Story Cover by Amoretti at The-Dark-Arts

2nd May 1998 - 10:30am

Twenty-eight hours - could that have been right? It felt like days - since she had last slept. In the last twenty-eight hours, she had broken into Gringotts - disguised as Bellatrix Lestrange - escaped on a dragon, fought a battle the likes of her kind had never seen, and witnessed more death and devastation than anyone - especially any eighteen-year-old – should have ever experienced. By all rights, she should had been exhausted. But she wasn't. It was a few hours since Ronald Weasley and Harry Potter left Dumbledore's office for the comfort of their four-poster beds, in the Gryffindor dorms. They begged her to follow, yet for some reason, she could not bring herself to leave. There was something Hermione Granger had felt was just... wrong. There was something that happened, in the early hours of the morning, she felt was not meant to be. Of course all of those who had lost their lives really should not have, but there was one death, that deep down in her gut, she knew should not have been.

Hermione paced in front of Professor Dumbledore's desk - well, technically, she supposed, it was Professor Snape's. The sun was shining through the windows and, since the sounds of battle have ceased, it was eerily quiet. Her brow furrowed as she spoke to herself aloud.

"It should not have been like this," she whispered. "It was unnecessary. All because..." She trailed off.

She continued trekking back and forth in the complete silence. All of the previous Headmasters and Headmistresses had left their portraits, the better to see what was going on throughout the rest of the castle. The only occupant which remained was Dumbledore, who was apparently sleeping in his frame.

After Harry had repaired his wand, and spoke to Dumbledore's portrait, he explained everything to her and Ron. They knew about the Resurrection Stone, Harry being the unintentional Horcrux and Professor Snape truly being on their side. Even though Hermione was surprised by all of the information, in a way, she wasn't. She had had an idea about Harry, since he was so easily able to look into Voldemort's mind, all of this time. The fact that the Hallows truly did exist, and the stone was in the Snitch Dumbledore had given Harry, was the biggest shock of them all. But Snape... She had had a feeling, all along, that maybe he really was working for The Order. Why else would Dumbledore have trusted him so completely? Obviously, she had never spoken her suspicions out loud. Ron would have thought she was mental, and Harry would have been sure to never speak to her again, let alone allow her come with him on his hunt for Horcruxes. And it was Professor Snape's death that she felt had been so wrong.

"He had killed Dumbledore, by Dumbledore's own request," she began speaking to herself again. "Therefore, the wand never really was his, just as Harry had said. He should not have been killed."

If there was just a way that she could have stopped it from happening... What could she have done to change things and make sure he did not meet the same fate? Obviously a Time-Turner was definitely off the table, as they had all been destroyed, so how could she possibly prevent it?

"His life had been so tragic," she sighed. "The man truly did not know happiness - which is dreadful. Maybe that is the reason he did not even attempt to stop his death from happening? He just - he just let Voldemort kill him. After everything that he has done, and has sacrificed, he - more than most - deserves to live. To live and to be happy."

Just at that moment, almost in response to her musings, a drawer opened next to where Dumbledore kept his Pensieve. Hermione's head turned towards the noise and she saw a box that levitated out of it. Curiously, she walked over and grabbed it out of midair.

"What in the world...?" she wondered.

She quickly rushed over to the desk and opened the box. Upon seeing the contents inside, she gasped in shock. "Oh my!" Laying in front of her was a Time-Turner, an envelope and a folded up piece of parchment. As her hand shook slightly, she reached in and picked up the envelope first. Written on the front in purple ink, the handwriting slanted, it read, "A.P.W.B.D." She looked at the initials, not having any idea what they meant and noticed the yellow discoloration of the paper; the envelope was very old. She flipped it over and saw it was sealed in purple wax - the Hogwarts coat of arms. After slowly placing it back in the box and still wondered what all of this could possibly be about, she picked up the - also yellowed with age - piece of parchment. She unfolded it carefully with a trembling hand.

Dear Miss Granger,

If you are reading this, then it is time. As you by now should have noticed,
there is a Time-Turner, which lies in front of you. It has been set
accordingly for you to begin your journey. If you would, please, give
the envelope - also is contained within - to myself once you arrive.
All will make sense to you shortly, I am sure.

Most sincerely,
Professor Albus Dumbledore

Hermione had to read the letter over once more, due to the fact that her hands trembled so badly, she could hardly make out the words after she had read, "Time-Turner."

"The box appeared after I mentioned wanting to save Professor Snape. Is that - is that what I'm meant to do?" She looked desperately at the portrait of Professor Dumbledore, hoping he would give her some answers. "Sir, please. Is that the meaning of all of this?" she pleaded. No sound came from his portrait, save for a soft snore. Yet, Hermione could have sworn she saw the corners of his mouth turn up in a slight smile. Truly she did not need Dumbledore to respond, for deep down, she knew what she had to do.

With her heart pounding ferociously, she looked towards the door and then back at the golden necklace which, for an innocent-looking object, appeared so frightening to her in that moment. She sat down in a chair in front of the desk and put her head in her hands.

"Do I go? And if I do, do I tell the boys where I'm going?" she wondered out loud. "No." She shook her head. "They'll only try to stop me. Or worse, attempt to come with me. This would be something I'd have to do on my own. I could not lead them into any more possible danger."

Hermione sat and truly thought this through. She did not have any idea as to what time period this Time-Turner would take her to. She did not know where she would end up, once she used it.

Is it worth it? she thought. Should I use this? I have no doubt that Professor Dumbledore sent this… but why? If I am correct, and it does have something to do with Professor Snape, is he really worth possibly putting my life on the line for?

Hermione twisted the golden chain around her fingers as she worked out the reasons she should do this.

He should have attempted to save himself, and he just did not. Maybe if I go back and just show him that he truly is not a horrible person. That he will, one day, be a true hero. Maybe he would fight. Fight to live. This man put his life on the line, for many, many years, all for the benefit of the Wizarding World. He was forced to kill, what I am sure, was the only man he truly considered a friend. Voldemort could have found him out at any moment and ended his life without a second thought. Surely a man who has sacrificed love, friendship, family – and a bit of himself along the way - in the line of duty, deserves a second chance. A chance to live. Not just to breathe, pump blood through his veins and exist, but truly live. And if there is even a chance that by using this Time-Turner, I could achieve that, then I must use it.

And with her decision made, Hermione stood up. She took a deep breath, three steps towards the desk, reached for the envelope, then placed the Time-Turner around her neck. Her heartbeat reached an alarmingly dangerous rate, sweat formed on her brow, and her legs were shaking. As she activated the Time-Turner, the last thing she saw, before the room around her began to spin, was the portrait of Professor Dumbledore wink at her.

Hermione soon found herself thrown to the ground, and judging by the rug near her face, she was still in Dumbledore's office. Or, once again, in his office. Quickly, she stood up - which was not the best idea. She began to feel woozy, swayed on her feet and attempted to keep down the vomit that was threatening to explode out of her. Her eyes were out of focus, so she heard his voice before she really saw him.

"Dear girl, what has happened to you and how did you come to appear in my office?" Dumbledore asked calmly as he stood up from his chair.

Hermione completely forgot that she was still covered in blood, dirt and wearing torn clothing, and could only imagine what Dumbledore must have thought, despite the tone of his voice. She could not believe she had been so foolish not to wash up and change her clothes. Self-consciously, she looked down at herself and attempted to straighten out her shirt when she noticed the envelope clenched in her hand.

"I'm - I'm not quite sure what is going on, actually," she admitted a bit weakly.

As her eyes finally focused, she saw a much younger Dumbledore in front of her. Although his hair was still long and silver, his face was much less lined and slight hints of auburn could still be seen in his beard. She watched Dumbledore's eyes take in her disheveled appearance as she walked closer to his desk. He looked concerned for her, but also a bit confused - which was certainly something she had never seen before.

"I was told to give this to you," she said and placed the envelope on his desk.

Dumbledore's eyes rested on the Time-Turner around Hermione's neck as he picked up what she had laid in front of him. He glanced down at the initials, which Hermione still did not quite understand, and his eyes twinkled.

"I see. Now this is becoming clearer," he whispered as he tore the seal and pulled out the parchment within.

Hermione kept her eyes on Dumbledore and was becoming more nervous with each moment that passed. "Sir, I'm still not quite sure where, er - I mean, when I am," she said as Dumbledore read the letter.

Looking up, he smiled at her kindly. "Well, Miss Granger, I know you are aware that you are at Hogwarts." Hermione nodded. "As for when," Dumbledore continued, "you have traveled to the 30th of August, 1976."

That was all that Hermione could bear. The thought of being sent back twenty-two years was enough to make her knees go weak. She did not anticipate traveling so far into the past. The vomit she attempted to keep down came flowing out, all over Dumbledore's floor. The room seemed as if it were closing in around her and it began to look like she was seeing Dumbledore from the end of a long tunnel. There was a ringing in her ears as she felt herself begin to fall; everything went dark.