Disclaimer: I am not the great and powerful JK Rowling; thus I do not own anything [other than the plot] that you may recognize…
A/N: So I told those of you who have read Send Me An Angel that I'd be writing a fanfiction about Hermione and Tom Riddle. I know I said it would be up soon, but life seems to think otherwise. Alas, here it is.
Friday, August 14, 1998
Albus Dumbledore walked through the rubble of the house, Minerva McGonagall beside him.
"This is terrible, Albus," she said, shaking her head with a frown. "Hermione must be devastated."
"She has yet to be informed, Minerva," Dumbledore sighed sadly. "Luckily she wasn't home when they came."
"We can't say the same for her parents," McGonagall said heavily. "She's going to be devastated, Albus. Not to mention the article's already being issued on tomorrow's front page of The Daily Prophet. Pictures and all." Dumbledore didn't reply, he stood in the middle of what use to be the kitchen, both arms folded.
"Where is Hermione now, Minerva?" he whispered curiously.
"Grimmauld Place. The whole Order is waiting for us to return with any news," she replied. "Hermione must know something is wrong by now. And nobody telling her, this is just awful, Albus."
"I believe the Auror's want their time with the scene," said Dumbledore pointedly. He put an arm on McGonagall's shoulder. "Take us to Grimmauld Place, Minerva."
"Of course," she said, rather confused at why he couldn't take them himself. They apparated in front of Grimmauld Place. McGonagall knocked on the door three times. Moody opened it, and hurriedly ushered them in.
The kitchen was filled with Order members. All of them huddled around Hermione, who had obviously figured everything out by now. When she saw Dumbledore and McGonagall she stood up anxiously. "Are they dead?" she cried. Dumbledore, no sparkles in his eyes, nodded sadly. Hermione sat back down on the chair and cried intfo her hands.
McGonagall leaned in towards Dumbledore, "Did you hafve to be so forward, Albus? I mean, she just lost her parents to the Death Eaters!" Dumbledore didn't reply to her, but turned to the Order members instead.
"May I speak with Miss Granger alone, please," he said over the many whispers in the room. All of them, now silenced, looked at Dumbledore. A few walked out immediately after he had asked them to leave, other's were less eager to flee the room.
Harry helped the subdued Order members out of the room. "Come on guys, give them some privacy. You too, Ron." Ron, who had been next to Hermione the whole time, stood up and followed Harry out of the room. Dumbledore gave them both a nod and turned to Hermione, head still in her hands. Dumbledore grabbed the nearest chair, pulled it towards himself, and sat in it.
The screeching of the chair legs caught Hermione's attention. She looked up from her hands, wiping the tears with embarrassment. "Who?" she mumbled.
"If I could make any speculation, I would say Lucius, Bellatrix, Avery and Rookwood," said Dumbledore thoughtfully. "Neighbors said they saw four cloaked figures. One a women." Hermione shook her head.
"They're just the slaves," she mumbled. Dumbledore watch her carefully. "They just do as they're told."
"Lord Voldemort," Dumbledore said cautiously, unsure of what Hermione was talking about. She nodded her head.
"He knows how close Harry is to the last Horcruxes. He's setting up distractions," said Hermione looking Dumbledore directly in the eyes.
"Perhaps he wanted more than just a distraction, Miss Granger," said Dumbledore clasping his hands together pensively. "I believe he wanted you tonight, Miss Granger. You for a Horcrux, perhaps?" Hermione shook her head, completely in agreement, but more disgusted at that fact.
"Have you heard of the Fourier Flaw, Miss Granger?" The question was so unexpected that it took Hermione a few minutes to reply. Dumbledore waited patiently, one hand on his lip curiously.
"I've heard of Joseph Fourier," she said in amazement. "Nothing else, though."
"Joseph Fourier was a French physicist. An old relative of yours, in fact. I'm sure you're not aware of this, Miss Granger, because he kept it quite secret; Joseph Fourier was a wizard. A very smart wizard, might I add.
"He attended Durmstrang, only other wizard in your line. He liked to experiment with time continuums-"
"You mean he was one of those time travel scientists?" asked Hermione interestedly. Dumbledore nodded his head and continued as if he hadn't been interrupted, "Unfortunately, one of his experiments lead to the death of three muggles. It wasn't the first time something this extreme had happened. The Wizengamont told him in a previous hearing that if anything like this happened again, they would take his wand away. So his wand was taken from him and he was erased from the Ministry of Magic's records. He was, after that, an outcast to not only the wizarding world, but the muggle world as well. Because of this, he devoted his life to finding a flaw in time.
"Some say he went insane during those last seven years of his life, but-" Dumbledore put one finger in the air triumphantly - "he found what he had been looking for. He called it Défaut à Temps."
"Flaw in Time," Hermione whispered curiously. Dumbledore nodded his head.
"It was later called the Fourier Flaw. The basic concept is that a person, or persons, can travel through time erasing their future self and making a past self. Everything that has happened in the past will still have happened, but if the time traveler changes even one thing in the slightest bit-" he put two fingers closely together for emphasize - "the whole future will change."
"So…" said Hermione thoughtfully. "Let's say there's a war going on that we can't win. The Death Eaters are marching towards Hogwarts and someone goes back in time to try and fix it. If they do fix it, what happens?"
"Every person who has died from that point will still be dead, but the marching Death Eaters will, let's say, spontaneously combust. It's more complex than even I can comprehend, but those Death Eaters that were marching at that precise moment of change will have been in two places at once." Hermione looked at Dumbledore awestruck.
"How can they be in two places at once?" she asked.
"One of them will be in the march, deteriorating, while the other one is reappearing at home or work or any other place they would have been if they hadn't been a Death Eater," said Dumbledore excitedly. "Isn't that something? Imagine how much a life could change in that one moment."
"But how do you change someone with such a powerful impact on the society?" asked Hermione, Dumbledore smiled and pointed a finger at her happily.
"You're getting ahead of me, Miss Granger. To answer your question, it takes one powerful, smart, and sweet witch," he said thoughtfully. "I wouldn't ask this of you if I didn't think you were capable of doing it."
"What exactly are you asking of me?" Hermione said rather confused at the turn in the conversation. "This is all theoretical."
"Is it?" asked Dumbledore. "Imagine, Miss Granger, stopping this war at its' core."
"Lord Voldemort?" asked Hermione skeptically. Dumbledore shook his head, "Farther back, Miss Granger. To when he was no more than what you are now." By now Hermione was sure Dumbledore had lost his mind.
"Tom Riddle?" asked Hermione, Dumbledore nodded his head. "Professor, I don't understand."
"You recall Harry telling you a biography of Tom Riddle's childhood, do you not?" asked Dumbledore. Hermione nodded her head. "You don't think I asked him to tell you just for interesting conversation, did you?"
"You want me to go back in time and kill Tom Riddle?" asked Hermione, all thoughts of her dead parents vanishing with each word. Dumbledore shook his head, "Killing isn't the strongest action to take, Miss Granger."
"Then what do I do?" Hermione asked furiously. Dumbledore put up one finger, "Keep this in mind, Miss Granger; nobody is born evil."
"Lord Voldemort was born evil," corrected Hermione. Dumbledore stood up from his chair, shaking his head with a laugh.
"I remember meeting Tom when he was just an infant," said Dumbledore thoughtfully. "Believe me when I tell you, he wasn't evil then." Hermione shook her head, she never thought Dumbledore would be on Lord Voldemort's side. He seemed to know what she was thinking, "I'm not saying what Tom did was justified, but we all know why Tom is Lord Voldemort today."
"Harry's told me every story, every memory of Tom's," Hermione said seriously. Dumbledore walked to the door the Order members had gone through. "And the only thing that's wrong with him is he's power hungry."
"Every emotion doesn't come to the surface, Miss Granger," said Dumbledore, opening the door with a smile. "We will discuss Fourier's Flaw later." He gave a quick wink and vanished from view, Hermione still staring after him in utter amazement.
The minute Dumbledore had vanished, Hermione vowed to keep their discussion private. That was obviously what Dumbledore had intended by asking to talk to her in private in the first place. So when she was asked what they were talking about, she simply said that he was giving his condolences.
It wasn't difficult keeping the private conversation from Harry and Ron, it was a lot more simple than telling them Dumbledore planned on sending her back to when Tom was a teenager. Imagine what their response would be to that; Harry would want to go with, surely to kill Lord Voldemort and Ron would want to come along, just so he could be a part of the trio.
It was saddening, the fact that the war had dragged on for so long that neither side cared how it ended. Everyone just wanted it over. Lord Voldemort most of all; he had given permission for any Death Eater to kill Harry on the spot. Since that day, there had been riots throughout the country. Everyone had chosen a side, with or without imprinting themselves.
That made it all the harder to see who was for or against you. There were Harry supporters, and Lord Voldemort supporters. No one was neutral, it was too much live or die for that. Many people had already died for the cause, including the minister.
Most of the Order hated Rufus Scrimegeour, and no one denied it, but they couldn't help but thank him in his dying hour. He knew where the Order Headquarters was, and he died denying that fact. Died to protect the one person everyone thought he hated, Harry. Harry, being who he is, felt it was his fault Scrimegeour was dead and couldn't stop thinking about the many other people who would die before the war ended.
The whole Order was constantly trying to cheer him up, but it was if a dark shadow was cast over him, and no matter how hard anyone tried nobody could get rid of it. Only those really close to him knew why, but even then it was hard to do anything about it.
A few weeks ago, Harry had called a secret meeting. Only eight people were there: Hermione, Ron, Dumbledore, McGonagall, Lupin, Moody, Shacklebolt, and Tonks. Harry had been waiting for a time when all eight of them were able to talk in private. Shacklebolt had been picked as the new Minister of Magic, and it was difficult for him to get away from the Ministry itself. It was a late night, everyone was asleep, and Harry had walked into those people's rooms to have them come to a meeting.
It was, in Hermione's opinion, an excellent strategy. Nobody would know about the meeting, therefore nobody would question why they weren't allowed to come and they wouldn't ask what it was about. When Harry had gathered up all eight of them, they sat in a deserted room and Harry quickly explained what was going on.
Dumbledore had already guessed as much, but the rest of them were amazed at what he told them. The dark shadow was more than any of them realized; every day Harry was becoming more and more like Lord Voldemort. "The only way to stop it is to kill the source," Harry said quickly. "That's why I've been so eager to find those remaining Horcruxes. I don't know how much longer I can fight him."
"What do you want us to do?" Lupin asked as soon as Harry had finished his sentence. Harry looked up questioningly. "You can't expect us to just sit here and watch Lord Voldemort devour you, can you?"
"Remus is right," said Tonks enthusiastically. Lupin had to remind her to keep her voice down. "We want to help."
"The only thing I can think of is finding those Horcruxes," shrugged Harry. "I don't know how much help I can be anymore…" He trailed off, and the room held an awkward silence.
"What do you mean?" asked Hermione. "You aren't being drained of your powers, are you?" Harry shook his head, pocketing his hands in his jeans as he replied casually, "It's not that. I'm just so exhausted from mentally fighting against him. I don't think I have enough strength to raise a wand." He didn't look at any of them as he said this, and all of them could tell that he was on the verge of tears. He hadn't been emotionally stable since this war became so serious. Hermione stood up and gave him a hug.
"Let us take over from here, Harry," Lupin said standing up as well. He patted Harry on the shoulder. "You've done more than your share. We'll find the Horcruxes, you rest."
"No, I should be helping," Harry said defiantly. Moody stood up and walked towards Harry, his wooden leg lightly hitting the tile as to not attract attention from the sleeping members.
"Listen, son," Moody grumbled softly. "Your job now is to defeat Voldemort in battle. Which means having strength to hold your wand. Rest a few days, let us take some weight off your shoulder."
"Thanks," Harry mumbled. He knew better than to fight against Moody's wishes. "Hermione and Ron have a good idea as to where the remaining Horcruxes are, same with Dumbledore." Tonks patted Harry on the shoulder, she was on the verge of tears, "Thanks for trusting us with this Harry. I feel honored." Harry nodded his head and everyone dispersed to their bedrooms. Everyone knew how to act the next morning, as if nothing had happened.
It was hard to believe that that conversation only occurred a week ago. As Hermione thought about it, it seemed like centuries ago. It must've been even longer for Harry, being stuck in Grimmauld Place without anything to really do.
"Hermione," she heard Mrs. Weasley say as she waved a hand in front of her face. Hermione snapped out of her daze. "It's time for dinner, dear."
"Oh, right," Hermione said quickly standing up. "I'll set the table." Mrs. Weasley sat her back down slowly.
"Let us take care of it dear," she said sympathetically. Hermione hated when people did that, left you alone to think about what happened instead of giving you something to do to keep your mind off of it.
"Mrs. Weasley, if I don't help out I'll just think of what happened and that's not making it better," Hermione said seriously. "Please, let me help." Mrs. Weasley sighed, but shook her head.
"I'm sorry, dear," Mrs. Weasley said, truly meaning it. "Harry's told us to let you take a break." Hermione looked to the left and saw Harry grinning at her. Just another game of his. Hermione rolled her eyes as Mrs. Weasley walked to the sink and started boiling water. She stood up from her chair and walked towards Harry, who acted like he hadn't just smiled towards her.
"You know, I'm capable of handling this myself," she said hitting him on the arm. "I'm not an emotion wreck. I can help out."
"I didn't say you couldn't handle it," shrugged Harry. "I'm just saying you shouldn't need to. Let someone else help out a little bit more. Relax for a few days." Hermione's eyes narrowed, "I'm not relaxing while my parents killers are out there!" Harry put a hand over her mouth, muffling what would have been a very loud yell. He didn't speak or let her go until she had relaxed.
"They'll have their revenge, Hermione," Harry promised. "You can't just walk up to the Death Eaters and kill them instantaneously."
"I'll think of something," said Hermione crossing her arms and turning to walk away. Harry followed her out into the hallway. When she began ascending the stairs, he stopped her with one hand on her shoulder. She turned around, eyes blurry with tears. "What?"
"Do you think that, because you're smarter than everyone else, you can't be an emotional wreck?" asked Harry angrily.
"You think I'm weak for letting my emotions get the best of me, and yet you don't want to sit down and relax because your parents' killers are still out there. Let me tell you something Hermione, Lord Voldemort killed my parents and he's still alive. The minute I was alive, I was a nuisance to the whole world. My parents are dead because of me, Sirius is dead because of me-" By now Harry was yelling, and most of the Order was gathering inside the door to the kitchen, listening.
"Stop blaming yourself for your parents death, Hermione," said Harry angrily. "Don't you get it? It's not your fault! The only thing you did wrong is trust me! I'm the reason they're dead! Those Death Eaters were looking for a way to get to me. Not you, or anyone else. Me. This is all my fault, so STOP trying to help me. Stop telling me to relax, stop telling me that I'm doing a great job. If I was doing such a great job, then why are your parents dead? Why are we still in this bloody mess? Huh? Answer that."
Hermione didn't know how to respond to his statement, she stood there for a minute and then shook her head. "Harry-" she put a hand on his shoulder, but Harry flicked it away.
"Don't touch me," Harry mumbled angrily. "Just leave me alone. All of you. Leave." Harry began to walk up the stairs.
"Harry, we're not deserting you," said Tonks seriously, Harry halted on the steps but didn't turn around.
"It's not desertion if I ask you to do it. Now leave," said Harry seriously.
"You're not doing this alone, Harry," said Lupin walking towards him. Professor Dumbledore stepped in front of him, "I think we should respect Harry's wishes and leave him alone for a while. He needs time to himself."
"You heard Dumbledore," grumbled Moody tapping his wooden leg on the floor. "Everyone go to their stations at Hogwarts. We'll work from there." Hermione watched as the crowd dispersed and left her, Harry, and Dumbledore alone.
"Miss Granger, a word?" asked Professor Dumbledore. Hermione looked back towards Harry and saw him walking up the third set of stairs. She reluctantly turned away from him and followed Dumbledore into the kitchen. "Sit, Miss Granger." She sat in the closet chair she could find, eager to hear what Dumbledore was going to tell her. He was silent for a few minutes, but when he started, he didn't stop or falter once. "From what you've just witnessed, Miss Granger, I'm afraid Harry has little time left to fight. Therefore, the Fourier Flaw cannot be taught to you in full, I'm sorry to say. You need only know the basics of it, for I'm sure your wit will find a way to finish the rest. The incantation for the spell must be done by someone with immense power and training, and it cannot be done by the person who's going back in time. Therefore, I will cast spell in a weeks time-"
"A week? But Professor, will Harry be able to fight this for another week?" she asked quickly.
"The incantation has to be done in a week, Miss Granger or else you won't find yourself in Tom's time period. We must do whatever we can to make this easier on Harry. Keep in mind, Miss Granger, anything that happens up until the time of your departure, won't be changed. You can't change the past, only the future." Hermione nodded her head, still not quite unsure why she had to wait a full week. "This is a very important week for all of us, Miss Granger. I fear Harry won't be able to manage this burden on his own."
"I can stay with him, Professor," Hermione said earnestly. Professor Dumbledore gave a small smile and patted her on the shoulder, "I'm sure you could, Miss Granger. But your time would best be spent in the library. I'll stay with Harry until your departure. After that, it's all up to you."
"Professor, I don't know if I can do this alone. If I've learned anything from Lord Voldemort's life it's that when you stand alone, you fail." Professor Dumbledore nodded his head and winked, "Then don't be alone, Miss Granger."
Hermione searched every row in the library and found nothing on the Fourier Flaw. She had asked Professor McGonagall for the restricted section access, and still had found nothing. She wished she could ask Dumbledore what books to look in, but he was off looking for the Horcruxes with Harry.
The rest of the Order had stationed themselves throughout Hogwarts. Which wasn't crowded due to the fact that school wasn't in session for another month. If they had another month. She tried not to think about the future, but all the Fourier Flaw made her do was think of what might happen next. She had no way of knowing how the future would change once she had slipped into the past. It would, obviously change the second she was thrown back in time. That is, if she even made a difference.
That last thought sparked an idea that made Hermione's mind run at light speed. Picking herself up off the dirty floor of the Hogwarts library, she rushed to the back row of books that most students didn't even bother to glance towards. The Hogwarts Encyclopedia. The one book that held every record, student, and historical event that happened in and around Hogwarts.
The book was huge, and it was only going to get bigger with the start of the school year. She sat herself down on the floor and dragged the book towards her. She opened it to the index, looking for Tom's name. "He's not in here," she voiced her thought out loud. "Why isn't he in here?" Closing the book angrily, she stood up and marched towards Professor McGonagall's classroom. She knocked and opened the door before McGonagall could reply.
Professor McGonagall was dressed in all black and was positioning a hat on her head when Hermione walked in. For a second, Hermione forgot what she had come to ask her. "Are you alright dear?" Professor McGonagall asked setting the hat down on her desk.
"Why are you wearing that?" Hermione asked curiously. Professor McGonagall frowned, "Your parents funeral is in an hour, dear."
"But I thought the funeral service was on Thursday," Hermione said questioningly.
"It is Thursday, dear," Professor McGonagall said apologetically.
"But Harry and Dumbledore are gone, aren't they going to the service with us?" Hermione asked, trying to keep her voice calm. Professor McGonagall nodded her head, "They should be back in the next half hour. Did you need something, dear?"
"Yes, but now that I know Dumbledore will be back soon, I can wait to ask him. Thanks, Professor. I should go get ready," Hermione said as Professor McGonagall gave her an apologetic look. Hermione left Professor McGonagall's office in a hurry, not wanting to see anyone until the service. She hadn't really thought about her parent's death since Sunday, what with the whole Fourier Flaw hanging on her shoulder.
But now that she thought back on it, it didn't sadden her as much as it made her determined to succeed in Dumbledore's plan. She was sad that her parents weren't with her, but if she was actually going to go back in time, erasing herself from this life; then them being dead would be of little significance. She had already lost them, and when she went back in time, they wouldn't remember her. So it was better that they died knowing who she was then living not knowing her. It might've been selfish to think it, but that's how Hermione felt.
"Where have you been? The funeral's in less than an hour!" Ginny exclaimed when Hermione walked into the dormitory a half hour later.
"Sorry," she said apologetically. "I didn't realize today was Thursday. I've been busy."
"You can't be that busy that you don't even remember the day," Ginny said seriously. "What is it that Dumbledore's been making you look up in the library, anyway?"
"Nothing," Hermione shrugged, rummaging through her luggage for the black dress Mrs. Weasley had sent her. She found it at the bottom, and pulled it out quickly.
"Yeah, I'm sure it's nothing. That's why it was a secret meeting," Ginny sneered. Hermione put the dress on the bed and turned towards Ginny.
"What's got your wand all tied in a knot?" asked Hermione.
"I'm sick of being out of the loop, that's all," said Ginny combing her hair. Hermione rolled her eyes and quickly changed into the dress. When she finished she walked over to Ginny, put her hand on her shoulder and said, "Listen, Ginny. I wish I could tell you, but Dumbledore asked that I tell no one. Harry doesn't even know about this." Ginny nodded her head and gave a small smile. Hermione sighed, "What's really going on?"
Ginny looked down at her hands, still holding the comb, and whispered, "I'm scared."
Hermione hypothesized, "I understand that this war is petrifying, but we'll get through this. All of us." Ginny shook her head. "Come on, Ginny. You've got to believe we can win this thing."
"No, it's not the war I'm scared of," she said, raising her left hand. Hermione hadn't even noticed the huge diamond ring on her finger, but now that she saw it, she wondered how she could ever miss it.
"Oh my God, Ginny, this is wonderful!" Hermione smiled as she hugged Ginny. "When did he propose?"
"This morning before he left with Dumbledore," she smiled looking down at the ring. "I knew he would ask me, but now that he has…"
"You're worried about him dying," said Hermione understandingly.
"If Harry died, I don't think I could live with myself," Ginny said seriously. "I mean, I wouldn't want to live in a world with Lord Voldemort ruling over us anyways. But to think of a life without Harry…it doesn't seem real." Hermione gave a wry smile and hugged her again, determined more than ever to succeed.
"Harry won't die," she said forcefully. "I promise you that Ginny. You and Harry will live to be a hundred, and see your children have children." Ginny smiled. "And Harry will be the best Auror the world has ever seen, right beside Ron." At that, Ginny laughed, as did Hermione. "I'm glad to see you laugh. Now come on, we've got a funeral to attend." Together they walked down to the Great Hall, where the service was suppose to take place. Ginny found Harry as she walked in, and they walked around together, holding hands. Hermione couldn't help but smile at the two of them. She quickly reminded herself that she had business to take care of.
She found Dumbledore sitting in a chair in the middle of the Great Hall. He had a cup of water in one hand and his wand in the other. He looked awfully tired from the day's adventure. Hermione grabbed a chair and dragged it next to his. She sat down quickly and waited for Dumbledore to speak to her.
It took him all of five minutes to realize she was there, he was in some sort of daze from the looks of it. "My dear, Miss Granger, I hope you haven't been waiting for me too long," he mumbled as he brought himself back into reality.
"Not long at all, Professor," smiled Hermione. "Professor?" Dumbledore mumbled. "I looked in the Hogwarts Encyclopedia, and…"
"Excellent, I'm glad you knew where to look, Miss Granger," smiled Professor Dumbledore clapping his hands together happily.
"Yes, well, when I opened the encyclopedia, Tom wasn't in it anywhere," she said noticing Professor Dumbledore's face darken. "Do you know why?"
"Very strange," he noted putting his fingers together thoughtfully. "My only assumption would be that someone in this school erased all the information on him. Draco, perhaps?" Hermione nodded her head. She hated to hear his name, Draco Malfoy. Of course he would become a Death Eater, it was in his blood. But to be a Death Eater and still come to school, that was a little over the limit. Dumbledore waved it off like it was nothing, "No matter, the Headmaster always has a copy of the book for researches. I'll have one of the elves send it to your dormitory."
"If you had the book all along, Professor, then why didn't you just give it to me on Sunday?" Hermione asked irately. Professor Dumbledore turned to her, with a twinkle in his eyes, and said, "You wouldn't learn anything if the answers were merely handed to you, Miss Granger, now would you?" Hermione couldn't stay mad at Dumbledore, even when he was completely insane and unrealistic. Professor Dumbledore stood up then, and lead the funeral ceremony. Hermione couldn't pay attention, she was still in awe over Professor Dumbledore's insanity. She had wasted so much time looking in the library, when Dumbledore had had the information in his office all along. So much time had been wasted.
Hermione was surprised Dumbledore didn't ask her to say a few words about her parents, though she was happy he didn't ask. She knew she'd start crying the minute she got up there, and then no one would be able to understand her. Harry and Ginny, who had both spent half of the previous summer at her house, did say a few words on both her parents. And she couldn't help but smile as they told stories of the previous summer.
When they were finished, Dumbledore closed the ceremony, and slowly everyone left the Great Hall. Soon the only people left were those who had been there before; the Order. Even with all them around, Hermione felt alone. Even with Ron's hand in hers, she felt alone.
"Hermione, you alright?" Ron asked as the four of them left the Great Hall together.
"I'm just tired," lied Hermione. "I think I'm going to just head to bed."
"But it's only noon," Harry said curiously.
"I've been staying up late, researching in the library," said Hermione with a yawn, trying to make the lie seem more real to not just them, but herself as well.
Ron laughed, "Hermione, school hasn't even started yet, so what are you studying?"
"I'd like to know that myself," said Harry raising an eyebrow. "I bet it has to do with whatever Dumbledore said to you, doesn't it?"
"Stop being so hypocritical, Harry," Hermione said angrily. "I told you, Dumbledore doesn't want me telling anyone. You should respect both of our wishes. You asked me to leave you alone, and I did. So why can't you do the same?"
"Sorry," mumbled Harry looking at Ginny anxiously. He whispered something to her, and she shrugged.
"Besides, I'm not going to be around for the school year anyways," Hermione mumbled annoyed. She didn't like when Harry and Ginny whispered like that. Made her feel like they were talking about her.
"You're WHAT?" asked Ron stopping dead in his tracks. "You can't not be here Hermione, I mean, who am I going to cheat off of?"
"I'm sure you and Potter will find another victim you can leech yourselves onto," said a voice from behind them. Hermione closed her eyes, knowing who it was; as did the others. Ginny scowled and Ron turned red. Harry, on the other hand, completely ignored the intrusion.
"I'm not letting you ruin your life, Hermione, you of all people can't not go to school!"
"It's not up to you, Mr. Potter. This has to do with Hermione's future…well, past I would assume, if Dumbledore's riddle has in fact not befuddled me."
"Shut up, Snape," Harry snarled turning to glare towards him. Professor Snape stood behind them, arms folded, with a look of satisfaction on his face.
"It's 'Professor Snape' to you, Mr. Potter," said Professor Snape. "And I have something for Miss Granger." He cleared his throat and looked at Hermione quizzically.
"You might as well give it to me now, it's not like they'll remember anyways," Hermione said, holding out her hand.
"You may want two hands," Professor Snape smiled as he handed her a large book he had hidden in his cloak.
"Dumbledore said that an elf was going to bring this to my dormitory," Hermione said looking at the Hogwarts Encyclopedia. Ron mumbled something under his breathe, and Snape shot a glare at him.
"The elves have just been detained by the Ministry," said Snape still glaring at Ron. "I'm not allowed to say why, but Dumbledore wanted me to give it to you immediately. He says you have two days, and then you leave." Hermione nodded her head. Snape, still glaring at a laughing Ron, turned to leave. After a few steps he turned back, and smacked Ron across the head. Hermione turned to leave as Snape went the other way. She was already flipping through the book.
"What is that?" Harry asked as Ron mumbled again, angrily this time.
"The Hogwarts Encyclopedia, it has everyone from the opening of the school till now," Hermione said matter-of-factly. Hermione could feel the three of them watching her closely as she stopped in the 'R' section. She ran down the list, found his name, and flipped back through the large book until she landed on his picture. Below it, was a long list of awards and academics he had been in. At the bottom of that was a page number, followed by the title 'Dark Magic'.
"Hermione," Harry said sadly. "Oh God, please don't tell me Dumbledore wants you to go back and time and stop all this from happening."
"What if he does?" Hermione mumbled casually.
"You're not thinking of agreeing with it, are you?" asked Ron and Ginny at the same time.
"I already told him I would, and it doesn't matter what you say, because you'll all forget about this the second I'm gone. And don't ask to go with, I'm not going to let you come," Hermione said firmly. "Why waste all our lives."
"It wouldn't be a waste, Hermione, we can do this with you," Ginny said excitedly.
Hermione passed the book to Ron and stopped them in front of the dormitory door. "You want to give up this?" she threw her hands in the air. "You want to give up all that we've worked so hard to keep intact? What about you two getting married? What about your parents, Ron? Ginny? Harry, you can't leave. Even if Lord Voldemort would be stopped in his track, the world still needs you. They don't need a smart witch like me."
"I'm not letting you do this alone!" Harry said firmly.
"My minds already made up, Harry, and you're not going," said Hermione.
"Dumbledore will let me go," said Harry seriously.
"Don't pull that on me! I swear, if you come Harry, I'm staying," said Hermione forcefully.
"Good," Harry nodded his head. "Then I'll go kill Voldemort and then I'll come back."
"You can't come back," said Hermione fuming now. "Don't you get it? Once you've gone through that long period of time, there's no way you can come back. You'll be forever forgotten in this world. You'll be, literally, a thing of the past. You don't want that Harry."
"And you don't either," said Harry.
"I'm giving up one thing, one thing to save the people and world I love," said Hermione. "Please, Harry, don't ruin that."
"If I send someone else with you, other than the three of us, will that be okay?" asked Harry sadly.
"Why?" Hermione looked at him quizzically.
"I don't want you to be alone, Hermione," said Harry truthfully. "And you could use someone else's help."
"Who were you thinking of sending with me?" asked Hermione worriedly.
"Just answer, yes or no," said Harry. "And if you say no, I swear, Hermione, I'm coming with you myself."
"Fine, fine, you can send anyone else you want, but not yourself," Hermione said angrily. "I can't believe I'm agreeing to this, but yes." Harry smiled.
"I'll go talk to Dumbledore then," he said, kissing Ginny on the cheek. "I'll be back soon. I know the perfect people to come with you." Hermione rolled her eyes and stomped off to her dormitory, leaving Ginny and Ron in the hallway by themselves.
Hermione knocked on Dumbledore's door three days later. She had a small bag of essentials, along with her new identity Professor Snape had told her she would need just yesterday. She heard a soft "come in" and entered.
She was still unsure about where Harry, Ron and Ginny were. She thought they would want to say good-bye to her. When she entered the room, Dumbledore was not alone. There were three other people with him, all of which were unidentifiable to Hermione.
"Ah, Miss Granger," Dumbledore said peering around one of the men. He ushered her forward. "Come, come, meet the three wizards that will be going with you." Hermione moved forward and peered at the three wizards.
"Hermione," smiled Dumbledore, a twinkle in his eyes. "This is Auror's Kenton, Morris, and Jenson." As Dumbledore spoke their names, they gave a distinct nod in her direction. She smiled back.
"Aurors? I'm sorry, Professor, but don't you think Aurors are a bit too old for school?" Hermione asked with a laugh. She saw Kenton smile.
Dumbledore, half laughing, said, "They're going to be spies amongst the Death Eaters that Tom will have already had under his grasp. Rest assured, Hermione, they're the best of the best, and only need a snap of the finger to be a teenager again." Hermione nodded. "Are you ready to go, then?"
Hermione nodded again, but still wanted to know where Harry, Ron and Ginny were. She was about to ask when someone knocked on the door. Dumbledore stood up and opened the door himself. Ginny, Harry and Ron walked in; they all looked tired.
"They're ready to go then," said Dumbledore with a smile. "Harry, Ron and Ginny have been practicing the spell all night." Hermione looked at Dumbledore questioningly. "You need at least two non-travelers to do the spell. Three, if one of the wizards is under the age of twenty. Ginny just wanted to help, I wouldn't deny her that right." Hermione nodded her head and gave Harry, Ron and Ginny hugs.
"Don't forget me," Hermione half joked. The three Aurors gathered around her, and Dumbledore, Harry, Ron and Ginny circled around the four of them.
"Close your eyes," Harry said matter-of-factly. "It'll be quicker." Hermione nodded her head and did as she was told. She could feel the Aurors beside her shaking. With fear? Or with excitement? Hermione couldn't feel anything, in the moment she was about to be erased from the world she loved; she could feel nothing. She just wanted it to end.
She heard Harry, Ron, Hermione and Dumbledore's voice speak a language she was so familiar with that she, herself, could understand the meaning. The French words ran off their tongues as if they, themselves, knew what they were speaking. The room around her became so bright that her eyes, still shut, could see the whiteness of it. The incantation was no more than two sentences, but the time never seemed to end.
A/N: Let me know what you guys think. I hope you liked it. And YES you'll hear from Tom Riddle soon. It wouldn't be his fanfiction if he weren't in it, now would it? _