Thank you for reading my story!
Re editing chapters :D
Thank you to my Beta Paz for sorting me out ;D
It had been some of the most difficult days in Hermione's career, as the Minister of Magic. Stressed didn't seem to be an appropriate word to describe her mental state - haggard or harassed might be better. Even a few days later, it was still difficult to process the almost catastrophic events; caused by the two Slytherin boys.
Quick, sharp footsteps took her across the main lobby to the lifts. Witches and wizards scurried out of her way, sending apprehensive looks in her direction. They were pointedly ignored. Stepping into the lift she adjusted her robes, eyes staring at a fixed point ahead. Hand reaching out swiftly to grab the handle closest and roughly pushing the button for her department with the other. Her stomach dropped as the lift sped upwards without warning.
"Level one, Minister of Magic's office. Good morning, Minister". The disembodied, feminine voice echoed around the entranceway.
Making her way across the hall - nodding to a few people as she went - Hermione headed to her office. A dark, wooden door with the golden words 'Minister of Magic' gracefully looped on its front. They flashed with recognition, and the door swung inwards.
Pausing at the entrance, Hermione cautiously entered the room, stepping over objects as she went.
It was a mess. Books still scattered across the floor. Her desk and chair were over-turned, items strewn everywhere. Inhaling deeply, the smell of burning hit the back of her throat, coming from somewhere in the room presumably.
She let out a groan of frustration. Most likely some of her books would be irreplaceably damaged, not to mention the bookcase. It took some serious magic to make that trap, the spell damage alone could take weeks to remove.
"Yes," came a low drawling voice from the corner of the office, "I love what they've done with the place too".
A slight turn of her head and the form of Draco Malfoy came into view. Dressed in his usual dark formal robes, he was slouched against a bookshelf. Hands in his pockets, he too looked a little less composed than usual.
"Granger," he said, inclining his head in acknowledgement.
Try as she might, Hermione couldn't hide the slight smile on her lips. "That's Minister Granger to you, Malfoy." She spoke in a light hearted manner, "but Hermione works just as well".
"In that case Minister, I must insist on Draco." Pushing himself from the shelf, he lazily flicked his wand over the room. The desk and chair righted itself and the scattered items skipped across the room, slotting themselves into their original homes. The bookshelf however, was woefully unmoved. A few books gave a halfhearted little wiggle before flopping down pathetically.
Draco shrugged. "Worth a try," he said apologetically.
"Thank you…Draco." That earned a grin from him, "I'm afraid there is not much you'd be able to do with that," inclining her head towards the ruined shelves and their former occupants. "It was rather heavily charmed." Sighing wistfully, she gazed at the mess. "Took me ages."
Shaking her head and letting out a laugh, Hermione turned back towards Draco and perched on the edge of her (now upright) desk. There was a small pause between them before she spoke up again. "What can I do you for then Draco?"
He was watching her with a slightly bemused look. "Do me for?" He raised an eyebrow as a slight grin quirked his lips.
"It's a muggle joke," she quipped, her hand waving dismissively. , "A funny figure of speech."
"Right," came the chuckled response. "And there was me getting my hopes up." He continued to grin at her, earning an eye roll.
"I assume you didn't come here just to help me clean up my office." Her face took a more serious expression. "Does this have something to do with the last few days?"
Taking a deep breath, Draco reached into his pocket. Slowly, he moved next to her and, with a soft 'plink' he placed something on the desk.
"I think…it's probably for the best if I don't keep this." He was watching her face warily.
There it was, sitting on her desk. Glinting softly in the light and looking oh so innocent, was the last working Time-Turner.
Hermione felt all the stress of the past couple of days hit her again. She began feeling hot, dizzy and the ability to breathe became patchy. "You…You're giving it to me?" She stammered, disbelief plastered across her face.
Oh Merlin, she couldn't take the responsibility again! This whole mess would have been prevented if she hadn't tried to be clever with the last one! "I shouldn't have this, look at what happ…"
Draco cut across her speech with a sharp wave of his hand. "There is no one else I can trust with this. Yes, you made a mistake before. However," he drew himself up and sneered down at her in a most familiar expression, "I expect you to do better this time".
She felt herself bristle under his gaze. Do better? Do better, indeed! Squaring her shoulders and standing as tall as her frame would allow, she mustered as much confidence in her tone before answering. "Challenge accepted, Draco".
He gave her a curt nod. She noted with some amusement how he seemed to be relieved to get rid of the thing. Pushing on her hands slightly, she turned and knelt in front of the desk. Eyes now level with the Time-Turner, she passed her wand over the device. It registered as the real thing, so at least Malfoy wasn't trying to trick her.
The question now, was what to do with it.
She couldn't and wouldn't keep it in the same trap as last time. Too many people had that information now, not to mention the two schoolboys who broke through her spells. She let out a huff of annoyance at that thought. Dumbledore, Hogwarts and Gringotts came to mind. Their defences could be broken; as evidenced by Harry, Ron and her own exploits. Spells could be countered, the locks unpicked and people coerced.
If she wanted it to stay out of the wrong hands, there was really only one option…
Without warning Hermione leapt across the room, her sudden and frantic movement startled Draco and he jumped back into the bookcase. The residual spells lingering on it sent an uncomfortable tingling through his body, not unlike static shock. Coughing smartly and shaking out the front of his robes he checked out of the corner of his eye to see if Hermione had noticed his action. From her single-minded movement he deduced that she had all but forgotten that he was even there.
He let out a small sigh of relief - couldn't have her telling Potter - that he was being jumpy. He'd had enough of the ferret jokes in fourth year. He pulled away from the wooden shelves, when a slight tug on the back of his robes caused him to pause. Glancing back, he let out a little yelp and hastily drew his wand.
The shelf was sticking to him! It stretched out from the wall like slime. Other levels also began reaching out, wood warping as it lazily tried to grab him. Violently slashing his wand in a downward movement - in an attempt at a slicing spell - had no effect and made the situation worse. At the point the spell connected, the shelf burst, splurging more of the wooden slime up his back and onto his arms. The tugging increased, as the bookcase began to drag him backwards. Quickly realising that any magic used would only escalate things, Draco slashed open the front of his robes before slithering from the outer coat in a rather undignified scramble.
He froze, for a moment, watching in almost horror as the shelf 'ate' his robes. It was slow and almost agonising as, finally, the last sleeve vanished and the bookcase returned to its former less threatening state.
If this is what it is like once it had been broken, it must have been even more terrifying at full power! A strong sense of pride towards his son filled him, followed by an unfamiliar sense of fear for the witch behind him.
Once again straightening out his clothes, now minus his outer robe, and thoroughly checking for other 'traps', Draco turned back to watching the aforementioned witch. A strange sight greeted him. Without him noticing, she had built up a sort of potions lab. Bits of twisting glass and strange metal instruments, that moved and made odd noises like 'ping' or 'thonk', covered her desk. Multi-coloured puffs of smoke came from the end of a particularly spiralled piece of glass.
As bewildering as this all was, the oddest sight was Hermione herself. She had donned a dark dragon hide apron, with matching full length gloves and the oddest headset he had ever seen. It was rather like a keepers helmet; dark leather, straps under the chin, extra padding around the sensitive areas of the skull.
The goggles however were a new addition. Round glass lenses - which could've rivalled Trelawney's in thickness - were edged by a brass rim and attached to the helmet with wide leather straps, hiding most of her face. Metal instruments with small different coloured lenses were attached to the rim of the goggles, by spindly wires that moved them up and down over her right eye in jerky clockwork movements. The left eye appeared to have a backwards telescope on it, that was extended fully and trained on the Time-Turner, it's little lens rotating and blinking. Her hair stuck out from under this contraption and appeared to be trying to escape the tightly bound helmet.
Her wand moved frantically over the Time-Turner, golden dust flowing and twisting through its components. Occasionally she would flick her wand at a glass or metal instrument, sending a small batch of dust into it. She paused as she watched each reaction, before she cycled back to muttering under her breath whilst scrutinising the device.
Standing by and watching her, Draco was both irritated and relieved that she had not noticed her bookshelf trying to eat him. Now that really would have been an embarrassing story for Pott…Harry to hear. Not to mention he'd not be able to look the weasel in the eye for months!
Seemingly without noticing, he had moved closer to the desk, eyes following the flow of golden dust as it spun and twisted in hypnotic movements. Static fizzed through his hair, and his usual slicked back ponytail began to separate and frizz. Tiny, almost imperceptible zigzags of electricity began to zip across his body, as he began swaying slightly following the rhythm of the dust. As if he was moving through thick treacle, Draco edged closer. His smart shoes catching on the sides of books as he swayed towards the spinning light. Arm rising, he reached forward sluggishly. The residual magic on him began to crack and spark enthusiastically.
The Time-Turner spun in the air slowly; and ever so carefully Hermione twisted her wand and made a slight jerking movement. Flakes of gold began to peel and separate from the outer casing, floating gently through the air until they dissipated like smoke.
Hermione could feel the elation race through her body. She had done it! The balancing was tricky, but with a little time she could safely destroy the Turner. This way would be completely safe and leave no residue, so another time turner could never be made, at least not by using this one as a base.
Sweat began to drip down her body as the air heated up, making wearing the helmet almost unbearable. The outer ring was completely dissolved; the inner ring was almost gone too. Once she got to the glass timer itself, Hermione braced herself. The pressure increased and she began to shake with the effort. Something moved in her peripheral vision but she ignored it, focusing entirely on the tiny splitting hourglass before her. The glass started peeling off, dissolving as it went, and the time dust within began to burn hot, giving off a blinding white light.
Hermione averted her gaze, eyes suddenly focusing on Draco. A horrified dread overcame her, she had forgotten he was even here! His eyes were glazed over, arm outstretched and leaning over the desk towards the time dust.
"DRACO NOOOOO!" The stream tore from her throat as her sweaty hands gripped her wand tighter. "STOP! DRACO!"
Almost in slow motion, she watched as his head turned towards her in a bleary and confused manner. His body however, did not stop.
The moment Draco's fingers brushed the dust there was a pause, like the whole world froze. The complete and absolute absence of sound and movement was terrifying. She couldn't breath, and her eardrums ached with the pressure.
The sort of explosion that came next could only be described as hot and compressing. Similar to appariting, only a thousand times worse. Lights and colours overwhelmed her senses, as her atoms were torn apart and violently flung in all directions. If she had still had her lungs it would have gone hoarse from screaming.