- Harry Potter Universe belongs to JKR, and I'm here to mess it up.
- Don't expect this story to ever be complete. It'll keep expanding indefinitely as long as I keep getting ideas. You'll see how it works, after a few more chapters. I will be open to suggestions to new ideas and plotlines to try out, later on.
Chapter 1: Hermione's Secret Project
Harry Potter was torn. Two nights ago, he had met his godfather, Sirius Black! He discovered the so-called dangerous, murdering, Death-Eater convict was not dangerous, had never murdered, fought against Death Eaters in the last war, and was never given a trial and so was never actually convicted of any crime. He was a genuinely cheerful fellow, or at least, as cheerful as an innocent person who spent 12 years in jail could be. The fact that he was still capable of laughter, and love, spoke wonders of his character. This was the man who could be his godfather! Harry was so excited, he could barely contain himself... if it weren't for the other events that happened that night.
The real criminal, Peter Pettigrew, had escaped. Without proof, Sirius was still a criminal, and Harry would never be able to live with him, walk down the streets with him, go shopping or play quidditch with him... and he blamed Snape. That slimy, greasy, git of a professor who could hold grudges across generations was the one who messed everything up and let Peter get away. Minister Cornelius Fudge wouldn't take his, nor Dumbledore's, word on the matter out of fear of a tarnished image from admitting a miscarriage of justice.
On top of that, his first decent Defense professor, Remus Lupin, was already packing up to leave. He, along with Sirius, were Harry's last living connections to his father and mother. He could have stayed at Hogwarts- never mind the rumoured curse on that particular teaching position- but now everyone knew about his... monthly fur problem. Once again, this loss was due to Snape and Fudge again. Snape, just because Remus was James Potter's friend, decided to complain to the ministry that he was a werewolf. Fudge, being the prejudiced minister that he was, immediately forced him out of the position, despite another two weeks of school term remaining. Sure, most of the students wouldn't be affected, as most exams were nearly finished, but there wouldn't be another full moon until summer break already started, and even during the school year, the full moons were never a problem anyways.
Harry could have had everything. Now he was back to square one. He felt a pang of hopelessness, sensing everything he gained kept being snatched from him. Sitting in the Gryffindor common room, half-moping, half-dozing to himself, he didn't notice Ron approach.
"You alright, mate? You should cheer up! Did you hear? Sirius Black managed to get-"
"Ron?" Harry's head jerked up and whipped around. He forgot about telling Ron about what happened later that night. Hermione's time-turner was supposed to be a secret, as Dumbledore explained, but he did say it was alright to tell Ron. But then again, it was Hermione's secret, but she hadn't bothered to tell him just yet...
"-away, right from the dementors. I wonder how he did it? He was tied up in the room, wasn't he? But then again, he-"
"Ron!" Harry didn't want to explain everything right now. Yes, he had just gained a godfather, but he had lost him just as quickly.
"-escaped from Azkaban, so I guess it's not much of a surprise..." Ron was just rambling now. It seemed he had nobody to talk to about the events in the Shrieking Shack, and just decided to spill everything on Harry as soon as he got out of the infirmary.
"RON!" Harry stood up and grabbed Ron's shoulder, looking straight into Ron's eyes. "Look, Ron, I know a lot of stuff happened, but... I just don't want to talk about it right now. I need some time alone to think about all this, alright? I'll... uh... I'll talk to you when I'm ready. But not now. I... um... I just need to go for a walk alone. I'll see you at dinner?"
Harry stepped through the tunnel as the Fat Lady swung out of the way for him. He could hear Ron already talking to the next nearest Gryffindor about that night- with a few embellishment and omissions, of course. Taking the Marauder's Map out from his pocket and tapping it with his wand, he said the key words, "I solemnly swear I am up to no good." The map revealed all of Hogwarts and the people inside. Briefly looking around to see what parts of the castle were devoid of dots, he realized how hard it really was to find some solace in the castle. In the late afternoon on a weekend, most of the kids had just returned from Hogsmeade and were wandering the halls or even using some of the empty classrooms to talk about their day. I guess I could always visit Myrtle, he thought. I'd technically be the only living soul in that bathroom...
Harry had made it to the doors just outside the second floor bathroom when he heard the moaning. "It's such a shame that Black character didn't get Harry... then he could have stayed here with me in the toilets..." He stopped. He definitely wasn't going to go in there.
Wandering down to the front doors, Harry couldn't avoid overhearing more and more conversations about Sirius, Professor Lupin, or Peter Pettigrew.
"...he got away! That guy's one sly bastard." Harry knew they were talking about Sirius, but that was exactly how he felt about Peter.
"...they're removing the dementors? About time. They weren't doing any good anyways. He snuck inside the castle twice, months ago!" Harry never thought about that. It was obvious Dementors were doing a far better job of attacking the students (and him in particular) than catching Sirius. Fudge must have been particularly stupid to keep them on the grounds.
"...shame that Peter Pettigrew and Potter won't get to see justice done." Harry didn't know whether to laugh or cry when he heard that one.
"...packing up already? There's still two weeks to go! I have NEWTs next year! I need to learn all I can!" A Ravenclaw passing by reminded Harry of his Defense professor.
"...taking the dementors away? Black's still out there! We need proper protection!" Now who in Hogwarts could have been as dumb as the minister? Right, the Head Boy, Percy Weasley. Best to avoid him for the next little while.
"...werewolf! I can't believe Dumbledore let one in the school. We could have been mauled! This is outrageous!" Harry really needed to get away from everyone before he blew his top and began hexing everyone in sight. He wanted to tell everyone the truth: Remus was a good person, Sirius was innocent, Snape let his parents' betrayer get away. He couldn't, though, since it would just lead to more questions, and then everyone would find out about Hermione's time-turner and his role in Sirius' escape.
He made it out the front doors running, heading straight for the Whomping Willow. Everyone knew to avoid this tree and steered clear of it. He slowed down as he approached it, and decided to sit a rock near the tree, but just outside its range. Whomp! The tree sensed his presence and quickly smacked the ground three feet in front of him. Harry smiled. This was the perfect resting spot. Thump! The tree tried again to hit him, this time with another branch, but its reach was even shorter. Whap! Again and again, the tree flailed in his direction, never quite reaching Harry. This is actually kind of relaxing, thought Harry. It almost has a kind of rhythm to it.
Harry waved his arms as if he were conducting a symphony. Leaning his head back, he stared at the clouds overhead. I might as well enjoy this as long as I can before I go back with the Dursleys, he thought. After half an hour, his tree-assisted drum solo ended with a head of bushy brown hair.
"Hermione?" Harry was still staring straight up, as his female best friend leaned over him.
"Hey, Harry. I heard from Ron that you weren't feeling very talkative."
Harry frowned. "It seems to me you're not telling Ron much, either."
"Huh? What do you mean?"
Harry turned around to face Hermione. "The time-turner? He still doesn't know about that."
"Oh. Right." Hermione turned her eyes down, looking sheepish. "Well, I thought that I would wait until you told him about the whole rescue mission, first. I mean, I'm not supposed to talk about the time turner, being a Ministry secret and all... you only found out about it because we didn't have another choice."
"Is that why?" Harry started to chuckle to himself. "I was waiting for you to tell him about the time-turner first, because I knew I couldn't possibly explain it to him without bringing the whole mess about time travel into the story."
"So... I guess... we're just not going to tell him, then?" Hermione looked perplexed. Is this a secret they would have to keep from a friend? Out of convenience? She never had any good friends before Hogwarts, and Harry was the best friend she could ask for. Ron was... her other friend. No! she scolded herself. Don't think like that! Ron's a perfectly... adequate friend. With that thought, she scolded herself some more.
Harry, seeing conflicted feelings crossing Hermione's face every second, told her, "No, we'll tell him eventually. I mean, if we ever get to see Sirius again, then he'll let the cat out of the bag, won't he? I just don't feel like talking about it now. No... wait, that's not right. I guess I just don't feel like explaining everything now."
He looked at Hermione before continuing. "You know, you're the only one who I can talk about the whole incident openly. With Ron, I'll have to deal with the whole mess about going back in time without him... and you know how he'll feel left out that we travelled through time and didn't bring him along."
Hermione smiled. Yes, that was definitely Ron. She added, "There's also the fact that you gained a godfather and saved a hippogriff, while all he managed to do was get dragged into a hole by a big dog and then he lost his pet rat. Ron just has the worst luck sometimes..."
Harry bowled over in laughter at that point. "When you put it that way, Hermione, I don't think I'll ever want to explain everything to him." They both continued to chuckle quietly for a short while, until Harry frowned.
"Do you think we could have caught Pettigrew?"
"We would have seen ourselves, Harry. That would have messed things up."
"Well, we could have waited a sec and then searched the grass..."
"For a rat? Harry, you have to let it go. He ran away from us, and to catch up to him, we would have had to... well, run right past everyone."
Harry sighed. There was no arguing with Hermione- she always thought things through. "It just really annoys me, Hermione. If only we could have been hiding on the other side of the field..."
"We didn't have time to bring Buckbeak with us, Harry. And he's a bit big to hide... We could lay down flat on the grass, but then Buckbeak would have been sticking out like a sore thumb."
"What if we used the time-turner again? Then there would be three sets of us..."
"Harry, time-turners can't overlap their... time turning. The magic that's tied to the spatial folding within the device has to sustain it for..."
Harry's eyes were glazing over, much like Ron's were whenever Hermione attempted to get him to do more reading. "Err... Hermione, is there a simpler way of explaining that? It means no, right?"
Hermione scowled for a second before smiling again. "Yes. I mean no. Wait... I mean no, we can't turn back a second time. The earliest we could turn back to after that would have been the moment we turned the first time in the infirmary."
"I just wish there was some way to... I dunno, retry it a few more times until we get it right." Harry looked sullen, now.
Hermione perked up when Harry said it. "You know... I might be on to something with that... it's actually the reason why I came looking for you today, Harry."
"What?" Harry was shocked out of his mood, as his mind raced. "You mean we could catch Pettigrew? What do you have in mind? Why do you need me?"
"Harry... no, I can't catch Pettigrew with the idea I have. I can't go back in time that far, unfortunately. But I need you to take me to the Chamber of Secrets."
"Wait, what? You're doing your own time travel or something? What do you need the Chamber of Secrets for?"
"I'll explain when we get there." Hermione smiled, picking up her rather hefty book bag, which didn't seem to be filled with books this time. Harry got up with her, waving one last goodbye to the Whomping Willow, and they marched into the castle.
"Hello, Harry. I see you're still alive and well," Myrtle said sullenly.
"Um... yes... Myrtle... I just wanted to visit you... again," Harry managed to stammer out. "You look like you could use someone... to talk to..."
"OH!" Myrtle blushed. Well, it looked like a blush, as her cheeks turned whiter and slightly more opaque than the usual translucent grey. "Are you going to join me? Soon?" She batted her eyelashes.
Harry was speechless. He paled at the thought of "joining" Myrtle. "I...au...uggh..."
"That's a good start, Harry, but if you're going to die, I'd rather you be a ghost like me than an Inferius." Myrtle frowned. "If you can't fit in the drain pipes with me, how else could we sneak into the prefects' baths together?"
Harry's jaw dropped.
"Harry! What are you doing... oh, hello." Hermione peeked around Harry's shoulder. "Myrtle! What have you done to Harry?"
"Oh, so that's the way it is, Harry? I thought you came alone to be with me and instead there's another girl here with you? You just wanted to show her off to me, didn't you? Just reminding me that I'm not good enough for you? I hate you, Harry, I hate you!" Myrtle shrieked as she plunged into a nearby toilet, sending up a spray of water.
Getting splashed with toilet water managed to snap Harry out of his reverie. Turning to Hermione with a puzzled look on his face, he said "Did Myrtle seem a little more... emotional than usual?"
Hermione became a little flustered with that. "Umm... well, I was actually trying to see if I could find the entrance and unlock it without you this morning, but Myrtle was being a bother. I dropped a calming draught into her toilet... but it seems to have had the opposite effect. It should wear off soon, though."
Harry looked at her incredulously. A calming draught did that to Myrtle? And technically, she didn't even drink it, being a ghost and all. How does that even work?
"Harry... Harry! I need you to open up the chamber."
"Oh, right." Harry turned to the sink, whispering ~Open~ in Parseltongue.
They made their way down into the chamber, and Hermione stopped dead in her tracks. "Harry... That's the basilisk you fought last year?"
"Um... yeah." Harry was feeling somewhat embarrassed, although he knew there really wasn't anything to be embarrassed about. "I did have help, though. Fawkes pecked out its eyes for me, and..."
"Harry! That thing's huge! Basilisks are a rare beast already, and the biggest ones are usually only 30 or 40 feet long! This thing's twice that! It's probably older and bigger than any other basilisk in the world! Has Dumbledore seen this?"
"No... After I got Ginny out of the chamber, it closed up and I've never bothered opening it up again. You're the first one I've brought down here since last year."
"Really? Ooh, I feel so special, Harry." Hermione grinned mischievously. "Well, anyways, about my project." Hermione opened her book bag, and began removing dozens of small stone tablets, each with rune carvings on them, placing them in a neat pile. Next, she removed a textbook, and a huge stack of parchment, covered in notes and diagrams.
Project? thought Harry. Runes? That looks so complicated. I'm glad I didn't take that course...
"This is my OWL project for Ancient Runes and Arithmancy!" exclaimed Hermione happily.
"What? Wait, OWLs? Isn't that until fifth year, Hermione? What is this all about?" Harry stared incomprehensibly at Hermione.
"Well, you see, for both Ancient Runes and Arithmancy, you need to do a project for your OWL. Well, two projects, one for each class. I just asked the professors if I could combine the two into one big project..."
"...and since I was using a time-turner, I decided to do some extra research on time travel."
Harry nodded, but with a little apprehension creeping in.
"First, I looked up what made time turners work. Obviously, there's a lot of rune work carved into this device, not to mention powerful enchantments, and all that. But the main problem is that it's limited to only a few hours of time travel. I wanted to try for something... bigger."
Harry kept nodding, but at this point his head was just moving on its own while his brain was trying to figure out what Hermione was up to.
"So, I tried to figure out what limited the time-turner's total time travel. I figured it was due to two things. First was the fact that it brought your actual body back in time. Well, it seems pretty obvious if you've learned any Muggle physics, that the more mass you move, the more energy it takes, so moving a whole person back in time would be really difficult especially if you were travelling against the normal flow of time to do it. If there was something massless to send back in time, then... "
Up and down went Harry's head. He was almost completely lost now. He never got to learn any muggle physics, other than how much faster he was than Dudley's gang, because he was smaller. Did that count as physics?
"...the next reason is a little harder to explain. Moving backwards in time is... difficult to aim. In any case, if you've read anything about thermodynamics, apparently for any given present entropic state, the past contains multiple possible states of lower entropy..."
As Harry's head continued to bob up and down, his eyes glazed over.
"The end result of all that is if you attempt to go further back in time, you could end up in a whole other universe or something or even accidentally not manage to come back forward to the present... or at least, the correct present..."
Harry finally stopped moving completely, as his mouth hung open.
"...so that's why I need to use the Chamber of Secrets."
The familiar phrase managed to snap Harry back to reality. "Chamber of Secrets? Right! Why are we down here again?"
"Weren't you listening to me? I explained it all just now, Harry."
"I tried... but then you started talking about physics and all... and I couldn't keep up, Hermione."
"Physics? What part? Most of what I was talking about involved physics."
"Um... you were saying something about your body... and mass..."
Hermione gaped at him. "Harry! That was practically at the beginning! I was talking about that stuff..." she glanced at her watch. "Twenty minutes ago! You should have said something if you didn't understand!"
Harry shrunk back nervously. "Hermione... I just didn't want to interrupt you. You looked so excited to talk about all of this, and I didn't want you to stop... could you explain it again... a bit more simply?"
Hermione sighed. "Alright, Harry. Well, basically, a time-turner is limited to a few hours of travel mainly due to 2 factors: the fact that it brings your body back with it, and the fact that it has to 'navigate' the flow of time, backwards. Does that make sense?"
Harry nodded, with comprehension this time.
"So, to make it easier to go back in time, you have to change those. Fixing the first one's pretty simple- instead of sending the whole person back, just send their memories. Memories have no mass, so it's infinitely easier to move them around."
That made sense to Harry.
"The next issue, the 'navigation', is the bigger problem. If you think about it the muggle way, it's pretty obvious you need some kind of navigating ability because time is just another dimension like the three spatial dimensions, and I guess no wizard ever bothered to keep up with advancements in muggle science, especially not in the last hundred years or so..."
"Err... Hermione? You're going into a bit too much detail again..."
Hermione blushed. "Sorry, Harry. Well, anyways, the main problem is hard for a time traveller to 'aim' themselves properly towards the past. So, I figured, why not just use a second device that helps point them in the right direction? Or time, in this case."
This almost made sense to Harry. But if Hermione understood it that well, he'd trust she knew what she was doing.
"The solution is what my project is! I'm making a temporal beacon. This little device uses runes to emit a signal through space and time, so that when you use it with a paired device, it will always send you back to this particular time."
"This time? So that means that, no matter where... I mean, when you travel from, you always end up back here? I mean, now?"
"Well, yes, at least, the time when we activate the rune set. It's not quite as convenient as the time-turner, but this method lets you travel much, much greater lengths of time. Theoretically, at least. And I'm not too sure, but it might also allow for multiple trips, too, which is another weakness of time turners."
"I see now. But... how on Earth did you manage to get all this done in one year? You were already burning yourself out by taking all the classes! You even dropped Divination because of it!" Harry shook his head at his friend with a look of incredulity.
Hermione fidgeted, looking down nervously. "I may have... bought some extra time with the time turner. More than I needed for the extra classes..."
Harry was curious. Raising an eyebrow, he asked, "How much extra time?"
Hermione mumbled incoherently.
"What was that?"
"...an extra day for every day. Since I dropped divination."
Harry was floored. "Wow! Hermione, I'm shocked! You took out the maximum amount of time from the time turner? Since Easter? Why, you naughty rule-breaker, you!" He started laughing.
"Rule-breaker? Me? You're one to talk! Anyways, I just wanted some extra rest the day I dropped Divination, so I turned it a full day so I could get some extra sleep. But I didn't sleep the whole day, so I ended up spending the rest of it reading and working on my project... and I realized I might be able to get the first stage of it done by the end of the school year if I kept it up."
"So that's why we're down here? The first part of your project is complete? You still haven't explained why you need to be in the Chamber of Secrets."
"I was getting to that! Well, first, I needed a location that could be secret, and wouldn't be disturbed for a long time. It would have to sit undisturbed until my OWLs, when I have to actually hand in the papers for this project. On top of that, this beacon needs a lot of power. I mean, a LOT of power. I couldn't possibly charge it up using my own magic. Hogwarts, however, is built on top of multiple leylines, which are extremely powerful magical veins that cross the Earth. I figured that the Chamber of Secrets, being deep in the ground directly under the castle, would bring me really close to a leyline, and also let me keep this a secret."
Harry finally understood why they were hanging out in the dark, dank chamber with a giant (and surprisingly, not rotten) basilisk corpse. Hermione began to set up her runes, spreading her stack of parchments across the ground, constantly referring to them to place the runes around the chamber while measuring precisely where each should go. It took several hours, and Harry knew they were missing dinner for this, but he was far too fascinated as he watched Hermione work. When she was finally done, she looked up at Harry.
"Harry, there's one more thing I want to ask of you." She was looking straight at Harry, with a very eager and hopeful look in her eyes.
Oh no. Hermione? Is she going to ask what I think she's going to ask? I mean, she is a girl... and the two of us are alone in the chamber together, and nobody else is going to interrupt us. Oh my god, I'm not ready for this... Harry's mind was reeling, as Hermione approached him slowly. Oh no, oh no, she's getting closer. Is she really going to do it? Is she going to ask me to kiss her? I mean, she's definitely a nice girl, and she's my best friend, not counting Ron... wait, no, even counting Ron she's still my best friend, but does that make it better, or worse?
"Um... Harry?" Hermione was right in front of him now, looking worried. She saw him tense up, but she didn't know why.
Harry's brain continued to work in overdrive. Am I too young for this? I'm thirteen... well, almost fourteen in another month or so, and Hermione's fourteen already, and I guess I've heard of people dating when they're fourteen, so I guess that's perfectly normal. But Hermione? She's like a sister to me, isn't she? Could I really kiss her? Heck, could I kiss anyone? I have no idea if I'm a good kisser or not... I can't believe my first kiss is going to be with Hermione. Wait...when did I already agree to this? She's like a sister, right? I have to say no... She's my best friend, after all. Well... suck it up, Mr. Potter. You're a Gryffindor, aren't you? Just give her a kiss. Heck, you almost gave a dementor a kiss a few nights ago, this can't possibly be much harder than that!
Hermione held Harry's hands. Her hands were trembling in nervousness as she bit her lower lip. Looking straight into Harry's eyes, she softly said, "Harry... I want you do to it with me."
Harry's brain went from moving faster than he could control and instantly ground to a dead stop.
"...d-d-do...do it? Do it with you?" He managed to mumble out. His brain started to move again, slowly. Do it with her? Does that mean what I think it means? Isn't kissing supposed to come first? Maybe even some snogging? There's something wrong here. What's she asking for, again? I must have missed something...
"I want you to do the project with me," Hermione said, more firmly this time.
Project? What project? Oohhhhh... The gears in his brain began to put everything together. "Right... sure... but how can I be of any help? I don't know any Runes or Arithmancy."
"You don't have to. I've already researched and planned out what needs to be done, so don't worry. I just want you to be there with me. I don't want to be alone if it doesn't work... or heck, even if it does work. That might actually be worse."
"What do you mean? You're afraid when one of your projects will succeed?"
"Well, you know, if it doesn't work, I have no idea what will happen, but I'd feel more comfortable if you're there with me. And if it does work, I'll be sent back in time, but I don't want to be the only one who 's back, with nobody else to share my life with..." Hermione was quivering in fear at the prospect. Harry saw it, and hugged her.
Whispering into her hear, he said, "Well, of course I'll go back in time with you! I'll never leave you behind, Hermione... as long as you never leave me behind." He released the hug, looking into her eyes and smiled. "Besides, since we're doing this inside the Chamber of Secrets, I'll have to be here to let you in anyways, right?"
Hermione's eyes lit up and a huge smile grew across her face. Gleefully, she started skipping over to the runes on the ground. "Alright, then! I'm going to get everything charged up." She pointed her wand at one rune, muttered a few words, and the rune started glowing lightly. Moving to another rune, she repeated the procedure.
Once she activated all the runes, she sat back with Harry, watching the intricately patterned runes on the floor. "I've turned on the power-tapping runes now. They should be able to take power directly from the leylines to charge up the runes with even greater power."
"How do we know when it's ready?" asked Harry.
"Um... I'm not too sure myself. According to my calculations, once the runes are fully charged, they should somehow 'anchor' themselves to a certain point in time and then it'll become a proper temporal beacon, allowing us to 'find' that exact point in time from anywhere... I mean, anytime."
They watched the runes glow brighter and brighter. They were lighting up the entire chamber with their glow, and the light kept getting stronger. Hermione was watching as her excitement grew and grew- it appeared to be working as planned. Once the glow became unbearably bright, there was a huge flash, and the runes vanished instantly.
Harry and Hermione both fainted in the same instant.
Author's Chapter End Notes:
- chapter's revised, nothing more than a few spelling fixes though.