Harry Potter and the Royal Mint
a hopefully humorous oneshot fanfiction,
set in JKR's Harry Potter Universe
and written by yasuhei.
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Professor Minerva McGonagall closed the door to the Headmaster's office and moved to stand beside Albus, staring over his desk at the short, brown eyed and bushy-haired form of one of her very own first year students. The girl looked unrepentant about her actions.
Never before, in all her many years teaching, had Minerva McGonagall seen such a young student perform such a dangerous and reckless deed, and yet the girl seemed not a whit concerned.
"Now Miss Granger," Headmaster Dumbledore began, his tone soft and kind despite the situation, "The situation is more serious than I believe you understand."
"I understand the situation perfectly Headmaster," The young Hermione countered, "And I knew the probable outcome. There was no real damage."
She certainly was in control of herself, Minerva noted. Children like this needed Fire and Brimstone and not coddling, she decided.
"No real damage?" She snapped. "You and two of your classmates were in imminent danger. You could have been hurt, and not just you either. Any number of other children could have been hurt or killed. Two others very nearly were."
Hermione winced, but only very slightly. She still looked very certain of her righteousness, which given her actions was completely ridiculous.
"I want an explanation Miss Granger!"
Hermione's eyes narrowed slightly and without saying a thing she loosened the collar of her robes and the clothes beneath, reaching to pull out from within an object that dangled from a golden chain. It was a Time-Turner, of that there was no doubt, but it was like no Time-Turner that Minerva had ever seen. There was silver wiring poking out from it in strange directions, and there was runework the likes of which she had never seen before. What the hell was a schoolchild doing with such a thing, she thought angrily. Who on earth would give one to a child?
"Well a Time-Turner explains in part how you managed it, I suppose," McGonagall said in annoyance, "But it does nothing to explain why you would do such a thing, and even less to tell us why we should be lenient. If you have no concern for your safety then are you not at least worried about the very likely possibility that you will be expelled for such a reckless act?"
Hermione blinked, and spoke calmly. "There are things more important than Expulsion."
"Indeed?" Albus said inquiringly.
Minerva wished he wouldn't humour her. Didn't he see that he wasn't helping?
"Like what?" She barked. "Tell me what exactly is more important than your continuing education, than your ability to perform magic for the rest of your life?"
"Saving the world from a madman is more important," the young declared, before pausing for dramatic effect. "And so is love of course. True love is the most important thing in the world."
Albus' eyes brightened the very moment that he heard the L-word, and Minerva knew she was loosing him. He had some very peculiar notions about 'the power of love', particularly where it concerned Harry Potter.
"You are going to have to do a lot better than that, Miss Granger," McGonagall demanded, trying not to completely lose control of the situation.
"Oh I fully intend to," the young girl responded. "You probably deserve to hear the story anyway.
"The story probably begins," she said, waving the Time-Turner on its chain, "In Australia, sometime during the beginning of 1998."
It was a hot day, and Hermione was envious of all the people out there on the beach, able to enjoy the temperate waters. She would have been out there with them, but she'd woken knowing it was going to be another very bad day for her leg. The curse damage was making a reappearance again, sending shots of pain racing up her legs while it tried to turn her calf into a dried, desiccated mess. She'd tried everything she could find, every spell and treatment, but nothing seemed able to stop the damage from reoccurring every few days.
Mostly it was okay. Most days she could pretend it had never happened, and people looking even at her bare leg wouldn't know there'd ever been a problem. Even if she was on the beach when it started to hurt then usually she could get somewhere private and apparate safely home. It was a painful annoyance, but for day to day life it was survivable.
Back in England, however, it had been more problematic. It hurt more in the cold, for starters, but worse was that it had acted up a couple of times during situations that were a lot more serious than a quick walk down to the beach. It had nearly gotten all of them killed. That was why she was here in Australia with her parents, instead of being back in England fighting Voldemort with Harry and Ron.
That was why she was sitting inside a light and sunny room, her leg slathered with potions and unguents, reading a book about infant mortality amongst the early settlers. It was quite an interesting read actually, and she probably would have remained absorbed in it if it hadn't been for the unexpected sound of a polite cough demanding her attention.
She looked up to see through the brilliant green eyes of her best friend in the world. Right through his eyes, out through the back of his head and out across her ocean view.
"Harry?" she said in surprise to his spectral form. "You... You're dead? Why are you dead?"
"Sorry to barge in like this," Harry apologised in a perverse form of extreme Britishness.
"Sorry to barge in!" Hermione exclaimed. "Harry, you're dead! You're a ghost!"
"I know," Harry agreed, "I'm sorry about that too. I hate to bring bad news with me like this, but I wanted to see you."
"What are you apologising for? I'm the one who's sorry."
"Yes, I know. I'm sorry about that."
Hermione couldn't help it, she let out a short laugh, and was glad to see a small and grateful smile on the face of Harry's face. "Well it's not exactly good to see you like this, but it is good to see you. What happened?"
"Oh, well... Voldemort, really. I didn't have a great deal of luck finding his Horcruxes, really."
"I'm sorry," Hermione said, suddenly full of guilt. "I wasn't there to help you find any of it."
"I'm not sorry about that," Harry disagreed. "I missed you being there, but I'm just glad you're safe. I wanted to bring you a housewarming gift, but I couldn't think of anything appropriate. Do you like ectoplasm?"
He was so sincere that Hermione couldn't help but smile. Her emotions were bouncing all over the place.
"It's actually pretty warm," He told her unexpectedly. "Being dead I mean. I sort of thought it would be cold, like standing outside at a funeral in winter and having to stamp your feet all the time, but it isn't. It's actually nice and warm, like a nice bubbly bath. No, more like a trip to the tropics."
"We're in Australia, Harry," she told him, smiling through watery eyes. "It's still near the start of spring here, so of course it's warm."
"Well it was pretty warm before too, when I was differently dead I suppose. It was mostly black, but it was warm and they had these drinks with little umbrellas in them too, which only supports what I was saying about the tropics. See?" Harry showed her a ghostly drink. It was bright red, had an umbrella and also a slice of lime. "It's quite tasty too. I have no idea who Nearly-headless Nick got to cater for his deathday, but speaking now as a fellow ghost I wouldn't recommend them."
"I suppose that's mostly fairly irrelevant," Hermione apologised to the Headmaster sitting opposite from her. "I'm sorry about that, but I tend to get caught up in it. It was a very emotional day for me after all."
"Quite alright," Dumbledore said, much to Minerva's displeasure, "I must admit that I was getting quite caught up in it too."
"The real reason he was there had nothing to do with the weather of course. He'd originally come, I think, to say goodbye."
"So," Harry said much later, after they had talked about the tropics, and beach life, and after Hermione had lectured him on the important differences between the rules of the Australian Quidditch League, and the way it was played back in England, "I just really wanted to tell you that I loved you Hermione, that I was still thinking of you at the end, and that you were still very important to me."
Hermione was so stunned that the precious book she'd been holding fell unnoticed to the floor. She'd never noticed a thing, not in all the time they'd spent together. "Oh Harry, why didn't you ever tell me? There's so much that we missed out on in our time together. Walks round the lake, and holding hands, and goodnight kisses."
"Oh," Harry said, looking a little surprised himself. "I don't think I spoke clearly. I didn't mean to say I was in love with you, just that I loved you. I suppose I might be, In love with you I mean, but I haven't thought about it really. Sorry."
"Boys can be stupid about these sorts of things," Hermione helpfully explained to McGonagall. "They really do need some intelligent witch in their lives who can point out who they are really in love with."
Dumbledore was leaning forward slightly, obviously particularly interested in this part of the story. Minerva just rolled her eyes and sighed. "I'm sure I wouldn't know anything about that Miss Granger.
"He was in love with me of course, he was just too thick to realise it. Boys!
"On a slightly unrelated note," Hermione mentioned, "Ghosts make surprisingly able lovers. They are incorporeal, of course, but they can make fantastic use of-"
McGonagall coughed loudly, interrupting. "Perhaps we should stay on topic, Miss Granger."
"Right. Well, Harry was ready to move on with his death. He was much happier than I would have expected actually. He was far more moody when we were together in school. He told me it was because he had good company, but really I think he was just content that he'd done his best against Voldemort and now he was happy moving on with other things. I however wasn't ready to let it go. I thought about it for years."
"I think I've got it," Hermione told him over dinner one evening.
"Well you didn't get it from me," Harry responded grinning. "I'm pretty sure ghosts can't get sexually transmitted diseases, and besides, you are the only woman I've been with."
"You idiot," Hermione said blushing. "I mean I think I know how to defeat Voldemort."
"Oh, well that's even less fun than your possible infidelity. Hey, do you think you could create a cursed and evil STD? You'd go out one night to some seedy bar somewhere, and let the dark and sinisterly alluring woman take you home. Next morning you wake up with itchy genitals and the sudden diabolical desire to take over all of London with an army of mechanical hedgehogs. It's something to think about, I'm sure."
As a ghost Harry found turning pages difficult, and no one had yet thought to make research-books on tape. As a result, Harry's usual role in Hermione's research was to be annoying and disruptive. She'd grown adept at ignoring him.
"I was thinking that the real problem you had with defeating Voldemort was that it was so hard to track down his Horcruxes. So, what if we went back in time and affected what he turned them into, made them something we could more easily find them, or even better, make it so someone else collects them for us."
"That's a great idea Hermione, only sorry, I left my time machine in my other pants. Also, if we're going back in time why cant we just kill him as a baby, or raise him to be nice and love bunnies, rainbows and cute little kittens playing with string."
Hermione glared at him.
"It took me thirteen years to make this thing," Hermione announced, tapping the Turner on Dumbledore's desk, "And it only worked the once. It did work though. Well enough to take me all the way back, and Harry too. I took him with me, stuffed in my handbag."
"It was highly irresponsible of you to even consider moving so back through time," Minerva lectured. "The results could have been disastrous."
"I saw it as irresponsible to allow Voldemort to go on killing hundreds upon thousands, to allow him to crush and conquer country after country, year after year."
"Young lady, if you think for a moment-" Minerva began, only to derailed by Dumbledore's pleasant tones.
"Well it seems to have worked out rather well. We all still seem to exist at least. I for one would to like to hear the details of her plan."
Hermione nodded While McGonagall seethed. There were some things that should be kept sacrosanct, and the flow of time was one of them. Major changes in the far past could theoretically destroy existence. No one else in the room seemed the least bit concerned though.
"I did a lot of research on the other parts of my plan too," Hermione confided. "I researched the subject of my plan, and I researched Tom Riddle's early life. I also did a lot of statistical and probability analysis, and I was able to take into account a lot of magical factors that most statisticians of course are not aware of. When I was sure my maths was correct, and that this would very likely work, then I put my plan into place."
It was Tom Riddle's eighth birthday. No one had given him a present, and no one had even seemed to notice it's passing. Nonetheless, it was still shaping up to be a pretty good day. No one much had found the time to hassle him particularly badly yet today, and better yet it was a Thursday. Thursdays were good, because every Thursday the lady would come in and read stories to them. It was meant for the younger children really, but no one objected to him being there, and she usually had interesting tales to share.
Today's tales were particularly interesting, and they would affect Tom's life profoundly.
Today the stories were about a witch. A wizened crone, older than dirt and more cunning than any man. She was capable of great good, but more often of great evil. Her house stood on two giant chicken legs, and it would travel where her whims took her. Baba-Yaga they called her.
But of all her feats of magic and cunning, there was one thing that Tom thought more brilliant than any of the others. Baba-Yaga was always safe from harm because she had taken her life and had hidden it securely inside an egg. While it remained safe Baba-Yaga would remain alive and nothing could ever kill her. It was possibly the most amazing thing that Tom had ever heard and actually he thought that -
"That's ridiculous," a voice simultaneously interrupted both the story and Tom's private thoughts.
Sharon, the storyteller, looked up from her papers and frowned. There was another woman standing just inside the doorway to the room; an intruder.
"Excuse me?" Sharon asked. "I beg your pardon?"
"Keeping your life inside an egg," The intruder said, "That's what I mean. Eggs are fragile for one thing. They're pretty big too, so its hard to hide them. They stand out as well. Everyone's going to notice an egg if you put it somewhere weird, and if you don't it could get smashed or eaten by accident. She'd have to keep checking on it all the time, and then people would see her doing that."
"I'm not sure you're supposed to be here," Sharon said stiffly, starting to sound quite annoyed. "Perhaps you should leave."
The interloper ignored her entirely. "You want something sturdier than an egg, I'd think. Something that takes real effort to break. Not something valuable or precious though. People pay a lot of attention to valuable things. They attract a lot of attention, and people are always watching them, noticing them and remembering them."
Sharon was coughing meaningfully, but Tom found that he was nodding along with this weird woman's argument.
"So," the stranger continued, "It should be something sturdy but ultimately forgettable. Something that someone wouldn't think twice about having handled. Something like a penny. They pass through your hands and onto others almost at random, and when they go you hardly remember you ever had them If Baba-Yaga had hidden her life inside a penny then no-one ever would have been able to find it. No one. It would have disappeared, almost like magic."
The woman smiled knowingly, and Tom couldn't help but think what a clever idea of hers it was. Years later he'd still remember about Baba-Yaga's life egg, but he wouldn't recall anything of that lady - not consciously at least.
"I used a compulsion charm too, of course," Hermione told Dumbledore. "Cast it just before I spoke up. The real power of my suggestion actually came from repetition, and from Voldemort's own subconscious. It was fairly easy to get an apartment in London, and when he went on to Hogwarts I hired a room down in Hogsmead. That was even easier because they didn't ask for any identification."
"In Hogsmead," Albus asked, sounding a little surprised. "Weren't you worried you'd be recognised or discovered?"
"Not really. I hadn't even been born yet, so I was only likely to be recognised if I bumped into someone who experienced time in reverse, and there aren't a great number of those around. Merlin was born into nothingness centuries ago now. And really, people can be awfully dim. I used the alias of Obsidian Blackbird McBovril, and nobody even blinked at it.
"At nights," Hermione continued, "I'd let Harry out of my handbag. Then after we had made sweet love he would steal into Hogwarts and whisper into Voldemort's dreams. Telling him again and again about pennies. Voldemort actually became quite an avid coin collector, did you know? He kept a galleon minted in every year He'd been alive. That didn't happen in my original timeline."
"You helped Voldemort make soul-jars that are even more difficult to dispose of?" Minerva could scarcely believe what she was hearing. Her fingers were twitching with the suppressed desire to reach across the table and wring this young girl's neck. "Are you mad? Did your parents tend to drop you on your head as a child?"
"It wasn't madness," Hermione argued. "It was brilliance. I'm the smartest witch of my generation, you know, and I'd checked and checked the maths again and again. The probabilities were very much in my favour."
Mathematics was not Minerva's strong point, and even had it been she was too flustered and angry to talk statistics and probabilities. "The very plan was foolish to start with. How could you possibly know that your bid to influence his choices would work!"
"Psychology?" Hermione suggested, shrugging. "Magic? Does it really matter? After all it did work. Eventually Voldemort decided that pennies were the perfect vessel for his Horcruxes and the rest, of course, is history."
"Mornin. What can I do you for?"
Stepping toward the counter, Lord Voldemort began to lay his coins down one by one, each with a very deliberate click.
"I would like a copy of the London Timesss, a pack of sssilk cut, and a liqorissce twissst."
If Lord Voldemort's Malevolent hissing put the shopkeeper off at all then he didn't let it show. "Sure thing mate," he said, eyeing the amount of currency on the counter slightly doubtfully. "I suppose you'll only be wanting a box of twelve then. If you want any more I'll be needing a few bob more."
"It isss of no conssequenssce. The cigarettesss are only for dramatic effect."
"Right you are then." You got much stranger folks than Lord Voldemort in his store late at nights.
Two minutes later Lord Voldemort was standing outside on the street, a smouldering cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. It was done. Finally it was done. The sixth and final of his Horcrux-pennies had disappeared without comment into the store-owner's till. Never for a moment had the fool Muggle suspected that a dark and dangerous aura lingered around it.
It, like the rest of the Horcrux-pennies, was now in circulation: passing anonymously and invisibly through the teeming millions of Muggle hands that populated the British Isles. His immortality and invincibility was now assured. Barring some bizarre coincidence involving a prophecy, a baby, a toy truck and a mother's love, it would now be completely impossible to defeat him.
Voldemort would reign supreme forever, he told himself, and all over the world people would come to tremble at the sound of his nom de guerre.
But although prophecies were quite rare, toy trucks, babies and mothers were all in unfortunately plentiful supply, and in late October of the year 1981 Voldemort would have an unlikely encounter that would lead to something of a small setback.
His wraith seethed in annoyance at the indignity of it all, but never for a moment did it fear, because it was secure in the knowledge that eventually its Horcruxes would bring it back, and that they were well hidden and separate.
But like magic draws to like, and the year 1986 found all seven Horcrux-pennies in the same truck heading to the same location.
"Actually," Hermione said, looking over to Headmaster Dumbledore, "I've wondered about that for a long time. If like magic draws to like then why don't the three Deathly Hallows, for instance, always end up in the same room together?"
"Well that is perfectly easy to explain," Dumbledore explained. "The magic of the three Hallows are actually all very different from each other. They do however give you a set bonus if they are all equipped together. I believe it is:
"10% haste bonus; and
"Immunity to being dead. Quite useful, actually. It's worth getting them for the set bonus alone."
"It sounds it," Hermione agreed. "Now where was I? Oh yes. The Royal Mint."
Voldemort was so impressed by what he thought was his own spot of brilliance that he forgot to do adequate research. He hated Muggles, and though he would use them and their technology he would never deign to try and understand them or their society. There was much he did not know about the life of copper coins.
Like the stars in the heavens above, pennies were born in fire then cooled. Like stars, they lay twinkling together for a time before being wrapped up in a paper tube and sent out to stores where they would be handed out to strangers; then would rattle about uncomfortably in pockets or coin-jars until being lost down the back of a couch for a time; then found by a child and spent on sweets or fake toy guns. There is much that the average person does not know about stars and other celestial currencies.
The important thing to note is that like stars, pennies eventually die. Once they are worn down, fading and ugly, they find their way into the hands of a banker. There they are collected and then sent back to the Royal Mint to be reborn anew, again birthed in fire.
In 1986 six very specific one pence coins found their way back together, nestled amongst thousands and thousands of their own kind in the back of a fairly large truck. They were still together when a shoot dropped them into a crucible full of molten metal.
The foundry exploded.
"And like that," Hermione blew something fleeting and imaginary from her spreading fingertips, "He's gone.
"The Muggles called it terrorism, of course. Even to this day however, there still lingers a slight emanation of dark magic about that place. I've been there. I've checked."
McGonagall couldn't believe the temerity of a student suggesting that they had been responsible for the dark Lord's death.
Dumbledore however seemed far more involved in the story, "Really? He's gone you say?"
Hermione nodded very seriously, the action looking ridiculous on such a young face. "I'm certain. I woke up suddenly one morning and I was six again, and at my parents house. The explosion was in the news that day, and I immediately knew what had caused it.
"I'm sure my reversion to childhood was caused by paradox. There were no longer any Horcruxes in '98, so there was no longer any reason for me to travel back and destroy them. I still remember everything that happened however. Voldemort is dead."
"It sounds wonderful," Dumbledore said, sighing sadly and seeming to come back to himself. "I do not wish to be overly pessimistic, my dear, but I have reason to believe that Voldemort isn't really dead. There was a prophecy about it, unfortunately."
"Oh I know about that, the whole thing. Remember that Harry did die at Voldemort's hand. That actually happened. To take it even further: I wouldn't have travelled back in time without Harry and his love, I wouldn't have survived without his support, and it was Harry who stole into Voldemort's dreams at night. I think that easily counts as 'at Harry's hand', wouldn't you think?"
"I suppose I would," Dumbledore agreed, a smile spreading across his face.
"Harry's scar was a Horcrux in the old timeline. It isn't anymore. I checked that too."
Feeling that it was about time to interject, Minerva cleared her throat meaningfully. "That's all well and good, and if it is true then it is happy news indeed, but it hardly explains or excuses your actions of tonight. None of what you have said sheds any light on that little mess."
She thought her frown was at it's best and most intimidating, but the Granger girl still seemed unaffected.
"It does directly relate to it though," She contradicted. "Harry doesn't remember me, and I don't know why. I woke up suddenly six again and remembering everything I'd done and everything I'd seen, but Harry doesn't remember me at all. I didn't even look familiar to him."
Minerva had seen attention seeking behaviour before, but really...
"And that you see," Hermione announced, "Is why I had to smuggle a Troll into the castle for Halloween. I still want to be friends with Harry, and no one else was going to do it this time."
Minerva McGonagall's jaw hung open. Even if she did choose to believe that fantastic story it was still no excuse. The lives of hundreds of school children had been endangered, and for what? A chance at friendship when there would have been countless others? A chance at love too many years down the track to predict anything? It was irresponsible. It was mad. There was no sane person alive who could possibly condone that kind of behaviour.
"Fifty points to Gryffindor," Dumbledore announced, "For bending time and space in the pursuit of true love, and for defeating the Dark Lord once and for all."
"Actually," he mumbled after a moment, "Given the scope perhaps it should be five thousand points."
That year Gryffindor won the House Cup.
I wrote this in a single day, which is unusual for me. Stories normally take a great deal more work to get outside of my head.
The idea for this fic was sparked as I was thinkign about the fact that the one-cent and two-cent coins that were formerly used in Australia were discontinued and destroyed in 1991. The idea of all the horcruxes being coins and being destroyed at once crossed my mind then, and sparked amusement though no actual story. Several days later I woke with the idea of Hermione and Minerva facing off in the Headmaster's office over 'the event', and everythign immediately fell into place. I had fun with this, and I hope at least a couple of the rest of you will too.
There are a fair few eferences that slipped in here. I hope the more obscure ones get noticed.
A big thanks to Kurushi for her editing.