Chapter Twenty-Nine: At The Beginning
Hermione regained coconsciousness the following morning and woke up to see that Ron and Harry were waiting for her. "Where am I?" she asked as she tried to sit up. "What happened?"
"You're in the infirmary," answered Ron gently. "It's been almost twelve hours since everything's happened. You want to know what's been going on or did you figure it out yourself?"
Harry gave Hermione a gentle smile, not giving her a chance to answer. "You gave us quite a scare, Hermione. We were wondering if you were ever going to wake up. And before you ask, Jared's fine. He's stable," he said.
Ginny interrupted them, "Ron, Mum and Dad are here, and so are Bill, Charlie, Fred, and George."
"What?" asked Ron as he turned. "Why? I don't believe this. I already handled it and didn't come out of it with a scratch and still they all come at once. What's up with this?" He got up and left as Harry took the chair he had just occupied to get closer to He, not giving her a chance to answerrmione.
"I know that you said Jared was fine, but where is he?" asked Hermione.
"He's still resting," answered Harry. "He's quite a fighter, but you know probably already knew that."
Hermione smiled a little. "Did I mention that I haven't eaten in hours?" she asked. "Harry, would you mind getting me something to eat?"
"Sure," said Harry as he got to his feet. "I'll be right back. I know how to get to the kitchens." He walked by all the Weasleys and went out the door. Hermione couldn't hear what they were talking about, but Ron was getting some kind of lecture from his parents. She wanted to figure out what they were talking about, but her wand was out of her reach. So, she couldn't use it to listen in on their conversation. She didn't want to summon it to her.
"Ron, I'm so glad that you're all right," said Molly as she gave him a rib crushing hug. "When I heard something happened, I felt like my heart was going to stop. Don't you ever worry me like that again."
"Now, Molly, you know that he can't keep that promise to you," said Arthur. "He's going to be an Auror. I think you handled yourself pretty well, son." He sounded very proud of him, which was something that Ron wasn't used to.
"Thanks, Dad," said Ron as he felt his cheeks burn.
Molly asked, "What about Jared? How is he? Professor Dumbledore said that he was so sick."
"He's fine now. Professor Dumbledore did what the healers couldn't do before, which is come up with a cure for him. Why don't we go and check up on him?" asked Ron. "Hermione's awake, too, but she'll want to hear how he's doing."
"Does she know?" ventured Bill curiously. Charlie and the twins had the same questioning looks on their faces. Ginny was looking at Ron expectantly. "I mean did he tell her? Or did you tell her?"
"I didn't tell her anything. I don't know if she really knows or not. If she does, then this will be a first for her. Usually, she knows things before anyone else," answered Ron. "Let's go see, Jared and ask."
Hermione watched the Weasleys go towards corner where Jared was supposedly resting, but when Ron drew the curtain, the bed was empty. "Where'd he go?" asked Ron. "Madame Pomfrey! Where is Jared?"
"Where's Jared?" she asked as she walked up to the corner. "Why he's right here." She paused when she noticed that the bed was empty and was made. "He must have snuck off when he had the chance. I should have restrained him to the bed."
"He probably would have figured out how to get out," said Hermione loudly, calling attention to herself. "But I think I know where he's gone. If I tell you, Ron will you tell me what's been going on?"
Ron looked sheepish for a moment as he thought about it and nodded, "Sure, why not? So, where'd he go?"
"The tree by the lake," answered Hermione simply. "I would have thought that you would have known. It's his favorite spot in Hogwarts. If you don't find him on the ground, he's probably on one of the branches. The rest of you can go and look for him, while Ron stays and tells me what I want to know."
"Let's go," said Fred. "I know a shortcut."
"I'm coming along. Honestly, doesn't he know that he could break his neck if he falls off that tree? He's such a hand full," said Molly. "Arthur, why don't you talk to him?"
"What makes you think he's going to listen to me? He barely listens to Ron," answered Arthur.
"Let's all go and find him and leave these two alone," said Molly. Ginny reluctantly followed the rest of the family outside.
Madame Pomfrey sensed that she should make herself busy. "If you need me, I'll be in the storage closet, checking the inventory. We've gone through a lot of supplies in the past couple of days."
Ron turned his attention to Hermione completely as soon as Madame Pomfrey was out the door. He walked back up to her bed and took the seat he had previously. He was extremely nervous as she sat up a bit more. "So, what do you want to know?" he asked, trying to get this over with as soon as possible.
"Oh, nothing much," said Hermione musingly as she looked him straight in eye. She narrowed her brown eyes. "Like when were you going to tell me that Jared was our son?"
"Yeah, that's right. I got it. It was all in front of me all along and I noticed how much he was like us. I just didn't put it together because it didn't make any sense to me. Not until he called me Mum," went on Hermione. "So, were you really just going to go on and say nothing. You could have told me!" She grabbed his arm. "Well? What do you have to say for yourself?"
"I was going to tell you," said Ron as he laughed nervously. She glared at him. "I swear! He didn't want me to say anything."
"And you went along with it?" asked Hermione as she pulled the pillow from behind her. She started to hit Ron over the head with it. "You should have told me anyway! What was your problem? How could you keep this from me?"
Ron managed to wrestle the pillow away from her and pinned her arms down on the bed. "That hurt," he told her. "I didn't want to tell you because I didn't want you freaking out. And after what you did, I was right."
"I'm only mad because you didn't tell me," said Hermione. "And what's more, you've been lying to me the whole time, and so has he. You're a bad influence on him, aren't you?"
"I'm glad that you're feeling a lot better," Ron said as he leaned in closer to her face. "I don't know what I'd do without you. You'll be giving me a lot."
"So, are you going to tell me anything else that's happened? I want to know everything from the point when you figured out who Jared really was."
"It's a long story," said Ron as he settled back. "You should get comfortable for this. Actually, Ginny was the first one to figure out who he was, then Harry, and then me…."
Jared already knew that the other Weasleys were arriving. He was pretty sure of it because he knew how the family worked. He saw them coming from the tree. He didn't do his normal climb up, but levitated upwards to his favorite branch. He was entirely surprise either when Molly glanced up at him with an exasperated expression. "Jared Ronald Weasley, come down here this instant before you fall off and break your neck!" she demanded.
"I'm thinking about it."
"JARED! Do you want me to call your father out here?"
Molly was really mad at him now. Fred and George were snickering because they couldn't laugh out loud. Arthur shook his head, while Bill and Charlie worn huge grins on his faces. Jared looked around and saw that Ron and Harry weren't there. He sighed, rolled his eyes, and jumped down, landing on his feet. He winced because the impact was harder than he normally would have expected. "'ello everyone," he greeted. He asked Molly, "Who told you my whole name?"
"I guessed," said Molly. "Are you sure you're fine? You shouldn't be up in that tree like that. You could have gotten hurt."
"I'm fine. I'm made of hardy stock," insisted Jared. "I get enough lectures at home. I don't need them here."
"We're all glad to see that you're all right," said Arthur. "We don't know everything that happened, but from what Professor Dumbledore told us you were pretty close to the brink."
"He's a miracle worker," said Jared with a smile as he stretched out his arms. "I haven't felt this good in a while. He said that I won't have to worry about taking any more potions and that's a good thing. My dad won't have to worry so much when I play Quidditch at school."
"Since you're still here talking to us, Hermione hasn't killed Ron for not telling her anything," said Charlie with a laugh.
Ginny also said, "Your scar is still there. Professor Dumbledore said it's permanent, but you shouldn't be feeling anything else from it now. It's not just him, it was Professor Snape as well."
Jared nodded and shrugged. "He finds me obnoxiously smart in class, but I should thank him for his work on it. So, where are Ron and Harry?"
"Don't know where Harry went," said Fred.
George added, "Your dad had to stay with your mum. She was the one who told us where to find you and she'd only tell us if he stayed and explained what happened. But like Charlie said, you're still here, so she done anything too permanent to him yet."
"Why don't we get you back to bed?" asked Molly. "You really are like your father. You're just trouble waiting to happen."
"Hey, you won't have to worry as much as my parents do. That's the grand part of being a grandparent," pointed out Jared. "And you didn't have to bring everyone out here with you. I would have gone back."
"I just had to make sure," said Molly.
Arthur wrapped his arm around Molly's shoulders. "Let's go back inside. It's cold out here. I'm sure that your parents are almost done talking," he urged.
"Let's go back to the tower," said Jared. "I have to start packing what I came here to do is over now. I have to get back to my own time. My parents will probably be mad at me for not listening to them, but I think I'd rather come back and stop their worrying than making it any longer than it has to be."
"When do you plan on leaving?" asked Arthur. He sounded as disappointed as the others looked. It didn't occur to anyone that Jared would be leaving soon after they had just met him.
"I'll be leaving as soon as Hermione is out of the infirmary, but don't worry. You'll be seeing me again in no time, Granddad. I'll be a lot smaller though. And I won't be talking for two years after until that, but you'll love me just the same."
"Maybe, we should enjoy those two years before you start talking," teased Ginny. Jared glared at her. "Now, if you don't mind telling us about our futures, I would be even happier."
"You haven't been as nice to me as you should be, so I'm not telling you a thing," retorted Jared. "Besides, that would be telling. Wouldn't you like to be surprise? Here's a hint for the rest of you. I'm the fifth grandchild and an only child."
"You lucky boy," said Bill. His siblings all glared at him. He laughed. "No, what I meant to say what that he's got all the attention of his parents. Not that it's a good thing. Hey, I was the one out this group to be an only child. If not for just a little bit."
"I am never really lonely," said Jared. "My cousins keep me company, but it's nice having a set of grandparents I don't have to share with anyone else. God, my dad's probably going to kill me when I get back. Of course, my mum would never let him get away with it." They stopped at the Fat Lady. "Leaping Toadstools," he said and the portrait swung open with delay. They stepped inside and since it was the middle of the day there wasn't anyone else in there. "I'll just rest for now."
"Look," cajoled Fred as he sat next to Jared. "I understand if you don't want to tell Ginny anything because she hasn't been that nice to you and all. After all, she was the one who told us who you were. It was one of the funniest things I ever saw, but how about telling me and George about us?"
"My mum told me never to buy anything from your shops," said Jared. "Because of your pranks, I got three weeks detention with Professor Potter. Of course, you put warnings on there absolving yourselves of any responsibility. But who reads those things?"
"You said shops," pointed out George. "And Professor Potter? Harry becomes a professor."
"The Defense Against the Dark Arts professor and Head of Gryffindor. He hardly lets me get away with anything. Where did Harry go?" asked Jared.
"I went to go get something for Hermione to eat, but dropped it off with her and Ron," answered Harry as he came down the stairs. "So, you decided all by yourself to check out of the infirmary?"
"Yes," said Jared. "It was boring and I hate hospitals and infirmaries."
"Your mum's a healer," pointed out Harry. He turned and greeted the Weasleys. "Hello everyone."
"I've been in and out of St. Mungo's and that infirmary for the past three years of my life. By the way, thanks Harry," said Jared. "I can always count on you."
Harry didn't express just how much Jared helped him deal with the most recent loss in his life. Perhaps, Harry had learned something from that after all. He was happy that he was able to help out even if he hadn't done the final moves. That was all Ron. For the first, Harry got to see what it was like from Ron's perspective and it wasn't a bad place to be. "So you'll be going soon," said Harry.
Jared nodded. "Everything is going to be all right."
Hermione listened as Ron explained everything from beginning to up to that moment. They were only interrupted when Harry came by with some food. He left to get out of the line of fire because Hermione looked rather mad at Ron. And Harry really didn't want to get yelled at by her either. Ron continued talking as Hermione ate some food.
"So, you could have given me better warning about someone coming after me," said Hermione as she finished eating. "You could have told me in the first place so I wouldn't have gone to that party in the second place. And now I know that you kissed me just to get me to go along with you."
"Actually, I would have kissed you anyway," said Ron with a grin. He wasn't blushing at all. "I guess we're going to have our hands full with Jared, won't we?"
"Definitely," agreed Hermione. "And I will remember this, Ron. You have a lot to do to make up for it, so don't think you're off the hook."
"I won't," groaned Ron. "Are we done here?" Hermione sat up more and leaned in and kissed him on the lips. He smiled at her again and said, "You know I could get used this. Do you think they found him?"
"Probably. They haven't been back yet, so I assume they have," answered Hermione. "I would like to talk to him later on. He was the one who gave me that last bit that I needed to figure out who he was."
"So, he called you Mum when Magus came?" asked Ron. "At least he decided on his own to tell you. You should get more rest. You can talk to him when you feel better."
"All right," agreed Hermione. Ron stood up and started to leave. She added, "Don't go too far, Ron."
"I would never be too far away from you," he told her softly as he walked out.
As soon as he was out the door, Hermione whispered to herself, "I love you, too."
Another day passed before Hermione was allowed to leave the infirmary. Madame Pomfrey was happy to report that Hermione had suffered no permanent damaged from her time in the water. She let her go with a clean bill of help and everyone was happy that she was back. There really wasn't any explanation given and the Weasleys had left before anyone had come out of class in the previous day. Jared stayed with Ginny and Harry while he waited for them to come.
"So, how are you feeling?" asked Jared. "You should be fine." Hermione gave him a hug. "I'm fine."
"I'm glad. I'm so relieved," said Hermione. "So, when are you going?"
Neville interrupted them, "You're leaving Jared?"
Jared nodded as the other people in the common room turned to look. "Yes, I'll be going soon. The semester's up. I have to go home. My parents are waiting for me."
As if on cue, Professor McGonagall walked in. "It's time for you to get going now, Jared."
"Will you guys walk me out?" asked Jared turning to Ron, Hermione, Harry, and Ginny. They nodded. Ron and Harry followed him upstairs and helped him with his trunk. He had carefully packed everything up. Hermione knew that he had her completed diary, but wasn't too upset about it. Jared had the Time Turner on him, but he had one more trick up his sleeve.
The three boys went down the stairs and the girls joined them. Professor McGonagall led them to where they had to go. Professor McGonagall stopped when they got to the Quidditch pitch. "This is a good a place as any. Thank you, Professor."
"You're welcome, Mr. Weasley," said Professor McGonagall before taking leave of them.
Jared turned his attention to them and sighed. "This isn't really good bye," he told them. "You'll be seeing me again." He smiled at them. "It might be too soon for you probably."
The first person who gave him a hug was Ginny. "You're probably right about me waiting to see what comes. After all, it's half the fun," she admitted. "You take care of yourself." She released him.
Harry gave him a hug as well. "Uncle Harry, don't despair. Things will work out. Time will come when you won't have to worry about staying alive."
"Having you here gave me that perspective, so I am thankful that you came," said Harry.
Ron was the next person that Jared turned his attention to. Ron gave embraced him and held him longer than either Harry or Ginny. He reluctantly released him. "So, you're what I have to look forward to?" asked Ron. "I guess it's not as bad as I think it will be."
"Don't worry too much about not having any money, Dad," said Jared. "I got everything I need. And you do good work and it's your job to keep people like Magus from spreading his hate. It took me a while to understand that."
Hermione was the last person he turned his attention to. She never got a chance to talk to him like she had hoped. She bit her lip as he hugged her. She took a deep breath as she hugged him back. He was near enough to her that she was able to give him a kiss on the cheek. "I can't wait for the day that I get to really met you. I guess we'll just get more time together later on," she told him.
"Before I go, I wanted to show you this," said Jared as he pulled out the picture. "That's me and you. Ron took the picture." Hermione took it in her hand and stared at it. He bit his lip when she didn't say anything for a while. She pressed her fingers to her lips and smiled. "So, what do you think?"
"You're beautiful," whispered Hermione. "Look, Ron." She showed him the picture. He grinned. "Where did you get this?"
"He put it in the diary. It's usually on his desk at work," answered Jared. He looked at Ron. "You keep four pictures on your desk. You change my picture very year, but your wedding picture, a family portrait that was taken in Egypt, and this one on there."
Hermione handed it back to him. "I wish I could keep it, but you said you needed to take everything back."
"This really is it. I think that everything happened here for a reason, but don't worry about getting into trouble with the Ministry" said Jared as he pulled out the Time Turner. "I was very careful about casting this spell. As soon as I'm gone, it will be like none of this ever happened. See you soon."
"What?" asked Ron, utterly confused.
It was too late for Jared to answer any more questions as he adjusted the Time Turner. Everything began to swirl and change around them and things were slipping backwards and forwards all at once. There were bright lights and then everything was still.
Hermione was walking along King's Cross Station with her trunk in hand. She looked around for anyone she knew. When she immediately saw the back of Ron's hair and ran, dragging her trunk to catch up with him. She was worried because she hadn't heard from Harry the whole summer. "Ron!" she called out.
He turned to look at her and gave her a big smile. She didn't know why his smile made her heart beat faster. She ran until she caught up with him. When she got to him, she noticed that he was already wearing his Prefect pin, but it was flip upside down. Ginny was standing next to him. "Hermione! It's great to see you again," she told her.
"It hasn't been that long, Ginny," pointed out Hermione. Not that long at all. "Hello, Ron."
Hermione started talking about Harry, "I wonder if Harry's all right." She gave a worried look to Ron and Ginny. "He hasn't written all summer." She stared at Ron for a moment. He noticed that she was staring at something, so he followed her gaze and saw that his pin was flipped. He tried to adjust it, but it wouldn't stay. So he had to take it and put it in his pocket.
Ginny told Hermione, "Professor Dumbledore said that he was fine. I mean that he was staying at his aunt's house. Harry's blaming himself for what happened to Sirius."
Ron and Hermione didn't say anything for a while as they stared at each other. Something about this was very familiar to them as if they had done it before. A wave of déjà vu came over them both at the same time. Ginny looked at both of them. "What's wrong with you two?"
"Nothing," said Ron immediately. "Just it feels like—"
"—we've done this before," finished Hermione for him.
Ginny shook her head. "You two are just imagining things. We all just got here. Let's go find Harry." She went off ahead of them.
Ron and Hermione looked at each other for a moment before they started towards the train. Ron's brothers had taken his trunk and Pig in his cage to the train for him, while he and Ginny went looking for Hermione. She still had one hand on her trunk and dragged it behind her as they continued walking onward. Neither of them realized that by the time they had gotten to the train, they were holding hands. A sure indication of things to come. They reluctantly let go of each other's hand as they got on the Hogwarts Express.
AN: I wanted to end the story in such a way that the next two books won't affect my story so much. This ends Temporal Flux, but I have another story already completed from here. I always meant for Jared to go back into future in such a way that it wouldn't affect the past. Anyway, thank you for all the reviews and kind words. The next story is actually linked up to this one, and it's about Percy's fate while Temporal Flux is happening. It is a darker piece and was written concurrently with this one. It will premiere soon. For right now, take a look at the preview:
Tap. Tap. Tap. The sound of incessant noise filled his ears. Clamping his hands against his ears, he started to bang his head against one of the walls. Luck for him, it was soft and insulated with rubber. His bare foot kicked against it as he tried to make the noise stop. It almost sounded like drops of water falling in a metal sink.
In his more lucid moments, he could process what was happening to him. It was the only time when he didn't feel like he was crawling out of his skin and the noise was at a bearable level. The lights would dim and he was able to see better, even if it was still a bit blurry. It was his own personal hell, not knowing where he was and why he was there. Sadly, it was of his making.
It was them. They were saying that he was crazy. He spoke of things that they claimed was impossible. He told them about how a world, no a society, separate from theirs. A world where magic existed outside of fairy tales, but in many ways wasn't too different from theirs. Men were wizards and women were witches. Pictures moved rather than capture a singular moment in time. Electricity was unusable, leaving all the modern marvels of their world lost to that society. It was the makings of a fantasy novel.
"Make it stop," he muttered to himself. "Make it stop." His voice was hoarse, if he wasn't talking in whispers he was yelling at the top of his lungs. It was then that he heard the sound of footsteps. They were deliberate without pausing. It came in fours. First for the toes, then the heels. Repeated again for the other foot. A woman was coming. He could tell from the sound. He stopped muttering to himself when he heard the sound of the little window on his door slid open. "What do you want?" he demanded in a loud voice. "What do you want from me!"
For more, look for Deconstruction to start soon.
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Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. This story belongs to me and cannot be posted anywhere else without my permission.