I own nothing but my car...
Hermione Granger was hiding. That is really the only word for it. She was alone in the flat she had just moved into, boxes still took up the majority of floor space in every room. She sat on the floor in her living room, completely surrounded by said
boxes, halfheartedly unpacking them. Truth be told she was actually waiting, waiting for George most likely, but maybe Harry or Ron, Ginny even was quite likely to make an appearance as well.
It was The first day of May you see. Tomorrow was the first anniversary of the war. One year, 365 days, well almost, in two more hours it would be anyway. The telltale whooshing sound came from the fireplace, Hermione didn't even look up. She had
only connected to the floo network yesterday, and only a handful of people had access. Hermione had her eyes closed, she took a deep breath and smiled at the light scent of gunpowder.
"I figured you'd be first." Hermione said as she opened her eyes, looking up into the red rimmed eyes of George Weasley.
George's smile didn't quite reach his eyes as he sat down on the floor next to Hermione. Over the past year the two had gotten very close. George needed someone to lean on, someone who wasn't his family. Hermione needed someone who would understand
when she broke down. She had Harry of course, and after the awkwardness of a spur of the moment kiss that led nowhere, she had Ron as well. But they both knew her too well, always knew what she was thinking, they always wanted to fix her. With
George, they could be broken together, then they would pull each other up and dust each other off. They could sit in silence for hours then spend all night talking. This happened many times. Spending all night in Grimmauld Place, a bottle of fire
whisky on the table between them and talk. They would talk about everything, the past, the people who had died, Fred on occasion. They would talk about the present, the reopening of George's shop, how he and Angelina were doing, if Hermione was
going to go back to Hogwarts or not. Finally after many months they even began talking about the future, George had just began inventing again, he was falling in love with Ang, something he couldn't even fathom six months ago, Hermione had decided
to go back to Hogwarts in the fall, finish her last year, McGonagall had understood Hermione's need to take a year off and was happy she decided to come back at all.
"I promised you I wouldn't drink alone didn't I?" George said as he set down the bottle.
"You did. I haven't a clue where any glasses are." Hermione said, gesturing to the stacks of boxes around them. Another whoosh signalled the arrival of Harry, quickly followed by Ginny.
"Good thing we brought our own then, yeah?" Harry asked, setting down cups as he sat down on the other side of Hermione, Ginny on his other side. Ginny started to pour everyone a drink as the fireplace spat out the final member of their party.
"Haven't you got any furniture?" Ron asked incredulously, brushing the ash from his shoulders.
"The living room furniture is in one of those boxes I think. Everything is still shrunken down." Hermione answers, not too bothered to dig them out. Ron veered off to the boxes she had indicated and began taking things out. In a typical Ron fashion
he just dropped the items he didn't need on the floor next to the box.
"For Merlin's sake, Ronald. You're going to break something!" Hermione scolded lightly as Ron continued to dig for her couches.
Ron continued to take things out of the box and set them aside, albeit a bit gentler this time.
"Oh my! I haven't seen that in nearly a year." Hermione said as she noticed that Ron had removed the small beaded bag that she had put an extension charm on and took along on their hunt for horcruxes. After the war was over, Hermione was determined
to find her parents. She and Ginny went to Australia, and found the Granger's, that is to say the Wilkins'. They were so happy, they had made a life for themselves, even opened a dental clinic. Hermione couldn't bring herself to return their memories,
not yet, not until she was whole again. Her parents were far too happy to be reminded of a daughter who was so broken still. Hermione knew it was selfish but she just couldn't do it yet. So they went back to England, Hermione packed up her parents
house, rented it out and moved into Grimmauld place. Now here she was nearly a year later finally beginning to heal and go out on her own again. Perhaps she would go back to Australia, later after she finished her last year at Hogwarts.
The night went on, the five friends sat comfortably and talked about the past. There was laughter and many tears, and a few empty bottles by the time everyone left. There was to be a ceremony the next day at Hogwarts that attendance was mandatory
for all of them.
As she said goodbye to everyone, Hermione began to clean up after the impromptu party. As she placed the throw pillows on each end of her newly resized couch, that Ron finally found, her foot bumped into something under the couch. She reached down
and found her small beaded bag. Smiling sadly to herself, she opened the bag, she decided it was time to finally clean it out, and even though it was very late, she knew she wouldn't be sleeping tonight. She immediately found all the books, making
a mental note to return them to Hogwarts, or at least talk to McGonagall about finding a safe place for them. They were very dark books indeed, but Hermione couldn't fathom destroying them, maybe just the parts that were connected with the horcruxes.
Next she found clothes, ripped and torn, bloody and dirty. She threw them into the fire, they wouldn't be needed again. She kept digging, there was broken quills and bits of parchment, first aid and potions supplies. Then her fingers brushed against
a small box of some sort. She pulled it out and looked at it quizzically, she'd never seen it before. After running a few spells to make sure it wasn't anything that would hurt her, she slowly opens the box.
The box itself was rather unimpressive, just a small black box, about the size of her palm. It obviously held some sort of jewellery. Inside was a simple rose gold chain with a jewel about the size of Knut. It was beautiful, that's for sure, but she
couldn't place the stone. Jasper maybe, it was a gorgeous brown stone at any rate. She would have to do a bit of research to figure it out. As she lifted the piece holding the necklace, she saw a piece of parchment was hidden underneath.
I guess it may be a bit odd, me getting you a gift and all, but I just wanted you to know that we are all here for you. Thinking of you. So happy birthday and happy Christmas in case you aren't back home by then.
Hermione let out a breath she hadn't realised she was holding. She picked up the necklace to look a bit closer at the gem and saw that her hands were shaking so much she'd nearly dropped it. Taking a deep breath she put the necklace on, an immediate
sense of peace settled over her, much like she'd felt when she drank her drop of Felix Felicis all those years ago. Hermione read and reread the note from Fred until she fell asleep, smile on her face.
"George! Georgie come here, quickly." Hermione whispered urgently, she had just arrived at Hogwarts.
"What is it My? What's wrong?" George asked, concern evident on his face.
"I'm fine, well, okay I guess. Have you ever seen this?" Hermione asked showing him the necklace she had found the night before.
"Where did you get that?" George asked, the colour draining from his face.
"I found it in my bag last night. It-its from him. Fred. I found it in my bag, he must have put it in there. I don't know, sometime before Bill's wedding, when we were all at the Burrow. That's the only thing I can think of." Hermione had started
"Breathe, it's alright, love. Just take a deep breath. Yes, that sounds about right, the timing that is. This is no ordinary stone, Hermione. I wonder why he never told me he'd given it to you." George started talking to himself.
"George! What is it?" Hermione shook him lightly to get him to refocus. She took him by the hand and they left the Great hall. They began walking the halls without any real destination.
"It had belonged to Mum, Dad gave it to her before they got married. I reckon it's been passed down several generations of Weasley's, Dad's dad and his dad before him. Not sure if you know but Gin is the first girl on Dads side for many generations.
Anyway, that necklace was passed down from mother to son, so they could give it to the witch they hoped to marry. That is called a Volo Lapis, or the wishing stone." George told her.
"Are you serious? How do you know all this?" Hermione asked curiously.
"Oh, well Mum's always going on about it. We all expected her to give it to Bill, I guess she just really hated Fleur too much to give it to her though." George told her.
"But, but why did he give it to me? I mean I know you've told me he had a crush on me, which I still find hard to believe, but this seems pretty serious." Hermione said, she had been holding the stone the whole time he talked.
"Honestly, I reckon it was more than just a crush, I could tell that he had real feelings for you, and if it hadn't been for Ron, he would have acted on them much sooner. I guess this was his big move, felt like it was his last chance maybe. I don't
know, My." George sighed.
They both stopped short as they saw where they were standing. Without meaning to, or even realising until that moment, they were standing in the corridor that it had happened. The corridor that Fred had died. They both had silent tears running down
their faces as they walked slowly down the corridor.
Hermione walked over to the wall, the one that had exploded and crushed Fred. With one hand still holding onto the stone around her neck, Hermione placed her other on the walk in front of her. She was thinking of how much she wanted to see Fred again,
of how much she would like to talk to him, figure out what he truly thought of her. She silently wished for the chance to change things, so that he lived.
There was a loud noise behind her, and as Hermione turned around her vision instantly went cloudy, then everything went black.
"Hermione? Are you okay? What happened?" Harry asked, he was very upset.
"Harry? Where did you come from? What's going on?" Hermione sat up slowly, taking in her surroundings. It looked familiar, but it certainly wasn't Hogwarts. Hermione was in so much pain, she tried to remember what happened, but the last thing she
remembered was talking to George. "Harry, where's George?"
"George? How would I know? Can you walk? Do you know what he hit you with?" Harry whispered, lookingaround.
"Where the bloody hell are we, what's going on?" Hermione asked, still very confused.
"Mione, were in the department of mysteries, remember? We came here looking for Sirius. You were right, it was a trap." Harry hung his head.
"Shit. Is this actually happening? I must be dreaming. Some fire whisky induced hallucination." Hermione began muttering to herself. Harry was right, it was the department of mysteries, that's why it looked so familiar, she looked closer at Harry
and noticed how much younger he looked.
"Did you hit your head when he hit you with that curse? You've never had firewhiskey in your life, and since when do you say shit?" Harry asked incredulously.
"I-I just need to think for a moment, this feels much too real to be a dream. But that's just not possible." Hermione said, mostly to herself, nearly forgetting Harry entirely. Hermione's hand went automatically to the necklace around her neck. Volo
Lapis, wishing stone. Could it even be possible? She had wished for a second chance, a first chance really, with Fred. He was indeed still alive at this point. But why would her wish bring her back to this point? Time travel was dangerous, she
knew that well. Suddenly a voice rang in her mind from many years ago.
"Mysterious thing, time. Powerful... and when meddled with, dangerous. Sirius Black is in the topmost cell of the Dark Tower. You know the laws, Miss Granger. You must not be seen. And you would do well, I feel, to return before this last chime.
If not, the consequences are too ghastly to discuss. If you succeed tonight... more than one innocent life may be spared. Three turns should do it, I think. Oh, and by the way. When in doubt, I find retracing my steps to be a wise place to begin." *
"Shit. Shit shit shit. Okay, we need to go save Sirius." Hermione said standing up slowly.
*Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Chapter 21 "Hermione's Secret"