Strangeness and Charm
A/N: This was previously a story by Brutality but I'm taking it over! It was called Secretly, Yours. Obviously, Hermione does not know Tom Riddle is Voldemort and she is not yet friends with Ron and Harry. Just as Brutality assumed I'm assuming that Tom does not know his true heritage and is not completely consumed by evil and darkness yet. Enjoy and review!
"It's no wonder no one can stand her. She's a nightmare, honestly."
Twelve-year old Hermione Granger rubbed the sleeve of her school robe angrily against her face in an attempt to wipe away the tears that never seemed to stop flowing from her eyes. Her sleeve was damp from having previously done so, but she was hurrying along the corridors in search of a place to be alone. She had been exiting the Charms classroom behind Harry Potter and Ron Weasley when the redheaded boy had said those incredibly hurtful words.
She knew she wasn't that well liked to begin with. Besides Neville Longbottom, the rest of her classmates tended to avoid her, or at least did not go out of their way to be friendly and welcoming. She couldn't imagine why, though. She was smart and helpful. Ron Weasley, who she didn't even really like to begin with, had been struggling to perform the basic levitation spell. When she kindly offered him assistance, he had rudely told her to do it herself. She, having memorized all of the coursework for that year, was successful in making the feather float a good few feet above their heads.
At least Professor Flitwick recognized her intelligence and had been genuinely impressed by her abilities. She had been the first one to successfully perform the spell, which was quickly becoming the norm in all of her classes. The other professors liked her too – well, not Professor Snape, but she already knew he was biased against anyone who was not a member of his house. She was sure that, in time, he would warm up to her after seeing her accomplishments. While he ignored her for the most part in order to pick on Harry Potter, he never had a word of criticism for her schoolwork. Her perfectly-procured potions and well-written essays always landed her high marks, even if they did not land her any house points.
Hermione Granger suddenly found herself wishing she had allowed the Sorting Hat to place her in Ravenclaw. She could still remember standing in the compartment of the Hogwarts Express, telling Harry and Ron about how she thought Gryffindor sounded like the best house from having read about it in Hogwarts, A History. Ravenclaw had, at the time, seemed like a promising second. When she had eagerly placed the worn-out looking Sorting Hat on her head later that night, she had discovered that it was willing to take her opinion into account. Although it attempted to persuade her that she would do marvelously in Ravenclaw, she was firm in her decision to join Gryffindor.
Hermione was well aware that there was no use dwelling over it now. Hogwarts, A History did not mention anything about switching houses after being placed in one.
She could hear voices down the hall as she neared the portrait of the Fat Lady. The last thing she wanted was to have anyone see her in such a state. She must have looked a sight – not that she cared much about her appearance to begin with anyway.
The girls in her year, Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil in particular, were always gossiping behind her back when they thought she could not hear them. They ridiculed her for her large front teeth. Admittedly, said teeth had never seemed large to her before. Her parents were both dentists, so if it had been something serious, they would have taken care of it beforehand.
The girls did not stop with her mouth. They also made fun of her hair. They were constantly giggling to themselves, suggesting to each other in what they believed to be whispers that they should purchase a brush for her for Christmas. Although they were easy enough to ignore, Hermione felt more miserable having added their taunts on top of Ron Weasley's cruel words.
Luck was not on her side, it seemed, as the voices that she had heard were gradually approaching her location. Hermione felt a sense of panic overtake her. Hogwarts was no place for keeping secrets. Word of the humiliation that Hermione had suffered would undoubtedly spread across the school – if it had not already done so. The last thing she wanted was to let others see how badly the comment had affected her.
She glanced at a portrait of a man being clubbed by trolls. She remembered reading about the portrait. Barnabas the Barmy he was called, for having tried to train trolls into learning ballet. The figures in the portrait did not cease their actions as she backtracked past it to avoid the approaching group.
Hermione found herself wishing she could find a place to hide, but she also found herself wishing she didn't have to run away from people. She wished she had someone in this school who she could call a friend – a true friend. Not a Neville Longbottom who stayed by her side because he was hopeless without her. And certainly not a gossiping, two-faced Lavender Brown or Parvati Patil!
As the voices drew even closer to the point where the owners would surely be upon her in a matter of seconds, Hermione saw a door. Preferring to face the unknown rather than deal with the impending embarrassment of facing the owners of the voices with her tear-covered face, wild hair, and runny nose, Hermione opened the door and ducked through.
Perhaps she should have continued in the opposite direction, for although she had wished to avoid facing the owners of the voices, she had been hoping that she would not have had to face anyone under her current condition. This was not to be the case, however, as she regarded the other occupant of the room.
Sitting before her in a chair next to a fire was a boy who appeared to be about her age. He had dark, well-groomed hair and was wearing a Slytherin uniform. It appeared he had been reading a book when she had intruded upon him.
Although she only had a few classes with the Slytherins, she already knew she didn't particularly care for them. With students like Draco Malfoy, his goons, and that pug-faced Pansy Parkinson, Hermione Granger felt Slytherin was a house best to be avoided. However, from her encounters with the Slytherins, she could not recall the boy sitting before her as being one of them. Her memory rarely failed her.
"I'm sorry, I didn't expect anyone to be here," Hermione said. She was surprised to discover that her voice did not sound as though she had been crying only seconds before. She still felt miserable though, and was about to duck back out of the room when the boy stopped her.
"I do not mind. I just did not expect anyone to stumble upon this room. How did you discover it, anyway?"
Hermione looked at him questioningly. From his words, it seemed as though the room they were in was something that had to be discovered.
Not really wanting to say that she had ended up in the room looking to avoid people, for he had seemed polite so far and to say so would make it seem as though she were a rude person, she said, "I was looking for a place to read, and saw the door. I didn't think there'd be someone in here already."
The boy closed the book he had been reading and placed it in his lap, studying her. He finally said, "I do not recall seeing you before, but those are Gryffindor robes and you seem to be my age. You are a first year too, are you not?"
Nodding her head, she replied, "Yes, I am. I was thinking the same thing. I haven't seen you before. I have a few classes with the Slytherins, but I don't recognize you."
Surely she would have noticed the Slytherin sitting before her. For one, he was reading a book. She hadn't seen a Slytherin in the library before, let alone pick up a book that wasn't required for the class they were in. This boy was reading a rather large tome that did not appear to be a required class text; she would've noticed a studious Slytherin.
It was then that she noticed the boy was looking at her with a sharp gaze that had Hermione fidgeting, "Well, my name is Hermione. I guess I pay less attention to the people around me than I think," Hermione explained, doubting that it was the case.
"I am Tom Riddle, and when it concerns myself, I somehow doubt that is the case," the boy claimed, sounding as though he too paid a great deal of attention to his surroundings, and therefore would not have missed recognizing her.
The two stared at each other again for another few moments, as if trying to determine if they actually had seen the other before. Realizing what they were doing, and what the other was doing, they both curved their lips upwards in a small smile.
"Well, I hope you don't mind me intruding on you, Tom. I really just wanted to find a place to hide-out for awhile and do some reading. I can imagine you wanted to do the same…" Hermione let her words trail off. There was a comfortable-looking chair situated across from where Tom was sitting in front of the fire. She imagined it would be nice to sit and read there. She supposed she would have to come back at a later time.
Turning to leave, Hermione was again stopped by the boy's voice.
"You can stay if you want," Tom said in a polite tone. He sounded as though he didn't actually mind her presence. She knew that even if people sounded polite, they didn't actually mean what they were saying. Tom didn't sound as though he was being polite just to be polite. He seemed more curious about her than anything.
"Thanks!" Hermione said with a real smile this time, hurriedly making her way over to the comfortable chair next to the fire. She could feel Tom's eyes watching her as she pulled out a book from her bag.
"What book is that?" Tom asked as he stared at the heavy tome. It was even larger than the one he had been reading, titled Divination: The History of Dream Interpretation.
"Gringotts: History, Functions, and Security," Hermione said, showing him the book cover with the emblem for the Gringotts Wizarding Bank emblazoned across the front in gold.
Tom looked at the book, and then at the girl sitting in front of him.
"Well, with the break-in being so popular in the news, I felt I should research more into the subject," Hermione explained, having noticed Tom's curious expression as to why she would be reading up on Gringotts. However, his expression gradually grew not only more curious, but now had hints of confusion.
"A break in at Gringotts? As in Gringotts Wizarding Bank?"
It was now Hermione's turn to be confused. She replied, "You mean you haven't heard about it after all this time? It happened at the end of July and it's been in the Prophet ever since! You can't possibly tell me you haven't heard of it – if not from the paper, then at least from word of mouth? Hogwarts students like to gossip about big events, even several months after they happen."
Tom Riddle and Hermione Granger both looked at each other for a long while, as though the theory that had emerged in both their minds was now starting to sound slightly more reasonable.
"What is today's date?"
The question was asked simultaneously by both of the room's occupants.
Hermione answered first in a cautious tone, "Today is October 31…1991."
Tom appeared to be experiencing a mixture of shock and awe. After taking a moment to recover – although not fully – he said, "Today is October 31, 1938."
Not knowing what to say to the other, they sat in silence and tried to take in what they had just learned.
"So you live over fifty years before this conversation even takes place!" Hermione claimed excitedly, looking at boy who looked like any other student she could have bumped into in the hall. However, he was better groomed than most of the boys she knew – well, not Percy Weasley. They seemed to be on the same level of primness.
"And you live fifty years in the future!" The boy replied as several different questions emerged in his mind.
"But…how? I know Hogwarts is magical itself, but to go beyond the limits of time? That's amazing! Hogwarts, A History never mentioned anything half as amazing as this," Hermione rambled quickly as she gazed at Tom with newfound interest.
"So, do you think if we both go out the door together that I would be in 1991, or that you would be in 1938?" Tom asked. He was mighty curious to find out what the future would be like. It was one thing to ask someone about it, but it was an entirely different thing to experience it for oneself.
"Let's find out!" Hermione said, wanting to discover the answer to his question – one that had passed through in her mind amongst many others. She was particularly knowledgeable about history – both Wizard history and Muggle history – because of her voracious appetite for knowledge in every subject. The boy in front of her could not possibly know that the Second World War was going to start the following year – if he was even interested in Muggle affairs.
Hermione and Tom both quickly made their way to the door.
"Okay, hopefully this works!" Hermione said, grabbing hold of the boy's hand. Before he could register his surprise at the contact, she had opened the door and walked through.
The hand that she had been holding was replaced by air, and the door that she had just emerged from had vanished.
Back in 1938, Tom Riddle stared at the empty corridor and then gazed at his empty hand. He could still feel the warmth of where Hermione Granger's hand had rested only a moment ago.