As promised to those readers of Something Borrowed and Practically Married, here is Geminus Terra.
Prologue – 'Time is Fleeting'
They had laid the dead out in the Great Hall. The place where some of her happiest memories of this place had been created was now a mortuary. It was more than ironic, it was sick. The bodies of so many people, including some that she cared for dearly. Fred, Tonks, Remus. Gone.
Hermione Granger sank onto the floor behind one of the pillars, determined that no one should see her cry. And cry she did, huge sobs that wracked her small frame almost violently, leaving tear lines down the face that had grown grubby from months on the run. They had lost so much, so many.
At least Ron was with his family, where he needed to be. At least he and Harry were safe.
Hermione leapt up. Where had he gone? They had lost him when they re-entered the castle, all three desperate to find out who was among the dead, lest it be someone they loved.
'Harry Potter is dead.'
What little activity there was in the castle stopped immediately as the high, cold voice filled the place.
'He was killed as he ran away, trying to save himself while you lay down your lives from him. We bring you his body as proof that your hero is gone.' Lies, Hermione thought angrily as she stood and joined the throng of people gliding almost silently towards the door. An automatic response, they needed to see the proof.
'The battle is won. You have lost half of your fighters. My Death Eaters outnumber you and the Boy Who Lived is finished. There must be no more war. Anyone who continues to resist , man, woman or child, will be slaughtered, as will every member of their family. Come out of the castle, now, and kneel before me, and you will be spared. Your parents and children, your brothers and sisters will live, and be forgiven, and you will join me in the new world we shall build together.'
She was at the bottom of the steps now, squinting to see the front of the approaching dark army. A murmur ran through the crowd, disbelief in what they were being told, it was only when Hagrid stepped forward did they see the horrible truth.
The professor's strangled cry echoed off the walls of the old castle. Hermione couldn't believe what she was seeing. The worst scenario she could imagine was being played out in front of her eyes.
'No!.. No!.. Harry! HARRY!'
The calls came from all sides and Hermione whimpered loudly as her mind processed what she saw in front of her. Hagrid sobbing. Harry lying motionless in his arms. The Death Eaters laughing. Voldemort victorious.
Numbness spread through her body. She hardly saw Neville charge forward and challenge Voldemort. She didn't register the sudden recommencement of fighting until Ron was pushing her back, yelling for her to arm herself. Hermione stumbled, momentarily stunned.
It was all over, everything they had worked for over the last year. If she was honest, everything the Order had tried to achieve for the last twenty years. She sobbed. It was all over...
A hand grabbed at her arm and Hermione was pulled back behind the stone steps, away from the battle. She turned, drawing her wand, ready to fight. Sybill Trelawney's huge bug-like eyes shone from behind her frames.
'History is being rewritten.' Hermione stared, open mouthed. Harry had once described what the Divination professor looked like when in a real trance. This seemed to be the genuine article. Thinking of Harry sent a shooting pain through Hermione's chest but she forced herself to listen, recognising that whatever the old fraud had to say now was possible more important than every other word ever uttered from her mouth. 'Events are in motion. You will stand alone and together. Old allies and new friends. Personal loss will lead to gain. An alternate path, a new prophecy. It has come... Come up to the castle, dear, it's not safe.'
She shook her head. There would be time to ponder the old bat's words later. If nothing else, they had made her think of Harry, of his determination. Hermione knew what he would be telling her if he were alive. Keep going, Hermione, keep fighting. Wand at the ready, Hermione ran back to join the fray.
It was chaos, people running and screaming. Ginny and Luna were battling Bellatrix Lestange, Hermione shot a curse at her, but the madwoman shrieked in delight at another opponent and danced around it. Molly Weasley barrelled through and Hermione deflected a curse directed at Neville. She engaged another attacker.
'Well, well, if it isn't the pretty little mudblood.' Hermione's blood ran cold at the sight of the man who had nearly killed her two years ago. Dolohov advanced slowly, twirling his wand. 'I look forward to finishing what I started, I've already dealt with the fool who rescued you from me the last time we met.'
Hermione resisted the pains shooting across her chest. Professor Lupin, she thought, he killed Remus.
Hermione felt the curse hit her upper arm, blood flowing from the wound, but it was still only a minor injury.
She leapt to the side, just managing to avoid the curse, it hit a Death Eater behind her. 'Prote...'
The curse hit just above her heart and Hermione felt her eyes roll back into her head. She felt herself falling, but passed into darkness and never felt the impact of the ground below.
Chapter 1 – 'Nothing's Changed, Just Imitating Yesterday'
She was disoriented and her vision swam as she came to. A piercing pain flooded through her body and Hermione fought against it as instinct told her to get up, to keep going. Her very life depended on it.
She blinked once more and pushed herself to her feet, looking for Dolohov, but she saw no one. Her surroundings had changed dramatically, instead of the school lawn torn up and littered with debris, the grass rolled out in front of her, right up to the unblemished castle walls. And the sun was shining brightly. When she had fallen it had been highly overcast and the dark mark had loomed overhead.
She was too exposed, standing here in the open and she backed up into the trees at the edge of the forest and looked around her. There was no one in sight, no sign of the battle that had been taking place when she had been hit by Dolohov's curse. What on earth was going on?
Though it was dismissed by many wizards as folklore, the witch was well aware that a pinch could act as adequate proof that one was not dreaming. She pinched her leg. It hurt. It was at this point that she had to consider the option that she might no longer be alive. After all, she didn't know what the curse she had been hit with was, she couldn't even remember the spell.
She tried to logically map out the last few seconds of the battle in her mind. She remembered fighting, she vaguely recalled someone speaking to her as she tried to rejoin the battle, she remembered...
It was only then that the horrible truth had come rushing back to her. She may or may not be dead, but many of the people she loved were. Harry...
And right there, hidden in the shadows of the trees, Hermione Jean Granger fell to her knees and wept.
In the last few years Hermione had lost people who had been very important in her life. First had been Cedric Diggory. She had not known him well, but Cedric had always been polite and kind to her. It was in the hours after his death she had begun to realise how important he would be to her future. The war was starting and the Hufflebuff boy would only be the first in the list of casualties. Her recognition of the fact that Voldemort would simply view him as collateral damage made Hermione even more determined to remember Cedric as she had seen him at school.
Then, at the end of fifth year, Sirius had been killed. While she may not have agreed with him all the time, Hermione had always respected the older wizard. In that one day, Harry lost the last remaining chance he had for any sort of parental relationship. Hermione watched how it drove him and how this, in turn, effected both her and Ron.
The same thing happened the next year, after the death of Albus Dumbledore. The death toll of the war was rising and it only increased their determination. Harry had to succeed, for all their sakes. As Hermione sat listening to Fawkes sing over his master's grave her decision was made. The future of the world rested on Harry's shoulders and she would give anything to make sure that he succeeded. At that moment she had been so full of determination that she had never considered the possibility that Harry might fail, it simply wasn't an option. ermione
Now he was gone, along with so many others that she had cared for, and along with Hermione's purpose and determination. If Harry was dead, was there any way they could win this war.
That was, if she wasn't already dead herself. She dug deep to try and resurrect something of that determination and picked herself up. Wiping her tears on the back of her hand, she stood and began the trek down the school drive to the boundary of the apparition barrier, keeping on the edge of the trees the whole way. Hermione put aside thoughts of what had happened, and focused on assessing her current situation first. After all, this could all just be a trick by the Death Eaters, perhaps to find out how many horcruxes they had managed to destroy before Harry...
She shook her head and carried on. The sun was beating down now, sweat gathering on the back of her already filthy neck. Personal hygiene had somewhat fallen by the wayside over the last few months. It wasn't important then, and it wasn't important now. She would take Moody's advice first, constant vigilance. Hermione needed to be one step ahead of whatever was going on here.
The gate of the school was open and the path to Hogsmeade village was empty, but the village itself was a different story altogether. Hermione watched in the distance as crowds moved about in the distance. It would do no good to go in now, but the crowds in themselves fascinated her. It was clear that, wherever she was, there was no war going on. Maybe this was some sort of trick after all.
Keeping in the cover of the forest, she watched for a familiar face, but found none. The people that laughed and talked in the street seemed untroubled by the world as Hermione knew it. Hermione knew that there was a small bookstore at the far end of the village and she skirted around the edge of the trees until it was in sight. There seemed to be a fair number of people still about and so she decided to wait for a while until the crowds disappeared. Only then would she venture further and try to ascertain something, anything, about her surroundings the only way she knew how: through books.
To pass the time, Hermione examined her belongings. The small beaded bag was attached to the belt around her waist, along with her wand. Casting a few sparks onto the ground, Hermione couldn't help but feel slightly comforted that, whatever form of afterlife or alternate reality she found herself in, at least she still had magic.
In the bag, she found that she had exactly the same items as she remembered. A spare muggle tent, some slightly dirty clothes, Harry's father's cloak, a few defence books, a picture of her parents, a hairbrush, some basic toiletries, it all seemed to be there. How strange. She was especially surprised to find a tangled silver chain near the bottom of the bag, attached to the locket that had belonged to Regulus Black. She took the unblemished locket and placed it around her neck, tracing the etching with her fingertips. The pattern spoke to her, not like the evil suggestions of its counterpart but there was a story in the lines and grooves carved by a wizard who had (for all intents and purposes) been her forerunner, telling of his efforts to bring down Voldemort. They had failed: both Regulus and herself.
As the afternoon wore on, the crowds began to disappear, giving way to only a few shoppers, milling about and looking in the windows of the various different stores. Hermione placed the locket around her neck and tucked it into her jumper, unwilling for it to be seen by anyone else. Now that the village seemed quieter, she crept towards the bookshop, trying to attract as little attention as possible, with her travelling cloak pulled around her despite the heat. She slipped in the door quietly and managed to avoid other customers and whoever was working on the desk, as she followed the faded signs for the history section
If there was one thing Hermione knew how to do, it was extract information from books. The history of magic was a subject so boring that only she would ever remember the many seemingly-useless facts that would now enable her to establish a clearer picture of where exactly she was. As she flicked through several books, cross referencing what she read with her memories of class and her own reading in Hogwarts, she concluded that what the books contained was, to her knowledge correct.
This left her with three options, she thought, rubbing her temples. Either she was inside the world of some Death Eater who had a fantastic knowledge of magical history (that was the least likely option), or she may be dead and recalling the facts in the books from her own subconscious, or she was in an alternate reality. The whole issue made her head spin, as Hermione looked around the books she had surrounded herself with.
An apologetic voice cut through her musings. 'I'm sorry, but I have to close the shop now.'
Hermione gathered her belongings carefully, cursing her own clumsiness and haste as the man stopped her from falling. She shouldn't make contact with these people... projections... things...
Which is exactly why she shouldn't have done what she did next. She look up and, in awe that her mind, or anyone else's could come up with such detail in creating a mere projection, placed her palm against the side of the man's face. She could even feel the heat off his skin and the feeling of his breath on her wrist.
For the first time, Hermione turned her eyes to his. Her mother had always said that the eyes were windows to the soul and Hermione had always been able to tell more about someone from their eyes than their posture and their body language. These eyes were full of pent-up emotion, she could see so many feelings conflicting under the current expression of surprise and curiosity reflected in bright amber.
With something akin to horror, Hermione realised that she had seen the eyes of this 'projection' before, in the same face, but aged by several years. She had never seen any pictures of him in his youth, but Hermione knew exactly who stood in front of her.
For one Remus John Lupin today was just another day of monotony. His morning had been ordinary. He had risen, went about getting ready and come to work absent-mindedly dreaming of the day when he could do better than a part time assistant in Finder's Books.
But it had been many moons since the end of the war. Any hope that remained in him was swiftly quelled by doubt and self-loathing. This was his lot now, and he deserved it.
The afternoon passed much in the same fashion as the morning. At least until twenty-three minutes to four. That was the exact time (Remus had noted) that the young woman in the strange clothes had slipped in the door. She went unnoticed by the few customers still mulling about, but Remus had only caught a glimpse before she had disappeared somewhere between the shelves. It was now almost five o'clock and she still had not yet returned.
'You alright to close, Lupin?' The way Henry Stevenson asked the question made it clear that it wasn't a question at all. Remus simply nodded and began to extinguish the lamps with his wand.
As owner of the shop, Henry worked a four day week and the days he was in he arrived late in the morning and left early at night. It was always left up to Remus and the other part time employees to lock up, which could take anywhere between a minute and an hour depending on the amount of customers still in the shop.
What was even more frustrating was that the man had been the year below Remus at school. The Ravenclaw boy had been a shrewd investor in this store after the previous owners sold up with the threat of war, but while he had been making investments, Remus had been fighting and losing friends. It was that, more than his age, that annoyed Remus but what was even worse was the way Henry treated him. A law had been passed after the defeat of Voldemort, requiring all 'dangerous creatures' to make themselves known to the Ministry. Now the whole world knew what he was, and Stevenson used it as an excuse to offer him lower pay and poorer working conditions on account of the fact that, for a few days every month, Remus required leave. But Stevenson had been the only one who would hire him after the news broke of new laws. They claimed to 'protect' the sufferer, but Remus knew that the leave granted and the fixed rate of pay which was supposed to help people like him made them less attractive candidates for employment. It was becoming harder and harder to get a job and he would just have to bite his tongue and get on with it.
Don't I know it, Remus thought as he angrily flicked his wand at one of the remaining lights.
Eventually, he found the girl huddled among the history section, surrounded by various books and today's Prophet. His initial assessment had been right, her clothes were strange. They weren't fashionable at all, just some plain blue jeans and a strange hooded black jumper.
Aside from her clothes, her appearance was grubby. Her hair was pulled back off her face, and Remus could see the tell tale signs of grease at the roots. The bags under her eyes indicated that she hadn't slept for several days, he was well familiar with such signs. But even under that, he could see that she was beautiful. Her lips were full and red as she pulled the lower one between her teeth, apparently a nervous habit. He could pick out the freckles that dotted her cheekbones and her nose and the blush that graced her cheeks due to the heat. She was absolutely absorbed in one of the books that she had surrounded herself with and Remus chuckled at her enthusiasm, although he knew her treatment of the books was sure to incur the wrath of certain people.
Fleetingly he wondered where she had come from. It was strange these days to come across someone in the magical community who wasn't easily recognisable. The girl looked Hogwarts age and yet Remus didn't know her, even though he was perhaps only a few years older than her. Maybe he just didn't recognise her, many families had started to pull their children out of Hogwarts towards the end of his time there. Some had even started to send them abroad for their schooling, a trend accelerated by the rise of the Death Eaters here in Britain.
But that didn't explain her unkempt appearance. From the way she kept brushing her hair back from her face Remus could tell that it wasn't the length she preferred. He had a hard time imagining that she was as she appeared through any choice of her own. He of all people knew what it was like to...
But no, she wasn't like him. His instinct would tell him if she was. She was just a girl, one obviously affected by the war and the resulting hardships of the last few months.
'I'm sorry, but I have to close the shop now.'
He felt loath to throw her out and the slightest twinge of guilt as she jumped a little, startled by his voice. Her cheeks darkened slightly as she hastened to gather her paper and a small, beaded bag from the floor as Remus charmed the books back to their shelves. The girl avoided eye contact the whole time, rushing to be out of the situation as soon as possible. Was it possible she was uncomfortable? Had she heard all about the werewolf who worked in the small book shop?
She stood up, but stumbled. Remus caught her arm and held her up. Wide, toffee coloured eyes shot up to meet his, startled.
Before he could react further, the girl had brought one of her small, but surprisingly strong, hands up to rest on the side of his face. Remus was shocked, it was so rare for anyone to initiate physical contact with him. The last time he remembered receiving a hug had been over a year ago now. But this girl defied all logic as she started into his face with confused eyes.
As if coming to her senses, her hand suddenly dropped. 'I'm sorry, I...' And then she was gone.
Locking up the shop, Remus dismissed her from his mind. The strange girl had invaded his life for only a few seconds before she had left and he highly doubted that he would ever see her again.
Nevertheless, as he made his way home that night, he could not get her image out of his head. There had been something sad in the way she looked. For whatever reason it was obvious that, just like him, she was an outcast. She was probably alone too and, for that reason, if she ever came into the shop again Remus would make an effort to talk to her. No one deserved to be alone.
I included the prologue in this chapter so as not to mess up the numbering. This story will be twenty chapters long with the possibility of an epilogue or a few outtakes as per request.
This story is obviously a time travel fic., but I'm not aware of any other story which has done quite what I'm attempting to do. It could work or not, but only time will tell and I will only know if you (the readers) tell me, so please feel free to do so.
Each chapter will be named from the lyrics of songs in my library and contain 'time' or 'world' in the title. Have a guess what they are and I'll post the answer with the next chapter. To start the ball rolling, the prologue title is taken from 'The Time Warp'.
The draft of this story is complete and I'm hoping to upload a chapter every week starting now. However, it may not take this long so keep checking back.
Finally, comments are unnecessary (but appreciated) and if you recognise it, I don't own it.