Disclaimer: I do not own
December 30th 1999
The wind gently tugged on Hermione curls as she leant against the oak tree, hands buried in the secret pockets of her black dress, her heels very slowly sinking into the mud as her brown eyes fastened on something in the distance – a messy haired boy, with bright green eyes and a lightning bolt shaped scar was sat, hunched over on the ground, his hands curled into fists beside him. Harry Potter had just buried another friend, and they were really taking there toll on the 'Boy who lived'.
Hermione shook her head and walked tentatively foreword, her hand reached out in a calming manner before her as she approached the boy…Well no, Harry was nearly twenty years old – he was a man now.
"Harry?" She asked hesitantly, placing her hand soothingly on his shoulder. He tensed up, his muscles going rigid, but he didn't pull away and for that, she was thankful. "Harry, are you ready to go?" The two of them had been there in the graveyard for over five hours and Harry had just been sitting there, at Dean Thomas' headstone and Hermione was leaning against the tree.
"Go?" He asked hoarsely, his voice sounded grated and hoarse and Hermione saw that his eyes were glistening with tears. "Go where?"
Hermione closed her eyes, feeling her best friend's pain and she bent at the waist, pressing her lips to the top of his head instinctively. "Home, Harry." She whispered, her eyes darting involuntarily to a headstone a few feet away, and the names engraved into the marble haunted her nightmares.
"Home?" He asked, blankly, not moving from his position on the cold, hard ground. "I don't have a home." His eyes, too, trailed the familiar path to the Headstone and he whimpered slightly in his throat – Hermione hated hearing her best friend in so much pain and she crouched beside him, hooking her arms around his shoulders and pulling him closer. He sniffed violently and tucked his head in the crook of her neck, but he did not cry. Harry Potter hadn't cried since October 31st 1998. The day that Ginny Weasley was slaughtered.
"I don't think I know how to live, anymore Hermione." He whispered into her skin, his hold around her waist almost painful as he huddled closer, seeking comfort like he had done so many times before, but she could tell in the way his hand rubbed her back slightly that he was also offering comfort.
Harry hadn't been the only one who had lost a love on that day.
With a shaky sigh, they both stood up as one, clutching to the other tightly to regain their balance and they apparated out, Hermione feeling constricted, as if someone had placed a tight rubber band around her ribs and her vision flashed before her and Harry hit solid ground and her lungs expanded painfully. They appeared at Shell Cottage and Hermione smiled at the derelict building and together, she and Harry slowly made their way up the path overgrown with weeds to the house.
Harry looked at Hermione thoughtfully, but Hermione knew that he wasn't thinking of her, she just happened to be there. "I'll see you later, Hermione." He said quietly and disappeared up the rickety stairs to his room. Hermione sighed as she watched him go quietly and sighed heavily, moving her tired body through to the front room where she wasn't surprised at all to see Albus Dumbledore, Remus Lupin and Severus Snape huddled around the old dusty coffee table, whispering to each other in harsh tones.
"It isn't fair on her – despite her age she's just a child." Remus whispered, a frown on his old face as he stared down Severus, who looked unfazed by the potential threat that the werewolf possessed.
"Of course it isn't fair, but it has to be done. She is the only logical choice and Potter could use the stability –"
"She offers him the stability!" Remus said angrily, slamming his fist down on the coffee table and Hermione wondered how neither of them had noticed her presence yet, seeing as how she wasn't particularly hiding.
"Since birth? Come on, Remus, you know the answer and this is it. Besides, she might not be against it." Severus said calmly.
Dumbledore chuckled and his fingertips touched lightly in front of him as he leaned back slightly in his chair. "Why not ask her yourself." He said softly and cocked his head to the side. Instantly two sets of eyes jumped to her, one set a golden brown and the other a deep black.
Hermione felt a slight twinge of nervousness, that was of course absolutely ridiculous and she shook if off mentally, stepping further into the room. "What do you want me to do?"
"It's not what we want you to do, Miss Granger." Severus Snape said, standing swiftly, his black robes billowing slightly. Despite the fact that Hermione was almost twenty-one, Severus still spoke to her as if she were a student. "It's what we need you to do."
Hermione's deep brown eyes flickered from Severus to Remus and Dumbledore before gathering the famous Gryffindor courage.
"And what would that be?" She asked, slightly hesitantly – she had no idea what they were going to ask of her and, even more so, she was unsure that she could even do it.
Dumbledore stood and walked towards her, his bright yellow robes billowing around his ankles as he crossed the room and he placed his hand delicately on her shoulder, offering reassurance. "We need you to go back in time, to the year 1980 to save Sirius Black."
Hermione blinked at them vacantly, wondering if she'd heard them correctly. "I'm sorry, what?"
"This buffoon thinks that you are the key." Remus said from where he was still sat on the couch, his hands locked together with his elbows resting on his knees.
"The key to what?" She asked wearily, her brain working a hundred miles an hour.
"To saving Harry." The words that Severus said seemed to flick a switch in her brain and her thoughts instantly jumped to her best friend – he was dying inside and there was nothing she could do to save him.
"But how does saving Sirius help him?" Hermione asked, deciding that she wasn't going to agree to this plan at all until all the details fit into place. "If I'm going back in time, can't I save James and Lily instead?"
Dumbledore sighed and squeezed her shoulder, "unfortunately not – we can change certain situations, but not major ones. Hermione, if you save James and Lily then Harry won't be the chosen one anymore and Voldemort will have raised havoc all those years ago."
"But he's doing that now. If we stop Harry being the chosen one, then he'll be saved." Hermione said, her mind working to come up with a plan.
"From what? A scar? If Voldemort isn't stopped by Harry, then he could have died many years ago, along with hundreds of people who are still alive today." Severus said regrettably, his eyes downcast. "We have to sacrifice the few to save the hundreds and I know that isn't fair, Miss Granger, but it must be done."
Hermione sighed, feeling as if her hopes had just been dashed. "I still don't see the benefit of saving Sirius." She said, rubbing at her eyes tiredly.
"Sirius is Harry's Godfather. If you stop Sirius from going after Peter, then Harry will automatically be given to him – nobody can change that." Dumbledore explained, "then he'll always be there. A constant. Something that Harry needs while growing up, that he never had."
"How exactly am I supposed to stop Sirius?" Hermione asked, "I've seen him angry and it isn't a pretty sight." She said and Severus shook his head, his greasy hair falling into his face.
"You have to get to know him – let him know you." Remus said tiredly, dropping his forehead to rest in his hand. Her brown eyes widened as she knew what was coming next. "You have to let him fall in love with you."
"How on Earth will that help?" Hermione asked, shocked. Sirius was twenty years older then her, and to be honest, her heart was still beating for her past love.
Severus cleared his throat awkwardly, "you see, if he has something to stay for, then he won't try and go after Pettigrew."
"But he did! He had Harry!" Hermione said the prospect of falling in love with Sirius was daunting to her.
"Did he?" Severus asked, "his best friend has just been brutally killed – Sirius knew that someone else would look after Harry if he failed."
"How do you know the same thing won't happen?" Hermione asked, her eyebrows coming together to form a 'v', her confusion evident.
"We don't." Dumbledore said honestly, "but it's worth a chance."
"You don't have to do this, Hermione." Dumbledore reminded her, "you can say no."
A big part of her was so desperate to say no, to go upstairs to her room and pretend that nothing had happened and that she could carry on, mourning her fallen friends and family and carry on defeating Voldemort.
But there was a part of her that kept whispering that it was for Harry, that it would all work out and that she should do anything in her power to help her friend.
"How would I get there?"
"Well, with this." Severus pulled out a small-hand held mirror up for Hermione to see that it was covered up with a black cover. "If you look into this and think of when you most would like to be, it will take you there."
"Sort of like a port-key, miniature version of the Mirror of Erised." Remus told her.
"While it bring me back as well?" Hermione asked.
The three wizards exchange glances amongst each other, their eyes meeting briefly before dancing away. "Miss Granger," Severus started, putting the mirror back into his cloak, "you can never come back."
Hermione wandered the path that her and Harry had been a few hours ago, coming to a stop at the marble headstone that stood majestically in the graveyard and Hermione briefly wondered why it hadn't been torn down by the unfeeling Death Eaters.
She kneeled before it, her hands folded delicately in her lap as she read the first name – Arthur Weasley. She sighed in sadness as she remembered the tall, muggle-loving wizard and her eyes scanned the next name – Bill Weasley. Hermione hadn't been there for the attack on what she considered to be her home, but when she found out a part of her had gone mad with grief. Fred Weasley. Only one of the twins died in the attack last year and the other hadn't come out of his room in Shell Cottage since, locking himself away and becoming isolated from the World. The final name engraved on the stone was Ginny Weasley and Hermione felt the prickles of tears burning her eyes fall over and splash gently onto her cheeks as she lowered her eyelashes, her mind churning with what was to come.
"It hurts you know." Hermione whipped around startled to see Harry and it didn't escape her notice that they were in a role reversion from that morning – Hermione weeping at a grave, Harry leaning against a tree.
"Of course I do." She said sadly and struggled to her feet.
Harry studied her for a moment and his arms crossed over his chest in an attempt to keep the warm in – or to lock Hermione out. "I knew something like this was going to happen." He said sadly, his green eyes starting to mist over, "we shouldn't have left them, Hermione."
"You think I don't know that?" Hermione said, feeling annoyance rush through her veins, "you weren't the only one who lost someone that day, Harry, so don't pretend that you are."
Harry blinked in slight shock and raised his eyebrows slightly, his glasses sliding down the bridge of his nose. "I never said I was."
Hermione sighed and shook her head, clambering to her feet as she wiped her cheeks – her thoughts jumped instantly to everyone she had lost and she had to close her eyes in pain as she thought of him. "I know." She whispered.
Harry breathed out harshly through his nose and slid down the tree, ignoring the scratches against his back. "I don't think I can do this anymore, Hermione. I'm loosing everyone and before I know it, I'll loose you to."
"Harry-" She tried to console him, tell him that she wasn't going anywhere, but he cut her off, saving her from uttering the lie.
"You're a Muggle-Born, Hermione. You're so lucky to have made it this far." He wasn't being cruel, he was just telling her how it was. There was a time when he wouldn't have dared by so brash about something, but as the war loomed over them and they took on responsibilities that they were to young for, they learned to tell the truth and to not take it to be horrible. "I can't loose you to. But I will." Harry shook his head and closed his eyes. Hermione sat next to him and leaned against his side, resting her head on his shoulder.
"Yes." She whispered as the wind blew through the overhanging branches above her. "You will."
"I know where your going, Hermione. I've heard them talk about it before." Harry whispered, laying his cheek on top of her head.
"I don't know if I'm going yet." Hermione said, twisting the sapphire ring on her finger.
Harry sighed again, his breath ruffling to tops of her caramel coloured curls. "I know you'll go. And I know that you can't save my parents." His voice broke slightly at the end. "But they're right. Sirius might not be my dad, but he's the next best thing. I need him, Hermione. And you'll still be around, I know that. Granted, you'll be twenty years older, but you'll still be there, and I won't loose you."
"Sirius might not look twice at me." Hermione said sadly, her inner fear of failure that had once been her Boggart whispered that she wouldn't succeed on this mission.
Harry shrugged, his shoulders making her head rise slightly, "so try again the next day."
She slept on it that night, tossing and turning as she stared into the dark space before her, Luna snoozing peacefully in the bed to her left and Lavender Brown in the bed to her right. Despite the con's and pro's list that she was building in her mind, she knew that she was going to go back; If she succeeds, it could make this time so much better and they could find a way to defeat Voldemort sooner. Especially with her knowledge, she could stop Voldemort coming back in 1995.
Deciding that she definitely wouldn't be able to sleep, she rose from her bed and padded across the quiet room to the door, slipping out and closing it behind her, the soft click echoing around the corridor. She made her way to the room a few doors down and went in, trying not to disturb the figure on the bed.
"Hey Ron," she whispered, lowering herself in the chair beside him, "long time no see, huh?" her hand reached out and her fingers lightly touched his over the blanket as the little ball of light hovering over the head of the bed flashed a deep green. "I really am sorry I don't see you that often, it just…It's hard." She whispered, tracing patterns on his arm as she stared at him, her mind whirling. "I miss you. I mean, I know you're here, but you're not." She stopped talking and just looked at him – took in his red hair and eyelashes that rested gently on freckled cheeks, blocking her view of his cobalt blue eyes that she had always been able to read so well. "I'll miss you, Ron." She whispered, standing from her chair and bending slightly at her waist, running her hand through his hair as she pressed her lips to his forehead, almost desperately.
She straightened up and ignored the tears that were falling for the second time that day and twisted the ring around her finger.
"I know you can't hear me, Ronald, but I love you. I love you so much it's painful. But I have to go now. Maybe if I do this – I can save you." She said sadly, backing away from the man who hadn't seen her for nearly a year. "I'll never forget you." And with a whirl of her nightdress she was gone and she wasn't looking back, despite how much she longed to.
Hermione spent most of the next day with Remus and he told her about where she could live – there was an apartment free opposite Remus in 1980 that she could rent, there was a job in Flourish and Blotts that she could apply for and there was always a vault open at Gringotts. When she asked how exactly he knew about the job, he flushed slightly and mumbled incoherently, making Hermione wonder about Remus' past life which she hadn't put much thought to before.
"When am I going?" Hermione asked as she watched Minerva McGonagall fold away clothes that she would be wearing in the 80's.
"At the Millennium," Severus told her, his inky black eyes tracking Minerva's movements. "The magic once the century changes will be at its absolute strongest – nothing can go wrong." Hermione nodded, feeling nervous at the prospect of starting a whole new life in a totally different time when she didn't really know anyone.
"And the travel will be safe?" Harry asked from beside her.
"Like a time-turner." Severus assured him and left the room in a whirl of black robes.
There was a silence that fell on the three remaining people in the room, broken only by the shuffling of Minerva folding clothes and moving about. "It's Voldemort's birthday today." Harry said monotonously. Hermione nodded absently and looked up at her friend – she was almost taken aback by the look of pure hate and anger in his bright green eyes, "I don't want him to see another year."
Before Hermione knew what was happening there was thirty minutes to midnight and she, Severus, Albus and Remus were walking briskly through the deserted streets of London – Ever since Voldemort rose to total power in 1998, it was a bad idea for a muggle-born to leave their home – if they even had one. But this had to be done. Ideally, she would have preferred that Harry was by her side, but Harry had as much inequality as her, if not worse, as he was undesirable no. 1.
"I hate not being able to apparate directly there." Remus said angrily, his skin a pasty white colour as they neared the full moon.
"I agree." Professor Dumbledore hummed, adjusting his hat on top of his head to sit at a jaunty angle. "But it is best if we just leave it as it is." Dumbledore warned, "Hermione will most certainly change it."
Hermione felt a pang of unease – what if she failed?
The four fled quickly, ducking into doorways when Death Eaters walked past, on high alert as they made their way to Diagon Alley.
"Is there a reason that we're going there?" Hermione asked as they emerged from a small gap between two shops.
"Yes." Remus whispered, "me, James, Sirius and Peter are down there in a pub called 'Triwands."' He told her and Hermione raised her eyebrows.
"Yep. You know it now as Scribbulus Everchanging Inks. It's where Madame Rosmerta started out her career before she owned the Three Broomsticks." He told her. On the other side of Hermione, Severus huffed and rolled his eyes in annoyance – Hermione was kind of glad that they were close to Diagon Alley.
They continued their journey in silence and Hermione breathed a sigh of relief when Hermione caught sight of the rickety sign symbolising the Leakey Cauldron.
"Well, here we are." Professor Dumbledore said casually, pushing open the door gently and walking in as if he owned the place, which was an incredibly bad idea.
From inside the pub, shouting and swearing was heard and the window that Hermione was stood next to illuminated with a bright red light.
Hermione reached for her wand, but before she could grasp the handle, something tapped the top of her head hard and it felt as if someone had cracked an egg on her head and the liquid was running down her neck.
"Take this and go through to the alley!" Severus said, pushing the small, hand-held mirror in her hands. Hermione watched as it to, went invisible, disappearing from her view – the extended DISSALLUSMENT charm that Dumbledore had invented a few years ago really worked. "You have to go, now!" He urged, pushing her into the pub and the first thing that Hermione saw was a jet of green light heading towards her.
She reacted instinctively, dropping to the floor and covering her head, hoping and praying that the curse didn't hit Severus or Remus and she tentatively looked up – thankfully, the curse had sailed over their heads and hit the wall behind them, a charred black hole smoking slightly.
Feeling the fear and anxiety that she always did when in battle and she had to stop herself from reaching for her wand, but knew that she couldn't draw attention to herself.
It all suddenly made sense to her, why Dumbledore had casually strolled into the pub and why Hermione was now invisible – they were the distraction. Her suspicions were confirmed when the back door slammed open and a current of Death Eaters ran in, their hoods up, masks on and wands held in front of them.
She knew that she should clamber to her feet and run past them now while she still could, but something inside her was telling her to fight, fight to protect her friends, who were now strictly speaking, a part of her family. But then that would be a waste, they were here to protect her, not the other way around.
She made sure that she had a tight hold on the mirror and rolled to her feet, glancing over her shoulder once to see that all of her friends were still up and fighting, and she ran to the door.
The guilt that she felt for leaving her friends was strong, but it wasn't strong enough for her to turn around – she knew that in them escorting her that they had surely claimed death and it was now her job to fix it, to go back and change it all. The fact that Dumbledore had so much faith and trust in her was scary and thrilling at the same time, but Hermione didn't have time to linger.
She reached the wall to get to Diagon Alley and she knew that this was it – if she grabbed her wand, tapped on the bricks and forced them to open that she would let the Death Eaters know that she was here, so she had to work quickly.
She pulled her wand swiftly from the sleeve of her robes and tapped it on the wall quickly in the right pattern and stepped back and to the side – the bricks suddenly shifted and moved, the noise was instantaneous, deep and rumbling and did what Hermione knew it would do.
A jet of purple light flew towards her and sliced through her skin and she cried out in surprise, almost dropping the mirror to grab at the deep cut, but she knew that she couldn't. She slipped through the slightly open door and ran down the street to Scribbulus Everchanging Inks and whipped around the side alley – she could hear the Death Eater's pounding feet and she could hear Severus and Remus shouting and she tried so hard to not go back, to help them.
Taking a deep breath, feeling her heart race she held up the mirror and looked into it, ignoring her own reflection (the mirror saw everything, whether invisible or not) as she concentrated so hard on the date in her mind – 31st December 1979 11:59pm – one minute to midnight. She concentrated and concentrated, trying not to get distracted by the noise and her desperate thoughts, her brain pulling her in one direction while her heart told her to remain rooted to the floor.
31st December 1979…
31st December 1979…
31st December 1979…
She stared in slight disbelief as the background behind her, which was reflecting the street was shifting and changing from a battle like scene to people cheering and dancing, the dark, ruined shops were slowly rebuilding themselves and they sky, which had a dark grey cloud hovering above England due to the amount of Dark Magic that was being used was slowly clearing up, as if being blown away by a strong gust of wind and Hermione gazed at the twinkling stars.
Suddenly, a loud bang omitted through the air and Hermione jumped a foot in the air as a bright burst of colours lit up the sky and cheering sounded, as if the volume had been turned up. She whipped around in time to see another firework fly across the clear sky and she gasped in astonishment.
No derelict buildings, no fear hiding behind every person, no more pain or torment. Hermione frowned, trying to place the last time that she had seen so many people in one place looking…Happy.
Hermione hadn't expected that at all, the threat of Voldemort must have still existed in this time, but it seemed that people didn't take his power so seriously. The firework display drew her eyes back to the exploding colours and she took a moment, just a tiny moment to admire them before the mirror in her hand, the handle strong and steady, started to seep away, like sand trickling through her fingers. She watched sadly as the only way back home vanished and she sighed sadly.
She breathed in deep and closed her eyes for a moment, trying to remember everything that Remus had told her – that Sirius would be easily approachable because he wasn't drunk – he had had to work in the morning. She squared her shoulders and, with a quick glance down at herself to see that she was visible, she headed to the door of the Triwand – after all, she had a mission.
A/N: I'm back! Yes, I know that I promised a sequel for Weight of the World and it's on its way, but I just wanted to write something different, with a different plot and different characters and a different reason – so, here's Playing God. It is in no way tied to Weight of the World and is completely independent from it, but it IS a Hermione/Sirius story (Because I completely love them)!