Author's Note: Hello! Firstly, this story was one of TWO that I wrote for the Bewitching Fiction Summer Challenge. It's been posted since September there and you would have been able to read it first there. I do believe I will be posting all Harry Potter fanfics there first before I post them here. Because I heart that site and everyone on it. The theme of the summer challenge was "Rare Pairs" so hopefully everyone enjoys this rare pair.
If you haven't already visited, please check out Bewitching Fiction! Not only do other authors post ahead there, but there is a great group on the forums that chats all day every day about HP and just every day things.
This story won during Bewitching Fiction's Summer Challenge! It tied for 1st with Best Snog, won Best New Ship, and won Needs a Sequel!
Please see the end author's note about more Harry Potter fanfiction from me.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything Harry Potter. I just play make believe with the characters.
Goddess of Time
If Harry Potter was known for causing trouble the six years he was at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, then Hermione Granger was known for being trouble at the Ministry of Magic the eight years that followed the post-war rebuilding period. A freelance contractor currently working for the Ministry's Department of Mysteries as a favor, she was typically thought of as thorn in the side by many heads of departments. Between demands of rare and costly potions and ritual ingredients to taking control of conference rooms for weeks at a time, it was safe to say many would be happy when her contract this time around would be up and they could have a reprieve before the Ministry wanted her again. Hermione barely paid the Ministry workers any attention unless they were directly helping her, so it stood to say she was fairly oblivious to the feelings within Wizarding Britain's government building. Her latest project, a room deep in the bowels of the Department of Mysteries, preoccupied her mind and she was damned if anyone was going to break her focus and determination.
She had to solve her unanswered questions of the veiled archway before it was too late. She knew she only had so much time before a soul had to cross to the final destination or be stuck in something akin to a void. Her research for the last eight years lead her to this day, making final checks and preparing the ritual space. Starting tonight at sunset, which was only four hours away, no one but herself would be allowed to enter the room, warded in triplicate for safety, until she finished her work.
Hermione sighed. "Time turners are such a messy business."
Hermione was utterly bored despite being on holiday with her parents. The family of three was touring France, taking in museums, beaches, and spending time with one another. However, her parents were spending one of their last nights on the continent as a date night, leaving Hermione in their small, rented cottage for the evening.
It wasn't that Hermione was dependent on her parents to entertain her. No, rather their presence had been keeping her out of trouble. Away from thinking about her mistake at the end of the school year several weeks before.
At that moment, a small gold time turner winked up from the wood table at Hermione. It was practically chuckling at her, making eyes, daring her. The glint of the light on the magical metal seemed to intensify when she let out a sigh. Her hand reached out for the artifact and hesitated for just a moment; she would need to go to the wizarding community of the area so the magic wouldn't be detected. A resolve settled in Hermione's mind and before she could talk herself out of it, she grabbed up the time turner and got ready to leave the cottage.
It wasn't until she was in the loo of the local bar that she pulled the gold piece from her bag and tried to do the calculations. She wanted to tour wizarding Paris a little more. A half day hadn't nearly been enough for her but her parents didn't feel comfortable in a world they knew nothing about and had pulled her away to head to Notre Dame. Confident that her numbers were accurate, she starting the required spins to send her back, the pull increasing the more she spun. As the room shimmered around her, indicating the backward travel of time, her stomach dropped and Hermione became aware that something had gone horribly wrong and that she couldn't do anything to stop the time turner before it reached the spun destination. With a gasp, she winked out of sight, only to reappear in the same spot fifty three years before.
Barely registering where she was, Hermione collapsed to her knees. The sudden upheaval of decades instead of the usual handful of hours was jarring on her mind, body, and magic and she found herself trying to catch her breath as if she'd run a marathon. Fighting back the urge to vomit, she looked around and noted that the decor of the washroom barely changed. The color scheme was different, but the layout was still the same. The biggest difference here was the pair of feet that stood on the other side of the stall where Hermione hid.
"Who's there? Who Apparates into the loo?" The voice was young, but sounded boyish and was cusping towards puberty.
Feeling as though her breath had caught up, Hermione quietly asked, "Who are you? This is the ladies room, yes?" Her eyes watched the shoes in front of her shuffle slightly against the stone.
"I...That doesn't...Show yourself!"
Hermione couldn't help the small, breathless laugh when one of the feet stomped with the boy's demand. Sighing, she stood and brushed off her clothes, and opened the stall door slowly. Peaking first, she found herself looking at an aristocratic face with furrowed brows, long black hair tied back, and mercurial eyes watching her shrewdly.
"What year is it?
The boy seemed confused at Hermione's abrupt question, looking at her as if she'd started singing the Hogwarts school song. His mouth only hung agape a moment before he gathered himself and stood with his back straight and arms tucked behind him.
"It is August 30, 1941"
"And you're a Hogwarts student, yes?" Hermione guessed his age, close to her own if by a few years.
"How did you guess, then?" The boy's face took on a sneer.
She might only have been fourteen, but Hermione could tell this boy was suspicious of her. If the way he kept looking her over and trying to bore into her eyes with is was any indication. Taking the little information she'd been able to start studying on, Hermione threw up a haphazard mental shield, preventing any kind of Legilimency from happening. It was shaky at best, but she could tell he'd noticed by the slight surprise on his face.
"You're British and you're not that young," she answered finally. Stepping out of the stall fully, she walked around the boy and started washing her hands at the sink. "Will you tell me your name?"
"Just why does it matter who I am? You're the one Apparating into the ladies loo instead of the Apparition point!"
"I may have appeared into the loo but you're the boy hiding in the toilet." He flushed when she said this. "So please, tell me your name? I'll be seeing you at school anyway." Hands on her hips, Hermione glared at him, waiting.
Her natural bossy nature was coming out, as it usually did when she felt the need to be in control of a situation. It was the only thing keeping her from collapsing back on her knees and shaking in fear. No one was meant to go this far back in time, especially a fourteen year old girl.
"Orion Black, at your service, my lady." He bowed mockingly, glaring at her from under the fringe hanging across his eyes. "And you are…?"
She barely heard his follow up question, but managed to answer with a faint "Hermione. Call me Hermione." She wasn't aware of the extensive genealogy involved in the pureblood society, but she naturally knew the name Black. She and Harry had saved Sirius two months previous and, with the way wizards in Britain kept their family close and blood closer, it was easy to connect the dots. The preteen in front of her was Orion Black, father of Sirius Black.
"I...I need to go," Hermione said, taking a step back and looking towards the door.
Orion watched her, arms crossed and eyes narrowed. "Why are you dressed that way?"
"What way?" Hermione looked down, taking in her Muggle jean shorts, sandals, and red summer blouse. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
"You're dressed like...one of those. The Muggles, but worse. I've never seen any of them show so much skin." Orion frowned.
Hermione flushed. There was more than fifty years between the more liberal wardrobe of what she was wearing versus where she was, and here she was woefully underdressed. She shook her head and took another step back, hoping to make it to the door before something happened. Orion was technically still a child, but he was more than likely spoon fed the pureblood ideology she'd been coming across the last three years since joining the wizarding world. Who knew what he would do if he truly hated Muggles and the Muggleborns, Hermione didn't want to stick around to find out.
Instinctively, she froze. Her right foot hovered inches from the floor, stopped by the commanding voice of a boy.
"You're going to step on something." Orion walked past her and bent down to pick up something gold just outside the stall that Hermione had emerged from. "What is this?" Hermione turned to look and gasped.
"That's mine!" Hermione tried taking the time turner from Orion's hand but he snatched his hand away, hiding it behind his back.
"What is it, I asked," he frowned, bringing it back around to look at. He shot Hermione an irritated glare before reading the inscription stamped into the gold. "'I mark the hours, every one, Nor have I yet outrun the Sun. My use and value, unto you, Are gauged by what you have to do.'" He looked over at Hermione, who looked more nervous with each moment he held the necklace. "Tell me what it is and you can have it back."
Biting her lip, Hermione reluctantly met Orion's eyes. What surprised her was that she didn't see the usual cruelty or distaste she received from purebloods. His face was stubbornly set, eyes trying to hide curiosity behind indifference. But despite not knowing him long, she could see Sirius in his father and it was so Gryffindor, the curiosity. She decided tip her hand and tell him some of the truth.
"It's how I got here. I need it back so I can go home, it's a Ministry-regulated device lent to me for a short period." She held out her hand. "Please, may I have it back?"
Orion frowned, processing the words the odd girl said to him. He was a bit impressed with how she had answered him without being completely direct; it was obvious the girl wasn't Slytherin but she'd played with words as well as any girl in his family. He decided to play as fair, gently putting the gold artifact in her outstretched palm.
Ignoring the emotion in her voice, Orion pretended to brush dust from his robes and cast his grey eyes in Hermione's direction. "So, are you using your trinket to leave now or do you plan on living in the toilet?"
Hermione gaped, taken aback that this seemingly stuffy boy had cracked a joke. She couldn't contain the laughter that bubbled up and unsuccessfully hid it behind her free hand. She waved him off when it looked like she'd ruffled his feathers.
"Sorry, sorry. You're funny. But yes, I should get back. Especially before someone comes in and sees us in here." She gestured to the two stalls on one side of the restroom and the sinks on the other.
"Why would anyone come in here?" Orion's brow furrowed.
"This is a bar. Someone's bound to come in at some point."
Shaking his head, he corrected her. "No. This is a private apothecary owned by a relative of mine. She's closed up for the day."
"Interesting," Hermione murmured.
"Would you rather use your toy in the shop or do you prefer the loo?" Orion raised a brow and cocked his head towards the stalls. He frowned when Hermione shook her head violently. "Why not?" His nose scrunched up in distaste.
"Wherever I use the device, that's where I appear. It moves in time, not space. If I use it in your relative's shop, then I'll appear in the middle of the bar...Hopefully."
Orion crossed his arms and glared. "Hopefully? You don't know what you're doing?"
"Time is...funny. I wasn't supposed to go this far. I had been hoping for a few hours, not years. I'm not sure where I went wrong, I used it for almost a year before today. If I use it to go forward, how forward will I go? Or should I take smaller jumps? There's so many variables." Ringing her hands, Hermione grimaced and side glanced at the young Black scion before looking down at the Time-Turner. The innocence that it had radiated earlier was gone, replaced by a glow that made her feel betrayed.
Realizing what she'd said, she looked up to find Orion contemplating her words, finger tapping his chin. He was young, but he took what she'd said in stride. His eyes betrayed any cool nonchalance she usually attributed to Purebloods with curiosity burning in the background.
"The Trace," he said. His grey eyes met hers. "If you do it here, with no one around, it will alert the Ministry and both of us could be in trouble. Or at least me, since you've not been born yet. I should leave."
Hermione nodded. "Yeah...Please don't tell anyone about me? I just want to get home."
Orion scoffed. "As if anyone would want to hear about a scantily clad, delusional Muggleborn girl." He paused and eyed Hermione's Time-Turner. "I'm not sure about that device, exactly. But maybe smaller jumps to where you're going might be best? If you came from...wherever...then it must be powerful magic involved and if you play with fire, you'll get burned."
Hermione put the the long chain around her neck smiled to Orion. "I've got a bit of spinning to do. Hopefully I land close to home. It might be best for you to leave now."
"Get in the stall where you came out of," he instructed. "That way if you show up, you're at least not startling an auntie or something." He pushed her into the stall and swung the door shut with force. "Go home, Hermione."
Hermione could only see Orion's shoes again from under the stall as they stood on the other side of the door. It was minutes before Hermione got tired of waiting for them to leave, so she began the calculations and focused on the number of spins she'd need. She watched the gold spin impossibly fast, only vaguely aware of the sound of footsteps echoing in the room. As the room shifted around her, the sun rising and setting with various shadows, the feeling of her stomach doing acrobatics became more apparent. Head spinning, she was barely able to register time slowing around her and when the Time-Turner came to a stop, Hermione was unable to keep herself from collapsing forward.
With ears ringing and vision swimming, Hermione's exhausted body sent the door flying open and landed in a pair of strong arms. Unable to control her fingers, the Time-Turner slid from her hands and dangled limply between the two bodies.
"Hermione? Are you okay?"
Focusing her eyes, she looked up into the older face of Orion Black. His brow was furrowed in confusion and worry as he slowly pulled her up into a standing position. Trying to catch her breath, Hermione tried to look at her surroundings, noting that nothing had changed save a few more cobwebs in the corners.
He took a step back from her once he was certain she could stand alone and Hermione was able to get a better look at the older version of the Black son. He was her own age now, it seemed. Several inches taller, hair tied back in a ponytail, his face had lost some of the boyish roundness that had been apparent minutes before when she'd seen him last. By the surprised look on his face, he certainly hadn't expected her to fall out of the stall and into his arms, or at all.
"What are you doing here?"
His voice was flat, cold, nearly accusing.
"I...I just left you in 1941. I thought I'd try smaller jumps like you suggested. What's wrong?" Hermione clutched at her Time-Turner when she saw the angry look grow on Orion's aristocratic face.
His face eased, but still held a troubled look. "I thought you were a figment of my imagination. I come in here to hide but here you are again. This isn't a good time for you to have come." His eyes darted to the door and back to Hermione's face. "My family is here."
"What year is it?"
"July 1944. And right now, my cousins Walburga and Alphard are here. Al's okay, he's only eleven, but Walburga is insane and you won't make it out of here alive. She's already of age and will not hesitate to use magic on you." Orion tried shoving Hermione back into the stall she'd fallen out of, but her legs gave under the strain of trying to move and he had to catch her once more.
"I think I've exhausted my magic," Hermione said warily. "I feel so ill." Unable to find herself caring, she sat on the floor and leaned against the walls of the partition. "Can't you just keep her out of here? I think I just need a nap." She gathered up the Time-Turner in her hands and gazed at the crystal sands. The small grains looked shinier than usual, probably from the extended use she'd subjected it to.
Orion looked at her as though she'd sprouted a dragon's tail. "I think you overestimate my influence on my older cousin. Black's aren't known for obedience." He ran a hand through his hair, pulling some from the tie at the nape of his neck. "Why did you have to come now?"
Hermione's eyes drooped sleepily as she smiled at him. She felt heavily drugged, almost unable to control her own body. Her body was trying to tell her that she needed rest immediately, but she fought it still. "I seem to always have bad timing. Why are you hiding? From her this time?"
Looking down at her, then the ground, Orion crouched to meet Hermione's eyes. "Yes. She has her eye on me as soon as I leave Hogwarts. I'm hoping someone else will catch her eye after she graduates but she's stubborn. Like all of us, I guess." He grimaced. "I'm only fourteen, I shouldn't need to worry about Walburga trying to trap me with a blood bond while I'm not looking." He paused, watching Hermione's eyes droop more.
"Listen, stay here. Nap if you have to. I'll try and get Al and Walburga out of the shop for a bit before Uncle Pollux calls for them to go back to the manor. I'll cast a locking charm, Walburga is close enough it could register as her own magic. When I come back, you've got to be gone." He hesitated before putting his hand on her head and gave her a gentle pat.
He'd stood and walked towards the door, stopping when her heard her call for him.
"Why are you being nice? Don't Purebloods hate my kind?"
He turned and took in her tired form on the worn restroom floor, hands still tightly clutching her artifact.
"While there are some that I do question just how they could be magical, the same could be said for some of the offspring from the Sacred Twenty Eight. Right now, you are a goddess of time. You're manipulating the threads of time to go home so what's more powerful than that?" He gave her a fleeting smile before walking out of the loo.
Sitting in the silence, Hermione waited just in case either Orion or someone new came to the room, but it seemed as if Orion had kept his word at charming the door and no one came. Unable to keep her eyes open any longer, Hermione let them close and let sleep take her consciousness.
"Hermione, wake up!"
Startled awake, Hermione looked up at the slightly worried face of Orion as he barged into the room. He locked the door with his wand and turned back to her, his eyes watching her as she slowly tried to stand.
"What is it?"
"I left you hours ago. Why are you still here? Walburga is having tea with our mothers, this is your chance to go now." His face was full of concern and anger. Yet he still held out a hand to her, helping her stand fully.
"I must have been exhausted. How long were you gone?" Hermione brushed off the dirt from the legs and checked for her Time-Turner, still resting outside her shirt. The metal was cool now, the heat of her hands and use faded.
"Six hours. It's nearly four in the afternoon." His face was terse, his grey eyes watching Hermione's every move.
"I need to go. Perhaps just a single jump this time, if I do multiple jumps, I might take too long to recover." Hermione picked up the gold artifact and started the calculations.
"I won't be there to catch you this time, Hermione. How old am I in your time?" Orion looked on gravely as she palmed the Time-Turner.
Hermione paused. "I can't answer that." She frowned, unable to meet his eyes.
"So I'm probably dead, then."
They were silent for a handful of heartbeats before Orion cleared his throat and motioned for Hermione to take up the Time-Turner. Sighing, she followed suit and picked up where she left off on the calculations. It was short work, but she managed to set it as close as she thought she could to the correct time period before looking to Orion one last time.
"I'm not a ghost. Please remember me."
He was shocked by her request, eyes wide and brows raised. "Why would you say that?"
Hermione grinned. "I doubt this is the last time I'm going to get this wrong. And I doubt it's the last time I'm going to play with the Time-Turner."
"What are you, some kind of Gryffindor?" Orion gave her an incredulous look.
Hermione smiled softly and began to spin the small hourglass and immediately, the scene surrounding her began shifting and Orion disappeared from the room in less than the blink of an eye. This time, she kept an eye out for when she saw her own form enter the room and started slowing down as her past self shuffled into a stall. Hoping she chose just the right moment, she stopped the spinning and fell to her knees as the world stopped moving. This time, she wasn't able to to keep herself from vomiting.
Being a Prefect had its benefits. Hermione was fond of the Astronomy Tower and she had developed the habit of saving the spot for last. After chasing out the odd couple and deducting points as necessary, she would sit on a summoned cushion and stare at the stars. With what was quickly becoming one of her favorite spells, Hermione summoned her little yellow birds and watched them tweet around one another before settling in a niche of the stone archway for the evening.
"Ron's got LavLav and Harry's obsessed with Malfoy," she sighed. The stars made her loneliness all the more apparent as the constellation Orion stood out against the velvet sky. "It's wrong to use it like this, but…"
Pulling out the Time-Turner from under her blouse, she ran a finger along the words etched in the gold. Despite her cheeky comment to the young Orion Black several years before, she hadn't really intended on playing with time anymore. She had made a point to lock up the Time-Turner in a hidden drawer of her trunk but over the last several months, the idea had grown in the back of her mind. With her friends preoccupied with their own teenage angst, overwhelming loneliness and anxiety was at the forefront of her thoughts.
Since accidentally meeting Orion, Hermione had learned more about the Pureblood society of Britain and the Black family from Sirius, who was happy to share knowledge, despite the topic. The older man had seemed happy to have an audience, someone eager to hear him talk and she had spent the summer before last picking his brain and that Christmas hearing all about the history of the Sacred Twenty Eight, the oldest families of Wizarding Britain.
"The Potters aren't a part of this list?" she asked, looking up from the genealogy book Sirius had handed her.
Sirius shook his head. "Not officially. This copy is from my family library, so it's a bit biased. Written by a Nott. There's other books that have a handful more families. Ones that, at the time, were considered blood traitors. The Potters were one, I remember being shocked the Weasleys had made the list. Though twenty eight is a magical number in itself, so they had to choose which family they hated more and the Potters won. In reality, I think there were probably thirty five or thirty six families considered of 'purest blood.' The Malfoys aren't nearly as old as the Potters, but it could be said they avoided half-bloods and mixing of newblood more."
Her eyes traveled down the list of Blacks, finding Orion, his marriage to Walburga, and the births of his sons. Her finger read along the lines, pausing at the birth date of Sirius. "Sirius, your father was thirty when you were born? Isn't that a little old for the period? Most families seemed to start young."
"Hmm." Sirius' eyes hooded slightly while he reached for his tumbler of whiskey. "My parents didn't get on. He fought the marriage for several years, despite it being contracted when he was seventeen. They didn't get married until he was nearly twenty five and mother dearest was twenty eight. My Uncle Alphard once told me he'd avoided the woman for almost two years before the family patriarch found out and forced his hand." He drained the glass and poured another. "After that, it was just the typical inbreeding troubles of the Purebloods."
Hermione shook herself from the memory of Sirius in the Black library and the dark mood that had settled around him after that. There was a lot more sadness involved in the Black family than what her fourteen year old self had known the last time she'd seen Orion and his panic at seeing her and his cousins in the same building made much more sense to her now. The cool metal in her hands and the soft breeze coming through the arches of the tower reminded her where she was now and what her plans were.
Thinking it best to stand clear of the open spaces, she didn't want to fall from the tower, Hermione stood so that her back was against the cold stone of the school and began some calculations. She'd had more time to look into the Arithmancy the last three years so she knew how many turns it would take to go to 1948. The small hourglass began to turn, picking up to a speed where her eyes were no longer able to discern where the curves started and ended. After a handful of heartbeats, she slowed the artifact down to a stop and took in her surroundings. The tower was clear and based on the color of the sky, it was past the hour when most clandestine affairs typically happened. There was no reason she should have expected to be able to see Orion, but she couldn't help the smile on her face when she heard an exasperated voice coming from the doorway.
"You have extraordinary timing. You must have a death wish."
Hermione whipped around and saw a seventeen year old Orion standing with an incredulous look on his face, which quickly morphed into a mask of indifference. He walked further into the tower and stood in front of Hermione, arms crossed against his chest. He was a head taller than her, despite now being the same age as her. His grey eyes looked down at her with frustration, his lips twisted in a frown.
"You realize you missed a pair of Ravenclaws just a moment ago, yes? Right where you stand now, that's where I caught them eating each other's faces."
Hermione frowned. "You're right…I do seem to have good timing then."
"Did you make a smaller jump again? Wait… You look different."
The smile came back to Hermione's lips and she started tucking the Time-Turner back into her blouse. "No. It's been about three years for me. How are you?"
Orion took in Hermione's state of being, from her school robes to her tamed hair and the spark in her eyes. He was startled to see the small witch once more back in his life, absent for quite some time. Had he not seen her the second time when Walburga and Alphard had been with him, he would have sworn she was a figment of the insanity that ran through the family. But this witch with her proper attire and blasted gold and crimson tie was real, and to prove it to himself, he reached out and ran his fingers along the contours of her face.
"I just want to see if you're real. You have another habit; making me think I'm seeing things, you know." His face was completely serious as he spoke, but his voice held an air of teasing. He poked her cheeks a few times, only stopping when she batted his hands away and took a step back.
"Why are you here?"
Orion was beyond curious as to why Hermione had appeared in front of him for a third time. Compared to the last two times she'd appeared in the restroom of his Aunt Lycoris' apothecary, she didn't seem to be in any state of confusion nor about to pass out from magical depletion. In fact, other than the slight dark circles under her eyes, she appeared to be a healthy and normal teenage girl.
"I can resist everything except temptation," she murmured, avoiding eye contact.
Orion grinned. "You just like flaunting your power, goddess of time. Though, good to know you weren't lying when you first met me."
"You said you'd see me at school. You almost didn't make it. There's only a few months left before graduation."
Hermione laughed. "Yes. I just wanted to keep the both of us calm. You were a child then, but I also didn't want you running and grabbing someone who would try and hurt me. So I did the calculations correctly? It's 1948?"
Orion hummed in answer. "Why did you come back again?"
Hermione ignored his question for a moment and conjured two cushions, laying them in the same spot she'd been sitting in 49 years in the future. Delicately, she sat on one and patted the other with her hand. "If you have the time, I'd like to propose a trade of information. I'll answer your questions the best I can and you answer mine in the same manner."
He walked over to the sitting area Hermione had makeshifted but hesitated to sit. "You realize it's 2am and I'm Head Boy. I should be getting back."
"You're Head Boy, so you have free reign and it's only 2am. What have you got to lose other than a little sleep?"
Ignoring her laugh, Orion sat roughly on the cushion and rested his chin on the palm of his hand. "What kind of questions did you have in mind?" He kept his eyes on the forest in the distance.
"Well first, I can tell you why I came back. Simply because I was lonely." Hermione was so matter of fact, it threw him for a loop. But she continued with her answer. "It sounds childish, but I just felt alone and when I thought of someone who I wanted to go to, I thought of you."
Orion gave her an incredulous look. "You used a complex magical artifact for this?"
"It's the last one in existence. Why not?" Her eyes narrowed, remembering the Department of Mysteries battle the year before. "There isn't anyone to regulate them anymore, the Ministry's gone to hell."
"Why would you want to see me? You don't know me." Unwilling to accept Hermione's answer, Orion pushed further.
"I know more about you than you know about yourself."
Orion chuckled. "That's not ominous. What kind of questions do you have?"
Hermione blinked, not realizing he was so ready to answer her own. She was used to Harry or Ron wanting answers to everything first and answering to their own later. "Well, why do you not hate me? Most Purebloods that I've met hate Muggleborns but you treat me better than most people I know."
"I don't see the point in being cruel to a specific type of person. Blood doesn't matter to me, it's magical ability. I reserve the right to be cool to someone who barely grades above a squib, they aren't useful to me. Now, that question will get you a different answer with others in my family, depending on who you ask. Al thinks like me, perhaps a bit more liberal. Walburga is a horror, she is the epitome of the Pureblood ideal. Some of the Blacks who aren't from the main line are okay. Pollux and Irma, her parents, the only surprise with them is that Al came from them. They're as dark as the name Black."
"Do you plan on turning in that artifact or will you be visiting me on my wedding night and the days my children are born, too?"
Hermione stiffened. His question was blunt, sharp like a knife but not necessarily unkind. It was a genuine, perfectly acceptable question to have. She was a random girl appearing in his life unannounced and it wasn't that she could say with certainty that they were friends.
"No. There are... magics out there. Far stronger than myself right now and perhaps than I will ever be. The time will catch up with me. I'm 17 now, but after all my Time-Turner usage, I'm actually closer to 20 or so. Are you betrothed now?"
Orion's face took on a green pallor and he looked as if he was going to vomit. His grey eyes hardened as they looked straight at Hermione. "Not technically. The papers won't be signed until June. I'll end up marrying Walburga probably sooner than later. Stupid woman always gets what she wants."
"You don't have a say? At all?"
"Our fathers find it a good match. Toujours Pur and all that. The family motto."
"And if I could fix that somehow?" Hermione avoided eye contact and ran her fingers the metal of the Time-Turner.
"You may be a goddess but you shouldn't meddle with time. Awful things can happen." Orion's voice held an edge to it and, if Hermione listened closely, she could hear the smallest grain of fear laced in the words.
"Hypothetically, if I could give you a life where you weren't stuck with Walburga. Would you take it?" She wanted to press on those roughened words. To see how much she could push them, pull them until Orion's mask cracked and she was given real emotion. Already theories were running in the back of her mind, the old magic books she'd been reading recently had given her ideas.
"It's not possible so I refuse to entertain the idea, Hermione." His voice was harsh, low, threatening. There was silence between the two of them for a time, they both watched the stars in the sky and the school grounds as they swayed in the gentle winds. "You said the Ministry had gone to hell? What did you mean?"
Hermione barely managed to hide her wince; she hadn't meant to reveal anything important about the future. Though he was seemed neutral, Hermione wasn't sure just how much she could actually divulge. "It's chaotic back home. There was an incident in the Ministry last year. I was there. The Department of Mysteries was ransacked, officials tossed either which way. No one knows what's happening anymore."
"Well, I'm glad I've decided not to go into politics." Orion ran a hand through his hair and sighed. "I thought I'd give investing in development a try. Potions, charms perhaps."
They chatted for almost an hour more before Orion noticed a faint rosy hue between the treetops of the Forbidden Forest, reaching for the dark blue remaining of the night sky. The night had gone quickly for him for the first time in a long time. His nights usually consisted of restless sleep and grim thoughts of his future as the Black heir. For the first time in a long time, Orion found himself content.
"Hermione, you need to go. I need to get back to the dorm and you need to go back before your time meddling becomes a little too permanent." He stood and held out a hand to the witch. She gave him her hand without hesitation and allowed herself to be pulled up. Vanishing the cushions she'd summoned earlier in the night, Orion lead her to the small alcove of the Astronomy Tower and placed her Time-Turner in her hands. "Thank you for thinking to visit me. For your safety, don't come back. You have the nasty habit of near misses and there will be a time when I can't help you. Not to mention the timelines are...changing. You started out older than me, now we're the same age. Next, I could be your dad's age and you'd still be 17."
Orion frowned, placing a hand on the top of Hermione's head. His other hand reached out and he let his fingertips brush against her cheek. "Thank you for visiting and for thinking of ways to help me."
"You sound like you're breaking up with me," Hermione tried to laugh, but it came out as something strangled.
"If only we had that luxury." His fingers ghosted over her lips, but before Hermione could react, his fingers were gone and he'd take two steps back from her. "Go back to your time, goddess of time. Goodbye."
She'd barely blinked, but he was already gone. She could hear the echos of his boots on the stone staircase but she didn't dare run after him. It wasn't her place and it wasn't her time. He was completely right, of course. Fighting the urge to cry, Hermione began spinning the Time-Turner, the calculations already burned into her mind. She didn't allow herself to cry until she'd come back to 1997, when she crawled into the furthest corner of that alcove and let her tears overtake her.
In her line of work, Hermione was familiar with all aspects of what was considered light magic and the hidden darker grey shades. She always stopped just shy of dark magic, knowing the temptation it held. The task she'd been preparing for in earnest since Voldemort's true death required the cool shades of grey.
Her Arithmancy and Rune work was flawless, her spell ancient and backed by blood both from herself and the bloodline. Her Time-Turner hovered next to her, the metal a searing, white hot blue and continually spinning.
Standing in front of the Death Veil within the Department of Mysteries, Hermione prepared to throw the last known Time-Turner in existence within the shadowy silver folds and rip time and the realm of the dead apart. To bring back one man, to give him a second chance at a life he could live for himself.
He called her the goddess of time, but she was about to become the goddess of death. Master of the Door of the Dead.
Pouring the last few drops of her own blood over the glowing artifact, she watched as it sizzled and sunk into the metal. Thrusting her hand onto the metal, she gripped it hard despite the heat it gave off and almost violently threw it into the stone archway. Her lips moved on their own, reciting the ritual spell, her voice rushing through the foreign words faster than she thought her tongue could ever follow.
The Time-Turner disappeared into the veil and with it, all light in the cavernous room. Hermione stayed kneeling on the stone, surrounded by blood and her hand screaming in pain. Waiting. Her knees began to ache, her joints grew stiff, but she waited. For two hours. But the veil accepted her offerings of blood and time and a body rolled out of the archway, breaking the runes and the magic that surrounded Hermione, stopping in front of her face down.
Her mind snapped into action and immediately she rolled him over and summoned the potions in her bag nearby and began pouring them down his throat. Casting a few diagnostic spells, Hermione could see that the vitals were there, not as strong as they should have been but he was alive.
Hermione had successfully brought back Orion Black from the dead.
"I wasn't really dead. Or, I didn't go to where most people go. I didn't see people, I didn't feel dead."
Orion sat on the leather couch in Hermione's library, looking over the documents she'd gathered for him regarding reinstating him into life and the Black registry. His eyes traveled next to Hermione who sat next to him, reading over a dusty book for her latest contracted job.
"I don't want you thinking you've gone and fooled Death. No one's that powerful."
Hermione smiled, but her eyes didn't leave the text. "I know that. I'm friends with Harry Potter, after all. And technically, he is the master of death. I just like meddling with time."
He sighed and signed one of the parchments. "I'm glad you find it all funny. I'm shocked time didn't collapse around us with all the jumping you did. I studied time magic after I last saw you, you know."
Hermione ignored him and he continued.
"Time magic is unharnessed and raw. The fact that you were able to jump back so many times so far back should have been impossible. And then you go and throw a device like that in a still fairly mysterious magical artifact like the veil… Potter may be the master of death but you are the manipulator."
"That is my line, Hermione."
After she'd stabilized his condition, Hermione broke down her wards and Apparated the two of them to her flat where she had her private Healer Luna Lovegood waiting. Luna took in Hermione's condition, but when she was waved off, she hovered Orion to the bed and landed him gently on the clean sheets. It took the witches some time to further stabilize his body and then subdue his magic. Years of being behind the veil meant that his magic was like a forgotten garden; unchecked and reluctant to be tamed. Eventually, Luna had to bind the magic temporarily before it burned away at his body.
"He was a bit older when he died, wasn't he, Hermione?" Luna stood over her patient, mug of tea in hand. The fair girl's blue eyes looked sideways at her friend who held a similar pose, mug in hand.
"Part of the spell I cast. Asked for his body when it was most alive, strongest. I'm not sure how old he is in this body. Maybe 24 or 25?"
"And you didn't just rip Orion Black from when he was 25, right? Time will not change?"
Hermione shook her head. "No. The Time-Turner was a non-specific part of the spell, any artifact would have made do, but it was mostly symbolic in our connection. It was also a promise."
"Funny how it brought him back so young. Most men reach their peak in their thirties or forties, wizards sometimes a bit later depending on their magic. Do you suppose he was ill?"
"It was probably Walburga." Hermione's lips thinned, thinking of the horrible woman whose portrait she'd met so many times. "She probably drained him physically and magically the longer they were together. You met the portrait, imagine the real thing."
Luna shuddered lightly.
Orion woke several days after being brought back, white as a sheet at the sight of Hermione sitting in a chair next to the bed reading a novel. Instinctively, he'd reached for what she assumed was a wand, but there was none to be had. Unfortunately, his wand hadn't been kept by the family or was something that Walburga herself had disposed of after his death; Hermione had been unable to recover it.
"Orion, calm down."
"What have you done?"
Hermione sat her book on the nightstand and leaned in, making eye contact with Orion. "What is the last thing you remember?"
Body rigid with mistrust, Orion eyed Hermione but begrudgingly answered her question. "I was in my home… In my study, I was talking to Walburga about Sirius. Regulus was gone, we needed an heir and I asked her to reinstate Sirius." He rubbed his head as though to calm an oncoming headache.
"What day do you think it is?"
Hermione's eyes widened and her mouth opened slightly in surprise. She'd known the year he'd died based on the tapestry in Grimmauld Place but the threads always looked worn and unreadable to her on the month and day.
Since waking up, this was the first time Orion's voice wasn't hard as stone and Hermione couldn't help but to lean in, hoping to hear more soft words in his voice. He'd still been a teenager when she had seen him last and the sound of his voice as an adult was somewhat alluring.
"Recognize me now?"
Orion's body relaxed considerably and he let out a sigh. "Waking up in a strange place with a woman I haven't seen in over thirty years will make you nervous. These are dark times."
Hermione smiled. "Not anymore, they aren't." She laughed at his confused expression. "I maybe have gotten a tad conceited and did what I promised."
"You've never promised me anything. Don't think I never noticed how you crafted your words. You're telling me you messed with time again. Wait." The more he spoke, the more something seemed to dawn on Orion and a confused panic lit on his face. He started to scramble from the bed and ran to the standing mirror in the corner of the room. Seeing his body, youthful and covered in transfigured clothes that were not his own, he sucked in a breath with a hiss and turned. "What did you do?"
"I brought you back from the veil of death. I told you I would give you a life without Walburga if you asked. And I have."
"I didn't ask."
"Don't be stupid. Your eyes did. You were afraid because you knew it was possible to try. Come back to the bed."
"What kind of woman are you?" Orion looked at her, awe on his face.
The Ministry wasn't pleased with her at all. They called a hearing but it was quickly dismissed with the help of Hermione's lawyer, Draco Malfoy. She'd done no wrong; no black magic had been cast, no Ministry resources had been misappropriated. She had full access and permissions to everything in the Department of Mysteries and she'd been off contracted hours when she'd performed the ritual. But it was clear they'd be steering clear of her for a while, which was fine with her. The Ministry jobs were boring and she hated the office environment.
Hermione took two weeks off from work to help Orion acclimate to the year and the new environment of post-war Britain. Living to be fifty and then suddenly thrust back into life with the body of one's thirty year old self was a bit jarring. She caught him up on what had happened since his death and helped him reconnect with those left in his family, including the newest generations. He'd been happy to see Narcissa again and Draco, who hadn't been born yet when he'd passed. Though Harry's grandmother had been a secondary branch of the Blacks, he'd been honored to meet the Potter scion and his children and had noted the Potter trait of redheaded women, making Harry blush and both Hermione and Ginny laugh.
"Are you happy, Orion?"
Orion looked up from his work and saw Hermione in the doorway of his study. She was leaning against the frame, arms crossed and looking nervous. He frowned and stood, crossing the room to take her hand in his.
"What brings this question on? Of course I am."
"Sometimes I wonder if… If I forced you. Not that I had the chance to ask you, I couldn't send an owl. But, I think I'm a bit too pushy for my own good. And others."
Sighing, he lead her to the small couch in the room and sat her down. He knelt in front of her and took up both hands in his larger ones. "Hermione, your headstrong personality is one of many great things about you. You took initiative on something and someone you believed in very much. I am forever grateful to you that you loved me enough to give me a second chance. And that you were willing to perform a dangerous ritual to do so. Did I ever tell you about when we first met?"
Hermione looked at him, confused. "I was there."
Orion laughed. "Impertinent. My eleven year old self saw a young, half naked goddess appear from nowhere and you treated him like an equal. You didn't treat him like a little boy, you didn't treat him with fear or reverence like most people treated the Blacks. I thought about you for months after that and I was upset I couldn't find you at Hogwarts like you said."
He kissed her knuckles, waiting for Hermione's body to calm down. She'd come to his study high strung and full of worry and he wouldn't have any of that. Not during such an important time.
"When you appeared again, it was heaven and hell. Still dressed like a seductress and looking like you did in my dreams, I was happy. And furious because my cousins were on the other side of the door and I knew you could be in danger. I didn't want to share your existence and I certainly didn't want anyone to hurt you. It was all I could do to protect you."
Hermione's shoulders relaxed, her eyes focused on their hands. He could see her eyes fill with moisture but he was more than happy to continue, to give her insight on how he'd seen her since the beginning.
"A vision, appearing before me in the Astronomy Tower at Hogwarts, like the stars had given you to me as a gift that night. I don't think you know how hard it was for me to resist kissing you. I nearly did twice. Can you think of when?"
"When you touched my face?" Hermione's brow furrowed as she thought back.
He nodded. "When I was checking to see if you were really there. And before I left you there. In the alcove. I actually went back to the tower after a moment of thought, but you'd already left."
Hermione started crying in earnest and Orion gladly wiped away her tears. "To answer your question again: yes, I am very happy. I have loved you since I was eleven years old, Hermione. Thank you for what you've done for me. And for this."
He kissed her swollen belly and looked at her with a smile.
Hermione pecked him on the forehead and grinned. "I'm glad to give you whatever you wish."
Author's Note: Thank you for reading! I have a second story that is also being posted called "Grey Secrets" from the Bewitching Fiction Summer Challenge. Please also read that nifty rare pair!
As for my Grimmauld Fairy Tales series, I will be honest. I'm burned out. I need to find my muse for that series again. Unfortunately, I have about a half dozen half finished stories that are sitting in my drive and one day, I hope to be able to finish them and post them. Some of them were requests from some of my most loyal readers. So don't worry, I didn't forget about you.
As for other Harry Potter stories, I hope to write more for challenges at Bewitching Fiction. I now refuse to do any for Granger Enchanted ever again. I also have little ideas in my head that are half sketched out that I also hope to do after the new year.
Right now, I'm occasionally posting for my non-Harry Potter fanfic when I can and just focusing on real life and finishing school. Adulting is serious business, after all.
Again, thank you again for reading and please leave a review to tell me what you thought. I enjoyed having to look into the Black family background to make this story somewhat cohesive.