A/N: Sorry this one is a little shorter. Needed it to get through some stuff storywise. This chapter offers a new possible pairing and the last we'll be seeing of Marion for a long-time, if ever.
Also, if anyone has any ideas for some conflicty-type stuff that could take place before the end of the year gimme a shout or throw it in the review.
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Hours later basic testing had been done and surprisingly enough everyone passed, though not without some hassle by Professor Snape. They were wiped out from the day's events and just wanted to pass out before classes tomorrow. They had no sooner entered their room when they both disappeared from the room and found themselves in the all too familiar surroundings of King's Cross Station in front of Marion without any warning.
"Before you ask what you're doing here allow me to explain. I don't intend to keep you long but I'm going to call in my debt. I've been watching the timelines shift as well as the probable outcomes of such. Anyway, in doing so there is one person in your old timeline who is left alone this time around. It is somebody whose magic, intelligence and personality is capable of changing the magical world for the better. This person will be brought to the same level as you and you will befriend them and take care of them. They will also remember the alternate timeline to help further the cause," Marion spoke.
"Who? Who is it," Harry asked.
"It truly doesn't matter who it is. You will do as I ask. A deal is a deal after all Mr. Potter but since you asked…" Marion snapped her fingers and in a puff of smoke there stood…Draco Malfoy. Harry's jaw dropped. Susan looked back and forth between Harry and Draco, waiting to see what would happen…as did Marion. It was a shock to Harry to say the least but a deal was a deal and he would keep his end of the bargain, whether he liked it or not. He shook himself out of his own head but walked over to Draco regardless and held out his hand to shake it. To say he was surprised when Draco grinned and hugged him was an understatement. He looked down to see a familiar mess of bushy brown hair before looking towards Marion to see her grinning. "I had to test you Harry. To see if you'd keep your end of the bargain, even if it was someone you hated. I trust this will be much more to your liking."
Harry nodded with a grin. "Definitely."
"I've only told her the basics. I figured you would need to be here when she regains her memories. Hermione, can I get you to step back. This may be quite the experience."
Hermione stepped back away from Harry looking between him and Susan nervously.
"It'll be alright Hermione. Just watch," Harry said reassuringly.
With a bright glow Hermione went from being first year to being third year as well. She stood there for a moment as her memories of the previous lifetime came flooding back to her. The sorcerer's stone. The basilisk. Buckbeak. Punching Malfoy. Sirius Black. The time turner. The tri-wizard cup shooting out Harry's name. The Yule Ball. Being used as an underwater hostage for Victor Krum. Watching Harry disappear into the maze and then hearing that he had vanished. Her eyes welled up with tears as she rushed forward and tightly embraced Harry once more with everything she had, squeezing the breath out of him.
"Ugh…hello Hermione," he said with a smile as he hugged her back. She looked up at him and gave a grin.
"Hello Harry. I….I remember everything we did. All 4 years of it right up until…until you disappeared." She looked at him, concerned. "What happened in the maze Harry? You just…disappeared."
"Allow me," Marion interrupted. With a wave of her hand, she brought up the memories of Harry in a floating image so that Susan could see them too, starting from when he entered the maze. Moments later he was sandwiched between two crying women as both were hugging him as they had just watched him tortured and killed. He had put an arm around each before looking at Marion.
"Thanks for that. You couldn't have stopped before it happened," he asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Now where's the fun in that," Marion said with a grin. "Besides you have two lovely ladies fawning over you now. Any other guy would be ecstatic."
"Lovely. So…um…what am I supposed to do about Hermione? I mean I took care of the rest of us this morning but…"
"I rewound time, put her in there too, she tested and passed with flying colors as before. She now shares a room with Miss Johnson and Miss Bell in Gryffindor…I mean…unless…nevermind…anyway, I'll get the three of you back to your room and Miss Granger can floo back to Gryffindor tower when she desires. Take care of her Mr. Potter."
"Always," he said with a smile before they all disappeared in the blink of an eye. Next thing they knew the trio found themselves back in Harry and Susan's room. They all took a seat on the couch together with Harry in the middle.
"This time around has been so weird," Harry said spacing off into the fireplace.
"No kidding," replied Hermione before she turned to face him. "What about Ron though? We switch timelines and he gets left behind?"
"I know Hermione. I know. We can't just bring everyone from first year with us. This, in and of itself, is extremely strange and unusual as it is."
"It was only meant to be us," Susan added as she looked away, "but…but…I couldn't leave Hannah behind and she was so attached to Neville. Harry made a deal with Marion just to get them brought up with us. He made it for me. She could have asked him for anything. Things so much worse but she didn't and I'm so thankful. They don't remember the alternate timelines. Just the spells and stuff that they learned last time."
"I did wonder how everyone became older and why it was just you four. It was only meant to be the two of you but now there's five of us. What…what exactly are we supposed to do? Why did any of us get older in the first place?"
"Simply put. To stop Voldemort. We have to find his horcruxes, destroy them and then then stop him. We're a bit ahead of schedule really. That's why Sirius…I mean Professor Black works here now."
"Oh. I see," Hermione responded after taking a moment to think things over. "What do you mean you're ahead of schedule? Did you already get one of the horcrux things?"
"Well…er…no," Harry replied as he ran a hand through his hair. "I actually mean that I got Voldemort out of the school without him having to go through Fluffy and us having to play that giant game of Wizard's Chess."
"Fluffy," asked Susan confused.
"It's a Cerberus puppy that Hagrid named and loaned to Professor Dumbledore that is currently guarding the sorcerer's stone on the 3rd floor that we're not supposed to go to," Hermione explained to her.
"I missed a lot the last go around it seems. My life was pretty boring."
"Yeah well you don't have to worry about that. Not with Harry around. We can't go a single year without something happening to him. It's never dull that's for sure." Hermione's reply caused Susan to laugh.
"Hey now! That's totally…true," Harry retorted with a chuckle, "There's always something. Hopefully this round we can stay ahead of things and not keep playing catch-up."
Hermione nodded before stretching and standing. "Well better get back to Gryffindor and see what's changed. I'll miss having you there Harry."
"We're always a floo call away plus we do share a lot of classes."
"You can borrow him anytime Hermione," Susan added.
"Are you sure? Lots of girls are going to be jealous of the girl who got to marry Harry Potter," Hermione replied.
Susan laughed. "Well they can deal with it. I know how good of friends you two were and I wouldn't dare to come between that."
"You're braver than I," said Hermione before grabbing some floo powder and stepping into the fire. "See you in the morning!" She threw the floo powder down with a loud "GRYFFINDOR TOWER!" There was a loud WOOSH of flames and then she was gone, leaving the couple alone. Both being exhausted from the day's activities they made their way to the bedroom and fell fast asleep.
A few weeks had gone by since they had started their third year classes and everything was going well. Everyone had adjusted and was calming down when there was talk of a Valentine's Day dance. There were a few teachers that offered to help teach students to dance but you had to be at least 3rd year to attend.
One day after class, Harry, Hermione and Susan were approached by one of the Weasley twins. "Excuse me ladies, may I borrow Mr. Potter for a quick word?" They shrugged and looked at Harry.
"Go ahead. I'll catch up," he told them. The girls nodded and kept walking, whispering to each other. Once they were a little ways away he turned back to the red-haired boy in front of him. "What's up Fred? Where's George? You guys are inseparable."
"Normally yeah but he's busy asking out Angelina and so I figured I'd take the time to come talk to you," Fred responded.
"Well if you're here to ask me to the dance then I'm going to have to turn you down on account of being married and all." Harry flashed his cheesy Marauder grin.
"As disappointed as I am, I actually wanted to talk to you about Hermione."
Harry looked genuinely shocked for a moment. "Wait…Hermione? As in my Hermione? As in Hermione Granger?"
"Unless you know another beautiful, intelligent, bushy haired goddess," Fred replied. "Look. I'm asking for your help. You guys seem to be close. What does she like? What is she into? I want to ask her to the dance."
Harry thought about it for a moment and Fred was definitely a step up from Ron so he didn't think it could hurt. "Well Hermione is into books, obviously. Not so good at sports, chess or flying though. Wait…there's a Quidditch game this weekend right? Gryffindor vs Slytherin right?" Fred nodded and Harry grinned. "All right…here's what you're going to do…"
Friday rolled around and everyone was talking about the big game coming up.
"Come on Hermione! Come with us. It'll be fun," Harry pleaded.
"Fine but I'm bringing my books," she huffed. "As long as it gets you to stop bugging me."
They shuffled off to the stands where Harry took a place between Hermione and Susan in the Gryffindor stands, trying to hide his smile.
"What did you do," Susan asked in a whisper, "I can tell by the look on your face that my darling husband is up to no good."
Harry feigned surprise and shock, poorly. "Me? Why am I offended that you would even accuse your husband of such Tom Foolery!"
Before she could respond the Gryffindor team shot out of the box.
"WHAT'S THIS," Lee Jordan exclaimed "IT APPEARS THAT OUR GRYFFINDOR BEATERS HAVE GOT THEMSELVES SOME NEW BROOMSTICKS! NIMBUS 2000'S IF I AM NOT MISTAKEN. THIS IS REALLY GOING TO PUT THE EDGE IN FOR THE GRYFFINDOR TEAM!"
Susan eyed Harry. "You were saying?" Harry smiled and shrugged. He really hoped this would help them. Part of his plan counted on Gryffindor winning the game.
"WHOA! Where did they get those," Ron exclaimed from behind them, "I'm their own brother and they never told me!"
The game carried on for several hours with Gryffindor way ahead when Slytherin finally caught the snitch. Despite catching the snitch, Gryffindor still won the game 320-280.
"WHAT'S THIS? INSTEAD OF THEIR NORMAL VICTORY LAPS, ONE OF THE WEASLEY BEATERS IS REMOVING HIS ROBE. HOLY COW. THERE'S A PAIR OF DRESS ROBES UNDERNEATH! HE'S HANDING HIS ROBE AND BAT TO THE OTHER AND FLYING TOWARDS THE GRYFFINDOR STANDS! WHAT IS HE PLANNING?"
Fred nervously flew towards the stand, looking at the bushy haired girl who had just looked up from her book. He nervously looked toward Harry who nodded subtly, cheering him on. In his hand he carried a book with a page bookmarked toward the center of it. He flew up to the stands and handed the book to Hermione as everyone looked on. Hermione was blushing while Harry was grinning like an idiot. He had been looking forward to this all week. Harry waved his wand and a Lumos ball shot out above the heads of Fred and Hermione, essentially spot lighting them.
"Open it," Fred whispered. Hermione sat there for a moment nervously before opening the book to where it had been bookmarked. Inside there was a note.
Will you go to the Valentine's Dance with me?
She stared at it for a moment before she felt someone elbow her and shake her out of the state. Here was someone who actually wanted to go out with her, but she was surprised it was Fred Weasley. She looked up at him and saw him smiling nervously. She nodded. There was a small puff from the book and the note was replaced with a single red rose, which made Hermione smile and blush. He flew closer and gave her a kiss on the cheek. In that moment fireworks exploded behind them. In the sky behind them was a giant red GRYFFINDOR WINS.
"HOLY COW! WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT? FRED WEASLEY JUST ASKED HERMIONE GRANGER TO THE VALENTINE'S DANCE AND SHE ACCEPTED. THAT'S THE WAY FRED!"
Redder than his hair, Fred flew from the stands back towards the team, glancing once over his shoulder to see a still blushing Hermione Granger looking at him and smiling. The team flew a victory lap and then headed back towards the locker room to change.
Hermoine sat there in disbelief as she looked at the new book she held in her lap as well as the rose. She couldn't believe what happened just happened. She had been asked out…in front of everyone. Her. Hermione Granger. Some things about this timeline were definitely different. Different but good. She looked towards Harry and Susan who both immediately congratulated her. I mean it's not like they were dating now but it was a date.
"YOU," Hermione said, staring out Harry as the stands began to clear. "You knew this was happening. That's why you wanted me here so badly."
"Nope. No idea. I just wanted you here because I thought you would enjoy the game. Did you," he asked with a cheesy grin that gave him away.
"Let's just say the ending was a bit of a shock…"
"Good shock or bad shock?"
"I guess I'll find out in a couple of weeks." With that Hermione Granger picked up her new book and walked away smelling her rose.
"That was a wonderful thing you did for her Harry," Susan whispered.
"I didn't do anything. It was all Fred."
"You can't lie to me. I know a Marauder plan when I see one."
"That'll teach me to marry the smart girl," Harry said as they got up and walked hand in hand back towards school and their room.
On their way back to the school they ran into the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
"Well well well…if it isn't the young man who's responsible for my brother's current predicament. Worked out quite nicely wouldn't you say Freddy," George teased.
"Oh I'd say," Oliver Wood chipped in, "I hear you're the one to think for my beaters' new brooms. That definitely gave us a win today."
"A broom is only a tool. They still had to fly and play all own their own," Harry replied.
"Yeah but it was that tool that was instrumental in the victory over Slytherin. Shame you weren't in Gryffindor Potter."
"The sorting hat knows all," George said, "although it could have been fun. By the way thanks for the broom…" George switched to whispering loudly, "and for helping out my poor brother who couldn't have done it on his own."
"No. He just wanted to do it with style," Susan threw back before looking towards Angelina, "I feel sorry for you having to put up with that one."
"Such is the burden I bear," Angelina said looking towards the sky.
The group continued to laugh and tease each other until they got inside. Just before they went their separate ways Harry took Fred aside and spoke to him. "I was happy to help you out but if you hurt her, you'll deal with me."
"Understood," Fred said with a mock salute as he turned and followed his comrades back to Gryffindor Tower. With that Harry and Susan headed back towards the Badger Den and their room.
"So who are you going to ask to the dance," Susan teased.
"I don't know," Harry replied as serious as he could, "there's this beautiful redhead in Hufflepuff but I don't think I stand a chance."
"Well you'll never know unless you try."
"That's probably true. Guess I'll have to give it a go. Susan Potter, will you be my date to the Valentine's Dance?"
"Like I'd let you take anyone else," she responded with a smile.