Quantum Entanglement

Chapter One


"Your turn today Granger," Lucius Malfoy said, unlocking the cell door.

"Really? I thought it might have been somebody else," Hermione said.

In the beginning, the Ministry dungeons were crammed with dozens. But numbers had been dwindling as of late. Hermione was the last one. Inconvenient, the way it had all ended up.

Rumour had it that the prisoners faced a public execution - proof that Lord Voldemort had nothing to fear. Maybe a gallows outside the ministry; perhaps gawking people, and children shrieking with horror and glee.

Hermione's problem had been deciding what to do: Live, or die. Living didn't hold much appeal. Escape was theoretically possible. But it had been a long war, and death was tempting.

She had her wand, concealed the way muggle whores had done it for centuries. Her neck concealed the choking chain of her invisible time turner. Although it was impossible to go back past twenty-four hours, she could still make an escape attempt. If it failed, go back and try again until it worked. Harry would have done that, but Harry was different. Hermione's energy had drained with each vanishing cellmate. It had been a long war.

"Up you get," Malfoy said, leaning down and tapping the magic shackles with his wand. They fell away, and Hermione rubbed her wrists.

Malfoy yanked Hermione to her feet. Her robes were so tattered that she felt exposed, but she pushed the thought aside. It was all in the mind. If she couldn't have her life, she would at least keep her dignity.

"You've got an awful lot of words for a dead witch," Malfoy said, his hands tight on her wrist. He hauled her from the cell.

The winding corridors were familiar. Ahead stretched the lower levels of the Ministry of Magic, and as Hermione stumbled along in Malfoy's grip, she recognized the signs. The door to the Department of Mysteries was open.

"Is that how you do it?" she asked. "Is it the death veil?"

"Every last one of you. No need to see the filthy blood."

Onlookers packed the large room, crowding the benches that descended in steps like an amphitheater. Many were Death Eaters Hermione recognized, but vast swathes of faces she didn't. And children too, scattered here and there, present to learn what happened when you disobeyed.

"How very medieval," she said.

Malfoy shoved Hermione in the back, and she stumbled. The noise level went up as they entered the room. People were shouting, and something sharp smacked into the back of her head.


They were throwing things at her. Stoning the witch.

"Settle down."

The voice was gentle and humourous, but silence fell instantly.

Lord Voldemort sat back on the granite throne, studying the latest prisoner. Hermione suspected he had made the Death Chamber his power base because he enjoyed the easy convenience of the Veil. Should he wish to remove someone from their mortal coil, the bodies wouldn't pile up.

Since assigning himself Minister of Magic, Lord Voldemort had taken to wearing glamours that disguised his true nature. Like any politician, he recognized the need for a pleasant face to present to the public. He resembled a distinguished gentleman of fifty, with thick dark hair, going gray at the temples. Hermione glanced at him once and looked at the ground. No need to remind herself again.

Distantly, Hermione heard Malfoy announcing her crimes to the public. It was taking a while. There seemed a great deal of them. Should she live or die? Hermione hadn't decided yet.

"Therefore we announce that for the crimes committed, the only possible sentence is death!"

Rough hands reached for her again, and they were dragging her towards the veil. But she still hadn't made up her mind. The slavering crowd roared approval, anticipating the kill.

"Ready to see the chosen one again?" Malfoy said.

A non-existent breeze made the veil flutter; black silky cloth draped below a stone archway.

Hermione put her hand to the hollow of her throat where the time turner nestled. No-one else has seen it since fourth-year when she had used a permanent concealment charm on it. Her heartbeat pulsed against her fingers.

Harry would have wanted her to live. Malfoy wanted her to die.

Hermione turned the hourglass. As she did so, she felt an almighty shove in the small of her back. The veil was rushing towards her...and the time turner was spinning...people were screaming and cheering...and the black curtain was upon her...



Hermione opened her eyes to total darkness and wondered if this was death. If it was, it wasn't so bad. Peaceful. She closed her eyes, which made no difference and decided to rest for a while. Being dead was tiring.

"Up. Get up, girl!"

Hermione awoke when a dirty foot poked her in the ribs. Her throat was hurting, a burning sensation, but she pushed the pain to the back of her mind.


"Causing mayhem everywhere, wandering the corridors at night, filthy little beasts! But I don't think I recognize you...?"

Hermione's head felt spongy. She blinked a few times, and her vision became clearer. Then she looked up into a looming face and recoiled. It was a face that she'd seen hundreds of times before, and it was grimy and grizzled. Of course, it didn't help that he was dead.

"What the fuck?" she said.

"Be quiet!" Argus Filch growled.

"Oh dear fucking god I've died and gone to Hell. An eternity with Filch, fuck me…"

Hermione buried her head in her hands and wondered if she should have put effort into being a good person.

"Shut yer cakehole before you wake the whole castle! Always hated hysterical women…"

"Thank god Riddle can't die, I don't want to end up with him too..."

"Always bleedin' sobbing in the corridors, clogging up the toilets with tissues…for Merlin's sake girl, get up!"

A few words filtered in. Nobody had spoken to Hermione with so much energy since her incarceration, and it was invigorating. She scrambled to her feet, her back pressed against a wall that did feel solid. As Hermione's vision adjusted, the afterlife began to look rather like the inside of a cleaning closet.

"Is this Hell?"

Argus Filch peered at Hermione with deep suspicion.

"Near enough. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."

"But you're...well, dead."

Hermione's mind was racing at a million miles an hour. This Filch looked younger. His skin was smoother and his hair was thicker.

"I bleedin' well am not."

Filch scowled at Hermione and grabbed her by the arm. He seemed to have decided she was mad.

"We're going to the headmaster."

Outside the cleaning closet, everything looked like Hogwarts. Which of course wasn't possible. Hogwarts hadn't existed for a long time.

As they walked, Hermione's racing thoughts slowed to their normal pace, and she began to pay attention to her surroundings. Filch looked solid. Hogwarts looked real too, down to the last gleaming suit of armor. Everything was dark, like the hours at the edge of dawn.

Hermione had been pushing aside a burning sensation from her neck since she awoke. Ignoring pain had been a necessary skill in the Ministry dungeons, but this was getting worse.

She raised a hand to her throat and immediately snatched back her fingers. The little golden time turner was blazing hot; sizzling her flesh like steak on an open grill.

"Mr. Filch?"

"How do you know my name?"

"Lucky guess. I know it's an an...odd question, but what's the date?"

"Third of October," Filch grunted.

"What year?"

"Nineteen seventy-six," he said, giving her a look that suggested she was madder than he'd thought.

"Oh, God."

Hermione's head began to spin. A time turner couldn't go back past twenty-four hours - they had told her it would kill her to try. The pain at her throat was getting harder to ignore, and she felt as though she was underwater, drowning.

"You alright there girl?" Filch said.


The pain was worse. Hermione's vision was blurry, and she reached a hand to try and grab something, anything...


When Hermione awoke the second time, her mind was clearer.

The unyielding surface beneath her body felt closer to a floor than a bed, and voices sounded nearby. It wasn't the first time she had woken from unconsciousness in uncertain territory. Hermione ignored the voices and focussed on the matter at hand. Through cataclysmic disaster or cosmic joke, something had gone wrong with her execution. If Filch wasn't insane, or lying, she had buggered an attempt to go back in time. If Filch wasn't shit at dates, which was an assumption, she had gone back a long way. Two decades or worse.

"And she was just lyin' there, Professor, among the mops!"

"Yes, thank you, Argus. I believe I can handle the matter from here."

Hermione felt faint. If she wasn't mistaken, that was the voice of Professor Dumbledore.

"Alright, sir."

The door clicked closed.

"Good morning."

Hermione opened her eyes. She was lying on a thick red rug in front of a low open fire. Her gaze traveled over the stone floor and wooden chair legs up to a familiar mahogany desk, where an old man sat. Professor Dumbledore regarded her over his half-moon spectacles with his head tilted.

Hermione staggered to her feet and stared at him.

"Professor Dumbledore, sir."

"I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage. You seem to know my name, but I do not know yours," he said.


Professor Dumbledore inclined his silvery head. Lying on his desk was Hermione's time turner, glinting gold in the lamplight.

"I've just been examining this remarkable time turner of yours. Tell me, where have you come from?"

Hermione wondered whether she ought to answer, but old habits ran deep.

"Nineteen ninety-nine."

"Amazing," Professor Dumbledore breathed. "Amazing."

Hermione looked at Dumbledore askance. A strange woman had appeared in his school, and all he could say was 'amazing.'

"May I ask your full name?"

Hermione opened her mouth to answer, and hesitated.

"I'm not sure if I should tell you. Wouldn't the best thing be for me to leave, without making changes?"

"I would entirely agree with you if only that were at all possible."

"What do you mean?"

"I do not believe there is any way we can return you to your time," Professor Dumbledore said, turning over the time turner in his hands. He met Hermione's eyes with unmistakable pity.

"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 stared at the time turner in Dumbledore's hands. So many adventures they had been on together.

"So what to do with you?" Dumbledore said. It didn't sound like an answer was expected.

Hermione stared at her feet, bare and dirty. Her robes had been mended while she was unconscious and she wasn't exposed, but she was cold. She wondered if perhaps Dumbledore might decide his plans for her could include a hot bath.

"I could leave," she said. "You wouldn't need to know where I went."

"That won't do," Dumbledore said. "I don't know what you know of our world, but there is danger beyond these walls. A witch from the wrong time would be at risk."


Dumbledore clapped his hands, his face brightening.

"Yes, of course. I have it. It will be safer to merely integrate you back into the student population."

"We could...what?"

Hermione stared at Dumbledore, taken aback. She felt as though she hadn't merely gone back in time, but stepped into a parallel universe. During the Great Siege, she had spun the time turner three times. Scavenged three lives. Each time, she had craved the changes she could make. What if she could prevent the carnage, instead of un-doing the occasional death?

"You mean I can stay here? Start...start my life over?"

"I know this must seem very hard. I am sorrier than I can say, Hermione."

Outside the arched window, the first golden rays of the dawn broke over the indigo horizon.

"Become...a student, here, in nineteen seventy-six?"

"I believe it is the only way your knowledge of the future can be kept safe. You

a Hogwarts student, weren't you?"

An opportunity didn't knock often. True opportunity, real groundbreaking change-the-world opportunity, didn't knock at all for most people. Hermione wasn't most people, but she wasn't going to lose a chance like this. She decided.

"Yes, I was."

Harry and Ron would live again.

Four years of guerilla warfare had taught Hermione that the most savage kill was the dagger in the back from within the ranks. If she was, here again, this time she would do it from the inside.

"Professor, my name is Hermione Black."

Professor Dumbledore's eyebrows raised, but he gave no other sign 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. "You have suffered an injury to the head - it is expected that your memories may be affected. Perhaps it is for the best."

Hermione prodded gingerly. The back of her head was sticky with blood.

Professor Dumbledore watched the sun rising outside the window, his brow furrowed with thought. The little golden time turner dangled from his fingers, and he closed his fist. Its hourglass ceased to spin.

"I do not want to hear anything about your time. Meddling with the past is dangerous," he said.

"Yes," Hermione said.

The less Professor Dumbledore knew, the better. Easiest to let him think she had been a normal student.

"I understand though, that the days ahead will be hard while you grieve. Please be assured that my office door is always open to you, should you wish for an understanding ear."

Hermione smiled at Professor Dumbledore.

"You once said 'Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.'"

For a moment the Headmaster looked startled, and his glasses slipped. He adjusted them and coughed.

"I am glad to hear that I still say that in twenty years' time Miss Black. Now, I know this is painful ground for you, but 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.

"And what year were you in when you, shall we say, arrived?"

"Sixth-year sir."

That should sandwich her in the current and 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 for your new history?"

"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, 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 and began scribbling notes on parchment.

Outside, the forbidden forest sprawled, dark and foreboding by the lake. As the sun cast ripples across the water, Hermione saw several silhouettes fly over the trees. Thestrals, frolicking in the morning sunshine. She smiled.

This time, they had won the war. Voldemort was 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. Never."


"Also sir - I have no supplies. And no money."

Professor Dumbledore frowned and clapped his hands. A house-elf appeared, dressed in a clean pillowcase. It bowed to Professor Dumbledore, its long ears sweeping the ground.

"How may Dinkle serve the great master?"

"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. The last time she had been a sixth year she had studied more subjects than that, but that had been five years ago. This time the priority was winning a war.

Professor Dumbledore blinked.

"Very well then. 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. "Just what the other pureblood Slytherin girls wear. "

"Yes, miss."

The house-elf vanished. Professor Dumbledore clapped his hands together.

"Excellent. I believe that is everything covered for the moment. Except - ah."

Hermione flinched, startled, as a pair of black leather boots materialized on her feet. She lifted her robes to see thick woolen socks peeking out the top.

"Thank you, Professor," she said.

Professor Slughorn arrived a few minutes later, squeezing his bulk through the doorway. His jolly face Hermione remembered well, but the blonde hair she didn't. It was thinning, leaving a bald patch the size of a galleon.

"Did I hear you correctly Albus? 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's, perhaps?"

The large man's greedy little eyes lit up at the name.

"I don't know sir. My parents weren't in touch with the rest of our family. But we were purebloods, so it's a possibility," Hermione invented.


Professor Slughorn looked as though he would start rubbing his pudgy hands together with 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," she said.

The office door closed behind them, 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.