¥ I don't own anything or anyone you recognize. It's all J. K. Rowling's. Sad, but true.
Summary: Severus Snape has to fulfil a highly important task in the future. Hermione accompanies him as an assistant and – most of all – because she's familiar with the correct use of a Time-Turner. They are to face a surprise in that different time.From this day on
Chapter 1 -An unusual task-
"You want to send me… What?!" Severus Snape stared at the white-haired wizard in front of him in disbelief. "But – Albus - you can't possibly be serious about – this?"
"And why not, my dear Severus?" the old man smiled. "Be aware that despite my ancient appearance, I'm still in full possession of my mental health."
Severus didn't react to the mocking note in the other man's voice though. "But Albus, if I got you right, you-" he shook his head slightly as if to clear his confused thoughts, "you want me to brew a potion in – in the future?" he added carefully.
"Yes, Severus." All mocking was gone from Dumbledore's voice now. With an almost piercing stare, he fixed the younger man's gaze.
"You of all people should know, the Curse-breaking Potion we're speaking of is one of the most complex and difficult mixtures imaginable. If we read that ancient rune-scripting correctly, and I can only hope we did, it will bring us the one cure against evil that has been desired over the centuries but never been found. It will bring us freedom, Severus. And peace."
"But Albus," the younger wizard started hesitantly, "what you ask of me is just – unimaginable!"
"The wizarding world needs your help, Severus," Dumbledore continued urgently. "Won't you give it to them – to us?"
"Well, Albus," the other man croaked uncomfortably, "what can I say to this? You've done me so much good. How can I refuse to do anything you ask of me?"
"You needn't do it for me, Severus!"
The old man's eyes fixed his with an intense stare. "But just imagine how many innocent lives could be saved! I can't think of anyone else who is that skilled at potions brewing and whom I'd trust as much as you!"
"But what you ask of me is – Well, I'd need at least one additional pair of hands and eyes," Severus sighed. "I can't do this alone! It's completely out of the question. It's just not possible!"
At that the familiar twinkle returned to Dumbledore's eyes. "Ahh-" he smiled, "I've thought about this, Severus. You needn't do it alone. You'll get an assistant."
Severus' eyebrows rose in surprise. "Indeed, Albus? But who would…"
Just that instant, the heavy wooden door to the headmaster's office creaked open and Minerva McGonagall entered the room. She was accompanied by the Gryffindor Head Girl – Hermione Granger.
"Her? Albus?!" Severus gasped in disbelief.
"What about me?" Hermione asked nervously. Her eyes settled on the elder witch. "Professor?"
Professor McGonagall gave her a calming smile. "The Headmaster asked for you, my dear. He'll explain things to you."
"Did I do anything wrong?" Hermione asked tensely.
Snape glared at her. "Well, did you, Miss Granger? That's quite an interesting question, but not the point of discussion right now, I'm afraid," he remarked with his trademark sneer.
"Don't annoy your assistant, Severus," Dumbledore chuckled. "You might need her help." Snape didn't respond to this, but Hermione noticed the sour expression on his face. "The Headmaster has a task for us, Miss Granger," he told her stiffly.
"A task?" she asked in surprise.
"Yes," Dumbledore assured her, "I have. I would like to ask you to assist Professor Snape with brewing a very complicated and utmost important potion."
"What potion?" Hermione asked, bewildered.
"One that is not known to any human being thus far, Miss Granger. One that might be able to bring us victory over the Dark Lord and his followers," Snape told her sternly.
"Really?" she gasped excitedly, "but how - "
"You know the Unforgivable Curses, Miss Granger?" Snape asked with an intense stare.
She nodded, trembling. "Y-yes-"
"Good," Snape nodded approvingly. "As you most likely know, muggle technology doesn't work around Hogwarts, Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley. The electromagnetic field is so strong around these places that muggle electricity is distracted by it. What magic requires is the ability to gather all this electrical or magnetic movement into one bundle of strength, and focus your willpower on the one thing which you want to happen. The wand and spell-words are only an addition to emphasise that strength. You can't just point your wand at something, mutter a few words without concentration, and expect magic to happen. It requires focus. Almost every spell works that way. Summarising and Levitation-spells work along the magnetic line, whereas most Duelling-spells are of electrical origin. Tarantellegra, for example, arouses muscular response to electrical impulse. As this impulse is given from outside - by the spell - it isn't intentional movement of course, but the muscular response is the same nonetheless. It's the willpower of another wizard that causes the movement. Do you understand, Miss Granger?"
Hermione frowned slightly with concentration, but nodded. "Yes, I think I do, Professor."
"On a more serious level," he continued, "the Imperius Curse works along these lines, as well. Muscular activity is caused by changes in the electrical potential of membranes. Avada Kedavra is no exception to this. It blasts a shock-wave of electrical impulse at the electro-sensitive part of the heart, disturbs its regular activity and causes the end of any useful muscular contractions. You'll possibly know that heart activities are stimulated by electrical impulse, Miss Granger. Its activity can be observed by what muggle-medi-wizards call an electrocardiogram. The potions we are speaking of affect both of these. One increases the level at which electrical impulse - given from the outside - causes a muscular response, and is therefore useful to reduce electrical sensitivity to the Imperius Curse. The other one is able to block Avada Kedavra, which causes ineffective arrhythmic heart movement and - death. These two potions need to be pipetted carefully into one another, until both of them turn into crystal clear liquid. It's of utmost importance to add the exact amount of potion by drops. If there is only the slightest bit too little, the essence won't work. If it's too much, it becomes toxic. I can't do this on my own, Miss Granger."
"If you are to succeed in your plan – and I hope you will – the potion could be the one and deciding defence in our battle against the Dark Lord," Dumbledore interjected earnestly.
"There's just one casual matter that the Headmaster didn't tell you so far, Miss Granger," Snape continued with a sneer.
"After the first working steps, this potion needs to rest for – about – five years, until it can be completed - and as it's needed right now - we are expected to travel those five years into the future to finish our task there and bring the potion back to our time. The potion can't - mustn't - be moved through time, unless it's finished. It's too sensitive as long as it's not completed. We need to stay in the future as long as it takes us to fulfil this task. Probably a few days. At the very least."
Hermione just stared at him.
"How is it, Miss Granger? Are you willing to take such a risk?" Dumbledore asked softly. "We wouldn't think any less of you, if you refuse."
Hermione tried to clear her thoughts. "I would be honoured," she muttered hoarsely.
She noticed Snape looking at her with surprise, before he hid his emotions behind a sneer again.
About a week later, they stood in Dumbledore's office once again. The potion had been prepared and was stowed safely in a secret nook at the Potions Master's quarters.
"Well then," Dumbledore broke the silence, "we had better get this over with now. Please remember not to interfere with anything in the future. All you have to do is get that potion here. We don't know for sure, if you will know about this task in the future. So it's probably better not to cross your future self's way, Severus. Bear that in mind, will you? Here's your Time-Turner and the cloak."
"Our Time-Turner, Albus?" Snape frowned. "You'll surely have one for each of us, don't you?"
"Oh-no, Severus. It's absolutely necessary that you travel by the same Time-Turner. It's too dangerous to send each of you by your own one. You might get out at different points of time. And Miss Granger can be of help to you, you know? She is familiar with the correct use of a Time-Turner. Without her help, it would be far too dangerous for you to travel that far in time."
At that he looked at her, his eyes full of concern. "Take care of the both of you, will you?"
Hermione nodded, her throat too tight to speak. When she looked up, she caught a death glare from Snape and flinched back.
"And you need to share that Invisibility Cloak as well. I'm sorry," Dumbledore continued, oblivious to their uneasiness. "You could hardly communicate if you're invisible, could you? You can't just talk to each other as it's absolutely necessary for you not to be heard, either. Staying in contact would turn out similar to searching for the 'Invisible Book Of Invisibility'. Nasty task, I can tell you. Just ask the shop assistant at 'Flourish and Blotts' about it …tsk tsk tsk."
Hermione and Snape stared at each other in shock. They both felt quite uncomfortable with their task and the forced closeness that came along with it.
When Dumbledore handed the Time-Turner to her, Hermione took it with trembling fingers.
"It has been adjusted, so it transports you a year ahead each time you turn it over. It's now a Year-Glass. Be careful you turn it the right way around. Clockwise, from your view, Miss Granger, remember that. Clockwise."
Hermione nodded. "Well then," she muttered nervously, "you need to bend down a little, so I can place that chain around your neck, Professor."
With a tense movement, Snape followed her command. He bowed his head and she threw the thin golden chain around his neck, too. They were very close to each other now. A few strands of Snape's hair brushed against her cheek and Hermione noticed that it didn't feel greasy at all. He did smell nice, too. It was a mixture of various potions ingredients, she supposed, but luckily not the nasty ones. He smelled of pine-needles and resin, dry flux-weed – and something she couldn't quite put a finger on. It had to be his very own scent. It smelled of strength and willpower - if that could be expressed in a scent at all. It made her head spin. She had to turn her face away. This was a highly important task she had to fulfil. She couldn't risk to be distracted by – anything.
"Take – take a grip on my shoulders," she told him tensely.
His warm, slender hands covered her upper arms in a reluctant movement.
"Keep hold of me - we are - going to be whirled around on our journey."
He took a firmer grip around her arms. They were standing awfully close to each other. Their bodies almost touched. But just almost. She could feel his body-heat at the short distance. It made her feel all funny inside.
With a quick movement, Dumbledore threw the Invisibility Cloak over their heads.
"Good luck, you two. May the risks you take on yourself lead to something good."
The cloak's floating, silky material kept all noise and visions from outside away from them in
a blurry haze of mist and silence. Hermione could almost hear Snape's heartbeat in the quiet place.
"Are you ready?" she whispered nervously.
His dark, intense eyes locked with hers. "Yes."
Hermione turned the hourglass over five times. Clockwise.
In a blur of colours and shapes they rushed forward. They spun around in quick, endless circles. Light switched with darkness and warmth became cold - then warmth again. It must be the seasons' passing and the permanent changing of night and day. It was terrifying.
At some point in their long, frightening way through time, Snape's arms came around her in a tight embrace. He held her close to his chest. Without hesitation, Hermione threw her arms around him as well and pressed her face into his shoulder. She felt a lot better that way.
All of a sudden the whirling movement stopped. With a hard bounce they hit the floor and in a quick movement they let go of each other.
There was an awkward silence between them.
Hermione glanced around. The light was dim, but it was not dark. It was definitely daytime.
They seemed to have got out somewhere at the third corridor. When they started to carefully walk down towards the dungeons, they heard an odd noise that sounded surprisingly like crying. Snape wanted to move into the other direction, but Hermione couldn't resist to check on the source of that noise. When they rounded the corner, a little girl of about four years, with straight black hair, cowered at the lowest step of a narrow staircase.
She was crying.
The little girl's crying rang some bell inside Hermione and she slipped off from under the cloak to check on her.
"Miss Granger, stop this! We mustn't interfere with anything!" Snape hissed through gritted teeth. "We mustn't be seen!" His beetle-black eyes glared dangerously at her. Firmly he grabbed her arm, determined to stop her, but she wrestled away from him. "I'll be right back, Professor."
Severus, who stayed hidden beneath the cloak, watching her and that black-haired child, started to feel all funny himself. To his utmost shock, the little girl stopped crying immediately, as soon as her dark eyes fell on Hermione Granger. "Mummy –" she yelled happily.
A/N: I hope you liked this. Do you want me to continue?
Thanks to Debby and SilentG for revising this chapter.