Not Exactly Foolproof
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
The harsh blaring from the alarm sounded in her ears like drill—a persistent, beeping drill. She reached out and smacked the alarm, hitting it a few times with her face still buried in the soft feather-down pillow. Apparently she wasn't striking the right button for the stupid machine was still blasting away, antagonising her like a relentless harpy.
She muttered a few colourful expletives into the pillow and absently felt around her bed, searching for her wand. Her fingertips felt wood and she grasped the wand tightly in her hand. Flipping over onto her back, she aimed her wand at what she hoped was the alarm clock.
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
"Merlin's left nut!" she cursed groggily and turned over onto her side.
Eyes closed, she reached around and picked up the damnable beeping object, pulled its cord out of the socket, and pitched it across the room.
Ginny Weasley let out a relieved sigh and smiled lazily as she rolled over onto her stomach. She wrapped both arms around the fluffy pillow and held it close, snuggling her face into the clean linen.
She had to admit that she really hated Muggle appliances. She didn't see how Hermione could tolerate a machine that blasted away in your ear with incessant squawking, at least one that couldn't easily be silenced with a wand. It was unnatural. Sure, she had most likely botched the spell with her mumbling, and she probably hadn't even directed her wand at the alarm itself, but she still stood by her convictions: Muggle appliances were frustrating.
After another hour of blissful, uninterrupted sleep, Ginny finally rose from bed with a yawn and stretched her stiff limbs. She ambled her way out the door, smacking her lips distastefully as she went. Her teeth were in a desperate need of cleaning.
Letting out another loud yawn, Ginny rubbed at her tired eyes with the edge of her palms and teetered down the unfamiliar hallway in search of a toilet. Fortunately, she located one but had to go back to her room to retrieve her toothbrush. After a good scrub of her teeth and attending to other toiletries, Ginny made her way down into the kitchen to be greeted by an already dressed and smiling Hermione. The redhead looked down at her own blue pyjamas covered in small yellow ducks and frowned.
"Hey, Ginny. Did you have a good sleep?" Hermione cheerfully pulled out the chair beside her and patted the seat with a smile.
Ugh, a morning person.
Ginny nodded sleepily and sat down. A goofy grin spread across her face when she saw that her friend had made her Scottish pancakes covered in butter and syrup. Beside the plate stacked with heavenly pastries were a large glass of fresh orange juice and a cup of hot tea. Hermione must have used a Heating Charm to keep Ginny's tea and pancakes warm. The redhead's lopsided grin morphed into a beaming smile.
"I love you, Hermione," she cooed before digging in.
Hermione Granger truly was a dear friend. She had invited Ginny to stay with her at her family's house in London for the last few weeks of August. The summer after the Hogwarts battle was one of the hottest on record. For many it was a time of celebration. Harry had won, defeating Voldemort. Most of the Death Eaters had been arrested, some even willingly surrendered, and others had fled into the night. It was the Order's victory over evil. It was a time for celebration, but it was also a time for mourning—to pick up the pieces of lives torn and displaced by the war.
Ginny had appreciated the invite from Hermione, as she really needed to get out of the Burrow. The family had taken Fred's death hard, especially George. While Ginny had made herself available to her older brother and her mother for support, she had also felt the desperate need to flee from her family. It wasn't that Ginny was callous or unaffected by her brother's death; in fact, she was crushed and devastated by it. Ginny, however, dealt with her sorrow differently than the rest of her family; she internalised it. In order to prevent herself from imploding, Ginny needed to lose herself in something, whether it be in friends, sports or school.
She was looking forward to going back to Hogwarts, which was currently being reopened by the Ministry under the capable tutelage of Professor (now Headmistress) McGonagall. Harry, Ron and Hermione would also be attending, repeating their seventh year since they hadn't attended school the year before. In fact, all former seventh-years were allowed to return since not much had been taught the previous year, nor were NEWTs taken.
"My parents are gone for the weekend!" Hermione sing-songed, shaking Ginny from her reverie. "I thought you might like a change of pace from going to museums and plays. Did you want to stay in and watch movies?"
"Moo-vees?" Ginny asked with a mouthful of pancakes, regarding the brunette with a puzzled expression.
"Yes, they're like moving pictures that tell a story."
Ginny swallowed. "Neat. Sure, okay, I'd like to see some moo-vees."
Hermione smiled at her in a way that made the redhead frown, like it was an inside joke that Ginny hadn't been let in on. What kind of moo-vees did Hermione have in mind? After Ginny hurriedly scarfed down her breakfast, both girls took their tea into the entertainment room and Hermione began rummaging through her collection of moo-vees, or cassettes, as she called them.
"This one's called Back to the Future," she said, holding up some square-looking object, and Ginny frowned.
"That makes no sense."
Hermione laughed. "Yeah, I know. That's Hollywood for you."
Ginny tilted her head to the side. "I don't understand. Is this moo-vee about wands?"
"Wands? What?" Hermione asked, uncharacteristically nonplussed. "Oh, holly wood!" A light seemed to go off above the brunette's head. "No, Ginny, this film, or movie, isn't about wands. It's about—well, let's just watch, shall we?"
Hermione smiled and popped the cassette into an odd-looking device before turning on something called a tee-vee or a telly. The picture began to flicker and words appeared on the screen, and then a lion roared, which slightly disturbed the redhead. Finally, the picture opened with some weird contraptions and, after a while, a boy showed up on screen playing some weird musical instrument.
After an hour and a half, Ginny was literally on the edge of her seat. Her mouth was hanging open in wonderment and her eyes seemed to bulge out of their sockets.
"That was amazing!" she cried as the credits rolled on the screen, and Hermione smiled.
"I'm glad you liked it."
"Liked it? I loved it!"
Ginny then got up from the settee and went into the kitchen to pour herself a glass of water. Hermione joined her, taking a seat on one of the stools on the other side of the island counter. She opened the cabinet below and took out a packet of crisps, which she then opened and poured into a bowl.
"So how do you think Harry and Ron are doing at Grimmauld Place?" Hermione asked, as Ginny took a sip of her water.
"Destroying it?" she said a little too seriously, causing Hermione to snort aloud.
Harry had stayed at the Burrow until mid-July before finally moving into Sirius's old home. She missed him, obviously, but he came back to visit her on her birthday. It was then that he invited Ron to stay with him for the rest of the month. Ginny would have loved to have gone too, but her parents would not have approved of her sleeping, without chaperone, at her boyfriend's house for three weeks.
She had just been reunited with Harry and yet she barely saw him the entire summer. It was just her luck. At least she would see plenty of him at school starting next week.
"Ron just needed to get out of the Burrow like me."
Hermione slowly nodded. "Ginny," she began awkwardly, "I never got to say at the funeral how sorry I was—am—about Fred."
"It's hit George the hardest," Ginny said, her voice faltering. "He really hasn't been the same. None of us have." She shook her head, determined not to dwell on the heartache. "Anyway, I don't really want to talk about that right now. Tell me, what classes are you taking this year?"
Startled by the Ginny's sudden change in mood and topic, Hermione eyed Ginny cautiously for a moment before answering the younger girl's question. She listed a number of subjects, all alphabetically, and chatted animatedly about what she hoped to achieve with her NEWTs.
Ginny simply smiled while Hermione talked. She could always trust the older witch to distract her from her own misery.
"How can you be taking Runes and Divination?" Ginny asked, suddenly cluing in to what classes Hermione had listed. "They're both offered at the same time. I know because I had to settle for Runes." She furrowed her brow. "Better yet, why are you taking Divination at all? Don't you hate Professor Trelawney?"
Hermione grinned and rubbed her hands together in glee, causing Ginny to look askance at the brunette. It was like watching a mad scientist cackle over her diabolical doomsday device.
"Well, as you know, Firenze is teaching Runes," Hermione said joyously. "And supposedly they've got a new professor for Divination this term as Trelawney is on sabbatical."
"But how can you take two classes at once?"
"A Time-Turner," Hermione answered simply, and Ginny's widened in awe.
"Wow, you have one of those?" She had heard about Time-Turners from Percy. "I thought we destroyed the Ministry's supply when we sneaked into the Department of Mysteries?"
Percy had also informed her of this, although he wasn't as impressed as she had been at the time.
"We did," Hermione confirmed. "But the Ministry was able to locate a few in certain Death Eaters' homes and Professor McGonagall acquired one for me, special."
The brunette beamed with pride and Ginny laughed, leaning in to nip a crisp from the bowl. Hermione grabbed the bowl and the rest of the packet and headed back into the living room with Ginny following closely behind.
"So, did you want to watch the sequel to Back to the Future?" Hermione asked, glancing over her shoulder at the redhead. "I think I have it here somewhere." She bent down and picked up another case from the pile on the floor. "Yup, I do."
Ginny set down her glass and jumped on the settee, making herself comfortable. "There's a sequel?"
Hermione looked over at the redhead, waiting for the green light to put in the video cassette. Ginny nodded and folded her legs underneath her.
"All right, I'm up for it."
Hermione giggled, popped the tape inside, and walked back over to the couch to take a seat beside the anxious redhead. As the moo-vee began to play, Ginny reached across the seat and scooped up a handful of crisps.
"What's a sequel?"
The gentle sounds and motion of the train lulled Ginny into a languid state, bordering on slumber. She couldn't help but let her mind wander to images of the past as well as the present. She and Hermione had met up with Ron and Harry at the train station. Her brother and the older girl had openly snogged on the platform, whereas Harry had just leaned down and gave her a chaste kiss on the cheek.
Ginny didn't mind all that much. She really wasn't in the mood to start snogging him in public and she had never been much for PDA in the first place. She still had a lot of things on her mind, mainly the death of Fred.
Ginny had always been exceptionally close with the twins. While Charlie was her favourite brother because he always doted on her and was considered the black sheep of the family, she rarely saw him. Bill, on the other hand, was too old and Percy was too... Percy, and Ron was too close in age. It was true that she and Ron used to be best mates, but when he went off to Hogwarts and made two new best friends, she was left alone. This was when she started to get close with Fred and George.
The twins were like the middle child of the family, always looked over so they had to do outrageous acts in order to be noticed. Since most of their pranks were never played on their baby sister, Ginny always saw their antics as fun rather than annoying. When she finally went to Hogwarts, it was the twins who had looked after her, not Ron, making sure no one teased her or made her cry. Many times they had wreaked havoc with Draco's hair when the git had dared to tease her for being a Weasley or poor. They were also the ones who taught her the Bat-Bogey Hex.
Now more than ever Ginny missed those antics as the two had always managed to bring laughter and happiness into almost any situation, no matter how dire. Without Fred, George was the shell of the boy he once was. He was withdrawn and brooding. He had lost his humour, his spark that made him George; he had lost a part of himself. So in essence Ginny had two brothers taken from her at the Battle of Hogwarts. While so much had been gained by Voldemort's defeat, much had been lost, too.
If only she could go back in time and save Fred from being killed. If only there was a way to alter the past. If only...
"I hear Headmistress McGonagall is on the train to ensure the safety of the students," Hermione said, shaking Ginny from her musings.
"I guess she doesn't want to have a term like Snape did," Ron said with a snort, popping a chocolate frog into his mouth.
"Ronald Weasley!" Hermione admonished tone, glancing sideways at Harry.
"Oh." Ron swallowed hard and tried to look contrite. "I'm sorry, Harry. I wasn't thinking."
"It's okay," Harry said, but there was a hint of sadness in his green eyes. Who'd ever think that Harry would feel bad for Snape? Who's ever think that he'd be missed?
Ginny let out a tired sigh and rose from her seat. She walked over to the compartment door and slid it open.
"Gin, where are you going?" Ron asked, and Ginny motioned to the aisles.
"For a walk. I need to clear my head."
Ginny made her way out into the open aisles and began a leisurely stroll, passing by the many closed compartments. Not every seat on the train was secluded. Most people sat out in the open, which made it rather loud but loads more fun. She used to sit out here, laughing and joking with her housemates. It wasn't until she started dating Harry (and was allowed into the inner circle) that she had begun to take her place in the private compartment.
It was all right she guessed, but she did miss being outside in the aisles where all the action took place. Ginny wasn't looking for action this time, though. She just wanted to be alone—to sit in silence and think to herself.
Heading towards the back of the train, Ginny hoped that there'd be more empty seats or even a compartment near the caboose. The noise began to lessen to a dull roar as she made her way back. Eventually she found an empty section and lowered her head, heading over to take a seat.
"If it isn't The Girl Who Dates Potter," a familiar voice stated with unrestrained bitterness.
Ginny looked up to see a tall, pale blond blocking her path. Where had he been hiding? She had only looked down for a second.
"Sod off, Malfoy!" she spat, pushing past him. "I haven't the patience to deal with your shite right now."
She suddenly stopped dead in her tracks and turned around. Unfortunately, she had made her way to the end of the line. Now she would have to actually face the git. And why exactly did this boy have to accost her? Boy? Well, she supposed he wasn't much of a boy anymore. Draco had apparently grown taller this past summer, filling out quite nicely, she had to begrudgingly admit. He looked a little rough around the edges, a little older. But he was still a useless tosspot in her opinion, no matter how much broader or fitter he got.
The tosspot in question turned to face her and made a formal bow, elegantly extending his hand. This action would have looked natural on the regal and haughty-looking blond if the formality had not been directed at her.
"Well, if it's not convenient for Her Majesty, the She-Weasel, then by all means I shall take my leave." He managed to bow even lower but then looked up at her with an ugly sneer plastered on what would have otherwise been a somewhat handsome face.
"Screw you, Ferret-face!" she spat, hating how much of a prat he was, and Draco brought himself up to full height and looked down his nose at her.
"You wish, Weasley."
"Tosser!" she snarked, unable to halt her rising temper, which seemed to always boil over in the presence of the pale Slytherin.
"Cow!" he roared back, less in control than normal.
The two stood across from each other like enemies on opposite sides of the line. They looked about to wage war at any moment when Headmaster McGonagall intervened.
"Enough! Break this up immediately," she commanded, turning to look at Draco first. "Mr Malfoy, you should know better." She then directed her attention to Ginny. "Ms Weasley, I expect more from you."
Both students lowered their heads and muttered forced apologies, or at least Ginny did. Draco just glared at Ginny. The professor then cleared her throat, continuing to glance down at them disapprovingly.
"The term hasn't even started yet and I'm this close to deducting house points." She held up her hand and separated her index and thumb by an inch.
Just then loud shouts could be heard coming from the other end of the train and the headmaster glanced back at the pair with a scowl before turning around and disappearing back into the throng of students.
Once McGonagall was out of sight, Draco took a step forward and glared at Ginny, boring a hole through her head with his gaze.
"I've got my eye on you, Weasley," he said warningly, pointed a long finger at her before turning back down the aisle towards his own compartment.
"Yeah, well I've got both of mine on you, you manky pillock!" she yelled at his back in vain.
Ginny saw Draco's shoulders tense and then he raised his index and middle finger, offering her a two-finger salute as he kept walking straight ahead, not once looking back. She cursed under her breath and gnashed her teeth with a frown.
This was going to be a long first day.
As luck would have it, Hermione was bunked with Ginny, as one of the younger Gryffindor's old housemates would not be returning. They were never told why, but Ginny could only guess: Hannah Jenkins was Muggle-born.
The other girls had already unpacked and headed down to the Great Hall for the Sorting. Ginny was still flitting about so she waved Hermione to go on without her, telling the older girl that she would be down shortly. When Hermione left, Ginny threw her luggage chest onto the floor and the rusted, old lock busted open, spilling all of her clothes out onto the carpet.
"Poppycock!" she swore aloud, falling to her knees as she hastily grabbed her clothes and other sundries and tossed them back into her old trunk.
She finished throwing the last pair of socks inside when something underneath Hermione's bed had caught her eye. It was silver-looking, twinkling in the dusk-light that filtered in through the large bay windows. Ginny frowned and, in a rather unladylike manner, began to crawl over on her hands and knees towards Hermione's bed. She shoved an arm underneath the lower frame and reached for the shiny object. The tips of her fingers touched cold metal and she closed her fist around it and pulled it out.
Ginny glanced down at her hand in wonder. It was a small white-gold pocket watch with a long chain; however, it didn't appear to tell the time. It had several dials on it and what looked like numbers, but it seemed as though these numbers could only be made visible through a spell of some kind.
This must be the Time-Turner, Ginny thought to herself as she traced a finger along the bottom of the device.
She held the 'pocket watch' tightly in her hand and then glanced around the room, seeing if anyone was there. Ginny then pocketed the device and grabbed her wand and robes, running out of the common room and exiting the Gryffindor Tower. She was not heading to the Great Hall for the Sorting. Instead, she was making her way outside.
Everyone was inside the Great Hall, including Filch, so she could easily sneak out onto the grounds. Ounce outside, she headed towards the lake and took the Time-Turner out of her pocket and stared at it. She then slipped the chain over her head and felt the weight of it rest on her neck and chest.
Ginny knew she shouldn't be doing this. It was Hermione's to use, not hers. If she were caught using it, she would surely get into a heap of trouble. In her heart though, she felt that she had to do this. It was like that moo-vee she watched at Hermione's—Marty went back in time and managed to make his life and his parents' lives better. She wasn't looking for wealth or fame or accolades of any kind. She just wanted to go back to the battle at Hogwarts and stop her brother from being killed.
That wouldn't hurt anyone. It wouldn't change the future for the worse, would it? No, it wouldn't. It would only change for the better. She was going to do this.
Ginny fumbled with the smaller dial, unsure of what spell to perform or how to work the bloody thing. After a few unsuccessful attempts, she began to wish that the device had come with an instruction manual.
"What have you got there, Weasley?" a cold voice drawled behind her, and she cringed. "Pilfered some hapless bloke's pocket watch?"
"Stuff it, Malfoy!" she muttered under her breath, trying to hide the Time-Turner down the front of her Oxford blouse.
Why was he following her? Draco Malfoy, of all people!
"That's right. Talk dirty to me, Weasley," he purred in her ear as he came up behind her, making her shudder. "It won't sway my opinion that you're an ugly hag."
Ginny ground her teeth and tried desperately not to whip out her wand and hex the smarmy bastard into the lake. Instead, she took off down the beach, away from him. Draco, however, didn't seem intent on being ignored and quickly followed at her heels.
"So whom'd you lift this offa?"
He reached over her shoulder to grab at the large gold chain around her neck and Ginny immediately turned around and slapped his wrist, causing him to draw back his well-manicured hand. She had earned herself a rather petulant and scathing look from the blond for that. Unfortunately, however, this physical reprimand only seemed to encourage Draco. This time he reached forward guardedly and snaked his fingers around the chain.
"Malfoy, give it back!" Ginny growled, trying to tug the Time-Turner out of his grasp, but he would not relent.
"You've stolen this from someone, Weasley. The likes of you could never afford something like this. It looks slightly less than worthless."
She narrowed eyes and pulled the chain back with more force than she had intended. "You arrogant git!"
"Just give it to me, Weasley, and I'll convince the Headmistress to go easy on you," he said unconvincingly, yanking the Time-Turner from her neck.
The chain then snapped in two with Draco holding one half while Ginny held the other.
She tried to warn him, but it was too late. The witless wonder had already reached out to grab the larger dial, inadvertently turning it.
Both stared dumbfounded at the device as it began to emit a weird sort of humming noise. Draco looked up at Ginny with wide, accusing eyes, and she could only stare at him in open incredulity. The humming sound grew louder until it was almost deafening and a feeling of vertigo seized them both. The lake and surrounding grounds began to whirl past them in swirling colours.
The humming noise ended and the spot by the lake where two figures had stood arguing was now void of its former human occupants.
Draco and Ginny were gone.
Author's notes: This is my first Time-Turner fic, so I hope you like it. It is mainly a humour/action piece with a little bit of romance. Also, many thanks to Kim (Boogum), who beta'd this story for me. You are the best-est! ^_^
It should be noted, as you'll discover later, that this particular Time-Turner is an experimental one that was mislabelled. Instead of going back by hours, this one goes back by years and is not yet tracked by the Ministry.