Yesterday is Tomorrow (everything is connected)
Note: While this is a "Hermione is Lily's sister" story, I am attempting to avoid some of the usual cliches found in these stories (all which were excellent, btw), by 1) removing Hermione as Lily's twin; 2) not inserting Hermione into the lives of familiar characters, until much later.
Narrator: We trust that time is linear. That it proceeds eternally, uniformly. Into infinity. But the distinction between past, present and future is nothing but an illusion. Yesterday, today and tomorrow are not consecutive, they are connected in a never-ending circle. Everything is connected.
- Dark (2017-present), 1x01: "Secrets"
"Miss Evans, can you stay behind a moment?"
Hermione sighed, looking longingly down at her gathered up parchment, filled with her neat cursive script, full of ideas and arithmancy equations that she wanted to attempt in the Room of Requirements. She glanced up at the professor - not Professor Vector, as that was the Arithmancy professor in her time, but an old, white-haired hawkish-looking man that was a cross between Einstein's eccentricities and a looming Snape - and then glanced pointedly at her kinetic-wound watch on her left wrist. Arithmancy was, sadly, her last class on Tuesdays, and therefore she did not have an excuse to run away from Professor Pythas.
Some of the Hufflepuffs - the two in the class - shot her sympathetic looks but the Ravenclaws, her fellow housemates, ignored her. There was a lone Gryffindor Hermione didn't know well, and several Slytherins she was on vaguely friendly terms with. They were all sixth year students, and she was only fourteen. Or so. Age was difficult.
"Sure, professor," said Hermione instead, turning around with a bright smile on her face. She slid back into her seat.
The man heaved a sigh as he slid into the spare seat in front of her desk, moving slowly as he bent his knees and his rear rested on the hard wooden surface of the chair. "Ahh," he groaned, reaching behind to rub at his back. "These old bones aren't what they used to be."
"I'm sure, sir," replied Hermione, politely, if not confused. "But you don't look a day over seventy."
"Ha!" the man barked, pointing a finger at her. "You're a wonderful student, Miss Evans, but an accomplished liar you are not."
If that's what you think, she thought, darkly, but allowed the same bright smile she presented him with earlier to grace her lips.
"No, I'm not a day over one hundred and four, but these old bones are tired," the man muttered, "I should really ask Albus for retirement soon…"
Hermione cleared her throat. She did have a library to get to, and a Room of Requirement to spend her afternoon enclosed in, eventually. "Sir, what is this about?"
Professor Pythas nodded. "Right. Yes. Of course. You see, Miss Evans - Hermione - you really are quite the accomplished student. I wasn't just saying that, dear."
Hermione nodded. She knew she was an accomplished student, as per his words. That's what happens when you're practically a genius, and already went through Hogwarts once before, even if she did never complete her seventh year or technically graduate. The Ministry still hired her, and she did have the added bonus of being in her forties when she "died."
"I daresay you're even brighter than your older sister!" the man continued, chortling. "Anyway - myself a few other professors, namely Professor Janulus and Professor Flitwick, think that you're not being challenged enough with the sixth year curriculum in Arithmancy, Runes, and Charms."
Hermione made a noise.
"Professor Janulus and I strongly advocated for your skipping ahead to your NEWT year, but Professor Flitwick thinks that self-study might be more in your interest," the man continued, his eyes watching Hermione keenly. "I know that you are a raven out of the nest, being the only fourth year in NEWT preparation. But you always had quite the understanding of ancient languages and numbers in ways that I haven't seen in years…"
Benefits of time travel and death, just reliving my life, Professor, thought Hermione snarkily, but she shrugged in response to the man's words, instead. "Numbers is just another language, professor. And I like languages."
Also true, thought Hermione, as in her - first? Previous? Other? - life, she had known several languages and added more the longer she worked in the Ministry.
Professor Pythas reached forward and patted Hermione's hands, neatly laced together and resting on top of the desk. "Oh, I know my dear. But, well, Professor Flitwick is a bit correct that you will probably be happier in self-study until the the end of the year, when Professor Janulus and I think you're ready to write your NEWTs. Or, you can wait until next year to do so."
Two NEWTs before graduating Hogwarts? Hermione's eyebrows went sky-high. That would look quite nice on her resume, and would help her gain a Mastery.
"That sounds… quite nice, Professor," she finally said, putting enough emphasis on the two words as a form of shock. Sometimes she hated herself for playing her professors, some she knew well - or, used to know. Will know. UGH. - but another part of her took one look at a bunch of rowdy fifth-year Gryffindors and she wanted nothing to do with her (not-)sister's housemates.
Professor Pythas beamed back at her. "Wonderful, wonderful. I certainly won't mind you continuing to use the class for your own research, as long as you're quiet, which you are, Miss Evans."
Hermione didn't mind that either. She then smoothly rose from her seat, just as Professor Pythas did as well. The man was already moving to the chalkboard, erasing his equations and prepping for his next class, when Hermione finished placing her papers and textbooks in her bag.
She was almost at the door when he called her name.
Hermione turned around.
"Oh, there's one last thing, Hermione, dear," the man called. "Since you are the best we have, I was wondering if you'd be interested in tutoring a student? He needs some help - his mother is actually quite insistent on it, and she's an old, dear friend - and I thought, 'why! Hermione could do it!'"
Hermione pursed her lips. Tutor a student? But… my research…!
Something must have shown on her face because the professor shook his head. "Only for an hour or two a week, Miss Evans. Surely you can spare an hour or two?"
When you put it that way… "Sure, professor. Who?"
Hermione was viciously stabbing her broccoli when her best friend in this time slid onto the bench in the Great Hall beside her silently, watching with wide brown eyes. His nose twitched and Hermione slanted a glance at him.
"What?" she growled out.
"Did the broccoli do something to you?" he asked, reaching forward and spooning other veg from the bowl nearest him before moving to his meats.
Hermione scowled. "No. I'm just imaging Professor Pythas' face."
Her friend's eyebrows shot up. "Really? You're practically his darling. I'm sure he actually likes you more than he likes his family. What could he have possibly done to make you that angry?"
Hermione dropped the fork on her plate with a clatter and ran her hands through her hair, getting her fingers caught in the curls. She yanked them out and then gathered the dark brown curls shot through with red into a ponytail that turned into a lopsided bun.
"I'm tutoring someone in arithmacy for two hours a week, starting Friday," she muttered.
"... you've tutored people before," her friend pointed out, frowning. "Why is this a problem now?"
"It's more of an issue with the who," retorted Hermione.
"Surely not another Ravenclaw," her friend replied, affronted. "None of them need tutoring, first of all; and second, none would willingly want to be in your company, Hermione."
The dead-eye stare Hermione gave her friend would have made a lesser man shrink back a bit. "Thanks a lot, Barty."
Bartemius Crouch Junior shrugged, instead, shoving a piece of cut pork into his mouth. He chewed noisily and then licked his lips with an exaggerated, "yum."
"No, it's not a Ravenclaw," she answered, glancing around at their housemates. None particularly cared for her - from the moment she stepped into Hogwarts, Lily nattering in her ear about how they were going to have so much fun in Gryffindor! And You'll love it, Hermione, I swear!, Hermione noped out of there as quickly as possible when the Sorting Hat offered Gryffindor.
She wore red and yellow once. She bled that red, too. Never again.
The soothing tones of blue and bronze beckoned, and she went to the first House ever offered her at Hogwarts, and joined Ravenclaw. Personally, she thought she dodged a bullet - or bludger, if you wanted wizarding idioms. Especially when she saw the latest prank James Potter and Sirius Black cooked up.
"Who then? Some dundering Hufflepuff?"
"What did Hufflepuff ever do to you?" she asked back.
Together, they glanced over at the Hufflepuff table between them and Gryffindor, and watched as two girls braided another girls' hair at the table, wide smiles on their faces and compliments passing their mouths ever other word.
Barty turned back to Hermione, the expression on his face saying everything.
"Yeah, point made," she sighed. "No, not Hufflepuff."
"And let's be honest, no Slytherin would willingly have a Muggleborn tutor them," sighed Barty, glancing at the Slytherin table, as well as their only other friend, who caught their eyes, frowned, and then pointedly ignored them.
"Wanker," muttered Barty under his breath.
Hermione shrugged. "Whatever. Pureblood politics."
Barty glared at her. "I'm a Pureblood."
"You make a bad Pureblood," replied Hermione without heat. "You know all the words to Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly with His Song, and last time you heard the record, you cried."
"I did not!" hotly retorted Barty. "I mean, I do not. Know the lyrics, that is."
"Uh huh," replied Hermione.
"And how did this become about me?" he continued, glaring at her from beneath his brown fringe. "I thought we were trying to figure out the identity of your new tutoree."
"I know who it is," replied Hermione evenly. "Not you. It's you who is trying to figure it out."
"Well, when it puts my best friend in such a terrible mood, then, yeah, I want to know who it is," said Barty, all playfulness from his voice gone.
Hermione marvelled at his mood changes and swings, but knew that they would only get worse as he got older. It was odd seeing the behaviours and habits of her not-Professor-Moody-but-really-Barty-Crouch-the-Death-Eater in her friend.
"So. Who is it?"
Hermione sighed, and woefully, she turned her head back towards the Hufflepuff table, and then looked beyond. Looked specifically at a group of four fifth-year boys who were laughing uproariously about something or the other - at her sister, her long shiny red hair cascading down her back with her face matching the colour as she shouted angrily at the four teens.
Barty's eyes followed hers.
"Wait - which one?"
Hermione's sigh grew heavier. Out of the four boys, she could ignore the sandy blond hair of Remus Lupin, with his silvery scars on his face and general genial personality. He was smart enough to be a Prefect and didn't take Arithmancy. Peter Pettigrew, blonde and short, but lean, was not academic slouch either, but his interests lay in potions, not numbers, and he too, did not take arithmancy.
Sirius Black and James Potter, on the other hand, both did - but only one had the natural ability to continue doing well in the course while Hermione was sure the other just took it because her sister was taking it as an elective.
She explained the process of elimination to Barty, who only had two words the sum the entire situation up for her:
It happened something like this:
Hermione was forty-seven when some neo-Death Eater group somehow broke into the Ministry one random, rainy Tuesday. Hermione was not supposed to be in work. Hermione was not supposed to let her curiosity get the better of her, and quickly found herself with her best friend, Harry Potter and Head of the Auror Department, back to back, fighting.
They were in the Department of Mysteries.
Harry, being Harry, did something stupid.
His spell mixed with the spell of the neo-Death Eater, and they ricocheted off one another, hitting the wall behind Hermione.
A wall filled with jars and containers of gaseous clouds or strange swirling liquids of half-forgotten experiments. The jars broke and the contents spilled all over Hermione.
By the time she figured out what happened, she was two years old, and quickly realizing that she was being weaned off diapers.
The temper tantrum that followed was still spoken about in the Evans household with hushed, reverent tones.
It took some time, but Hermione came to the realization that she had somehow been reborn - accidentally or on purpose, who knew - as Hermione Evans. Evans, as in Petunia and Lily. As in, Harry's mother and spiteful aunt.
Potter luck, thought Hermione, darkly. She'd murder Harry once he was actually born. She'd figure out the logistics later.
In the years that followed, Hermione grew up as Petunia and Lily's younger sister, the youngest child of Leo and Rose Evans and consequently, the babied one. But, Hermione being Hermione, decided quickly that the easiest way she was going to keep her sanity in the coming years was by being precocious (understatement), and set out to master walking and talking, and more importantly, reading.
(She did, to everyone's amazement.)
From there, she made lists. Oodles of them. Lists of important events that hadn't happened yet but were politically important; lists of things she would need or wanted as she got older that were unique to her Hermioneness. And then, a List of Important Shit Not to Get Involved In.
That list consisted of the following:
- If attending Hogwarts, do not pick Gryffindor
- If attending Hogwarts, AVOID the following people: Lily Evans, James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, Severus Snape…
- DO NOT CATCH DUMBLEDORE'S ATTENTION
- Pass your NEWTs. You never did before (#goals)
Initially, not wanting to be around the familiar faces and names of her future was less to do with disrupting the time/space continuum, if that was even applicable currently, and more about not bursting into tears at the sight of her favourite Professor and his kind words, or hearing the barking laugh that never failed to make her smile or roll her eyes, equally.
If she caught Dumbledore's attention, she knew she'd be shortlisted for his Order of the Phoenix, and quite frankly, Hermione had enough of fighting. Or at least, fighting his war.
So, when it came to Hogwarts, Hermione decided her best option was to be quiet, to be plain, and to be invisible. Unfortunately, that lasted all of three seconds until a boy accidentally barrelled into her as they were getting into the boats that took the first years across the lake, and she and the boy she had been behind, were sent tumbling into the icy cold water of the Black Lake.
Pale faced and blue-lipped, the three of them shivered their way across the Lake as the caretaker, Ogg, couldn't do magic and therefore couldn't warm them up with a charm. They were met in the small alcove below the Great Hall by Professor McGonagall and (a very young) Madam Pomfrey, who fussed over her and the two boys.
The boy who knocked her over apologized profusely, almost zealously, his face an embarrassed pink. She, she knew, looked like a drowned rat, but took his apologies with kindness. The other boy, with his black hair so dark and shiny when wet it looked blue, refused his apologies.
"I'd rather be friends with the squid," the black haired boy sniffly said. "I don't care for Ministry brats."
Hermione gaped at him. The other boy gaped at him. Then, angrily, she snapped - completely forgetting her plan to be invisible - "Well, with that attitude, that's all you'll likely ever have. I'd rather be friends with a Ministry brat than an elitist toerag."
The brown-haired boy who barrelled into her turned with wide eyes, hero-worship growing. The black-haired boy, did not. "I'm not a toerag! You take that back!"
"What's a toerag?"
The innocent question from the brown-haired boy stopped Hermione and the other, and somehow - something - struck them as funny because they collapsed into giggles ahead of the Sorting, cementing a friendship.
"I'm Barty," said the brown-haired boy, shyly. "Barty Crouch, Junior."
"A Junior?" sneered the black haired boy. "Well, I'm Regulus Black."
Barty blinked at him innocently. "Don't you mean, Regulus Black the Second?"
Hermione snorted and introduced herself, "Hermione Gr-Evans. Hermione Evans."
And neither said anything about her slip. Or her last name. And that was it, at least for friends. Her fellow Ravenclaws hated how smart she was (benefits of doing the curriculum twice over and being, you know, older than them); she doubted the Gryffindors even knew who she was, connected to Lily Evans or not; and the Hufflepuffs were friendly with anyone who smiled at them. The Slytherins were aware of her, but in a vague, oh, Regulus's pet Mudblood way.
And Hermione liked it like that. She liked having four years of relative peace and quiet for her Hogwarts years. She liked having the Room of Requirements to herself, a place where she could hide away and conduct the same experiments she was working on when she died/not died, and advance magical society decades earlier than she had planned.
Until now, that was.
"Well. Fuck." indeed. There went her peace and quiet.
Note: Professor Pythas comes from Pythagoras; Professor Janulus is from Powell Janulus, a Canadian polyglot who knows 42 languages fluently.
Infrequent updates. This plot bunny wouldn't leave me alone.