DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.  You know the drill.

"Little White Lies"

    Hermione Granger awoke spitting grass out of her mouth. As she lifted her head from the ground she discovered that she was in some kind of forest clearing.  It looked far too friendly to be the Forbidden Forest.  The day was not unpleasant.  The sun was shining, though there was a slight chill in the air.  It appeared to be late afternoon. She wondered if she was anywhere near Hogwarts. She got to her feet and brushed the dirt and leaves from her hair and her nightgown. 

     Nightgown?  She struggled to remember what she had been doing before she blacked out. Then she felt the throbbing in her head and her elbows. The stairs! Now I remember! Stupid cat! I tripped over Crookshanks and fell down the stairs—But how did I get here?

      It was then that she became aware of the object hanging around her neck.

      The Time Turner! The crystal appeared to be smashed.  Great Merlin!  Where has it taken me?

      "To the future," said a woman's voice from behind her. Startled, Hermione spun around.  Standing just at the edge of the clearing was a tall woman with light brown hair nearly the same color as her own and almost as bushy.  She appeared to be in her twenties.  She was a little lanky, but not unattractive, dressed rather plainly in a white blouse and a gray skirt with a matching sweater.  In some ways the woman's face reminded Hermione of her mother, yet when she frowned in a certain way, she could have sworn the woman resembled her father.  Could it possibly be?

      "I am you," the woman replied to her unspoken question. "I am Hermione Granger." 

      "The time turner—?"

      "—malfunctioned and sent you ten years into the future."

      "Ten years…" Hermione repeated in disbelief. "I have to get back!"

      The woman held up her hand in a calming gesture.  "I have the spell that will send you back to the exact moment from which you left—but there are some things I need to tell you before you go."

       "Is that a good idea?" Hermione eyed the woman warily. "Wouldn't it be dangerous for me to know anything about the future?"

       "Well, you're going to at least need to know what day and time it is so I can be here to send you back." 

       Hermione nodded.  "That makes sense."

       "It's the 10th of February, 2006," she checked her wristwatch, "and it's just going on six thirty-seven."

       "Got it."  Then she realized they'd forgotten something. "Where are we?"

        "Oh!  Sorry!  We're in the woods near Godric's Hollow.  We're not far from…"

        "Harry's parent's house…"

       "Yes." The woman suddenly appeared very uncomfortable and quickly changed the subject. "Now I need to ask you something very important." She took a deep breath. "Are you in love with Harry Potter?"

        Hermione's eyes grew as big as saucers.


        "You can't lie to me, Hermione Granger," the woman warned her.  Remember, I was you.  I stood right where you're standing ten years ago.  I thought your thoughts and I felt your feelings.  Now I must ask again, even though I already know the answer. I need you to understand it for yourself in order to do what must be done."  She looked Hermione right in the eye.  "Are you in love with Harry Potter?"

        Hermione bit her lip and lowered her head, speaking almost too softly to be heard.


        "Harry's in love with you, too."

        Hermione slowly raised her head, her eyes wide with astonishment. "But—but—I thought he— I was sure he only thought of me as a friend."

        "That is precisely the problem.  He believes the same thing about you."

        "Poor Harry…" Hermione shook her head sadly. "Just like him to keep his feelings bottled up for fear of causing trouble to others."  Then a thought struck her.  She looked up at the woman, her eyes narrowing suspiciously.  "But why tell me this?  Surely it's dangerous to interfere with the past!"

        "It could be even more dangerous not to." She led Hermione over to a fallen log where they sat down. "You fell down the stairs in 1996, when you were in your sixth year, correct?"  Hermione nodded. "In the last month or so, Ron has started to pay attention to you, hasn't he?  I mean, pay attention to you as a girl instead of just a best friend, right?"


        "Harry sees this and assumes that you have no interest in him beyond friendship.  Naturally, he's going to be gallant and step aside for the sake of your happiness and Ron's—but in truth it's eating him up inside. It's tearing him apart to think that he can't have you.  Eventually he snaps."


        "I'm afraid he does something very rash."

        Hermione's mind was racing.  "He's going to try and confront You-Know-Who, isn't he?"

        The woman nodded.  "You and Ron will announce that you are going steady on Valentines Day.  Because 1996 was a leap year, there will be a Sadie Hawkins Dance on the February 29th.  Harry will leave Hogwarts that night after the dance and never return."

       "Sweet Merlin, no!" Hermione moaned.  Her eyes steeled with resolve. "What must I do?"

       "Harry must not be allowed to leave Hogwarts that night." The woman grabbed Hermione's shoulders tightly to emphasize her point. "Do whatever is necessary! Sacrifice your maidenhood if you must, but Harry has to be made to understand that you love him!  It's our only hope!"

        "But what about Ron?"

        "Naturally, Ron will be hurt and angry at first, but he'll get over it. Even when you were together he secretly suspected that he was your second choice.  In the end, you'll both be relieved." She kissed her younger self on the cheek. "The future depends on you, Hermione Granger."  The woman stood up and took out her wand.  "Are you ready?"

       Hermione stood before her and took a deep breath, then nodded.

       "In dentibus acticis frustrum magnum spinaciae habes!"

        With that, the younger Hermione disappeared.

        Was I ever really so young—so innocent? Hermione thought to herself as she walked back toward the cottage.

        She wondered if she would notice anything when and if the changes in the timeline took effect.  Of course, she had studied all the major theories of time travel.  She knew for a fact that time was not immutable as some theories held--the rescue of Buckbeak and Sirius proved that the past could indeed be altered.  Then again, there was the theory that even the smallest changes to the timeline could have dire effects on history. She remembered the Ray Bradbury story A Sound Of Thunder where even the simple act of stepping on a prehistoric butterfly had all sorts of unforeseen consequences. What if Ron didn't take her rejection as well as she had predicted?  What if Harry were to die?   What if I were to die? She wondered if her actions might somehow cause her to be erased from the timeline. Better that than the lonely, miserable existence I've been living these last ten years, she thought.

       The truth of the matter was that she had lied to her younger self.  Harry never confronted Voldemort on the 29th of February, 1996.  In fact, he never even left Hogwarts.  During the dance he had simply gone up to the Olwery to sulk.  It was she who had acted rashly.  Flattered by Ron's romantic attentions, she had allowed her hormones to get the better of her.  Like a plot from a bad soap opera, she had found herself pregnant.  To be fair to Ron, he was more than willing to "do the right thing" by her and they were married within a few months.  Harry had tried so hard to pretend he was happy for them, but Hermione could see the pain in his eyes. It was only then that she realized that he had been in love with her all along.  It was the beginning of the end of their friendship. Harry gradually began to distance himself from them and from everyone and everything else he cared for.

        Hermione had also let her younger self assume certain things, such as the idea that Harry was killed by Voldemort and that the Dark Lord eventually conquered the world.  The truth was that Harry had defeated him—albeit by the skin of his teeth. Miraculously, most of their friends and families had somehow managed to survive the war unscathed, but the bitter struggle had scarred him both physically and mentally and he had dropped out of sight not long after the Dark Lord's defeat.

       Hermione and Ron faired little better. Their marriage was troubled from the beginning and they fought constantly.  It seemed that no matter how hard they tried to exorcize him, they were haunted by the "ghost" of Harry Potter.  He would always be the enormous pink elephant that everyone knew was there, but no one would ever admit to seeing.  In the end, Hermione wouldn't even have their baby for comfort.  A Death Eater attack on the Burrow had caused her to miscarry.  She had not spoken to Ron or anyone else in the Weasley clan since the divorce.

       Not long afterward, she had remembered the accident with the time turner.  She remembered meeting her older self and being sent back with the admonition to remember the date and time so that she would be able to send herself home.  Slowly the idea came to her. There had been no warning about Harry the first time and she wondered if she would really be able to change what had happened. Soon it became an obsession. For weeks beforehand she had carefully rehearsed what she was going to say and tried to anticipate any questions that her younger self would ask.

       And now it was done.

       Suddenly a thought struck her.

       That's not what happened!  That's how it happened at all!

       It was working! Something was definitely beginning to happen!

       She started running back toward the house.

       She arrived at the kitchen door and paused to catch her breath.  With great trepidation she pulled open the screen door and moved inside. The kitchen was the same as she had left it.  The breakfast dishes were still in the skink, waiting to be loaded into the dishwasher.  There was a half-empty glass of pumpkin juice on the table.  When is Harry going to learn to clean up after—?


       She glanced down at her left hand; there was a wedding ring on her finger.

       She dashed for the sitting room.

       Harry Potter was sitting cross-legged on the floor. Opposite him, six-month-old Lily Potter had managed to push herself up onto all fours. She could already scoot herself backwards. (Much to her royal displeasure when she had really meant to go forwards.) It wouldn't be long before she would be crawling. At that moment she was babbling baby talk at her Daddy.  Harry, in turn, was mimicking every sound and jabbering right back at her for all he was worth, causing her to squeal with delight. 

       A huge grin spread across Hermione's face as she looked in wide-eyed wonder at her husband and baby daughter. Like a dam suddenly bursting, memory after memory flooded into Hermione's brain; Her wedding to Harry, Lily's birth.  Her father… She closed her eyes and caught her breath as a single tear trickled down her cheek.  Her father had died of a sudden heart attack barely three months after the birth of his grandchild.  At first she wondered if this might be some kind of penance that she must pay for daring to tamper with history—but then she realized that this was simply the pattern of life, re-weaving itself to accommodate these minor alterations.  Life would continue on as it always had.

       It was strange how some things had changed and some hadn't.  Dumbledore was still dead, but Hagrid had survived the war along with Snape and McGonagall.  This time it was Neville Longbottom and Professor Sprout who hadn't survived.  In such a terrible conflict, there seemed to be no way to avoid losing loved ones.

       "Did you enjoy your walk, Darling?" Harry's voice brought her back to reality. "Wasn't it a bit cool to be out in just that?"

       "No, it's nice outside," she said when her brain finally began to work again. "I've been cooped up inside with the baby all day, and—"

        "Perfectly understandable." Harry grinned. "And it did give Lily and me a chance to have a little quality father/daughter time." 

       She knelt down beside them and scooped the baby into her arms. "Who's Mommy's big girl then?" she cooed, determined to memorize every last detail of her daughter's smile.  Little Lily had inherited her mother's bushy brown hair, but she had also inherited her father's dazzling green eyes. "Just think," Hermione suddenly remembered Harry saying the day she was born,  "Somewhere out there is a little boy who's going to look into those eyes one day and fall hopelessly in love, just the way I did.  He won't even know what hit him! I almost feel sorry for him. The poor kid doesn't stand a chance."

       Harry reached out and dabbed the tear from his wife's cheek. "Darling?  Is everything all right?"

       "Everything's perfect," she sighed as she kissed her baby's cheek, and then kissed Harry's. "I was just thinking about how differently everything might have turned out—"

       "The Sadie Hawkins Dance." Harry's lips curled into a devilish smile, suggesting that this was a particularly delightful memory. "Up until that night I was convinced that you only thought of me as a friend. I can't say I minded terribly being proven wrong."

           As the details surged into her consciousness, Hermione's suddenly found herself blushing. "I wasn't sure I'd be able to convince you."

        "Believe me, darling, you left no doubt in my mind. Not that I'm complaining, of course, but you never did tell me what made you decide to—" he cleared his throat "—do what you did."

       "I saw the future," she told him.  "In fact, I saw two futures—One with you and the other without you.  I think I picked the right one."

       "Premonitions? Did Madam Trelawney finally make you a believer of you?"

       "Not exactly. I just had a little heart-to-heart talk with myself," she said with an enigmatic smile. She put her hand on the back of his neck and drew him into a surprisingly passionate kiss.

       "I almost forgot!" Harry said when he finally got his breath back.  "The Daily Prophet called a little while ago.  Apparently they're doing a piece on the anniversary of Voldemort's defeat."

         "A quote from the conquering hero?  What did you tell them?"

        "The same thing I told them in the first place."  He kissed her on the cheek. "That I couldn't have done it without my two best friends at my side. I'm so glad Ron was able to accept us being together."  He slapped his forehead. "That reminds me!  Ron called too.  He wants to know if he can bring what's-her-name to dinner on Sunday."

        "It's Theresa," Hermione heard herself correcting, "and of course he can.  He's been with this one for quite a while now."

        "Nearly six months.  It has to be all time Weasley record.  You think maybe this is the one?"

        "Could be. I know Molly would certainly be pleased.  I think she's almost given up hope of getting any grandchildren from that branch of the family. Was there any word from Ginny?"

        "She's coming." Harry snorted. "And she's bringing Malfoy with her.  I swear if I live to be a thousand, I'll never understand what she sees in him."

        Hermione wrapped her arm around Harry gave the baby a gentle squeeze, making it a double hug. "She has someone who loves her and they're happy.  Isn't that all that matters?"

        "When you put it that way…" Harry shrugged.

        "Why don't you get Lily ready for bed?" Hermione said softly into Harry's ear. "I have a sudden uncontrollable urge to make love to my husband."

         Harry certainly had no complaints about their love life, but he hadn't seen that particular look in his wife's eyes since the Sadie Hawkins dance. "I didn't think you wanted to have another baby until Lily was at least out of diapers?"

        "I don't," she grinned, "but that's not to say we can't get in a little practice now and again."

        "Bedtime!" Harry cheerfully announced.

        As father and daughter climbed the stairs to the nursery, Hermione realized that her memory of the previous timeline was rapidly fading away.  By morning it would be completely gone.  And good riddance!  She thought. Had she acted at all ethically, she wondered?  After all, she had lied to her younger self and for completely selfish reasons.  Then again, she thought, people lie to themselves all the time—and what's the harm in a "little white lie"?

The End