Summery: No one knew that Dumbledore left Minerva McGonagall with something of great importance. After his death, he entrusted her with a sealed box and a letter, a letter that had been in his possession for quite some time, a letter that he had never opened, a letter that was addressed to her and her alone. It was a letter that Minerva McGonagall has read several times since procuring it. Now, on May 2, 1998, the night of the Battle of Hogwarts, McGonagall acts upon the mysterious orders given to her in that letter and unknowingly sets events into action that could change the future of the Wizarding World forever.
Notes: This is my first attempt at writing a time meddling fic and I only hope that I can pull it off. Ignores the Deathly Hallows story arc but is mostly canon. Also, for those of you who watch Doctor Who and Torchwood, you may recognize some of themes that make up the plot. I basically came up with this idea after watching Torchwood, series two, episode three, "To The Last Man." So anyway, here we go and I hope it's not rubbish. Story begins during/right after Ron and Hermione's kiss, (Chapter 31, The Battle of Hogwarts, page 625 in the American hardcover).
Pairings: Harry/Ginny (implied), Ron/Hermione (implied), Hermione/Tom Riddle
Disclaimer: Harry Potter is owned by J.K. Rowling and the WB and it affiliates. The concepts of time travel belong to the BBC through Torchwood and Doctor Who. No infringement is intended.
Chapter 1: Out of Time:
2 May, 1998 (12:57 a.m.)
Minerva McGonagall, Transfiguration professor, Head of Gryffindor House and Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was running out of time. The battle was blustering on around her and she desperately needed to duck away. She fired another skilled curse at an oncoming Death Eater and affectively took him out, giving her the very second she needed to carry out her duties. She vanished into a classroom on her left and hastily rummaged through her dressing gown pockets. Her hand brushed the small box that she had kept on her person every since it had come into her possession in June of 1997. It was one of only two things that Dumbledore had left her. That box and a letter which had been addressed to her in a hand she had not recognized. The letter she had read countless times before and she pulled it out along with the box.
It was a small box, made out of a smooth dark wood that had been magically sealed and which no curse or charm had been able to open. She had tired. She placed the box upon the desk at the front of the room and pulled out the worn parchment that had complemented it. The paper was smooth and tattered as a result of having been read so many times. She read it again, wanting to make absolutely sure that she was about to do the thing perfectly.
This task has been entrusted to you upon the knowledge that Albus Dumbledore will be dead by the time you receive this letter. The box that accompanies this letter has been sealed until the time it is needed. When that time comes, the seal will break and you will be able to carry out the instructions that I have left for you.
McGonagall ceased reading as the box on the table in front of her gave a little shudder. She watched with anticipation as the top of the box, which until that point had remained unopened, slid itself off and a shining golden mist evaporated into the air revealing in its wake a small, round stone the size of a pearl. McGonagall staved off her wonder and hastily read through the rest of the letter.
When the time comes and the box opens, the object enclosed will activate. At exactly 1:00 a.m., banish it and the magic within will do the rest. It is imperative that you follow these instruction to the very letter. The fate of Hogwarts and the Wizarding World rests, partially, in your hands. Fear not, if done correctly your troubles will be over.
Signed most sincerely ,
(the name of the mysterious saviour had never been legible, but smudged and blotchy, as if the writer had been crying at that point)
P.S., I'm so sorry.
McGonagall put the letter down and glanced at the clock on the wall. 12:59. She took a deep breath and aimed her wand at the small pearl-like stone, the noise of the battle ringing on around her. She glanced at the clock again and when the hands struck 1 a.m., she waved her wand and the small stone vanished from the box, but the battle still raged on.
"Never mind that, what about the Horcrux?" Harry shouted. "D'you think you could just...just hold it in until we've got the diadem?"
"Yeah...right...sorry..." said Ron, still pink in the ears over the first kiss he and Hermione had just shared.
As Harry turned toward the exit of the Room of Requirement, Hermione gave a loud, startled gasp, causing Harry to whip around, his wand at the ready. He could plainly see the explanation for her gasp floating an inch in front of them. A fine, incandescent golden mist was shifting around in the middle of the room, swirling and dancing in the air as if it were caught in a breeze. It reminded Harry very much of the substance in Dumbledore's Pensieve in that it was neither gas nor liquid. Ron gaped at it and looked at Harry, who only shrugged.
"Blimey," Ron whispered, stepping closer to Hermione as Harry came up next to them.
Harry held up his hand and stretched it toward the strange golden light but Hermione slapped it away.
"Harry, no," she said, honey-brown eyes wide, "You don't know what it is."
Harry looked at her, then back at the golden mist-light that churned in front of him. It didn't feel evil and if it were a trick of Voldemort's, his scar would surely be burning. There were no warning bells ringing in his head when he looked at the mist, only an increasing sense of benevolence.
"It doesn't feel evil," Harry said softly.
"Can't you feel it, Hermione?" Ron asked, wonder plain in his voice, "It's like...it's like we're supposed to be seeing this. I don't know why but I feel like we're supposed to...do something with this."
"I agree with Ron," Harry nodded, "I think we're meant to touch it, or something. I get this weird feeling that I've seen this before."
"I do, too," Hermione said finally, her voice soft, "But something feels...sorrowful about it...to me."
The castle around them shuddered violently with a simultaneous explosion and Hermione flinched before eying the golden mist-light again, wearily. She looked at Ron who nodded and then at Harry who seemed to be waiting for her permission before she nodded her head.
"Wait," she said, forestalling the boys from touching it, "We do it together. On three? One. Two. Three."
On three all of their hands touched the mist at the same time. It was warm and tingly to the touch. When their flesh made contact with the substance, a bright, blinding light filled the room followed by a loud rumbling sound and in an instant, it was all over. The light faded and the noise ceased and they were left blinking in the wake of the brilliance. When their eyes adjusted, they saw that they were standing in the exact same spot that they had been. It appeared as if nothing had happened at all.
"What the bloody hell was that, then?" Ron asked, looking around.
"Shush," Hermione said, "Listen. Can you hear that?"
"I don't hear anything," Harry said after a moment's silence.
"Exactly," Hermione replied, "What happened to the battle? Why can't we hear fighting anymore?"
"You don't think the Order's lost do you?" Ron asked, a panicked look in his eyes.
"They can't have done," Harry shook his head.
Ron rushed to the door.
"Where are you going?" Hermione asked, grabbing his arm.
"My whole family's out there, Hermione," Ron replied, "I need to see what's happened. I need to see if they're alright."
Ron pulled open the door and ran headlong into someone who had been standing in the corridor. Hermione rushed out after him, her wand poised and ready for an attack but upon seeing the person in the corridor, her mouth dropped open in unabashed surprise. Harry clamored after her and the shock of the sight in front of him sent him reeling backwards into the now solid stretch of wall. Ron goggled up at the man he had run into like a landed trout.
"So sorry," said the man, looking down at Ron over half-moon spectacles, "I wasn't paying attention."
A much younger Albus Dumbledore smiled kindly at Ron and offered him his hand. Ron took it, his face still shocked and Dumbledore helped him up. Hermione had replaced her wand and had taken to looking around wildly as if she could figure out what had just happened. Harry had finally recovered and stood up, gazing at Dumbledore as if he had never seen him before.
"Professor Dumbledore?" Harry asked dumbly.
"Yes?" Dumbledore smiled, "Forgive me but, who are you? I don't think I've ever seen you three here before. I've rather entertained the idea that I knew everyone at Hogwarts."
"We, er, that is, uh," Harry stuttered at a loss of what to say. He wasn't even sure what just happened, let alone how to explain it.
"Professor," Hermione asked, "Do you mind telling us...what the year is?"
Dumbledore's blue eyes twinkled behind his glasses, "And you're not even the one who suffered the bump on the head. But to answer your question, it is 1941. The first of September, to be thorough."
Harry, Ron and Hermione all exchanged wide-eyed looks. Dumbledore watched the whole exchange in an amused fashion.
"I know who you must be," Dumbledore said quite loudly, causing the three to jump, "You must be those exchange students from the home study courses!"
"Right!" Harry said, happy to go along with the explanation, "Right. We are them."
Hermione shot Harry a look and he gave her a half-shrug.
"The other students haven't arrived yet," Dumbledore replied, starting down the hallway in the direction of the Headmaster's office, "We didn't know whether or not you would be arriving via the train or a more private manner, though I must confess my surprise of coming across you in the seventh floor corridor."
"We were looking for the Headmaster's office, sir," Hermione said, inventing wildly, "We got lost."
"An easy feat for new students to the school," Dumbledore replied, "I will take you to the Headmaster's office where you will be sorted into your houses. They are Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin."
The three friends followed behind their ex-Headmaster in stunned silence while sneaking covert glances at one another. Dumbledore stopped in front of the stone gargoyle that was the entrance to the Headmaster's office and spoke the password. They joined him on the revolving spiral staircase and waited for the oak door to open. Dumbledore led them in and they stood in front of the orderly desk, the Sorting Hat siting on the shelf behind it. Harry noted that the windows that, in Dumbledore's time as Headmaster were never concealed, had curtains drawn. The office was also much less cluttered now than it had been in Harry's own era, as there were no tables supporting Dumbledore's collection of silvery objects.
"Wait here and I will fetch Headmaster Dippet," Dumbledore said and with a wave of his wand, conjured three chairs for them to sit on.
Dumbledore disappeared from the room and, when they were sure that he was gone, they erupted into whispered chatter.
"What the hell is going on?" Ron exploded quietly.
"I dunno," Harry replied, "But it sure is weird to see Dumbledore again..."
"Harry," Hermione whispered, "It was that mist! I know it is! I told you there was something wrong with it."
"Yeah well, a load of good that does us," Harry said, "I could swear that it wouldn't do any harm."
"We were all prepared to think that," Ron said, "But now it's taken us back in time! Bloody hell, we're back in 1941."
"Why would it bring us back to 1941?" Hermione asked, "What's the point?"
"Maybe we're supposed to do something," Harry suggested, "You know, change something?"
"We can't," Hermione snapped, "Meddling with time is strictly forbidden. Simply by being here, now, might have messed up a lot of things in our own time. It's unnatural and wrong!"
"Well there's nothing we can do about it now," Harry sighed, "We're in the past and we don't know how to get back."
"And what was the idea, telling Dumbledore that we're exchange students?" Ron asked, "What if the real people show up?"
"It seemed like a good idea at the time," Harry replied, "And I didn't see you coming up with an explanation."
Ron looked bemused and shut his mouth.
"Harry, what are we going to do?" Hermione asked, "We can't stay here."
"We have to," Harry replied, "We don't have any other choice at the moment."
Just then, they saw Dumbledore enter the room followed by a feeble and somewhat balding wizard that could only be Headmaster Dippet. The Headmaster wandered over to the chair behind the desk and sat down. There was a tidy stack of papers off to the left and he took one from the top and looked at it and then looked at the three new students.
"Hermione Granger," Headmaster Dippet asked, his voice soft but firm.
Hermione looked startled but managed to speak, "Yes, sir?"
"It says here that you will be entering into your fifth year, equivalent, is that correct?" Headmaster Dippet asked, gazing at her with dark eyes.
"Er," Hermione looked at Harry who's head sort of spasmed in nod, "Yes, sir."
"Dumbledore will place the Sorting Hat on your head and you will be placed into one of our four houses," Headmaster Dippet began.
"I've already taken the liberty to inform them about the school's operations, Headmaster," Dumbledore smiled.
"Yes, very good," Dippet replied, "Proceed then."
"You just need to relax, Miss Granger," Dumbledore smiled kindly at her and she nodded.
He placed the Sorting Hat on Hermione's head and it pronounced her Gryffindor again.
"Ronald Waz..." Headmaster Dippet squinted at the paper as if he were not sure that he was reading it correctly, "Waz...Wazlib?"
Harry had to nudge Ron in the side before he said, "Yeah, that's me, sorry."
"What kind of name is Wazlib?" Dippet asked.
"Er, it's German?" Ron suggested feebly and Hermione gave him wide eyes before Ron cottoned on, "Er...ages ago, German...way back, relative...German...Irish decent too, my family. Most recently Irish. That explains the ginger, you know?"
Headmaster Dippet was giving Ron a peculiar look and he sunk into his chair a little lower.
"Okay," Dippet replied, "Dumbledore."
Dumbledore put the hat on him and he, too, became a Gryffindor once more.
"And you must be Harry Evans," Dippet said.
"Uh," Harry stuttered in shock of hearing his mother's maiden name, "Right."
Dumbledore placed the hat on Harry's head and Harry, confident that he would be a Gryffindor again like his friends, was stunned to the point of disappointment when the hat pronounced him a Slytherin. Dumbledore placed the Sorting Hat back on its shelf and Hermione and Ron looked at him with mingled looks of surprise and sympathy.
"Right," Dippet said, "Now that that's taken care of, Miss Granger, it says here that you have very accomplished grades. I receive an owl last night that the Gyffindor student that I had selected to become a Prefect is violently ill with spattergroit and cannot attend school until he is better. So, in light of your outstanding academic achievement, would you like to fill the position as Prefect?"
"Alright," Hermione replied less that enthusiastically.
"Very good," Dippet handed her a Prefect badge and stood, "Professor Dumbledore will show you to the Great Hall where you will wait until the rest of the student arrive, which should be any moment now. That being said, enjoy your time at Hogwarts."
Dippet dismissed them and Dumbledore set off toward the Great Hall. Harry followed behind his friends with a dark gloom over his head. Not only were they stuck in an alternate time, they were now, no longer permitted to spend every hour of the day together.
"Harry," Hermione whispered as they followed Dumbledore, "Maybe you can ask Dippet to sort you again?"
"He doesn't seem the type to allow that, Hermione," Harry said.
"There has to be a way," Hermione urged, "Harry, we need to stick together."
"We can," Harry replied, "Just not like we did in our time."
Hermione looked as if she were going to say something else but decided against it. Dumbledore left them in the Great Hall after showing them where their House tables were and left to go attend to the students who were arriving. Harry stayed with Ron and Hermione until the other students began to file into the Hall, and began seating themselves at their House tables. Harry was just about to head toward the Slytherin table when he caught a glimpse of someone that he knew very well. A tall, handsome youth strode purposefully toward the Slytherin table followed by a group of snide and mean looking people. A cold hatred flared up inside his chest and his eyes narrowed. Hermione, noticing that Harry was still around and the look on his face, touched his arm lightly.
"What is it, Harry?" She asked, standing on her toes to try and see who or what he was staring at.
Harry raised his hand and pointed toward the handsome boy at the Slytherin table surrounded by his would-be Death Eaters and said two word, "Tom Riddle."