"The First Trial"

Sirius was dead; Malfoy was acting strangely; Harry was all angst-y; Ron was with Lavender, which was frustrating. All in all, things weren't good at the moment.

Hermione decided to take a walk.

Her feet led her to the Room of Requirement, and she saw, with surprise, that there was already a door there, and slightly ajar at that. Curious, she opened it enough for her to enter, and she gasped when she saw what was in there.

Row after row of bookshelves, stretching to the ceiling. It was magnificent, and to the consummate bookworm, it was enough to make the mouth water. She closed the door behind her in awe, and began to walk to the centre of the room. Once there, she rotated on the spot, still amazed, her lips parted as she took it all in.

"Why did I never think to make a library appear here?" she asked out loud. "Of all the things I could ask for, surely this is the most obvious?"

"Perhaps," said a deep voice, and Hermione yelped as she saw her Potions teacher sitting in an armchair nearby, "it's because you're currently working your way through the Hogwarts library, Granger."

"Pro-professor Snape," she said, and she gulped. "Uh, well, I'm actually rereading the books in the library at the moment. Well, I mean, only the books that interest me; not things about Divination, for example." She made a face, and Severus suppressed a chuckle at her clear disdain for the 'subject'. "I've read most of the books before. Ergo, I need new reading material."

"You can't take things out of this room, you realise," Severus said.

"I'm a fast reader," Hermione replied with a shrug.

"Tell me, when did you first finish reading all of the books in the library?" he asked, and Hermione blushed.

"Early in my third year," she said, and his eyes widened. That was when he had finished reading the ones that interested him, too. And those books most certainly did not contain any Divination texts, either.

"Sit down, Granger," he said, sweeping his arm to the chair that was opposite him, and Hermione obeyed, perching on the edge of the seat, waiting for further instruction. What she didn't expect was the gaze that she got from her professor. It started with her hair, and slowly worked its way down her body, reaching her shoes. Then he looked all the way back up her, until he reached her eyes. She felt incredibly nervous, and incredibly… warm. He smirked.

"Pity," he said. "Such a pity."

"What is?" she asked, her tone a bit sharper than she meant it to be.

"That we didn't meet when I was in school," he said. "Twenty years ago, I was in my sixth year, you know. We would have been perfect for each other. You're just my type, you know, except for the age difference. Both utterly shameless bookworms, both excessively clever." Hermione gaped at him, wondering whether she was just in a dream. "Of course, I wasn't as arrogant about my intelligence as you are. Well, perhaps arrogant, but not as… showy. You're just like Potter. No. If you had been with me, then I would have curbed your know-it-all streak in no time."

Unnerved by what her teacher was saying, what he was implying, Hermione rose to go, but Severus stopped her with a look. Instead, she opted for sinking back in the armchair.

"Granger, let me give you some advice," he said, still deadly serious. "You have to be careful about your choices in life, how you go about making decisions. You have to learn to follow your heart, girl, not your head. Life can't be learnt in books, and life is the hardest lesson you'll ever have to face."

He stood, and towered over her for several moments. "The surprise choice is often the one that should be made, Hermione." She could barely breathe, and didn't dare move until he had left the room. Once she was alone, she waited for three minutes, and then ran all the way to the headmaster's office.

"What does it all mean, Professor? Oh, Merlin, tell me what he meant. Why do I get the feeling that there was… that there was subtext?"

Hermione had told Professor Dumbledore everything that had happened in the room of requirement, describing Severus' look, his changed manner towards her, so different that she wondered if he had been Confunded. Or perhaps someone had used Polyjuice Potion, or the Imperius Curse. One could do anything with the Imperius Curse, after all.

"I'm afraid that you're right about the subtext, Miss Granger," Dumbledore said, and he silently bade her sit down. "You realise, of course, that you're not supposed to be here."

"But… I thought you should know…"

"I don't mean here as in place, I mean here as in time," he said, and she blinked at him, confused.


"The Time Turner, Miss Granger. Why do you think you were allowed to have the Time Turner so readily?"

"Because I'm a good student, and wanted to learn as much as possible," Hermione said, blushing a little at her immodesty. "Well, that's what Professor McGonagall told me, anyway."

"She was right to a certain extent, but there was more to it," the headmaster told her, and she waited. "We had hoped that, given your slight tendency to rule-breaking—only for the best of reasons, naturally—we hoped that you might try to travel back in time to save Harry Potter's parents. We gave you the Time Turner so that you could change the past; and, thus, the future."

"But, sir, I helped Sirius Black…"

"Not the way you were supposed to," Dumbledore said. "I hate to have to say this, Miss Granger, but… everything that has gone wrong, from the time that Harry's parents were at Hogwarts, up until now, including Voldemort's resurrection… it's all because of a mistake you made in the past. We don't know what the mistake was, but…"

"What do you mean?" Hermione shrieked, jumping out of the seat and placing her hands on the desk. "How can it be? I was born…"

"You were reborn, Miss Granger," he said. "You shouldn't be in this time. You're Muggleborn now, although you may not have been back then."


"You were born in 1960; through the mistake that you made, you were somehow flung forward in time, and reborn in 1980. This threw everything out of whack, so to speak."

"So you're saying," she said, her voice deathly quiet, "that I'm to blame for all the murders that You-Know-Who has committed."

"Indirectly, yes."

She paused, and looked at him strangely.

"I think that this is all a dream," she said, pinching herself to make sure that it wasn't; but even when she felt the pain, she still continued. "Professor, I have a life. Yes, I was born in 1980. I have no memories of the sixties or seventies. I wasn't around then."

"You missed the end of the seventies, yes," he replied. "We hoped that in your third year, you might make some mistake that could send you back to that decade; even if it meant that you just suddenly appeared there, you could have eventually come back to your proper time after stopping yourself from making the same mistake again."

"How could I fix anything if I don't know what the mistake was?" she said, raising her voice again.

"You might have seen yourself in danger of being magically transported to the future, and stopped it, or taken things over from there," Dumbledore continued desperately, but Hermione just stormed out of his office.

She finally found Professor McGonagall, who was talking to Professor Snape. She glared at him, and he raised an eyebrow at her.

"Hello, Miss Granger," Minerva said kindly, seeing her student in distress. "What's the matter, dear?"

"Tell me that I'm not from the wrong decade," Hermione said; but the look that passed over her teachers' faces was enough. "Oh, my gods!" she cried, dropping to her knees on the stone floor. "It can't be true. It just can't be."

"Did Albus tell you?" Minerva asked, worried. "I'm so sorry, my dear."

"You warned me against messing with time, all the while hoping that I would," Hermione said, her voice deeper than usual, as she tried to steady her breathing.

"Teenagers are notorious for doing the opposite of what they're told," Severus said, and she looked up at him. "That was the reasoning."

"Was everyone in on it? All the staff at Hogwarts? Did Sirius know? Or Professor Lupin?"

"They all had to be told, yes," Minerva said. "We were all disappointed that you didn't manage to fix the past. Sirius thought he was just seeing things when you and Harry rescued him, after having been imprisoned in Azkaban for so long; he recognised you, but thought that, in the dark, he was just hallucinating. It didn't help that Harry was there, looking so like James. You were a good friend of Sirius', and his brother's. As for Remus, he had to be told. Of course, he was just delighted when you happened to be in the same compartment as he was on the train, just like the first time you met. But, of course, he couldn't let on…"

Hermione was only half-listening to what was being said. She had been lied to all this time, by the people she was supposed to trust. What else was a lie?

And could she do it? Could she do what they wanted, and go back to change time?

This required some thinking… and some reading.

It was her fault that Sirius was dead. It was her fault that Voldemort had come back, and that Sirius had died. Harry's guardian, his way out of Privet Drive. She had to make it up to him. Time-travel was clearly the only way to go about it, to reverse the effects of her mistake… whatever it was.

She constantly thought back to her conversation with Professor Snape in the room of requirement. He had stressed that she should follow her heart and not her head. He had told her that the surprise choice was often the one that she should make. While he hadn't specified that it was her, she now realised that he was advising her. Did he somehow know that she'd travel back, or at least try to?

And did this mean that he believed that she could do it?

So Hermione began her own research and training in the room of requirement. First things first: books.

Well, they were no use. Not even the room of requirement's library was able to help her. It was November 6 by now, nearly lunchtime, and she was about to lose her temper.

Actually, scratch that. She did lose her temper.

There was a diary that she had been keeping, writing down everything that had happened in the first war, and then in the second war so far; everything that she could get a hold of from various people. She didn't tell any of them why she was keeping a record, and they just assumed that she was amassing information like she was wont to do.

Though Severus did have a funny idea about why she wanted to, literally, know it all…

She picked up the diary, and then immediately put it back down on the desk. She aimed her wand at it and, out of desperation cast the Imperius Curse on it.

"Take me back twenty years in time," she whispered, and she picked it up.


She angrily threw it back down onto the desk, and kicked one of the legs of the chair, hurting her toes. She stalked around the room, muttering to herself, blaming everyone under the sun—and, indeed, over the sun—for her problems, for her inability to travel back in time.

"I need to get out of here," she said. Not wanting to meet people, she decided to make a portkey to get herself out of the room. The grounds would be nice; autumn leaves were still falling. She liked the thought of crunching around, taking out her irritation on them.

She picked up the diary, it being the closest object by now, as she had arrived back at the desk. Pointing her wand at it, and thinking about the grounds, she said, "Portus." But something strange happened. She felt the usual pull on her navel; but instead of just going straight there, it seemed to take longer than usual, as if the portkey was taking its… time.

Eventually, Hermione arrived in the grounds of Hogwarts, amid students who… she didn't recognise. Had she done something wrong? Was she at a different school? Were these… Muggles?

No, it was definitely the grounds of Hogwarts. And there… there was Harry! Just down the hill there! Hermione raced down, hoping that he'd be able to explain what was going on. And look; there was Professor Lupin. No; he had told them to call him Remus.

He was young. So young. And… Sirius. Sirius was there.

Hermione stared, and realised that she was seeing the Marauders.

"No," she said hoarsely, and she ran up the hill.

Not looking where she was going, she ran into someone, knocking them to the ground.

"Watch where you're going," the gruff voice said, and Hermione looked up at who she had knocked over to apologise.

"I'm sorry, sir…" she said, her voice fading away as she looked into the young face of her Potions professor. He looked back at her intensely.

"Who are you?" he asked her quietly, and she couldn't speak for several seconds.

"He… Hermione Granger," she said, and he stood up. She took his offered hand, and he helped her up carefully.

"Are you all right?" he said, looking her down and up slowly. A sense of déjà vu took over, and Hermione just nodded. "Well, that's fine then. Hello. I'm Severus Snape."

"Yes," she said. "I mean, hello. I'm sorry, but I have to see the headmaster."

"I've never seen you before," Severus said, still holding onto her hand to prevent her from going. "Where are you from?"

Don't you mean 'when' am I from, Professor? she thought.

"I… uh…" She was never so glad that she was wearing Muggle clothes instead of her school robes. It wouldn't do for him to know that she was from the future… yet. Nor that she was in her own time, her original time… if that was right.

"I'll take you to him," Severus said, and she nodded. She had to pretend that she didn't know the castle.

Along the way, she pinched herself as she went through the possibilities. Definitely not a dream or a nightmare; well, not in the literal sense. The self-inflicted pain told her that. It could be a mirage; but her teacher was tangible, so that couldn't be. A Pensieve memory? No; she was interacting with him. Maybe a brain tumour… but she hadn't been having headaches lately, and she'd never met him at this age. Plus, she'd had to introduce herself, because he didn't know her. No. This whole damn thing was real, and she needed to do what she had come to do.

Change the future for the better.

"I just need to check the time," she told Severus, and she cast a charm to determine it, sneaking a look at the date… and the year. November 6, 1976. Exactly twenty years ago. And it was nearly lunchtime.

"Oh, look," she said. "I'm sure I can find my way to the headmaster's office. You go to lunch. It… it must be soon."

"I forgot all about it," he admitted. "The headmaster will be there anyway, so you may as well have lunch with me. With us. The students. Have lunch with us, and then I'll take you to the office afterwards."

"Okay," Hermione said with a smile, blushing at his stammering.

"Hi, Sev," someone said, and Hermione looked up with a start to see Bellatrix Lestrange smiling up at them from the Slytherin table. It would look suspicious if Hermione hexed her, or even backed away in fright; so she did the Gryffindor thing, and faced her with a smile.

Be brave, she told herself sternly. She's not a Death Eater. Yet. And even if she is, she can't hurt you at school.

"Hello," Hermione said, and she was introduced to the Black sisters, Bellatrix and Narcissa, and to Regulus Black. She didn't remember the other names straight away, and Severus whispered that he'd help her learn them later. If she was going to stay at Hogwarts, that is.

Over lunch, Hermione was in fits of laughter. Bellatrix was regaling her with stories of their childhood; well, she had to force laughter at the jibes about Muggleborns; but Bellatrix was a natural storyteller. Magical incidents at Black Manor, including pranks that they pulled on Sirius when he and Regulus came to stay. Knowing the kind of pranks that the Marauders pulled on her Potions professor, Hermione had little sympathy for Sirius, uncharitable though that was. But he wasn't dead here, in this time.

Eventually, she and Severus left the table so that she could go to the headmaster's office, little knowing that Dumbledore had been watching them all throughout the meal, wondering who the girl was. He arrived there before them, and was waiting in his office when Hermione entered, having got the password from Severus, who was a Slytherin prefect. He understood that she wanted to see the headmaster alone, and said that he'd wait outside for her. As it was a weekend in this year as well, there were no classes, so he was free.

Upon entering the headmaster's office, Hermione burst into tears, and ran to him. She collapsed to her knees, and he could only hear some of the words she spoke between sobs; but those words were clear.

"I've done it… I'm back…"

Gosh, what a long chapter. Okay, so this is bearing some similarities to my one-shot story, "A Note of Regret", which may possibly have a mid-quel eventually. Severus has told Hermione that it's a pity they didn't meet twenty years earlier; she's travelled back in time; Bellatrix Lestrange (Black) is an amusing storyteller.

I was originally going to have this story happen in their fifth year, but changed it to the sixth year for artistic reasons that I can't even remember anymore.

So… what do you think?