Moments in Time
Disclaimer: Copyright J.K. Rowling & C.S. Lewis
I: Royal Hand of Fate
"When life screws you over."
A secret's worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept.
It was a phrase that her mother often liked to repeat when they were forced to tell the Hamiltons (their neighbours) that Hermione attended a boarding school for the gifted, or when they told Grandma Aggie that Hermione had undergone major dental cosmetic surgery when she appeared one summer without her two large front teeth.
Hermione never truly understood the meaning of the phrase. She supposed she had been somewhat blessed that the main reason behind the secrets and lies had been due to the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. She had been, at one point, a horrific liar. Telling fibs had never been a convincing skill of hers and her parents could always see through her stories.
The truth was much more powerful than lies.
That was a phrase that her father often liked to repeat. It was a philosophy she had followed all her life … until Hogwarts.
Hogwarts had changed her. Far lot more than she would ever realize or would like to admit. Over the years, the little white lies they told to avoid detention and unwanted attention had become something of the norm for the 'Golden Trio'. She didn't know when she moved away from being a wide-eyed and stuttering innocent to being able to pass a lie through her lips as easy as spreading butter on warm toast. She was slightly ashamed to admit that one of her proudest moments had been the way she lured Professor Umbridge into the woods to save Harry from the Cruciatus - and perhaps, later on in her life, she would count holding her tongue whilst under the Cruciatus Curse, her strongest and bravest moment.
But through it all, Ron Weasley and Harry Potter had been right beside her; they had only ever separated by circumstance and never (well, not her anyway) by choice. Come what may, Hermione Granger had only ever seen a future with her best friends, for one without them was bleak.
Amidst the war there had always been that small ray of hope – that the 'Golden Trio' would either live together or die together. She would never have thought that everything she knew would be stripped away from her and she would be tossed into another world by herself.
She could never have imagined that she would one day be by herself.
This time, Hermione Granger would lie about her gift, not because of an existing Statute, but because her life depended on it.
"Harry Potter is dead!" Voldemort announced with great glee.
The deformed maniac's red eyes glowed with triumph. This was the moment he had been waiting seventeen years for; ever since he walked into the Potter's home in Godric's Hollow and cast the killing curse on an unassuming child and failed. He had finally accomplished his goal. Harry Potter was dead. The Boy-Who-Lived was no more.
Hermione's heart stuttered, failing to remember how to beat as coldness settled in her, making her feel numb to the core.
Harry Potter, the dark-haired boy who had become her first ever friend, and soon her best friend, the boy who she had shared tears and laughter with, all the good times and the bad, all the adventures and nightmares, was gone. She didn't know what to feel ... what could she feel? This type of pain was so new, she was too young to know real loss ... she was only eighteen; and Harry, seventeen! Initial denial crept in - a pure emotion of disbelief. He couldn't be gone! They had joked that for his eighteenth, despite the looming war, they would go to a muggle pub where Harry would finally be legally of age to buy a drink. He couldn't be gone! He just couldn't ... not after all that they'd accomplished. How far they'd come ... he just couldn't be gone now. They had been so close ... the victory had been in their grasp ... and it had been snatched. It was cruel. It was not fair! ... It just was not fair.
She registered Ron grabbing her hand, squeezing it tightly as he grasped for the last semblance of sanity holding him to this devastating reality. But she couldn't look at him. If she did, it would just cement the fact that Harry really was gone. That the Golden Trio were now just ... a duo.
The actions that then followed on the battlefield were just a haze in Hermione's memory. Somewhere in the background, Neville had stepped forward in response to Voldemort's request for new members in his rank. Her heart would have broken, had it not already been in pieces. The foolish Gryffindor had then pulled out the sword from the hat; not ready to give up the fight. And just like that, once again, there was a flurry of spells flying through the air as the battle recommenced.
It was their last fight for freedom.
Ron let go of her hand, throwing himself back into the battle, his raw grief and fury overtaking his rationality.
Hermione was smart, the brightest witch of her age, and she knew that the fight was already over. She remained stationary watching as a flash of green shot through the crowd and Neville Longbottom was suddenly no more.
That was another body, now piling on the ground. Red pools of liquid, black sea of robes. Bodies, so many, and everywhere ... littered around like pieces of garbage.
Her ears became mute as the crowd around her battled. Her brilliant brain was no longer operating.
So, as Bellatrix stood in front of her, spitting the word, "Mudblood" in her direction, she did not respond, she could not respond. Her arms remained by her side, and fear was nonexistent. Ron screamed her name, but the fight was lost. She knew that. There was no hope.
Excruciating pain filled her as the wild-haired witch performed the Cruciatus Curse on her limp form. Bellatrix leered at her with a mocking smile.
Hermione turned her head, through her pain, and watched as Ron fell, the unforgivable green-lit curse finally catching him.
That was the last thing she saw before her own world turned black.
"What are you doing in here, get out!" A soft female voice scolded.
"Peter told me that you'd found a wounded stray. I didn't believe that you'd be foolish enough to bring one home." A deeper voice replied and they didn't sound very happy. "You know how clever those rogues are, Aslan, have you learnt nothing from us?"
"I found her in the woods, injured! I couldn't just leave her there!" The younger, feminine voice said; there was fierce protectiveness evident in her tone.
"When we said that you can learn to become a healer, we didn't mean that you could literally bring your practice patients home!" The deeper voice became louder; he was irritated.
"Oh for Aslan's sake! She was unconscious! I swear to you that the minute she wakes, I will personally escort her back to her family."
Hermione opened her eyes and promptly winced as bright light hit her vision, her eyes would not focus, no matter how hard she blinked. It took her a moment to gather her bearings before she turned towards the two figures in the room who were causing quite a commotion. Initially, she thought she was looking at Harry and Ginny, for all she could see was a blur of black and red hair, but as her vision cleared, she realised it wasn't. Panic grabbed her.
The male, whose deep voice had broken into her abstraction, was tall, dark and intimidatingly brawny. He had the posture of one know knew hand-on-hand combat, a fighter. The female beside him was quite petite but her fiery red hair and equally fierce face told her that she should not be underestimated on the battlefield.
Immediately, Hermione scoped out her escape routes, there was a door just behind the couple and a window to her left, through which the room was illuminated. She couldn't see the ground outside from where she laid, only the clear blue sky - which meant that she could not be on the ground floor. There were no visible signs of electricity, she considered, as she spotted several well-used lanterns and wax candles dotted around the room's surfaces, there was one right next to her beside. No plugs, no lights, and the furniture looked outdated ... definitely not a muggle house ... it must be a wizarding home.
She wondered who they were. She definitely did not remember them from the Battle at the Ministry of Magic nor at the Malfoy Mansion where she had been help kidnapped.
She scanned their frames for their wands, were they wearing holsters? She idly wondered how to disarm them without her own wand. They must have confiscated it when they captured her. But their clothes ... the Wizarding World did have a weird, outdated sense of fashion ... but this was ridiculous. The girl was in a dress, one that had a corset and puffed skirt and the man (or perhaps boy, it was hard to tell), he was wearing tan trousers, but they looked puffy around his thighs and a tunic, not a shirt. She almost felt like she had time travelled to the Victorian Era.
Hermione shrugged off the weight on her legs and she realised that she hadn't been tied down, but weighed down by an extremely thick, hand-knit quilt. Why was she on a bed? Hermione stared down at her bandaged arm with confusion. Why had they tended to her wounds? Why was she in a dress?
She turned her attention back to them and noticed the male had now turned his attention towards her and was staring intently.
"What, Ed? Have nothing to say?" the female taunted, having not yet noticed her patient.
But, with quick astuteness, she followed the male's line of sight before her face morphed with realisation.
"Oh goodness! You're awake," she said with a gasp as she hurried over. "How are you feeling?" She asked, her hand covering Hermione's.
Hermione flinched away from the contact. Instinct told her that they weren't a threat, but battle hardened, Hermione chose to play it safe.
"I ... where am I?" Hermione questioned, trying to sound demanding and sure of herself, but it failed - her voice was as weak as her mind.
She winced as she tried to pull herself up on the bed. The redhead at once started fussing over her, helping her sit up and carefully placing a pillow behind her back so that she was comfortable. Stubborn as she was, Hermione purposefully sat ramrod straight on the bed, refusing to relax against the pillow.
"Well, you're in Narnia of course," the girl replied, her brows knitted together.
She looked confused by the question … as was Hermione by the answer.
"Narnia? Where's that?" Hermione repeated, with a perplexed expression.
"Dear Aslan, have you no recollection of your memory?" The redhead questioned further, peering right into Hermione's eyes.
Hermione tilted her head backwards, uncomfortably looking away from the piercing green eyes that unnervingly reminded her of her bespectacled best friend.
She visibly blanched as memories of the war came rushing back, of Voldemort's exuberance, Harry, Neville, Ron ... Bellatrix standing over her...
"No, I just, -" her voice broke, "I don't understand how I came here."
She avoided their gaze, scared that if she looked into her kind eyes a second longer, she would break down. Her gaze settled on her bandaged arm instead. She stared at it with intense hatred. It was a permanent reminder of her heritage. It was a reminder of who she was and where she belonged in the Wizarding World.
The girl followed her sight and suddenly looked at her with almost an apologetic expression, "You weren't…" she hesitated, "You weren't a part of the–the s-slave trade were you?"
Hermione's eyes clouded, tears of confusion and grief forming quite rapidly. The girl's accent was not British. It sounded … perhaps European but it was hard to tell; there was a thick stress in her voice. Wherever she currently was, there was no doubt that she was definitely far, far away from London.
"I'm ... I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked," the girl apologised, mistaking the dampness of her eyes for something else.
She twiddled her thumbs; suddenly looking the most unsure Hermione had seen her since she'd woken up. The light sound of a door closing interrupted the sudden uncomfortable silence in the room. Hermione sniffed and looked towards the door through her tears, and noted that the man had left.
"Don't mind Edward, he gets terribly uncomfortable when women get emotional." The girl said with a fond roll of her eyes. "I'm Salliah by the way."
Hermione smiled at her weakly, judging no immediate danger, she replied, "I'm Hermione, Hermione Granger."
Bright, punishing morning sunlight woke Hermione from her slumber the next day.
Memory failed her as she tried to remember when she had lost consciousness the night before. Sally had stayed with her, filling the silence in the room with mindless chatter about Narnia until she had dozed off.
It all seemed like a dream.
She remembered dying. At least, she was pretty sure that she had been engulfed in a glow of green light. She wondered if she had performed one last bit of instinctual, accidental magic and apparated out of Hogwarts. But, Hogwarts, A History clearly stated that you could not apparate in and out of Hogwarts. It had a millennia's worth of wards that prevented apparation. Hermione could not think clearly, her mind was still rather hazy; but if this was the afterlife, it certainly was not what she had been expecting.
Her sore muscles screamed with discomfort as she stepped out of bed. Her feet felt like lead, having been bed-ridden for longer than forty-eight hours. An uncomfortable numbness settled in her legs as she felt as though she was dragging a tonne of bricks with every step she took. She had been found in the woods - completely unconscious and unarmed. Her swollen ankle was bandaged; she had somehow managed to twist it - of which, she also had no memory of. Through the beige dressing, Hermione could see ugly mottling of a blue-black bruise forming.
She winced, her ankle protested with each footstep as she daringly reached for the basin of clean water at the opposite side of the room. She gently sprayed her face with water and wiped away the dried salt patches on her cheeks - the residue of her tears from the night before. Sally had kindly plaited her hair last night and looking in the mirror, Hermione was relieved to see that it had stayed in form. Not much could be said, though, for the dark bruises under her glassy eyes; reminding her that not too long ago, she had given up the fight for her life. Whether she was still alive or on the next adventure after life, was to be discovered (as soon as she found her wand, she would try to apparate), but there was no hiding from the current truth: Hermione Granger had, for the first time in her life, given up on something. And if that didn't speak volumes of her current fragile state of mind, nothing else would.
The clatter of pots and pans, conversation and laughter snapped her out of her self-pity. Not knowing whether she would be welcome, but refusing to stay a moment longer in the small bedroom, she stepped outside.
Allowing the noise to be her guide, Hermione found herself looking into a room that reminded her so much of the kitchen at The Burrow. Its participants were heart wrenchingly resonant of the Weasley siblings: six men and one girl. Thankfully, only Sally was the redhead in the family; else, the connotation would have been painfully unbearable. The conversation came to an abrupt pause, as her presence was made known, but only for a moment. In a blink of an eye, Sally was in front of her, pulling her further into the room.
"Hermione! I'm so glad you came down, I was just about to bring you breakfast," she said with joy as she pulled Hermione down onto a spare seat beside her.
A plate of food appeared in front of her with cutlery on the side.
"You needn't have. I was just going to inform you that I will be on my way now," Hermione replied, not touching the appetising looking plate of food in front of her.
How long had it been since she'd had a whole meal such as this? Probably, something Kreacher cooked up for them back at Grimauld Place before they had been forced to flee. After living on freshly harvested mushrooms and dry, tinned food, Hermione's mouth watered at the sight of toasted bread, bacon and eggs. It was funny, how the simple things in life, most often taken for granted, seemed like a luxury - especially after the trials she had faced the past year.
Hermione was mindful of the unblinking stares she was receiving from the moment she'd stepped into the kitchen. But she wasn't ready to answer any questions, or offer any explanations.
"But…where will you go? You said so yourself that you don't know Narnia," Sally spoke softly, as not to startle Hermione.
"I'm sure I can find my way. I don't want to impose any longer than I already have," Hermione replied.
She looked up from her plate, her eyes falling on man, Edward, who had been present in the room last night. He blushed and looked away with embarrassment; whether for his words last night or being caught staring now, Hermione wasn't sure.
"Don't be ridiculous Hermione, Narnia's not as safe as it is made out to be. There are rogue, mutinous Telmarines and wild beasts still about. It's not a place for a woman to travel alone … and the motels are anything but hospitable!" Sally shuddered, "Tell her, Peter!" She exclaimed to her brother.
The name rang familiar and Hermione turned to look at the tall, dark-haired man at the head of the table. He was by no doubt the eldest. His weathered face was foiled with wrinkles caused by worry, stress and laughter. The lines around his eyes and mouth crinkled upwards, as though he was a man who often smiled with his eyes and laughed freely. His dark hair sat on his shoulders, the long strands were tucked behind his left ear where a fang-like silver earring hung; it was almost eerily reminiscent of Bill Weasley.
With a sigh, Peter conceded to his sister's point, "Sally is right. Narnia is not a place for a woman to travel alone; especially for one like you." Hermione frowned at his choice of words. "There are plenty of thugs and hooligans who will try to take advantage of your situation. I have no qualms with you residing with us."
As Peter spoke, he gave each and every one of his brothers a look that stated that he was not to be argued with. Unsurprisingly, no one did. The man had an irrefutable air of authority around him.
"But it's too much trouble. You don't know anything about me and I can't just stay here for free. Perhaps I can be a maid, do the chores around the house," Hermione suggested, though grimaced at the idea internally.
'Just for a while,' she thought to herself, 'until I find a way to apparate, or until I get news of what's happening in London. I should probably find out whether there are flights available from here.'
She was taken back by the looks of offence she received in return to her suggestion.
"We are in no need of a maid, Miss." Hermione opened her mouth to argue, "but if you really seek work and remuneration of your own; I will ask around town to see if there are any vocations available."
Under Peter's stern advice, Hermione could only mutter a word of thanks.
"It was pleasant meeting you Hermione, if you'll excuse me, I must be off to work now." Peter nodded at her, wiping his mouth with a napkin before standing up and walking out.
His brothers followed suit, quickly introducing themselves before hurrying out. It was all too quick for her to remember their names, she believed she heard an Oliver and a Henry thrown in there somewhere - but she wasn't too sure.
It was then that Hermione noticed the swords hanging by their waists. She quickly concluded that they must be in the military, but their choice of weapon was so medieval. Exactly what type of country was Narnia?
"Eat up now, you'll need your strength," the healer-in-training reprimanded her with a pleased grin on her face.
With a weak smile of her own, Hermione dug in. She savored the taste of good, home-cooked food.
She, by all accounts, should be dead. But here she was, sitting in some family's kitchen, eating breakfast, being ... alive.
Fate worked in mysterious ways.
Edited: 08/04/17 ... just to clarify, the Chronicles of Narnia don't exist in the Earth Hermione came from. So Hermione has no idea what/where Narnia is.
A.N/ I am absolutely obsessed with the Edmund/Hermione pairing! I've read Two World's Collide by WickedlyAwesomeMe numerous times and I'm currently hooked on Fate's Instruments by fourthfireshadow! So, with that in mind, I do apologise if my story is similar to any of theirs, obviously this trope is overdone but I'm trying to make mine as original as possible.
Let me know what you think so far!
Reviews are like oxygen.