The second the emerald beam of light from Voldemort's gnarled wand overpowered Harry's red one and hit him square in the chest, Hermione knew what she had to do. Biting back a heartbroken sob, she made her way through battered bodies and debris scattered around the courtyard and headed towards the castle. Hermione wouldn't allow herself to feel anything until she reached her destination. She had never been a strong Christian, especially after she received her Hogwarts acceptance letter, but at that moment she prayed that her mission would go through smoothly.
It had to.
Hermione avoided the surge of terrified Death Eater-directed people with a hastily performed Disillusionment Charm. Breathing a sigh of relief at the empty hallways, she started on the staircase. Hermione had never really noticed how far Dumbledore's (or, rather, Snape's) seventh-floor office was from the courtyard and the Great Hall, already having worked up a sweat on the fifth staircase. She was panting like a dog by the time Hermione found herself standing in front of the gargoyle statue.
"Dumbledore," She breathed, thankful for her earlier planning when the gargoyle leapt aside and revealed a spiral stone staircase. It would have been near-impossible for Hermione to enter the Headmaster's office without her spying. She made her way heavy-limbed up the eighth and final staircase.
Hermione looked around, fascinated by the strange, whirring objects sitting on spindly-legged tables. It seemed that Snape had left Dumbledore's possessions untouched.
She smiled sadly at the memory of the dead headmaster. Harry had filled Ron and her in on what he had seen in the Pensieve, and the realization that their former Potions professor wasn't so evil after all had provoked a twinge of guilt. Hermione was ashamed at her former self's awful attitude towards Snape, especially after he had killed the then-Headmaster at Dumbledore's own instruction. Hermione sighed. Dumbledore. The last time she'd been in the dead Headmaster's office was with him, discussing what she was required to do if (she gulped) Voldemort killed Harry.
"Homenum Revelio!" The sound of voices nearby shook Hermione out of her reverie, and made her heart skip a beat. "Rookwood, someone's up there!" Rookwood? She had to get out of there at once. Adrenalin pumping in her veins, Hermione tapped her wand on the marked cobblestone Dumbledore had hidden the object under.
"What's the bloody password, then?" Said Antonin Dolohov's voice. Hermione was scared bonkers. Forgetting she was a witch, she yanked the cobblestone and, more gingerly, fished out the pendant out of the hole. "Fuck if I know! Snape never told us if he kept Dumbledore's, the tosser." Hermione cursed under her breath, listening to the scrape of stone on stone. The two Death Eaters had said the password unknowingly, and would be in there any second!
Fumbling with the clasp of the necklace, Hermione fastened it around her neck and took the pendant in her hand. Hermione closed her eyes and took the pendant in her hands.
Light flashed before her eyes as if her body was moving. Figures moved around, the temperature changed. People cried and talked quietly and sent jets of light around her. Finally, the flashes stilled and she took in her surroundings.
The last thing she saw before passing out was Dumbledore's blue eyes widening in surprise as she collapsed on the cold cobblestone floors.
Six hours later, Hermione woke in the Hospital Wing, the matron performing healing spells on the small cuts all over her body.
Looking up, she studied the new smooth-faced, brown-haired Madame Pomfrey. In her time, the nurse couldn't have been younger than fifty, but in 1977 she had to be in her late thirties. The younger version of the woman was quite beautiful, she decided, as Madame Pomfrey began healing the large, profusely bleeding cut on her stomach.
"Hello, Poppy." Albus Dumbledore strode in wearing shimmering blue robes, an all-knowing smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. "May I speak to your patient privately, please?" Madame Pomfrey placed several phials of brightly colored liquids on Hermione's bedside table. "Of course, Albus! Please make sure she takes these," The matron gestured towards the potions. "There is a Strengthening Solution, a Blood-Replenishing Potion, and Draught of Peace." She told the Headmaster and shuffled out of the room.
Hermione sat up in her cot. "Hullo, Professor Dumbledore." She greeted him. The professor smiled. "Greetings to you as well, Miss..."
"Granger. I'm Hermione Granger." Hermione told him. He nodded. "I presume, in as much as you know my name, that you know where you are." Professor Dumbledore surmised. "The Hospital Wing," She assured him. "In Hogwarts." Hermione added after, for extra measure. Dumbledore chuckled. "And the date?" "Today is September 1st, 1977." Hermione took a deep breath. "Professor Dumbledore, I'm from the future." She blurted.
To Hermione's surprise, Professor Dumbledore remained unperturbed by the news. "I guessed that you were not from this time," He stated. Of course. "But now, Miss Granger, could you inform me of how you came to be here?" Professor Dumbledore wondered. Hermione closed her eyes. A few seconds later, when she opened them, the Headmaster was waiting expectantly for her to begin.
"Well, Professor, exactly twenty years in the future, you gave me this pendant (Hermione pulled the necklace out of her collar), in hopes that if Voldemort should… take over wizarding England, I could go back twenty years in time and stop Voldemort from rising." Hermione confessed, much to Dumbledores disturbance.
"Miss Granger, are you saying that in your time Tom Riddle has conquered wizarding England?" Hermione nodded. "I've got to stop it from happening again. I promised you." She declared softly. She noticed a hardness in Dumbledore's eyes that she had never seen before. "This is a very serious matter, Miss Granger. Could you accompany me to my office so we can discuss it?"
"Of course." Hermione agreed, drank the potions Madame Pomfrey had left for her, and stood up. After waiting for her to lecture Hermione and Dumbledore, the two left Madam Pomfrey's Hospital Wing and Flooed to the Headmaster's office.
Hermione could tell that Dumbledore was astounded by Hermione's recap of the past twenty years (The future! Hermione silently reminded herself."). The Headmaster shook his head. "So many young lives destroyed." He realized solemnly. Hermione murmured in agreement. "I believe a good idea would be to write a list of things you ought to change, Miss Granger." Dumbledore said determinedly, and checked his wizard wristwatch. "The feast begins in fifteen minutes. You may leave for your sorting, but there are two more things I must address."
Hermione looked up, meeting his eyes. "What is it, professor?" Dumbledore gave a small smile at her eagerness. "The first is the matter of your origins." The old man told her. Hermione worried her lip in thought. "Could I say that I was, er, home-schooled or something?" Dumbledore nodded. "Good choice. Then, of course there is the matter of your name."
Hello, my name is Hermia Ranger, Hermione practiced, standing outside the doors of the Great Hall and contemplating the meeting with Dumbledore. She didn't like her new name much, but she supposed it would do. The kind old man had escorted her back to Madam Pomfrey's for a hair-washing charm and a Pain-killing potion. He had also supplied her with a trunk containing quills, parchment, ink, and a bag to carry them to class. He had not, unfortunately, given her books, telling her to borrow them from the library instead-but Hermione couldn't complain.
Her heart hammering in her chest, she realized she had been standing in the corridor by the Great Hall for far too long. The first year's sorting was seconds away from finishing! Hermione stepped inside cautiously and caught Dumbledore's eye. He smiled and cleared his throat.
"Students, settle down please," The Professor's voice silenced the entire Great Hall. "There is one more student to be sorted. Miss Hermia Ranger, if you will take a seat." Dumbledore said, motioning towards the three-footed stool where Professor McGonnagal stood with the Sorting Hat. Fighting the blush creeping up her neck desperately at the realization the entire school was looking at her, Hermione scurried towards the Professor and sat down. The hat was quickly placed upon her head.
"Ah, a time-traveler, aren't you? Very brave...smart, compassionate, and ambitious, too. Which one shall it be?" The sorting hat mused "Let's see now, I think I'll put you in..."
She resisted the reflex to cover her ears at the deafening applause and cat calls the Gryffindors offered. Walking down the steps, she saw a group of people waving at her to come sit next to them. With a pang, she realized the girl who was waving at her had vibrant ginger hair. Could it be...?
"Hello, I'm Lily Evans! As the Head Girl, I would like to welcome you to Gryffindor." She confirmed Hermione's unspoken question with a brilliant smile.
"Come sit with us!" Lily insisted, grabbing Hermione's hand and pulling her towards the group. Oh, no... She thought, realizing Lily was making her sit with the Marauders. Hermione gulped. Faking a smile, she seated herself beside Lily and a blonde-haired girl to her right. James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew were sitting opposite the three girls. Hermione shivered at the sight of the future traitor.
"Hello, Lovely Lily. Care to introduce us to your fine new friend in Gryffindor?" Flirted a messy haired boy (Merlin, it's James Potter! she saw.) Hermione tried not to roll her eyes at his self-important air, but Lily, did not offer the same courtesy.
"You would have to excuse our very lovely Head Girl, Miss Ranger, no manners at all," James said trying to keep a straight face as Lily glowered at him "However, I would also like to welcome you to Hogwarts. My name is James Potter, otherwise known as the Head Boy, and Lily's knight in shining armor." The messy-haired boy finished, making eyes at a livid Lily.
"Egoistical prat." She muttered.
"You wound me, Evans" James said, resting his hands over his heart melodramatically. "Go out with me and I promise I won't be a prat ever again." He added with a hopeful smile.
"Keep dreaming, Potter." Lily scoffed, the tiniest flush warming her cheeks.
"Er, thank you, James. I'm Hermia. I just transferred here." Hermione offered lamely, trying to change to subject. Lily smiled at her gratefully. "Cool. Are you in seventh year as well?" A thin, gangly boy with amber eyes and copper hair asked her. Remus Lupin, she realized. She smiled at him and nodded, not finding the words in her head to say to her dead professor. He's not dead yet, though. Hermione told herself. "I'm Remus," He said, stretching his arm across the table to shake her hand.
"Peter Pettigrew." A plump, blonde boy introduced himself, bashfully shaking her hand as well. "It's lovely to meet you all," She smiled. Remus and Peter went pink while James ruffled his hair smugly. Hermione couldn't help but notice how much he really did look like his son.
"Hey, what about me?" Said a tall, grey-eyed boy in the back. "Sirius Black, m'lady." Hermione laughed and gave her hand for him to shake. "Nice to meet you," She said, before he took her hand in his hers... and kissed it. "The pleasure is all mine," Sirius drawled. Hermione wouldn't allow herself to blush. This was Harry's dead godfather she was talking about!
"Well, Mr. Black, you are quite the charmer, aren't you?" Hermione retorted sarcastically. Secretly, she was quite proud to have thought of an acceptable comeback. It wasn't normally Hermione's style, instead opting for a lecture on immaturity.
"Wouldn't have it any other way, m'lady." Sirius said with a wink. Hermione rolled her eyes. "I'm honored to be bestowed with such chivalry, Mr. Black, but you've got something in your hair." She lied. Just as she'd predicted, Sirius broke out in a fit of hysteria, trying to find the imaginary hair-tainting object. The entire group split their sides laughing, causing the other houses (except for most of Slytherin) to turn around, intrigued.
"Hermia," Remus began, chuckling, "I think we're going to be very good friends."