Hi guys, so if you have come across this story and you haven't read 'Our History is Before Us' then it probably wont make much sense. If you have read my other fic then this is one of those stand alone chapters I was talking about that will add more detail to the story. In chapter 2 we saw McGonagall get uncharacteristically emotional towards Hermione for a little while so hopefully this will shed a little bit of light on why. Plus its a good excuse to get a bit of Bellatrix into the story early ;)
I hope you all enjoy it.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any of the characters.
"I should leave now if I want this to work Professor." Hermione muttered as she scanned Professor Mcgonagall's office, attempting to look anywhere but at the emotional older woman.
"Quite right." Mcgonagall nodded as she swallowed thickly, all of a sudden looking conflicted. In one swift motion the older witch stepped towards Hermione and swept the girl into a tight embrace, resting her cheek on top of the girl's head. "You are so very dear to me Hermione. You have the strongest heart of anyone that I know, make sure that you follow it…always."
Hermione twisted herself around a little so she could look up at the headmistress. "Professor, is everything ok?" she asked, slightly shocked by the usually measured witch's display of affection.
"I'm fine." Mcgonagall laughed lightly as she released the younger witch from her arms. "It just feels as though, after everything we have been through, we should take any opportunity to tell those closest to us what they mean to us."
The bushy haired witch was touched by the sentiment but couldn't quite shake the feeling of confusion those words brought with them. She was only travelling back in time one hour and Mcgonagall was acting as though she was going back off on her hunt for Horcruxes. "I should leave." She repeated, unsure of what else to say.
Hermione turned her attention back to the gold trinket in her hands and carefully turned the hourglass precisely once. Just before she slipped the delicate chain of the time turner around her neck she looked up at her Professor. "I have always trusted you above everyone else Minerva."
As the older witch watched the girl disappear she couldn't control the sob that slipped from her throat. She pushed her fist to her lips as she fought to regain her composure. "Good Luck Hermione." Mcgonagall whispered to the empty room.
The older woman allowed herself a rare moment to be weak. She spent most of her life denying this side of herself but for right now she wallowed in the vulnerability. She allowed herself to cry for her student who was suffering right now and who had too much adversity still left to face. Hermione was so young and yet she carried a burden far beyond her years. Mcgonagall wished she could take some of the pressure away from the young girl, but she knew there was no chance of that now.
"Minerva, you act as if someone has died." A voice behind the older witch said softly, the hint of a smile present in their voice.
"In a sense they have." Mcgonagall replied as she turned to face the source of the voice. "A version of Hermione has gone from my life forever."
The headmistress's companion stepped out of the darkness that had shrouded her from view until now. The dim candlelight of the office revealed a bushy haired woman with a scattering of freckles across her cheeks. The woman was unmistakably an older Hermione; around thirty years older than the Hermione Granger who had disappeared into the recent past only moments ago. "Am I really such a poor substitute?" Hermione asked affectionately.
"Don't answer that Minerva. I fear this is one of those questions to which there is no correct answer." A third voice called out in warning from the other side of the room. Out of the shadows stepped a woman dressed head to toe in black, her messy black curls framed her pale face as she focused her attention on picking at her blood red nails carelessly.
Minerva Mcgonagall chuckled lightly as she cast a quick glance over her shoulder at Bellatrix Black. "I would not change you for the entire world Hermione, you know that. I just wish I could save you from some of the heart ache I know you are about to face."
Hermione stepped closer to her mentor and reached out to gently wipe the stray tears from Minerva's cheek with the pad of her thumb. "I would not want you to take that heart ache away. Without it I would not have what I do now." The bushy haired witch looked across at Bellatrix who was fiddling with something she shouldn't be on the headmistress's desk. "It was all worth it in the end Minerva."
"That may be so." The older witch said softly. "I just wish that you could have achieved this contentment without all of the sacrifice."
"It is not hard to sacrifice for those that you love." Hermione said simply, smiling to herself as she thought about the people she had in her life now and how much love infiltrated every fibre of her being.
"What do we do now?" Minerva asked, her usual surety gone. "In a little over an hour, eighteen year old Hermione will be gone from this world forever. Many people will have questions, questions I'm not sure how to answer."
"She won't be gone altogether." Hermione pointed out gently. "I will be here instead and I can explain, to all those that need to know, everything that I am able to. That is all we can do."
Minerva sighed and turned her attention to the window, focusing on a nondescript point in the distance. "Do you think those boys will be able to accept that you have spent these years hiding away from the world with all of that knowledge of what was to come?"
"Perhaps not." Hermione conceded. "But as you said, they are boys. When they grow up I trust that they will understand the burden of the responsibility that I had."
"I trust that they will too." The headmistress agreed, a small smile gracing her face.
Hermione appeared to steel herself before beginning to speak. "While we are on the topic of those boys, I was wondering if I could ask a favour of you."
"Anything, Hermione. You know that." Minerva said earnestly.
"I would like for you to pass on a message to Ronald for me." Hermione swallowed thickly as she was over taken by an unexpected case of nerves. "I would like you to tell him that I loved him but I hope that he finds somebody better suited for him. Somebody who can make him truly happy."
Minerva let out a dry laugh. "You want me to break up with Mr Weasley for you?"
"In a sense, yes I suppose I do." The bushy haired witch said in something little over a whisper.
"And you don't think this is something that is better coming from you?" Minerva asked diplomatically.
Any answer Hermione was about to make was cut off by a loud clatter and a whispered curse word coming from the direction of the headmistress's desk. Bellatrix had predictably broken whatever it was she had been playing with last time the other women had checked on her. The black haired witch pulled out her warped wand and flicked it quickly over the object, repairing it to the state it had been before she had got her hands on it.
Bellatrix cleared her throat as she moved away from the older woman's desk, ending the temptation to fidget with things anymore. "I can imagine that would be a rather awkward conversation. Sorry Weasley we're done, but don't pine over me because I'm now married to your mortal enemy."
"I imagine Hermione would be able to handle the situation with more tact than you are capable of." Minerva chuckled as she made her way over to her desk to check on the object Bellatrix had been manhandling.
"You would think so Minerva. But I often found my wife to be much too blunt." Bellatrix replied nonchalantly.
"Only with you." Hermione chipped in with a scowl. "It is not my fault if you have absolutely no reading for subtlety."
"I can read subtlety darling. It's passive aggressiveness that I have the problem with." Bellatrix smirked, raising her eyebrows in a mischievous way at Hermione.
Minerva cleared her throat and put on her stern teachers expression. "I could always go and get Hermione now and ensure that she doesn't have her little horological accident. That way I could save myself almost thirty years of listening to you two bicker."
"It's too late for regrets now Minerva." Bellatrix said dramatically a smirk tugging at one side of her lips. "You're chance to keep the girl here and save us all a few decades of stress has slipped away. Oh, can you imagine the peaceful existence I could have had if Hermione had not tumbled through time and into my life?"
"Yes a fantastically peaceful existence, locked up in a cell in Azkaban. You know your life would be miserable without me. My tumble through time is the best thing that ever happened to you." Hermione countered, smacking Bellatrix playfully on the arm.
"Excuse me." The dark haired witch said, rubbing her arm as if the light smack had caused serious damage. "Aren't you the one that spends so much of their time telling our children not to hit?"
Hermione rolled her eyes, exasperated at her wife's inability to take anything seriously. "I make the rules. I don't have to follow them."
Mcgonagall chuckled lightly drawing the attention of the two younger witches. "If I had told the Hermione that just left this office that this is what her future held I think she would have cursed me on the spot." The older woman watched as Bellatrix moved closer to Hermione, slipping her arm around the brunette's waist and affectionately kissing her shoulder. "But I do wish I could tell her the happiness that is waiting for her if she is brave enough to pursue it."
Well I hope you all enjoyed it.
Let me know what you thought in the reviews and any suggestions you can always PM me to discuss it.