DISCLAIMER: I OWN NOTHING BUT THE PLOT. IF I DID, WORMTAIL NEVER WOULD'VE ESCAPED IN YEAR 3 AND HARRY AND SIRIUS COULD BOTH LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER.
"Prongs? Hey Prongs! Isn't that Alastor Moody? What's he doing here?" The Marauders were currently hiding in an alcove behind a tapestry near the headmaster's office. It was just after lunch and with much persuading they'd managed to convince Moony to join them in skiving off class to set up a prank.
"Shut up, Padfoot!" James Potter, otherwise known as Prongs, hissed at his best friend.
"You don't think the rumors are true do you?" Peter Pettigrew, Wormtail, whispered, a hint of fear in his voice.
"Don't be ridiculous, Peter!" Remus Lupin, the aforementioned Moony, told his friend. "Alastor Moody is Head Auror. He's not going to quit to become a professor."
"But haven't you heard the other rumor, Moony?" James joined in, forgetting in his excitement that they were supposed to be quiet. "I heard his eye got blasted out in a battle with a death eater a couple weeks ago. Maybe they're getting rid of him because of it."
"Even if they fired him from the Auror's Office, he's high up in the Order of the Phoenix! He wouldn't have the time to teach," Sirius Black, Padfoot, the teen to originally breech the topic, told his friends.
"The Order of the Phoenix is a fairytale, Pad-" But Moony was cut off.
Suddenly the tapestry was pulled aside and the four teens stood staring into the eye of Alastor Moody. That's right. Eye. The other was covered by a patch. "Boys," Moody growled, "I think you should be joining me in Dumbledore's office." The four slumped out of their hiding place and fell in step behind Moody with Sirius in front. "Contrary to what you may think, Mr. Black, your education is important. No part of it more important than defense. Remember that."
"Ah, Alastor, old friend," Professor Dumbledore called when they entered his office, "I see you've found some stragglers. How are you this afternoon, boys?" When they remained silent he continued, "You may return to your classes. I'll inform Professor McGonagall of this later."
They all groaned as they walked out of the room. The adults inside waited until they were sure no one was around to hear before they continued talking.
"Today is the day, Alastor. Are you ready?"
"Been ready for seventeen years, Albus. It's time to bring my little girl home."
"Shall we be on our way then?"
Alastor simply nodded and followed his friend out of the castle to the main gate.
Hermione didn't know what to think. Today was her seventeenth birthday and she barely had time to open her gifts from Harry, Luna, Neville, and the Weasleys before Professor McGonagall called her to the Headmaster's office. They all knew what it meant.
With the war swiftly approaching and this particular group of DA members proving to be the most focused and loyal, they were notified after the Ministry battle that on their seventeenth birthdays, regardless of whether they had graduated or not, they would be offered membership into the elite society that they'd admired for years. Long before they moved into Grimmauld Place two summers earlier, they'd heard rumors about the Order of the Phoenix.
Hermione was the oldest. She was the first. Today was her day. And she couldn't be more nervous. Harry had given her hand a reassuring squeeze and whispered "good luck" as she passed.
Now, here she sat alone in Grimmauld Place—somewhere she swore she'd never go again after Sirius's death only three months earlier. But here she was, playing with the white gold bracelet Harry fastened around her wrist only seconds before she was removed from the Great Hall. It was delicate, obviously goblin-made, with three strands of white gold braided together. One rune was engraved on each strand: friendship, strength, loyalty. The reverse side lay flat against her wrist with a simple message: "All you & always, Harry." She almost cried when she read it. Most people in Hogwarts thought that there was a secret love connection between the two. It was only their closest friends that realized Hermione and Harry were simply friends, close friends, best friends, but only friends. Hermione thought of Harry as a brother, plain and simple.
Her head shot up and her right hand flew to her left shoulder where her brand new Phoenix tattoo now lay resting when she heard the door of the Black family library creak open. When Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall entered with Mad-Eye Moody, Dumbledore pulled her school trunk behind him. Hermione's eyes shot open. Was she being expelled? Did the Order require some sort of special boot camp-style training? Were they sending her away with Moody? Now she was truly afraid.
She wasn't prepared for what happened next. Moody smiled. Then he hugged her, releasing instantly when she winced from the pain in her shoulder.
Seeing the look on her favorite pupil's face, Professor McGonagall took pity and started explaining, "Hermione, dear, did your parents ever tell you that you are adopted?" Not understanding what her adoption had to do with anything Hermione nodded. "Well, there is more to that adoption than your parents ever knew. You see, dear, you are in fact, a half-blood witch."
Hermione remained silent but nodded at this news. So she was a half-blood? That news wasn't so disturbing that she needed to be leave the castle and be comforted by two professors and a man that, to be completely honest, scared the heck out of her.
"There's more," Moody told her in the kindest voice she'd ever heard come from him. "Hermione, you are not from this time."
"I'm not from this…" she trailed off. What was going on here? If she's not from this time then when?
"No, dear," McGonagall continued. "You were born in 1959 to Alastor and Isabelle Moody."
"Mad-Eye?" she gasped. "Mad-Eye is my father?"
"I am and it's time for you to go home," Moody told her.
"Back in time," Dumbledore spoke for the first time that day. "Back to 1976. You will return to Hogwarts in the time that you belong. And you will leave today. This should explain it all, but you mustn't read it now. First we need to go to Hogsmeade."
Hermione could only nod and follow them to the fireplace where she called out "the Hog's Head" and stepped into the green flames. She was surprised to see Harry and Ron sitting at a corner booth when her feet made contact with the stone floor of the fireplace.
"They won't remember you the way that you'll remember them but I thought you might like to say goodbye," Moody whispered to her as he stepped out of the fireplace behind her.
"Mione!" Harry shouted as he jumped up and ran to her, embracing her tightly. "Professor McGonagall's just told us about your special training."
"Training?" she asked.
"For the Order, of course!" Ron added. "You'll do brilliantly, I'm sure," he continued also hugging her.
"Yes, training." She played it off as nerves.
"We'll miss you this term. You can tell us all about it at Christmas, though!" Harry told her with a little extra squeeze as Moody cleared his throat.
"Time to go," Moody told her and she was released from her tight group hug.
"I'll miss you so much," Hermione told them with a tear in her eye. She kissed each of them on the cheek before leaving with Moody and Professor Dumbledore. The boys stayed behind with their head of house.
Once outside they turned down the nearest alley where Hermione was told to read the letter. In two minutes a bright flash of light lit the alley and Hermione was gone.
"Professor," Harry asked, "why are we in Hogsmeade on a school day?"
a/n: I am attempting to fix some issues with this story. It's my favorite that I've written so far and I've got a bit of writer's block. I'm hoping if I re-read this as I edit it, it'll help me beat the block.