Just a little idea that wouldn't leave me alone. Though I must be mad to add something else to my plate, I thought I'd have a go and see how it turned out. Thus; Quantum Entanglement.
Chapter One: Turning Through the Veil
Hermione was alone. She was always alone here.
Harry was dead. Ron was dead. Her parents were dead. Voldemort wasn't dead. Quite inconvenient really, the way things had worked out.
Harry was dear and brave, but hadn't survived the final battle. The spell that had been intended to kill Voldemort had backfired, as Harry's wand refused to harm its twin. Harry had been killed, and so had anyone standing too close. Ron, loyal to the end, was one of those people.
The dungeons at the ministry were unpleasant, but Hermione didn't particularly care. In the beginning, the dungeon had been full of the people captured after the battle. Luna Lovegood, Susan Bones, George Weasley, Aberforth Dumbledore and many, many more. But the numbers had slowly dwindled. Everyday, someone was taken away. They never returned. And now, she was the last one left.
The rumour had it that this was some kind of public execution. To prove to the masses that Lord Voldemort had nothing to fear anymore. Hermione imagined some kind of stage outside the ministry, like something from an earlier century. She imagined the Wizarding population all gathering around, bringing their children to watch the dangerous criminals being executed.
Hermione's only problem was deciding what to do about it. Live, or die.
Living didn't hold much appeal really. Escape was theoretically possible. She had her wand, hidden away. Around her neck she wore her concealed time turner. Although it was impossible to go back more than twenty four hours, she could still make an escape attempt, and if it failed, go back and try over and over again until it worked. But it was a lot of effort. And it had been a long war. Hermione was exhausted. And today was her turn. They were coming for her.
The decision was taken out of Hermione's hands when the cell door opened. It was Lucius Malfoy. Of course it was Lucius Malfoy. Since her incarceration, he had taken every chance to visit and gloat. Hermione ignored Malfoy, as he yanked her to her feet. Her robes were so tattered that she felt exposed, but she pushed the thought away to the back of her mind. It was all in the mind. If she couldn't have her life, she would at least keep her dignity.
"Your turn," Malfoy said malevolently, pulling her out of the cell. They were in the bowels of the minister, and Hermione expected them to head towards the lift. She was surprised when she realised they were heading for the Department of Mysteries. The image of the stage outside the ministry had grown too strong in her mind to shake it off immediately.
Ah. Of course. The veil.
The room was packed with onlookers. Many were death eaters she recognised, but the remainder were members of the public. And yes, she had been correct. There were children, scattered here and there, no doubt to learn what happened when you disobeyed. When she entered the room, the noise level went up. People were shouting, and she felt a sharp pain as something hit her in the back of the head. Hermione looked down. It was a stone. They were throwing stones at her.
Voldemort sat on his throne, overseeing the proceedings. Hermione suspected he had made this room his power base because he enjoyed the easy convenience of having the veil to utilise, should he wish to remove someone from their mortal coil. Less bodies that way.
Since assigning himself Minister of Magic, Voldemort had taken to wearing glamours that disguised his true nature. Like any politician, he recognised the need for a nice face to present to the public. He resembled a distinguished gentlemen of around fifty, with thick dark hair, going slightly gray at the temples. Hermione glanced at him once, and looked away. No need to remind herself again.
Distantly, Hermione heard Malfoy announcing her crimes to the public. It was taking a while. There seemed to be a great deal of them. Should she live or die? Hermione hadn't decided yet.
Her arm was being grabbed again, and they were dragging her towards the veil. But she still hadn't decided. It wasn't fair; they were pushing her, making her choose too quickly. Perhaps she could go back an hour, and think about it for a little bit longer. Yes, that would be nice. Just an hour, to decide properly.
Hermione put her hand to her throat where the time turner lay. Nobody else could see it, not since fourth year when she had used a permanent concealment charm on it, so no-one but herself could see it. Just one turn, that was all she needed.
Hermione turned the hourglass. As she did so, she felt an almighty shove in the small of her back. Hermione looked up just in time to see the veil rushing towards her...and the time turner was spinning... people were screaming and cheering...and the black curtain was upon her...
Endless nothing. Just darkness. Perhaps she was dead after all. It wasn't so bad - very peaceful actually. Hermione closed her eyes, which made no difference, and decided to rest for a while. Being dead was quite tiring.
"Up. Get up girl!"
Hermione awoke to find herself being poked by a dirty foot.
"Causing mayhem everywhere, wandering the corridors at night, filthy little beasts. But I don't recognise you...?" A face peered suspiciously at Hermione.
Hermione's head felt oddly spongy. She blinked a few times, and her vision became clearer. She realised she was lying on a cold stone floor, and also that she most definitely wasn't dead. But she wasn't in her cell either, which was a great improvement. And then she looked up into a face that she most definitely recognised. Hermione had been awoken by none other than the Hogwarts caretaker, Argus Filch. Of course, it didn't help that he was supposed to be dead. She screamed.
Hermione hadn't screamed with that much energy since before her incarceration, and part of her marvelled that she was still able to. Filch glared at her, and she quickly scrambled to her feet.
"Where am I?" Hermione asked wildly.
"Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry," Filch grunted, eyeing her suspiciously. "You're not a student. How did you get in here?"
"You're dead,' Hermione said blankly, her mind racing at a million miles an hour. Now she came to think of it, Filch actually looked younger. Less frown lines, more hair.
"I most certainly am not," Filch glared. Then he grabbed her by the arm. He seemed to have decided she was mad. "We're going to the headmaster."
As Hermione followed Filch out of the little space she was found herself in, she realised she had woken up in a broom closet, of all places. Outside, she was indeed at Hogwarts. Which of course wasn't possible. Hogwarts had been destroyed by the spell that killed Harry, much to Voldemort's fury.
As they walked through the school, Hermione's mind began to slow to its normal pace, and she looked around properly. She didn't think she was hallucinating, she was fairly certain she wasn't under some kind of spell, and Filch looked very solid. Hogwarts looked real too, down to the last suit of armour. It was dark, and seemed to be very early in the morning. Hermione began to entertain the possibility that she was actually here.
In the back of her mind, she was vaguely aware of a painful sensation. She had been ignoring it quite well. Ignoring pain had been a necessary skill in the dungeons. But was it...burning? Hermione focused on the source of the discomfort. To her dismay, the feeling seemed to be coming from around her neck. A horrible idea came to her. Her time turner. Surely not? Impossible.
"Mr Filch?" Hermione tried.
"How do you know my name?" The caretaker glared.
"I just do," Hermione said weakly. "Erm. What's the date?"
"Third of October," Filch grunted. Hermione winced. She was going to have to ask.
Filch looked at her properly for a moment. "1976," he said, giving her a look that said she had confirmed all his suspicions of madness.
Hermione's head was spinning. The time turner couldn't possibly go back more than twenty four hours - she had been told never to try. Unless going through the veil had interfered somehow? Hermione wondered how she could find out. The sensation that she was underwater and drowning was only getting stronger. Her vision was going blurry, and Hermione reached a hand out to try and grab something - anything.
When Hermione awoke the second time, her mind was clearer. She seemed to have processed a few things in her sleep.. There were voices nearby. Hermione ignored them for the moment, and focussed on the matter at hand. First, she had gone back in time. By quite a long way. A very long way. Twenty one years.
Lucius Malfoy, her gaoler, would still be in school. So would lots of death eaters. That was a very long way back.
Hermione felt like she was lying on some kind of floor, rather than a bed, and as the voices came closer, she listened.
"And she was just lying there, professor, among the brooms." That was Filch
"Yes thank you Argus," Came another voice. Another dead voice. Hermione felt faint. If she wasn't very much mistaken, that was the voice of Professor Dumbledore.
A door closed somewhere, and Hermione sensed that Filch had left. She opened her eyes.
"Good morning," said a quiet voice. Professor Dumbledore was sitting at his desk examining something. From the angle of things, she seemed to be lying on his office floor. Quickly getting up, Hermione started at the old man. It was really real. She was really here.
"Professor Dumbledore," she said softly.
"I've just been examining this remarkable time turner of yours," Professor Dumbledore said, showing Hermione what he was examining. "Tell me, where have you come from?"
Hermione stared. "Er. 1997," she admitted weakly.
"Amazing," Professor Dumbledore breathed. "Amazing."
Hermione looked at Dumbledore askance. A strange woman had just appeared in his school, and all he could say was 'amazing.'
"Can I ask your name?"
Oh no, he could ask more than that. Hermione was about to answer, when she hesitated.
Opportunity didn't knock very often. In fact true opportunity, real groundbreaking change-the-world opportunity, probably never knocked at all for most people. Hermione wasn't most people, but she wasn't going to throw a chance like this away. Hermione made a split second decision, that would influence the rest of her life. If she was back here in this time, then she was going to change things. And, like all of the war veterans that had been her companions for so long, she knew that best way to attack was from the inside.
"Hermione Black. My name is Hermione Black."
Professor Dumbledore's eyebrows raised, but he gave no other signs that she had surprised him. "An odd question, Miss Black, but could you share the name of your father with me?"
Hermione allowed a brief spasm of confusion to pass across her face. "I don't remember. Why can't I remember?"
"Do not trouble yourself Miss Black," Professor Dumbledore said soothingly. "You have suffered an injury to the head - it is expected that your memories may be affected. Perhaps it is for the best."
A head injury? Ah. They had thrown stones. The back of her head felt sticky with blood.
Professor Dumbledore looked out the window, where the sun was rising, his face so much younger than the one Hermione remembered. He seemed to be thinking very deeply about something. At last, he picked up the little golden time turner from his desk, and turned it over in his hands without spinning the hourglass.
"I do not want to hear anything about your time," Professor Dumbledore said at last, looking regretfully at the time turner. "Meddling with the past is dangerous. Can I assume you were a Hogwarts student?"
"Yes," Hermione said. No need to tell him she had been eighteen at the time of her almost-death. In fact, the less Professor Dumbledore knew, the better. Easiest to let him think she had been a normal student.
"I do not believe there is any way we can return you to your time," Professor Dumbledore said after a long moment, looking at Hermione with such pity that she wanted to cry. She had forgotten what pity felt like. "We could, of course, petition the ministry for their assistance. But considering the current state of political affairs...should the news of your, ah, condition get out, I suspect you may become a target."
"For my knowledge of the future," Hermione nodded, trying to look solemn.
"Exactly Miss Black. Which is why I believe it may be safer to merely integrate you back into the student population."
"You mean I can never go back?" Hermione whispered, keeping up the charade. "Never see my family or friends again?"
"I am more sorry than I can say."
"Don't worry Professor Dumbledore," Hermione said sorrowfully, clasping her hands. "You once said 'Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.'"
"I still say that, do I?" Professor Dumbledore said, his eyes twinkling. "I am glad to hear it. Now Miss Black, I know this is painful ground for you, but in order for you to have a life in our world, we must cover some details."
"Of course Sir."
"Firstly, what house were you sorted into at Hogwarts?"
"Slytherin," Hermione lied, meeting the headmaster's gaze calmly.
"Indeed? Perhaps the younger boy then," Dumbledore muttered to himself, as he made a note on a piece of parchment. Hermione pretended not to hear. It didn't matter what he believed.
"And what year were you in when you, shall we say, arrived."
"Sixth year sir," Hermione lied again. That should place her right amongst the future death eaters.
"I see. In that case, if you have no objection, I would prefer to move you into the Slytherin dormitory tonight, and begin classes tomorrow. The Black family is a large one, and a distant cousin appearing suddenly will be strange, but not impossible. Do you have any preference to your new history?"
"Obviously I have to be an orphan," Hermione said slowly, as though hearing the words for the first time. "I sound British, so I can't have transferred from overseas. Do many purebloods homeschool their children?"
"It's not unheard of," Professor Dumbledore conceded. "Although unusual. That you're female, forgive me, makes it more likely."
"Wife material," Hermione said wryly. "No need to waste an education."
Professor Dumbledore sighed again. Hermione was struggling to keep up with the thoughts that threatened to leak past her shields. There was nothing left in her world - this could only be a better world. That didn't mean she didn't grieve for Ron, Harry and her parents just as much as she had done the second before she fell.
One thing was for sure though. The muggleborn know-it-all Hermione Granger was gone. If the war had taught her anything, it was that the best attack came from the inside. The snake in the grass, the hidden dagger, the poison in the wine. Hermione had nothing left to lose, but she was damn sure she wasn't going to waste a second chance - not when fate had so kindly thrown one into her lap.
This time, the war was already won. Voldemort was already dead. It was just that nobody knew it yet.
"I think I'd like to get settled in, if I can," Hermione said after a moment. Professor Dumbledore looked up from the notes he was writing, and nodded.
"Of course my dear. I will have Professor Slughorn - our head of Slytherin - show you to your dormitory, and your new companions. I'm sure I do not have to warn you to keep all, and any future knowledge to yourself. If anyone ever discovered the truth..."
"I know sir," Hermione said, nodding sincerely. "Never."
"Also sir - I have no supplies. And no money."
Professor Dumbledore frowned. "Yes, that will be harder to cover," he admitted. Then he clapped his hands sharply. A house elf appeared, dressed in a clean pillowcase. It bowed deferentially to Professor Dumbledore.
"What can I do for the great master?" It squeaked.
"Miss Black needs some school supplies for a sixth year taking...?"
"Arithmancy, Ancient Runes, Defense Against The Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Potions and Charms," Hermione said. She had, in fact, studied more subjects than that - but since her free time was to be spent winning a war, there was really no point in filling up her schedule.
Professor Dumbledore blinked. "Very well then," he nodded, addressing the house elf. "And also a full wardrobe for a female student please, self-sizing. Do you have any preference for non-uniform clothing, Miss Black?"
"No muggle clothes," Hermione said firmly. "Just what the other pureblood Slytherin girls wear. "
"Yes miss," The house elf squeaked again in its high pitched voice, before blinking out.
"Excellent," said Professor Dumbledore, clapping his hands. "I believe that is everything covered for the moment."
Professor Slughorn arrived at the office a few minutes later. He was as large as he had been in Hermione's time, and his thick thatch of hair had clearly just begun to thin, leaving a bald patch on the top of his head.
"Did I hear you correctly Albus?" Professor Slughorn puffed. "A new student?"
"This is Miss Hermione Black," Professor Dumbledore introduced, his tone casual, as though sixth year students appeared in his office every day.
"Black? A relation of Regulus', perhaps?"
Hermione was repulsed by the way the large man's greedy little eyes lit up at the name, and she recalled Harry describing Slughorn as liking to collect families.
"I don't know sir. My parents weren't in touch with the rest of our family," Hermione invented. "But we were purebloods, so its a possibility."
"Wonderful!" Beamed Professor Slughorn. He looked as though he were about to start rubbing his pudgy hands together in glee, but restrained himself under Professor Dumbledore's disapproving eye. "Er, anyway Miss Black. Shall we get you settled in?"
"Thank you, I'd like that," Hermione said.
They left the office together, and Hermione Black prepared to begin her new life. This was a second chance to win the war, and Hermione Granger had been fighting on the front line for years. She was ready.
Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed. Updates may be sporadic, as I'm working on The Butterfly Effect for the most part right now. But shouldn't be too long.