Disclaimer……….. All characters are the copyright of JK Rowling
Harry James Potter Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry sat alone in his office trying to make out his annual report for the governors of the school. His entire life both personal and at the school was in turmoil as he tried to cope with the death of his best friend Hermione. He wondered how he was supposed to live on without his deputy head mistress and transfiguration teacher.
Hermione had died in a way he had once been told by his old friend Hagrid was not possible. She had died in a car crash while returning from a visit to her ex-husband, and Harry's one time friend, Ronald Weasley. She had apparently stood no chance, and died instantly when her car had been crushed by a truck that had raced straight out of a side street. Joy riding teenagers had stolen the truck, and had ploughed into her car on the driver's side.
All the joy-riders had escaped the Muggle law officers, but now just a day later they were being tracked by half the wizard Auror division. Hermione had been one of the most popular of all wizard kind. War hero, great and powerful witch, and respected teacher, there had almost been a riot when the Minister for magic had said it was out of their jurisdiction to investigate Muggle crimes. The outcry had forced him to protect his position by authorising an Auror to offer some help to the Muggles. Aurors from all over the country decided they would be the one to help.
Harry sat and wondered if he should still hold a Yule ball this year, it had after all been Hermione's idea to make it an annual event, and she had been the one to oversee it all. Finally deciding that though it would bring back enough memories to break his heart yet again, he decided he had to leave things as they were. He would assign one of his professors the task of making it into an annual memorial for the woman he had loved so deeply for the past sixty years.
The report was forgotten as his mind drifted back to their very first ball way back when they had been in their fourth year at the school. Hermione and Ron had both been his best friends at the time and yet it had been a disaster for all of them. It had been a disaster that had had far reaching effects on the rest of their lives. Hermione had divorced Ron after twenty five years of marriage, due mainly to Ron's temper outbursts and his stupid inability to forgive and forget. For years he had repeatedly brought up the subject of Viktor Krum, and Hermione's date with him to that first ball. Ron's attitude both to their marriage, and toward Harry had finally driven a wedge between them that Hermione had been unwilling to ignore.
Harry's friendship with Ron had ended within weeks of the end of the second wizard war with Voldemort, when he had once more deserted Harry and Hermione during the search for Hermione's parents in Australia. He had simply lost his temper over something trivial and walked out on them. Harry had been really surprised when only two years later Hermione and Ron were married. Harry himself had not been willing to resume the friendship or to accept the pathetic apology given by Ron, when Ron had been forced by Hermione to apologise some three months after he walked out on them.
He remembered the day well, he and Ginny had just returned to the Burrow after shopping in Diagon alley, when Hermione had called him into the sitting room. Ron had been sitting on the sofa looking down at his feet, he did not even look up when they entered, he then mumbled something that sounded like "Sorry ok."
"Ron, do it properly." Hermione had told him.
So he had stood, shouted "I'm sorry, is that loud enough." then stormed out into the garden. Both Hermione and Ginny had wanted him to follow Ron, and talk to him. But he walked into the kitchen poured himself a cup of tea and said "No, after the Triwizard, and the hunt, Ron has walked out on our friendship one time to many."
They had hardly ever spoken to each other from that day on. Hermione had forgiven Ron and they had married. Ron unchanging had walked out on Hermione several times during their marriage, but she had always taken him back. She had one day told Harry that the only reason she stayed with Ron was the children. She had finally left him the day after their last child left home to start at Hogwarts, and she took the position as Transfiguration teacher here at Hogwarts.
Harry remembered the day he had lost Ginny. He had returned home to find her lying dead in the kitchen. They had informed him at St Mungo's that she had died from a ruptured blood vessel in her brain. They had only been married for just over twenty years, and they had not been truly happy, they had discovered after just a few months that although they loved each other they were not in love, they had been pushed into a marriage they didn't really want but made the best off what they had. They had only been married for what was a very short time in the wizarding world. Harry had been his usual depressed self, blaming himself for her death of course, but with the help of the family, and Hermione he had gotten through this dark period of his life.
He and Ginny had had a fairly good marriage even though they had both discovered very early on that their love was not as deep as they had once thought. Most of their marriage was spent with them being something like best friends. Together they had made it work, neither of them were quitters and they did love each other enough to carry on. Neither of them would ever think of breaking their vows.
Tears flowed down Harry's slightly wrinkled face as he remembered the day he had realised to late, his deep and abiding love for Hermione; it was an indefinable sort of love. It went way past friendship; it was deep, pure, and eternal. A few days after she had taken her post as transfiguration teacher he had been talking to her in the staff room when he had suddenly thought that they should have been husband and wife.
The thought came to him out of the blue but would not leave him alone 'I am in love with Hermione'. He had spent the next few weeks remembering, and noticing all the things he loved about her. Then one day he had simply come out with it, and told her how he was feeling. Hermione had admitted that she had loved him from the day they first met. But as he had never shown any sign that he felt the same, she had gone on to live her life as best as she could taking what love she could get as his best friend.
They had become as close as it was possible to be during her teaching years at Hogwarts, and Harry always regretted how her bad marriage to Ron had been one of the only reasons she ever gave for saying no when he proposed to her. They had remained best friends even though Harry had always wanted a more loving relationship. But Hermione would not take the chance of being hurt again; she had lost her faith in love.
Harry cleared his desk and slowly walked into his quarters, he could not shake the feeling that with Hermione no longer by his side, he had wasted his seventy one years of life. All that he had done in his life no longer seemed to have any meaning. Heartbroken and tired he climbed into the same four-poster bed that his mentor Albus Dumbledore had used so many years ago. Knowing that tonight he would once more be dreaming of Hermione he fell asleep.
Harry wasn't sure if he was awake or dreaming, his room was still shrouded in darkness apart from the dim light in the corner where what looked like a rather old looking man was standing unrecognisable in the darkness. Not knowing why he knew, Harry knew the stranger in his bedroom was not a threat, but out of habit he had grabbed his wand and now had it pointed at his visitor.
"Who the heck are you and how did you get in here?" Harry asked without raising his voice.
"You've calmed down a little since last we met," came a voice Harry had only heard coming from a portrait for many years "you can put your wand down now Harry."
"Albus! Is that you, what are you doing in my dreams?" Harry gasped
"This is not a dream Harry; you can pinch yourself if you want," Albus Dumbledore chuckled softly. "I was asked to come to talk to you about a serious matter that will change your life and in fact change and save the life of the entire world both Wizard and Muggle."
Harry gave a quick wave of his wand "lumos," As the torches and candles around his room lit and cast a warm light about the room he placed his wand back on his nightstand. Rising from his bed Harry picked up his night robe and asked as he pushed his arms into it "Shall we move to the study? It would be a little more comfortable."
Together Harry and his old friend and mentor walked silently to the study. Harry poured himself a glass of water as he offered a seat to his visitor "So it's really you then?"
"Yes Harry it's really me, and as I said I was asked to come here to talk to you," Albus nodded as he spoke, his bright blue eyes twinkling in the torchlight.
Slightly unnerved by this rather unusual event, Harry slowly took a seat opposite his long dead friend Albus before asking "So who sent you, and what could be so important that they would send you back to Hogwarts?"
"Well I was asked by a Time Master. First though I would like to say I am proud of the way you have lived your life." Dumbledore steepled his fingers.
Harry knew by that simple movement, that whatever it was that had brought his old headmaster back, it was a whole lot worse than Dumbledore's attitude indicated.
"Ok I'm listening."
"Harry I will not mince words and will be as brief as I can. One rebellious Time Master thought he knew better than the Creator, so he took it on himself to change the time line. He covered his deed well and it had gone undiscovered by the Time Masters until one 'Hermione Jane Weasley' arrived amongst us. Now apart from the fact that she should not have joined us for a great many years yet, she should also, according to the book of soul-mates be named 'Hermione Jane Potter'." Albus paused.
"Hermione is your soul-mate; she was created to be with you, just as you were created to be with her. When two soul-mates kiss they become, by heavenly and wizarding law, 'man and wife' for all eternity. You and Hermione should have kissed but you never did. The chaos that this time change and the repercussions of her marrying the wrong man, and dying before she should has caused is disrupting great swathes of the universe. Many, shall I call them 'deaths' are happening and that chaos is rapidly headed this way."
"Soul-mates, so that's why I feel my life was wasted. And I suppose there is something you want me to do about it. Though for the life of me I can't think what I could do," Harry muttered, he had done his bit. He had fulfilled the prophecy; he had done as fate had demanded of him.
"Harry there is something you can do, but first I must tell you that this world you live in will unravel and cease to exist if something is not done. I do however have to tell you that the choice is yours to make. So as I said, the time line was altered and sometime in your fourth year at school a new but unstable and dangerous timeline began. Your choice is to stay in this timeline where your soul-mate died before her time, and the fabric of time could come apart, or you can be sent back to your forth year, where you can help to put things right. It appears that many of the Time Masters wanted you to be sent back without your knowledge, but as always the Creator is allowing you a choice. I should remind you again that Miss Granger was your soul-mate."
Harry sat staring at his former professor as he let this information and its implications sink into his mind "What about our children, will they cease to exist if I go back?"
"I'm sorry Harry but now that this change has been discovered they will cease to exist and there will be no memory of them no matter what you do. The Creator will make a small concession for you in regard to them, he is willing to allow them to be reborn, though they will be different people they will be the same but with souls. In other words they will be allowed to live to their normal life span. Though I was not informed what was changed, I think that the change led to Hermione's untimely death. Had she been married to you as should have been the case, I think she would still be alive. I am only speculating you must understand, your being together should cause numerous changes. The time you have to make a decision is very short Harry; in fact it may be at this very moment that people of this world are fading from existence," Albus's twinkling blue eyes held Harry in their stare as Harry thought it all over.
"So Hermione's death has begun a sort of chain reaction then? You know that I love Hermione." Harry asked
"That is the way it should have been, it is not known exactly what the Time Master changed, perhaps a single word or gesture, maybe a single deed, but it is known when you should have joined with your soul-mate. So if you decide to once again save the world, then you will be sent back to that time," Albus smiled, he knew Harry and he knew he could not allow the world to end if it was in his power to prevent it.
Dumbledore sat back enjoying the return to his old study, very little had changed since he had occupied the post that was now Harry's.
"Will I retain my memories? Because if I don't remember how will I know that I am there to correct things?" Harry wanted to know.
Albus looked for a minute as though he was listening to someone speaking, "Yes Harry you will keep your memories."
"What about Ginny does she have to die so young, and what about the tournament and Voldemort will those things remain the same?"
"Ginny will live a much longer life when all is corrected. You know what it was that killed her and so you can see that it is corrected. Those other things are part of the prophecy and though it pains me to say it, you may once more have to do as you did before, although I am sure you will find a better way." Dumbledore answered
"Ok, if it is the only way, then Okay," Harry almost whispered.
"Then my job here is over, and I can return whence I came," Albus said as he rose from the chair.
Harry woke suddenly; even before he opened his eyes he remembered his strange dream, and the visit of his old friend Dumbledore. 'That has to be one of the weirdest yet most life like dreams I ever had,' he thought as he rolled to his right to check his clock for the time.
Harry had never moved quite so fast for many years when his eyes settled, not on his clock, but on a sleeping young Ron Weasley. Harry found his glasses and put them on as he blinked rapidly before turning and checking that he was actually where he thought he was.
"Strewth they did it," he whispered to himself as he saw Neville Longbottom then Seamus Finnegan, both like Ron were fast asleep. Getting up and taking a shower Harry studied his younger body, "scrawny little thing," he said addressing his reflection in the mirror and then he dressed. Back at his bed Harry racked his brain for the memory of where he had kept his time table all those years ago, 'years ago no longer,' he thought as he dragged his book bag from under his bed.
Having found the small parchment he was looking for. He called quietly for Dobby, seconds later his little elf friend stood in front of him. A quick conversation with Dobby gave Harry the information about the day and year, now he had the date he needed he knew what he would do. He was back in his forth year sometime shortly before the Yule ball. Harry spent some time remembering his life as a fourth year student.
He quietly left the dorm and made his way down to breakfast. Hermione was sitting alone at the large Gryffindor table, breakfast in front of her and a huge book propped up against a jug of pumpkin juice. Harry took the seat next to her and smiled. Memories of his years with her flooded through his mind like a water fall. Memories of the happy times and the sad, times when she had always been there for him. Having helped himself to a rather large breakfast he turned to talk to the girl he loved. The girl he should have married, the girl who would become a beautiful woman.
"Hermione, can I interrupt your studying for a moment?" he asked.
Hermione turned and flashed him a huge smile before closing her book. Harry's heart leapt in his chest as he watched her. "Yes Harry."
Harry had already decided how he was going to try to make things right, he did not know how Ron would react but he was not really concerned how Ron felt any longer.
"I want to ask you something, you don't have to answer my first question if you don't want too."
"Ok Harry what is it, you need some help with the tournament?" she asked sounding intrigued.
"This has nothing to with the triwizard, what I have to ask you is way more important to me," Harry paused and looked into her warm brown eyes and his bones seemed to melt "Do you still feel the same way about me as when we first met?"
Hermione looked puzzled "The way I feel is more important than the triwizard? Well I'm always going to feel the same way about you Harry," she replied, and as in his life before she gave no clue as to how she did feel about him.
The smile that appeared on his face looked like it was going to split his face in two. "Oh I am so glad, Hermione Jane Granger, if we were a few years older I would ask you to marry me."
Hermione blushed, and then for maybe the first time in his hearing she giggled, she had no idea he actually meant it. "Harry!" Was all she said.
Harry took a breath "Hermione will you be my girlfriend? I love you, and I don't want to be without you any more."
Hermione's blush vanished as she turned to face him "Harry! It's cruel to joke like that," She hissed, and then grabbing her book and book bag, she sniffed back a tear and glared at him. She stood and made to leave but Harry stood up as fast as she had, and in a quick fluid movement he wrapped his arms around her waist then in front of all those in the great hall eating breakfast, he kissed her full on her lips.
Hermione's blush was back at full power and her knees were shaking when Harry broke the kiss, "I was not joking," Harry declared taking her hand then shifting his grip around her waist to pull her closer, he helped her to sit before her legs gave out.
Hermione sat staring at him for a few seconds before she could speak "H-H-Harry you weren't joking. Oh yes Harry, yes, yes, yes I'd love to be your girlfriend."
Hermione was still shaking when she launched herself at him, flinging her arms around his neck and kissed him back. It was when they broke the kiss and a great cheer erupted from all around them that they remembered where they were.
Harry rose and pulled her up with him, accompanied by cheers from students and teachers, hand in hand they walked out of the great hall and out through the main door. Once they were outside Harry slipped his arm around her shoulder and Hermione's arm wrapped around his back her hand resting on his waist. They walked in silence for a while before Hermione spoke.
"How did you know how I felt about you? I thought I had kept it well hidden." she said
Harry stopped walking and kissed her again, "I only knew about it last night, and then someone pointed it out to me in a dream. I have known that I love you a lot more than as a friend for a long, long time. I also think that the reason we feel the way we do is because we are soul-mates. Two chosen by the Creator of all to be together for all time."
Hermione smiled as she rested her arms over his shoulder "Harry that's so romantic."
She had no idea that he meant every word, he had thought of telling her everything about his other time, but he decided against doing so knowing that she would never accept his story.
"What are we going to tell Ron?" she asked between kisses.
"Well considering he is not exactly in my best books at the moment, and the fact that I don't care a hoot about what anyone thinks, I think I'll just tell him you are now the future Mrs. Harry James Potter." Harry chuckled.
"So you meant it when you said you would ask me to marry you if we were old enough?" she asked.
"Of course I meant it, and I will ask as soon as we are old enough," He answered knowing that Hermione would do all she could to research soul-mates. Hand in hand they made their way back up to the common room where they separated each going to their own dorm to collect the things needed for the day's lessons.
Harry was still waiting for Hermione when Ron came in to the common room, "Hi Harry, give me a minute I'm just gonna get my books," he said as he rushed through the common room headed for the dorm.
Ron was gone before Harry had time to think, but as he stood there mouth open Hermione came rushing down from the girls dorm. The smile on her face made his heart flutter as she came running straight to him; she put her arms around his neck and kissed him. They were still kissing when Ron came rushing toward them bellowing "Harry! what the heck are you doing?"
Harry and Hermione broke the kiss; Harry looked at his extremely angry looking friend, "I happen to be kissing my future wife."
Ron's mouth fell open and he almost choked as he tried to speak, eventually he managed a few words "Hermione, you, me, we, I--."
Hermione frowned at him "Ron what is your problem? What do you mean you and me, there is no you and me, there never will be a you and me, did you ever ask me to be your girlfriend? No, and if you did I would never have said yes, why would I want to be with someone who is always upsetting and hurting me? Besides I have been in love with Harry since the first day we met."
Hand in hand Harry led Hermione through the portrait hole, leaving Ron gaping after them. That afternoon at the end of transfiguration, the last lesson of the day, Professor McGonagall informed them that there would be a Yule ball for all fourth years and above, "You may of course ask someone younger to be your partner."
McGonagall asked Harry to remain behind after class, Hermione wondering if Harry was again in trouble, waited just outside the door while the professor informed Harry that as a triwizard champion he would be expected to have a partner, and that they would have to dance the opening dance along with the other champions.
"Ok, no worries, I will be dancing with the most beautiful girl there professor," Harry told her as he turned to leave, spying Hermione listening he spoke a little louder as he finished with "I have the most beautiful girl in the wizarding world to go with."
Hermione standing outside the door heard every word that was said. As soon as Harry left the room he took Hermione's hand in his and asked if she would go to the ball with him. She was delighted that she had been the girl he had spoken of with her favourite professor, 'Harry thinks I'm beautiful' she thought, it was just a few seconds later that they were sharing a kiss once more.
The walk back to the Gryffindor common room was taken slowly, both arm in arm they discussed the upcoming ball and the first dance. Harry remembered how beautiful Hermione had looked at his previous fourth year Yule ball, how even the other girls had said it as she descended the stairs. She had looked so beautiful and graceful.
The following day remembering Malfoy casting a spell that made her teeth grow to a huge size Harry commented on Hermione's teeth, "You did a good job with madam Pomfrey when she fixed your teeth, they look perfect, but I loved you just as much before."
Hermione said thanks with a quick peck on his lips before asking him "Harry love, can you dance?"
"Yes, I took lessons so that one day I could dance with you," It was true, he had taken lessons so that he could dance with her and Ginny at Bill Weasleys' wedding, he had since then improved vastly. You don't live to be seventy one in the wizarding world with out learning to dance.
"Then I'm glad I took lessons," she said as they sat in a comfy armchair, Hermione sitting in Harry's lap.
"So," Harry asked "how's Ron taking it?"
"I don't know he isn't talking to me, I thought he would have said something to you, being your best friend and sleeping in the same room." Hermione replied.
"He's not my best friend anymore Hermione, not after the way he treated me when I was entered into this stupid triwizard. Anyway I have something important to talk to you about, so let's not worry about him for now, come on we need to go to the room of requirement." Harry whispered.
"Room of requirement, what's that?" Hermione wanted to know.
"Come on I'll show you, Dobby told me about it, he calls it the come and go room," Harry said dragging her toward the portrait hole. Minutes later they were standing opposite a picture of Barnabas the Barmy.
"This is it." Harry said as they both looked at the blank wall he was pointing at.
Hermione cocked an eyebrow at him as he leaned back against the picture.
"Choose what kind of place you would like to talk in, maybe a version of the common room or a café or maybe a sunny beach it doesn't matter what it is, then walk up and down past there and there thinking of the room you require." He told her.
Still looking a little disbelieving Hermione did as he had instructed her, on her third pass a large oak door appeared. Hermione looked on astonished as the door began to appear; moments later she opened it to find a small comfortable reading room. Harry joined her laughing as he realised what the room was. After Hermione recovered from her surprise that the room was real, together they sat on a small sofa in front of a warm glowing fire.
"Ok Harry what is it that is so important we need to have a secret room to discuss it in?" she asked as they got comfortable.