'Has my sense of self-preservation fled for Tartarus before me?' 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 different names?'
Her name was Hermione Granger, and the last thing she remembered was drinking an experimental potion that would either kill her or cause her to be reborn -
No, wait. Her name was Salazar Slytherin, and the last thing she remembered was sitting down at breakfast in front of the telly and being passed a weird letter -
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 made her remember the first fifty-five years of her life.
"Hermione, dear, what's that strange letter you've got? It doesn't look like junk, does it?"
'Ok. Let's summarize. I am Hermione Granger, eleven years old. Daughter of dentists Jean and Olivia Granger. Muggleborn witch… 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 looked about the table. It would appear that her parents were still waiting for a response. Well, there was only one reasonable thing to do.
"Mum?" Hermione Granger nee Salazar Slytherin exclaimed loudly, "You won't believe this, but it says I'm a witch!"
The normally fastidious eleven-year-old (give-or-take) wasn't entirely aware of the next couple minutes of hubbub, only that there had been some exasperated remarks about practical jokers. Then, one way or another, she was left alone to stare at the brown textured parchment of the letter and nurse her buzzing head.
There were only two explanations for this. The first was that she was dreaming. It was not impossible that she - Salazar - had accidentally inhaled some sort of hallucinogenic potion and was actually dreaming on the floor of some dungeon somewhere. (The question of whether she would in fact be a he in that case paled in the face of the fact that she was remembering a whole second life!) It was certainly impossible that she - Hermione - was conjuring up a lifetime as an ancient dark mage in her head, since the aforementioned hypothetical turn of events would require her parents to have doused her with an atrocious amount of laughing gas last night. Such irresponsible behaviour would be uncharacteristic of Mum and Dad, and was therefore entirely inconceivable.
The only other explanation was that everything was real.
That was a very exciting thought.
Hermione Salazar Granger Slytherin regarded the world of possibilities before her, and grinned from ear to ear.
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
I didn't categorize this story, but basically year 1+2 are humour, year 3+4 are drama, year 5+6 are action. Zero romance until year 5.