A/N: In recognition of the release of the final film, I decided to write a Harry Potter fic.
It is mostly complete, but I cannot resist the urge to tinker. I plan to update frequently.
This is M-MA rated.
The characters start out young & there will be nothing to earn that rating until they are of age. I MAY post the M-rated portions as outtakes. Undecided.
For canon-nazis… er…enthusiasts, please understand that I am utilizing a few points of difference between books & movies for a reason in this tale.
A huge 'thank you' to my beta, Heatherbella, and pre-readers, Chaz & deb24601.
I'd like to think I own this story plot & concept.
J.K. Rowling owns everything. Or, she could buy everything. Literally.
The words blurred as they burned to life in haste. Hermione read as fast as she could, trying to reach the end, to complete the tale, to force the blocks of the past into place.
But time was a stubborn thing. It held fast.
All that she'd recently read of periwinkle robes, three champions, and time with Cedric remained a fiction to her while her memories of four champions, of a rose dress, of Dumbledore's Army, of a full year on the run with Harry…all were so very, very real.
Faster than she'd thought possible, she read until the air from her lungs expelled and constricting pain under her ribs forced her to pause and breathe again, only to begin anew.
On and on, page after page.
She read, though she knew what lie ahead.
Because she knew behind her were lies.
And yet, the book burned on with no sign of stopping. No shifting tiles of time set to right. No erasing what she had unequivocally accepted as the truth until such a short time ago.
Another page filled with words in heed to her breath. "When? When is it enough?" Hermione looked up watery-eyed. "Have I not read enough?"
"It won't be real until you let it be." Minerva said softly, almost as a question. She seemed to be thinking aloud, the idea coming to her for the first time. Bolting from her chair, she began to pace.
"We all have our own book of life. This is but one kind. We are all looking for someone to read and understand…or, better yet, to help us finish writing it.
"Do you understand what it is I am telling you, Hermione?" Minerva wrung her hands and paced over the roughed stone. "The wheels are in motion and if your suspicions are as I think they are, you must not let this come to pass. Once within the forest, there will be no retrieving.
"Go child, go!"
(Hermione Granger and the) Book of Misremembrances
Sometimes, when Hermione looked out over the Black Lake, she almost forgot that she hadn't always been a part of the magical world. Almost.
But, when back in London, her mind was restless and unsettled. Not just London, but all things muggle no longer held the comfort of home.
The brush and squish of blade grass grew louder and alerted her to the groundskeeper's approach before his shadow engulfed her. His voice sounded out across the shore, "Hermione, the Headmistress is ready for you now."
With her arms still folded, bracing against the chill, she turned and wordlessly followed Hagrid up the hillside. Each step, she hoped, would take her further away from the things that had haunted her since she'd left Hogwart's one year prior.
Of course if anyone had asked, Hermione would have readily told them about the strange figure that had accosted her almost as soon as she had moved to London. She could have told of the foreign and mangled tongue it spoke, face like a Death Eater's mask wrought of flesh, the way it seemed to manifest on the perimeter of her life for days, weeks, months. Then, she thought it had gone. After months of casting protective enchantments had proven fruitless, she'd dared to hope that it had grown weary of tormenting her when several weeks had passed without a sighting.
Alas, those hopes were dashed when she'd spotted the familiar grey cloak in the distance when she'd left the bookshop the week before. It had not given up on its vigil, merely become stealthier. Any sense of peace Hermione had convinced herself of evaporated like a bezoar in bile.
"Pardon me fer speaking up when it was maybe your place to do, but you never brought it up, never brought nothing up… Well, point is, I heard tell of the trouble you been having." Hagrid looked down at Hermione with unmistakable pity. "Oh, now, don't you go and try to tell it were no big deal. Being stalked by anything is bound to make a person unsettled. Nasty business that."
"Thank you, Hagrid."
"No worries, Hermione. Pretty much nowt ever got into Hogwarts that wasn't wanted in and we're even stronger now." The huge man drew in a lung full of air. "Not on my watch. Not when you come to me, to here, for protection. Not on your Nelly. "
Hermione wanted to correct him, to tell him that the protection the school offered was only one factor in her decision to apply. She wanted to tell him that, but it wasn't the most honest of answers.
She felt compelled to return.
The particular doors through which Hagrid and Hermione passed were new, as were the walls and tiles and fixtures in this rebuilt wing. Not that anyone who had never been here before would notice. But she had been here before, mostly lived and nearly died here before. She knew.
The stairs to the office were the same as ever, though, and Hermione felt a wave of melancholy remembering the times she had ridden the winding stairs to visit a different, fatherly headmaster who no longer dwelt within.
The door was ajar, so she slipped in, her heels clicking along the slightly uneven stones. It occurred to her that she'd not worn dress shoes here in years.
Not since the Yule Ball.
That had been a mostly glorious occasion. For once, her bushy hair had succumbed to vigorous attempts at taming. She'd worn fluted rose robes and felt beautiful, like she truly belonged on a Tri-Wizard's arm. Though she would never admit it aloud, she even felt as pretty as Cho Chang and might've, just for the night, seemed not too out of the league of handsome Cedric Diggory. Not that there was anything wrong with Viktor, nothing objectionable. He'd been perfectly agreeable. And attentive. And, in the end, rather smothering.
She didn't often let herself think of Cedric; she felt a greater sadness about what had happened to him than their brief acquaintance warranted. She felt near hollowed-out whenever Cedric was mentioned. Hermione had never really understood the acute pain that his loss triggered within her.
Perhaps she simply had greatly esteemed him… and in a world of so many mediocre, petty, and disloyal wizards, Cedric had seemed genuine.
Startled not only at the sudden noise, but also at hearing Professor McGonagall use her first name rather than "Miss Granger," she stumbled gracelessly and landed in the chair opposite the Headmistress' desk.
"You were miles away, Dear," McGonagall poured a cup of tea and pushed it across the desk toward Hermione. "Are you quite alright?"
"Quite, thank you." She was anything but, however Hermione took the opportunity to sip the drink and collect her nerves. Her hopes rested entirely in the outcome of this meeting; she really had to demonstrate she was competent and mature enough for the position, even though she was but a year out from some students.
She'd heard of the decision to replace some of the less-beloved instructors at Hogwarts only a week ago. Hermione had learned, time and again, the importance of knowing the history of magic and sincerely believed she would make an excellent replacement for Binns, who would finally be enjoying his eternal rest like a proper ghost ought.
At the very least, she was more lively than he.
Hermione replaced her cup on the saucer, cleared her throat, and launched into her prepared speech outlining her qualifications.
She never even got started.
"Thank you for agreeing to meet with me, Professor McGona-"
"Hermione," the older woman reached out and patted Hermione's hand reassuringly. "As colleagues, it is customary to use first names." McGonagall lowered her voice and a softness entered her eyes. "As friends, I would insist upon it."
Hermione felt dumbstruck. She had been under the impression this was an employment interview, the first necessary step toward leaving the problems of the muggle world – in her case, terrifying problems – behind her, and to finding sanctuary within Hogwart's veritable fortress walls.
"Hermione, the position was yours the moment your owl arrived." McGonagall straightened in her chair. "I've arranged for your things to arrive shortly. Is there anyone to whom you wish to send notice of your new circumstances?"
"No, there's no one." And there truly was not. Not her parents, not Harry, not Ron. They all had developed lives beyond Hermione, while Hermione seemed to feel incomplete. Perhaps that had been why the pull to return to Hogwarts had become so strong. Her fears and her loneliness had combined and compelled her to the castle doors.
The younger witch's cheeks flushed and she felt a wave of relief ebb into tears. Now that it was reality and the muggle world was her past, the sense of relief was profound.
And yet, as ever, something felt amiss.
Thoughts like this seemed quite ungrateful, Hermione determined, and she pushed them aside to give McGona- Minerva, a genuine, albeit watery smile. She was a professor. The Hogwart's History of Magic professor.
Hermione expressed her gratitude with great enthusiasm and pledged to be a most devoted instructor, then excused to herself so she might begin to settle into her new chambers.
"But, Hermione, I did call you here for a reason beyond - actually far beyond - offering you the job."
"Really?" Hermione sat down again. What someone as busy and powerful as the witch in front of her could need was a mystery.
"When I took over here," Minerva said, and gestured about the office, the former school headmasters' portraits barely taking notice as most continued to sleep despite the hour, "it was regrettable that every corner of Hogwarts was in disarray." It was true. Large sections of the building had been reduced to rubble, the grounds resembled a slash and burn project, and the morale was precisely what one would expect in a former battleground.
"Many items," she continued, her voice taking on a tell-tale quiver, "Many important matters simply could not be addressed. There wasn't time in the day. There were children to feed, classes to conduct, and… forgive me, I digress." She opened a desk drawer and withdrew a thickly bound book, then placed it on the desk before resting both her hands atop it. "Hermione, tell me dear, does this look familiar to you?"
It wasn't necessary for Hermione to respond in words, for it was clear from her look of surprise that the book was unlike any she could recall ever having seen before. Not only were the covers and spine nearly one-third inch thick, embossed leather, the edges of the pages had a phosphorescent glow and there was no title of any kind.
"I thought not." With that, McGonagall removed her hands and the book flew through the air and landed in an unsuspecting Hermione's lap just as smoothly as if it she had summoned it.
"What sort of book is this?" Try as she might, Hermione could not disguise the wonder in her voice.
"It is a Journull. A diary of sorts. An unalterable account of one's days." McGonagall moved around the desk and took the book back, opening it up to reveal an interior that appeared to be comprised entirely of blank pages. "This was in your file. I am not proud of the fact that I should have come across it sooner. But, well, there was no need to check your file when the Ministry called for your references last year. So, it sat there untouched until I had decided to seek you out and ask you to consider teaching here."
This was news to Hermione, as she'd had no idea that she was actually being recruited rather than applying.
"I've heard of these," Hermione said. "They are rather rare, are they not?"
"Oh, mercy yes, indeed, they are. And we should all be so grateful that is the case."
"Their purpose eludes me. Why would anyone need an unalterable diary? Surely it would not change anything simply because one's very own diary had been edited."
"They are rare for the precise reason that their need for existence is rare as well." Her softly wrinkled hands began leafing through the innermost pages reverently. "You see, Journulls, while ancient, are not exceedingly so. They are a reactionary magic."
"Reactionary?" Hermione asked, leaning forward in her chair, somewhat transfixed by the faint glow of each page. Each edge was the color of lucifrase, and they had begun to pulse as a lightning bug might in the moonlight. "You mean to say that it is triggered, unknowingly, by the casting of another spell?"
"Or charm… or curse, as the case may be," Minerva said, her voice trailing off near the end. "They were created to counteract the effects of altered reality. What is writ on these pages is more definite than what may be wrought in stone." She slammed the book shut and held it fast to her desk. "For, what is cast in stone, be it a year spent abroad or a single punch to the face of a very deserving fair-haired boy, may be altered and forgotten with a clever charm or spell. This is what happened the first time, well, the first time, time happened."
Hermione knew the incident to which McGonagall was referring. Slugging Draco Malfoy had been one of the highlights of her young life and her use of the Time Turner had allowed her not only to do it but to witness herself do it later as well. Good times.
"Are you saying that this book has recorded what happened before I used the Time Turner?"
McGonagall waved off her concern. "Pish posh. I organized the files myself at the end of your third year in preparation for sponsoring the visiting delegations of two schools the next year. The book was not there during that summer, but I suspect it was created some point thereafter. Though I haven't the foggiest when Dumbledore placed it within your file."
"Dumbledore?" Hermione gasped.
"Well, of course, who else would you think could create such a powerful thing and harbour it within these walls?" McGonagall's eyes sparkled.
"Why on earth or otherwise would Dumbledore feel the need? For me? Are you sure?"
McGonagall turned the book to face Hermione and slowly bent back its thick cover to reveal the only words visible anywhere within. There, in the familiar script of the late Albus Dumbledore himself, was the following inscription:
This book and its contents are the rightful property of Ms. Hermione Granger, most faithful friend of Harry Potter, brightest witch of our time, and unsung champion of us all.
When found, it should be returned to Ms. Granger and things set to rights.
For, since this will have been in a position to be found, it will be necessary to do so.
- A. Dumbledore
"'And its contents?'" Hermione tried not to, but she let a small bubble of laughter escape. The book contained nothing.
McGonagall smiled a patient but wise smile. "If you look closely, I'm sure you'll see that is not the case. Now, read to me child." With that, she slid the book nearer Hermione and it moved to her hands and opened to the first page. The paper's glow now flickered like flame.
"What?" Hermione looked up and the older witch waved her on in encouragement. Tucking an errant lock of hair behind her ear, Hermione turned her head down to begin the unusual task of reading a blank piece of parchment.
As she open her mouth to object, her breath spilled out across the page and words began to appear. Words in Hermione's handwriting. Her own handwriting, but she was certain she'd not written these actual words.
By, rights, I don't belong here.
"What is this?" Hermione could barely speak much less read.
"It is, for want of a better description, the truth. Read on."
Hermione cleared the lump from her throat and proceeded.
I don't belong in this room with the newly-selected Tri-Wizard champions, but neither does Harry.
Professor McGonagall is clearly distraught after that inane Goblet spit Harry's name out. And who could blame her? Seriously powerful magical object or no, the thing is not functioning properly and it seems the collective of school staff and ministry officials are content to let sleeping dogs lie.
Adults! Well, I've dealt with a three-headed sleeping dog and those things have a tendency to wake up and bite one in the bum.
"Did you put your name in that cup? Are you sure? Did you get one of the older students to do it?"
"No. No, Sir."
"But of course he's lying."
"The Goblet of Fire constitutes a binding magical contract. From this point forward, Mr. Potter is a Tri-Wizard champion."
"Are we simply going to offer Potter up as bait?" McGonagall shakes her head.
"I agree… with Snape."
"Excuse me," my voice sounds so small in the room. "Excuse me, Professor Dumbledore, but that isn't right."
"Silence Granger!" Professor Snape's voice splits the air. "Return to Gryffindor Tower immediately before you spend the duration of the Tri-Wizard Tournament sorting my storage cupboard."
Dumbledore holds his hand up to silence Snape.
"There is no binding contract where there is duress or forgery. That note is not Harry's handwriting and he certainly did not cross the Age Line that you drew yourself. If Harry is forced into a position of contractual liability through forgery, duress, coercion, or the like, the contract is void." I'm on a roll and, for once, no one seems to be huffing in annoyance as the words spill from my mouth. In fact, the four students by the fire look as though they might like to cheer. Harry probably looks a bit more relieved than anything else and while Diggory is not someone with whom I'm terribly familiar, he seems… impressed?
I feel my chest puff out a bit at the thought that I might've garnered the favourable attention, however fleeting, of the most popular boy in school.
"The Goblet of Fire exists for the sole purpose of selecting participants in the fairest manner. It is clear that the results have been tampered with if it stacks the odds in favour of Hogwarts'" I say.
"Yes," Olymype pipes up, finally obliging of my interruption now that it benefits her Beaubaton Academy. "This is what I am saying!"
Dumbledore clasps his hands and his head falls forward. After a moment, he nods.
The crowd seems celebratory as whole; however, Snape confers with Dumbledore silently. Why he trusts that man I'll never understand. Moody takes a swig of his brew and mutters his goodbyes as Harry pounces on me. Krum seems as though he wants to speak with me, but I'm busy being squeezed by my best friend. Harry may have cut off my oxygen supply for too long; I swear I see Diggory smile brightly at me.
"But," Hermione began, "This is cannot be true. Harry was forced to be a Tri-Wizard Champion. I was not at that meeting. I spent the evening trying to calm Ron down after Harry was selected."
McGonagall leaned back in her chair, pursing her lips. "That is the way I recall the day as well. But, that is the way of it, the 'writer' and one who hears the words read aloud will exist in a state of flux during the reveal."
"So, you're saying that we will remember it two ways for a time?"
"Yes, the planted memories will co-exist with the original memories for a time as things are set to rights. As I understand it, this is a gradual process. It is as if time is made of building blocks and each must be replaced in order. When appropriate, the planted, false memory will fade."
Hermione swallowed hard. It was difficult to imagine that Harry had not spent their fourth year fretting about the tasks, deciphering the egg clue, nearly dying in the maze.
"Hermione," McGonagall sounded even gentler than at any point prior, "perhaps it's best not to prolong the existence of loose threads in the fabric of time."
At her insistence, Hermione began reading again….