Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter nor any of JK Rowling's wonderful characters. I am merely borrowing them.
Welcome to my own little magical world...
It had been one month.
Well… one month, two days, 17 hours and 36 minutes, if she was going to be precise, and she always was.
One month, two days, 17 hours and 36 minutes since Hermione Granger had discovered herself laying in the middle of the Hogwarts quidditch pitch in a time completely foreign to her.
And it had been one month, two days, 17 hours and 32 minutes since she'd fallen head over heels in love with James Potter.
It was wrong.
No... wrong wasn't nearly strong enough to emphasize what this was. It was immoral, forbidden, dishonest… and so, so right. The Marauders, no doubt out of the castle on one of their many adventures, had discovered her lying weakly on the quidditch field.
Hermione's gaze had immediately fallen upon the young man who so resembled her best friend, her best friend for whom she'd been nursing an unrequited crush for the past six years. But this man… this man who looked so like Harry yet so different, ignited a roaring flame within her that put to shame the mere burning embers of her feelings for the boy that would be his son.
So here we find our heroine, curled up in a fireside armchair in the Gryffindor common room.
At first glance one would surmise that she was intently reading a rather large, leather-bound book but upon further review, one might notice that her eyes were, in fact, focused just slightly above the pages of the over-sized copy of A Brief History of Time Travel and were quite fixed on one particular point rather than scanning the printed words.
And if one were truly observant, they would detect the suggestion of jealousy hidden behind the feigned calm exterior she tried so hard to maintain. Because sitting across the common room, at that very moment was James Potter. Sitting, laughing and flirting with Lily Evans.
Oh, how she wished she hated Lily. She wanted to despise her, to wish her harm, to hope for cruel and unusual punishment to befall her… but it was impossible. For Lily Evans was sainthood personified; a walking, breathing angel who, not only, could do no wrong but was painfully and explicitly beautiful.
And at this very moment, Lily was making James laugh, a sound which echoed off the walls and straight through Hermione's heart like a dagger and she sighed. She'd made him laugh.
Hermione never made anyone laugh… true, she could recite Hogwarts: A History verbatim… but jokes? Wit? No. That wasn't Hermione.
She tore her eyes away from the scene playing out across the fire-lit room and back to the book propped open against her knees. Dumbledore was in the process of searching for a way to return Hermione to her own time and had asked that she conduct research in between classes, as well. In all honesty, she'd barely given her research a moment's notice. It was most unlike her but the thought of returning to a time in which James was dead, well… it was just too much to bear.
Risking another glance across the room, she was startled when James' eyes suddenly met hers. Unable to look away, her auditory senses told her that the room had emptied while she'd been lost in reverie. She frantically attempted to form a smile but found herself incapable of doing anything but gaping at the tall, athletic Gryffindor.
He looked at her curiously, as if considering whether or not to sit down to join her by the fire, and began to walk towards her when he stopped mid-step, provided a polite smile and headed up to the dormitories. One would require canine-like senses to have heard James mutter to himself something to effect of "stupid… just say hello… idiot Prongs" on his way up the stairs.
Coincidentally, these mutterings were indeed overheard by the canine-like senses of a large, black dog who until a moment before had been preparing to bound down to the common room to playfully attack his friend and fellow-animagus. Instead, he moved quickly into the shadows just in time to avoid being spotted by James who had paused at the top of the stairs.
Hermione, still gaping at the vacant space where James Potter had been standing only seconds before, closed the forgotten book in front of her. A tingling feeling at the back of her neck made her rise from the chair and turn quickly as her eyes fell, yet again, into those of James Potter. He stood at the top of the staircase gazing down at her.
This time, Hermione's brain did not fail to signal her mouth to smile up at him… they held one another's gaze, tentative smiles upon both their faces. And as quickly as it began, it ended and somehow, over the pounding in her ears that strangely resembled a heartbeat, Hermione could hear James close the dormitory door behind him.
At that moment, twenty-two years in the future, Harry Potter felt a horrible pang in his chest…