Written for the "Best Friends Falling In Love Challenge" by opaque-girl
Pairing:Bellatrix Black / Hermione Granger
Timeline: Completely AU. 1999-1969 / 1969-1999
Summary: Hermione is given a Time Turner to assist her in her research during her seventh year. During an accident the Time Turner breaks and when she wakes up she finds herself trapped in a different timeline. It is 1969; Bellatrix Black's seventh year at Hogwarts. Hermione finds herself having to fight for survival and forms an unusual friendship with the dark haired witch and her two sisters. When friendship changes into love, she is literally trapped between two worlds with an impossible choice to make.
"Love knows not what time is"
"Miss Granger, surely I do not need to remind you of both the dangers and the consequences of using a Time Turner?" Minerva McGonagall looked over the rim over glasses. Emerald green eyes found the student sitting across her desk. She knew she did not have to remind her but rules and regulations stated she had to make herself very clear.
"Of course not, Professor. And I would like to thank you once again for allowing me to do this research" Hermione answered. It was the second day of her seventh year at Hogwarts. There was a time she had not considered coming back here. After the war something like education had seemed minimal, even to her. But her desire for knowledge and completion won from her heart and so she returned to Hogwarts. She was the only one out of the trio that had returned. Harry and Ron had both started their Auror training at the Ministry. "I know that during the war most Time Turners were destroyed and this is most likely the only one remaining"
She looked at the golden chain with the hour glass pendant lying on Professor McGonagall's desk. The Time Turner was familiar to her. It was not the first time she would use it. In had been in her third year, when she had been so desperate to take all her classes, that her Head of House had allowed her to use it. And now, several years later, she would wear the chain around her neck again. However this time it had nothing to do with her classes but everything with the project she was about to research. She would use it as a way to secure a job inside the Ministry once finished at Hogwarts.
"Is there anything else I can help you with?" McGonagall asked but Hermione shook her head. "Very well. You may return to your dormitories and I look forward to seeing you in class first thing in the morning"
Hermione smiled. "I look forward to it, Professor. It is double Transfiguration first thing" She stood up, carefully took the golden chain with the Time Turner from the desk and hung it safely around her neck. She glanced at McGonagall, who was watching her, before she turned around and left her Professor's office. She made her way back through the newly restored corridors. There was nothing left that would remind anyone of the Battle that took place here several months ago. Nothing but the plaque in the Great Hall with all the names of those who had fallen. But the castle looked stronger than ever. It had overcome the forces of evil and was ready to raise another generation of witches and wizards.
After taking a detour that led her through most of the castle, Hermione reached the Gryffindor common room and crawled through the portrait hole. Ginny was sitting by the fire place, waiting for her. Subconsciously Hermione's eyes searched the room looking for Harry or Ron, only to be reminded that neither had returned to school. It was strange being here without them. For the last seven years they had been part of her daily life. She sat down beside Ginny and pulled her legs up underneath her.
"You got it sorted then?" Ginny asked curiously. She spotted the chain hanging around Hermione's neck. Her eyes widened. She knew Hermione had used a Time Turner before, she had heard the stories but she had never actually seen one. "How does it work?"
Hermione carefully held the pendant in her hand. "You twist the hour glass. Say you want to go back in time for five hours, you spin it five times. The travel ends when you return to the point where you first went back in time. Get it?" She glanced at Ginny and her friend nodded. "It is not really meant for long distance time travelling. And I doubt people would cope well with that. It was confusing enough to go back in time for just one hour!"
"Can they change the timeline?" Ginny questioned curiously. The Time Turner seemed like a powerful tool that one was not to mess with. But if they could change the time line completely it meant that certain things could be undone. Horrible things. "And what if you don't make it back to the place you started off from?"
Hermione smiled. That last thought was something that always crossed her mind. It was that fear that had held her captive all the way through her third year. "I am not sure about altering the time lines and things like paradoxes and Merlin knows what else. I have always been too careful to allow such a thing to happen. But events can be recreated. I mean, that is what we did when changed Sirius. But whether they can be completely altered..."
Ginny frowned. She could see the appeal of owning a Time Turner, though in her mind most of those reasons had something to do with mischief. "So what is it you are exactly going to use it for? I mean, we don't have that many classes and you already know how the thing works so why have it?"
"I want to see whether the use of a Time Turner influences one's magical abilities and whether magic used whilst going back in time leaves traces that can be detected in present time – therefore creating the possibility that even if you are not seen, your magic still is" Hermione answered. "And if it proves magic does leave traces, perhaps a solution can be found. After all, the whole idea is that no one knows you have gone back in time" It sounded like a weak subject and she was not quite sure about the difference it would make but she was hopeful she would discover something that would really put her name on the map at the Ministry.
There was a silence between the two friends. Around them, several other students had begun to play games. A passionate game of Exploding Snap had come to live between Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan and several others were watching and cheering them on. Hermione glanced at Ginny. Ginny glanced back. And while they missed the presence of Ron and Harry they both realized something. This really was another year at Hogwarts and it seemed everything had truly returned to normal.
Falling back into a school routine was surprisingly easy or so Hermione found. After having spent a whole year away from school it was far less difficult to find the routine and structure that came with her classes and her homework. Even though she had not been in school for a year she found it easy to reconnect with the material given to her and quickly found herself top of the class again. This was much to the approval of Professor McGonagall.
The first weeks of September began to fade and the final days of summer sunshine were replaced by the thick grey rainclouds of autumn. Hermione found herself in the company of Ginny most days and the more time passed, the less she missed the presence of Ron and Harry. She had never before realized how Harry's constant obsessing over Draco Malfoy had gotten on her wits or how Ron's irritating, childish behaviour had almost driven her insane. However, the subject of Harry's hatred and obsession, Draco Malfoy, had returned to Hogwarts too. Though Hermione saw nothing of the boy he used to be. Few Slytherin students had returned. Most of them were unwilling to face the shame. Draco was quiet and withdrawn. His air of arrogance had faded and often she would find him sitting alone, away from the few classmates that had returned.
It was nearly the end of September when one morning Hermione made her way down the spiral staircase leading down from Gryffindor Tower. It was Friday, which meant she had double Potions this morning. From behind her came the excited voices of what sounded like a group of first or second years. Hermione increased her pace, knowing full well that the young ones would rush past her anyway. Her bag felt heavy. Perhaps she shouldn't have put any of the books she didn't need in. She glanced over her shoulder as the voices behind her continued. Were they... screaming?
They were screaming in laughter and some shrieked in despair. And it did not take her long to realize why. A large group of first and second years came running down the stairs. Some of them covered their heads with their arms, others used their bags. A few had given up and they looked thoroughly drenched. A water balloon came whizzing past and Hermione instinctively looked up. The only creature she knew to throw water balloons around the castle was Peeves.
And before she fully realized what had happened, one of those balloons hit her on her head. Cold water seeped down her neck and into her robes. Anger boiled in her veins. Just as she was about to open her mouth and shout at the annoying poltergeist, one of the second years lost her balance on the slippery steps. Hermione saw her coming but she had nowhere to go. Time passed as if in slow motion. She caught the girl's eyes just before she crashed into her. They were riddled with fear. Hermione felt herself topple over. The air was crushed out of her lungs and the next thing she felt was a sharp pain as her body crashed against the stone steps. She rolled over and over, her head banging against the concrete stairs. Behind her she could hear screaming but the world became a blur. Something pulled at her; it felt like a cold wind that caught her hair. And then... A sickening crash suddenly made the world go black.
She never heard the voice that shrieked in horror "Oh my God... where is she?"
Her eyes fluttered open and the first thing she became aware of was the pain. Her body ached everywhere. With a groan, she attempted to sit up only to find the world began to spin before her eyes.
"Not a good idea, Hermione" she muttered to herself and lay herself back down on what felt like a cold floor. Somewhere in the back of her mind the events of what happened began to return to her. She had been walking down the stairs... And Peeves had thrown a balloon... And someone...someone had fallen and then they both fell down the stairs... With the scene now becoming clear, Hermione reached up a shaking hand. She touched the side of her face. Something warm and sticky trickled down her cheek and when she looked at the tips of her fingers she was horrified to find blood. Only then did she realize the intense silence around her.
Where is everybody, she wondered. Surely they would not have left her at the bottom of the stairs and just gone to class?
She attempted again to sit up and this time the dizziness did not wash over her. She pushed herself up and leant against the wall. She had a thumping headache and her arms and legs ached. Slowly she turned around and looked at the spiral staircase. This was most definitely the bottom of Gryffindor Tower. It was the same stairs. But where was everybody?
"Who the bloody devil are you?"
She spun around at the sound of a familiar voice. Her eyes widened when she discovered Horace Slughorn standing behind her. His eyes had widened as he stared at her. But there was something about him, Hermione noticed. He looked different.
"Professor Slughorn, it's me. Hermione Granger!" Hermione said but she saw no recognition dawn in her Potions teacher's eyes. Desperation fell over her. Surely he knew who she was? "You have known me for two years. I am Harry Potter's best friend!"
Slughorn looked at her as if he saw water burn. "Harry Potter? I have never heard of that name. And I have not heard of a Hermione Granger either. Who are you and how did you get inside this castle?"
A terrible feeling began to dawn on Hermione and her eyes dropped to the gold chain around her neck. She let it run through her fingers and then, when she reached the hour glass pendant, she felt her heart freeze in her chest. The pendant had broken. Tiny pieces of glass lay scattered across the floor. "No..No...nono..." she whispered and her eyes snapped back up to Slughorn. Her brain was working quickly. If he was a teacher, it meant that McGonagall was around too. And Dumbledore of course. Two names she knew she could trust and two people who would believe her. It was likely Dumbledore was Headmaster by now, though she could not be certain. It appeared as if Slughorn recognized the Time Turner around Hermione's neck because the weary look in his eyes rapidly faded.
"Professor, I know this all looks very strange but this is a Time Turner" Hermione said as she showed him the necklace. He vaguely nodded. "I had an accident in my own time and it appears the Time Turner broke, sending me back in time. I have no idea where I am but it is outmost important that I speak to Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall. My presence here could alter timelines in ways we cannot imagine"
Slughorn seemed to weigh his options for a moment or two but then he decided Hermione's story was plausible. He nodded. "Come with me... err... Miss Granger?"
She followed Slughorn through the familiar corridors of Hogwarts. When they eventually arrived outside the Head Master's office, Hermione was relieved to see that it had not changed. It was still located behind a statue of a gargoyle on the seventh floor.
"Fudge Flies" Slughorn said and Hermione's heart leapt up in her chest. It had always been Dumbledore's habit of creating passwords that were based on sweets. But at the same time she realized she was about to face the man she knew to be dead in her own time. She had seen his lifeless body at the bottom of the Astronomy Tower, murdered by what she had then believed to be Snape. And it had been Snape. But not in the way she believed it then. A hollow feeling crept into her chest as she followed Slughorn up the spiral staircase. She knew what would happen in the future. She had so much information. She could change everything.
Slughorn knocked on the door leading to the Head Master's office and Dumbledore's familiar voice called them in. Tears stung behind Hermione's eyes when she stepped into the office and for a moment or two she could not look at the Head Master. But when she did, she was surprised to see he looked very little like she remembered him. His beard was shorter and his hair still slightly darker. Whatever this time was, she must have gone years back. Her brain was still working. Slughorn had retired in 1981 which meant it had to be before that.
"Horace" Dumbledore spoke friendly and then his blue eyes found Hermione. He slightly frowned. "To what do I owe this pleasure?"
"I was about to go for my morning walk when I came across Gryffindor Tower and discovered this young lady, Head Master. She is not a student at this school yet she wears Gryffindor robes" Slughorn said and Hermione glanced at him. "And she says she wears a Time Turner"
"Very well Horace. You can go" Dumbledore said as he eyed up Hermione. Slughorn turned around and left the office. The door closed behind him and Hermione now found herself in the presence of the wizard whom she knew to be dead. With a kind gesture, Dumbledore pointed at one of his chairs and Hermione sat down. Her body ached everywhere and suddenly she felt very tired. Her head was thumping and dark red blood still dripped down from the gash on the side of her head. Dumbledore sat down behind his desk, pressed the tips of his fingers together and looked at her. "Who are you?"
"Hermione Granger, sir" Hermione answered weakly "And Professor Slughorn was right. He did find me at the bottom of Gryffindor Tower. And I am wearing a Time Turner... however... it is broken"
That last word made Dumbledore look up. He stood up from his desk, walked around it and then took the necklace that hung around Hermione's neck. He studied it for a moment or two and then let it go. "This is a very familiar looking Time Turner, Miss Granger. I assume that in your time there is a Professor McGonagall?"
Hermione nodded. She wondered if the Time Turner had once been specifically meant for Professor McGonagall. "There is, sir. She is errr..." She paused, unsure whether she should tell him or not.
"You can tell me. It will not alter the timeline, Miss Granger. However, I do suggest we minimize the impact of your unexpected arrival here" Dumbledore said and briefly it appeared as if he was thinking hard about something. He then sat back down and looked at Hermione.
"Professor McGonagall is our Transfigurations teacher and Head of Gryffindor House" Hermione answered, leaving out the fact that Minerva McGonagall was also Head Mistress of Hogwarts. She did not want to tell Dumbledore that in her timeline he was already dead. "She gave me this Time Turner a few weeks ago so I could use it in a project that will help me gain entry to the Ministry. I was wearing it when..." She sighed. It almost sounded too unreal to be true. "It was a stupid accident. Peeves was throwing water balloons at passing students. A second year slipped, we both fell down the stairs. I woke up at the bottom of the stairs but in a different year..." She pointed at the Time Turner around her neck. "It broke"
There was a knock on the door before it swung open. Hermione looked over her shoulder and was shocked to find Minerva McGonagall walk into the office. She looked younger than she knew her Head Mistress to be. Her dark hair was still neatly bound back in a bun in the back of neck but she was not wearing glasses on her bony noses. Inquisitive green eyes almost instantly found Hermione and they widened in surprise. "Albus, you wanted to see me?"
"Minerva, it would appear we have a rather unexpected arrival" Dumbledore sounded bemused. Hermione suddenly understood why Harry had sometimes been irritated with him. Dumbledore always seemed to take things lightly. "Miss Granger here had an accident with a Time Turner. That is, she had an accident with your Time Turner, Minerva"
Minerva's eyes shot back at Hermione and she discovered the broken pendant around her neck. She sighed and sat down in the other vacant chair. "What are we going to do about it, Albus? We can't have a student from another time wandering around the castle..."
"Sir, could you please tell me what year this is?" Hermione asked softly "I know I have gone back in time but..." She glanced from Dumbledore to McGonagall. They both looked different; significantly different. This left her feeling that she had gone quite far back in time. "I'd like to know where I am"
"What year was the Time Turner given to you?" McGonagall asked, green eyes now piercing into Hermione's. Whatever strictness she had in her own time, it was not quite present now. "And may I add that I would never allow a student to wear my Time Turner unless he or she is extremely talented and I trust them to live up to the expectations of wearing such a powerful device"
Hermione blushed. There was a compliment hidden in there somewhere. "It was given to me in September 1999" She saw the worried look McGonagall shared with Dumbledore and she flared up. "What?"
Minerva swallowed. "Miss Granger, this is September 1969..."
She woke up in a comfortable bed. Sheets had been draped loosely over her body and now that her eyes slowly opened she realized her headache was gone. With a disgruntled moan she pushed herself up on her elbows only to find there were two people sitting at her bedside. Minerva McGonagall was checking what appeared to be essays. Dumbledore amused himself with something that looked an awful lot like the cards from Chocolate Frogs.
"Ah you're awake, Miss Granger" McGonagall looked up from her work and smiled. "You had us worried"
"Sorry" Hermione muttered. She touched the side of her face. The blood was gone and the cut had been healed. "I...I think I must have passed out"
"You suffered a mild concussion. Not unlikely since your head bounced off those concrete steps" Minerva continued and Hermione weakly smiled. "However, it is urgent we speak with you" She glanced at Dumbledore. "The effects of a Time Turner going back in time this far have never been document. In theory it should be impossible but this situation has proven otherwise. Even though my Time Turner in this time is still intact it is of no use to us as it is designed to go backwards in time, not forwards. We will have to find a different solution to return you to your own time, Miss Granger"
Hermione fell back into her pillows. Suddenly she felt awfully empty inside. Like something had just taken her heart and left a block of ice in its place. Angry tears burned behind her eyes. How could she have been so stupid?
"This has little to do with stupidity, Miss Granger" It was as if Dumbledore had read her mind. He glanced at Minerva. "However, until we have found a method of returning you to your own time, perhaps you should try and make yourself comfortable while you are here. We can place you in one of the Houses and tell students you are have only recently moved back to England. I noticed you were wearing Gryffindor robes... perhaps..."
"NO!" Hermione exclaimed loudly, causing McGonnagal to frown and she quickly explained herself. "Not Gryffindor...I... I am worried I will see too many faces of those I know in my own time. So many of them were sorted into Gryffindor at some stage. Though perhaps not quite this year but... I don't know if I can be around them..." She hesitated, doing the math in her head. "Arthur Weasley?"
Minerva smiled. "Ah yes, Arthur. However, he finished last year. As did his now wife Molly so you needn't fear of seeing them" There was curiosity flickering in her eyes. "It is inevitable we reach this moment..." She glanced at Dumbledore. "You know the Weasley's?"
Hermione sighed. Her mind was spinning. She could change everything. In a few years time Harry's parents would come to Hogwarts. And she now had the knowledge that would save them. "I know so much. So many things that could undo the horror that is still to come. But where do I stand? Where do I decide what is right to share and where do I let history take its own fate?"
Dumbledore looked at Hermione for a moment or two. "There will be a time when you realize what information does good and what does not, Miss Granger. For now I suggest you rest. I shall see to it you will be placed in..." He paused, arching an eyebrow in question.
Hermione shot an apologetic look towards McGonagall. She couldn't face being in Gryffindor. Her voice was hollow and empty. She spoke only to betray herself. "Slytherin"
"Slytherin" Dumbledore repeated and noticed how McGonagall seemed less than willing to accept that a Gryffindor student had chosen Slytherin. But nonetheless McGonagall put a hand on Hermione's arm before exiting the Hospital Wing, leaving Dumbledore and Hermione alone "I will make sure one of the students sees to it you will be accurately accommodated within your new house. I will ask one of the Prefects to come see you"
Hermione nodded. She was tired. She lay back against her pillows and watched how Dumbledore started back towards the door. He was about half way when he turned around. His blue eyes twinkled behind his glasses, just like Hermione remembered. "Oh Miss Granger, just as a point of curiosity – and you don't have to mention this to Professor McGonagall- what exactly does happen to me in your time line?"
Hermione swallowed and she knew Dumbledore was genuinely asking her the question. She knew he desired the truth. Her voice was hollow when she spoke. "You die, sir"
Dumbledore appeared to shrug. His eyes still twinkled and a tiny smile lingered on his lips. He never ceased to amaze her. He stood there in his dark blue robe and pointed hat riddled with silver stars. He made a casual hand gesture, leaving Hermione rather stunned. "Ah just another inevitable fact of life, Miss Granger. We all die..."