The Last Turner of Time

Standard Disclaimers Apply…

A.N. Please be advised – This chapter contains graphic sexual content!

Chapter 5

Harry and Hermione settled on the floor sitting next to one-another with their backs leaning against the couch starring into the softly crackling fire. His arms were spread across the cushions as Hermione sat next to him in the Lotus position with arms still tightly crossed.

"It was a little over two years back now," Harry said in his oddly easy-going voice, "I received Kingsley's patronus telling me about a report that had just come in from Westminster about some dark-looking types hanging about a vacant warehouse. I was the first to arrive…"

"And let me guess," Hermione cut in, "Like the barmy sot you are you thought you could handle a couple of puny dark wizard types all by yourself without waiting for backup."

"Err," Harry stammered giving her a rather annoyed glance but then he grinned, "I suppose I deserve that. I did survive after all."

Hermione just rolled her eyes making a growling sound in her throat.

"The question is," she quipped, "Did you at least learn anything from your stupidity?"

"Indeed," Harry replied, his grin growing a bit wider, "Make sure the moon is waxing before I barge in on a Werewolf tea party?"

The look Hermione gave him was priceless and all Hermione Jean Granger.

Merlin how I love this woman! How could I have been so stupid?

Well, you have been a bit distracted for the last decade or so!

"Ok," she hissed, "Now you're just trying to piss me off Potter."

Harry held up his hands in resignation chuckling as he gazed into her eyes. He turned back to stare into the flames.

"I know I've made a lot of mistakes over the past several years Hermione. I've made some very questionable decisions but even though you may not agree I really did think they were for the best. I should have known better…"

He tried to continue but his voice caught in his throat at the thought of all the wasted time separating himself from the only person who would ever truly understand.

"…I've been such a fool."

Hermione looked at him for a long moment until she finally reached out and touched his arm.

"You're not the only one who's made mistakes Harry…" Hermione said softly.

Harry's head snapped around to gape at her.

"What are you talking about Hermione? You're the one who's made all the right choices. You're one of the most important witches in the whole bloody magical world for Merlin's sake. Not many mistakes from where I'm sitting!"

"That's not what I meant Harry," she shot back, "I should have stayed…I should have been here for you just the same way you were here for me those years ago. I left…" It was Hermione's turn to falter, "I left you here to fend for yourself."

"You were here for me Hermione," Harry replied, "You came here to find me remember? One doesn't keep score when it comes to things like helping one-another."

"Perhaps you're right but be that as it may I should have pulled my head out of my arse years ago and stopped moping about like a confunded Infiri…"

"You-were-grieving Hermione," Harry said categorically.

"For three years!" Hermione huffed, "That's not grieving Harry, that's hiding in denial! I should have come looking for you and forced you to tell me the truth a long time ago, I mean, what's the good in being a bossy little bitch if I don't utilize that particular gift when I actually need it!"

Harry couldn't help but laugh at that but then he turned very serious and pensive again looking her in the eyes.

"Look, all I know now…at this very moment in time…is that I love you…I love you Hermione."

He turned to look back into the fire once again.

"And that's all that matters to me now but there are things that you still don't know and even now I'm not certain I'm prepared to share them with you."

With that Hermione slowly crawled into Harry Potter's lap and wrapping her arms tightly around his neck she kissed him so deeply and so perfectly she thought her heart would just explode in her chest. When she pulled back looking into the depths of his sparkling green eyes she couldn't help but grin like a confunded idiot.

"More secrets," She enquired with a soft whisper.

Well of course you'd understand, wouldn't you? Books and cleverness, after all.

He absent-mindedly fingered the golden locket lost in the depths of his memories for a moment trying to decide if he should divulge this last secret – A secret he had kept from her for all these years.

He was afraid of what might happen – the choices she might make and he wasn't sure he had the courage to see it through.

She deserves to know the truth Harry, you know she does. She should have the freedom and ability to choose for herself!

He had been alone for so long because he thought he had to. Now, sitting there on the floor of his sitting room with the most incredibly wonderful and oh-so familiar woman he wanted nothing more than to put all the pain and darkness of the past behind him and move forward – but there was that one last little thing standing in the way.

Harry returned the look of utter longing right back into her own eyes as she sat astride his lap. He shook his head slowly.

"Nothing," he smiled that easy languid smile of his, "Just…nothing."

"Well," Hermione whispered pecking him on the lips softly and slowly two or three times, "Then you best make love to me this instant Mr. Potter or I'm going to transfigure you into something very unpleasant!"

"I certainly wouldn't want that," he replied kissing her right back just as tenderly.

Hermione's whole body shuddered with anticipation.

"But I should take my wolf's bane potion first. It's only…"

Hermione quickly pressed two fingers gently to his lips to stall his announcement shaking her head slowly with a very devious look on her beautiful face.

"No wolf's bane tonight Harry," she said. She then leaned forward and softly kissed her way around to his right ear, then whispered, "I want to know the beast."

Harry felt her warm soft tongue trace the outer edge of his ear then suck the earlobe ever so gently. He thought he was going to pass out right then and there.

"Hermione," Harry gasped breathlessly, "You don't know what you're saying. That would be too dangerous. I would never…"

"I trust you Harry," she said still kissing his neck, running her hands over his chest, "You won't go too far. You will control it… I know you will but I want you Harry…All of you! No silly glamour – no masks – no potions…just you. Understand?"

He had to admit just imagining himself wolfing out just a little while they were…

GREAT LEAPING LEPRECHAUNS! I'm not sure I would survive it!

Well are you a bloody Gryffindor or not Potter?

Damned right I am – Dumbledore's man through and through!

No more excuses – No more reservations – No more hiding.

Harry wrapped his arms around her slender frame and lost himself to another heart-stopping kiss from the only woman who truly understood him to the depths of no other.

Hermione's subtle moan went right to his groin as she pressed herself forward molding her body to his.

Harry's hands began to wander as they kissed one-another again and again until the raw heat of passion began to roil under their skin.

By the time Hermione leaned back and grabbed at the hem of her jumper she was gasping. Her breathing was going ragged and the look in her eyes suggested to Harry she just might be the one to turn Were any moment. That thought made him smile.

Making short work of the jumper and her bra, she fell forward again. In the next moment Harry had her gripped tightly by the bum and lifted them both to his feet as if Hermione weighed nothing.

"Oh my…" She gasped as she wrapped her legs tightly around his middle.

The plan was to make his way into his bedroom but – as it is with many plans, this one didn't work out quite like he had expected. Harry had not taken more than two steps when the (almost) full moon peeked out from behind some thin high clouds to wash the sitting room in pale light.

He stopped and Hermione could feel his whole body tense underneath hers.

"Her…Hermione," Harry gasp.

Instead of jumping off him and running for the door – which she realized was probably the prudent thing to do – she gripped him tighter and placed her lips next to his ear and began whispering to him softly.

"I'm here Harry," she said without a hint of fear or apprehension, "I'm right here in your arms and I'm not going anywhere. I love you and I want you to show me the true you. I'm not afraid because I know you love me too. I know you won't hurt me. Make love to me Harry…Now! I want you this way! Take me this way Harry!"

Hermione started shaking but it wasn't with fear – it was with the raw primal anticipation of what she was about to do.

Harry began vibrating as wicked heat began emanating from his body like a stove. He growled and it came from deep within his throat.

It was a ferocious brutal sound and it want right to Hermione's core.

Her chest was heaving as she felt Harry swell, his body shifting slightly. She felt his fingers lengthen as his hands cupped her bottom. She could hear the seams of his clothing tearing in places.

"Clothes Harry," Hermione gasped, "Don't ruin them…get them off!"

"Help me," he growled, "I have to…to…focus!"

With a wave of her wand all their remaining garments had vanished and with her now completely naked body pressed so tightly against his the heat was immense and she began to sweat.

She could instantly feel how hard and…

OH – MY – GOODNESS!

His hands and fingers weren't the only things to grow larger because of his affliction!

Harry had let his head fall back with eyes closed as his slightly shifting form morphed into his own private nightmare. Even though he didn't fully transform and even though it wasn't a full moon quite yet he felt the changes should have been scary enough to make Hermione reconsider what she was about to subject herself to…but he was so very wrong.

When he looked back down at her, he knew his gaze was probably dark and evil but he quickly realized the irritation and anger he usually felt when he changed like this was no longer there. He wondered if those emotions had been driven by the essence of darkness that had remained after dispatching Voldemort. It was no longer there. He was calm and the sensations Hermione's soft and luscious body shifting and rubbing slightly against him was slowly sending him into sensory overload.

He growled in such a low rumble it sounded almost like a demonic purr.

When Harry first looked back down into Hermione's eyes she really thought she should be spraying all over herself and Harry like a terrified cat but the primal animal looking intently back had a completely unexpected effect on her. It made her wet, all right, but it wasn't anything unusual for a young woman so completely turned on and sexually charged by the sheer brutal creature holding her in his thick muscular arms.

"Well, what are you waiting for Potter," she remarked in a deep raspy voice that was very much not her own, "a bloody invitation! Fecking take me already!"

With a guttural roar that made all the hair on her body stand straight up Harry practically threw her to the floor. He pinned her arms down hard beside her and took her mouth with his. He was barely in control of himself as he forced his way between her legs spreading them wide by shoving his body forward.

With teeth bared and eyes on fire with the inner light of a demon he fell on her snarling like a wild animal.

Hermione gasp – one part terrified and another part so turned on she thought she was going to die if he did not enter her soon.

Harry released her arms and Hermione lifted her hips off the floor trying to adjust herself for easier penetration. She looked down between them and saw just how large his ickle monster really was. She should have been a bit more alarmed but just couldn't manage it at the moment.

He's going to split me in half!

She thought with a touch of trepidation…but then her lips split in a devious and rather evil smile of her own as she gazed up in his hazed and ferial eyes…

Oh yes…He's going to split me in half!

The second time that unbidden thought came it held absolutely no trepidation what so ever.

Harry grabbed her slender legs and roughly threw them over his shoulders and with another guttural grunt practically threw himself forward and filled her body with one brutal thrust.

Hermione threw her head back and screamed open-mouthed as he filled her to bursting but the mixture of pain and utter ecstasy was so all-encompassing she just dug her heels into his thick shoulders, grabbed his upper arms with claw-like hands and held on tight as the utter tsunami of pure erotic bliss took her away to places she had never even imagined a man could take her!

With his animal grunts and growls he assaulted her tender and supple flesh driving her to the most mind-blowing, bone-snapping and gut-twisting orgasmic responses she had ever experienced in her young life.

Her body responded by gushing an almost obscene amount of bodily fluid in response to his tenacious and brutal attack. She found herself so gone in the utter rapture she was thrusting her hips upward trying desperately to get as much of him inside her as possible, crying out words like "MORE" and "HARDER" and "DEEPER" and "FASTER PLEASE!"

She should have been shocked or embarrassed or at least a little more circumspect but when a girl was getting physical with a partially-wild human, something like modesty doesn't even register in one's mind so she did the only thing she could do – She held on for dear life enjoying the hell out of it!

Every woman should be taken like this at least once in her life…and this one's mine all mine! – So ladies…Go find your own!

At one point Harry pulled a partially confunded Hermione onto his lap impaling her even deeper on his Were-engorged member and it was quickly becoming more difficult for her to remain conscious.

He was lifting her and bouncing her body up and down and she just let him – lost on such a massive tidal wave of pure lust and orgasmic pleasure she never wanted it to stop – EVER!

For another two solid hours they smashed into one another again and again. Hermione knew she should have been completely wrung out after the first dozen blistering orgasms but it was as if she just couldn't get enough of him. It was like her body was so starved for love and affection she was soaking it up like a dry river bed in the desert!

She had never felt so very alive and wanted and desired and she was absolutely certain it was the raw and primal animal in Harry that was fueling it – The pure desperate need to be utterly fulfilled by this man was almost frightening.

Harry took her in every position and in every physical way possible.

At one point Hermione sat astride his prone body riding him like a woman possessed, her fingernails digging deep and bloody furrows across his chest as she threw her head back, another wave of almost violent orgasms slamming into her. The next moment Harry was behind her with Hermione on her hands and knees, legs spread wide as he pulled roughly on her long mane ruthlessly pounding against her tender sweat-soaked body. She pushed herself back against his brutal thrusts like she herself was an animal in heat.

It was in this way Harry could hold on no longer and he lost himself – filling her body with his hot seed as he threw his head back and let out a blood curdling primal scream that echoed off the walls of the house. He thrust hard against her body again and again, filling her completely and then he fell forward, sinking his teeth deep into the tender flesh of her right shoulder. He could taste the blood seep from the shallow puncture wounds he inflicted with his bite – pinning her body beneath him, holding her completely still as he thrust and jerked in the final throws of release.

Hermione screamed in the combination of pain and pleasure again. She was almost certain all the people in the small village of Godric's Hollow could here them both as they let go but she just didn't care. The feeling of him filling her body with his heat and devouring her with his hot mouth was almost too much for her. Black spots danced in her vision and she felt herself drifting off into a world of blackness that was filled with ecstasy, peace and complete fulfillment. She had finally reached the limit of her endurance in the face of such complete surrender to this wholly dominant creature above her…and she had loved every fecking minute of it!

When consciousness finally returned the first thing that came to her was a deep rumbling sound. At first she thought it might be Harry's Were-induced heavy breathing because she could feel his warm body and smell his masculine scent pressed close to her side as she still lay on the floor right where she had collapsed. Along with the essence of Harry was the musky odor of her own sex and sweat and it made for a rather heady mixture.

When she was finally able to pry here bleary and swollen eyes open she couldn't help but smile. He had pulled her tightly against his body and was spooning her – protecting her even in his sleep.

When she heard the rumbling sound again she realized it wasn't Harry – the sound was coming from outside. As if to punctuate her thoughts a flash of blue-white light filed the room and a few seconds later a peal of thunder reverberated through the hills that surrounded the little green valley. A storm was approaching.

Too late! A different kind of storm has already gone and cum! (Pun intended)

When she tried to roll over in his loose embrace he shifted, his body shuddering slightly at her movement and his arms involuntarily tightened in response. She also felt a slight twinge of stabbing pain on the top of her right shoulder. When she reached up to feel it her hand came away streaked with blood.

It was then the memory of what had transpired right at the very end of the most erotic and sensual episode of her young life. She should have been terrified but much to her own surprise it didn't bother her nearly as much as she thought it should have. The memories of the past several hours made her grin like mad, sighing deeply in complete contentment.

It was when she collapsed boneless back into a sleeping Harry's arms that he finally stirred. He was now back to his old self and he had reset the glamour to hide his imperfections. Hermione wasn't sure if she liked it or not. Part of her knew why he wore it but another part of her didn't like it. It wasn't really him – but she would make no protest. It was his choice after all.

His eyes blinked a few times before he finally looked at Hermione's smiling face. The languorous look in her eyes made him smile but when his eyes fell on her right shoulder he stiffened – all pleasant thoughts retreating from his mind in the snap of the fingers.

In the next second Harry was lurching away from her and in the next breath was on his feet – the look of pure horror on his tired and haggard face. His chest heaved with quick panicked breaths.

"Harry," Hermione asked quizzically, "What in Merlin's name…"

He pointed at her with a trembling hand.

"Your…your right shoulder," he said rather loudly, "I…oh Merlin…Hermione I…I BIT YOU!"

She smiled and tried to play it off but Harry was having none of it.

"I told you Hermione," he said pacing back and forth agitatedly, "I told you I was dangerous! That just proves it! You're not safe! You're NOT SAFE AROUND ME!"

Hermione herself was getting a bit peeved and she found herself getting to her own feet (albeit a bit wobbly at first – the pulsing throb between her legs telling her she was going to be as sore as a boil in the morning and that seemed far worse than the bite on her shoulder) and found herself glaring at Harry.

"Stop it!" she huffed, "Harry, it's nothing…" she looked down at her shoulder but her whole upper arm and breast was streaked with blood, "really." She added rather weakly.

"NOTHING," Harry roared, "NOTHING! Hermione I tried to eat you!"

"Oh enough!" She shot back stomping her foot. As if to punctuate her statement lighting flashed and was then followed quickly by a loud clap of thunder. The storm seemed to be getting closer.

"When did it start storming out," Harry asked gazing out the front windows of the sitting room looking a bit perplexed, "The sky was completely clear when I got back earlier."

Hermione took a deep breath closing her eyes to regain calm. When she re-opened them she looked at Harry evenly.

"Harry…the last few hours were the most amazing and erotic and thrilling hours of my entire life and your pointless fear is RUINING IT for me so please stop! I have hurt myself worse than this when I've shaved my legs for Merlin's sake! Look…Nothing's damaged…see!"

She waggled her arms and legs doing a little jig as she spun around in a tight circle in front of him. They were both still quite naked. She thought it was silly but the look on Harry's face was not quite so convinced.

"Oh very funny Granger," Harry quipped, "Do you take requests?"

Hermione moved forward and took Harry in her arms. She reached up and pulled his head down to hers and kissed him softly. When she finally released him he starred at her wound. The bite marks were already bruising around the two whelped puncture holes left by his sharp K-9's. He couldn't help but scrunch up his a face in affected pain.

"Would you at least let me perform a healing charm on it?" He asked.

"Oh, if it will stop your brooding, go on then," she huffed again, "It really isn't that bad Harry and…well…I think it was kind of…I don't know," she grinned a devious little smirk looking dreamily up at him, "kind of hot actually."

"Oh ha…ha," he hissed as he passed his wand over the shoulder, "You're more hilarious than a barrel full of Cornish pixies you are."

She gently placed her left hand on his arm.

"Harry I'm serious," she said softly but very determinedly, "I love you and I trust you without question – even as the beast. You did things to me that were so deep and meaningful and profound I simply don't have the words to describe it…and how many times have you ever known this girl to be utterly speechless, hmm?"

Harry just regarded her for a long protracted moment but then conceded to her declaration with a sad and tired smile.

"Alright," he finally said smiling, "You've made your point," he then pointed at her cute little nose, "but we're NOT going to make a habit out of this missy. I don't think my bloody nerves could stand it too often!"

Hermione harrumphed, folding her arms under her lovely breasts lifting them up – Harry instantly began getting hard gawking down at them.

"You're no fun!" She replied with a frown but then looked down at his slight reaction to her naked body, "Erm…maybe I spoke a bit prematurely."

Harry just rolled his eyes.

"Love," He said seriously, "I don't mean to be a spoil sport but I'm not going to lie. I'm completely knackered. When the full moon approaches it has a tendency to sap some of my strength."

"Could have fooled me," Hermione grinned widely, "Very well," she sighed, "Besides, I think I've been stretched and stuffed quite nicely for one evening…anyway…but here me Potter," she said looking into his eyes with a playful smile, "if you think I'm giving that up on or about the full moon (her eyes darted to his Ickle Harrykins) you are so very sadly mistaken young man!"

"You are completely incorrigible," he sighed, "You know that?"

Hermione popped him on his naked sweaty bum cheek with a loud smack and it made Harry jump a little and rub his bum mouthing the word 'ouch' on the way to his bedroom.

They both fell across Harry feather mattress and in a tangle of arms and legs they quickly fell into deep slumber.

It was during that brief respite Harry had a horribly realistic dream. In the dream he found himself walking around the Hogwarts lake as the giant squid played lazily along its placid surface, its big beady black eyes completely oblivious to Harry's presence. Little silver fish darted around its tentacles like they were playing some sort of game of tag.

As he made his way toward the far edge of the Forbidden Forest bathed in the bright warm sunlight of a late spring day he suddenly realized where he was heading.

It was a secret spot he and Ginny had found in his sixth year. It was where they had stolen off to on many a late afternoon to be alone together. It was near a small waterfall of lake water run-off that cascaded down a streambed full of head-sized stones. There were small clumps of bright flowers and a few flowering bushes here and there.

They used to lie down a blanket and with a small basket supplied by Dobby he and Ginny would have little picnics and just lie in the sun and talk for hours. There were times when they would kiss and every once in a while they would allow themselves to explore a little further but always refraining from letting themselves go completely. Neither was ready for that then but Harry remembered there were a few times when it could have very easily but it was always Ginny's maturity and responsibility that stayed his hands.

"There will come a time when I won't stop you Harry," she had told him once, "I promise…because I love you and I want you just as badly but let's do it right, ok?"

Merlin how I loved those times I was able to share with her…

But if they had known then what he knew now…

As those thoughts and memories filled his mind he got close enough to see the unmistakable shape of his beloved Ginny sitting on the small tartan blanket facing away from him looking off out into the forest, her long silky auburn mane spilling down her back like a wave of pure golden crimson honey. She had her knees pulled up and her arms were wrapped around her legs. She seemed to be shaking slightly.

He wanted to call out her name but when he opened his mouth nothing came out. When he reached the edge of the blanket his shadow fell across her slender form. It was then she peered at him over her shoulder, her eyes filled with such grief and sadness Harry thought he might just die right then and there.

He went to her and settled on the blanket beside her. Tracks of her tears could be seen streaking her lovely little freckled cheeks. He reached up and brushed them away with his thumbs.

"Ginny," Harry thought, "What is it? Why are you so sad?"

Ginny just sat mutely regarding him for a long moment when a sad smile curved her sweet soft lips into that little bow he was so familiar with.

"Oh Harry," he heard her reply in his mind, "I forgot how thick you could be sometimes."

Her youthful voice was like the loveliest melody in the whole world. He couldn't help but smile at the memory of it.

"No-one knows that better than you Ginny. I'm sorry if…"

Ginny stopped him with a hand placed gently on his knee.

"Harry you have nothing to be sorry for. I can no longer be the one to give you the love you need and deserve. I don't blame you. You love and need her Harry and she needs you too. My only wish is that I could have stayed and been a part of it all. Just know that I love you Harry and I always will."

When she turned her sad eyes upon his again Harry felt the crushing weight of guilt and grief wash over him like a granite wave. He fell forward and lost himself one more time in the arms of the girl he had loved so much that he would have gladly traded places with her.

She caressed his face gently, this time being the one to wipe away the tears but as he felt her warm soft lips press gently against his forehead he realized she was beginning to fade.

"No…Ginny, please stay – Just for a while longer…please?"

She smiled at him again.

"You know I can't. This is not my time…it's your time now Harry – You and Hermione. You'll live a long and happy life together caring for one-another as it should be. I can think of no-one better for you now Harry. Love her the way you loved me."

"I still love you that way Ginny!" Harry choked.

"Give Gabrielle my love as well, won't you darling," She said as she drifted into a swirling mist, "I'll be waiting for you when it's your turn to come home and then you'll belong to me forever..."

Harry lurched up into a sitting position wide-eyed and covered in a cold sweat.

"Harry…oh Merlin, Harry," Hermione said in a shaky voice kneeling beside him on the bed, "Are you alright! You were screaming! I couldn't wake you…You were screaming!"

Harry looked sideways to see tears streaming down Hermione's face, a look of pure agony crumpling her beautiful features.

"Wha…what," he gasped breathlessly, "A dream Hermione…just a dream." He was trying to convince both of them.

"You were screa…screaming Ginny's name," she said hiccupping slightly, her miserable voice taking on a rather house elf-like quality, "Oh Harry what have I done! I had no right…"

"Stop it Hermione," Harry growled forcefully, "Don't say that!"

"But Harry," Hermione continued slipping from the bed wrapping a small throw around her naked body, "It's true. You still love her. You still miss her and I'm defiling your memories of her…"

"ENOUGH!" Harry yelled loud enough to make Hermione start violently frozen in an instant of utter misery and fear, her eyes wide in confusion.

Harry brought his hands to his face and moaned into them trying to quell his jumbled thoughts. When he let them drop limply back onto his lap he looked at Hermione apologetically.

She was now standing with one foot on top the other chewing on her thumbnail nervously looking for all the world like a sacred little girl. Her hair was a wild mess and the tracks of her tears glistening in the candlelight. If things weren't so off-kilter, he would have thought her completely adorable.

"I'm sorry for yelling Hermione," Harry whispered looking down at nothing, "I'm just a bit out of sorts but in all honesty you are not defiling anything."

He patted the mattress next to him beckoning her to join him on the bed again.

"Please Hermione. I love you and I think it's time," he said cryptically.

"Ti…time for what Harry," she replied, her breath still hiccupping slightly still not certain if she should let herself feel the things she had been feeling earlier that evening.

The skies outside the cottage still lit up with lightning and the cottage rumbled with thunder but the worst of the storm had passed. The rain had slowed to a steady pitter-patter on the windows.

"For you to know the truth," he replied a bit stoically, "and I'm not sure how I like this tentative Hermione. I think I much prefer the brazen bossy little wench who apologizes to no-one for who and what she is or what she does."

Finally Hermione crawled across the bed and settled on some pillows leaning against the headboard next to him still clutching the throw around her.

Harry glanced down at her wrapped up like a burrito then looked up into her eyes, one of his eyebrows lifting.

Hermione defiantly lifted her chin peering down at him.

"I'm a bit chilled," was her only reply. Harry couldn't help but crack a wide grin at that.

"Better," he quipped.

With that he held his left hand out.

"Accio wand."

Harry's wand zipped into the room like a dart, turned the corner just inside the bedroom door and landed in his hand. He then glanced at Hermione again holding out his right hand.

"I need the locket."

Hermione's hand instantly flew to her chest where the small gold locket lay nestled between her breasts and she clutched it tightly.

"What are you going to do to it Harry," she swallowed nervously, "This is one of my most prized possessions! I won't let you damage it!"

Harry held up his right hand to stay her protest.

"I promise Hermione I will not damage the locket," he said softly meaning his words, "but there's something locked inside that I think you should see."

Hermione's face instantly went blank as she glared at him for a long moment.

"I knew it," she huffed, "Did you turn it into a Horcrux or something?"

Harry's head snapped toward her with a look of incredulity on his face.

"Of all the barmy…" He hissed, "Of course not! Don't be ridiculous."

"Then what's inside of it," she enquired again, "The Resurrection Stone or something like that?"

That thought shocked him a bit because as far as Harry knew the two pieces of the stone were still lost somewhere at the edge of the Forbidden Forest and the thought that it just might have a close relationship to what was actually inside the locket was a bit spooky that she would guess that very thing.

"No Hermione it's not the stone." He said calmly, "As far as I know that thing is lost and just as I told Dumbledore's portrait it can stay that way as far as I'm concerned. If you'll let me hold the locket I'll show you what's inside."

She sat there motionless for another few seconds simply regarding Harry coolly when the corner of her mouth curled into a sly little grin. The way she was smiling made Harry's heart skip wildly all over his chest and the sheet covering his lower body twitch slightly into a small tent.

Hermione rolled her eyes.

"Very well," she replied, "Under one condition." She held up her index finger.

"And that is?" Harry asked smirking himself now.

Hermione shifted a little feeling a bit devious backing her lover into a corner like this but hey, a girl has to have her priorities straight. He wanted the bossy little bitch then so be it! She then leaned over and put her lips next to his ear.

"I get to have the wolf whenever I want! No restrictions, no reservations, no excuses. Agreed?"

"Why did I know you were going to say that?" Harry sighed deeply.

"Hey, I'm nothing if not persistent," she smirked, "You of all people should know that. I always find a way to get my way Mr. Potter," She kissed his cheek, "Do we have a deal?"

Harry rolled his eyes again rubbing his chin.

"Well, I could just let this remain a secret forever because if I know you as well as I think I do," he turned to give her an evil eye, "and I do, you've already tried to open it haven't you, without success I see."

Hermione's mouth and eyes went wide at first then narrowed to thin slits, a dark and dangerous scowl settling on her face.

"Well," she huffed, "You certainly don't play fairly do you!"

With that Hermione lifted the locket from around her slender neck working it loose from her long tangled mass of hair and gave it over – albeit very reluctantly – to Harry.

"If you so much as scratch the surface I'll portkey you to the south pole in your birthday suit mister! I swear I will!"

Harry took the locket in his hand and waved his wand above it whispering "engorgio."

The locket grew in size until it was a bit larger that a golden snitch. When he glanced at Hermione she had not taken her eyes off the locket watching his every move like a hungry buzzard.

Next Harry moved his wand above the locket in small circles three times clockwise and three times counter-clockwise, then recited the phrase…

"Better off dead then expelled from Hogwarts."

There was an audible click as the enlarged locket twitched in his hand.

Hermione's face fell completely blank as she crossed her arms tightly giving Harry a dead-pan look of utter exasperation.

"Oh for the love of…" she groused, "You're never going to let me live that little slip of the tongue down now, are you?"

Harry just looked at her for a pregnant moment then just shrugged.

"Nope!"

Hermione huffed, batting at his shoulder.

"Before I open this I need to tell you how I came to be in possession of such a thing," he began, leaning back against the headboard. He glanced over at her again, "You interested?"

Hermione rolled her eyes.

"Does a chocolate frog have only one good hop?"

"I suppose I'll take that as a yes," he chuckled, "It was the night we went to the Riddle house and after all that had taken place you scampered off up the stairs to the second floor. At first I had no idea why but when I saw you throw a curse into the last room at the end of the hall I realized you had just killed someone with the Killing Curse. I'm not going to lie Hermione…I was more than a bit shocked."

"I…I," Hermione began to stammer but Harry just leaned against her and kissed her cheek.

"You don't need to explain," he said looking at her with complete understanding in his eyes, "I've never asked you to and I never will. Anyway, it doesn't matter. What's done is done…sort of."

That last cryptic statement made Hermione's eyebrows come together in confusion.

"After you turned and left I went inside the room just to check to make sure Malfoy was indeed dead. When I rolled him over I discovered he was holding something in his hand. When I realized what it was I almost fainted. I couldn't believe what I was looking at but…there it was. The other thing that made me ill was how close it had been for all of what we had done to have turned out completely different than any of us had intended."

"At that point a million thoughts raced through my brain as to what I should do with it. I kept its existence from everyone including you. I'm not exactly sure why now but it was one of those decisions I made that I was almost certain that I would one day come to regret – and now, sitting here with you at this very moment, I think I've reached that day…"

Hermione looked at him for a long moment not certain what to say or how to respond to what he had just said. All she knew was that curiosity was gnawing on her nerves like a thousand garden gnomes.

When Harry opened the now-enlarged locket and held it out to her it suddenly felt like the entire world – space, time, light, sound and even breathing – came to a grinding halt.

Sitting nestled in the half-shell of the locket Harry had given her so many years before was the very Time Turner she had used their third year at Hogwarts. She was not only completely frozen with confusion and trepidation she could not seem to believe her own eyes.

"B…But how," was all she could get out before her throat completely seized up.

"I'm not sure," Harry replied calmly, as if it was no big deal holding such a thing, "but I have a few theories. The first of which was that after you gave this back to Professor McGonagall she didn't return it at once back to the ministry to be replaced in the Department of Mysteries. I think she might have given it to Dumbledore for safe keeping in his office until it could be returned. I'm certain she would not have left something like this laying around her classroom or chambers with the likes of Fred and George Weasley running about the school. It would be just like them to snatch such a thing but I'm not exactly sure."

"If that's the case then it may have been just that it was forgotten about what with all the craziness we were getting up to then. I'm sure it had been a bit distracting to the staff, yes?"

Harry smiled at her but Hermione had turned ghost grey starring at the device like it would jump out of the locket and bite her head off. She had not moved a single muscle and seemed to be in a trance-like state, mouth and eyes wide in utter shock.

He knew her mind was busy working through all the implications its presence suggested. He just wanted her to hear him out so he began speaking again.

"If my theory is anywhere near correct that would mean that this was still in the Headmaster's office when Severus Snape took it over after we left. I thought about Dolores Umbridge but if I remember correctly the gargoyle wouldn't let her in when she took over the school so it probably wasn't her."

"If Snape did find this in the Headmaster's office it might explain how it came to be found in Draco's possession. I'm not exactly sure why he would have given such a thing to Draco but I have no other theory to support it but what I do know for certain is that he had it that night you killed him at the Riddle house and I think…I think…"

"He was trying to make it work," Hermione finished for him in a very small, very weak voice, "He was trying to go back in time to change the outcome…Oh Harry!"

Her words landed on them both like a pile of Mountain Trolls. Harry had already come to that conclusion but hearing her say it just made it all the more real.

Without another word Hermione silently slipped off the bed and glided almost ghost-like to the windows in Harry's bedroom that looked out upon the green hills that surrounded Godric's Hollow.

Streaks of lightning and rumbles of thunder could still be heard off in the distance and the rain still ran down the panes in long thin streams. In her reflection Harry could see the tears falling down the apples of her cheeks like the rain beyond.

He wanted to say something comforting but he knew it would do little good.

"What this means to me is that if you had not stopped Draco that night life would probably be very different right now. I didn't save the world Hermione…You did!"

Hermione turned and looked at him with such sadness it made his heart ache painfully.

"No Harry," she replied, choking on her misery, "I only played a part. You were the catalyst all along. You know that."

Harry knew where Hermione's thoughts were going as he slipped out of the bed himself. Waving his wand his trousers zipped silently into his grasp and he quickly stepped into them. He then carefully removed the Time Turner from the locket and placed the latter on the small table beside the bed before making his way slowly over to where she was standing looking blankly out the window.

When he came up beside her he was holding the device in the palm of his right hand.

"We can change things Hermione," he said softly, "We…ourselves can go back and change things. Knowing what we know now…"

"NO!" Hermione yelled, lurching back away from Harry like he had transformed into something hideous, eyes wild with pure terror, face streaked with tears, "No Harry! I know what you're suggesting but I also know what would happen. HE would be alive again and we would have to go through all of it again…no!"

"But we'll know what needs to be done…"

"It wouldn't work," she said, tears falling again even worse then before, her face wrinkled in utter misery, "It wouldn't change anything! I'm certain of it! Harry I have spent the last four years trying to cope with losing Ron just as you have trying to deal with losing everyone you've ever loved! Why would you want to put yourself through all that again…"

"But we wouldn't Hermione," Harry said emphatically but Hermione just raised her hand closing her eyes tightly.

"You don't know that Harry," she replied just as forcefully, "One mistake – one simple error could mean complete disaster for ALL of us next time, don't you understand and I am not about to take that kind of responsibility on myself to risk it even knowing what it costs!"

She looked up at him pleadingly.

"I love you Harry," she choked, "I know that now. Maybe I've always loved you from the day I set foot in your compartment on the train that first year, I don't know but what I do know is that I've had to go on – I've had to learn to live without Ron and I have. He knows this, wherever he is he knows and he understands. I have to believe that Harry or I'll be forced to spend the rest of my life alone but after what has happened between us tonight I've realized for the first time in four years…I no longer have to! I have you."

Her voice finally trailed off into a dreadful squeak and it made Harry's soul twist into knots. He wasn't sure how to respond. He needed to know if it was really what she wanted. It seemed to be but as he thought about his dream of Ginny he realized she was right. Even though, he wanted to giver her that choice.

"You could have him back right now Hermione?" Harry whispered.

"Is that what you want Harry," she replied, barely able to speak, "Do you want Ginny back?"

Harry thought about her question for a very long moment and when he heard Hermione sob once again he looked back up at her – tears now falling from his own eyes.

"As much as it hurts me to admit this," he tried to collect himself but failed. He glanced back up at her, "I'm absolutely certain I have everything I need and want standing right in front of me but at the moment that's the only thing I am certain of."

With a heaving sob Hermione reached out and snatched the Time Turner from Harry's hand. Without a single moments hesitation she threw it to the floor of his bedroom and they both watched as the little delicate device that could have changed both their lives by reliving the past shattered into a million unrecognizable pieces…

Mischief Managed…