Two years after the second wizard war a bushy hair witch wandered into Diagon Alley. She surveyed the stores, the busy sounds of the alley not quite reaching her ears. She had no reason to be there, but she had little reason to be anywhere anymore.
Hermione Granger was no longer a gangly, bucktoothed eleven year old. Her learning years both in and outside of Hogwarts was over. Her relationship with Ron Weasley disintegrated, not 6 months after it had begun. They both put it down to the fact that it started in the heat of the moment and childish fantasies of romance where not the basis of a strong relationship.
As she walked in the sun of a world now changed she thought about how life had moved on from the darker times of her Hogwart's years. Harry and Ginny, newly wed and starting a life together. The Weasley's carrying on after much hardship. All the death that had occurred around them. Even before their time in the first war.
What Hermione wouldn't give to not have lived through so much sadness. To be able to change the fates of her friends, her family. To have not lost her childhood in the process. The little things like birthdays and Christmases where trivial in perspective, but what she wouldn't give to be able to experience them and enjoy them with her friends without the imminent threat of attack.
Caught up in her own thoughts, thoughts that constantly plagued her every moment of every day, she forgot to look where she was going. She suddenly found herself on the ground next to a wizened old witch.
"I'm so sorry" Hermione flustered, blushing furiously as she helped the elderly witch of the cobblestoned street "I should've been paying more attention." She looked at the old woman, taking in her appearance. She was so much more than old, this woman was ancient. Obviously blind in her right eye, the left was dark as a night sky. Her skin frail and almost transparent, blue veins criss crossing all over. She had more wrinkles and lines on her face than one would be able to get in the crushed up their parchment as tightly as they could.
"No harm done, dearie" the woman breathed back, her voice sounding more ancient than her features, "you look like you have a lot on your mind"
Hermione mulled the statement around.
"More than I wish I had. What I wouldn't give for a simpler time" She sighed, still holding the old witch's frail and bony hand.
"You wish you had a different fate? Had a different life to the one you were given?" the old woman breathed, slight accusation bubbled under her questions.
"Yes…no…. I don't know. I just feel that maybe things would've….could've been better if I'd done something differently, been able to start at a different point." Hermione stared at her shoes, looking abashed.
"I'm sorry," she stated, flushing lightly "not only have I knocked you down, I'm boring you with the silly details of my life"
"Not at all dearie, sometimes a different perspective is needed every now and then" came the reply.
"Is there anything I can do for you? Help you get somewhere? Are you meeting someone?" Hermione looked around to see if there was a family glaring at her, furious for knocking down their aged grandmother. She spotted two more ancient women a little way up the street, at the entry to Knockturn Alley, looking on curiously; but no angry faces to be seen.
"No, no. Just passing through. I think you may need to go home for a rest though dearie. Too much on your mind perhaps?"
Hermione looked at the old woman, feeling all her energy drain from her, becoming more tired with each passing second.
"I think you may be right" Hermione stifled a yawn.
"Go home dearie, everything will be better in the morning" the elder witch patted Hermione's hand so gently she barely felt it.
"Yes….yes I think I will" Hermione furrowed her brow "I'm so sorry again Mrs…?"
"Clotho dearie….just Clotho"
"Yes, indeed….Clotho" Hermione barely replied as she took out her wand to dissapparated.
With a pop, Hermione left Diagon Alley; reappearing in her small flat. Not even bothering with the short walk from the lounge to her bedroom, Hermione collapsed on the couch almost instantly falling asleep.
Meanwhile three old women huddled in a dark room, removing threads from a giant tapestry, and bringing discard pieces back in to their work.
There are so many wonderful stories out there about our lovely Hermione moving back in time and I really wanted something different that would actually send her back. Curses and time turners are used a lot and while they are a fantastic starting point, but my original starting point sounded (at least in my head) like I was copying the brilliant works that have come before me.
If you didn't pick it up, Clotho is one of the Moirai (or the Fates) from Greek Mythology. The other two old women were her sisters Lachesis and Atropos.