Title: Hinge of Fate Chapter One

Author: Ramos

E-mail: Ramos004@Earthlink.net

Rating: R for sexual scenes, including rape.

Summary: Hermione's memory is missing something, including the details on how she became pregnant. Snape would rather not remember. Disclaimer: These characters are the property of J.K. Rowling. No profit made from their use.

Author's note: I know this has been done before, but here's my version with a twist from 'Memento'. Also, for the record, I'm pro-choice, but I'm not making any kind of statement regarding abortion.

Part I - Discovery

"Don't be absurd!"

It was perhaps not the politest way to repudiate Madame Pomfrey's diagnosis, but it was the first thing that came to Hermione's mind.

Normally, Hermione Granger considered herself to be a fairly level-headed person. Reasonable, thoughtful, and responsible, as well as considerate and respectful to the witches and wizards who oversaw the daily life at Hogwarts. This, however, was too much.

The mediwitch pursed her lips in annoyance, but the firmness in her voice never wavered. "I'm afraid so, Miss Granger. I've performed the diagnosis charm twice, and combined with your other symptoms, there can be no doubt."

"Half the school had a galloping case of the flu when they got back from Christmas break last week, Madame Pomfrey. I helped you and Professor Cluny brew dozens of Defluenza potions, remember? All I've got is a mild case of the flu!"

"It is not the flu. I've asked the Headmaster to come and have a talk with you, young lady. He should be here in a moment; I believe he'll have a great deal to say to you. Your position as Head Girl will..."

"You've what!?" Hermione interrupted, not caring how rude she sounded. "Honestly!" With that exasperated exclamation, she could no longer remain seated. She abruptly left the narrow white bed she'd been directed to when reporting to the Hospital Wing this morning and began to pace up and down the short row of identical beds. It was perhaps fortunate she kept her muttering under her breath, as Madame Pomfrey would no doubt not have appreciated being referred to as a senile dingbat, which was the most creative appellation her mind could currently supply.

As if in response to her half-intelligible comments, Albus Dumbledore appeared in the doorway to the infirmary.

"Good morning, Madame Pomfrey, and to you, Miss Granger. I trust you are well, though it is always a questionable assumption here in the Hospital Wing." Dumbledore smiled with casual good humor, and Hermione had the feeling he was twitting Madame Pomfrey slightly. When neither woman smiled back at him, he took on a more serious expression.

"Well, Poppy? You summoned me from breakfast, and as you know, I'm rather fond of blueberry pancakes."

In bald terms, Madame Pomfrey repeated her diagnosis of Hermione's illness, much to her embarrassment.

"And I've told you, Madame Pomfrey, that there is absolutely no way you can be correct. I have the flu!"

"The only flu you have, my dear, is the Egyptian flu, and in nine months you're going to be a mummy. You are pregnant, my girl, make no mistake!"

Any further argument was postponed as Professor Dumbledore quietly sat down on the nearest cot. It was more than just a sudden lack of his customary twinkle; he suddenly looked every one of his hundred thirty-odd years. Even his robes seemed to droop with fatigue over his narrow, bony shoulders.

"Are you sure, Poppy?" he asked the hovering matron without turning his attention from where Hermione stood with her arms crossed defiantly over her flat and obviously not pregnant stomach.

"Yes, Headmaster, absolutely sure."

"Will you kindly pull Miss Granger's record and bring it here, please." Dumbledore's phrase was polite, but the tone left no doubt it was an order. The older woman made a tsking noise and headed for her office, while at Dumbledore's nod, Hermione sat on the nearby stool.

She squirmed under the Headmaster's piercing gaze, but Hermione's self- righteous irritation refused to abate. "Professor, I don't see how Madame Pomfrey could possibly be correct in this. I know she's a wonderful nurse, but this is... it's impossible!"

"Miss Granger..." Dumbledore reached out and laid a wrinkled, spotted hand atop hers. "This will no doubt be a trying afternoon for you, but I believe you will be strong enough to bear it. First of all," he began, sliding his wand out of his robe's sleeve. "Finite Memonis Anisthetae," he intoned, the sliver of wood in his hand stroked the air over her head decisively.

"Memonis Anisthetae," Hermione echoed dubiously. "What is that?" She sat back on the stool, clenching either side of her seat with her hands as though the chair would tilt her out onto the floor.

"It is similar to an Obliviate, Miss Granger. However, it does not permanently erase the past. It merely sublimates a painful memory until the subject is sufficiently recovered to deal with the trauma."

Her eyes went wide with the word trauma, and the headmaster nodded gravely. "Yes, I'm very much afraid that you have several painful memories currently buried in your subconscious. And they will without a doubt surface, soon or late. Perhaps sooner than would be wise, now that I've removed the Anisthetae charm, but under the current circumstances I think it best you know exactly how you came to be in your current condition."

"Professor Dumbledore, there's absolutely no way I can be pregnant!" Hermione stormed. "And if I am, you'd bloody well better call the Vatican!"

"Hermione." The Headmaster's calm voice reached her, deflating her annoyance and calming the part of her normally quick-leaping brain that refused to add together the clues he'd given her. "I want you to think back to the end of October. Tell me what you remember."

She repressed the urge to huff, and thought back two months earlier. My Nana Bren died. My mother insisted I come home for the funeral."

"Ah, yes. Brenda Carver. Your mother's godmother, correct?"

"Yes. Mum was very upset; she and Nana Bren were very close, especially after my grandmother passed away."

"I see. And how did Mrs. Carver die?"

Hermione frowned. "Heart failure, I believe. She was well over eighty."

"A ripe and venerable age, for one not born a wizard. And after the funeral?"

With determined patience, Hermione outlined how she had dealt her mother's grief, causing her to miss three full days of school as well as the weekend. As she finished, she told him how her mother had dropped her off at the Leaky Cauldron and hugged her several times before finally allowing her to pinch a bit of Floo powder out of the cracked china bowl Tom kept on the mantle of his fireplace.

"I remember I was a bit cross with Mother because she was going to make me late for the Halloween feast if she kept on crying on me. She was being ever so brave, and I knew she was missing Nana Bren something awful, but I had some assignments that were going to be late as it was."

"And then?" prompted Dumbledore.

"Then what?" Hermione shrugged. "I Floo'ed to the Three Broomsticks and came back to the school."

"How was the Halloween Feast?" he asked mildly.

"It was..." the word 'fine' trembled on the tip of her tongue. It refused to come out, because she was suddenly uncertain. "I don't.... I don't remember." Trembling, she pushed her wild, springy hair back behind her ear. "I said hullo to Madame Rosemerta, and I pinned my Head Girl badge on the outside of my cloak. And I remember I put a levitation spell on my bag, because Mum had insisted on buying me some things and it was really heavy, and then... and then..."

"And then it was Monday," supplied Dumbledore.

"Yes," whispered Hermione. She swallowed hard, desperately searching her memories. Nothing came to light. "What happened, Professor?" she asked in a terrified whisper. "Did something happen to me?"

"To my great sorrow, yes, my dear."

Madame Pomfrey bustled up at that moment, giving Hermione a moment to compose herself. Both anxious to know the truth, yet terrified of what might be revealed, she paid only scant attention as the nurse showed a parchment to Dumbledore.

"You see, right here. I always make a note of these kind of things, Albus, you know that. Right there, the fifteenth day of October."

Hermione dredged through her memory again and blushed. "Oh. That."

Dumbledore looked over his small, round glasses at her. "It says here, Miss Granger, that you requested, and received, a Contraceptus potion." His voice held no accusation, only dry interest in her answer.

"Well, yes. I did ask."

"And Madame Pomfrey gave it to you?"

"Yes, sir." Her cheeks were turning bright red, but she held her head up high. She was eighteen, well over the age of consent and a full adult in the wizarding world. She had a perfect right to have sex, and whether or not she chose to exercise that right was none of Dumbledore's business.

"But I suspect you did not take the potion. Is that correct, Miss Granger?"

"No, sir."

"Why ever not?" demanded Madame Pomfrey. "If you had, you might not be in this mess!"

"I'm not in this mess!" Hermione snapped. "I didn't take the potion because the bottle broke when I threw it at... him." She'd nearly said Ron's name, but refrained at the last moment. "We had a terrible row, and then we had a long talk," she added, more calmly. "We decided we were better suited as friends than lovers." How she managed to say that word out loud without stammering, she'd never know, but continued, "and then it didn't matter that I'd spilled the potion, because I didn't need it."

"Will you give us a moment, please, Poppy?" The nurse was used to Dumbledore's excluding her from many things, but she took it with no better grace than she ever had. With a sniff, she excused herself and went to her office, where she closed her door, not with a slam, but with an emphatic click that left no doubt as to her opinion of the proceedings.

Dumbledore mutely handed her the parchment with her history on it. At the top, it mentioned her first visit to the hospital wing, for some minor ailment her first year. Her admittance after her disastrous experiment with Poly Juice, then the basilisk petrifaction episode. One after another, her every dealing with Madame Pomfrey was outlined, from minor incidents to major catastrophes. Quickly, she skipped down to the end, where the crisp script began with October 31st.

'Patient brought to hospital wing by Hogsmeade constable Randy Blightwell. Assaulted by Deatheaters as per Severus Snape, also admitted to hospital wing. Injuries are as follows: Broken collarbone, three loose teeth, split lip, blackened eye (left), various other minor scrapes. Sexually assaulted, with vaginal bleeding and bruising. Previous administration of Contraceptus potion confirmed, see above...'

Unable to read further, Hermione dropped the parchment to the floor and bolted for the window. She shoved the heavy metal frame open and leaned out, breathing in deep draughts of the cold December air to counteract the greasy feeling in her stomach.

"You have had no other romances since you and Mr. Weasley parted ways?" Dumbledore asked mildly, almost sadly. Hermione shook her head, fighting a sudden surge of nausea and the chaos that came when her logical mind tried to match up the square peg of sexual assault with the round hole of pregnancy. The two refused to mesh, leaving her thoughts a confused jumble and her stomach doubly so. She could not seem to get enough air.

Dumbledore waited patiently until her breathing evened out, then addressed her back, as though he knew she could not bear to turn around and face anyone at that moment.

I owe you a great apology, Miss Granger. Events of that evening were... extremely dramatic, and I regret that I acted with haste. I in no way trivialize what happened to you, but a life hung in the balance that night. I must confess I took an easier avenue that was proper or prudent, and cast the anisthetae on you so that I might turn my attention to what I felt was a more pressing emergency."

Hermione's thoughts latched onto the one thing that had nothing to do with herself. "Professor... Professor Snape. Was he hurt?"

"Yes," answered Dumbledore heavily. From his tone, she knew it was serious.

"He's not on sabbatical, is he?" she stated. Nearly every other Gryffindor had been wildly elated when the Potions Master had abruptly gone on sabbatical two months ago, yet she, Harry, and Ron had tempered their celebration with the faintest concern over the turncoat's well-being. Events of the last few years while dealing with the ever-growing threat of war had given them a certain degree of respect for the absent Potions instructor, regardless of how unpleasant he was as a teacher. Now, it seemed their concern was well placed.

"No, my dear, he is not. He was gravely injured and close to death when he was brought here that night. It was a very near thing."

Hermione opened her mouth again, as more and more questions came crowding into her mind, but Dumbledore held up a cautioning hand.

"I know you have many questions, Miss Granger. I can only beg your forgiveness that I cannot answer them all for you now. Cornelius Fudge is expecting me in his office in an hour, and from there I am due to address a group at the ministry in yet another attempt... never mind, Miss Granger. It is not your concern at this moment, and you have much else to think about."

He rose from his seat and regarded her steadily. "I will return to Hogwarts in two days, Hermione. Come to my office then, and I will hold nothing back from you. You may be excused from classes, if you wish. No?" he questioned, when she shook her head, then tilted his own to one side in acquiescence. "As you will, my dear. I beg you will excuse me, and perhaps, some day, forgive me for this deception. Until Saturday, then."

Automatically Hermione bid the headmaster good day, then gathered her things and left. She wandered blankly to Potions class, where the substitute instructor Professor Cluny accepted without question her response that she'd gone to see Madame Pomfrey and bade her get her cauldron and supplies. She mechanically created the potion - one Snape had taught them while they were fifth years, and only Neville had any difficulty with - while her numb thoughts chased each other around without arriving at any recognizable conclusion.

In a single burst of clear thought, she flipped through her Potions textbook to look up the Contraceptus potion. It was listed without a recipe, merely referred to in context to another, but the book clearly stated that both would last for several months in the bottle, and would maintain their effects in the body for more than a month.

Which meant that if she'd taken the potion when Madame Pomfrey had given it to her, she could not have gotten pregnant for over a month. Try as she might, she could bring no further memories up than the afternoon she had arrived at the Three Broomsticks. The badge, the short-lasting levitation charm, the door to the pub as she'd waved goodbye to the cheerful owner... then nothing. Her next clear memory was eating breakfast on a Monday, worried about an assignment she'd had to hurry to complete, wondering if she still had time to add some more notes.

By that evening, Hermione sat in the Gryffindor common room, but her thoughts were grinding around in the same rut, finding no further memories or traces to follow. The fire crackled merrily in the grate as she stared blankly at it, and it was not until someone poked her hard that she startled and came back to the present.

"Oi. Hermione. You finished that assignment yet? Hermione?" Harry's glasses reflected the firelight as he grinned cheerfully at her. She glanced down at the three sentences she'd managed to write in the last hour.

"No. No, I haven't."

"I don't believe this. I've actually finished my homework before Hermione Granger. A day for the record books, this is!" Ron, still crouched over his parchment at a nearby table, shot Harry a dirty look and went back to scowling at his own work.

"So what's up, Herm? Bad day?" Harry plopped on the sofa next to her. His expression was open and helpful, full of cheer, and Hermione could not even open her mouth to express just how bad her day had been.

Harry Potter had changed dramatically from the scrawny boy she'd first met on the Hogwarts Express seven years ago. He was nearly as tall as Ron, now, but still reed-thin. His chest had broadened a bit over the last two years, and the muscles of a fanatical Quidditch player wrapped his bones, giving him a deceptive strength. The death of Cedric Diggory had focused him somehow, flaking off perhaps more of his childhood, and he had spent the last three years digging into the study of magic with a vengeance. His concentration and sense of purpose had sharpened to the point that his marks in Defense Against the Dark Arts and Potions had rivaled Hermione's. He couldn't care less about several of his other classes, and his grades reflected that, but anything that might be brought to bear against Voldemort was worthy of his intense study.

Somewhere in the last year, nearly everyone around him had accepted without question the fact that Harry Potter and Voldemort would meet in a final confrontation to either save or condemn the world. It was no longer a question subject to debate. It simply was, and the staff at Hogwarts did their best to prepare him for a battle whose outcome was by no means certain.

In the meantime, however, Harry was still a seventeen-year-old boy, and even though he was her best friend, there was no way Hermione could open her mouth and tell him what that day had revealed to her. She simply stared at him, her lip trembling.

It may have been his sympathetic expression, or he might have put his arm around her shoulders first, but she suddenly found her face pressed into his wiry shoulder as silent sobs racked her body. Harry patted her back awkwardly.

"Hey, Hermione. It's okay. It can't be that bad, really!"

She only shook her head, and left it buried in Harry's green sweater. She did not see him shoot a questioning look over to Ron, and mouth, "What is wrong with her?"

Ron shrugged violently. "How should I know?" he mouthed back, just as mystified by their friend's sudden reversion to being a girl, rather than the sensible, unflappable friend they knew.