A.N.: Just to be safe : No profit is being made from this, and all characters belong to JK Rowling.
'What in the seven hells happened to self-preservation?' Salazar Slytherin asked himself, though his hands continued to move deftly over the well-used cauldron without a pause.
'Evaporate the excess fluid. Watch for the change in optical property that indicates saturation. Remove from heat.'
This was the product of fifteen long years of research – conceived in ideas so genius that even Rowena may be jealous, and gestated in experimental trials so patient that even Helga may find difficult. And now, he was about to pull off a feat so reckless that even Godric would hesitate.
'Cast the final spell. Seal the magic. Transfer into a clean flask and check consistency…'
Admittedly, he had but a vague guess at what would happen, and there would be no way to control it once it started. If his theories and conjectures had been correct, his being would dissipate into the ether until it would pull itself back together and begin anew. There was no telling how long this would be, or who he would become.
Not a comforting thought, as control had always been very important to him.
And yet, he absolutely must know...
Was it not true that someone had to try something drastic, once in a while, to further their civilization's understanding of magic? With no family, no ties, no greater goal in mind than this... it wasn't as if he had much to lose. Now was as good a time as any, he supposed.
'Bottoms up,' he grinned, and swallowed the potion in one long draught.
And he was gone.
Nearly a millennium later, a baby girl was born to a pair of proud new parents. Being both avid admirers of Shakespeare's plays, the list of girls' names they'd prepared was long indeed: Juliet, the loved; Ophelia, the pure; Emilia, the strong; Titania, the fairy queen; etc, etc.
But the moment their daughter opened her eyes, they knew exactly who to name her after.
Charming. Eloquent. Quick witted, and incredibly clever. Mind, perhaps a little too brilliant for her own good, said Dr. Olivia Granger to her husband. The poor queen from The Winter's Tale did have to suffer terrible accusations of crimes that she did not commit, and the people all thought she died in disgrace.
But, Dr. Jean Granger pointed out, it turned out that she either came back to life or never really died...
His wife agreed, and so the name of their daughter was decided.
The girl was to be named Hermione.
Dear Hermione Jean Granger,
'What the - ? What happened? And how is it that I suddenly remember two lifetimes?'
Congratulations. We are writing to you to offer you a place in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry…
'Letter of acceptance. The Hogwarts seal. So that's what set it off…'
"Hermione, dear, what's that strange letter you've got? It doesn't look like junk, does it?"
'Ok. Show mother the letter. Use the opportunity to recollect memories and thoughts. Hermione Granger, eleven years old. Daughter of dentists Jean and Olivia Granger. Muggleborn witch. Live in London, 1991… But formerly Lord Salazar Slytherin. Professor, inventor, potioneer, duellist. Founder of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Reincarnation potion... successful. Theory of souls confirmed?!'
Hermione Granger, eleven years old, carefully decided to sit down so that she would not go crazy from fainting and bumping her head.
"Mum? I… I know you won't believe this, but… it says I'm a witch!"
Father choked on his coffee. "What?"
"It's probably a joke," said Hermione. Except it was really not. Either she'd accidentally inhaled some sort of hallucinogenic potion and was actually dreaming on the floor of some dungeon somewhere (or would she be a he in that case? Who cared – there were much bigger matters at hand!), or all of this was incredibly, definitely real.
"A very elaborate one at that," said mother with raised eyebrows. "Anyways, we'll be off to the clinic. You take care of yourself, love!"
Hermione was left alone to stare at the brown textured parchment of the letter and nurse her buzzing head. Her typically organized brain was flooded with static. Somehow, she felt … everything felt so…
… so normal! That was the most amazing thing about it! She was somehow labeling herself with two identities simultaneously in her head, and yet here she was eating cereal like it was just another morning. Maybe some things are like that: if you don't worry about it, you'll never need to. Insist on imposing some sort of conflict between two ideas, and you'd just give yourself a headache. Kind of like that wave-particle duality theory that she'd read about yesterday.
A more useful thing to worry about would be: what should she do now?
Hermione sat, and wondered, and waited.
Apr 14 2018 AN: So I started writing this story 4 years ago as a crackfic while impatiently waiting like an addict for PreciousAnn's Courage and Cunning to update. Afterwards I got really drawn into this, and the story got progressively more plotty and serious with each Hogwarts year.
Year 1 has no real plot except Salazar trying to act like a normal kid and resisting temptation to make big waves, while simultaneously taking care of any problems that she can't ignore. If you skip to year 2 you probably won't miss much, although a lot of plot later on will be built on the little changes that occur in year 1.
The year 2 arc is about Salazar trying to clear her name and wash the stink off of the reputation of dark arts
The year 3 arc is about Salazar building up her assets while protecting the secret of her identity from two nosy professors, with some personal discoveries along the way.
Year 4 is about politics and gathering allies.
Year 5 and 6 will be properly team Salazar vs. team Voldemort vs team Dumbledore