Believe it or not, this was originally meant to be a oneshot. But, like most plot bunnies, once it grabs hold of you, it refuses to let go until you've squeezed every drop of creative ideas out of it. So, alas, my little "oneshot" grew and grew until it obviously cannot be contained by one measly chapter.
Warning: Huge HBP spoiler.
Disclaimer: I don't own HP. I even had to borrow HBP from the library. Sad, isn't it?
A muggle by the name of Murphy once said, "Everything that can go wrong will go wrong."
Unfortunately, those words spelled doom for the 7th year Potions class.
They were working on the Memoriae potion, which was often used to retrieve memories lost due to severe trauma or the obliviate spell. It was a complicated potion, which is why Hermione was pouring all her focus and attention into the boiling cauldron in front of her.
The messy-haired boy next to her, however, was not paying attention. She could tell by the distant look in his eyes that Harry was thinking about Dumbledore again. Being in the potions classroom wasn't exactly helping, either. Snape had been their potions teacher for five years. The potions classroom was practically his trademark. It reminded them all too much of the man who murdered their beloved Headmaster.
At this stage of the potion, they were supposed to add lionfish spine. Without thinking, Harry reached for the porcupine quills instead, which wasn't supposed to be added until after the lionfish spine.
Harry's potion began to rise to the rim of the cauldron. Harry snapped out of his trance and stared at the rising potion in alarm. Almost instinctively, he backed away.
Hermione had been so focused on her own potion that she didn't even notice Harry's until she heard a hissing sound coming from Harry's cauldron. Hermione turned. Her eyes widened when she saw the foam forming on Harry's potion.
Slughorn was instantly alert. He took out his wand and raced to Harry's table. Before he could reach the table, however, Harry's potion exploded and showered its contents on the closest person: Hermione.
She screamed as the scalding hot liquid hit her. Suddenly, the room started spinning until everything becomes a blur around her. All around her, people were moving backwards at tremendous speed before they disappeared and were replaced by a completely different set of people and so on. It continued this way for a very long time. Hermione's eyes widened when she realized what was happening.
She was going back in time.
Eventually, the world around her stopped spinning. She would have tried to look around her, but Harry's scalding hot potion had burned her skin. She doubled over in pain. It felt as though someone had fired a blowtorch on her skin. She tried not to scream, but a pained whimper escaped her nonetheless.
She dimly heard heavy footsteps rushing over to her. She saw a blur of red hair and thought it was Ron. Then he stopped and waved his wand over her.
The potion lifted off her body and clothes, but that did nothing to ease her pain.
"Aguamenti," he said in a voice that was somewhat deeper than Ron's. Hermione looked up and realized that he wasn't Ron, after all, though she had no idea who he was. As soon as he uttered the spell, her body was drenched in water.
Hermione sighed. Well... that helped... a little.
"Thank you," she muttered weakly. Her skin still stung, but the water helped dull the pain a bit.
"Come, I'll take you to the hospital wing," he said. The pain had sapped her energy. She was clearly too weak to walk, so he levitated her instead.
The mediwitch at the hospital wing had given her a balm to heal her burnt skin, but she insisted that Hermione stay for at least one more day to make sure that the potion that spilled on her didn't have any other side effects.
She still did not know the name of the wizard who had helped her earlier. Was he a teacher? She didn't recognize him at all. He seemed to be about the same age as Remus and Sirius. Unlike those two marauders, however, this unknown wizard had no worry lines on his face, which gave him a younger, fresher appearance than Remus and Sirius.
She remembered what happened after Harry's potion had splashed all over her. She had seen time going backwards. How far back had she gone?
She looked at the wizard who was now talking to the mediwitch in low voices. She couldn't hear what they were talking about, so she could only guess that they must have been talking about her, since the mediwitch kept glancing towards Hermione as they spoke.
The unknown wizard had wavy red hair that fell to his shoulders. Was he related to Ron in some way? Perhaps he was an ancestor of the Weasleys. He certainly had the hair. Something about his demeanor reminded her of Charlie. Bold, confident, and probably adventurous too, judging by the ruby encrusted sword that hung on his belt.
Wait a minute. Hermione frowned. I know that sword. That's Godric Gryffindor's sword! Hermione's eyes widened. She looked at him in surprise. Godric Gryffindor? No, that's impossible! No one has been able to travel that far back in time. He couldn't possibly be Godric Gryffindor... could he?
Once their conversation was over, the wizard turned to Hermione and went over to her bedside while the mediwitch went back to her office.
"How is the pain?" He asked with a concerned look in his eyes.
"It's gone now," Hermione replied. She couldn't help but feel nervous around him. Could he really be Godric Gryffindor?
"Good, good. I am glad to hear it," he smiled. "Now, I don't believe we've been introduced. I am Godric Gryffindor."
Hermione froze. "I'm sorry, did you say... Godric Gryffindor?" Hermione hoped she had misheard him.
Much to Hermione's dismay, he nodded. It was then that he spotted the Gryffindor crest on her uniform and frowned. "You wear our school uniform and bear the crest of my house. Strange... I know every student in my house. Yet I am certain that I have never seen you before, Miss...?"
"Hermione. Hermione Granger," Hermione replied. She clutched her bedsheets nervously under his scrutiny and explained, "I am a student in your house, Sir... but... not for another thousand years. That is, if my suspicions are correct... Sir."
Godric frowned. He looked at her suspiciously and said, "And what suspicions would that be?"
"Sir, before I answer, could you please tell me what year it is? And what date?" Hermione asked.
"Tis the 21st of May, 992 in the year of our Lord," he replied.
Hermione's face fell. "992...? Then it's true..." Hermione buried her face in her hands. A thousand years! How was she going to get back?
Godric looked at her suspiciously. He was anxious to find out more, but the lady was clearly distraught. He decided to wait.
Finally, Hermione looked up. "I'm sorry, Sir. It's just... well... I guess I'd better start from the beginning." She began to tell him about her disastrous potions class and how she ended up here.
"1997, you say?" Godric frowned. He began to pace in front of her bed. "It is widely believed that time travel is impossible. It has never been attempted before."
"Muggles believe flying is impossible," Hermione said matter-of-factly. "We are witches and wizards, after all."
Godric stopped. He looked at Hermione... then laughed and shook his head. "You certainly have a point there, Miss Granger." He then straightened himself up. "As tempting as it is to use veritaserum on you, I shall take your word for it, Miss Granger. I must admit, it would explain how you managed to suddenly appear in a castle that had a strong anti-apparation charm on it."
Hermione sighed in relief.
"Well, then, Miss Granger, you are welcome to stay here for as long as you wish," Godric said.
"Thank you, Sir. Although... to be perfectly honest, I think I might have to stay here for a long time," Hermione said. Seeing him frown, she quickly explained, "You see... I don't know how to get back."
"Oh." Godric's eyes widened in understanding. "Well, in that case, we shall endeavor to help you find your way back to your time."
"Thank you, Sir," Hermione smiled gratefully.
"In the mean time, do get some rest," Godric said.
Hermione was allowed out of the hospital wing after that. Godric had introduced her to the other Founders and told them her story. Naturally, Salazar Slytherin was suspicious of her, but he was outvoted by Rowena and Helga, who insisted that they let Hermione stay at Hogwarts for as long as she required.
Thankfully, the school year had just ended. Hermione would have three student-free months here at Hogwarts. So the Founders did not need to come up with a cover story for Hermione... yet. She hoped they would not need to. She had no plans on staying here for any longer than three months.
Since there were no students here at the moment, Godric let her stay in Gryffindor tower for the summer.
For the first couple of weeks, Hermione kept to herself. She was deathly afraid of changing the future. She would spend her days researching in the library for ways to go home. She'd spent days mulling over what went wrong with Harry's potion and if she can reverse the effect. But the potions books found in the library at this century was not as complete nor as advanced as the ones found in her time. It frustrated her to no end.
Tonight, like many other nights, Hermione sat in the Gryffindor common room with a potions book laid open in front of her. She sighed as the passage she read led her to yet another dead end.
She closed her book and stared into the fireplace. It wasn't a cold night, but she lit it anyway. For some reason, the fire made the common room feel less... empty. She was so accustomed to a common room filled with students. She looked to her right. Right below the arched window was a table and two chairs. She could almost see Ron and Harry playing wizard's chess on that table, just as they had done countless times before. Then, her gaze swept over to the portrait hole. Almost instantly, she saw a vision of Neville stumbling over the portrait hole.
Hermione sighed. She missed her friends. She missed her family. But most of all... she missed human contact.
Suddenly, the portrait hole swung open.
Hermione's eyes widened. Who could it be? There were no other students except her in the castle. And no one from the staff had ever visited her in the common room. Not even Godric Gryffindor himself.
She relaxed when she saw Godric step through the portrait hole.
Godric let the portrait swing close behind him as he stood there. His eyes drifted over to the potions book that lie on Hermione's lap. He looked at Hermione, then sighed and shook his head.
"You were missed at dinner," he said.
"Dinner...?" Hermione looked at him blankly. She glanced towards the window. Her eyes widened when she realized that it was already late in the evening. "Oh! I didn't realize it was this late, already!"
"I thought as much." Godric smiled while glancing at the potions book in her lap. Then, he walked over to where she was sitting and took one of the nearby chairs. He leaned forward on his knees, clasped his hands, and looked at her thoughtfully.
"Miss Granger... I didn't come here to remind you of dinner," Godric said.
Hermione frowned. She looked at Godric expectantly.
Godric sighed. He looked at her. "You've been here two weeks, Miss Granger. Yet we've hardly ever seen you, much less talk to you. I was beginning to think that perhaps you were avoiding us on purpose."
Guilt washed over her. Hermione looked away.
Godric sighed again and leaned back on his chair. "You cannot hide forever. 'Tis not healthy."
"I know that," Hermione said without looking. "It's just that..."
"You are afraid," Godric said. For it was obvious to most people. Why would anyone openly avoid people unless they're afraid of something?
Hermione swallowed and nodded. She felt embarrassed at having to admit it, especially to the Founder of her house, who valued courage in all his students.
"What are you afraid of, Miss Granger?" Godric frowned.
Hermione was silent for awhile. She didn't feel comfortable sharing her thoughts with a man she barely even knew, even if he was Godric Gryffindor. But he did help her. At the very least, he deserved some kind of explanation as to why she was avoiding him.
Hermione sighed, then finally answered, "I'm just afraid that... if I do something... even if it's just a small thing, I might change the future."
Godric's eyes softened. Finally, he understood. He leaned forward and looked at her intently. "Miss Granger, do you honestly think that the future is in your hands... and yours alone?"
Hermione blinked. "No, of course not! But that doesn't mean my actions can't change the future!"
"Perhaps," Godric nodded in agreement. "But perhaps it was meant to be changed."
Stunned, Hermione looked at him. She never thought of it that way. She had thought that this whole thing was nothing but an accident. Hermione sighed.
"Then again," Godric added, "Perhaps you were meant to be a part of the past in the first place."
Hermione blinked. She frowned at him. "You mean, I'm part of history?"
"You are already a part of history, Miss Granger, whether you like it or not," Godric said. He took a deep breath, then continued, "All I wanted to say is, you cannot let your fear prevent you from living. You are human. You need more than just books and solitude. You cannot go on like this forever. Stop trying to control the future. You are not God. Tis not your job, Miss Granger."
That silenced her... but not before a stray thought entered her mind. She looked at Godric and said, "But... what if... I make a mistake and change the future for the worst? What if my friends were never born because of something I did here?"
"Do you honestly think that God has so little control over the future that He couldn't fix a simple little mistake made by one measly human being?" Godric raised his eyebrow.
That silenced her.
Godric rose to his feet and looked at her with kind eyes. "Tomorrow, I would like to see you out and about, Miss Granger. Or, better yet," Godric's eyes lit up as an idea struck him, "How about... I take you to a muggle town tomorrow? I doubt you'd seen what muggle towns were like in the tenth century, have you?"
That did it. Hermione smiled and gave in. She had always been fascinated with history. And medieval England was no exception.
"Well, if you insist," Hermione said with a grin.
"Oh, I insist," Godric smiled. "Tomorrow. We shall leave after lunch."
Hermione couldn't wait.
To be continued...