Disclaimer: I'm not JKR. I am, however, grateful that she lets us muck about in her Potterverse as long as we're not trying to cash in.
A/N: Thank you to Moaning Myrtle, the alpha beta!Chapter 1
Hermione dragged herself and her books toward Gryffindor Tower and wished blearily that she had more time. She couldn't help but see the humor in that, of course -- she had plenty of time, hours literally at her fingertips, for all the good it did her.
The remarkable necklace bounced slightly against her chest as she walked (alone, since Harry and the Prat had decided to ignore two years of friendship over a stupid probably-not-dead-anyway rat). She shook her head to remove irritating thoughts of thoughtless boys and returned to her dilemma: more homework than any other student in the school. Professor McGonagall gave her the Time-Turner that made possible a schedule with 10 classes but insisted that time be turned for those classes and nothing else.
"Do please be careful," the deputy headmistress had added, her expression equal parts stern and pleased. "You are the first third-year in a generation to be allowed this benefit. I trust you will not abuse it."
"I won't let you down, Professor," Hermione answered swiftly.
But she hadn't any idea how exhausting this would be. At some point in recent weeks she began to think less about the importance of not letting Professor McGonagall down and more about the importance of not ending up in the infirmary. Or St. Mungo's, forever muttering about 12 inches on the use of fluxweed and when to harvest it. She giggled, then clapped her hand over her mouth. Wasn't laughing at one's own jokes the first sign of insanity?
"Or was that talking to oneself?" she asked aloud, and then giggled again.
That's it, she thought, this is the limit. She had four papers due this week -- this week! Never before had she left papers to the last minute like this -- not to mention three tests looming and five chapters in Moste Potente Potions that she could not put off reading any longer. The assignments had been piling up even before she spent all weekend finishing the research for Buckbeak's defense (all by herself, naturally), and now she was well and truly stuck. Staying up late would do no good this time; she only got a few hours' sleep last night.
She was strongly tempted to settle herself in her dorm room and flip the Time-Turner back an hour. She felt only slightly guilty that it wasn't her conscience stopping her, it was the thought that Lavender or Parvati might walk in and put two and two together, having just seen her eating dinner at the end of the Gryffindor table with a book on magical creatures propped up against the pumpkin juice pitcher. (They might seem silly but she doubted they were as clueless as those boys she had thought were her friends. True, the Prat had asked her how she was taking so many classes at once, but honestly! How else did he think it was possible?)
In any case, she didn't care to have multiple versions of Hermione Granger strewn about Hogwarts; she'd want to stick together so she could keep an eye on herself.
The empty Charms classroom came into view just as the idea took hold.
"All right," Hermione said, sitting at one of the desks after casting the strongest locking spell she knew on the door and a decent silencing spell on the room. "I can do a couple hours' worth of homework here before curfew, then go back and work on another assignment while my first self is reading for Potions. But what would happen when the time is up for both of us? First self would turn into second self and go backwards . . . oh that's asking for trouble. No, I think I'd better leave more time in between. So perhaps I could come back here tomorrow after dinner and join myself tonight? I'm fairly sure these basic Time-Turner models have at least a month in them either way. Right, that would probably work."
"It would definitely work," said her voice from 10 feet away.
Hermione managed to hide her shock at unexpectedly seeing herself sitting demurely at another desk.
"Hey, shouldn't I be the one going back?" she asked her doppelganger with a touch of asperity. "This was my idea."
"I am you," the other Hermione answered, grinning. "So it was my idea too."
"Fine," original Hermione conceded. "Well, we're wasting time that could be used on homework."
"I already took care of Moste Potente Potions -- or, rather, you will, so get to it," said the other girl, taking a quill out of her bookbag. "I'll handle Arithmancy."
"Bossy," muttered Hermione, but she was pleased that a plan conjured up in desperation had brought her help.
At that moment two more Hermiones popped into the room, and she felt a bit less sanguine.
"What are you doing here?" she asked sharply after a long moment of silence. "Two of me is enough, thanks."
"You think so today, but by Tuesday you'll change your mind," said one of the newcomers.
"After all, you have a ton of homework this week," the other agreed.
"I suppose," Hermione said doubtfully. "How--"
But her question was interrupted by a pop, quickly followed by two more.
"Oh for the love of Merlin," she exclaimed, putting her head in her hands. "What have I gotten myself into? Should I expect any more of me?"
"I can't stand it," she said flatly, keeping her face covered.
"Sorry," said the seventh future Hermione. "I think I'm it. I promised myself that this would be the last time."
"Yes, well," said Hermione, who was beginning to wish she had just gone to bed, "why don't you lot each cast another locking spell on the door for good measure while I make a schedule so I can complete the circuit when I'm you."
She pulled out a piece of parchment and recorded when they had all left to join her at (give or take a few minutes) 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. They hadn't traveled far -- the final one came from the following Sunday.
"With the powers invested in me as the original Hermione, I hereby decree that you will all be known by the day of the week from whence you came," she intoned, provoking several groans.
"That's progressively less amusing the more times you hear it," Saturday Hermione stage-whispered to Sunday.
"I know it might seem that we have all the time in the world, but could we perhaps take care of our raison d'etre?" shot back Monday Hermione, who felt the need to defend her 24-hour-ago self, having been her recently.
"Am I really that annoying?" muttered Friday Hermione. "I spent a summer in France, how impressive."
"Stop arguing with -- erm -- you!" Hermione jumped in, feeling a headache coming on. "Please, just . . . pick a subject. There's eight of us and eight assignments, so write down which you'll take next to your date on this parchment and get on with it."
"Wait a minute -- what do you take you for?" said Wednesday Hermione, grinning at her own joke. "All those assignments are due this week, which would mean the later versions of us would have to skive off the first time around. If I know me, and I do, I wouldn't dream of going to class with unfinished homework even if it would work out in the end."
"That's right!" Hermione said accusingly to Thursday through Sunday. "You've clearly finished these assignments already, so what are you doing here?"
"This is such a convenient time to work," Saturday said sheepishly. "I wanted to get a head start on next week."
"Well, we've already wasted 10 minutes," Hermione sighed, picking up her Potions book. "Just write down whatever you personally will handle so I know which day to do them."
Two hours later she finished the final chapter for Potions, stretched in her seat and looked around the room at seven bushy-haired girls studiously writing and reading. She felt better. The panic rising earlier as the situation took on shades of the Sorcerer's Apprentice had been replaced with relief: Her homework problem was now well in hand and she could sleep soundly tonight. It was a bit embarrassing to realize how easily she could bicker with herself, but at least she could trust these slightly older Hermiones to be excellent study partners.
Good plan, she thought with a smile.
Three seconds later, a lock clicked, the classroom door flew open with a crash and she stared, horrified, at Professor Snape.