's everyone else doing?"
"We're good," James answered as he finished his soup. "The boys and I have been doing some collecting of food, potions, and helpful materials. We've picked up a few Polyjuice potions and reading material so that we can study. We actually snuck onto Hogwarts ground and picked up some Phoenix plant extract and Blugasio plant leaves. Figured it'd be helpful in case of injury."
"Wow, it seems you guys actually paid attention during Herbology," Lily grinned, thinking back to earlier that year.
"C'mon Lily, give us a little credit," James answered, shooting her a crooked grin. "How did your group do?"
"We've been doing a lot of dueling recently. Set up more wards and have been studying. Angie has been making pastes for us, and I've been developing some spells and toxins," Lily answered.
"It seems we're all in good conditions. Glad to see all of you. "We should all start heading out, get some good rest as a group. We can meet up with Mindy tomorrow. Are we going back to your family's summer home?"
Lily nodded, "See all of you guys there.
Later that night, Lily lay in bed, staring up at the speckled pattern of the ceiling. Sleep wasn't coming easily for her, especially knowing that they were now allied with two Slytherins, so she slipped out from under her covers and padded down the hallway to Hermione's room, looking for someone to talk to.
"Hermione, are you awake?" she called, poking her head into the room. She received no answer from the brunette, so she continued did the same for the rest of her female friends, only to find that none of them were awake. Suddenly feeling alone in her worries, she walked down the hallway back to her own room, but for some reason, Lily found herself drawn to the room of a certain black-haired man.
"James? Are you awake?" she asked, cracking the door of his room open.
There was no answer for a moment, then the blankets moved.
"Lily? What are you doing up?" James asked as propped himself up with one arm, groggily running a hand through his hair.
"I can't sleep," Lily admitted, hesitantly hovering at the door frame. "Thinking too much to fall asleep. Everyone else is asleep, and I was just wondering whether you were up, or whether you wanted to talk. I didn't mean to wake you up."
"What are you thinking about?" James asked, gesturing for her to come over. Lily slipped into his room, the door closing gently behind her. James raised the covers, and she hesitantly joined him under the blanket, turning around so that her back was to his chest.
Why did I think it was a good idea to come see James in the middle of the night? Lily wondered to herself as James threw an arm over her and pulled the blanket around them. Part of her felt uncomfortable by their proximity, especially since they had rarely engaged in any sort of close physical contact in the past, but at the same time she was glad for his warm embrace and comfort.
"So, Lily?" James asked, whispering into her ear. "What's going through that head of yours?"
"I've been thinking about tomorrow, meeting up with Snape, Lucius, and Mindy. I'm scared that it's a trap and that they are using Mindy as bait," the pretty redhead answered, glad to get it off her chest. "What if the Death Eaters show up? We've heard about what they've done to muggles, and the newspaper headlines have only been getting worse. Honestly, I don't want to end up dead yet."
"Lily-Flower," James sighed, using the familiar nickname, "we're not going to die tomorrow. You're not going to die tomorrow. I promise I'll protect you. I promised you that in third year, remember?"
His companion frowned and shook her head.
"End of third year, dueling club? Remember how bad Mondita's aim was? You were scared she was going to accidentally hit one of us," James murmured. "I told you then that I'd protect you."
Lily laughed softly, "I remember now."
"I told you then, and I'm telling you now, Lily. I will always protect you, even if you are plenty capable of doing so yourself."
"You think I'm capable?" Lily asked, raising an eyebrow, even though she knew he couldn't see her.
"Definitely. You are brave, smart, and most definitely strong. You'll do fine tomorrow. And honestly, I'm nervous too, about Mindy I mean. Lucius and Snape aren't always the best of people, and we can't be sure that this isn't a trap. Especially since they have Mindy."
James paused for a moment.
"It's almost as if they are using her to get directly to Sirius and extract a response out of us."
"We should have taken Mindy with us," Lily sighed, thinking back on their decisions. "If you think about it, everyone here has a connection to either Peter or Hermione. Angie is here because Bellatrix was blackmailing Peter with her safety; you, Sirius, and Remus are here because you guys are Peter's closest friend group; Hermione is here because the Dark Lord wants her knowledge of the future; and Jake and Amber are here because Amber is Hermione's friend. Well, that and the fact that she is pregnant and an easy target."
"And you're here because you are not only one of Hermione's close friends, but also someone who could be used against me."
Lily felt her heart flip-flop at that.
"You know, I was really scared for you when you guys didn't come back," she said, words suddenly flowing out of her mouth without her permission. She closed her eyes and winced, wishing that she could kick herself.
"Aww, Lily-Flower, did you miss me?" James crooned, laughing at her.
"Oh shush," Lily snapped, burrowing under the covers and curling in on herself, now officially regretting her decision to talk to James.
The young man laughed, then pulled her back up from under the covers, "I missed you too."
A warm feeling spread through Lily's chest, and she fought her urge to smile. She turned her head over her shoulder, and on impulse, pressed a kiss to James' cheek, whispering a soft, "Thank you."
"Everything," Lily shrugged, ignoring the butterflies in her stomach. James was silent for a moment, then he pushed himself up on his arms. Lily turned to see what he was doing, and suddenly felt a pair of lips on her forehead.
"What was that for?" she asked, staring up at James.
James smiled down at her, "Everything, Lily."
Lily's breath caught in her throat, and she pushed herself up on her forearms, then closed her eyes and pressed her lips to James' lips. He didn't respond to her kiss, and Lily's eyes flew open, her heart dropping when she saw him simply staring down at her. She pulled away from him, cheeks hot with embarrassment as she fumbled for the proper words.
"I'm sorry...that was, uh, uncalled for, and I just...I guess tha-...I don't know."
She fell silent, squeezing her eyes shut so that James wouldn't be able to see the hurt. Drawing in a shaky breath, she made to slip out from under the covers, only for James' arm to catch her.
"Lily, do you love me?"
"I should go-" Lily protested, her heart throbbing as she tried to figure out what was going on.
"No, Lily. Just answer me," James pleaded as her eyes teared up. "Do you love me?"
A tear streaked down her cheek, settling in her ear, and she nodded.
"So why are you crying?"
"I don't know," she sniffled, suddenly ashamed that she was crying.
"How long have you loved me?" he asked. "Or did you just realize it?"
"I don't know," she answered, laughing slightly as James wiped tears off her cheek.
James chuckled, shaking his head at the beautiful red-haired witch in his arms, "I always knew you liked me."
Lily scowled, then shoved his chest. James shook his head, still laughing, then gently kissed her. His lips were rough, chapped, and warm. Lily found herself quickly lost in his soft touches. Somehow, her arms wound up under his shirt, holding him close to her as one of his hands caressed her cheek and and the other one wrapped around her waist.
"James," she groaned, pulling away from him.
"Too fast?" he murmured, touching the tip of his nose to hers.
Lily reluctantly nodded, "Can we take it a little slower. Not that I don't want to be your, uh, girlfriend or anything. It's just-"
"We just got each other back today, and you only just realized how much you love me," James laughed, pressing a kiss to her forehead. "It's fine Lily. Merlin, you have no idea how long I've been waiting for this day."
"Really?" Lily asked shyly.
"Yes. Lily, I'm not kidding when I say I've liked you since first year," James whispered, his breath fanning on her face as he pulled the blanket tight around them. "I'm just so glad. Seeing you today, it made my day."
Lily burrowed into the blanket, unsure of how to deal with all the feelings.
Sensing her discomfort, James quit rambing.
February 2, 1978
"You're getting better," Amber consoled Angie, doing her best not to cringe at the watery oatmeal that Angie had somehow made.
"No I'm not," Angie sighed, setting her spoon down on the table and lifting her bowl and drinking the oatmeal. The rest of the table, seeing that the cook had given up, quickly followed her example in picking up their bowls.
Sirius slammed his bowl down on the table, "Now can we go to the clearing?"
"Calm yourself, doggy boy," James snickered, playfully grabbing Sirius in a full-nelson. The dog Animagus quickly dropped, freeing himself and tackling James to the floor. Used to the boys' antics by now, the rest of the table shook their heads and finished their oatmeal.
After the last plate was washed, Sirius yet again begged the group.
"Let's get packed, and then we'll go see Mindy before lover boy over here spontaneously combusts," Lily teased, drying her hands on a towel. Sirius cheered, and seeing that the excited young man was going to rush them, the other eight went and packed their bags. It had been decided the night before that everyone would carry a supply of food, a small vial of Polyjuice, and a small kit of medical supplies that Angie had prepared earlier that week.
"Here, I'll help you with that," James offered when Lily struggled to secure her pack. The red-haired girl gave up her struggle, permitting James to help adjust the straps. On the other side of the room, Peter did the same for Angie, helping her with what had been designated the "medic bag".
"Now are we ready?" Sirius asked when everyone finally had been equipped with a pack.
"Everyone have wands?" James asked, taking the position of a leader. "Cool. If anything happens, we apparate all over the place, check, double check, triple check, and then come back here."
Everyone nodded, and with one final nod, Remus and Hermione linked up with a group of people and transported them to the forest. Upon landing, Sirius immediately flew to Mindy, lifting her up and planting kisses all over her face. The group politely avoided the display until they heard the sound of Mindy being set back down on the forest floor.
"Nice to see you again," James said, saluting Sirius' girlfriend.
Mindy grinned, then saluted back. Lily then embraced Mindy, which led to a semblance of a group hug, in which everyone wound up on the ground. Laughing, everyone lay on the forest floor, staring up at the sky.
"It feels like forever since I've seen all of you," Mindy sighed. "Everyone misses you back at Hogwarts, or at least that was the opinion before I disappeared. Merida's mad that she didn't get to 'go to America and experience the American food'. It's actually pretty funny."
"Only Merida," Lily snickered, thinking of the rambunctious food-loving redhead.
"How has living out in the woods been?" Mindy asked as the group got back to their feet, everyone on a happy high from the reunion.
"Terrible," Sirius complained. "Haven't talked to my girlfriend in over a week."
"Aww, is my poor baby lonely," Mindy teased, hugging Sirius again.
"Never say that again," James groaned, Peter nodding along.
"Hey, how have you been, Peter?" Mindy asked cheerily.
Peter shrugged, "I've been okay."
"Fair enough," Mindy laughed. "I suppose being forced into hiding and camping out in the wilderness is pretty bad. Remember back when the worst thing we had to worry about was homework?"
"Oh yeah, that stupid thing called homework! Stupid homework, stupid Voldemort," Amber laughed, slinging an arm over Mindy's shoulder, happy to see her friend again.
Hermione's eyes widened in terror, and she screamed, "Wands!"
Not questioning her call, everyone immediately armed themselves, and the next thing everyone knew was that the area was swarming with Death Eaters. Angie loudly called, "Medic! Call me if injured!" as everyone snapped into defensive positions.
"I'm shutting down incoming Apparation for everyone but me and Angie," Hermione screamed as she engaged two Death Eaters. "If I die, Remus is in charge and able to Apparate, both in and out. Do your best to end your duel and get out of here!"
"Jake, get Amber out of here!" James roared, viciously kicking a Death Eater in the groin and taking over the two Death Eaters that Jake had been fighting. To his right, Lily did the same for Amber's attackers, a furious hurricane of red.
"Good luck," Jake bid, grabbing Amber and snapping out of the area.
Behind them, Mindy and Hermione fought as one, trading blows to the ring of Death Eaters that surrounded them. Having been even further filled in by Hermione about her origins from the future and use to the Dark Lord, Mindy knew that Hermione's safety was crucial. The two quickly disposed of the majority of the ring.
"Go help Peter," Hermione ordered Mindy as she flung herself at one of the Death Eaters, redirecting his aim from James' back to a tree. The tree exploded from what was clearly a Bombarda and Hermione quickly snatched the man's wand with one hand and paralyzed him with her wand. Seeing that Hermione was capable of handling herself, Mindy went over to asist Peter, who was surprisingly keeping up with his opponent. Mindy engaged with one of the other Death Eaters, baring her teeth and hurling Diffindo, Langlock, Stupefy, Expelliarmus.
The Death Eater was obviously skilled, but Mindy was able to slowly wear him down to the point that she was simply waiting for the opportune moment to catch him off guard. She grunted as she ducked behind a tree.
Out of the corner of her eye, Mindy saw Sirius go down, hit in the chest by a bright turquoise spell. She finished her fight with an angry Stupefy and whipped around, just in time see a Death Eater raise his wand and cast a spell towards her prone boyfriend.
"No!" Mindy screamed in horror, throwing herself on Sirius and raising her hand over her head. It was a seemingly futile action, but to her surprise, a bright light shot out from her hand and formed a shield. The spell bounced harmlessly off the shield.
"What in Merlin's name?" she muttered to herself, staring in shock at her hand, which stung with an odd pain.
"Get up, Carver!"
A Death Eater pulled her to her feet and shoved her wand back into her hand as another lifted Sirius off of the ground. She realized that it was Lucius and Severus, and the other Death Eaters seemed to realize that too, for they immediately started attacking them. Hermione, seeing the dangerous amount of blood leaking from Sirius' torso, ran to Snape and Apparated him and Sirius out of the engagement zone. A handful of Death Eaters followed, seeing that their main target had just fled.
Mindy and Lucius immediately rejoined the foray.
A few minutes later, Hermione returned the the forest to see the Death Eater count diminished, but still outrageous. Making a decision, she yelled, "Complete retreat! Split up and apparate out like mad! Don't splinch! Check and check again!"
With that, Hermione grabbed a hold of Lucius and Mindy and snapped out of the area, the remaining five doing the same. Hermione made the jump from place to place, barely stopping for a second to regain her balance. She apparated until she was sick of the squeezing tube feeling. As she apparated again, she gave the order to Mindy, "Check if we're being followed."
After the next jump, Mindy cast a Homenum Revelio, results returning with, "One in pursuit!"
Hermione groaned, feeling the sudden energy crash from so much Apparation, but forced herself to focus and continued apparating, thinking of all the secluded places she had ever been. Finally, results came back clear. Just to make sure, Hermione followed up with two more extra jumps before returning to Lily's summer house, collapsing in exhaustion a little while away from the house.
Remus came running out of the house, wand drawn.
"You're the last ones," he informed them, making sure their area was secure again, then completely shutting down incoming Apparation. Remus scooped Hermione off the ground, and carried her in. Mindy and Lucius staggered after him, both dizzy from Hermione's quick jumps.
When they got inside, Remus lay Hermione down on the kitchen table, the sofa having been occupied by Sirius.
Angie was just finishing tending to his wounds, pressing one final Blaguarate bandage to his torso. Mindy sighed in relief, then turned to where Amber was sobbing into Jake's shoulder.
"It's okay, Amber," Mindy said, joining Jake. "It was an honest mistake. We were all really happy and off guard."
"An honest mistake that could've gotten people killed," Amber shrieked, sniffing through her heavily congested nose. "I'm always screwing up! I almost got Jake killed and now-"
She deteriorated into another round of sobs. Jake shook his head at Mindy, so she nodded and let Amber cry it off.
"So much for not letting them now about our defection," Lucius snarled, ripping off his mask and chucking it at the floor. This set Amber off into another bout of hysterics, as Snape too removed his mask.
"Thank you," Mindy said, truly grateful for their decision for helping her and Sirius. She hesitantly walked over and hugged each of the Slytherins, standing between them as Sirius watched them, nodding his thanks as well. "Thank you, Severus. Thank you, Lucius. You two-"
Any other words Mindy had were cut off as a sharp pain ran through her body, causing her to double over in pain. Snape immediately caught her before she fell, and Sirius shot up, pushing Angie away from him and hobbling over to her side, taking her from Snape and cradling her head in his lap as everyone frantically demanded an explanation for what was going on.
"Is it an effect of a spell or something?" James asked.
"How do you feel?" Angie asked.
Realization quickly spread across Hermione's face when she noticed the faint glow emitting from the ring on Mindy's finger.
"Oh dear Merlin, it must be the ring causing the Golden Disappearance! Take it off, Mindy! The ring is what caused the time traveling!"
Sirius gently set his girlfriend down on the floor and tried to pry the silver hoop off her finger, whispering soothing words to Mindy as tears streamed down her face. The pain temporarily waned and Sirius continued his attempts to remove Hermione's ring, but it was firmly attached to Mindy's hand. Sirius drew his wand, preparing to cast a spell upon Mindy, but Hermione grabbed his arm.
"Don't," she warned, "I don't know what kind of magic the ring possess."
Sirius stared at his girlfriends face as it contorted yet again in pain, and finding it too hard to watch her in pain, pulled her face to his chest. Hermione knelt down next to Mindy, and as the pain ebbed yet again, started speaking.
"Mindy, this ring is going to transport you to another time period. I have no idea whether you'll be going forward or backwards. If you go forwards, you need to find Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, and Snape. Tell them that I gave you that ring. Tell them I know about the Golden disappearance, and tell them to fill you in on tapping and split worlds. Got that?"
"Potter, Weasley, Snape, your ring, Golden something, and what?" Mindy repeated, as Sirius threaded his fingers between hers.
"Golden Disappearance, tapping, and split worlds. You need to remember, Golden Disappearance, tapping, split worlds."
Mindy nodded, mouthing the words back to Hermione as the pain overtook her again. Struggling through the pain, she leaned up and pressed a kiss to Sirius' cheek and whispered something in his ear. Sirius froze in shock as a golden light enveloped Mindy's body, and the next thing everyone knew, she was gone. Looking down at his suddenly cold, empty arms, Sirius clenched his hands into fists.
Hermione lightly touched his shoulder, "Sirius, I'm sorry. I didn't realize it was the ring, or I never would have given it to her. I'm sorry."
Angie, seeing that Sirius had split the cut on his torso open again in his haste to get to Mindy, attempted to clean the wound and apply a bandage, but Sirius curled in on himself, rage contorting his face. James knelt down next to Sirius and started whispering in low, hushed whispers. Sirius jerkily nodded. James hesitantly patted his back twice, them climbed to his feet.
"It's best you give him a little time," the scar-less Potter whispered.
January 24, 2000
When Mindy opened her eyes again, the golden light was slowly dissipating. Once her vision cleared of the ethereal light, Mindy looking around to see the stunned faces of many young girls and boys. Taking a closer look, she realized that she was standing in the Great Hall. To be precise, the black-haired witch was standing on the bench of the Gryffindor table and that all the various young men and women around her were wearing what looked like a slightly modified Hogwart uniform.
"If you don't mind me being blunt, who exactly are you?" the guy to her right questioned. She turned her head to the right and promptly had a heart attack, barely holding back a loud shriek as she looked into Lily Evans emerald orbs in a James Potter face; the only difference between the young man and James was the distinct lighting bolt scar on his forehead.
"Nice going, Potter," a voice snarked from over at the Slytherin table. "One look at your face and she's scared of you already."
Mindy's heart nearly skipped a beat as her gaze landed on the uncannily familiar sneer of a Malfoy.
"I do believe you were asked a question," a voice murmured from behind her. Upon turning around, Mindy actually shrieked, promptly jumping up onto the Gryffindor table for a full-blown freak out. Hands covering her mouth in a nearly-comical fashion, Mindy took in the dark eyes and sallow skin that she had grown to associate with Severus Snape. The man was in a basic defensive pose with his wand drawn, and as Mindy continued to freak out, he raised his eyebrow and asked in a dark tone, "Who are you?"
The time-traveler stumbled for words, finally managing to answer, "My name is Mindalaca Carver...and holy shit you are old."
Snape did not seem to find her comment as amusing as the rest of the hall did.
"What is your purpose here, Mindala-"
"Call me Mindy," she answered, cutting the old Snape off. "I, uh, come from 1978. Would someone mind telling me what date it is?"
"January 24, 2009," the James look alike answered.
Mindy was silent for a moment. The whole hall was watching her, and suddenly feeling uncomfortable, she looked down at her feet. With great disgust, she realized her foot was in the middle of a rather large pie. She grimaced, then pulled her foot out of the offending pastry.
"Well, I can tell you that there is a twenty-two year and nine day difference," she offered as the redheaded girl sitting next to the James clone cast an Evanesco on her shoe, then helped her off the top of the table. "I can also tell you that I know a Hermione Granger-"
"Wait, you know Hermione?" the redheaded boy to her right asked as he stopped chewing mid-bite. The entire hall immediately burst into whispers, the common subject seeming to be the brunette witch who had given her the ring.
"Miss Carver, if you don't mind coming with me?" a strict-looking woman standing behind Snape requested, although her tone indicated that it was more of an order than a request. The two boys next to her immediately leapt to their feet. Mindy hesitated, but followed the woman out of the Great Hall, the red haired boy, the James look alike, and Snape as her entourage.
The group exchanged no words until they reached a familiar gargoyle.
After the password had been said, the group quickly made its way to what Mindy knew as Dumbledore's office. Once everyone was inside, the woman took residence behind the desk, Snape standing to her right and the two boys claiming chairs. The woman gestured towards yet another chair with a cordial, "My name is Minerva McGonagall, and I am the Headmistress of Hogwarts. Please have a seat, Miss Carver."
Headmistress McGonagall adjusted her glasses.
"So am I correct in assuming that Hermione joined you in your time period?"
Trying not to fidget under the intense stares from those in the room, the time traveler nodded.
"Please, do tell us anything you see fit," the Headmistress urged.
"Well...Hermione joined us a few days into the school year, and was introduced to us as Liesel Ellen, a transfer from the American school Swish 'n Flick. Uh, I actually only found out a few days ago that her real name wasn't Liesel. It's a bit of a long story. Involves a little kidnap, and yeah...if you don't mind me asking before I continue, who exactly are all of you two? I know that you're," - here, Mindy pointed towards Snape - "Severus Snape, and I can assume that you," - Mindy then pointed at the James look alike - "are a Potter spawn."
This elicited a loud snort from Snape and a scowl from the mini-James.
"My name is Harry Potter, and I am indeed a Potter spawn, as you so eloquently put it," Harry introduced, running a hand through his hair in a very James way. The boy to Harry's left then proceeded to introduce himself as Ronald Weasley.
Mindy almost jumped out of her seat.
"Oh! You're the Ron that Hermione mentioned. She had lots of nightmares that included you."
The redhead did a double take as Harry burst out laughing.
She winced, then clarified, "Hermione had a nightmare sometime in the first week we were rooming together and it was about you and a tooth or something. That and she mentioned that you two were together or something?"
Ron relaxed, glad that he was not the actual nightmare, then nodded, "Yes, Hermione and I are dating. Or is it were? It's a bit complex, and we'll tell you our side of things a little later, but I think I can safely assume that she found someone in your time period?"
The time traveler bit her lip, which seemed to be a regular occurrence now, "Uh...yeah. To the extent of my knowledge, Hermione is now together with Remus, uh, Lupin. I don't know if you-"
"Professor Remus Lupin?" the two boys asked in unison as the two adults' eyebrows shot into their hairlines.
"Well, Remus isn't really a professor in my time," Mindy drawled, "and they are in the same grade."
Ron groaned, clutching his head in his hands, "I know I said I was going to be understanding and all, but why Remus? In this time, their age difference is-...no! I can't...they're dating? By Merlin's saggy ball sack, he was our Professor!"
Snape proceeded to smack the redhead over the head with a rolled up copy of Witches Weekly that he had picked up off of the Headmistress' desk, which resulted in a loud, "Professor Snape! We do not issue corporeal punishment here at Hogwarts!"
Here, Mindy interjected, "Um, do I need to call you Professor, because in my time you are the same age as me and we are classmates."
"I suppose you can call my Snape. It's what all my students call me," Severus grumbled, shooting a dirty look at the two boys, who almost immediately shrunk back into their seats. "Anyways, do continue?"
Mindy reaccounted how a group of students had vanished overnight and how Dumbledore had explained it was a field trip (at that, the headmistress shook her head and muttered something about a 'genius but crazy coot'). She told the group of how she had left the castle and seen some of the students, as well as her intentions to protect Sirius (upon learning that she was dating Sirius, Harry had turned green in the face and taken a moment to process, also muttering about ages and dating) as well as her kidnap (Snape found it perplexing that he had chosen to go with chloroform, and even more questionable that Lucius too had chosen to defect). Mindy then continued with how everyone had met up in the forest, Amber's accidental mention of Voldemort's name, how she had cast the shield during the fight, and how Lucius and Snape had proved their loyalty. She finished her tale with how they had returned to the cottage and how she had disappeared.
"That is quite a tale," Headmistress McGonagall breathed.
"I'm not done yet," Mindy sighed, rubbing her temples. "Before I disappeared, Hermione told me to tell you guys that my ring was what caused the Golden Disappearance, whatever that is. She also said that you guys should tell me about tapping and split worlds."
"Wait what about the Golden Disappearance?" three voices asked.
"Hermione said it was her ring," the time-traveler sighed, holding out her hand and showing off the silver ring with the golden feather.
"That's Hermione's ring alright," Harry commented, peering down at the little band that was attached to her left ring finger. "Remember that, Ron? The ring we bought for her at that magical auction after the war? Cost a pretty penny."
"Mister Potter, are you telling me that you gifted your best friend with a ring you bought at a magical auction?"
A loud thwack resounded through the hall as Snape promptly smacked mini-James over the head with the copy of Witches Weekly. This time, instead of a reprimand from the Headmistress, Snape received a, "Severus, if you don't mind doing that again?"
The unimpressed teacher was all too happy to comply, proceeding to smack Ron as well, despite the ginger's attempt to avoid it.
"Has anything from Defense Against the Dark Arts actually stuck in your head, Mister Potter, or has it all somehow vanished through your scar?" McGonagall asked tiredly as she pinched the bridge of her nose and leaned back in her chair, looking defeated.
"I'm sorry," Mini-James muttered apologetically, rubbing his head as he scowled at Snape.
"That ring could also be the missing link we were looking for, Professor," Ron piped up, sitting forward in his chair. "In the Ministry Case of Natalia Bruhn, it said that her boyfriend might have taken the engagement ring back from Natalia. What if this is the engagement ring?"
Whereas Mindy was confused, the other two occupants of the room nodded, listening for further explanation.
The redhead took a moment to collect his thoughts, then began. "Based on your account of your disappearance, we have a bunch of commonalities. Firstly is that each disappearance was preceded by three bursts of pain and was characterized by a golden flash. Secondly, all three of you traveled through time, presumably because of that ring. Additionally, there's a chance that that in each disappearance, tapping was factor. What if Natalia had cast a tapped spell during the skirmish that we read about? We know for sure that Hermione tapped so that she could pick up the book that Malfoy knocked off her desk, so it wouldn't be too far fetched to assume that when Mindy had raised your hand and cast the shield, she somehow tapped?"
Snape, McGonagall, and Harry nodded.
The black-haired professor then added, "During each disappearance, there were two people on either side of the person who disappeared. All three seemed to share some sort of bond, involving strong emotions. For the ministry case, the three were best friends. For Miss Granger's case, also friends. As for Miss Carver, it seemed the bond was not the bond of a friendship, but of distrust."
"The question is whether the traveler must be between two people of the same gender?" commented Professor McGonagall. "Or whether it really is a bond that causes the traveling. There are a lot of what-ifs in our theories."
"Okay, great job class. You've figured stuff out about the Golden Disappearance thing and why I just flew through time, but would someone please fill me in on what exactly the Golden Disappearance and this tapping thing everyone keeps talking about is?" Mindy asked, butting into the conversation. "And also while you're at it, the part about split worlds? Hermione was adamant that I know this."
The headmistress reached down to the bottom drawer of her desk and pulled out a book, opening it up to a raggled red bookmark and then handing it to her. Mindy quickly swept through the case of Natalia Bruhn then handed the book back to the headmistress.
"So, basically," Harry said, leaning forward in his seat, "the Golden Disappearance is what you just experienced. Pain, then a golden flash that causes the disappearance of an individual, sending them twenty two or so years into the past or into the future, apparently. Our current hypothesis about the Golden disappearance is that the ring you are currently wearing, which was supposedly Natalia Bruhn's engagement ring, is triggered by the use of a type of magic called Tapping."
"Tapping is basically a form of wandless magic, accessible to only purebloods-" Snape picked up, ignoring Mindy's protest that she was not a pureblood, "-because of the necessity of a completely filled reserve of magic. Tapping creates spells that are even stronger than normal wandless magic, and definitely stronger than spells cast with the use of a wand. When casting a spell with a wand, some magic is lost from conducting it through the wand. Do you follow me?"
Mindy nodded, but yet again told the room that she was not a pureblood.
"Nor is Hermione," Ron answered, leaning back in his chair. "We still haven't figured out why she was able to learn how to Tap."
The third victim of the Golden Disappearance frowned, "so what is the part Hermione mentioned about split worlds?"
"Because Hermione isn't a pureblood, we believe that the fact she learned how to Tap split the world we were living in into three different worlds. One where she never learned to Tap and never got sent back to the past, the one we're living in right now where she can Tap and was sent to the past, and one where she learned how to Tap but was sent into the past and is affecting the future," Harry finished.
"So why don't all purebloods start time traveling? Because of this ring?" Mindy asked, waving her left hand around.
"That is our new theory, based on what Hermione told you," Headmistress McGonagall nodded.
Mindy frowned, "What is so special about this ring anyways. What if I randomly go flying through time again?"
"That would be a problem," Snape said nonchalantly. The half-Indian woman mentally groaned, then twisted the offending ring. To her great surprise, it came right off her finger.
"That's weird," she commented. "The ring wouldn't come off when Sirius tried to pull it off."
"Put it back on," Snape ordered, suddenly interested. "Potter, try and pull it off her finger?"
Harry reached over and tried to pull it off her finger, but the ring didn't budge, no matter how much force he used. Mindy grunted as the tugging grew painful. Snape raised his hand and called for a cease to the attempts.
"Miss Carver, please try and take it off?"
Mindy twisted the ring and pulled it off her finger with ease. Harry furrowed his brow, equally confused. Headmistress McGonagall leaned forward, holding her hand out for the ring. Mindy handed the ring over to the Headmistress, who raised it to eye level. She turned the ring slowly, examining the silver band for some sort of inscription, but there was none. She then lightly poked at the engraved golden feather, but nothing happened. She slipped it onto her finger, then held it out to Professor Snape.
Snape then took a turn at trying to remove the ring, but it stayed put.
The Headmistress then slid the ring off her finger with great ease.
"Huh," Mindy commented as she took the ring back from the Headmistress and slid it back onto her finger. "It seems that only the wearer can remove it. What purpose does that serve?"
"If this is indeed the ring of Natalia Bruhn, perhaps it has to do with how her fiancee, Charles wanted the ring back. What if Natalia refused to return it to him and made sure that only she would be able to remove it?" the Headmistress of Hogwarts suggested, gesturing to the decaying book of ancient Ministry cases.
The room fell silent at the new information about the mysterious ring.
"So what do we do now?" Ron asked, breaking the awkward silence as he pulled a chocolate frog out of his pocket. How he had managed to not squash the box amazed Mindy. She watched as he opened the box, quickly grabbed the frog, then pulled out the card. Taking one look at the image on the card, he grimaced. Looking over his shoulder, she was surprised to see a picture of Ron.
"You're famous?" she asked, confused.
"I guess you could say that," Ron scoffed as he consumed the chocolate. "Member of the Golden Trio and everything. I feel terrible for ever having been jealous of Harry's fame. Do you have any idea how awkward it is for someone to ask you to autograph their bum?"
Mindy gaped, "People ask you to do that?"
"More often than you ever imagined," Harry muttered with a disgusted look as he pulled a lock of hair over his forehead to cover the scar that she had noticed earlier.
"Wait, both of you are famous?"
"I forgot, you didn't know about us," the redhead mentioned, a smile pulling on his face. "Harry over there is the one who killed Voldemort...twice. Once as a baby and then again last year. That's why he has that scar. As for Hermione and I, we're the ones who helped Harry out. They started called us the Golden Trio somewhere along the line."
"Hermione is famous as well?" the black haired time traveler asked, struggling to process the information; at the same time, she questioned how someone could get killed twice. Wouldn't that mean that he had been revived or something?
"She's the brightest witch of her age," Harry piped up, the other occupants of the room nodding in agreement. "Many consider her the second brightest witch, after Rowena Ravenclaw, of course. Add that to the fact that she's a muggleborn and she's definitely a one-in-a-million sort of girl. To be honest, she's probably one of the biggest reasons why Ron and I are still alive."
I realized that Hermione was smart, but not quite that smart, Mindy thought. I wonder if she sometimes had to hide her knowledge?
"Anyways, we're getting off topic. What's the plan?" Harry asked, straightening up.
Here, Snape stepped forth, an almost evil glint in his eyes as he looked at the Boy-Who-Lived.
"I propose that we try to recreate the Golden Disappearance and send you back in time."
Betcha didn't see that coming this soon. I'm actually quite happy with how this chapter turned out, except for how James and Lily shared their first kiss. I feel like that could've turned out a lot better and that it needed more build up, but y'know? Some things, you just can't get 100% on. Anyways, as of the day I post this, there are still some inconsistencies with earlier chapters that I have not transformed into third person yet, but I will definitely go back and resolve those problems. You can follow me on DeviantArt for sneak peeks of upcoming chapters; my handle is MysticNinja99. Or, you can check my profile, where I post my word count for upcoming chapters for each of my stories. Fantastic musical support for this chapter came from the following songs: "FXXK IT" (Big Bang), "Kids in the Dark" (All Time Low), and "Sabotage" (Beastie Boys). What songs keep you guys motivated during your days?
SissyBoo, I totally understand and am so sorry. MiNiGiIOI, thank you for all your support. You've been with me for a pretty long time, and I appreciate it so much! Health is much better. RandomRavenclaw, yeah, but third person is better, ergo my editing of the entire story. ilicythings, thank you so much! Here is the next chapter, which answers your question of whether Harry and Ron will also be traveling. readeronly76, thank you! Back in the game! Neakco, definitely an adventure, but definitely more tame. And yes, all hail Nya! Bentears, Nya has definitely been great motivation! Padfoot'smyMan, I'm sorry, but thank you for reading. If you read this at some point, I love your username. HermioneMalfoy123, we had a little discussion through PM, but hey, thanks! You're great! Mo-Ped Racer, thank you for your feedback! I will do better!