A/N: "Chapter 74 was posted at the same time! Please be sure to read that first!" -E
oOo Epilogue oOo
The simple act of living, in and of itself, is a form of time travel.
Individual lives are spent passing through moments, living each second and minute along a set path, the earth turning and the clock ticking. There are moments where each second blurs by at an impossible pace, emotion rushing past and turning up the volume, and there are moments that stretch, slow and leisurely, as if eternity was made up by the soft sands of a warm beach.
Some people waste their time, rushing when they should stop, or standing still when they should be running. While others know the value of the journey, and yet, by now fault of their own, it's cut short, sweetly and cruelly highlighting the time that is lost. Even those who've actually traveled through time, testing the rules and stopping the clocks, can sometimes lose their bearing. While time may be open, the path clearer to see from the edges of the universe, the scale can be blinding. It's so easy to lose perspective, to concentrate on the wrong moments and ignore the important ones, the future more jumbled than ever. And yet for Hermione Granger, her travels gave her a future she could have never dreamt of.
It was the end of May, the air yellow and bright, summer just around the corner. Hermione sat at the kitchen table with a book in front of her, European Influence on the Jazz Age, her morning coffee to the side. For a long moment the stillness pressed down, and time almost seemed to stand still. But then she turned the page, the neighbor's car started, and the sound of shrieking laughter carried in from the next room, a whoop and then a burst of giggling.
Hermione looked up as Moira, just four-years-old, walked into the kitchen. Her toddler arms were wrapped awkwardly around their cat, Rusticus, who had a look of utter defeat upon his whiskered face. The fluffy tabby—who had coloring similar to Crookshanks, who'd passed away several years earlier—was dressed in a pink and purple flowered shirt, one that was originally set out for Moira to wear that day.
Hermione stood, unable to keep from laughing, and walked over to rescue the poor cat from her daughter's grasp.
"I thought I told you to get dressed!"
"But Rusty looks so pretty!"
"Yes, very pretty." Hermione removed the shirt from the cat who quickly bolted away and out of reach. "But have you packed? Harry'll be here soon."
"Can I bring my books?"
"All of them?"
"No, you can bring three," Hermione reached down and held her daughters hand, counting off her fingers. "One, two, three—that many. All right?"
But Moira was already running off, shrieking and laughing after the cat. Hermione smiled, watching her go, and then checked her wristwatch. Her stomach gave a small jolt. Merlin, was that really the time? She'd gotten up early that day, but the morning hours had rushed by her.
There was a sudden clamor from the adjoining room, followed by the sound of mumbled cursing. Hermione looked over to see Remus in the hall, bending down to pick up the broomstick he'd obviously just stumbled over. "Hey, Teddy!" He called up the stairs. "We do have a broom cupboard, you know. Any idea why it's called a broom cupboard?" But there was a pointed lack of reply, and so Remus sighed and continued down the hall into the kitchen. Upon seeing Hermione, he smiled, his entire face lighting up.
All it took was a few quick strides and he was before her. Remus drew her into his arms, and Hermione fell willingly into his embrace. He kissed her, and her heart soared. After a minute, in which Remus' glasses had fogged, he pulled away and smiled,
"Happy Anniversary, darling." He kissed her forehead. "You look lovely today—have I told you that yet?"
Hermione nodded. "You have, actually."
"This morning, in bed."
A mischievous grin pulled at his mouth, but then he frowned in mock confusion. "Did I?"
"Yes," Hermione nodded, reaching up to straighten his tie, "you were very… insistent. I wouldn't think you needed reminding"
"I always need reminding," he growled.
Temptation rose, but Hermione stepped away. "Harry should be here any time now."
"Hmm… are they all packed up?"
"Doubtful. I told Moira she can only bring three books, but she'll probably try to stuff more in her overnight bag."
"Well," Remus smiled at her, "she takes after her mother that way. How many books did you pack for our getaway."
She waved him off. "That's completely different."
Hermione handed him a cup of coffee, black with a hint of chocolate, and sat back down at the kitchen table. Remus took the seat across from her, his eyes already on that morning's Daily Prophet. For a couple minutes, the kitchen was silent aside from the turning of pages, but, again, it didn't last—it never did. There was the sound of heavy footsteps upon the stairs, and a moment later Teddy, ten-years-old, walked into the kitchen. He dropped his overnight bag on the floor and took a seat next to his father, grabbing a piece of toast leftover from breakfast.
"Are you all packed up?" Hermione asked.
"Socks, toothbrush, everything?"
"Yes. But… but do I really have to go?"
Remus looked up from his paper in surprise. "I thought you liked hanging out with your Godfather?"
"Well, sure," Teddy shrugged. His hair, which was blonde that day, shone brightly in the morning light, "but don't you think I'm getting a little old for a babysitter? You're only leaving for one night, and I am starting Hogwarts in the fall."
Hermione felt the corners of her mouth threaten to lift, but she put on her best motherly expression and nodded. "Perhaps, but I'm sure Harry and Ginny are happy to have you visit. Besides, Moira needs help from her big brother sometimes."
"I'll say," Teddy smiled. "Did she show you Rusty all dressed up?"
"You let her do that?"
"He's fine, and at least she's not trying to stuff him into her bag like last time."
While Teddy had been a quiet and easy baby, Moira was an absolute handful. Both her and Remus could already tell she was smart—her quick replies were well beyond a four-year-old—but she was naturally mischievous and far too sneaky. "Another Marauder?" Remus had suggested to Hermione's rule-abiding annoyance. But in the end neither would change a thing about their daughter, not for the entire world.
There was a sudden rushing sound from the other room, the arrival of someone at the hearth via floo, and the sound was quickly echoed by small footsteps above them and cries of "Harry! Harry! Harry!" as Moira ran down the stairs. Hermione stood and moved into the living room.
Harry was before the fire, shaking the soot from his clothes. He pulled his glasses out of his breast pocket and put them on before looking up at Hermione and smiling at her. She crossed the room, giving him a quick enthusiastic hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"Harry! How are you?"
"I'm doing alright. And you?"
"Just fine. Thanks for watching them."
"Of course. However, Gin was just saying it's been ages since we've seen you."
"I know, I know!" Hermione shook her head. "Work's been a madhouse—always is this time of year."
"Classes are going well? Still astounding all the muggles?"
One of the first things Hermione did after her fall back in time was handed in her resignation to the Department of Mysteries. And Guillaume, even though he'd always known so much about her future, was honestly surprised. "But what will you do?" He'd asked. But Hermione didn't care. With Remus at her side she could do anything, and as Hermione looked over her life and it's possibilities, her hopes and aspirations, she realized what she wanted.
Hermione was still called the brightest witch of the age, but she'd technically never taken her NEWTs. Hogwarts was out of the question, so it was up to her to study and prepare herself. It was a challenge, it'd been years since she tackled some of the subjects—but she had Remus. Studying and learning was more enjoyable than ever, and when Hermione eventually took her NEWTs, her scores broke nearly every record there was.
But she was still hungry for more, and it was Remus who suggested Cambridge. "It was your parents' University, wasn't it? I think they'd be pleased if you took some classes there." However, Remus later admitted he thought she'd take just a few courses, continuing her mathematics studies from her time in the Department of Mysteries. Nobody, Hermione included, expected that four years later she'd be practically running the department.
Hermione and Harry walked back into the kitchen, where Harry was instantly tackled at the knees by Moira. Her Hello Kitty backpack fell to the floor with a heavy thump that told Hermione that her daughter had definitely packed more than three books. However before she could confirm her suspicions she felt Remus behind her, his arms snaking around her stomach. She leaned back into him, breathing deeply that familiar warm, earthen smell as he kissed the side of her neck. Harry looked up at them, and that usual curiosity flickered behind his expression.
"You still find it odd?" She asked.
But Harry shook his head. "Not so much anymore. Happy Anniversary, by the way. How many years is this?"
"Five," Remus answered, but Hermione shook her head, glancing up at him.
"No, it's six."
Remus looked down at her, his smile growing
"I assure you it's five."
But he leaned closer, his mouth by her ear. "What year is this? Who's the Minister of Magic? Do I need to help you to the healer's desk?"
She reached around and pinched his side playfully.
There was no question about it. After their reunion, Hermione and Remus knew they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. Originally they told everyone they were just casually dating. Harry and Ginny stared at them over dinner, shocked and then excited, while Molly and Arthur were dumbfounded, not quiet certain if they were serious or not. They told Andromeda Tonks who was happy for them—a relief to Remus who didn't want to belittle the memory of his first marriage to her daughter.
However, one person that worried them both was Ron. Hermione's friendship with him was still so fragile, and Remus worked with him on a daily bases. They eventually decided that Remus should talk to Ron alone. Hermione still wasn't certain what they discussed, and while Ron kept his distance for a while after that, he did eventually grow comfortable with the idea. Five years later, was a good friend to their family.
While they tried to maintain the idea that their relationship was casual at first, their friends all commented how well they seemed to fit together and how close they were for a relationship so new. They tried to remain discreet in the public eye too, but the paper's eventually found out. Hermione had cried angrily when cruel, taunting articles were written, paired with unflattering photographs that mocked their relationship. But Remus kept his promise—he was there for her.
Instead of letting Hermione get angry and depressed, Remus stepped up and took ahold of their relationship. They'd planned on waiting at least a year before getting married, but as pictures of them showed up on almost every paper, they soon realized it made no difference either way. They'd eloped in an old wizarding church in Scotland, the vicar's wife and daughter serving as witness, the ceremony short and sweet. Hermione assumed the papers went insane with the story of their whirlwind marriage, but she didn't see. They were in Vienna when the news broke—Vienna in 1890.
Perhaps it's strange after everything they'd been through, that they would still travel this way. Hermione left the Department of Mysteries, giving up that career, however, the Time-Turner stayed with them. Why shouldn't they use it? It was a part of Remus, and while they could easy argue that they'd both jumped through time enough, it allowed them an escape.
And so, every year on their anniversary they took a trip together. In the last five years they'd gone to Ancient Egypt and China, seen performances by Shakespeare and Beethoven, and walked along the Thames in a time when there was nothing along the shores but trees and rocks. They planned everything very carefully, fueling their mutual love of history and research. This year, Hermione and Remus had planned for a week in Venice in 1923, renting a palazzo next door to Cole Porter.
Back in the kitchen, Hermione helped Moira decide which books to leave behind, while Remus grabbed Teddy's broomstick from the hall. Soon they were ready. Harry picked up Moira, she was still too little to travel by floo alone, and Hermione kissed her daughter before moving to Teddy, fixing his mussed collar and kissing him as well.
"I'm going to miss you."
He rolled his eyes. "It's only one night."
"But I'll still miss you."
They said their goodbyes, and in a roar of green flames that illuminated their living room, they were gone. For long moment, Hermione and Remus stood silently, then she sighed.
"I hope they didn't forget anything."
"If so, they'll come back," he turned to her. "Are you ready? Are we all packed?"
These questions were mostly for reassurance. As always, Hermione was meticulously prepared and organized. Teddy and Moira only needed to pack for a single night, but Hermione had to make certain her beaded handbag contained everything they'd need for a full week. They got changed, slipping into muggle attire appropriate for the time. Remus fiddled with his cufflinks, squinting to see the small buttons. Hermione happily moved forward to help him, and he stood still as she worked, watching and smiling at her.
"You have the turner?" she asked.
"Hmm? Oh, of course." Remus pulled out the delicate mechanism, which sparkled brightly in the morning light. "Anything else we're forgetting?"
Hermione shook her head in reply, but her mind still turned. Closing her eyes, she thought over it all. Assimilating into this time shouldn't be too challenging, nobody knew them then, but the rules, as always were before her again. She mustn't be seen. But then Hermione felt Remus' lips upon her forehead, and she opened her eyes. His expression was lined with such care and honest adoration that her heart swelled. She smiled.
She mustn't be seen—but he'd seen her, and then he'd never looked away.
Remus pulled the chain around both of their heads, the ocean rising, and Hermione leaned closer, wrapping her arms around his waist.
And then they were gone.
oOo End oOo
A/N: "Okay,so how do I even start this thing?
A million THANK YOUS to everyone who has been reading this story over the years, and to everyone who's just discovered it now! Tackling large projects like this—it's always for the reader and I've had some amazing followers and support over the years! Huge thanks also to everyone who helped with beta work over the years, especially the amazing, amazing, AMAZING TheRedSpool! We became friends right around the time I started this project and she's been insanely helpful as an editor in the earlier days, and as a sounding board and emotional support throughout!
Starting this five+ years ago I knew I had a fun idea worth exploring, but I honestly didn't realize what an impact C&T would have on my life. Finishing this is a huge thing for me, and it's been an absolute delight to write these wonderful characters for such an awesome community.
Going forward, I'm going to get this out of the way now—no, there isn't going to be a sequel. This has been so much fun to work on but I need to move on. I will be pursing a bunch of other writing projects, so if you are a fan of my work be sure to follow me on tumblr etc, details on my profile.
Anyway, thank you so much for taking the time to read! Cheers!" – TheBookBully