Hermione sat in a state of shock, watching Dumbledore pace throughout his office. 'He died.' Hermione's thoughts repeated over and over. 'Harry lost.' The Last Battle had just ended. The only survivors of the light were Hermione and her Headmaster. The rest of the Order, Harry, Ron… they had all died. As Hermione reflected over the past week, her heart turned stone cold.
"What can we do?" she asked Dumbledore, voice emotionless.
"Now, Miss Granger. You know of the prophesy, yes?" The bright young witch across from him nodded. Harry had explained it to them in the beginning of their 6th year. A year ago today. But now everything was different. "Well, Miss Granger, I have a theory."
Hermione looked up, not daring to hope-
"If someone went back in time, they would be able to kill Voldemort. Before the prophesy was made," Dumbledore clarified solmnely. He had turned his back to her and was now rummaging through a desk drawer. Hermione's breath caught in her throat. But then she realized the only fault in the plan.
"But Professor, we would already know if someone had changed this." Dumbledore turned to face her.
"Quite right. Unless, Miss Granger, they were using this." Dumbledore said, holding out a small necklace. Its only decoration was a small golden Phoenix. On closer inspection, Hermione noticed a ruby hourglass in the center of the mythical bird.
"This," Dumbledore continued, dangling the chain over the desk, is a Phoenix Past Changer." At Hermione's questioning and frustrated look, Dumbledore realized that the girl was racking her mind to see if she had heard of it before. Dumbledore then continued, "The person who uses this will alter the future so extremely and easily, that this future will be but a memory. An exclusive memory, only for the one who uses it."
"What's the catch?" The words were out of her mouth before Hermione could stop them.
Dumbledore sighed, "You can never return to the first future," he said. "There is only one of these and it will dissolve after the first use. It is a terrible sacrifice."
"Unless," Hermione whispered, "you have nothing left to live for."
Dumbledore nodded resignedly, "This is not something I would ask lightly-"
"I will." Hermione said. Dumbledore understood her pain. Unless the young teen took up this mission, the world would be doomed to evil.
"You should journey to when Tom Riddle was a child. You can destroy the evil before it begun. I am sorry, but if anything goes wrong, you are only permitted to save important people, or else the cosmos could be realigned." Dumbledore was silent for a moment. "Six turns should do it. The Phoenix works in decades."
Hermione picked up the small necklace. She spun the charm once, twice, three- Suddenly Voldemort himself burst into the room, his snake-like eyes flashing dangerously. "At last! Dumbledore is mine!" Hermione dropped the necklace and stood aghast, watching as Dumbledore was struck down by a flash of green light. As Death Eaters swarmed into the Headmasters office, Hermione felt the curious sensation of going back in time and suddenly realized that she wasn't going far enough back.