A/N Happy Easter, happy April Fool's Day, and happy 2018 Enchanted Awards kick off!
I was honored and excited that this story was nominated for the Granger Enchanted fanfiction awards. As with I Am Jack last year, I wanted to do more than just announce it and give my thanks to anyone who voted for me, so I wrote some drabbles. Like the drabbles on Jack, these are very much inspired by all of you. I had multiple reviews that wondered after Draco's perspective as well as the young Hermione, so I wrote some bits and pieces of that nature.
This piece is NOT beta'd... probably grossly so. This was written in one sitting last night and has had a singular edit so be warned, it might be a little rough lol. Thanks to In Dreams for a quick Alpha session to let me know if this was ok to post. So, if you don't agree with that, I'm totally throwing her under the bus and you can take it up with her :P
Monday Morning – Ministry of Magic – 1 Day Since the Baker Altercation
Draco has looked up to find his partner barreling into his office. Her mane of curls flying behind and her muggle clothes looking very out of place in the ministry, she seems to have forgotten her robes in whatever panic she's found herself.
"What's wro-" His question is cut off when she flings herself at him and he finds Hermione Granger's tongue snaking into his mouth, her delicate hands gripping the short hairs at the nape of his neck. He had intended to merely ask what was wrong, but now more questions are running through his brain. As much as anything can run through his brain with a warm witch nearly climbing into his lap.
She pulls back for air and he leans just enough away to meet her eyes. "Granger?"
"Draco… I'm sorry if this is sudden."
He laughs loudly at that. 'Sudden' doesn't even scratch the surface of what he was thinking, but he supposes it's a good opening for conversation.
"Finally succumbed to my charms?" he quips at her, unsure how to navigate a Granger that isn't nagging him, berating him, or barking orders. She's certainly an improvement like this. It has not gone unnoticed that she is still straddling him in the chair, arms wrapped around his neck. He is not ashamed to say that his hand settled on her hips during her attack and he has just opted to keep them there.
"You have no idea," she smirks back. That was unexpected. He starts to ask for clarification when she seems to shake herself out of the moment. "Sorry… look, Draco, I need your help. I just really didn't want to mess about by taking the day slow. I've been stuck in a time loop for about 30 days. No, I'm not making fun of your concerns over Baker, no, I haven't lost my mind, and, yes, I'm quite serious. I've spent a month living this same Monday. In that time, I've also completely lost my mind over you. Can we please go to the manor to try a potion to save me so I can wake up on a Tuesday in your bed?"
He blinks at her. There's a lot to absorb here, and Draco is trying to keep up. "You…. You're in a time loop?"
She grins. "I'm glad you're with me. And that you didn't get hung up on the part about the bed. Yes, a loop. Will you help me please? I brought you Starbucks."
He looks over her shoulder to where she has gestured with a backwards glance. A white cup with a vaguely familiar green logo is sitting on his desk. He hadn't even noticed her putting it down, distracted as he was by her grinding into his lap.
"I… thank you?"
"You're welcome." She hops off his lap and offers a hand for him to take. "Come on. Grab your coffee."
He does as instructed in a bit of a haze and follows her, hands clasps together, to the floo. She doesn't hesitate when she takes the powder and announces, "Malfoy Manor."
Following behind, Draco thinks this might be the strangest day of his life. But, still reeling from a particularly eager and talented snog, he's pretty sure it is one of his best.
He won't remember it, but this is only one in a collection of days in which Draco falls in love with Hermione Granger over and over again.
The Worst of Days
Tuesday Morning – Ministry of Magic – 2 Days Since the Baker Altercation
Previous Day: Draco and Hermione spoke briefly with some mild animosity before she left for the day. She was not aware yet of the time loop.
Harry looks up to find Malfoy standing in the doorway looking annoyed.
"She didn't come in?"
"No," he grouses back. "She left early yesterday, after being a complete bitch I might add, and she didn't come in at all today. I know she's your star agent or whatever but I would think a little accountability might be in order."
Harry takes a calming breath and answers diplomatically, "She is accountable, Malfoy. In fact, she never misses. I was surprised she agreed to half days this week. Have you floo'd her place?"
Draco shrugs and grunts out, "Tried. She didn't answer. Or wasn't there…I don't know."
Mild concern settles in and Harry approaches his private office floo, calling out for Hermione's flat. Rather than initiate a call, he lets himself in through her wards. She gave him access long ago, but he's never used the privilege until now.
"Hermione?" He calls through the room, eyes on her bedroom door which is standing open. Behind him, Draco's head pops into the floo. He can't come through, but he can observe the scene.
Harry shakes his head in the negative and tries a little more loudly, "Hermione? Are you home?"
"Granger! Where the bleeding hell are you?!"
Turning to offer a glare briefly, Harry then focuses back on the remaining rooms and starts to explore each one. Her second bedroom, full of her cluttered office space and various mementos and brick-a-brack, is empty, as is the water closet just off her sitting room. He's cautious as he approaches her bedroom next, hoping very much he doesn't see anything from his dearest friend that would be inappropriate.
It would be weird, Hermione would hex him, and Ginny would destroy any bits of him left unscathed.
Fortunately and unfortunately, he finds nothing at all. Her en suite also stands open and looks equally bare.
"Huh." He is shaking his head and thinking as he returns to the sitting room where the floo still shows Draco's face. "Nothing."
"I know you know her better than I do, but this isn't standard Granger behavior."
"No," Harry agrees, pensive, "it's really not."
They try an owl next, but the bird returns with the message unread. After that, Harry pulls out and metaphorically dusts off his muggle cellular telephone. Since few wizards have them, he really only uses it with Hermione, and only then after wizarding methods have failed. Returning to her flat one last time, he finds it still empty, and, even more troubling, her phone is ringing from her bedroom where she leaves it at night.
Draco accompanied him this time, Harry letting him through the wards. "Does she usually keep that contraption with her?"
"Almost always," Harry says quietly. "Especially if she intended to be out all day. I wasn't really concerned before, but the longer she's gone, the more out of character this seems."
It is now early evening and the pair has been trying to contact Hermione since mid-afternoon.
They are both silent for a moment when Harry offers, "Why don't you head out, Malfoy? It's late. There's not much more you can do."
He's surprised when his agent hardens his gaze and shakes his head. "Not with my partner missing, Potter."
Harry blinks and gives a decisive nod. "Alright then. Let's see if anyone has talked to her today. I'll start with Ron."
"I tried her insipid assistant this morning. I'll check around other departments."
They part and meet back two hours later, both empty handed. Worry has settled in to both of them at this point, especially Draco with what information he has discovered.
Harry is waiting for him in the atrium when he sees the blond approaching with a quick and purposeful stride. "I went to the holding cells," he says as soon as he is within earshot as to not be shouting across the ministry. "Fucking Baker is dead."
"What the f- What do you mean, dead?"
"They found him this morning, and there's been an investigation. Why we weren't notified yet is beyond me," he grumbles, irritated and starting to feel a bit of panic. "It's more than that though," he goes on. "He was… he was old, they said. Aged and dead of natural causes. Heart attack. They have the body at St. Mungos."
"Do they think it was something to do with the Turner? Did he… I don't even know what to suggest. Just… something with time and he aged rapidly?"
"I don't fucking know, Potter, but if it happened to him…" The implication hangs, and a disturbing image flashes through Harry's brain of an elderly Hermione Granger corpse, curled up and dead in some bizarre location like on her shower floor.
"I think we should recheck her flat," he says, trying to keep the worry at bay. The words are barely out of his mouth when Draco turns on his expensive dragon hide heels and nearly jogs to the floo system.
The search, of course, uncovers nothing. She isn't there, not even a hint of her. Certainly not a body. Harry is both relieved yet also spiraling further into panic.
"Where else could she go, Potter? Does she have anyone? Family? Anyone we haven't tried?"
Harry shakes his head. "No one. Her parents are alive but… they aren't in the picture any more. No siblings, Grandparents deceased. Ron and me… we're what she has."
"Well she can't have just disappeared. What are we missing?"
There is a pause before Harry offers, "The Time Turner? Baker's broken one… It should be under stasis in the evidence archives. Maybe we could have someone look at it? Flitwick?"
"There's that Time guru in Germany. Freidensreich? He's been in all the research journals the last few years."
Harry nods. I'll set something up. Get us some meetings tomorrow. You should go to sleep. This time, that's an order. I'll see you in the morning."
He watches his agent hesitate before offering a clipped nod. He turns and is just at the floo to head back to his manor when Harry stops him. "Malfoy?"
Looking back with an expectant raise of his eyebrow, Harry tells him, "I know you and Hermione don't really get on, but I appreciate your dedication to the job. She's your partner, but… well, just, thanks."
He doesn't think Malfoy will answer him at all, the beat of silence going on just long enough for Harry to start to turn away. "She may not think much of me, Potter, but I know there's more to her than the harpy I see. She's important to people. And, as you say, she's my partner. That means something. We'll bring her home."
With a billow of his robes reminiscent of his Godfather, Malfoy makes his exit, leaving Harry a little perplexed but confident his agent won't stop until they find his friend. It makes sleep easier that night: The determination on the other man's face.
The Best of Days
Tuesday Morning – Ministry of Magic – 2 Days Since the Baker Altercation
Previous Day: Hermione and Draco spent the day together and tried the potion to jar her out of the time loop.
"Potter!" Harry looks behind him to find Malfoy charging toward his office. He hadn't even made it to his desk yet and nearly spills his coffee when the man's voice made him jump.
"She's gone! She's fucking gone!"
He knows immediately what he means. Hermione. "I thought… didn't you brew the potion yesterday?"
"We did! We did everything right! I was so careful… What the fuck do we do now?!" He doesn't even give Harry a chance to respond when he brushes past him and growls, "I'm going to fucking Baker. I'll Crucio the bastard until he bleeds. I'll-"
"Malfoy! Malfoy, stop, just…"
It's a miracle the auror even halts his step, as determined as he is, but he does, and Harry takes a breath. "I'll go with you," he finally says. He won't let his new agent Crucio the man. That will just land him in Azkaban and do nothing to find Hermione. But a little muggle good cop, bad cop… that he might play along with.
In the end, it doesn't matter what Harry would allow or how serious or not Draco had been. When they reach the holding cells, there is a flurry of excitement. Harry grabs one of the guards by his sleeve just as the man is rushing by. "What happened?"
"One of the prisoners died last night," the man barks out, trying to wrench his arm away.
Malfoy is in the man's face before he can shake off Harry's grip. "Which prisoner?" He growls at him.
"The Time Master or whatever. Baker. He's dead and… there's a lot of questions."
Both wizards are glaring down at the man who seems to wither. "Look, I don't know what happened, alright? He was fine last night, I swear. My shift ended at eight and he was alive."
Sensing the man to be as ignorant as he claims and much more worried about any possible jeopardy to his career, they let him go, watching him scurry away. The two aurors seek out a better source.
Malfoy nods toward another guard, this one wearing the robes that denote a higher rank. "Him."
Following his gaze, Harry starts that direction, Malfoy just behind him. "I heard our prisoner was killed. I need a report."
Harry doesn't like using his 'authority voice', but sometimes, his youth often being a hindrance with older personnel, he feels he doesn't have an options.
"Not killed," the man sighs. "I don't know where you heard that, but my men didn't do anything. And I already have Shacklebolt breathing down my neck about it, thanks. He just died."
Malfoy leans over the desk, palms on top of whatever paperwork the man had been working on. "How does a young, healthy wizard just fucking die in the dead of night when he was perfectly alive yesterday?!"
Annoyed at the disrespectful tone, not to mention Draco's hands creasing some of his papers, the guard smacks at his fingers until the young auror stands up straight once again, crossing his arms and meeting him, glare for glare.
"He wasn't young and healthy this morning. In fact," he gestures with a nod of his head behind him. "Take a look. They're moving the body to Mungos to run some diagnostics."
Harry and Draco turn to find Baker's very aged body being levitated from the building. "What…" Harry doesn't finish the question. They know what happened. No one else, perhaps, but Harry and Draco are more than aware.
"He looped… forever. Until he died. Could that…?" Draco can't seem to say the words and Harry shakes his head.
"No. I don't believe that. Let's… let's go to her flat." He sees devastation in Draco's eyes that mirrors the same in his own heart.
They find nothing. It does little to ease their concerns, but does lead them to a level of hope.
"She won't die in that loop," Draco says firmly. "She doesn't because… because I won't fucking let her."
He sounds petulant to Harry. A little boy refusing to give up a treat, but the sentiment is still appreciated. "That's good, but I don't know how-"
Malfoy wheels around on him. "I need a Time Turner, Potter. I know you have connections. If she's not dead, I obviously do something to save her."
"Malfoy, Time Turners are illegal… and rare… and, I don't even have connections like that-"
"Oh, fuck off, Harry, yes you do!"
He takes a step back, shocked by the uncharacteristic outburst from the usually stoic wizard. Malfoy's eyes are burning into him and he lets the insubordination slide. "Maybe the Americans? Or the Japanese consulate? They have different laws about time manipulation."
Nodding and looking slightly pacified, Draco clips out, "I apologize for my behavior. I just… I need a Turner alright? And… I'm going to go to Snape and ask for his help on the potion. I have an idea to at least buy her time."
Harry smiles at him, a crooked grin full of affectionate mockery. "Bring her home, keep her alive, and you can keep calling me Harry."
Ignoring the quip about his given name, Draco says back with sincerity, "I think it's safe to say at this point, there's no world in which I won't find my way to her."
Sunday – Abandoned Building in Wizarding New York – Moments after the Baker Altercation
"Just take it, Granger."
Hermione is eyeing Draco suspiciously and he doesn't appreciate it one bit.
"You need to be stuck in this loop again, alright. If you don't, I'm not sure what will happen to you. If I can't get you out, I'm sure you'll die." He isn't even remotely embarrassed that his voice cracks on the sentiment. Baker is subdued and unconscious, as is the other Draco, and Hermione is looking at him like he just murdered a kitten. This isn't the reunion he'd been hoping for.
"How do you I know you're who you even say you are?" she asks. "You could just be some polyjuiced villain, trying to poison me!"
"Alright, first, Granger," he says with exasperated affection, "no one is trying to assassinate you. Your aspirations of greatness are not yet realized, and I don't think you are a threat to anyone as a low level auror. And second, if I did want to murder you, you think this," he gestures down to himself, "would be a logical way to go about it? Follow you to the States as a polyjuiced version of someone already here and make up some convoluted story about time travel? I could just bring you a fucking poison-laced Starbucks at your office if that was the goal."
"Draco Malfoy doesn't know what Starbucks is," she tries, even more suspicious, and he chuckles at her.
"I do now. My swotty partner said I drink it every day while she is stuck in a loop. I know exactly how you take your coffee, in fact. I know… I actually know a lot about you."
He takes a step closer, trying hard not to seem intimidating. "Granger, please… take the potion. It should ensure you stay in the loop until we can find a way to get you out. Please."
"You're… I'm surprised. I'm having trouble believing it's really you. That you're this concerned."
"I'm more than concerned," he tells her. "I'm fucking terrified. Granger. You told me you had been stuck in this loop for weeks and we had spent almost every day together. You were… different. A version of you that isn't always trying to prove herself and stay on top of every situation. Harry says it's the version of you he knows."
"Harry?...Since when do you call him Harry?"
"Since we've spent weeks trying to find you. Trying to figure out how to fix this. We are going to get you out, Hermione. I'm going to get you out."
He reaches forward and brushes his fingertips down one cheek, trying not to show his hurt when she flinches. "Please… take it." He lifts the vial up into her line of sight once again.
"Won't this mess up everything? The time line you want me to continue on? I won't do whatever I'm supposed to next if I know about this."
"I'm obliviating all of you," he answers simply and she looks aghast.
"You will do no such thing! You can't just go about obliviating people without their permission!"
He gives her a condescending cock of his head? "Oh yes? Would Frank and Jean agree with that?"
She stops short, any more tirade drying up on her tongue. "How did you know…"
Hermione looks almost afraid of him and he hates it almost as much as he hates not being able to hold her. "You told me. About what you did during the war. I was hoping… you might have a perspective on making hard choices for the greater good. I don't… I don't want to do this," he admits. "If I had another idea… I'd prefer to let you remember me."
He steps forward again and this time she doesn't flinch; doesn't back away. "Please, Hermione," he begs again. "I just want to... I know you have to take this. I'm sure of it. If you don't…" He swallows. "If you hadn't, I think you would already be dead. But you never have been. I think this is what keeps you safe."
He watches her lift her arm hesitantly. "What will it do exactly?"
"Make sure you stay in this time stream until we come up with something better. I hope I never go back where I came from honestly. I hope my world just disappears and I never have to know what it's like to wake up without you."
She looks more than startled by his phrasing, and he uses her shock to close the final distance and cup her face in his hands. "Hermione…" Whatever else he thinks to say, he swallows down and instead presses his lips, briefly but firmly, against hers.
"Malfoy, I don't-"
He shakes his head at her. "I can't even explain what I don't understand myself. Just… take it," he entreats again, referring to the potion. "Hopefully, I'll see you Tuesday." He grins against her lips.
He relaxes when he feels her nod and she quietly agrees, "Ok."
Stepping away from her, he watches as she only hesitates a moment more and then downs the potion like a shot of whiskey. He pulls a face, grimacing and a shudder traces through her frame. "It's awful."
"I imagine it is. But a really smart witch told me that's because the potion can't be heated and the components don't break down properly. I miss her telling me what to do." He smiles at her fondly and watches her pretty cheeks blush pink.
"Are you ready?"
She looks nervous, but, in true Gryffindor fashion, straightens her shoulders and states with conviction. "I'm ready."
He steps up to her once again and pulls his wand from his robes. "I miss you," he tells her, but before she can respond he lays the wood against her temple and whispers, "Obliviate."
He hopes it's enough. He and Potter agreed that changing anything more of the past might be detrimental to the future, but if this doesn't do anything, he might do something more drastic. He's ready to try anything.
All Roads Lead Home
September First – Platform 9 ¾ - Years after the Baker Altercation – Any world
Stop fidgeting." Little Hermione glares at her big sister but does as instructed. "You're going to love it."
She is standing in a very odd part of an otherwise ordinary train station, her sister and the older woman's husband standing just behind.
"It just seems there would be a better way to travel there," she sniffs, all the entitlement an eleven year old can manage seeping through her words.
A short bark of laughter sounds from behind the group, and the girl turns to find her uncle Lucius smirking at her. "I've been saying that for ages. Muggle public transportation… such a plebian choice." His answering sniff lets anyone paying attention know exactly where a young Hermione learned the haughty gesture.
"I think it's a bit charming," Jean Granger throws in. "Sort of retro-chic". She is holding her granddaughter in her arms, the small child squirming to get down. Barely even able to toddle, everyone in attendance agrees she needs to be under control, but the fit she pitched in her buggy wasn't worth the effort.
"Here, let me." Narcissa plucks the child from Jean's arms and promptly hands her off to Lucius. The two ladies grin at each other. Lucius pretends to look at them sourly, but then cuddles the girl close to his chest as she wraps her little arms around his neck.
"I wish I could take my I-pod," Hermione's little sister says for the hundredth time today. Hermione starts to answer her, but the girl says, "I know… I know… no electronics at Hogwarts. Absolutely primitive," she grumbles.
When she boards the train, the farewell is not particularly tearful. The Grangers have been through this before, after all. Their youngest daughter is just as precocious and independent as their older one had been. They will miss her. Everyone assembled will… but more than anything they are excited for her.
"We will see you for Christmas, love." Their hugs are warm and smiles bright, and what some might consider the wizarding world's strangest family waves at another young Hermione Granger entering a new world.
"Shall we have tea?" Narcissa is absently stroking her granddaughters platinum curls as she speaks.
"Oh, yes, lovely. Frank, let's bring the car."
Lucius Malfoy's eyes light up in wonder. He clears his throat and asks politely. "Do you think I might… try a spin around the fountains?"
Draco leans over to Hermione as they make their way out of the station. "You know this will be much harder when it's her, right?" He nods toward their daughter, swinging her legs around Lucius waist.
Hermione looks up to find her husband gazing adoringly at the little girl and smiles. "It can't be helped. She won't be little forever."
He nods. "You can't stop time right?"
Smiling back up at him she agrees. "You can't… I mean," she goes on with a hint of playful sarcasm, "you can make it loop continuously forever, but not stop it, precisely."
Draco halts her in place with an arm around her shoulder, his other palm cupping her cheek firmly, and kisses the cheeky grin on her face.
A/N Thank you again to all of you. I really don't know if I could manage to complete much without the encouragement I get from other writers and from all of you reading and reviewing and giving me the honor of a spot on your follow and fave lists.
Also, congratulations to my fellow authors! In Dreams, Ariel Riddle, LightofEvolution, I was BOTWP, Brilliant Lady, Olivieblake, Hystaracal, SaintDionysus, Elle Martin, Luckei1, AkashatheKitty, LR Earl, OracleObscured, Mother of Bulls, Fragilereality, starrnobella, rainsrabble, LuceFray27, Kittenshift17, CJ Red, Kristeristerin, Nautical Paramour, crochetaway, ImmortalObsession, VinoAmore, corvusdraconis, Ally147, NinjaFairy86, Sandra-Sempra, Heeley, Lady Miya, LovesBitca8, The_Artful_Scribbler, LeanaM, Desert_Sea, RZZMG, Phinoa, xxDustnight88, JL Pierre, Shadukiam, Radiant Innocence
If voting is your thing, here is a link with a lot of annoying asterisk in it lol.
Link to vote (please remove all *'s)
But truly, more than anything, I want to say thank you, all of you, for letting me entertain you. Your time is precious, your choices are many, and you gave me many of your hours to read this. Thank you.