Out of Time
By Rurouni Star


"A lifetime is more than sufficiently long for people to get what there is of it wrong."


Forbidden, what she was about to do.

But the headmaster wasn't there to stop her; he would never be there again, to lend her his wisdom or his lemon drops or his understanding talks—even if she'd for some reason wanted them. Even if what she was doing was all a useless gesture—one that would destroy her soul, perhaps…

It didn't matter, now.

"Sorry," she said, with an empty shrug. She was talking to no one in particular, and, in particular, to one man. He had been dead for an awfully long time now, but she knew he wouldn't have wanted her to risk herself like this—so she apologized.

How many turns this time? Ah, she'd figured it out, hadn't she? One, two, three, four, fiveover and over and over again—

The earth blurred.

Time moved.


Hermione woke up with a gasp, sweating and clutching at her chestfeeling, for all the world, like she had just made an awful kind of decision. She knew, though, that couldn't be true. She'd just arrived at Hogwarts a few days ago, and classes had started with such a bang that she hadn't had time to make any life-changing decisions.

The details of the dream had faded from her mind, and now they fled it completely as she realized where she was.

"No!" she whispered.

Hermione was in Defense Against the Dark Arts, sleeping on the desk she'd been at, her notes unfinished.

Tears threatened to overcome her, and she covered her mouth with her hand. No, no, no, this was impossible, she'd been concentrating so hard—

"Ah, Miss Granger? I'm sorry, I had thought it would be best to let you sleep." Her teacher's kind voice carried down to her from the stairs that led into his office. He strolled over to her and put a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Don't worry, McGonagall informed me of your special… ah… circumstances. And while the specific instructions do say it's for use only to get to classes…"

Hermione looked up, taking strength from his hand to keep her eyes from watering. His own blue eyes were twinkling mischievously in a way no other professor's ever had. "You are trying to get to your class, are you not?"

Hermione nearly sagged in relief. "Oh. Oh yes, I suppose I am."

Professor Lupin winked at her. "I certainly won't tell." He then pointed at her sheet of notes with his wand, muttered an incantation, and watched as the paper filled with words.

Hermione stared at him. She'd never heard of a spell that would transcribe words straight from your head—

"Off with you," Lupin said then, straightening and brushing off his well-worn robes. "The next class is due in a few minutes. You'd best be out by then." He said it with a stern voice, but she noticed that the twinkle of amusement was still there. "About three hours should do," he added.

As she fumbled with the timeturner, Hermione decided that she liked this teacher.