A/N: Spock/Granger goodness, been cooking it up for a while now. Just pure crack.
Where No Witch Has Gone Before
The world came back to her in a sharp blaze of light as she opened her eyes and stared up at the ceiling. The low purr of machinery filled her ears. Not at Hogwarts, then. The air smelled antiseptic and her nose tingled when she breathed through it, so she parted her dry lips and breathed through her mouth instead. Something was beeping, quiet enough to be white noise, but loud enough to be bothersome. She lifted her head from the pillow and looked around as her eyes adjusted.
"You've been given a mild sedative. The effects should be wearing off now."
Hermione heard the snap of latex gloves being removed. A man stepped into her field of vision and hovered over her, his face coming into focus very slowly. He had a small instrument in his hand, which he lowered and pressed against her temple. It beeped, made a soft whirring noise, and beeped again.
"Oxygen levels returning to normal," he muttered. "Blood pressure a bit high- first time off-planet?"
"Err…" she managed, licking her dry lips and staring at him. He must be a doctor, though she'd never seen a doctor dressed like this before. He wore a blue shirt, black trousers, and black boots. It struck her as almost military, like a uniform of sorts.
"Good," he said, "I hate chatty patients. Say 'ah' for me."
He flashed a light into her mouth, took a quick peek, and nodded, scribbling on a clipboard. "Don't worry. We're on our way to a Starfleet base right now. They'll have a shuttle there, take you back home. Eventually. We're pretty far-out, you know."
Hermione caught only one word out of that. Starfleet. Starfleet. Off-planet. She felt suddenly very ill. "Where am I?"
"Aboard the U.S.S Enterprise, hurtling through space at warp speed, approximately two days away from the nearest Starfleet outpost."
She sucked in oxygen desperately. "What year is it?"
"Stardate 2260." He pointed a black metal object at her chest. "Elevated heart-rate. Any chest pain? The confusion is a nice little side-effect from the sedative. Don't worry, it wears off."
Mounting panic told her otherwise. Was it even physically possible to jump more than a few hours into the future? How could it be? And by what means? But was there any other explanation? She felt as though she might crawl out of her skin, the anxiety building up was that intense. The doctor- if he was indeed a doctor- set his plastic contraption on the table beside her.
"Dr. McCoy," he said, offering his hand.
She shook it numbly. "Hermione Granger."
"That helps." He smiled at her kindly and went to a desk. She watched warily as he bent over what looked to be a keyboard and typed something out on it. "Could you spell that out for me?"
"Error- no record," a clipped, computerized voice said.
Dr. McCoy gave her a look that bordered on suspicion. "And where are you from, Hermione?"
"South London." Her voice trembled when she spoke
He dug around in a drawer and came up with a rather frightening needle. "I just need a blood sample. Don't look so worried," he said, taking her arm and swabbing a small patch of skin on her inner elbow, "I have done this before, you know."
Despite herself she managed a small laugh, which distracted her enough that she hardly registered the prick of the needle sliding into her flesh. "Dr. McCoy?"
"How did I get here?"
He raised his eyebrows. "You shouldn't be that confused. What do you remember last?"
Hermione bit her lower lip. What did she remember last? Being at Hogwarts. Being in danger. Yes, there was danger of some sort. But no, not at Hogwarts. She remembered not being at Hogwarts. She recalled the sound of shattering glass and yelling and Professor Umbridge, that toad of a woman, being carried off by centaurs because Grawp-
Harry. Sirius. The Ministry. The strangled feeling in her chest was suddenly choking her. Dark spots danced through her field of vision and she wanted to scream, the fear was so bad and her throat felt so tight. "I don't know," she choked. "I don't- I have to go home- I have to-"
"You have to calm down, dear. Take a breath. Relax."
"I can't-" It hardly sounded like speech at all. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't do anything.
Dr. McCoy promptly jabbed a needle into her neck and instantly everything seemed to melt away and she slid down into her bed with the peculiar sensation of dissolving into liquid. "There now. Here's what I'm going to do, Hermione. I'm going to find Captain Kirk. He'll come down and have a word with you, explain what's going to happen, and then we'll get some food into you. Just relax. You're going to be fine."
His words became jumbled noise in her ears and it took her too long to grasp what he was saying. It didn't matter- he was lying. She would not be fine. She could not relax, and she did not want to have a word with Captain Kirk. She needed to wake up now. This was a nasty, frightening dream and she felt trapped.
But the world was slipping away from her and she couldn't keep her eyes open. The concerned doctor faded away along with everything else.
"Recall from chapter twelve on cross-antidotes the theory of relative ingredients. The very purpose of an antidote often means you will not have one on hand when it is needed. You may not even possess the required ingredients. There are always options, for those of you who are paying attention, Longbottom! Stop staring at Miss Granger's notes."
She looked down at her notes. There was a cauldron there instead, and it was bubbling over. She adjusted the temperature. Professor Snape kept lecturing, unaware that one of his students had started brewing already and might be on the verge of blowing up her cauldron. She panicked and turned the heat off completely. Her potion bubbled over anyway and spilled green slime all across her desk.
"Miss Granger, stop being so incompetent!" Professor Snape said.
She looked up, at a loss for words. "But sir-"
"Clean that up," he snapped, and continued to write on the blackboard.
Hermione pulled out her wand. "Evanesco."
Nothing happened. And now her teacher was very upset- he glided over to her desk and glared down at her, all black eyes and scowling lips. "Miss Granger, can you not do anything right?"
"I'm trying," she whispered, slumping down in her chair, embarrassed, aware of everyone in the class staring at her.
"Go to the hospital wing immediately," he snarled. "You are too incompetent to be in my class."
"Hermione," Harry said behind her, "what are you doing? We were supposed to be there hours ago."
Wait, she thought desperately, trying to backtrack, to figure out what she'd done wrong. She turned in her chair and found her best friends were both crying.
"But I was there," she whispered, glancing up at Professor Snape. He'd turned into a masked death eater and had a wand pointed right at her forehead. "Please, sir-"
"Just checking your vitals- easy now."
She jerked awake and found herself staring not at the tip of a death eater's wand but at a small black instrument. She looked up, confused, expecting her surly Potions teacher, but it was Doctor McCoy. His blue eyes were very kind, and right now they were crinkled with concern. She tried to orient herself but it was difficult- hadn't she been in class? But no, that made little sense, because she'd been at the Ministry with Harry. This couldn't be real, though. This doctor, the room she was in- everything was clean and white. There was metal everywhere, and plastic.
"Where am I?"
He gave her a look. "You are aboard the starship U.S.S Enterprise. In sickbay, to be more exact." He turned away from her. "Jim, I'm not sure now is a good time."
"We may as well get it over with, Bones."
"She's confused, she's disoriented. This is the second time she's asked me where she is." He moved away.
This is real, Hermione thought, staring up at this other man, who was younger than the doctor and extremely handsome. This is real. This can't be real. But it is.
"Hermione?" He took a chair next to her bed and sat down. "Do you know where you are?"
Where was she? What had the doctor said? "No," she whispered. "No, I don't."
"You're on a starship. We don't know how you got here. Do you?"
Starship. She could not wrap her head around that word. What did it mean? Starship. Starfleet. Off-planet. Her head was spinning and she felt nauseated. "No," she said.
"Do you know what year it is?"
"No." Her bottom lip quivered and she curled her legs up, wrapping her arms around her knees, cradling herself. "What's a starship?"
He raised his eyebrows, glanced at Dr. McCoy, and coughed. "You don't know what a starship is?"
"It's an interstellar spacecraft," he said slowly, enunciating each word. He had very striking blue eyes and the sort of chiselled face that might have made her knees weak if this conversation was happening somewhere else.
"Oh," she said. Finally her brain seemed to be absorbing everything, slowly working it over and taking it in, and with that the questions began to form. How had she gotten here? How could she get home? How was it possible to jump so far into the future that they had bloody spaceships? And how had she gotten aboard this one? How on earth had she jumped through time and space simultaneously? The amount of energy that would take was unfathomable.
"My name is James Kirk," the man added when she didn't say anything else, "and I'm Captain of the U.S.S Enterprise."
"That's… this starship?"
He bobbed his head and smiled. It was more of a grin, almost sly, and very charming.
"I see," Hermione said slowly, uncurling her legs and sitting up. She looked down at herself. Her school robes were gone and she had a simple white hospital gown on. Her wand- she felt absolutely defenceless without her wand. "Where are my clothes?"
"Don't worry, your belongings are- Bones, where did you put her stuff?"
"Threw it out," the doctor said. He must have read the distress in her face, because he shook his head quickly. "Relax. Your clothing is in housekeeping being cleaned."
The tight feeling in her chest was back. They would think it was nothing but a stick. They might throw it out. They might-
The solid white door slid open with a soft hiss and another man stepped into the room. "Captain, a word."
James Kirk gave her a sympathetic pat on the shoulder. "I'll be right back, Hermione. Sit tight."
She hardly heard him, too distracted by this blue-shirted man. He had a very strange haircut and very prominently pointed ears. He looked entirely human except for his ears. And the strange sweep of his eyebrows. They curved up in an odd way. He had the look of a man who never relaxed- his shoulders were rigid and his dark eyes were serious.
"I'm guessing by the look on your face that you've never seen a Vulcan before," Dr. McCoy said.
Hermione shook her head and looked down at her trembling hands. She could hear the Captain and his friend though they were speaking in whispers- the spacious room provided a rather nice echo effect.
"I have found her record, Captain, but there is an issue."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that the only record of a Hermione Granger dates back to 1979. She is indeed from South London. She attended an educational institution from the age of four until the age of ten. Curiously, that is all I have found thus far."
"Spock… what are you saying?"
"I am informing you that it appears this girl has travelled forward in time."
"That would explain why she didn't know what a starship is."
"It would further explain why she appears to be rather frightened of me." His eyes flickered over to her and he arched one of his upswept eyebrows.
Hermione looked away, embarrassed. Dr. McCoy took the chair that the Captain had been in moments ago and placed a hand on her shoulder. "What's your date of birth, dear?"
She swallowed a lump in her throat. They already knew, so there was no point in hiding it. "September 19th, 1979," she said.
"And you don't know how you got here?"
"No." She glanced up at the Captain and his friend once more before looking at the doctor shyly. "And I don't know what a Vulcan is, I'm afraid."
"Consider yourself lucky," he muttered.
"Hermione-" Captain Kirk began, but Dr. McCoy cut him off.
"She doesn't know any more than we do, Jim."
"You must have some idea of how you- how you got here," he said.
She looked from Captain Kirk to Dr. McCoy, wracking her brain for a suitable answer. So many things to consider. Did they know what magic was? Would they think she was mad if she told them she was a witch? Had the wizarding community managed to survive this long? A tantalizing thought suddenly occurred to her- if she wanted to, she could look into what had happened in her own time. She could look into the future- her future.
"No," she said weakly. "I'm sorry. I don't."
"This is my first officer, Mr. Spock," he said, nodding at his colleague, the tall angular man with the pointy ears.
"Hello," she said, offering her hand warily. "Hermione Granger."
Mr. Spock stepped forward and shook her hand promptly. "Your predicament is unfortunate, Miss Granger. With your permission, I will perform a mind-meld. It may provide some insight into how you came to be here."
She stared at him, confused, thrown off by the way he managed to make every word sound so neutrally clinical. "Mind-meld?" she repeated dumbly.
"It is a Vulcan technique that allows rudimentary telepathic communication," he said. "Will you give your consent?"
"Ok," she whispered, almost frightened by the concept. Like Legillimency. Would she be able to see his mind? What would that even feel like? She barely had time to contemplate it because already he was reaching his hand out and laying his palm against her temple and locking eyes with her. There was a chorus of jeering in her ear.
"…look at him…"
She saw a hand pinning something to her chest, felt a brief swell of pride, then the sensation of something tickling her neck, warm breath on her skin, a whisper in her ear-
"Spock? What will you tell the other instructors?"
All of this happened while she was staring into his eyes, frozen like a rabbit, displaced into his mind yet sitting right on the edge of her bed. His fingers pressed harder against her skin, as though he thought he might be able to rip things from her mind. She winced- it was not a pleasant sensation.
Memories of her life at Hogwarts flooded her brain. She saw Harry competing in the Triwizard tournament, and Sirius escaping on the back of Buckbeak the hippogriff, and the Ministry- she felt as though she was there, sheer panic rising in her chest, stumbling through the wrong door and crashing into something. The sound of glass shattering. Her heart was pounding.
Mr. Spock dropped his hand, severing the brief mental connection. But he kept his eyes glued to hers and she realized too late that she should have said no to this, because now he knew she was a witch- and who was to say she hadn't just broken the most fundamental law in the wizarding world? Do not tell muggles. Unless the circumstances warranted it- giving birth to a magical child, or marrying a witch or wizard. And she knew by the look in his dark eyes that he hadn't known about the wizarding world until this moment.
"Fascinating," he said, looking away from her at last. "Captain, I cannot be sure how Miss Granger managed to transport herself from 1996 to the current time."
Hermione breathed out sharply. She hadn't realized she'd been holding her breath. He wasn't going to say anything. Was he? No emotion registered on his face- nothing at all. She realized her hands were gripping the edge of her bed so tightly her fingers were numb. She relaxed her grip and slumped forward, watching Mr. Spock.
Please, she thought, please, be rational. Don't tell them. Don't tell anyone.
Captain Kirk bowed his head and rubbed at his temple. "Do you have any insight at all, Mr. Spock?"
"At this point, no. I cannot even speculate."
"Well, Hermione?" Captain Kirk approached her bed and looked down at her. "Do you have any insight?"
"No," she whispered.
"We have a course set for the nearest Starfleet base," he said. "They'll take you back to Earth. From there… well, I'm not sure what they'll do."
"What is Starfleet?" she asked softly.
"It's a military and peacekeeping service for the United Federation of Planets," he said.
"United Federation of Planets?" Hermione glanced between Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock
"The Federation. An interstellar federal polity. Each planet maintains autonomous government-"
"Spock, I really don't think she needs to hear about politics right now," Captain Kirk cut his first officer off with a wry smile.
"I...err… have a question… Captain," she stuttered.
"It seems to me that technology has advanced… quite a bit." She almost smiled as she spoke, it was such an understatement. "Well, I suppose what I want to know is- do you have the technology for time travel?"
"No," he said, patting her shoulder. "No, Hermione. We don't have a way to send you back home."
"Captain to bridge, please," a female voice came from a small speaker high up on the wall.
"Rest for now, Hermione. Ask Dr. McCoy if you need anything at all. He's the best doctor in Starfleet. Later, if you're feeling up to it, maybe you would like a tour?" Captain Kirk smiled at her sympathetically and gestured for Mr. Spock to follow him.
"Captain, if I am not required on the bridge, I wish to ask Miss Granger further questions."
"Now look here, Spock, my patient needs rest, not an interrogation," Dr. McCoy said sharply.
"With her permission, of course. I do not intend to interrogate her, Doctor. I'm simply curious."
Dr. McCoy looked down at her. "Well, if it's all right with you. But I don't like it."
Hermione shrugged helplessly. Telepathy and pointy ears aside, she didn't know what to make of Mr. Spock and was truthfully rather curious. Clearly he was an alien of some sort, though he looked remarkably human. So there was life on other planets. That idea alone sent her head spinning. "I don't mind," she said.
"Keep me updated," said Captain Kirk, and walked out of sickbay through the sliding white door.
"I'll be in my office if you need me," Dr. McCoy told her kindly before casting a rather suspicious glance at Mr. Spock and meandering off into another room.
Mr. Spock sat down in the chair next to her bed and folded his hands in his lap, tilting his head slightly and observing her. His dark eyes were unfathomable. "You have some idea of how you came to be here, Miss Granger."
Her tongue felt glued to the roof of her mouth. She swallowed and shook her head. "No, I really don't."
"Lying is unnecessary."
"I'm not lying," she said quickly.
His strangely shaped eyebrows went up. "I assume your concern is that I will inform others about your society and its culture. I assure you, Miss Granger, that I will do no such thing. You are, of course, unfamiliar with the Prime Directive. I will give you a brief explanation- we do not interfere with the natural development of other societies or civilizations, even for their perceived benefit. Starfleet operates under strict non-interference. Above all else, it is our guiding ethical concern."
It felt as though a balloon had suddenly deflated inside her chest. She let out a short breath of air and her shoulders slumped in relief. "Thank you," she said.
He nodded curtly. "I cannot tell you whether your society has survived to this point in time- however, it would be most fascinating if it has. I only caught a glimpse of your life but it was enough for me to hypothesize that your so-called magic is quite impressive."
"So-called?" she repeated, raising her own eyebrows.
"A logical explanation must surely exist. I find the prospect of investigating it very appealing."
Hermione frowned at him. "But the wizarding world isn't logical, Mr. Spock. Trust me, I've tried to find some sort of rationale in all of it. You see, I wasn't born in the magical world. I'm muggle- I mean, I didn't know I was a witch until I was eleven years old."
"There is a scientific explanation for everything, Miss Granger."
She stared at him, trying to read his expression, to perhaps guess at his intentions. But there was nothing in his eyes that even hinted at what he might be feeling. He didn't seem cold, exactly. It was not a lack of emotions- rather, it seemed he simply kept whatever he was feeling firmly in check. "Believe me," she said, "I wish that were true."
"It is true. Perhaps your ability to use magic is genetic, a recessive trait, if your parents are incapable of it. Or perhaps there are environmental factors that trigger certain gene expressions. It may even be bacterial in nature. Do not look so disbelieving, Miss Granger. The universe is diverse and fascinating."
"Is there a scientific explanation for why you can look inside my head?"
"Of course. Many Vulcans possess telepathic skills to a varying degree. It is a genetic trait- one I am lucky to have inherited from my father."
"But that doesn't really explain how it works," she said.
"Telepathy operates via a bioelectric energy field, using psionic energy to link an individual's brainwaves with the brainwaves of another. It is a well-established scientific theory in the field of biophysics."
"Biophysics," she repeated dumbly.
"The study of biological-"
She put her hand up to stop him, and was relieved when he went silent. It was too much. All of this was too much for her and she wanted to crawl under her hospital bed and curl up into a little ball. She'd left the muggle world behind her when she turned twelve, and had never really looked back. Magic was a way of life for her. She had scant knowledge of science. And now she had the horrible sensation of being inferior, somehow. Primitive. A simpleton who accepted magic at face value.
She was suddenly quite sure that the wizarding world had not survived this long. How could it?
"I apologize for frightening you," Mr. Spock said, and for the first time there was a hint of feeling in his voice. A slight note of sympathy.
Hermione shook her head. "I'm not frightened," she whispered, "just overwhelmed."
"That is understandable."
"I suppose everyone is like this now," she said softly, glancing around at the gleaming new technology, the screens built into the walls and the stark white metal everywhere. "Logical. Scientific."
"Incorrect," Mr. Spock said. "Earth society has advanced, of course, but humans are still often subjected to their emotions and guided by them."
She watched him stand and begin to pace back and forth in front of her bed.
"Vulcans are dedicated to logic and reason. We control our emotions so that we act rationally, without interference. Facts, not feelings, are what guides us." He stopped and looked down at her, one eyebrow raised. "It would be most illogical to base your opinion of humanity on me, Miss Granger. May I resume my questioning?"
"Err… yes," she mumbled, feeling like a scolded child. She wasn't used to not knowing things. It made her uncomfortable, to feel so uneducated. She wanted to ask him about Vulcans, where they came from and why they looked so human if they were from another planet-
"To your knowledge, could magic provide the means for time travel?"
"Yes, but not like this! That is, I've never heard of anyone jumping more than a few hours through time," she said, "and besides that, it's not just time. It's space as well."
"And is there any sort of magic that would allow a person to travel through space?"
"Well… there's apparition. But I haven't learned how to apparate yet. And besides, I don't think apparating that far is physically possible. You would be splinched for sure. And portkeys have to be set for a certain time and location."
"What is the theory behind apparition?"
She blushed. "I don't know."
"What do you mean by splinched?"
"It happens if you don't know how to apparate properly, or if there are anti-apparition spells in place. You might leave part of yourself behind when you apparate," she said, happy to have at least one answer for him, "or you might lose part of yourself when you're halfway there."
Mr. Spock shook his head. "It seems far too dangerous an activity without understanding the basis of how it operates. How might a person travel through time?"
"With a time turner. It's a device- I've used one before, so that I could attend classes that were scheduled at the same time," she said weakly. "They're dangerous, though. One of the basic rules in the magical world is that you can't tamper with time."
"Logical." He resumed pacing. "I recommend that once you return to Earth you seek out the magical community, as you call it. Does your society have a government?"
"The Ministry of Magic."
"Perhaps they may be of assistance."
"I rather doubt the wizarding world will have survived," she whispered.
"Why do you say that?"
Hermione bit back a smile. "Human intuition."
"Is unreliable at best, Miss Granger. May I enquire what you recall last before waking up here?"
"I…. well, it's rather complicated."
He gave her a patient look. "Continue."
"I was with my friends. We left Hogwarts- that's a magical school in Britain- and went to the Ministry of Magic. You see, my friend-" Her voice sounded strangled and she couldn't catch her breath. "My friend was under the impression that his godfather was being held and tortured there."
"Why would you not inform your instructors?"
"Because they wouldn't have believed us. Our Headmistress was rather corrupt, you see." To put it mildly. "I remember being at the Ministry. And I remember being in the Department of Mysteries. I don't really remember much else, though- I think I got lost somehow."
Mr. Spock studied her for a long, uncomfortable moment. "I would ask you what is in the Department of Mysteries, however I believe the name speaks for itself."
"It rather does, I'm afraid."
He held his hands behind his back, still watching her, considering. "I hypothesize that something within the Department of Mysteries is responsible for transporting you here."
Hermione nodded. "Yes, but I'm afraid I don't know what it was."
"I must return to my duties now, Miss Granger, but I would like to continue this conversation. If Dr. McCoy sees fit to release you from sickbay, perhaps I will give you a tour of the Enterprise?"
"I would like that," she said softly.
He gave her a final curt nod. "Then I shall speak with you later." He disappeared behind the sliding white door.
Hermione sat perched on her hospital bed, staring at the door, her mind a tangled mess, her emotions all over the place.
Harry, she thought wildly, I hope you're doing better than I am.