This is the story formerly called "It Started With a Note"
Disclaimer: As usual nothing in the Harry Potter wizarding world is mine. It all belongs to Ms. JKR.
"I've never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful. I don't understand people who hide from their past. Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now." -Sophia Loren
The white door of the sunny room eased open and a short girl had to squint her hazel eyes as sunlight streamed through her bedroom window. She dragged a large trunk behind her which thumped on the thickly carpeted floor. She heaved a sigh of relief when it dropped from her sore hands. The pretty girl had unruly hair which she impatiently brushed out of her face and inspected the room she hadn't seen since Easter holiday. Dust floated around her from dumping her trunk and settled across her flowery bedspread. The quilt was a little frilly for her taste but she hadn't felt the need to change it since she was ten. She spent too much time away from home for it to be necessary.
The walls were a pleasant light blue color that calmed her fragmented nerves. The room was simple with lacey curtains and wood furniture but, if not for the bed, it could've been a library. Perfectly organized books were stacked neatly in the bookcases that lined the room and Hermione breathed in the smell of parchment and ink that her room had possessed since she was five and had learned to read and write.
Hermione collapsed on her bed which creaked in protest from her lithe form. Her childhood seemed to pulsate from the very walls and Hermione snatched a teddy bear that lay close to her head and buried her nose into its plush body. Reminding her sadly of when she was younger and things had not always been about the encroaching war and good vs. evil. Her mood dampened from this sobering thought Hermione pushed the bear away and rolled onto her back to glare at the high ceiling furiously. Summer sunlight streamed in through the sheer white curtains and landed on her profile, leaving half her fuming face in shadow.
A large ugly cat entered the sunny room and jumped up on the bed next to Hermione. Its fur was soft despite the poor thing's ugly face and Hermione closed her eyes as Crookshanks rubbed against her. Crookshanks curled around her elbow and Hermione absently rubbed the unsightly cat's head. It purred and pushed its furry body into her side but Hermione dropped her thin hand. Her forehead furrowed in desperation she rubbed crossly at the moisture that pooled in her wide eyes. Grumbling, the fat cat leaped from the bed and exited in a huff. Its tail pointed toward the ceiling and twitching in agitation. But Hermione was still brooding about the bleak future that lay before her and everyone she loved.
I can't believe I'm not going back.
The tears continued to threaten to spill down her pink cheeks so she pushed this thought away. True, she loved Hogwarts and considered it her real home almost as much as Harry did but some things were more important, especially when the world she lived in was on the brink of war. Her thoughts went back to her last day at the castle as she had glanced back before entering the scarlet train with hot steam coiling above it. Realizing that it would be her last glimpse of Hogwarts for a long time. Harry had been behind her on the stairs and had also looked back to see the dark turret of the astronomy tower silhouetted in the setting sun. His mouth set in grim determination; he had gently touched her elbow to encourage her to continue. Sitting in their own compartment, Harry tried to persuade Hermione and Ron to go back to school, but she knew that if she didn't help Harry defeat Voldemort, there wouldn't be a Hogwarts to go back to. Besides, she would never let Harry go through this alone, as friends they had all been through too much together already.
Just this one last thing and Harry can have a normal life, I'm sure of it. We'll get rid of these horcruxes and Harry can be freed from that prophesy.
Imagining Harry, without the pained look on his face when he received another vision from Voldemort, or Harry laughing gaily as they walked through the halls of Hogwarts dried her tears. Yes, some things were definitely more important.
Her chest was filled with ice as she recalled the ancient books tucked away in her trunk.
Dumbledore had wanted Harry to have them, or he wouldn't have made it so easy to reach them.
Hermione reassured herself of this as she sat up and stretched her aching limbs. She'd been sitting still for a quite some time and she needed to get started on unpacking her trunk. Resigned, she stood and moved toward the heavy trunk in the center of her room. Its bindings clicked as she drew it open and glanced at the chaos inside. Once she had seized Dumbledore's books…
-she had thrown her own possessions haphazardly into the trunk. The brunette began making neat piles of clothes, books and school supplies until she'd reached the bottom and the books on Horcruxes. Doubt nagged her, her heart beat furiously as she reached down and touched the first book. Something gold glinted out of the corner of her eye, in the back of her trunk but Hermione ignored it. Cold spread from the book's cover up her arm and Hermione shivered. She plucked the manuscript from the trunk with her thumb and forefinger and set it gingerly on her carpet. The yellowed pages and antique bindings of the book looked strange next to something as modern as her rug. Despite the fact that she had dropped the book cold trailed up her arm and spine and she resented having to touch the other two books. Her hands became slick with sweat and she strained herself just thinking of touching the dark magical objects.
Once she'd picked the final tome up and threw it on top of the other two, something gold flicked across the room. It arched elegantly, but too quickly for Hermione to see what it was, across her room and slid under her dresser. Annoyed, she realized whatever it was must have been, had been attached to the book and when she'd thrown the book down it had been released. Her knees popped as she stood to investigate the object under her dresser. Dust came up in puffs around her and her irritation at her mum for not vacuuming grew. Her curls tumbled around her shoulders as she knelt down again and looked for something shining in the inky blackness. Through the haze of dust she thought she saw another flash of gold and she reached out with her slim wrist for the object and the direction she'd seen the flash of gold. Her fingers grazed a long ice cold chain and in a sudden flash of recognition Hermione realized what it had to be.
"Oh no—" Hermione cursed. Her hand clamped around the chain and she dragged it out if the darkness to reveal her Time-Turner. "Ugh. I can't believe I didn't give this to McGonagall!"
Typically, Hermione would use the Time-Turner for school and then return it to McGonagall at the end of the term. But with the fuss of Snape's flight and Dumbledore's funeral she must have forgotten. Furious with her lack of care Hermione rubbed her fingers over the cold chain and tried to imagine what she should do next. Hermione doubted McGonagall would be too upset with her considering the circumst-
"OF COURSE!" She screamed so loud she could hear her parents muttering downstairs but they were used to her eureka moments. She muttered to herself as she began to pace the room.
"Could go back….. Save Dumbledore…. But then how many turns does it need to be... How long ago was the battle...? Oh geez it feels like years… maybe ten twists….oh I don't know!" Her muttering grew incessantly incoherent as thoughts began streaming in and ideas and plans began to take form. If Ron or Harry had been there they would have yelled at her to explain her thought process by now, they were used to her "a-ha" moments as well. Hermione held the Time Turner to her chest. What she was thinking was insane, completely illegal. She stopped and held the Time Turner in front of her face. Sunlight gleamed on the polished gold surface and rainbows danced on the floor when the sun hit the glass hourglass.
No. As long as Hermione had been attending Hogwarts, running into more dangers than any other student before, meeting the people she had, there was one thing she had learned, some things were meant to be.
Things happen for a reason…
It was completely unusual of her to have forgotten to give McGonagall the Time Turner… She was meant to have it. She was meant to use it to go back in time. Break the law. Save Dumbledore. Yes. Then he could help Harry with this insane task of finding and destroying the Horcruxes. The impossible task no longer in the hands of children…
Curiously no fear chilled her blood, but doubt did. Hermione was the type of witch who felt the intense need to be right, to always know the answer, but this… If she was wrong…
Hermione's fingers brushed the metal of the Time Turner's chain as she pulled it down around her head and her hair was tugged with it. With quaking hands she untangled a lock of hair from the chain and it fell around her neck. It's cold metal absorbing the heat from her body. Shutting her eyes, she felt her eyelashes tickle her cheeks and she ignored the lump in her throat. Everything would be fine so long as Harry was saved.
I'll need to go back to Hogwarts….After all, that's where the battle was.
Breath escaped Hermione's lips as she released the breath she didn't realize she'd been holding. She was breaking plenty of laws but once Dumbledore was alive again he could help her come up with a way to avoid capture. She was going on the run with Harry and Ron anyways.
Maybe I should tell them.
Her fingers let go of the chain and she fluttered to her sides, she bit her lip and tried to think of a way to tell Harry and Ron where she was going.
There's no time, I'll lose my nerve if I don't do it now. And I'd have to wait for them to write first anyways.
Plus the Ministry would surely fall any day now…. Then Hermione realized she would have to Obliviate her parent's memories earlier than she thought. Hermione's resolve cracked but she knew it was the right thing to do. She could almost feel adrenaline kicking in, coursing through her pounding heart and racing to her extremities.
I'll have to be quick; I might be being watched by Death Eaters or even the Ministry, since I'm friends with Harry.
Quickly she picked up a few extra pair of robes from the pile she'd neatly stacked earlier. Their course fabric brushed her bare arm and she scanned the room for a bag. Absently her hand traced the Gryffindor symbol on the breast of her robes until she remembered the traveling shoulder bag under her bed. She pulled things out of her way across her floor and pulled the canvas bag out. She tried to think of what she might need but the adrenaline was making her jumpy and she ended up circling the room before only putting the robes in the bag. Leaving behind everything but her wand, Hermione ducked through her bedroom door. Again, the idea of communicating with Harry and Ron tugged at her brain as her foot touched the top step of her staircase. But she could never get the hang of a Patronus let alone make it send messages like she'd read about.
Hermione went back into her room wrote out a letter addressed to Harry and laid it on the desk. The ink still wet she sprinted from the room, kicking over a pile of books on the way out. If something went wrong, Harry might come looking for her and find the note and room in disarray, hopefully he would be thinking rationally. Satisfied but still unsure, Hermione trailed her hand against the walls as she found her way to her parents sitting in the living room, watching the telly. She wanted to call to them, to alert them that she was there, to see their faces again. Her father's silly grin and mum's sweet eyes gazing back at her, inviting her to sit and watch with them. But she resisted and moisture pooled in her eyes, spilling down her cheeks in fast drips. They spilled down to her chin and landed on her wand arm that she raised slowly and Hermione felt a pain well up in her chest. Without looking back at her, Hermione's mother called over her shoulder.
"Hermione? Are you alright up there?" Her mum's gentle voice reached Hermione sucked in a breath. The smell of mint toothpaste and rubber gloves, like a dentist's office filled her nose. The same smell that always reminded her of her parents and home. They didn't know she was standing right behind them. The pain that had started in her chest spread through her body until it entered her brain, numbing her.
"Obliviate." Hermione whispered, the word passed her lips but her parents didn't turn to ask her what she was doing, sneaking up on them. Instead their heads slumped and their vacant eyes closed and she sucked in great heaving sobs as her mum's head fell on her father's shoulder. Her steps were heavy as she forced herself to look away from them and retreat to her front door. She flicked her wand as she passed her bedroom door, locking her it magically so they couldn't enter when they awoke. Then she was in the front room, eyes blank as she banged her front door open and the smell of honeysuckles and lavenders attacked her. Unseeing, she stared around at her mum's bright yellow and calming purple flowers in their front garden. Then she Disapparated with a pop on her front step. None of the neighbors even blinked.
She stumbled when she landed in front of the Three Broomsticks. Her show caught on a stone in the street and she almost fell to her knees but she managed to regain her balance and stand straight. She brushed tears from her eyes slowly. They burned but she looked curiously up and down the deserted town. It was unnerving to see all the shops and bars vacated, she'd always come to Hogsmeade with her classmates and it was always bustling with people, but in the summer there was no one around. A piece of paper blew gently in the wind across the street and Hermione nodded sadly. No one would know she'd arrived, maybe if she was lucky it would stay that way.
Her footsteps echoed loudly as she sprinted but still not a soul looked out on the street. The silence was throbbing in her ears and she fisted her white, shaking hands. While she ran she considered, Harry had said that Malfoy had let the Death Eaters in through the Room of Requirement. Something about a Vanishing Cabinet, she couldn't remember exactly. Her mind was still back in her parent's living room. What were they doing now, probably buying tickets to Australia? But Hermione needed to get her head straight, think of what to do next.
I'll just use the Room as a place to hide while I travel back in time. No one will see me in there. Then maybe I can follow the Death Eaters to the astronomy tower and find a way to stop them.
When she reached the gate of Hogwarts at last, she stared up at the rising turrets and the windows burning with candlelight. When she'd left, she'd been sure she would not see the castle for a very long time, and yet here it was. Stoic and unchanging as she was sure it had been when the founder's built it. Water trailed down her cheeks again, originating at her eyes but she made no move to brush them away. Elation filled her breast but she pushed this away and pulled the gate open. She winced as it clanged and scrapped open until she could squeeze through and make her way across the grounds. She took a glance at Hagrid's hut, the lights all on and smoke rising from the chimney. In a fit of madness she considered going to visit but she still had a long way to go before she reached the Room of Requirement.
When she entered the front hall she passed the glasses full of the house points without a glance and only paused a moment to look into the Great Hall. Candles flickered above the empty house tables, but the emptiness was unsettling as she warily looked around the castle. Finally she began climbing the stairs and making her way down corridors. She wished she had Harry's Map so she wouldn't have to stop and look around every corner, she never saw anyone but she was sure that there were teachers here during holidays sometimes, and the ghosts of course, and worst of all would have been Peeves. But she finally arrived at the blank wall where the Room was hidden without running into anyone.
I need a place to hide, somewhere where no wizard can find me.
She paced in front of the blank wall three times and on the final turn crossed her arms. A door appeared and she stepped through it. Her parents still loomed in the back of her mind as she entered the final part of her plan. Would they ever forgive her? To distract herself she studied what the room had interrupted her request as. A fire roared in a large fireplace across the large room and she felt pleasantly warm. The antique sofa, with red cushions and wooden legs looked very inviting and she wished she could stay there, if only to rest for a moment. Then she noticed a stack of books next to the couch and she sighed in contentment. Slowly, she made her way across the high ceilinged room to the sofa. When she reached it, she rubbed her hand on the soft fabric of its cushions and shut her eyes.
Some things are more important.
Angry with herself, Hermione dropped her hand from the couch and snatched the Time-Turner from underneath her blouse. It flashed in the firelight and Hermione closed her eyes to mutter a silent prayer. "I hope I'm doing the right thing."
She brought the time turner up to eye level and her bright hazel eyes studied its complex beauty. An hour glass sat in a ring of gold and black sand slowly fell, resembling time.
Her slim fingers left her side and began to twist the fragile object of magic. She'd tried to figure out how many times she would need to turn it while she'd been walking from Hogsmeade and she was positive it was ten times.
If you screw this up-
Don't lose count-
Hermione bit her lip until it stung. She could fling the Time-Turner away now. Forget about changing the present. But something pushed her, and she knew it was the same driving force that had brought her to obliviate her parent's memories and to make her way to this castle and turn the Time-Turner nine times. All she needed was the courage to turn once more. Her fingers itched and she gritted her teeth.
You're a Gryffindor aren't you? But is anything really that simple?
Hermione dropped her hand and watched the time turner continue to spin on its own. It started out slow and deliberate but it began to spin faster and faster, as did the room. Then there was a loud pop and Hermione looked up in shock to see Dobby standing in front of her. His tennis ball green eyes widened at the witch who was standing in front of him. But he also noticed she was shimmering, like a ghost, her form twitching in and out of focus and slowly fading.
Hermione cursed and held out her hands to shield the elf away from her. She'd completely forgotten about the house elves in the castle, she'd only asked the Room for sanctuary from wizards.
"What is Harry Potter's friend doing here?" Dobby's mountain of knitted hats teetered as he took a step toward her. Still jumpy and frightened, Hermione leapt away from the small elf. But as she moved her hand brushed the Time Turner, which turned again and again without Hermione even noticing.
The objects in the room, the fireplace, the sofa began to dance in front of her eyes and shift out of her peripheral vision. The more she tried to concentrate on them, the more they disappeared and she groaned. The room became a blur and Dobby was gone, but Hermione felt she was going to throw up, everything was spinning out of control, time travel had never felt so sickening before. Stepping away from Dobby, she suddenly couldn't move her limbs at all; her hands were stuck at an awkward angle in front of her, her feet in the process of tripping over themselves. She was suspended in midair and she braced herself for when the room would stop spinning and she would hit the ground.
Everything froze and pain shot up Hermione's elbows and kneecaps. There was a shattering of glass and in horror Hermione pulled the broken Time Turner out from under her body. Glass fell in pieces to the floor under her arm and one shard nicked her finger. The blood turned an acidy red and she sucked in a breath that smelled metallic. Her head pounded and she touched her temple gingerly. She groaned as another zing of pain almost split open the side of her head.
Now I know how Harry's scar feels. She thought feebly.
She was concerned she was going to be sick but the feeling passed when she stopped trying to move. In her fit she'd dropped the Time-Turner, her hands were splayed on the floor in front of her and she clutched them into fists to distract her from the pain in her head. With disgust she realized her hands were scratched from the glass and she'd left blotchy stains of blood across the white carpet. Her hands ached as used them to stand up. Her whole body ached and vaguely she wondered what was wrong with her. She was moving terribly slow. She needed to find out the date and what time it was so she could make a plan but nausea made her freeze again and clutch her stomach. She had read that there were side effects if you traveled too far into the past, but two weeks wasn't that far back, was it?
I need to get to Dumbledore.
Hermione sat up and got her bearings, she was still clutching her wand and her shoulder bag was heavy against her collarbone. Then she stood and removed the broken Time Turner from her neck, it was completely useless. She was close to fainting and she had to lean against the couch to remain upright. She looked around and noted the room still looked the same as in her own time, with the couch and books, but now there was the addition of broken glass all over the floor, her blood staining the carpet, and no Dobby. So the Room wasn't affected by time travel she noted thoughtfully. After a moment she left the Room of Requirement, her hands leaving the doorknobs sticky with red blood. She felt stupid for forgetting about the house elves, wasn't she the one fighting for Elf equality? As she shut the door behind her she froze. She could have sworn she'd heard a whisper. Death Eaters? Her heart beat traitorously against her chest and she feared they could hear her a mile away. She perked her ears, listening intently. Hermione drew her wand and glanced up and down the brightly lit corridor. Then she heard them again.
"Shut up I think I see someone."
"I've never seen her around before."
"Look she's in Gryffindor."
"How do you know?"
"The robes, stupid."
"She looks drunk."
"Don't step on my foot!"
The voices were quiet but she believed there were four of them, and they all sounded male. How were there invisible people in Hogwarts? And they didn't sound like Death Eaters.
"Hello?" Hermione clasped her hands in front of her and drew in her elbows; if they were Death Eaters she would already be dead. This thought almost calmed her, but still her heart was pounding blood to her ears. "Who's there?" No answer. But now she could feel their presence, it wasn't exactly that she could see them, she just had a feeling they were there. Directly in front of her under that candle, she stared at that spot; sure that was where they were hiding from her.
Her breath caught in her throat and she anxiously twisted her wand in her slick hands. She still felt disorientated and sick. If she was attacked, there would be nothing she could do against an invisible attacker. There was no other explanation for it; the only person she knew with an invisibility cloak was Harry. But he would've recognized her. "Potter?" She prayed that it wasn't him under the Cloak; it could be very bad if he saw her. What if her own past self was under the Cloak with him? She shivered in distress and her knees knocked together.
Then there was a swish of the air and four boys stood in front of her. She nearly fell over from shock and her heart skipped several beats. "Holy shit!" She couldn't help but scream and grasp her shirt in fright. Embarrassingly enough, she realized it wasn't Harry, and her fingers loosened but she stared in disbelief. She knew what her eyes were seeing but they must be deceiving her, because what she saw was impossible. She gaped at the four men standing in front her, appraising her.
One of them was the spitting image of Harry, the glasses, dark messy hair but his stance was different, arrogant, and his eyes were a chocolaty brown behind the glasses. The boy on his left was incredibly handsome, he had long black hair and a strong jaw and wide grey eyes, which looked Hermione up and down, not with distain, like Malfoy sometimes did, but in curiosity. The boy to the right of the Harry doppelganger was ragged but handsome in his own way. He had short brown hair and a few scars on his arms and even face; she noticed one scar came down through his eyebrow, cutting it in half above his light blue eyes which also looked confused, but not unkind. The last boy wasn't handsome at all, he was fat and squat and hid behind the three other boys and looked at Hermione in terror with rat-like features, and she noticed his watery blue eyes. There was no one else these four boys could be, but the Marauders.
"Bloody hell! How did you know?" That was James, he was staring at Hermione in disbelieve. He looked so remarkably like Harry it was a shock to see him there, but the way he raised his eyebrow, even the way he cocked his head and studied her over his glasses was so unlike Harry. The confusing state of it all was making her head pound incessantly. Hermione was close to having a heart attack she was freaking out so much in her head, what the hell had happened? For all four of these people to be standing here, alive, meant that she'd gone back at least twenty years.
She ignored Harr— James question and stepped closer to them to get a better look. Her feet shuffled across the rug; nervously she brushed her hair out of her eyes and met each of theirs. Seeing James was so unbelievable, her chest ached and tears filled her eyes, some of the emotion going through her must have shown on her face because James looked uncomfortable. Then she met Sirius' grey eyes and warmth filled her chest, this was the first time she'd seen him in a year and excitement and joy were overbearing. She beamed at Remus who gave her a confused smile back; as if certain he was standing in front of an insane person. Hermione couldn't bring herself to look at Peter, he would ruin the moment and her heart would be filled with disgust and the desire to throttle him.
This brought Hermione to a realization though; even in her half disorientated mind Hermione knew she had destroyed everything. The future she knew could unravel at any moment if she said or did anything wrong. She hung her head and staggered slightly. There was a bit of shouting around her but she drowned this out, thinking only one thing. She'd royally fucked up.
The thought of Harry and all the hard work he'd done, trying to take down Voldemort, Dumbledore's death, could all be for nothing if she messed this up. Harry would have given anything to be standing in front of the Marauder's in this moment, in their prime but Hermione knew she was in danger. She needed to be careful or she could change the future forever.
"Hey! She has blood on her shirt." Remus said in disbelief. He moved forward as if to grab a hold of her. His eyes widened and Hermione looked up into his blue eyes. Blue eyes that reminded her that she needed to see someone, speak to someone.
"Dumbledore." Hermione felt herself begin to cry. The room swayed, or maybe she had swayed, she was unsure. "I need to see Dumbledore." She choked out but the room began to tilt still farther and she fell to her knees. Pain was making her head throb and throb and she wanted to bang her head on a wall. The boys had all dropped to their knees in a circle around her, all talking and unsure what to do. She wanted to tell them to shut up but then everything became dark and she fainted.