So, for those where have been waiting, my new story is finally here. Its a Hermione/Tom Riddle fic. For those who aren't HG/TR shippers - read on, you may very well be converted! ;) But on a more serious note, the story is more than just the a romance, the adventure side plays a strong part, which is why I believe you don't have to be HG/TR shippers to enjoy it.
My aim with this story is for it to be well written and explore the more creative adventure side of things that a lot of authors fail to take advantage of. It's a story that will (hopefully) make you think.
Oh, and I'm a firm believer in characters being IN CHARACTER. One of the problems writers face with unusual pairings is that they end up making the characters out of character (without proper justification) which is unfortunate. I'll try hard to avoid this, and will appreciate any feedback if I slip up.
I'm really excited about it and hope you will enjoy it too! Feedback is much appreciated.
Now, on with the story!
"Harry, I'm telling you – this isn't going to work," Hermione sighed, watching her best friend walk back and forth before the wall that concealed the door way into the Room of Requirement, eyes scrunched and fists clenched in determination, her own expression a mixture of pity and exasperation. It was the third time she and Ron had been forced to stop opposite the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy by a very determined Harry, and while she certainly admired his determination, she wished he would admit defeat. After all, it would look rather odd if they were found in a seventh floor corridor when they should be on their way to Hogsmeade, like everyone else.
Harry gave her a displeased look, and then sighed deeply, shaking his head.
"Look, Hermione," he said, "Why don't you just give it a try? You know you're smarter than me, I'm sure you can think of a way to get the room to open."
"You know this has nothing to do with intelligence!" she replied, exasperated, "It's obvious – Malfoy asked the room to become a place where no one can find him or see what he is doing, unless he has given it express permission."
"But can't you just try Hermione?" Harry pleaded, "If anyone can do this, I know you can."
She fought hard not to roll her eyes, and looked over at Ron for support. He, however, seemed much too busy watching Barnabas trip over his own feet to catch her eye. She scowled, turned back to Harry, and gave an exaggerated sigh of defeat.
"Okay, fine," she said, stepping forward to stand in front of the wall.
"Thanks, Hermione!" Harry exclaimed, patting her shoulder encouragingly before stepping back to let her do her work.
"Excellent," she heard Ron say to Harry, "This should be good."
Great. Now he chooses to get involved, she thought.
Shaking her head to clear her thoughts, she focused her gaze carefully on the blank wall, her brows drawing together in concentration. But her mind was blank – she could not think of a single sentence that Harry had not already tried and failed with.
What I need is a different approach.
"Right, I obviously can't ask it to show me the place where Malfoy is doing something – because he obviously would have made sure the room kept it all a secret," she muttered, more to herself than anyone else, "But there must surely be a loop hope somewhere – wait a minute, maybe…"
"Maybe, what?" Harry asked eagerly.
Hermione turned to face him, a thoughtful expression plastered on her face, "A loop hole, there must be a loop hole, right? There's no way Malfoy would be smart enough to cover everything."
"Right," said Ron slowly, his head choked slightly to the side as he tried to follow her train of thought, "And how are we meant to figure out this loop hole if we don't know what he told the room?"
"That's just it!" Hermione said, , "We might not need to know what he said, we might not even need to know what the loop hole is, and we just need to ask the room to show us whatever it can by using one of the loop holes!"
"We need to ask what?" asked Ron, throwing a confused look over to Harry, how looked equally clueless.
"Why don't you just give it a try, Hermione," Harry said quickly.
"Okay, here it goes," she replied, turning eagerly to the wall, her excitement mounting as she realized she may have just figured it out.
Was Malfoy really up to something? Well, only one way to find out.
She paused for a moment, thinking up the best way to construct her request.
Concentrating hard, as though she were performing a test, she clearly thought the words: show what Malfoy has been doing, using any loop hole that you can.
She walked past the wall three times, and after the third time, whirled around to look at the wall, and found it –
A blank wall – no sign of a door at all, not so much as a rusty handle. Hermione felt her heart sink.
"Why didn't it work?" Ron asked.
"Wait – let me think it over," she said, frowning, unwilling to give up now that she had been faced with a challenge. She paced back and forth for a moment, thinking hard, and then it struck her.
"Of course!" she exclaimed, and turned to stand in front of the again.
I need you to show me the results of the loopholes in Malfoy's order to the room.
This time, she had made no reference at all to what Malfoy was doing in the room – for she knew that if she did, it would most likely be covered by Malfoy's direct orders, and therefore not work.
She walked three times across the wall once again, and this time, when she turned to face it, her eyes closed, and when she opened them –
"It worked!" cried Harry, jumping forward to towards the door that had just materialized where there was once a blank stretch of wall.
"Brilliant, Hermione," beamed Ron, patting her back, "Bloody brilliant."
"Thanks, Ron," she said, pleased with her achievement.
"Ready, guys?" said Harry, his hand firmed clasping the door handle, and his elated grin almost manic.
After encouraging nods from both Ron and Hermione, Harry threw open the door, and three simultaneous gasps echoed through the hall.
It didn't work.
Those were the first words that sprung to Hermione's mind when she saw the room. It was massive – perhaps three or four times larger than the Great Hall, it's high rising windows the only source of light to illuminate the towering rows of items – books, broken toys, damaged furniture, torn cloaks and muddy, blood stained robes, swords and jewellery, and even an odd, rusty suit of armour or two.
"What on earth is this crap?" said Ron, breaking the stunned silence and stepping into the room, followed quickly by Harry and Hermione, who closed the door behind them for good measure.
He leaned forward and picked up a rusty, blood stained sword and swung it above his head, though clearly, it was much heavier than he anticipated for it fell from his arms and landed with an awful noise which echoed dreadfully in the large room.
"Ron!" Hermione chastised, "This isn't the time!"
She looked over at Harry, and was surprised to see that he was not looking at the room in surprise, as she was, but rather with confusion and what was clearly recognition.
"What is it, Harry?" she asked, "You look like you've seen this place before."
"That's because I have seen it before," he stated, his eyes narrowing as he looked down the many rows.
"What? What do you mean?" she asked, astounded by his reply.
"This is where I hid the book! The Half-Blood Prince's book!" he said, his pace quickening with every word he spoke, "I asked the room for a place to hide my book, and it gave me this room! That's it! Malfoy must have done the same, he must have asked the room for a place to hide his – his something, whatever he is working on – and this is what the room gave him!"
Hermione's eyes widened with understanding.
"Of course!" she breathed, "That explains why there are so many things – this must be the dirty laundry of hundreds of generations of Hogwarts staff and students! Those swords, they must have been here for centuries!"
She looked around the room again, in awe at the sheer history contained within these walls.
"This is amazing," she said, picking up an old text book entitled Mastering Magic: The Do's and Don't of Successful Witchcraft and Wizardry. It looked older than any book she had ever seen, and half the pages were missing. Those that remained were covered with scorch marks.
"Amazing?" Ron scoffed, looking around the room with apprehension, "This isn't amazing, this is annoying! How on earth are we ever going to figure out which of this stuff belongs to Malfoy?"
Hermione let the book fall to the floor, her excitement crashing with it, when she realized that Ron had a point.
"We'll never find anything," Harry said, shaking his head in frustration. He stalked forward through the rows, walking towards the end of the room.
"Harry? Where are you going?" she called after him.
"To get my book back!"
She opened her mouth quickly to say something, but Ron cut her off.
"Just drop it Hermione," he said quietly, "You know he's not going to leave the book, no matter what you say."
She knew he was right, but that did not stop her from shaking her head in annoyance. She held her silence, however, and followed Ron as he walked towards Harry, carefully stepping over fallen items.
"Hey, look," said Ron, stopping suddenly, a mischievous grin plastered on his face, "Isn't that the Vanishing Cabinet that Montague got lost in last year?"
Hermione looked to see where he was pointed, and was surprised to see the very same large, mahogany cabinet, clearly broken, but standing tall nonetheless.
"Yes, it is," she said, "But what on earth is it doing here?"
"Suppose one of the house-elves must have been asked to get rid of it, and this was the only place they could think of. I thought I saw a few empty bottles of butterbeer back there… Hey, Harry, you seen this, mate?"
Harry came walking over, the cursed book in his hands. Hermione glared at it.
"What is it? Oh, the cabinet, yeah I saw it last time I came in here..." he leaned forward, examining the crack running across its side, "Hey, what's this?"
"What?" Hermione asked, stepping forward for a better look.
"Someone's hung a necklace on here," he said.
Indeed, someone had. And it was the most amazing necklace Hermione had ever seen. It's chain was in fact two chains, one of gold and one of silver, seamlessly entwined around one another. The most intricate pendant was attached to it – a silver square, embedded with the reddest ruby, the greenest emerald and the bluest sapphire she had ever seen in her life, as well as a dazzlingly yellow gemstone that she had never come across before. The silver it was contained in was intricately carved with patterns she did not recognize; they looked like ruins, but unlike those that were taught at Hogwarts. It was clear that the necklace was old – antique even. She felt almost too awed touch it, but for some inexplicable reason, found herself drawn to it.
"It's beautiful," she whispered, pulling the necklace down for a better look.
Ron let out a long whistle, "I'll bet that's worth a thousand galleons or two, easy."
"But that doesn't help us at all," said Harry, apparently having forgotten that it was he who had pointed out the necklace in the first place, "No amount of gold is going to show us what Malfoy is up to in here."
But his words fell on deaf ears; Hermione was too busy examining the necklace – which she had just placed around her neck – to take any notice, and Ron was now rummaging through the pills of junk, clearly hoping to come across more treasures, and by the sounds of his jubilant exclamations, succeeding.
All three of them, however, were jolted back to the present when they heard the unmistakable sound of a door opening, and a voice that could only belong to Draco Malfoy.
"Remember, drop the scales if you see anyone, okay?" he said angrily, "And don't you dare sneak off to Hogsmeade!"
"Merlin's beard!" mouthed Ron, his eyes wide as he looked back and forth between the other two.
"Quick," Harry mouthed, grabbing the door of the cabinet and motioning for them to enter – the Vanishing Cabinet. The broken Vanishing Cabinet.
"Harry, Ron, no!" she whispered furiously, but it was too late.
Ron had already jumped inside, and Harry, ever stronger than herself, pulled her inside despite her silent protests, jumped in after her and closed the door behind them.
The moment the door clicked shut, the world around her seemed to have dissolved, and with a terrible lurch that flung her off the cabinet floor, she felt herself being thrown backward at an incredible pace. Colours and odd shaped blurred past her, she could feel Ron and Harry bumping into her on either side. Her ears felt like they were ready to explode, though try as she might, she could not hear the cry that she knew had escaped from her own lips. She felt an odd warmth against her chest as the necklace pressed against her chest.
And then, as suddenly as it started, it stopped, and the world reappeared around her as her feet found solid ground again. She knew the only reason she had not yet vomited the entire contents of her stomach was because she felt like she had no stomach at all. There as silence for a moment, and then –
"What in the name of Merlin's saggy Y-fronts just happened?" she heard Ron exclaim from besides her.
"Shut up!" hissed Harry, "Malfoy will hear you!"
"No, he won't," Hermione said, the dread mounting inside her as she made a terrible realization.
"Why not?" Harry replied.
"Harry – I – I think, oh Harry! I think we've gone back in time!" she moaned, leaning back against the cabinet wall behind her, burying her head in her hands.
The jewellery Ron was holding slipped out his hands, but he did not seem to notice.
"You think what?" he gasped.
"Gone back in time," she repeated.
"What on earth makes you think that?" Harry questioned.
"Harry, I didn't spend my whole third year using a time turner for nothing," she replied sharply, "I know that feeling! The way everything dissolved, the way we were lurched backwards, the way we flew backwards! What were you two thinking? Jumping into a broken Vanishing Cabinet! Honestly, don't you two use your brains? Obviously it wasn't safe!"
"But that was way more painful than the time I did it," Harry said.
"I know," she said, frowning, "It's odd."
"But why would it have made us go back in time, even if it was broken?" Ron asked sceptically, as he picked up the jewellery he had dropped. Apparently, after the initial shock, he did not seem to believe Hermione's theory.
"I don't know," Hermione said, shaking her head, "I – I don't understand, I mean, it should transport us through space – not time."
"Hear that Harry?" Ron said, rolling her eyes, "Something Hermione doesn't understand. That'll be a first, that will."
"Oh, shut up, Ron," Hermione snapped, "I don't see you trying to help –"
"Well, there's only one way to find out," he replied loudly, and moved forward to open the cabinet door.
"No!" Harry whisper harshly, grabbing Ron's hand and pulling him back, "Malfoy might still be out there! Here, put the cloak on."
Harry pulled his Invisibility Cloak out of this backpack, and threw it over the three of them, Ron and Harry both bending their knees to make sure the cloak covered them all.
"Good thing we thought to take this to Hogsmeade with us," Hermione muttered, "Ron – will you stop fidgeting? Your feet are going to show!"
"Well, hold on a second, I just need to put this stuff in my pocket – okay, ready," he replied, jewellery stowed away carefully in his pockets.
Harry reached out a hand and opened the door, and for the second time in less than an hour, the three of them gasped in unison.
They were not in the Room of Requirement. They were not even on the seventh floor. They were in the Entrance Hall.
Hermione found herself breathing hard as the three of them stepped carefully out of the Vanishing Cabinet.
Okay Hermione, calm down, you must have come out in the other Vanishing Cabinet, that's all – but there was never another Vanishing Cabinet in the Entrance Hall. Oh, no! We haven't really gone back in time, have we?
"Hermione, stop breathing so loud, someone will hear us!" Ron whispered angrily.
"In case you haven't noticed, Mr, Sensitivity, there isn't anyone here to hear us, and it's the dead of the night!" she whispered back furiously, pointing at a nearby window which showed the pitch black sky with was sprinkled with stars.
"Will you two shut up?" Harry said, "This isn't helping! What on earth are we doing in the Entrance Hall, and why is it so dark? You don't think we really have gone back in time, do you, Hermione?"
Hermione bit her lip in worry.
"I – I guess we might have, just a few hours back, it felt like a few hours, anyway."
She looked around the Entrance Hall, hoping to see some kind of sign, a clue, but there was nothing, except –
"Hey," Harry said, frowning, "Since when was Gryffindor second in the House Champions ships? And why is Slytherin first? Ravenclaw was first at dinner time last night..."
"You're right," said Ron slowly, "And the scores weren't so neck to neck either…"
There was a moment's silence.
"You don't think we really have gone back in time, do you?" Ron repeated, "Much further back then we thought?"
"There's only one way to find out," Hermione said heavily, "Come on, let's go to the library, they'll have a copy of today's newspaper… we can check the date."
And so the three of them made their way to the library. It was a silent walk, except for the occasion whisperings of "Hey, since when did that painting hang there?" or "I could have sworn there was a crack in this wall."
But it was not until they reached the library that Hermione knew for certain that something was wrong – for the library looked nothing like how she remembered. Sure, the tables were all in the same places as they had been the previous night, but they looked different, less worn, covered with less graffiti. A good number of shelves were missing, and the librarians desk looked like someone had thrown out everything owned by Ms Pince and replaced it.
She cast a grim look at the others. She knew from their own grim looks that they too realized something was wrong.
They stepped in to the library carefully, quietly, and Hermione immediately noticed a dim light emanating from the Restricted Section.
No doubt a student taking advantage of the night time.
She nudged Harry.
"What?" he breathed into her ear.
She indicated her head in the direction of the source of the light, and both he and Ron followed her gaze.
"Remember, we must not be seen!" she mouthed, shuddering inwardly at the thought that they might run into their younger selves.
Thankfully, Harry and Ron both nodded in understanding, and they made their way towards the stack of newspapers which was, fortunately, very far away from the Restricted Section.
The newspapers were stacked on selves, separated by date. There was a section for today, which was currently empty, most likely to make room for the fresh stack of news papers to arrive the following morning. Hermione moved instead to the pile of newspapers listed under 'This week'. She picked up the nearest paper, the Daily Prophet, but it looked nothing like the Daily Prophet she was familiar with. Her eyes flickered to the date printed on the top right hand corner, and it was all she could do to contain a gasp by clasping her hands to her mouth.
"What? What year is it?" Ron whispered nervously, "Go on, just say it!"
But she could not bring herself to speak. Instead, she held the paper out for them to read for themselves.
"No, no way," Ron muttered, his eyes wide, "It can't be!"
"Hermione, you said it felt like a few hours only!" Harry moaned, "How on earth did we end up in September, 1943!?"