AN: This was my first Harry Potter fanfic. I edited to change the perspective to 3rd person as well as add some description and scenes. It was re-posted on 10/3/2017. I hope you enjoy. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions or comments. Thank you so much for all your support! PS, this chapter and the next include some torture.
Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling, so do not own Harry Potter. I do not lay claim to anything that is under her or anyone else's copywrite. This disclaimer is for the whole story.
Chapter 1: A Gift or a Curse
One foot in front of the other, she can barely breath, but pushes herself further. The sound of boots on the stone and yelling chases after her, searching. She turns a corner and swears. The gargoyle waits, but she has nothing to tell him. Sinking to her knees, she thinks, 'It's over.' Three years, hiding and fighting and searching, but now? She'll be dead soon if she's lucky. The scraping of stone on stone causes her to look up. The stairs visible, she clambers up them. It may only be delaying the inevitable, but she wouldn't surrender.
The headmaster's office looks different. All the trinkets are gone, but the desk is the same. Merlin. She collapses to her knees, sobs racking through her body.
"No," she mutters. "I have to stand, find some way to win the war." That is what expected of the brightest witch of her age, but her vision was cloud with the memory of dead friends.
"Miss Granger?" Hermione's eyes snap to the portrait of a man she had looked up to for so long. Dumbledore isn't smiling now. "We lost." It isn't a question. Hermione nods, lowering her head as another sob shakes her body.
"It's over," she whimpers. "Harry's...he's...gone."
"The prophecy has been fulfilled then. Another could rise, another champion…"
"There is no one left."
"Miss Granger...there is a way…" Her head snaps up to look at the man she would always consider the headmaster. Could he have a way to save them? "But it comes at a very heavy cost."
"I'll do it." She doesn't hesitate. Dumbledore sighs and seems to sag in his portrait, the twinkle gone from his eyes. It is a large burden he would lay at her feet and he desperately wishes there was another.
"I can't, in good conscious, allow you to go through with it without understanding. I happened upon this spell when a different war was already lost, the one against Grindelwald. The only description was: The spell is cast, to change the past. To live again, with an enemy as a friend. I was desperate so I spared it not a second thought, and performed the spell.
"It takes you back in time to a place where things could be changed, where an enemy could have gone a different route and been a friend. I didn't understand the cost, and not to just me. It sent me back with my memories and changed the circumstances so Grindelwald and I would be friends. I thought I could sway him, but it was he who lead me down a much darker path.
"It cost my sister her life as well as others and yes, I won that war. You won't know what it'll cost, but that it will be heavy."
Hermione sits in the silence that follows. What could it cost? How much is too much? She had lost everything already. A crash radiates from the stairs. They are trying to break through. She's out of time.
"What choice do I have?" she whispers. "I'll do it," she repeats, but her voice wavers. She understands too well the costs of war. Dumbledore nods.
"Take the Time Turner from the case behind the desk." She scurries around his desk and slams the door on the cabinet open, snatching the time turner for it's delicate stand. "The incantation is: Iterum Vive. Move your wand in a sideways figure eight while pointing at the time turner."
"Okay." Another crash.
"Learn occlumency, your memories will be clouded from others for the first month, but after that they can be seen." Hermione nods. "And Miss Granger?" She look up at him quickly. "I'm sorry," he says. Footsteps echo from the stares. She sits on the ground, the desk at her back with the Headmaster's portrait looking down on her. She sets the time turner on the floor in front of her and moves her wand as directed.
"Iterum Vive," she says. The Time Turner raises off the ground for a second and then crashes to the floor. The sand spills onto the stone before sweeping up and twirling around her.
"What the hell?" Hermione's eyes snap to the doorway where Malfoy is standing. The sand spins faster and then everything is black.
"Hermione?" a woman speaks through the fog. The witch struggles to open her eyes. "Hermione, darling, are you coming?" A door opens, creaking slightly. "You're still in bed. Come on, breakfast is ready." A gentle shake brings her consciousness closer. Hermione peels her eyes open to see a set of honey colored eyes looking back at her. The woman smiles widely, radiating warmth. Mum.
Then everything comes back and her breath catches in her throat.
"What year is it?" she croak. Emma Granger furrows her brow at her daughter and places a hand against her forehead. No fever.
Hermione's mind begins to race. '1996...'96...what happened in '96? We're still in school...we're going into our sixth year, I assume it's summer because that was the only time I was with my parents that year...Dumbledore is alive, but not for long...and the world knows Voldemort has returned.'
"Honey, is something wrong?" Emma asks. In answer, Hermione throws her arms around her mother. She couldn't help wondering how much time did they have? This is the last real time she spent with her parents before sending them off to Australia.
"No, Mum. Just had a bad dream," she replies as Emma returns her hug. "I love you. You know that right?"
"Of course I do. And I love you too." Emma pulls back and looks at her concerned. "Is this about leaving to go spend time with your friends? You know you can always stay here longer, if you want." Leaving? Right, Hermione was going to stay at the Burrow with Ron and Harry until school started.
"I'm alright Mum." She returns her daughter's smile and stands up up.
"Ok, well breakfast is ready." Hermione nods and she leaves. Jumping out of bed, the young witch walks to a mirror. Her eyes are brighter and skin smoother as well as her hair being more frizzy than it was at the end of the war. There are less wrinkles and scars, too.
The thought comes uninvited into her mind and she pushes it away. No, she can stop it, has to stop it, though even as she think it, she doesn't know how she possibly will.
"Hermione, come here," Dan Granger calls from downstairs. Hermione races from her room to greet her father. The achs of sleeping on the ground and shivering in the freezing cold, absent from her muscles. The words die in her throat, when-most the way down the stairs-she sees her parents standing with several escaped Death Eaters. Hermione reaches for her wand that's been strapped to her arm for more than three years. Her arm is empty. In '96 she slept with her wand on her bedside table. She turn to rush back to her room, but is frozen within a second.
"No so fast," Bellatrix cackled. With her wand, she turns Hermione around and floats her down the rest of the stairs. "We have quite the plans for you." Screams ring out, Hermione's mixing with her parents as they twitch on the floor. She wills her magic to break the body bind, but it's hopeless.
"Oooooh, music to my ears," Bellatrix says. "But we can do better." An imperious is shot at Dan Granger. "Kill your filthy whore." He turns to Emma, hands reaching around her throat. She tries to fight, but the curcio that is now stopping her attempts must make death feel like a relief. As the last of her life leaves her eyes, the curse is lifted off of Dan. He collapse around Emma, holding her and sobbing.
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," he whispers to her.
"Oh, how sweet," Bellatrix mocks. She raises her wand again and a cutting curse slices at his legs. He screams, blood staining the white carpet. "That's more like it." Another curse takes the leg off completely, but she doesn't stop. Curse after curse, she is chopping him down. Blood flows freely, but the screams are dying out.
"Forgive me," Hermione whimpers as his eyes meet hers just before passing.
"Best be going now," Bellatrix says, turning from the tangled and messy bodies of Dan and Emma Granger. A hand squeezes Hermione's upper arm tightly, but she doesn't glance to see who it belongs to. She can't look away from her parents. This is the last time she'll see them. And then they are gone, as she is press through space and deposited in front of a manor.
With a flick of her wand, Bellatrix sends strand of red magic around Hermione's neck and starts walk towards the front door. She drags the younger witch up what is decidedly a ridiculously long walk to the manor steps, magical leash cutting into her neck.
"Look what I found," Bellatrix calls out to the occupants of the house, once through the front door. She yanks the leash and Hermione falls to the floor. As someone walks into the room, the kneeling witch glances around. The white blonde hair and grey eyes she recognize immediately. Shock stains his features.
"But…" Confusion flashes in his eyes and then it's gone, replace with a mask that hints at nothing.
"You got any information for us, mudblood?" she smiles sadistically. Hermione looks away, refusing to answer. "Then I can spend my time in more interesting ways." The pain comes fast and searing. Hermione remember the last time she was tortured by Bellatrix, in this very house. That hasn't happened yet, of course this wasn't supposed to happen at all. Screams tear from her throat eliciting laughter from the crazy bitch. When Bellatrix lifts the curse, she exhausted and shaking all over.
"Draco, take her to the dungeon," she says. "I'll be down later for more fun. But that is where the bait is staying." Malfoy shuffles forward and grabs the muggle-born's arm, hauling her to her feet and pulling her towards a set of stairs leading down. She stumbles over her own feet, too tired to gain proper balance.
He opens a gate to a room she's seen before, but in another life. It's empty right now. He tosses her in and she falls to the dirty floor. Hermione is still as she waits for the gate to clang close, but there is only silence. Malfoy glances around. After a second he leans in, close to her face.
"What did you do, Granger," he says, a dangerous edge to his voice.
"What do you mean?" she replies weekly. He growls.
"Don't play games, I know you sent us back in time. What the hell is wrong with you?" His words suck all of the air out of the whole room.
"You...you remember?" He rolls his eyes.
"And this is the brilliant mind of the Golden Trio? No wonder your side lost!" Her hand whips out of it's own accord and slaps him hard across the face. Rage flashes in his cold eyes. His right hand reaches out and closes around her throat. He straightened, pulling her to her feet as his fingers continued to dig into her neck.. Mere inches from his face, she can see all the blue flecks in his gray eyes.
"I'm sorry," he slurred the word leaving no doubt that he was not sorry at all, "that you lost the war. But I had no intention of relieving one of the worst years of my life. So fix this." His hand releases her and she falls to the floor. Turning on his heels, he leaves without another word, gate clanging behind him.
"I can't," Hermione whispers to herself. She lays on her side, wild brown curls spread across the dirty concrete as she mourns her parents. How much will this spell take? How high will be the cost? She can't help, but wonder, but it doesn't really matter at this point. There is no going back.