AN: Thank you to ItrustSeverusSnape, LadyGaelen, stsgirlie, Angelo Del Ghiaccio, sarenelsoria, The Oh So Bored One, The Almighty Cheez It, MagZ86, Timmorn, TheSlytherin, aal613 and Monnbeamfor all of your reviews, alerts and favorites. I'm so pleased that you all liked it. Thank you so very, very much! This is the happier version of the end...Originally, the way it starts in the beginning, with Hermione waking up in the common room was the first draft of the end and took place immediately after Chapter 23. So you can read it like that. Enjoy.
Alternate Ending: Remember:
Hermione looked up from the book she had been reading. The library was empty. Her eyebrows furrowed and she turned her attention back to her book.
She looked up again. This time she was sure that she had heard someone call her name.
There it was again. She inclined her head to try and hear better. Silence greeted her ears. She looked around, trying to see if someone was taking the Mickey out of her. No one was in the library but her.
Yes. She knew she had heard it! She stood up so quickly that the chair she had been sitting in clattered to the floor. The voice called to her again, only this time it was fainter, as if the speaker were moving away from her. She had to follow that voice. She knew that voice. She followed the source of the voice all the way to the Room of Requirement. She paced in front of the wall and just as the door swung open...
Hermione woke to soft, golden morning light. She sat up to find that she had fallen asleep in the common room. She raised a hand to her head, sure that she had been dreaming of something. The dream was lost to the waking and she decided that it had been nothing. As she flung the blanket from herself, a piece of parchment fell to the floor. She looked down at it and picked it up, unfolding it to see only one word written in the middle of it in a tidy, slanting scrawl.
She frowned down at the word on the parchment. The elegant handwriting called to her but she didn't know why. She shoved the parchment into the pocket of her robes and stood up. She stretched and made her way to the girls dormitory to get dressed. When she returned to the common room, she found that some of the other students had woken, as well. To her great confusion, she realized that she didn't know what day it was. She saw Ginny sitting on the couch that she had just vaccated and decided to ask.
"Ginny," she said and Ginny turned toward her, "What day is it today?"
"Lost track of time while studying again, have you?" Ginny smiled, "It's May 2."
"Thanks," Hermione said, "Are you going down to breakfast?"
"I'm going to wait for Harry," Ginny replied, "But of course I don't fault you for leaving without Ron."
Hermione laughed, "Yes, I would like to maintain my appetite."
"I'll tell him you've gone down," Ginny replied.
"Actually, I'll probably be in the library by the time he gets up," Hermione said, "I have a History of Magic essay to finish off."
"I bet he does too," Ginny smiled again, "But, seeing as how it's a Saturday, he'll probably have a good lie in."
"Probably," Hermione laughed, knowing her boyfriend all to well, "See you later, Gin."
With that, Hermione turned toward the portrait hole and started toward the Great Hall. On the way she passed by Draco and his friends. He spotted her and gave her a nod of acknowledgment.
"Granger," he called to her as she passed, "Don't forget we have a review in Ancient Runes on Monday."
"Thank you, Malfoy," Hermione replied.
She was nearly to the Great Hall when she decided that she really wasn't hungry and headed to the library instead to finish off her essay. She pulled out her half completed essay and found the book she had been using as research. She placed the book, (Great Wizards of the Twentieth Century), on the table in front of her and found the place where she had left off and began to read.
Tom Marvolo Riddle, (1926 - 1945)
Tom Marvolo Riddle was a highly gifted wizard from his earliest days. He attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the years of 1938-1945 where he became a Slytherin. He is still boasted today as one of the brightest students Hogwarts has ever seen, putting him in ranks with the likes of Albus Dumbledore. His achievements at Hogwarts include an award for Special Services to the School for his discovery and victory over the monster in the legendary Chamber of Secrets at the end of his fifth year. Riddle, it turns out, was the famed Heir of Slytherin of the same legend. He was also made Head Boy in his final year at school and receive the Medal for Magical Merit.
During the war with the Dark Wizard, Grindelwald, Dumbledore asked for Riddle specifically, to aid him in Grindelwald's defeat sighting the fact that Riddle knew many spells that even Dumbledore himself did not. Riddle immediately came to the aid of his ex-Transfiguration professor and was, tragically, killed in the final battle. After his triumph over Grindelwald, Dumbledore claimed that he owed much to Riddle, without whom, he said, he could not have defeated Grindelwald.
Hermione turned her attention to the photo on the page opposite the paragraph. She saw the handsome face of Tom Marvolo Riddle gazing up at her through dark blue eyes. His pale, gaunt face was smooth and impassive. She found herself drawn back to his eyes. She gazed into them and felt her heart skip a beat. She closed her eyes and was immediately bombarded by a rush of images.
Her and Tom talking in the library. Her and Tom walking along a corridor together. Her and Tom dancing at the Halloween Masqurade. Her and Tom holding hands. Tom, saving her from an angry classmate. A dark Shadowy man who scared her. Her and Tom, laying in each others arms. Her and Tom getting "married". The Shadow creatures, frighteningly tall and menacing. Tom, shielding her from a horrible looking creature. Tom pulling her down a corridor toward safety. Tom kissing her one last time. She opened her eyes with a ragged gasp. She hastily slammed the book shut earning her a rude glace from Madam Pince. She got up from the table and nearly ran out of the library.
Her feet carried her toward the seventh floor corridor on their own accord. She had to find him. She knew that if she did, he would be able to explain everything. She just had to get to him. She stopped in front of the stone gargoyle that concealed the entrance to the Headmaster's office.
"Lemon sherbet," she tried.
"Sorry," the gargoyle replied.
"Chocolate Frogs," she said.
"No," the gargoyle said.
She tired about ten more passwords and when they all failed she let out a squeal of frustration.
"Look, I need to see Headmaster Dumbledore," she huffed, "Please. It's important."
"No one gets by without the password," the gargoyle replied.
"Please," Hermione implored again.
"Miss Granger?" Came a voice from behind her.
She spun around and saw Dumbledore standing behind her. She looked up at him and hot tears burst from behind her eyes. Dumbledore moved closer to her and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder.
"I think you had better come with me," he said kindly.
She hiccuped once and nodded. Dumbledore turned toward the stone gargoyle.
"True love," he said and the gargoyle hopped aside.
Dumbledore sat Hermione down and conjured tea for the both of them. He handed her a cup which she accepted silently.
"How may I help you, Miss Granger?" Dumbledore asked.
"Tom," was all she could say.
"Ah, yes," Dumbledore smiled and sat back in his chair.
"Professor, I..." Hermione began, unsure of how to proceed, "Did I actually...back in 1941?"
"Yes, Miss Granger," Dumbledore nodded, "You did. And Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley as well."
"But I didn't remember until," she fished the parchment from her jeans and placed it on the desk.
Dumbledore smiled down at it but made no move to take it, "You wouldn't have."
"So do Harry and Ron..?" she asked.
"No," Dumbledore replied, "No, they do not remember, nor will they ever. That ill-starred experience is left only to you."
"He died..." Hermione began before her voice faltered.
"He did," Dumbledore nodded, "It was most unfortunate. Had he lived, oh, the things he could have achieved."
"But he wasn't evil," she continued.
"No," Dumbledore smiled, "No, you put a stop to that and for that, I, in fact, the entire Wizarding World, owe you a great deal of gratitude."
"But no one remembers," Hermione said softly, "It's like he never existed at all..."
"The important thing is that you remember him, Miss Granger," Dumbledore said softly, "And I'm sure that's all he ever wanted. For it was you, Hermione, who showed him that love and friendship could be the most powerful magic in all the world."
Hermione didn't say anything as the lump in her throat threatened to choke her. She swallowed hard and watched as Dumbledore disappeared into a cabinet. He rummaged around and finally returned with a small box. He placed it on the desk in front of Hermione, who gazed up at him, quizzically.
"He left that for you," Dumbledore said, "He left it with me in hopes that you would come to me for answers."
"What is it?" Hermione asked.
"I do not know," Dumbledore replied, "It wasn't ment for me and so, would not open for me."
Hermione stared at the velvet box in front of her.
"Take it," Dumbledore smiled, "It's yours."
Hermione took the box from the desk and held it in her hand.
"I think you had better open it somewhere private," Dumbledore said, his blue eyes sparkling over his half moon spectacles, "And I think you know just the place."
"Thank you, Professor," Hermione said.
Dumbledore nodded at her and watched with a bittersweet smile as she left the office.
Hermione walked down the corridor and stared at the blank stretch of wall. A door carved itself in the wall and she walked inside. The room was empty and she paced around it in a small circle, fingering the velvet box in the pocket of her jumper. The box he had left for her. She took a deep breath and pulled it from her pocket, opening it. There was a ring inside, a silver ring with a small translucent stone set in the middle of it. Hermione took the ring out and put it on and found that was warm against her finger. In fact, the moment she put the ring on, a light, peaceful feeling crept through her body from top to bottom.
There was a shimmering in the middle of the room and she turned toward it. She gasped. The pale, transparent figure of Tom stood in the middle of the room. He was just the way she had remembered him, if not a bit older. She started toward him, tentatively.
"I told you I'd get you a ring," he smiled.
"Tom?" she asked needlessly.
Tom smiled at her, "It's me, Hermione."
"Where...what...?" she gaped.
"It's ancient magic," Tom said, "Something like a Horcrux only in the reverse."
"I don't understand," Hermione replied.
"Love, Hermione," Tom smiled, "Love."
"You look like a ghost," she said.
"I am," Tom nodded, "Well, close enough to one. I'm a memory. Your memory."
"Can I..." she reached for him, her hand inches from his transparent face.
"I'm just an image," Tom shook his head, "No touching."
"Can't you come through properly?" Hermione asked, already knowing the answer.
"You know I can't," he said softly.
"But it's like you said," she replied, "If this is like a Horcrux...you can still come through..."
"I can't," he shook his head.
Hermione's eyes stung with the beginnings of tears. She knew he couldn't, knew that it was foolish to suggest it but she still couldn't help hoping. She stood in front of his ethereal form, wishing that she could just hold him, if only for a moment. A single tear escaped her eye and glided down her cheek as she looked up at him and gasped. Was it just her imagination, or was he...becoming solid?
"Tom," she gasped.
Tom looked down at his hands, confusion and wonder plain in his eyes. He was! He was becoming solid. Hermione closed her eyes and wished harder than she had ever wished before that this wasn't some trick. She needed him to be real. She loved him far to much for her to let him go. Her heart pumped furiously and her eyes burned with tears that leaked out of her eyes. Please, please let him stay. The ring on her finger burned her skin, but she ignored the pain. It was nothing compared with the pain she felt when she thought of losing him again. She could feel warmth beat against her front. She opened her eyes and her breath stopped. Tom was standing centimeters in front of her. He looked solid enough.
He looked down at her, his face so close to hers that she could feel his breath against her hair. She could feel his warmth radiating against her body. He had to be real. He raised his hand. It hovered uncertainly next to her cheek. She wanted nothing more than for him to close the space between them but they were both frozen. Both too unsure that he was real. Both knowing, somehow, that if he was still just a memory, that he would disappear if they made contact with one another.
"Hermione," he whispered, his hand closing the space between them.
His hand made contact with her cheek and it was warm and real and alive. She closed her eyes against the feeling and let off an abrupt laugh of joy before she flung her arms around him. He held her against himself and refused to let her go. She looked up at him, his dark blue eyes sparking with happiness. Then he was kissing her almost fiercely, his mouth searching hers as if for the first time. She responded happily, letting all caution fall away. He was really there, really with her and she didn't know why and she didn't care.
"How is this possible?" Tom breathed.
"I don't care," Hermione replied, kissing him again.
Tom pulled away, "Merlin, I thought I'd lost you forever."
"Me too," Hermione replied, again, kissing him, "And I didn't remember you...not until..."
"You saw the note," Tom smiled, brushing her hair away from her face, "I left it for you."
"How?" Hermione asked.
"I left it with Dumbledore," Tom replied, "Before I...died, I managed to give him the ring and the note. I told him to keep it safe and give it to you if you ever looked for me."
"He must have left it then," Hermione smiled, "That wonderful, wonderful man!"
She pulled him down to her again and kissed him softly, "I'm so happy."
Tom's smiling face faltered as he caught sight of something over Hermione's head. She frowned and turned to look. She yelped in surprise and grabbed onto Tom, putting herself in front of him.
"You can't take him!" She screamed.
The Shadow Cronus stood silently watching them. Its eyes that were usually black or golden mist were completely white. It held up its hand, which was clasped around an hourglass that was completely empty.
"True love knows no bounds," said the echoing voice which had become much smoother and gentler than Hermione remembered. "And it is a Power too great for even Us to touch. Love is the greatest Power of all and we bow to it. We shall no longer trouble you."
The Shadow Cronus turned the hourglass once for each sentence it spoke. They both watched silently as golden mist filled up both sides of the hourglass so that no one side was empty. It opened its hand and let the hourglass fall to the floor. It shattered and disappeared and the Shadow faded away. Tom wrapped his arms around Hermione and held her close and she leaned the back of her head against his chest. Love really was the most powerful thing in the universe, even more powerful than Time itself. Hermione turned in Tom's arms and looked up at him again.
"We can stay together now," she smiled.
Tom rested his forehead against hers and echoed her smile, "I know."
"You have a lot to learn about our time," Hermione replied.
"That's fine," Tom said bringing his face down lower, "At least I'll have you by my side and that's all that matters."
"I'm never going to leave you," Hermione said, turning her face up toward his.
"Never, ever," Tom whispered, his words fading into a kiss.
Hermione smiled as his lips meet hers once more. They would have a lot of hurtles to jump but he was with her and they would stay together this time. She knew that. Their love had conquered time itself. There wasn't anything they couldn't face now.
AN: There you go, a happily ever after ending. Again, thank you all so much for reading!