Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the brain child of JKR. I'm only babysitting for a little while. HE'S NOT MINE, I TELL YOU!
At first, they all stayed in Hogwarts because they had no other place to go.
Well, Ron did. But after everything he'd been through with his two friends he didn't want to leave them now. His family understood, though privately Hermione thought Mrs. Weasley only agreed because the rest of the family was also staying briefly at Hogwarts. Professor McGonagall and Kingsley wanted all the help on hand that they could get. The captured Death Eaters, the bodies of those who had fallen, the injured still alive, and those near death all needed attention. In the aftermath of the celebrating and feasting, everything about the castle seemed surreal. There was activity, there was happiness, but everyone still went around as if they were in a dream. She could understand that well enough, since the entire wizarding community in Britain had been living in fear for so long.
The chamber that hid the shell that was Tom Riddle was never mentioned, and no one went inside. Afterward, Hermione remembered that very clearly. He was dead, gone, they all knew it: everyone had seen it. And yet, so great was the impact he had made in life - no one wanted to be near him in death. Kingsley had discussed disposal options with his counselors, but they did not share their plans with the public. The body of Tom Riddle was left alone, and when it disappeared no one asked questions.
One bit at a time, the immediate concerns of the leadership were addressed and put aside. The dead had been buried according to their known wishes in life, some with honor and some with relief. Not all of them had been fighting on Harry Potter's side. The giants, none of which had died though all of them were badly injured, were shipped back to their mountains. Azkaban, even without the dementors, which were fleeing to whatever hiding holes they could find, was the safest place for the captured Death Eaters. Countless muggleborns, released from the horrible prison, were eager to reunite with their families and do what they could to help. On the day they were freed and there was a celebration almost as large as the one held on the night of the great battle. For once, the entire wizard community was banded together toward a common goal: the fact that they were making progress was even better.
Hermione slept in the boy's dormitory for the first time in her life, that first evening. After months of constantly being in one another's presence, relying so heavily on one another, suffering and triumphing together, it seemed as natural as breathing to the three friends that they should not be separated now. Later she moved to her old four poster bed in the girl's dormitory, it was time to get back to business as usual, but the closeness that had intensified between the three friends was not lessened. Hermione was aware, even though several walls separated them, that her two best friends in the world were with her and, more importantly, safe.
Harry, Ron and Hermione weren't always together during their days. Harry was often deep in conversations with McGonagall and Kingsley, sometimes other members of the crippled Ministry joined them. Ron was with his family a good deal of the time, helping them all with whatever tasks they had been given. Hermione never did the same thing twice. One day she would be giving her opinions and advice to Harry and company on plans to round up escaped Death Eaters, the next she was working with Hagrid to fit stone rubble back into its place in a wall, and the day after that she was helping Madam Pomfrey in the hospital wing, which had been largely undamaged during the battle. It was widely known that she had skills in many areas, and as one of the heroes of the day she seemed to be needed in a great deal of places all of a sudden. For several long weeks Hermione was too busy to think about much except what was directly before her - or to get used to living a normal life again.
Normal… Well, as close to normal as things ever were in the wizarding world: especially a wizarding world recovering from a long, heavy siege.
As it turned out, the weeks passed by so quickly that at the end of two months Hermione found herself staring in shock at the calendar above her bed. Habitually, dutifully, she had ticked off each day as it went by, though she hadn't really counted them. One thought in particular made her insides squirm as she stared at the simple numbered grid that marked the passing of time.
She hadn't found time to track her parents down yet. Two months and she hadn't even started her search for them.
She'd had many demands on her time, to be sure, but really, they were her family. Even if they did not miss her, with their memories modified and new identities in place, she had as much of a duty to them as she did to the world that had adopted her. Determined to find them and bring them back safely, she firmly refused all requests and demands on her time. Harry and Ron wanted to come along and help, but she also refused their offers. This was something she started on her own, and had to finish on her own.
It took her a while to track them down. Her memory changing spell seemed to have done its work well, and that fact consoled her slightly when she had to face a total lack of recognition from the happy couple. It took quite a bit of doing, but she managed to get them to St. Mungo's. When Hermione had performed the charm she had had no choice but to give it her best shot and hope for a favorable outcome, since asking for help from a professional would have defeated the entire purpose of the process. She wasn't willing to take any further risks with her family, though, and she left the repairs to the capable healers who spent their whole lives performing similar tasks. The staff at the hospital, more than willing to help such a distinguished war veteran, assured her that in time her parent's memories would be completely restored. They were taking it slow to avoid any damage, but the last time she had visited her mother Hermione had been rewarded with the sound of her name and a smile from the woman. She cried during that visit, but only because she was so relieved that her parents were really coming back to her. Mrs. Granger seemed strangely puzzled, but had allowed Hermione to cry into her shoulder, and had stroked her hair and made soothing motherly noises.
After a long, long year of fading hope and desperation, it was incredible that so much could go so right all at once. Hermione was hard-pressed to think of happier times. She, Harry and Ron stayed at their school now because term would be beginning in less than three weeks, and they would all be finishing their interrupted education. Things were still a little patchy, in places the castle still bore scars from the battle, and new professors had had to be found on very short notice, but it didn't much matter. As long as a single student wished to learn, Hogwarts would be open to them.
Impressions of stone under her feet, but no real sensory input to indicate that it was there, a swirling mess of colors confusing her eyes, echoes of voices that had the fuzzy, uncertain quality of a memory. The words seemed to meld together, separate, and fuse into new combinations that should have made sense but didn't. It didn't help that they kept repeating. Confused, isolated parts of faces seemed to hover on the edge of her vision where she couldn't quite see them. Auburn hair, caught in sunlight, the line of a strong jaw and chin, a single eye that glinted from black to red in the briefest of milliseconds.
Sharp pain blasted into her eyes, blinding white light that made her yell and come crashing back into reality.
Thank God for the sun, Hermione Granger mused, rolling over in bed and raising a hand to shield her eyes from the onslaught of the morning. That had not been a pleasant dream. Groaning slightly, she sat up and rubbed her eyes. Thankfully, the angle of the window protected her from the sunbeam when she sat up. Wasting no time now that she was awake, Hermione slid her feet over the side of the bed and wiggled her toes into her slippers. It was a habit from days of living in a stone castle, one that she didn't really need now that she lived in a house with carpet in almost every room, but slippers were a nice thing to wear. She bent over and rubbed at her face, feeling her breathing slow as the last traces of the dream slipped between her fingers. Another one. This was becoming a real problem for her. It felt like she hadn't had a decent sleep in weeks. Well, now that she was up she might as well get herself together and get on with the day. Grabbing her bathrobe from the chair she had draped it over, she stepped out of the room and turned down the hall. Crookshanks was not on her bed, so he was either waiting by the front door to be let out or in the kitchen expecting breakfast. The latter proved to be the truth, and she set the cat's full food bowl down on the floor for him next to his self-filling water dish. She checked the charm to make sure that he wouldn't run out of water during the day before summoning her morning newspaper through the open kitchen window.
The first thing on her list, now that her cat was taken care of, was a pot of tea. Strong, strong tea: she was exhausted. Lately, no matter how early she went to bed, she always woke up tired. Sometimes, though thankfully that hadn't been the case this morning, the sheets would be a tangled mess: as if she had thrashed around in her sleep. Hermione supposed that she was having bad dreams, but she could never recall anymore than vague, unformed images and impressions of strong emotions. The images and feelings didn't seem tied together in any way, they were more like random impressions she couldn't shake off.
While she waited for the water to boil, Hermione lit a fire on the gas stove she used to cook with. She had been discreetly researching safe ways to attempt technology/magic combinations - carefully staying within the laws set down by the Ministry of course, but so far had come up with no results. As she didn't fancy the idea of her kitchen appliances shorting out at inconvenient times, Hermione kept any equipment she needed simple and to a minimum. Magic did the rest. It wasn't a bad way to live, really: she was quite comfortable in her little one-story house. Crookshanks absolutely loved having the place to himself whenever she was out. Ron sometimes wondered aloud why Hermione hadn't built a bigger place when she bought her first plot of land, complaining that it was weird to sleep in a guest room that doubled as a library, but space wasn't everything. Besides, she had very few possessions she needed to store. What space she had worked for her; and that was all that mattered.
A few eggs cracked and whisked together in a bowl with milk and cheese, poured into a pan and placed over the fire, and her omelet was cooking. By the time it was done the kettle was whistling. Sitting down with her breakfast, Hermione absently scanned the Daily Prophet for any interesting news. It had been almost two years to the day that Harry Potter had defeated Lord Voldemort, but now and then reports of Death Eater's being captured still turned up. Harry was working hard to make certain that Voldemort's followers were hunted down, one by one, slowly but surely. Whenever she could Hermione helped him and so did Ron, but thanks to his recent appointment as head of the auror office by Kingsley Harry had all the backup he needed. There were a few nasty rumors in dark corners, grumbles about the age of the new Ministry employee, but the majority of the wizarding community was perfectly happy about it. Who better to have in charge of their protection than the Boy Who Lived? Hermione's attention was mostly taken up by the Ministry these days as well; she'd gotten a job there in the Improper Use of Magic Office, acting as eyes and ears for Kingsley and Harry - both of whom were determined to stamp out the last traces of Voldemort that seemed to cling on in that office. Maybe it was the long-time presence of corrupt officials, such as the now-imprisoned Dolores Umbridge, stretching back to before Voldemort's conquest, but the Ministry was proving to be hard to clear out completely. Hermione stopped her thoughts from wandering too far into her job just in time. Today happened to be Sunday, her only day off, and she didn't want to waste it thinking about work. She was tired enough already.
Crookshanks finished his breakfast and leapt up onto Hermione's lap, curling up and purring. She stroked his head absently, rubbing behind his ears and running her hand down the length of his spine the way he liked. Her cat was growing older, he was past his tenth birthday now, but he was just as active as ever. He purred and purred, shoving his head into her hand happily, almost spilling her tea in the process. Thanks to her cat's affectionate behavior, Hermione's breakfast was quite pleasant. Perhaps her sensitive friend suspected she was feeling unwell. Hermione managed to relax and forget her restless night, and felt just as refreshed as if she'd had a week's worth of sleep. A good thing, too, because Hermione had promised to meet her parents for lunch and afterward planned on a trip to Diagon Ally.
Later, when she stepped out of the house, she didn't bother locking up. Her wards would keep out any unwanted wizarding visitors, and she lived in a low crime area: a very low crime area. Her nearest neighbors were a mile away, and they lived on a rather large, sprawling farm. Hermione had never lived in the country before she moved out on her own, unless traveling around in a tent counted, but she found that she enjoyed it quite a lot. It was restful, all the trees and fields were very pleasing to the eye, and there was no question of being too far from her friends and family because almost all of them knew how to apparate. There was space for her small shed that doubled as a work area, and minimal risk of any muggles coming along at inconvenient times - further diminished by muggle repelling charms placed around the boarders of her property.
Living on her own had done Hermione a world of good. She'd changed slightly since her final year of school, finished the last of her growing, filled out from the unhealthy starved look she'd acquired during the war. Her face had lost all traces of childish roundness, though her features remained soft. Her hair was still a monster to deal with at times, especially if she spent too much time over potion fumes, but growing it out somewhat helped to weigh it down, and mostly Hermione managed to keep it under control. Out of a desire to appear tidy and professional at work she had become handy with a few charms to keep the frizz in check. Ron had actually complemented her several times, in his slightly awkward but flattering way. Stepping lightly down the stone pathway from her front door Hermione walked out past her gate to the dirt lane, an old maintenance road that passed her house on its way to the paved roads. The minute her feet left stone and hit hard-packed dirt, she turned on the spot and apparated.
After the slight pop of air rushing to fill empty space, a figure stepped out from behind one of the many trees around the area, accompanied by the smaller form of an animal. They walked slowly but with purpose to the path Hermione had just disappeared from, bypassing the skillfully placed wards as if they did not exist. Crookshanks jumped through a window that had been left open slightly for him to get in and out by, shook himself, and began to trot off on his own business. He stopped however, when he saw the newcomer. Tilting his head to one side, he seemed to think carefully for a long moment before gliding forward and twining around their ankles, purring rapidly and loudly. He was rewarded with a very long cuddling session before being placed back on the ground. He sniffed noses briefly with the other newcomer, which was more than twice his size though inclined to be friendly. Utterly unconcerned and seemingly satisfied, the fluffy orange cat went on his merry way.
The person he had greeted remained kneeling, and took from their pocket a stick of white chalk. Working fast, they drew a rough circle on the ground and wrote out a series of lines so quickly that it was hard to follow the motion of their hand. Once that was completed the chalk was returned to the pocket and a wand was produced instead. A few whispered words accompanied by a waving motion and the drawing glowed white hot. The addition of a strange substance, neither gas nor liquid, produced a bright flash before everything vanished into the stones. When the light cleared there was no sign of the spell-caster anywhere.
Automatically, as Hermione passed several cafes and ice cream parlors in Diagon Ally, she scanned them for Ron's distinctive shock of red hair. It was almost his lunch hour, and she knew that he liked to hang around sweetshops then. Somewhat disappointedly, she noted that he wasn't there yet. Maybe Weasley's Wizard Wheezes was busy today and he didn't have any break time. Oh well, she sighed, before perking up and setting off. Weaving happily through the crowds, Hermione made her way first to Madam Malkin's for new robes. Hers were wearing a bit thin, and Hermione always liked to appear tidy when she showed up at work. The shop was not crowded, though Hermione did end up waiting for a young woman buying a new set of dress robes. Having been fitted out with suitable business-attire, Hermione carefully slipped her purchases into the beaded bag she still kept out of habit. She didn't carry around much anymore, but the bag was very useful in its own right and she had kept it on hand for occasions when she had to transport large quantities of items at once. It was especially handy while shopping. A quick trip to the apothecary to pick up potion supplies and a nip into Magical Menagerie later, and Hermione was almost skipping down the street toward her last stop. She had been looking forward to this particular purchase for a long, long time.
The wand she had been using for the past two years was not originally hers: it had once belonged to the late Bellatrix Lestrange, one of the most powerful Death Eaters there had ever been. Things had been touch and go concerning her control over it, but she had finally won authority through sheer determination. A wand accustomed to Bellatrix Lestrange's tempers and values would submit to someone with enough strength to force the issue, and Hermione was no pushover. Though they had gotten used to one another, Hermione always felt a mixture of disgust and anger whenever she used the wand: remembering its deeds under its former mistress set in her a strong desire to set it on fire. Needs must, however and wands were expensive. All of her childhood savings had been used up buying food or being left in chicken coops to compensate for theft when she, Harry and Ron had had no other option. Hermione had had no money to buy a new wand, and Ollivander's wasn't even open yet when the war officially ended. Hermione knew the quality of wands made by the old man, and had refused to settle for any other wandmaker. Once the shop was open, again, the issue of price had come up. There were more important things that cost more money, and the wand situation had been resolved already in a way. So, buying a new one had been pushed off and off, until Hermione found herself with a job that paid well enough for her to set aside a little gold with every paycheck, and end up with enough money for a good quality wand.
The shop looked the same as ever when she reached it, and Hermione experienced a pang of regret and sadness. She missed her old wand, and wished very much that it could have been recovered. Hermione never did find out what the Death Eaters had done with it, but she suspected that it was lying in two pieces somewhere. Sighing, she stepped up, opened the door and entered the shop. It was quiet, as she had expected. The noise from outside shut off instantly as the door closed. There were the same old shelves stacked with row after row of boxes which, she knew, contained wands awaiting their owners. She smiled. Mr. Ollivander could always be counted upon when wands were concerned. The old man did not seem to be in the front room, but the shop was open so he must be here. She stepped lightly up to the counter and rang the bell softly.
A door in the back opened and Mr. Ollivander came up one of the rows. He looked frailer than the first time she had seen him, but more than a year in captivity could do that to a person. His eyes were certainly bright enough, and the look of pleased recognition on his face when he saw her was the same as ever.
"Miss Granger," he said courteously, "I did wonder when you would be back. I remember your wand was destroyed." Shaking his head sadly, Mr. Ollivander approached the front desk and brushed wood shavings off of the apron he wore.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Ollivander," Hermione said politely during the pause between his words, and then fell silent.
"I do wonder why," having set down the woodworking tool that had been in his hand, the old man was now pacing thoughtfully down the nearest shelf, "You have left it so long to replace your wand. Especially given the nature of the questions you and your friends posed to me last year." This brief mention of darker times, when living even a few more hours hadn't been certain, momentarily seemed to darken the atmosphere. "I know you are not unaware that a good match between a witch and her wand is important."
"A combination of unfortunate circumstances," Hermione supplied smoothly, not feeling particularly inclined to go into great detail. She had absolutely loathed putting it off, thank you, but being practical had soldiered through. Being reminded of it was not pleasant.
"Well, no matter, no matter. We'll see if we can find one that suits you, young lady."
A little less than an hour later Hermione was stepping happily out the door with her new wand in her pocket: "Jarrah and unicorn tail hair, 10 and 1/4 inches, slightly flexible," to quote Mr. Ollivander. She hadn't even allowed the wandmaker to put it in a box and, wanting to be rid of the one she had been using, Hermione had given him Bellatrix's old wand, glad to be rid of it and not to have the task of destroying it herself. Whatever distaste and animosity she felt for the thing, it had eventually done work for her. Still, Hermione's new wand was a welcome relief, and there was no use pretending otherwise.
Except for her wand all of her packages were now carefully stored in her old beaded bag. She'd try out that new shampoo for Crookshanks when she got home, it was supposed to have been enhanced with a potion that lessened shedding. She was getting tired of vanishing cat hair off of her furniture and robes. A quick stop to buy groceries might also be in order, if not now then tomorrow at least, since her pantry could use a little sprucing up. Ron still ate nearly his own weight in food whenever he came around for dinner, but she didn't mind. With Harry being so busy at the Ministry these days, more often than not it was just Hermione and Ron spending time together. Even if they missed Harry whenever he couldn't make it, it was still nice to have alone time with Ron after so long. Pleasantly immersed in memories of their last visit, Hermione set off to complete her errands.
She was humming softly to herself when once more she walked down the dirt path to her home, her mood cheerful despite the return of her fatigue. She had several new books, one of them a muggle science fiction novel she was looking forward to reading in her spare time, maybe even tonight: it was early, she could have a long soak in her bath, grab a mug of cocoa, curl up in her favorite armchair by the fire and just read... She'd have to be careful not to stay up too late, though: she had dinner planned with Harry and Ron tomorrow. Since she hadn't made it to the store today, she'd have to stop by after work tomorrow. But it would be worth the hassle, since Harry would be coming along for the first time in almost two weeks. As these pleasant thoughts drifted through her mind, her foot touched the stone of her walkway. Hermione's next step brought her into the very center of the invisible lines drawn on the stone.
The effect was instantaneous. Hermione felt something, not with any of her ordinary senses but with that strange awareness humans sometimes have of things extraordinary. The moment the tip of her foot touched the stone, something went click. It was inexorable, yet as soft as the closing of a book. Then the invisible chalk markings glowed with sudden, fierce, blinding light. Hermione gasped and tried to take a step back, raising both hands to cover her face and protect her eyes, but her foot met an invisible barrier, and the next minute all she was aware of was the pain in her eyes from the light. Pain. Sharp and focused as a set of ice picks. There was a distressing sense of motion, of traveling great distance at overwhelming speed, but her mind just couldn't process what was going on, incapacitated as it was by the white hot agony spreading slowly through her. It grew and grew until it was almost unbearable, no longer focused just in her eyes but through her whole body, and she couldn't stop herself from screaming as she blacked out.
New-grown grass had a slightly different scent from freshly-mown grass, but the two were very similar. Close enough that the scent reaching Hermione's nose was as soothing as a balm to her tortured senses. She could not remember exactly why she felt so horrible, and in truth she did not want to remember. It was far easier to lay there, with her face resting against the deliciously cool and sweet-smelling grass, on the farther side of the suffering she had endured. Remembering it would be acknowledging it, and that would make it real. She didn't want it to be real, it was too terrible, and she was so tired…
No, that was odd, she wasn't tired even though her whole body pulsed with remembered pain. She ought to have been exhausted, because those funny dreams that weren't quite nightmares were disturbing her sleep. Her mind set to work analyzing this curious development, and that thought brought her short-term memory back in overdrive. Hermione suddenly opened her eyes and sat up, completely baffled by what she saw. Around her grass swayed in the bright mid-afternoon sun, green, thick and almost luminous in its apparent health. Behind her, though she did not turn to look, Hermione could hear the creaking of branches and the rustling of leaves. Ahead the ground sloped down slowly, rolling to a familiar and much beloved sight: a large lake, and next to it a castle she knew very, very well. Hogwarts. Somehow, by a method of transportation Hermione had never heard of, she had been brought within the grounds of her old school.
It was impossible. Her mind immediately rejected the thought. There was no way to just appear within Hogwarts' grounds - a person would have to bypass all of the age old, time tested, wards that had guarded the place for centuries. She hadn't touched a portkey or used the floo network… all Hermione could remember was that strange flash of light and the sudden pain that had come after it. Acting on sudden fear, she grabbed in her pocket for her wand. It was there, and her beaded bag was on the ground beside her. A quick check proved that nothing had been added to or taken from its contents.
She frowned, so the aim of whatever or whoever had attacked her was not robbery. But what could it be then? What purpose was supposed to be accomplished by bringing her here? Something about the light tugged at the corners of her mind, something about it had seemed vaguely familiar for an all too brief moment. What had it been? Why had it even happened? She leaned forward and pressed her face into her hands, willing herself to stay calm and think rationally. There had to be an explanation, there was always an explanation. Everything had a reason behind it. Rigidly controlling the panic that was threatening to creep up on her, Hermione slowly got her thoughts in order. She was at Hogwarts, at least, and not somewhere completely new and possibly dangerous. She could go up to the castle and explain what had happened to Professor McGonagall, maybe get some answers. There was no sense panicking. None at all. Vague disquiet at the time ate away at the calm Hermione had brought up: how long had it been? When that strange… event, she supposed she should call it, had happened it had been late evening. At least one night seemed to have passed: for all she knew, possibly more.
Hermione made herself stand up. The sooner she made it to the school the better. She didn't seem to have sustained any injuries, besides a few grass stains that were easily removed with her wand. Brushing her hair out of her face, Hermione made to set off toward the castle when a gruff voice echoed across the open grassy lawn - one she didn't recognize.
"Keep up there, lad. Don't fall behind!"
"No, sir. Coming, sir!"
A tall figure and a short figure stepped out of the forest a ways away from her. Hermione watched with a kind of terrified trance as they tromped off toward the castle. One, the analytical part of her mind remarked, was obviously a caretaker of some sort, judging by the spade he was carrying, and the one carrying vegetables must be his assistant. Neither seemed to notice her, and she did not move or call out to them. Her mind was racing at a frantic pace, trying to come to grips with what she was seeing. As they walked up the stone steps to the large front doors, Hermione took one slow step backward, there was no way, then another, it just wasn't possible, then another, it couldn't be possible! before turning and running as fast as she could into the forest.
Hermione had only ever seen a young version of Hagrid once in a photograph he'd shown them, but there was really no mistaking him. Not when she knew him so well as an adult. No, no, no, no, no, not possible, not possible. Yet there it was. Irrefutable. Set in stone. She stumbled over a tree root, managed to avoid falling, and continued running as fast as she could into the forest. The only thought in her mind was to get as far away as possible, not to be seen. If it was true, which she hoped, prayed, that it wasn't, Hermione knew she should not be there. Even the sight of her could possibly change something vital and ruin everything…
Much as she hated to admit it, it seemed that she had not only traveled through space: somehow, Hermione Granger had also traveled through time.
It seemed incredible that after two years of everything going right, things could suddenly go so very wrong.
Hermione was leaning with her back against a tree, pressing one hand into her forehead and thinking very hard. Reduce it to logic, she told herself, think - state the facts.
Somehow, she had gone back in time. Witness younger-Hagrid.
The laws of her time stated quite clearly that time travelers should be extremely cautious, and above all else should avoid monumental errors like killing their ancestors or giving people information about the future or… Slow down girl. Keep it simple.
Hagrid, though it was hard to judge with a boy his size, looked to be maybe 14 or so. From what she knew about Hagrid's time in Hogwarts, she suspected that a certain Dark Lord might be finishing his 6th or 7th year of schooling.
Given what Hermione knew about the future, what he could find out from her if she wasn't careful, this was a Very Bad Thing.
So, it followed logically that she had to find a way back to the future. Other than just sitting around and waiting for it to arrive, of course. That thought brought a slightly hysterical giggle from her, and the sound frightened her a little. She clapped a hand over her mouth, closed her eyes and took a very deep breath. Calm, girl. Calm.
The problem with that was Hermione had never read about or heard of a way to travel forward in time. Anyone who used a time turner, the only known means of time travel, simply existed in the past until they caught up with their point of departure from the future. Besides, time turners were one-way devices. Traveling backwards was safest, because no one ever has any idea of what the future brings. You could appear in the middle of a house fire or an earthquake, a duel or worse. No one did it. No one knew how to do it.
But it looked like she would have to. Staying in the past was not an option. Hermione refused to consider it. The thought of living without her family and friends, of going through the nightmare that was The Life and Times of Lord Voldemort again was just intolerable. So, it looked as if she had to find a way to do the impossible and go forward in time. Right. Brainstorming was the next step, then.
Exhausted from her long run through the forbidden forest, confused, and more than a little worried Hermione slowly sank down into a sitting position. What to do, what to do. Out in the forest her options were severely limited. Aside from the potion supplies she had bought, it seemed like years ago now, Hermione had very little to work with. Added to that issue, she had nothing to research: only her own knowledge was available to her, and if the answer was there she was certain she would have thought of it already. Shelter and food were also a problem. Groaning, she pulled her knees up to her chest, wrapped her arms around them, lowered her head and tried not to lose her control. She felt like a child again, completely helpless, confused, with absolutely nowhere to go. The injustice of it all, her fear and confusion, all seemed to be battering down her already strained self control.
It was getting colder, Hermione realized, brushing the moisture she refused to think about from her cheeks. The light was dimmer, too. It must be getting late. Shivering, hugging her arms, she looked around. One thing was sure, she couldn't stay in the forest at night. It wasn't safe. Sighing, she got to her feet. London might be safe enough. She could blend in there. The Leaky Cauldron, maybe… If she kept to her room most of the time. The gold she had on hand wouldn't be enough for very long there, even with inflation taken into account. Well, a few days with a roof over her head and some privacy would give her time to get her head on straight. She could modify that new traveling cloak - add a hood. Pulling it out of her beaded bag, Hermione carefully ran her wand over the edges of the fabric, murmuring the words necessary. The task helped to focus her thoughts, and when she slipped it on it was with a calmer state of mind than she had had since she woke up on the ground.
When she began to turn to apparate to London, a thought occurred to her. Maybe the Leaky Cauldron wasn't such a good idea. Walking in there and trying to hide her face might be just as attention-grabbing as anything else she could do. Still, the inns that wouldn't question a concealed face were ones she really didn't want to visit. Hermione thought carefully for a very long moment, before the answer came to her in one swoop and she actually smiled faintly before apparating away.
What's that? A new story? Why yes. If you plan on running for cover, I suggest you do it now. Look, the Tom Riddle/Hermione Granger bug took a major chunk out of my arse. I'm just trying to get the story out so that it'll leave me alone. It burrowed into my ear canal while I was sleeping, and is threatening to eat its way into my brain tissue if I don't comply with its demands. ...Don't give me that look. It's true. I tried smoking it out with that silly MAGLOR owner's guide, and all it did was laugh at me and take a bite of my ear drum. My right ear may be completely useless now.
Jess, I know you said write the whole thing out first. I'm working on it, and at least the plot-notes are completely done. I'm not ignoring your advice. I'm just trying to get going before my inertia dries up.
For my Kingdom Hearts readers, no I haven't given up on you. We won't go into that here, though, since it's a completely different fandom.