AN: Hi guys! I know I haven't been on fanfic in for like forever, but I've really been wanting to write a TRHG fic and have been toying with this idea for some time. Thanks for reading.
Her mission began at midnight.
OK, mission sounds overdramatic. Maybe "task" fits the description better? After all, Hermione wasn't James Bond. She was just a witch at Hogwarts who had been assigned a very difficult and possibly dangerous homework assignment. Right.
She checked her watch. 11:58.
She didn't know why she had to wait until midnight, only that Dumbledore told her to do so two years ago, the night after the DA went to the Ministry to save Sirius. Sirius, who was dead now. Harry had been possessed by Voldemort that night. That was when things were set in motion for Hermione, for the whole Wizard World. When Dumbledore gave her the task.
She wondered if he counted on being dead by the time she set out to complete it. On everyone being dead.
Her heart beat a little faster and she straightened her new outfit out to give her shaky hands something to do. It was the Hogwarts uniform – not the present version, but the '40s style that was meant to help her blend in. In the Hogwarts of 1943. More than fifty years ago.
She really hoped she didn't mess this up.
Midnight. She picked up the Time Turner Dumbledore had placed back in her possession and tried to forget all the terrible things she'd seen, the things she'd done and people she had sacrificed. Ron in the Chamber of Secrets retrieving the Basilisk fangs. Harry, who was now making his way out of Hogwarts to meet Voldemort for the last time and unaware that she was not fighting with the others, but in the library readying for a quick exit. She had to hide it all deep inside her, away from any prying eyes or practiced Leglimens – or else she'd fail.
Eyes clenched shut, she twisted the Time Turner once, then twice, then again and again. The muffled sounds of battle and careening spells faded away, replaced by footsteps and soft chattering and the thunk of a book being replaced on a shelf. Suddenly, the Turner stopped twisting and it was quiet except for her own breathing. Was she here?
Hermione opened her eyes. She was still in the same library, but the lights were on and not blasted out by a misled diffindo. Outside of her aisle, she could see people milling around and sitting at tables and talking. An old witch with wiry gray hair and huge glasses was checking out someone's books.
She'd done it!
Her victory was short, however, as she had to find the Headmaster of this time straight away. Headmaster Dippet, she recalled from her extensive research. Until she met him no one else could see her, not even Dumbledore – yet.
She took out her seemingly small handbag and whipped out Harry's Invisibility Cloak, which she'd nicked from him when he wasn't looking. He wouldn't need it anyway, seeing as he hadn't been born yet. Unseen, Hermione left the library, slipping out the double doors when a fourth year came in and taking one of Fred and George's shortcuts to the Headmaster's Office. Can't be too careful, she thought.
Once the gargoyles guarding the entrance to said office loomed into sight she started to pull off the Cloak, but froze when she saw a tall dark-haired boy followed by a group of Slytherins coming down the hall. She retreated into the shadows, frowning. He was wearing the shiny Head Boy badge. But who was the Head Boy in 1943? Think, think, think!
However, the name didn't come to her until he had turned away from the pale blonde-haired boy next to him and looked right past her. Tom Riddle.
Harry's description of his enemy from the time he had seen his Horcrux in the Chamber of Secrets and looked into Slughorn's memory fit this boy perfectly, leaving Hermione no room for doubt as she stared at him. He was darkly handsome with his perfectly parted black hair, knife-sharp cheekbones, and obsidian eyes. The perfect manipulator with those archangel looks, silver tongue, and quick wit.
Hermione almost couldn't resist him. Almost.
But since she wasn't here for Tom Riddle, she forced her eyes to move away from his misleading appearance to assess the rest of the group. The boy beside him had white blonde hair and glacial blue eyes that were so easy to place she wondered how she hadn't seen it before; this of course was Abraxas Malfoy. The rest of Tom Riddle's cronies moved by her too fast for her to recognize them, although she did see a girl with rat-like features in the mix. But of course they strode right by her, where she stood they didn't see anything expect the stone wall and knight behind her. She'd have to figure out who to avoid later.
When they had disappeared she took off the Cloak and stashed it, readjusting her seamless outfit before marching up to the Headmaster's office. Dumbledore had told her the password already, so she murmured "Mr. McGregor" before the gargoyles could say a word and stepped onto the suddenly moving spiral staircase.
Before her, the office seemed much bigger and plainer without all of Dumbledore's strange trinkets and gadgets in it. However, the portraits were still there – minus two. Behind the wide mahogany desk Dumbledore usually sat at a sleepy-looking wizard was standing up and staring at her in shock and indignation. "Miss, h-how did you get in here?" he sputtered. "Students cannot enter without an appointment!"
Hermione smiled at him, just the way she practiced it. Here we go.
"Hello Headmaster Dippet," she said, moving forward to shake his hand. As soon as she touched him his expression went slack, his eyes wide and glassy. "Sit down." He did. "I believe you received and approved my application to Hogwarts about a month ago. I'm Hermione Granger, the transfer student from Beauxbatons. I was supposed to get here earlier, but only just arrived due to a complication with timing. I also lost my schedule. Could I have a new copy? I'll be taking advanced Potions, Herbology, Transfiguration, Arithmancy, Magical Theory, and Ancient Runes."
"Defense against the Dark Arts is required, Miss Granger," Headmaster Dippet mumbled dazedly.
She kept her smile firmly in place, although it may have faltered slightly at the corners. "That's fine. I don't like Magical Theory much anyway." She squeezed his withered hand one more time – just in case – before pulling away. Dippet's expression cleared, like a break in the clouds.
"I like Muggle fairytales, too, Headmaster. Ils sont enchantés," she added, as if she hadn't just tinkered with the head of Hogwarts' brain.
"You do?" he said delightedly and placed his elbows on his desk, regarding her thoughtfully over his steepled fingers. "I usually keep my appreciation for Muggle fairy lore a secret, you know. I can't have something like that floating around when Grindelwald is on the rise." It was a serious statement, but he said it with a little smile. "Maybe I'll change the password to Kensington Gardens next time, eh?"
His smile became more pronounced. "Well, I just know you'll be an excellent addition to Hogwarts, Miss Granger." He waved his wand and a paper appeared out of thin air, gently floating toward her. She grabbed it and glanced over the contents. Her schedule. "There you are, my dear. I assume you have your supplies also?"
"Yes, sir. Everything."
Just then the sound of grinding stone and footsteps issued from behind them. Dippet's eyes looked past her and his white eyebrows rose in surprise. "Hello Albus. How may I help you?"
Hermione stiffened. She hadn't counted on meeting Dumbledore until – she checked her schedule – her third class tomorrow! What was she going to do now?
Behind her, the Dumbledore of 1943 was cheerily saying "…you have a teacher's conference in the third wing in five seconds or so. I was just stopping by to remind you, Headmaster."
Dippet looked even more surprised and got to his feet surprisingly fast for a 78-year old man. "Oh dear, I completely forgot! My brain goes as I get older, unfortunately…" He scrambled around the desk, shaking Hermione's hand hastily as he rushed past her. "Ah, Albus, would you mind sorting Miss Granger here into a house? I was going to do it, but it seems I – ah – am previously engaged!"
Pasting her smile back in place, Hermione turned around to face Dumbledore. She tried not to look as shocked as she felt by his auburn hair and trimmed beard. Dumbledore was a redhead?
He regarded her with a smile as well, his blue eyes twinkling. "I would not mind at all, Headmaster," he said. His brow furrowed slightly. "But I am afraid I wasn't aware we were expecting a new student?"
"It must have slipped my mind," Headmaster Dippet said absently, searching for his wand in the confusing folds of his black robes. "She was supposed to arrive earlier, but there was a complication in her travels." At this he paused to smile at Hermione empathetically.
"Ah," Dumbledore said, nodding sagely. "That is a shame. I hope it was not too large an inconvenience, Miss Granger?"
"Not at all, Professor," Hermione said smilingly. She was starting to lose all feeling in her cheeks.
"Well, I will see both of you at dinner. Good luck, Miss Granger!" Dippet nodded at Dumbledore. "Albus." And he hurried out of the room.
Hermione swallowed. "So, what's the sorting for?"
Dumbledore strode over to a shelf filled with dusty books and old trophies. On the top shelf, the Sorting Hat sat looking very much like a giant, tattered black sock. As Dumbledore retrieved it he said, "The sorting is used to assign students to different houses, such as Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. It usually occurs on the first day here at Hogwarts, but seeing as that was a few weeks ago we'll just hold a miniature ceremony for you here." He winked at her. "Ready, Miss Granger?"
She schooled her features into a shy, unsure expression. "I suppose…"
He placed the Sorting Hat – which didn't look at all like a giant sock now – on her head. The rip that was its sly mouth instantly yawned open. Words whispered inside her head.
"Hello, Miss Granger. Welcome to Hogwarts! How do you like it here so far?"
"It's nice enough, but I haven't seen much yet," she answered promptly.
"Sure you haven't," the voice chuckled. She imagined the Sorting Hat winking at her knowingly. "Let's see…which house do you belong in? Definitely not Hufflepuff. Perhaps Ravenclaw? You're definitely smart enough, but you have too much fire in your spirit to keep a cool head. So is it Gryffindor?"
"Eager, eh? Oh I don't know. You could be a real Slytherin princess given the chance, couldn't you? I saw what you did to the Headmaster. How cunning of you…"
"Not cunning, necessary," she disagreed. "I had to do it, I didn't like it."
"Still, it's a tough decision."
Ugh! This wasn't part of her plan. She was to arrive at Hogwarts unseen, meet Dippet, enroll as a student, and be sorted into Gryffindor. How hard was that? It had sorted her into Gryffindor once already!
"Oh, have I?" the Sorting Hat said with glee. "Well, I never do the same thing twice. I'm a hat after all, so repetition must be avoided at all costs lest I get bored."
Desperately, Hermione said, "Wait a second!"
"SLYTHERIN!" the Sorting Hat roared.
Dumbledore, who had been watching her closely, grinned and plucked the Hat off her head. Her hair had frizzed terribly underneath, she found when she reached up to touch it. She bit back a growl. Great, more things I have to fix later.
"Congratulations, Miss Granger," he said and tapped her shoulder with his wand twice. Her robes turned from black to green with a silver trim. She thought they looked ugly. "Professor Slughorn is your Head of House and man to go to should you have any questions or concerns, other than myself or Headmaster Dippet of course." With a flick of his wand, the Sorting Hat zoomed back into place on the shelf. "Dinner begins soon and I must admit I am getting quite hungry. Why don't we go to the Great Hall? You can get acquainted with your housemates and settle in. Perhaps I can even find a student to help you around the castle your first few days."
"Thank you, Professor," Hermione forced herself to say, still steaming from being placed in Slytherin. "I would appreciate that very much."
AN: So did you like it? Leave a review and let me know if I should continue! X)