An: Hello, my readers! Some of you may have found this by looking for Harmony fanfiction, or perhaps just for Harry Potter fanfiction, and some of you may be reading this because you follow me, but I hope you enjoy it. A word of warning; this is not going to be particularly fluffy, like my other works. There will be fluff, but it'll be later on. Also, I've rated this teen for now, but there is some mature language and situations, however not graphic, merely mentioned, but much later down the line I may change the rating to mature. If any of that stuff offends you, please do not continue. Also, it is a time-travel fic, and my first one, so let me know how you like it! Enjoy!
Harry and Voldemort battled furiously, spell on spell. Sparks flashed from their wands with a hissing, popping noise, and Hermione stood, petrified, watching the fight unfold with a sort of horrified fascination, her wand hanging limply at her side.
She jumped with every spell bellowed, winced with every flash, and all the while prayed, be safe, Harry, oh, please be safe.
He should have been safe. Hadn't he survived Voldemort many times before, and the latest as soon as about an hour ago? Hadn't all the Horcruxes been destroyed? There should have been no doubt in Harry's victory, in her mind.
But there was, and rightly so, for at the same time Voldemort hissed, "Avada Kedavra!" Harry shouted, "Protego!" The green light from Voldemort's wand struck the shield, and split, one beam reflecting back on Voldemort, and one beam passing through the shield. And in front of her disbelieving eyes and silently screaming mouth, the two duelers fell, both wearing the same stunned looks….
Hermione bolted upright in her bed, gasping for air. She groped around for her wand, and, with a wave, lit the candles around the bedroom, showing a modest, clean room with some dark furniture and a large, canopied bed, in the middle of which sat ninety-four year old Hermione Granger, shivering, and not from cold. She pushed herself off of the bed, sliding her feet into her house shoes and pulling on her dressing robe from where it hung on a hook beside her bed, bringing it tight around her bony, thin, nightgown-clad body. She walked to her mirror, and studied her face in it. Seventy-six years had changed her face very much from the eighteen year old girl in her dream. Her brown hair was no longer bushy; it hung almost to her waist in limp waves and was streaked with gray. She had always been slender, but age had made her bony and bent. Her face was lined with wrinkles. Even her brown eyes were changed; they were the same color, but they now held a permanent melancholy appearance and had been that way since that fateful day, seventy-six years ago, where her best friend had died saving the Wizarding World. Indeed, her nightmare was not merely a nightmare; it was a flashback, a flashback that she could, to this day, remember every detail of, for that had been the day when everything fell apart.
And today was exactly the seventy-sixth anniversary of that day. It was known as 'Harry Potter Day', and she, as a retired ministry employee and one of the few people still alive who had really known Harry, had been asked to a banquet honoring the Boy-Who-Lived. She was not looking forward to it. She had been to all the banquets the Ministry had hosted since the tradition had been started the year after Harry's death. She did not believe they served proper tribute to Harry, and only stood as a sick, cruel reminder that, in defeating Voldemort, he too had died. Hermione could never quite shake the feeling that the story had ended all wrong. She believed that he, among the countless others killed, should never have died.
And there were many others. Nearly half the Weasleys had died in that fateful battle seventy-six years ago, including Arthur Weasley, Bill, Fleur, and Fred. They were not the only ones. Professor McGonagall died, as well as Professor Snape, and Professor Flitwick and Professor Vector. Many students died as well, including Collin Creevey, Padma Patil, Lavender Brown, Dean Thomas, Cho Chang, and countless others.
Tonks and Lupin died holding hands, as well as Neville and Luna and so many other Order and DA members that she had a hard time remembering them all, but the ones she did were always on her mind. How could they not be? They had been her friends, her teachers, her classmates. How could she ever forget them, much as she wanted to sometimes, just to ease her pain of remembering?
And then there was after the battle. The Weasleys were torn apart. Percy moved back in to the Burrow to support his grief-striken mother and his little sister Ginny, who died months later when a group of Death Eaters recognized her and killed her on her way to a job interview out of pure hatred and spite. George continued to run the Joke Shop in his brother's memory but could not take pride in it, not without his twin brother. Charlie preferred to stay distant from his family, perhaps in an attempt to escape his grief.
And Ron….he and Hermione had married two years after the battle. Hermione remembered the ceremony. It was dull, and there was no real emotion that there might have been before. They married simply because they knew it was the traditional thing to do; it was what was expected of them. Naturally, Ron also became an Auror, and Hermione worked for the ministry in the Department of the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.
Their marriage was relatively short, and their married interactions were polite and distant, detached. When Harry had died something had broken between the two of them, something that could not be mended. They loved each other still, but it was no longer a romantic love, and that was why, while they lay side by side in bed, having just had quick and rather unsatisfying intercourse, which had become a monthly thing in the three years they had been married, Ron rolled over to face Hermione, and said softly, "This isn't working, Hermione. I know it, and you know it. There's too many bitter memories between the two of us, and…I think we should separate."
This pronouncement stirred no feelings in Hermione. She rolled over to face him, staring solemnly into his face, searching his blue eyes, which held vague regret, before saying, just as softly, "I agree."
A few months later, they had divorced. It was not in the slightest sense a hassle; Hermione got the house, a modest little cottage in a small wizarding community, and Ron moved into George's little flat above the Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. Their divorce seemed to, oddly enough, open the two up to each other, and they were able to talk as friends once again, and shared a much easier relationship as a divorced couple than as husband and wife.
With time, it could have turned romantic once again, truly romantic, but Hermione would never know, because scarcely a year later, Ron was killed in the line of duty as an Auror. Hermione remembered the funeral, and remembered feeling simply numb. She'd suffered too much grief to feel any other way.
And so the years passed, as they do so. Hermione never remarried. She threw herself into her job, and did not have the time or desire for a partner. She worked her arse off, and became very high up in the Ministry, but, while the acknowledgement would have thrilled her in her younger years, she was still dissatisfied, why, she did not know; she did not crave more power or wealth or recognition, but she wanted something more. Now she wondered if it wasn't a social life she truly craved; in her younger years, she had insisted she was too busy and too heartbroken for friends; after all, all of her friends had died. She had acquaintances, and she was still fairly close to the Weasleys, but she had no true friends; Ron had been her last. She sometimes interacted with her former classmates, but she did not seek them out, for they reminded her too much of her long gone and sorely missed past. When she was fifty, her parents died within a month of each other, and Hermione then truly became cut off from the rest of the world, as numb and detached as a robot.
When she was ninety, she was more or less insisted by the Minister to retire from her position as Head of the Department, not because she was bad at her job, or her age was making her shabby; no, he insisted she retire for her health, as her vigor for work was rather startling to the young Minister, and he did not want her to over exert herself.
So she retired, unwillingly, to much pomp and credence and bestowing of congratulations and regrets of her retirement that she neither believed nor wanted. She spent the last few years in her home, rarely leaving, mostly reading, and if not reading, staring into space, sometimes for hours on end, wondering, over and over again, how it had come to this…
…and now they wanted her to go to yet another ceremony parading about the fact that the promise of a happy future and a good man at heart had died for them all. She had half a mind not to go. She was not expected to speak, after all. She had only been asked, as well as Ron and a few others, to speak at the first banquet, and all the years after, and this year too, she supposed, only the Minister spoke, a long-winded, rambling speech that spoke volumes of Harry's deeds but very little of the actual man behind them. Well, she didn't want to go. But she had to; she needed to be there if she was to succeed with what she was going to do. For Hermione Granger had a plan. And she may have been an old woman, but her mind was still fresh and her magical ability was still prodigious and she had the same grim determination that had carried her through difficult trials and times.
The plan was this; she would go to the Ministry, and, counting on the fact people wouldn't pay much mind to her, an old has-been, she would sneak down to the Hall of Mysteries. Very few people would be down there, if they were there at all, and if they were, Harry had left her his old invisibility cloak in a will she hadn't known existed, among a few other things, and she would use that. She remembered, even still, where everything was in the Hall. When she got there, things were quite straightforward; she would nick a time turner and hurry back to the party before anyone missed her, but that was not a very hard deadline to follow, as she was an old has-been, and people tended to get rather tipsy at these events, and the guards posted would be busier trying to keep the drunks under control than finding out what an old woman was up to.
Once she had the time-turner, she would leave quickly, as soon as she could without raising suspicion, and apparate home. From there, she would turn the time turner the required amount of times (her wrists already ached at the number of times she knew she'd have to turn it, having done the math,) and go back to the night after Harry became The Boy who lived; her reasons for doing this were frank; what had happened, she was sure of it, was not what was supposed to have happened, and she knew she had to change it. She would not stop Harry's parents dying; she wanted to, but she knew he needed to protection, and, after long, hard thinking, she had been able to produce no good or solid outcome by saving his parents; it was quite necessary they die, much as she hated to admit it. No, she had a plan. Harry would not live with his aunt and suffer, but he would still have the blood protection, she was going to make sure of that, she had researched it and knew exactly what was to be done. He would not grow up alone, abused, and ignorant of who he was; he would grow up knowing what he needed to know. She would make sure of that.
It was not all as straightforward as it sounded. There were issues, problems. She was not uncertain of the how relatively easy it would be to get a hold of the time-turner; she knew it would actually be rather simple. The hard part was the actual time travelling. Time travelling was a tricky business at the best of times, and only meant to be used to go back at most a few hours; she would be going back many, many hours. She knew it would be dangerous; she could even die in the attempt. But anything would be better than sitting here waiting for death, always knowing it shouldn't have ended that way. She would not miss her old life, not at all. She knew no one would discover what she had done until days, perhaps weeks later. She knew what she was doing would mess things up, perhaps completely change the future; for better or for worse. People might not die, or might die, in the past she was recreating, and people in this present might not be born. But it had to be done, and maybe it was selfish of her; but she would be doing this for the greater good of the whole world. That must make it right….