Please forgive me for my non-canon timeturner lore!
Typically, on a Wednesday, Miss Hermione Granger would not be seen walking through the halls of the Ministry, Wednesdays after all were the one day off she got all week. Today however she had a very important appointment to make.
Hermione spent most of her time working as a lawyer, the best in the Ministry of course, and on weekends worked under Professor Snape at Hogwarts towards an apprenticeship in potions.
Her visit to the Ministry this particular Wednesday however had nothing to do with her job or her apprenticeship, today was a personal visit. It was soon to be Harry's twenty-first birthday and she had wanted to get him something truly special for it. Hermione had thought endlessly about what she could get but nothing seemed to be right. Last year she'd managed to get him a quaffle signed by his favourite Quidditch team, the year before, a scrapbook of their time at Hogwarts together, but, considering he was Harry Potter, there wasn't much he wanted that he didn't already have.
Or so she thought, until one day he had commented, in passing, how he wished he had more pictures of his parents.
It was then that Hermione realised exactly what she could get him, and that was why she was at the Ministry today. To use a timeturner.
The use of timeturners was very strictly controlled but, having helped the head of the department on a particularly nasty case, Hermione had managed to get authorised use of one fairly easily.
She was to go back to three different dates and places where Lily and James were known to have been, take some pictures, and return. The Ministry had given her the use of the timeturner for the whole day so she wanted to make the best use of it while she could.
Hermione crossed the Ministry atrium and got into an elevator, its doors closing, when suddenly someone stopped them, a cane holding them open. She was joined by none other than Lucius Malfoy.
After a lengthy trial the Malfoy patriarch had avoided a return trip to Azkaban and had, somehow, worked his way back into the Ministry. His family had broken up, he and Narcissa supposedly amicably divorced and his relationship with his son slowly recovering. Hermione didn't trust him, and at times she was sure she still hated him, but she could not deny that he was an impressive man, in terms of his work ethic, of course, definitely not anything else…
"Miss Granger." He said, inclining his head.
"Mister Malfoy." She replied with a smile, unable to deny that she that she wore it not only out of politeness.
Lucius and she had spoken occasionally in the last few years, but it had only ever been to discuss business, their relationship never going beyond niceties. To be honest, at first, she was surprised that he could be cordial to her at all, let alone pleasant, so unsurprisingly had been taken aback the first time he had called her Miss Granger instead of mudblood.
Looking at him out of the corner of her eye, she could see he had aged very little since the first day they met, he stood tall and proud as ever, his platinum hair tied back with a black ribbon lined with silver thread, his body still clearly well muscled from his days as one of Voldemort's elite.
She sometimes wondered if, given the chance, she would like to get to know Lucius better. He would undoubtedly be interesting to talk to and despite some of his extremely poor choices in life he was clearly of high intelligence, something regrettably many of her friends lacked these days.
The elevator stopped and another wizard got in, carrying a large cage full of what were most definitely Cornish pixies. Hermione noticed Lucius resist the urge to sneer at the man and simply stiffened, trying to give the creatures as much space as he could. Hermione managed to catch Lucius' eye and they silently shared their frustration with certain wizards lack of propriety, something which seemed an all too common occurrence at the Ministry these days.
The rest of their ride was spent in silence before the doors opened and, giving her a nod of farewell, Lucius left. As he did however, a pixie decided to tug on his ribbon and his hair fell loose. He turned, his grey eyes full of venom, but it was too late, the door had closed and with a clunk the elevator started to speed away from him.
The wizard holding the cage seemed to have broken out into a nervous sweat, clearly realising who he had just angered.
"Don't worry." Hermione reassured him, pulling the ribbon from the pixie's hand, not exactly an easy feat. "I'll get this back to him."
The ribbon was soft and smooth as she ran in between her fingers, and she did plan on returning it to him, eventually, but right now she had to keep to her schedule, hoping the man wouldn't run into Lucius before she got the chance.
Hermione arrived in the Ministry archives where the time turners were kept, and was directed towards an old looking wizard hunched over a desk, seemingly deeply interested in the papers he was reading. She walked over and stood in front of the man expectantly, not wanting to interrupt him as she knew how frustrating that could be when you were focused on something important. The man was quite thin, although not unhealthily so, with white hair and a short, neat beard, Hermione getting the sense that he was perhaps going to be the embodiment of 'the grumpy old man'.
She wasn't disappointed.
He sighed heavily after a minute and looked up at her, as if he had been expecting her to leave if he waited long enough, annoyed that she was still there.
"How can I help you?" He asked, his tone sounding far less helpful than his words.
"Hello." She greeted with a lukewarm smile, not one to particularly like being treated so rudely. "I have an appointment to use one of the timeturners, and I believe you are the one to talk to."
The man didn't acknowledge what she said but did bring out a large folder from under his desk, flipping through the pages.
"Name?" He asked without looking up.
"Hermione Granger." She replied coolly.
"Ah, Miss Granger." He said with what appeared to be a genuine smile, finally making eye contact with her, and Hermione wasn't surprised that he had responded much more politely upon hearing her name, it was something that seemed to happen to her a lot.
Hermione wasn't one to use her fame for personal gain, that just wasn't who she was, but sometimes, like today, she was grateful that it could help to move things along. Harry shared her views on the matter, Ronald however, took full advantage of it, and it was this, amongst a multitude of other reasons, that had caused her to break up with him almost over two years ago now.
"Right." Said the man as he got up. "Follow me."
They walked through the corridors at a swift pace, Hermione surprised that the old wizard could move so fast. Eventually they came to a shining bronze door where they stopped. The wizard performed several unlocking charms, some Hermione had never even heard of, and the door opened.
"Sorry." He apologised as he led her inside. "As you can understand, we have to keep security fairly tight."
She nodded in agreement, knowing all too well how restricted the use of timeturners had to be. The reasons, however, where not what many thought them to be. When she had used one back in second year, McGonagall had told her that 'whatever is, has already happened'. At first, she had been confused, of course whatever is, has already happened, that's how the world worked, but then she realised what her former Head of House had meant.
Many feared that if you went back in time you could drastically alter events, save someone from death, change history, but that was not the case at all. It was just as McGonagall had said, the fact that something was today, meant that it must have already happened, including whatever it was that you went and did in the past on your timeturner trip. In theory, not that it had ever been tested, if one hundred people all went back in time to kill Voldemort, it would be pointless, because the present would tell us that they'd all failed.
No, the use was restricted primarily because of the precarious and rare nature of the devices. They were originally created in order to go back in time to clarify and document historical events, not to be used for people wanting to go and see long lost relatives for example. So, to prevent demand for them from getting out of hand, not to mention the consequences of wizards popping up all over history, their usage was restricted, protecting the secret that they were relatively harmless by surrounding them with a somewhat dangerous aura.
The room she was in was small, only containing a table in the centre with a couple of chairs, the walls covered in small golden drawers. The wizard walked over to one numbered 97 and, taking a very large ring of keys out of his pocket, unlocked the draw and brought over the timeturner from inside.
"I understand you are familiar with how they work." He asked with a strange glint in his eye that she couldn't quite place.
"Yes." She confirmed, not entirely sure how he knew that.
"Well then, I'll let you get on with it, knock on the door three times to get out." He said, passing her the timeturner and making his way from the room. "Oh, and the date book is on the table." He called as the door shut and locked behind him.
Hermione picked up the large tome he referred to and flicked to the relevant pages. The book told you how many turns you needed to make to go back to the time you were after, so she wanted to make sure she got the right one, careful not to rip the pages as she noted a previous user clearly had. Once she'd noted the turns she would have to make to get there and back, she put the device around her neck and prepared herself, making sure her beaded bag was safely hanging across her shoulder.
Using a time turner was an excitement that Hermione would never tire of, and she loved the thrill she got and the tingles she felt in her fingers as the device started to spin in her hands.
First she had gone to the James and Lily's wedding. It was an event attended by a lot of people, just as she'd read it would be, so it was easy for her to get some good pictures unnoticed.
Secondly, was their Hogwarts graduation, yet another place that it would be easy to blend into the crowd of relatives and friends.
It was then that she came to her third and final destination, the pairs first year at Hogwarts. She knew it would be harder, but she thought Harry would particularly like a picture of them from this time.
She had positioned herself so that she would appear in the girl's bathroom, well, Myrtle's bathroom, banking on the fact that it would be as deserted as it was in her own time.
Thankfully, she was right.
Hermione went into one of the cubicles, quietly so as to not alert Myrtle to her presence, and changed into an old school uniform she had managed to get her hands on from the time. Unfortunately, it wasn't from Gryffindor, but she hoped being a Ravenclaw for the day wouldn't be too awful…
On her way out of the bathroom she checked her appearance in the mirror, deciding that, although she was already twenty one herself, she could still pass for a seventh year. The uniform wasn't too different from her own, the skirt an inch or two longer, the jumper perhaps a bit darker, but nothing else had changed much.
Before she came back, Hermione had been unsure how she would be able to find both of them in the large castle, not to mention finding a legitimate excuse to take pictures of them, but, after doing the proper research, had found an old timetable for first years for this particular year at Hogwarts.
It was for this reason that Hermione found herself walking towards the Quidditch pitch where both were supposed to be having a lesson in half an hours time. On her way she was careful not to draw too much attention to herself, especially from any members of staff who might notice it more if they hadn't seen her around before. She was unsurprised to see that the castle had changed little, looking almost exactly as it did today as it did in her own time, even the smell of lunch wafting from the great hall was familiar.
On her walk through the grounds, she spotted a young girl in Gryffindor colours sitting with what looked to be a Slytherin boy and, upon getting closer, realised that her luck was in and she'd already managed to find Lily.
"Hello." Hermione said cheerily as she approached, camera in hand.
"Hi." Lily said back smiling, Hermione having to compose herself as she noticed the girl's eyes. She truly did have Harry's eyes.
The boy next to Lily seemed to be looking at Hermione slightly suspiciously, but greeted her with a 'hello' anyway, albeit it a rather subdued one. He was quite tall and lean already, despite only being a first year, and had long black hair that covered his eyes slightly, Hermione unable to shake the feeling that he looked so very familiar.
"Would you mind if I took a picture." Hermione asked as naturally as she could. "I'm applying to write for the school paper and I'm doing a piece about friendship across the houses that you two would make a perfect photo for." She lied easily.
"Sure." Said Lily, nudging the boy next to her who looked a little unwilling. "Come on Severus, it's just a photo."
Severus. Of course it was Severus. How could Hermione not have realised?
"Alright…" He grumbled, but smiled as Lily put her arm around him as they posed for the picture.
"Thanks." Said Hermione once she'd taken it. "Here." She added as she magically developed a few copies of the photo and handed them each one. "Just in case I never get published." She joked, but, in truth, thought Severus in particular might like the picture of them both.
"Thank you." Said Lily. "Hey, look Severus, it's a really nice one don't you think?" She commented as she looked down at the pair of them smiling together on the bench, the grounds and castle in the background.
"Yeah." He replied, his mouth turned up at the corner. "It is."
"Thank you." He said, looking to Hermione, his words so genuine that her heart ached just a little, knowing what was going to happen to his friendship with the girl he loved one day. She had seen into Snape's memories that had been given to Harry and the next day had simply pulled her professor into a hug, surprised that he let her embrace him for a lengthy ten seconds before looking awkward and carrying on with his lesson. Seeing him with the girl he loved for herself was almost too much.
"No problem at all." Hermione said as she continued on her way down to the pitches. "And thanks again." She called back with a wave.
Although Hermione knew that nothing she could do would change the future, she didn't like to interact with people too much, especially people she knew, so didn't want to stay talking to Lily, not to mention Severus, for longer than she had to.
Hermione made her way into the stands that overlooked the practice pitch, settling in a spot near the front so that she'd be able to get a good picture. She waited patiently for the students, and hopefully James, to arrive but was soon distracted by her hair blowing into her face, completely obscuring her view. Cursing her wild hair, not to mention the strong wind today, she felt about in her pockets for something to tie it back with, making a mental note that she either needed to bring one with her in the future, or at least learn how to transfigure something into one.
Her fingers came across something that felt appropriate, only to find that it was Lucius' ribbon from earlier. Although it would have been perfect for the job, at that very moment, someone flew right past her, making her jump, and subsequently let go of the ribbon. She didn't notice however until it had flown halfway across the pitch.
"Damn it!" She cursed out loud. Now she no longer had something to deal with the hair problem, but she'd just lost Lucius Malfoy's ribbon, not that he wouldn't be able to afford a new one, but she suspected from his reaction earlier that perhaps it was important to him.
"Here." A deep voice said from next to her, its owner's face currently hidden behind the hair that was once again impairing her vision. "This should help." He said as he passed her another ribbon and sat down next to her.
"Thanks." She said, looking down at it. This one was a dark green, and had some letters embroidered at either end in silver thread, an 'L' at one, an 'M' at the other. Pushing her hair out of her eyes and securely tying it back, adding a charm to make sure it wouldn't come undone, she was about to ask him what the letters stood for but, finally turning to look at him, she didn't have to.
Sat next to her was a boy, if you could still call him that, who must have been in his seventh year. He wore Slytherin colours, he was tall, handsome, very handsome in fact, his eyes were grey and he had long hair, platinum blonde.
There really was only one person this could be, and only one thing those letters could stand for.