AN: This story is a combined effort, written by AJ Freas and Elipsa, a mother & daughter collaboration. Mother tried to make it a one-shot, but her daughter was like: 'nope, let's keep going.' Mother: 'uh… no…' Daughter: 'together!' Mother: 'oh, ok!; So now it's 50+ chapters long.
And now for the chapter that started it all…
Dementors? In Hogwarts? Never.
It was only ten-thirty in the evening, but it had been a very long day. First there was the encounter with Draco and the wicked slap from Hermione. Then came the execution of Buckbeak only to have Ron's stupid rat run off. Shortly afterwards was Ron's abduction by a big black dog, and naturally Harry and Hermione blindly went after them.
The tunnel took them to the Shrieking Shack where they not only met Sirius Black, but they found out many things during their time there. Sirius Black was an animagus - who was really the black dog. The same black dog that dragged Ron away. Peter Pettigrew - who was thought dead - was in fact the rat that lived with the Weasley family - affectionately named Scabbers - for the past twelve years. Professor Lupin was a werewolf and a friend once to both Sirius and Peter. However, the real surprise was when Harry learned that it was Peter that betrayed his parents and not Sirius.
Peter managed to escape, Sirius was recaptured and now the two friends - Harry and Hermione - stood in the hospital ward where Ron - the last third of the trio of friends - was asleep behind a curtain recuperating from the whole ordeal with the black dog, werewolf and rat.
Harry ran his fingers through his mussed black locks and sighed tiredly. "I haven't the foggiest idea what Dumbledore was talking about. Do you?"
"He said three turns, Harry."
"I take it that means something to you then." Harry watched in confusion as Hermione silently went about working through her thought process and wrapped them both in a long golden chain. Hermione stared, focused on the medallion in her hand. They stood close together and she smelled like the outdoors which only served to remind him of the events of earlier that day. Harry fidgeted with impatience. Sirius was innocent and Harry wanted to save him. Only Hermione, the smarter of the two, was fussing with her jewelry rather than helping plan some wild rescue attempt. "Uh, Hermione, what is that?"
"In a minute, Harry." Hermione was still fussing with the gold piece of jewelry when an unexpected commotion started outside. Everything slowed down and yet sped up, happening simultaneously.
The temperature plummeted. Harry shivered with knowing dread, grabbed his wand and waited. Fully aware of the confines of the golden chain Hermione put around them, Harry managed to position her behind him as the chill crept quickly through the room. His wand was pointed at the doors that burst open. Three Dementors entered, floating across with a rattling breath that drew a shuddering groan from somewhere to their left where Ron slept.
Only it was too late. The silver spell flashed, Hermione lost her grip on the medallion in her hand and life as they knew it was careening in reverse so quickly that Harry almost pitched forward from motion sickness. Hermione gripped Harry's arm and the two held steadfast to each other until the outside world slowed to a stop.
"What was that?" Harry croaked his question out.
"This is a Time-Turner. We were to go back in time three turns, three hours…" Hermione looked around in her confusion, finally spotting the clock on the wall. "Eight-thirty? We're off on our time. Quick Harry, where were we at eight-thirty…" She pulled the gold chain from around Harry and stuffed the medallion into her shirt to hide it as the chain readjusted to its earlier length. Madam Pomfrey's door burst open and the two jumped in surprise.
"What is the meaning of this and…" The familiar matronly woman peered at the two students, noting how disoriented and disheveled the pair were, "You two? Is it that late already?"
"I…" Harry looked in confusion to Hermione who shrugged.
"I'm sorry, Madam Pomfrey. Where… or, erm… rather… when… are we?"
The woman raised an eyebrow and held a single finger upwards. "You two. Wait here. Quietly. I don't want you two disturbing…" She waved a dismissive hand and walked away towards her office leaving the two youngsters alone.
That was when Harry noticed the closed curtain where Ron was asleep earlier - or rather where Ron would be later that evening seeing how they went back in time. Harry moved quietly towards the closed curtain as Hermione hissed a reprimand. "Harry!"
Harry waved her off and put a finger to his lips. Hermione pursed her lips and followed silently. Harry's eyes widened and he motioned to the sleeping figure of a boy. The boy didn't have red hair like a true Weasley would. This youngster looked familiar with light brown hair. "He looks like-"
The boy grunted and rolled over. He was roughly their age so it just couldn't be him. Harry pushed Hermione away as she gaped, the curtain closing around the boy again. "That can't be, Harry. That can't be Professor Lupin!"
"Professor Lupin?" The amused voice spoke behind them, "Now there's a novel idea. I rather like the sound of that title for him."
Hermione and Harry squeaked; or rather Hermione squeaked and Harry let out more of a manly squawk. Professor Dumbledore stood before them, hands folded behind him, blue eyes sparkling in amusement as he looked over his half moon spectacles. "Poppy mentioned two unknown students and here you are. Now, could one of you please tell me where you came from or, by the question from the young lady, when you came from?"
"Well, we came from the future, but apparently it wasn't two hours ago as we first thought and if that really is Remus Lupin, I'd wager we went back twenty years…" Harry had yet to put his wand away, so when he went to run his fingers through his hair he noted it in his hand and stared at it as if he had never seen it before. "Honestly, I'm not sure what happened."
"Please, sir. It's probably best if we don't say too much." Hermione stepped forward. "My name is Hermione, this is my friend Harry. We were supposed to go back three hours, but something happened. Dementors, you see, they came in-"
"Dementors? In Hogwarts? Never. I would never allow-"
"I… um," Harry interrupted with an amused, knowing smirk on his face, "wouldn't say never, sir. It wasn't by choice, mind you. The Minister for Magic insisted they guard the school since Sirius Black escaped Azkaban-"
A noise caught his attention. Dumbledore raised his hand and the two grew quiet. He swept his hand and the curtain moved away, exposing a boy sitting up in a hospital bed, staring wide eyed and trembling. His voice was reassuring, but the boy couldn't stop staring at the two unknown children. "How much did you overhear?"
Remus' hazel gaze tore from them to his Headmaster and he eeked out a breathy response of, "everything."
"I didn't realize you were awake, Mr. Lupin. Ah, well, saves us time." Dumbledore nodded once, motioned towards the other two to follow and went to the boy's bedside. He conjured three comfortable chairs and sat gingerly onto one, offering the other two to Harry and Hermione and motioned for the girl to continue, "Perhaps we should start with the basics, Miss Granger. I take it you two are students here at Hogwarts?"
"Yes, sir, we're both in Gryffindor, third year."
Dumbledore grinned and nodded, "And you came here with the use of a Time-Turner."
"Yes, I was taking too many courses. Professor McGonagall had given me use of a Time-Turner to attend all of my classes-"
"That's how you've been managing?" Harry interrupted only for Hermione to wave him off.
"Shhh, yes. I wasn't to tell you about it." When he tried to protest, Hermione continued, "I know you're my best friend, Harry, but orders are orders." Harry sat back dejectedly and crossed his arms with an audible huff. Hermione then proceeded to describe their encounter as the Time-Turner was being set into motion while Harry simultaneously cast the patronus, causing the spells to collide.
"Can you create a corporeal patronus, Mr. Potter?" Dumbledore looked over his glasses and Harry shrugged.
"I've only cast it successfully a couple of times. The time before this one I was told it was corporeal, but I was too busy flying to notice." Harry grinned sheepishly, "Professor Lupin taught me."
"I… I did?" Remus looked shocked. "How did I manage… I can't… I don't even know…"
Hermione smiled at the boy who would grow up to be her favorite professor, "you're quite clever, really. Best professor we've had in Defense."
Remus blinked. His hazel eyes met her soft browns and he blushed, stammering a thanks. Dumbledore nodded decisively, "Well now. We need to get you two back to your time-"
"No." Harry stammered and stumbled from his chair. "I'm not going back."
"Harry, we have to." Hermione glanced worriedly at Dumbledore. "We have to!"
"I have a chance to get to know my parents. I can… I can… I can stop-"
"Harry!" Hermione jumped up and grabbed his arm. "No! You can't. Bad things happen to wizards that fool with time, you can't just change some things. There are rules-"
"I don't care about rules. I don't care! Don't you see? We have a chance to stop him before-"
Hermione clamped her hand over Harry's mouth and stared wide eyed at the other two in the room. "You can't say what you're going to say in front of them. They know too much as it is. We must go back to our time and pray we haven't altered things too much."
He pulled out of her clutches. Wand still in hand, Harry pointed it at his friend, shook his head slowly and backed away. Tears threatened to fall from his pained emerald eyes. "What do I have to go back to? Pain? Sorrow? Loneliness? There is nothing for me there, Hermione. Nothing."
"You've got friends. People that care for you. We have to save…" She glanced at the two behind her and stepped closer to Harry, lowering her voice a touch but the urgency was still clear in her tone. "We are his only chance. We have to go back to save him."
"Don't you see? If we don't go back, we don't have to save him. We can stop that from happening. He won't have gone to Azkaban, they won't have to die. Don't you see? I could have my-"
"No! There is no guarantee that will work out. Time has a way of making events occur even when you try to change them. Some events must happen, Harry. It must happen in order for the timeline to continue." Hermione glanced again at Remus and Dumbledore, worried about saying too much, but tried again. "What if you did change things? What if you did manage to save them? What's to say it doesn't make things worse? What if he kills someone else? Could you live knowing that their deaths is due to your actions; that they died because of you?"
Dumbledore pushed his body from the chair and moved slowly forward, standing beside Hermione. "You're a Gryffindor, Mr. Potter. You know that means something. You're brave, you're courageous, you believe in the good in everyone and I have faith you will do the right thing."
"I can't…" Harry's wand hand trembled, but didn't lower. The tears he held back broke free. "Maybe if I just met them…"
Hermione gasped as Remus pulled her back for her own safety. Harry heard her and growled at Remus, "Don't touch her!"
Remus released her and raised his hands, still positioning his body between Harry and Hermione, "Don't do anything foolish."
Harry lowered his wand and barked out a laugh, "Oh for pity's sake, Hermione is my best friend. She's like a sister to me. I'm not about to hurt her."
"Do you still have the Time-Turner, Miss Granger?" Dumbledore looked at Hermione who nodded and moved forward towards the Headmaster. She gave a small smile of thanks to Remus before she moved around him.
Remus moved forward to Harry and peered at him. "Potter."
"Yeah?" Harry looked at Remus and sighed. "Yes, I'm Potter. Obviously you can't tell my parents you met me. First off they won't believe you and, if the stories are true, my mother doesn't even like my father yet."
He grinned and nodded, "Lily's eyes. No, she can't stand him, but James swears he will marry her someday. I guess he's right."
Harry gave a small shrug and looked at Remus, "I wish I could tell you more. Hermione would have a fit if I did. Just know that I need you to teach me anything you can and we don't care that you're a werewolf. Especially Hermione, she'd really kill me if she knew I told you she has a huge crush on you."
"You, wait, what?" Remus looked back at the girl speaking with their Headmaster, "she's… but she knows? Really she knows? How can she…"
The boy snorted, "She told you how brilliant you are. Now I wonder if she can be right."
Remus scoffed, "But really…"
"Listen, no matter what you think, there are those of us that know and we don't care. We understand and like you for who you are." Harry gave his arm a squeeze. "If I don't tell you later, thanks for everything."
"You make that sound so final, like I won't see you when you go back." Remus put a hand up, "No, right. Can't tell me. Sorry."
"Mr. Potter?" Dumbledore called out to him and Harry sighed heavily.
"Yeah." Resignedly, Harry made his way back to Hermione, allowing her to wrap the golden chain around him. "When Miss Granger gives the word, you must cast your patronus."
Harry frowned and shook his head. "I can't."
"Of course you ca-"
"No, I can't. I can't think of one positive thought. Especially one strong enough to produce a corporeal patronus." Harry closed his eyes tightly and grimaced. "I'm trying. I just…"
A blast of silver light filled the room with a sense of peace and calm. Harry inhaled deeply, a small grin pulled at his lips. Harry opened his eyes and watched the silver phoenix fly gracefully through the air. "Fawkes." Harry nodded to the Headmaster, "Thank you, Professor."
"Is that…" Remus watched the silver bird dance through the air before dissipating, causing the room to dim back to normal. "That was a corporeal patronus? Yours? A phoenix?"
Dumbledore grinned and chuckled softly, "Yes to all three questions."
"What is yours, Potter?" Remus peered at the boy.
Harry took a deep breath and focused, "Expecto Patronum!"
Much to Remus' surprise a silver streak shot from his wand and took shape. Standing before them all was a silver stag with a full set of antlers. The stag stood proudly before it moved forward and sniffed at Remus who laughed at the touch, cold as it was. "That's bloody fantastic! Are you sure you're just a third year?"
The boy winced at the question and the patronus faded instantly. Harry dropped his gaze and Hermione gently touched his shoulder, "We have to go, Harry."
"It isn't fair."
"Life rarely is. We just do the best we can with what is given to us. You're my best friend. I'll always be here for you." Hermione rested her head on his shoulder and Harry nodded. "Ready?"
"I don't have a choice."
"Good luck, you two." Dumbledore smiled serenely at the two. "Two turns, Miss Granger."
Harry grinned at Remus, "See you in twenty years, Lupin. Remember what I told you, yeah?"
Remus nodded, "Yeah," and shot a glance and a shy smile at Hermione, "Bye."