A/N: Okay, I caved, I wasn't going to write three fan fics at once, but yet here I am typing up the first chapter of a new fic. This is Hermione/Tom Riddle fic, and my first pathetic excuse for a time turner romance tale. Don't flame about this coupling, I felt like writing one. The actual romance part may take a while, but from the people who have read it so far, (Hey Perry!) or at least parts of it, it is worth the wait. Tom may be a little out of character, but that's just because we don't see much of his actual personality when he's alone.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter (at least not in reality.)
Chapter 1: Start Over
Harry was gone. Ron was gone. Ginny was gone. Her parents were gone. Most of the Order was gone. Her life was gone. Amazingly enough, after the final battle Hogwarts seemed normal. She was the only living thing in it, but it remained looking like it did when she had first entered it seven years ago. Every portrait hung on its hook, every door still nailed to its hinges, every blanket tucked into each bed. It felt undeniably wrong, but everything was in the right place.
"You must change this, Miss Granger," Dumbledore's portrait told her. "You must start from the beginning." The tired and injured girl stood in front of the painting, saddened and pained beyond believe. "Things can not stay this way." The girl didn't answer. Dumbledore pushed his glasses up his long nose, and surveyed the shell of a person standing before him. "Please Hermione, prevent this from happening."
"How?" the girl whispered, pain, grief, and loss mixed in her voice.
"Young Tom Riddle needs to find love. I ask you to go back to when he was your age and give that to him." Normally Hermione would have snorted in outrage, but she didn't have the energy. He continued, "I understand one can't force one's self to fall in love, and you may be repulsed when you see him, but you need to make him fall for you. You can not hold a grudge."
"Not hold a grudge? That thing just killed my life away! Corpses litter the school grounds! How can I fall in love with him?" She kicked the stonewall below his portrait. He sat in his golden armchair and waited for her to calm down.
"I understand completely, but you must do this, you alone can do this. Mr. Riddle was attracted to knowledge and organization, as well as power, Ms. Granger. This is your job, you must save innocent lives." Hermione sunk onto the floor, not bothering to massage her throbbing foot, since she was bleeding, bruised and aching in so many other places. "My time turner is in my desk drawer if I remember correctly. I believe you know how to use it."
"How do you know this will work, that he'll even be attracted to me?" she asked quietly.
"I just know." Slowly, the battered figure got to her feet and staggered across the room. Indeed, a small time turner was nestled in the otherwise empty drawer. She slid the chain around her neck, and glanced back at the painting. Its occupant nodded encouragingly, as she began to spin the small hourglass. Blurs rushed past her, and conversations she couldn't make out were talked over her, until her feet hit solid ground. Before collapsing on a soft surface, she could almost distinguish a raven-haired boy looking down at her curiously.
A/N: Okay, I want reviews and feed back people. I was really nervous about posting this, so give me your opinion. Next chapter: Tom and Hermione meet.