Harry Potter and its respective characters belong to JK Rowling. This plotline, however, belongs to me.
Rated M for language.
Curses, as far as they go, aren't meant to last forever. Painful, yes, shameful, more often than not, but a quick trip to the hospital wing and then one would be right as rain again. At least, such was the impression a student would have, with little exposure to the nasty, dark, excruciating curses that are the exact opposite of succinct.
Hermione never would discover what exactly she'd been hit with while walking through the Forbidden Forest during a Care of Magical Creatures lesson, but she did remember noting in her mind that the soil and grass she landed on was exceptionally soft, and that she'd have to ask Hagrid what species it was when she gained consciousness again.
For now, Hermione registered a dull ache in her shoulder and a pounding in her head. She tasted dirt in her mouth and shivered when a gust of wind ghosted over her body.
"Is this a trick? Pretty stupid trick, really."
What an abrasive voice. Hermione didn't like it at all; it made her headache increase tenfold. It was a boy's voice, near her age, she was certain, and not too far from her.
Well, she'd have to have a word with him on calling unconscious students stupid. Rather rude, wasn't it? And where was Hagrid? Surely he would've taken her to the hospital wing by now. Really, sometimes Hagrid's fear of getting sacked overrode his better judgment. Hermione forced open her eyes, and glared up at the boy standing above her.
"Hagrid," Hermione said plainly.
The boy, whose face was nearly obscured completely by long locks of black hair, looked at her as if she'd spoken Troll.
"Har-what? You English? Parlez-vous anglais?" the boy enunciated slowly in a terrible French accent, as if communicating with a baby.
"I can speak English, you daft grindylow," Hermione snapped, but the words came out slurred even to her own ears. Ah. No wonder he couldn't understand what she was saying. She sounded like she had one too many glasses of firewhiskey.
Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, Hermione struggled to rise to her feet. She shot another glare when the boy made no attempt to help her in her obvious struggle, merely watching with curiosity. Oh, the amount of house points she was planning to deduct….
Huffing when she was finally upright, Hermione brushed the dirt from her clothes and composed herself. Fixing the boy with a hard look that would usually intimidate any underclassmen, Hermione said clearly, "Hagrid. Where is Hagrid?"
"Hagrid?" the boy looked confused. Hermione rolled her eyes. He really was daft. Suddenly, however, the boy looked at her with understanding. Grinning wide, he exclaimed, "Hagrid! That's it!"
"Yes, Hagrid," Hermione said dryly, trying not to lose her patience. "Shouldn't he be here? Where's the rest of the class? Don't tell me they just left me here when I fell." Hermione pulled a face, fighting the cobwebs clouding her memory. "Although, I do remember getting hit with something on my back…felt like a spell…."
"Oh James, that clever lout," the boy grinned even wider, and Hermione blinked. Well, well…a daft boy with a pretty smile. Nothing she hadn't seen before, of course. "Is that the clue, then? Do I have to sneak to Hagrid's hut to find the next clue? Blimey, I didn't think James would get this creative so early in the day," the boy looked impressed.
Hermione scowled. "What on earth are you babbling on about? Hagrid, where is Hagrid? Honestly, you really should come to the hospital wing with me. I think you might've been hit by some stray curse too," she eyed him calculatingly, "and gotten a worse reaction from it."
The boy, whom Hermione had just noticed was actually much taller than her, raised an eyebrow. "Cheeky projection, aren't you? Not bad on the eyes either, though the hair's a bit much." Hermione's eyes grew wide as saucers.
"Excuse me?" Hermione spluttered, so filled with rage that she was momentarily struck speechless. "What House are you from? I'll be taking fifteen points for that!"
"Charming. But," he pulled out his wand, and Hermione instantly took a step back, grappling for her own wand but realizing she didn't have it on her, "I'm afraid we're done here." Pointing it at her nose, he muttered lazily, "Finite."
Hermione flinched, and went still when nothing happened. The boy's eyebrows screwed together in confusion, and he repeated a bit more firmly, "Finite."
Hermione's initial shock melted into annoyance. "Are you quite finished?"
"I don't understand," the boy looked at his wand in confusion. "How else do I get rid of you?"
"Oh for Merlin's sake!" Hermione said exasperatedly. "I'll go to the hospital wing on my own! Thank you for nothing. And judging from your tie you're clearly a Gryffindor, and as much as it pains me I'll be taking twenty points from our House."
Suddenly the boy jabbed her ribs with the end of his wand. "Ow!" Hermione shrieked. The boy looked even more lost than before. He poked her again, and Hermione slapped his hand away. "What is wrong with you! Get away from me!"
"Oh bloody hell," he breathed, the color draining from his face. "You're real."
"You're mad! Absolutely mad!" Hermione shrieked. "And I'm going to report you to the Headmaster himself for—for—madness! And disrespect, and a great many other things."
"I am so sorry," the boy said emphatically, looking thoroughly distraught. He quickly stuffed his wand in his robes and held out his hands appeasingly. "I thought my mate—James, he's my best mate—well, he set up a kind of puzzle for me today, and told me to look here to find my next clue, n' I just supposed you were it."
"A puzzle." Hermione gave him a disbelieving look.
"Yes, I'm sorry—it's something we do, you know, to pass the time—we set up traps and clues around the castle and grounds, and the quicker we finish, the more er…well, it's just friendly competition and—and I thought you were a trick, or a puzzle, rather, some sort of projection spell cast by James, so I—"
"Tried to end the incantation," Hermione finished for him, crossing her arms. The boy nodded helplessly.
"Indeed I did. I thought going to Hagrid's was the next clue, you see. But…ah, well, it seems I was wrong. You're very real."
"I am. And wandering around the Forbidden Forest is not allowed, no matter how bored you and your mates are," Hermione said disapprovingly. "I'm still going to be deducting points."
The boy looked confused again. "Are you hurt? I mean, you're still talking a bit of nonsense, so I think I'll take you to the hospital wing already."
"I am, but that's beside the point," Hermione furrowed her brow. "What year are you?"
"A fifth-year Gryffindor?" Hermione snorted. "Look, hiding your year won't save you from a trip to Dumbledore's office. Just tell the truth, and I'll even drop it down to fifteen points again."
"I am a fifth-year in Gryffindor," the boy looked at her strangely, pushing his thick black hair from his face. "What year are you?"
"I'm a fifth-year Gryffindor, and a prefect. Obviously."
He gave her a long look and said slowly, "Riiight. Yes, hospital wing. Need to get your head checked out, darling." He gently pressed his hand to her shoulder, urging her to start walking.
Hermione wriggled away and answered hotly, "I am a prefect, and a Gryffindor. Do you not see my tie?"
"I see your tie just fine, but I know every fifth-year in this castle, and you're not one of them."
"I could say the same," replied Hermione with a sniff. "Never seen you before either. What is your name?"
"Sirius Black. What's yours?"
But Hermione did not reply. She burst out in a guffaw, clenching her sides as she doubled over. The boy, who was calling himself Sirius, smiled unsurely along with her as he took a careful step back.
"Did I say something funny?" he asked genuinely, and Hermione shook her head as she wiped a stray tear from her eye.
"I'm so sorry. No, that was very rude of me. Are you a fanatic, then? I mean, you do have the hair and the eyes down pat. You almost look like him." She gave a friendly smile. "Do you think he's innocent, then?"
"Innocent?" he said incredulously. "Of what?"
Hermione stared at him. "What, are you serious? No, that pun wasn't intended. Look, you're not Sirius Black. What's your real name."
"Sirius bloody Black," the boy retorted, starting to look annoyed.
Hermione gritted her teeth. "Right, of course. And let me guess, your best mate is actually James Potter."
"Yes, James Potter. I mentioned him early."
"You—" Hermione's eyes widened. "You really believe that. Oh…oh, dear. This is…"
They both reached a standstill, then, for both had decided that the other was delusional. Delusional, or very close to being properly insane. For the boy, who really was Sirius Black, had never seen such an odd girl before, especially not one pretending to be a Gryffindor prefect. He had never seen her before, and never in his own class. Hermione, on the other hand, was very alarmed at the state of the boy's delusions. He had fashioned himself to appear like Sirius Black and was living in a fantasy world where he was best friends with James Potter. Oh, the poor boy…yes, very sick, this boy was very sick. Hospital wing it was.
"Let's…let's go to the hospital wing," Hermione said slowly, gently, and held out a friendly hand. The boy—Sirius, since he wouldn't give her anything else to call him by—gave an equally guarded look, and held her hand as if it was he who was taking pity on her. Together they walked slowly to the castle, not saying a word except to note on the weather, the soft grass, and how magnificent the castle looked during the day.
They reached the infirmary quickly. Madame Pomfrey was on them in an instant, and Hermione blanched.
"Madame Pomfrey! You look so—so—young."
Madame Pomfrey, whose hair was three shades darker than it was normally, blushed and waved the compliment away with a flustered gesture. "Oh, well—what is it this time? Cursed burns? Fungal reaction? I hope you haven't been going into Hagrid's pumpkin patch again, Black," Madame Pomfrey gave him a dangerous look, to which Sirius looked away sheepishly.
Hermione started. "What did you just call him?"
"Black. Sirius Black. Didn't you tell her who you are?" Madame Pomfrey scowled at Sirius.
"I did!" he whispered harshly. "It's why I'm here, Madame Pomfrey, she's—well, she seems to have hit her head or something, she's coming up with ideas that aren't quite real…"
"You've got to be joking," Hermione said incredulously, backing away from the two. No, certainly this was a trick being played on her. Sirius Black? In front of her? This was laughable!
Disbelief warred with reason, and Hermione started taking in the facts and details. It was unmistakable that the boy did look like a younger version of Sirius, and Madame Pomfrey seemed at least twenty years younger…the beds of the hospital wing were different, not the kind she remembered…
A newspaper was lying on a bedside table, and Hermione jumped forward and grabbed it. No one could publish a false Daily Prophet. Hermione quickly checked the date.
October 21st, 1975.
The newspaper fell from her fingers.
"Are you alright, my dear?"
"She looks like she's going to faint—"
Hermione looked at Sirius, her fears confirmed, and felt blood pounding behind her ears erratically. Her eyes rolled as she fell in a heap of magnificent dramatics on the infirmary floor, shocked into unconsciousness.
Birds. Birds were chirping. A headache, too, just behind her eyes. Hermione felt a sheet laid on top of her and inhaled deeply, catching the scent of disinfectant.
"Thank Merlin, she's waking up."
Hermione opened her eyes at the voice. Harry was staring back at her with worry.
"Are you alright?" Harry asked urgently. "You collapsed during Care of Magical Creatures. Hagrid had to carry you back to the castle."
"Almost grateful you did," Ron's voice piped in, and she turned her head to see him seated on her left. "Another lesson of blast-ended skrewts and I'd've offed myself."
"Don't say that," Hermione admonished automatically, and then groaned when her headache flared. "I am so glad to see you both, though. I had the most vivid dream. I met Sirius Black as a teenager, and he was a complete arse."
Harry burst into laughter. "Sounds just like him. I think I might owl him, now that you mention it. Are you feeling better? Do you remember what happened?"
Hermione frowned. "My head's still a bit sore, but…I remember walking through the forest…and something hit me in the back, and I collapsed. And I had a very bizarre dream, and woke up here."
Ron nodded at her. "You were out cold. Was a bit weird though, you sort of disappeared for a while."
"Nothing to worry about!" Ron said quickly. "Hagrid found you a few paces away from where you fell. Took no more than five minutes to find you."
Hermione's mouth dropped. "I was hit by a curse, disappeared for five minutes, and that's perfectly alright to you?"
"Madame Pomfrey is looking for what exactly stunned you," Harry interjected. "We don't exactly know what it was yet, but...I'll tell her you're awake."
Harry and Ron left her then, and Ginny came to visit later in the evening to ask if she was alright, to which she nodded serenely and said fine, thank you. A newspaper was rolled next to her bedside, and Hermione carefully unrolled it and looked at the date. She sighed in relief. 1995 had never seemed so sweet.
Madame Pomfrey bustled into the room with a glass in hand. "Drink," she ordered, placing the glass in Hermione's hand. "It'll help with the sleep and your headache. Doesn't seem to be going away, is it?"
"No," Hermione admitted, swirling the contents in the glass cautiously.
"Ah, well. I'm sure you'll be fine very soon, so long as you let your body heal. You were very lucky today, Miss Granger," said Madame Pomfrey darkly. "Whatever you were hit with didn't do too much damage to your body. Dark curses are horrible things to deal with—expected I'd have to send you to St. Mungo's—but no matter. No use dwelling on these things. Drink, so I can take your glass."
Hermione complied and pulled a face once she finished the last drop of the liquid. Handing her glass to Madame Pomfrey, her head had barely touched the pillow before she fell straight to sleep.
It was dark. Hermione was staring at what should have been a ceiling, but was instead a canopy. "That's odd," she murmured. "I don't remember walking back to the girls' dormitory."
She decided to get up and see if Harry was still awake, and maybe pry some questions out of him. She was concerned about him lately, especially after he told her the premonitions he was having (and the ordeal with Arthur Weasley…Hermione still shuddered just thinking about it). With that in mind, Hermione slid out of bed and padded towards the door and over to the boys' dormitory.
It was even darker in here than her dormitory, and Hermione tiptoed quietly to Harry's bed. She drew the curtains and saw the telltale mess of jet black hair sticking out in every direction. "Harry," she whispered. Shaking his shoulder, she whispered sharply, "Harry, wake up."
"Mmuh," he groaned, rolling from his stomach onto his back. Hermione rolled her eyes. She pinched him lightly on the bicep, and he let out an uncharacteristically high yelp.
"Bloody hell, what was that for!" he exclaimed, and Hermione jumped in fright. That did not sound like Harry at all.
"Lumos," she whispered, and watched Harry flinch away from the light. Only…only…it wasn't Harry at all.
"Oh," she breathed. "Oh. Right. Oops."
"Oops?" James Potter hissed. "Who are you? And why are you on my bed?" His eyes widened. "Oh, no, I don't do that. Sorry. Ah, no, I don't—I don't."
"Don't be crude," Hermione scowled. "I seem to be dreaming again. Ah, well, so you're James? My imagination did pretty well on the details. You look just like Harry—or, well, Harry looks just like you. Except the eyes, of course."
"What are you going on about?" he said slowly, pulling the covers up to his chin. He gazed at her thoughtfully. "Am…I dreaming too?"
Hermione shrugged good-naturedly. "Maybe, but I highly doubt it. This is my dream, after all. You're saying what I expect you to say, so really, it's my dream."
"Ah," said James, wrinkling his forehead. "You pinched me. That felt real, though. Are you sure this is a dream?"
"Oh, positive," Hermione assured. James looked unconvinced. He reached forward and pinched her.
"Ouch!" Hermione yelped, leaping off the bed. "You're not supposed to do that!"
"Not doing what you expect me to?" replied James with a slight smile. "I think you're a bit lost. You should go back to your dormitory."
"What's going on out here?" came a sleepy and familiar voice. Hermione whirled around, standing right in front of Sirius Black. He blinked a few times in surprise, rubbing them vigorously.
"Merlin's beard, you're back?"
"Back?" James exclaimed. "Has she been here before? Sirius, why do I not know about this?"
"No, no—she's the girl, James, the girl that disappeared! Right in front of me and Madame Pomfrey!"
"That girl?" James stood and glanced at her up and down. "You're right, she looks exactly as you described. Who are you?" he asked Hermione.
Hermione stepped away. "Now, stop. This—this is my dream, and it's gone far enough. I want to wake up now." She screwed her eyes shut, waiting.
"I'm afraid it doesn't work that way, love," said Sirius with amusement.
"That's because you're distracting me. I can't concentrate!" Hermione snapped. She tried very hard to go wake up, but found that it made her head hurt even more. Defeated, Hermione sat down on James's bed again. The two boys exchanged looks.
"How are you here again?" asked Sirius carefully.
"I don't know. But this makes no sense. This feels too real to be a dream." Hermione pinched herself and winced. "That really hurt. I don't understand," she raked her trembling hands through her bushy hair. "This is impossible. I'm in 1975, but I was just in 1995. How can this be possible?"
"Have you been taking those magic powders from Knocturn Alley?" asked James dubiously.
"She's not on drugs, James, she's literally not supposed to be here. Remember what I said about her disappearing right in front of me?"
"Right, yes," James exhaled, looking at Hermione curiously, who was chewing her lip furiously. "What's your name?"
"Hermione," she answered vaguely. "Hermione Granger."
"James Potter," James held out his hand, and Hermione shook it distractedly.
"Yes, yes, I know already," she replied. James frowned.
"How? We've only just met."
"I told you," Sirius interrupted. "She's different. She knew your full name before I had the chance to tell her. She—wait. Did you say 1995? Have you been jumping to and from the future?"
"I don't know," Hermione was still barely listening to them, her mind racing. Never in any of her books on time travel did she come across anything that could jump for more than a few hours, let alone years. Time-Turners could only go back at most, 3 days, and even that was extremely dangerous. So how was she doing it? How was she ending up in different times every time she slept?
Every time she slept. Hermione's eyes widened. "It happens when I sleep. Or I'm knocked unconscious," she said excitedly. "I sleep and I end up either here, or my proper time in 1995."
"So you're saying you're from the future," Sirius said slowly. He shook his head. "I can't. You can't be real."
"I can say the same for you," Hermione shot back. Sirius and Hermione smiled at the familiar line, and she asked, "How long as it been since I was last here?"
"Ten days," he answered immediately. "It's October 31st now, morning of."
"Odd," Hermione furrowed her brow. "Not a very linear timeline, then…oh, this is making my headache worsen. I can't think about this anymore."
"Lie down," Sirius instructed, and held out his hand and guided her to what she assumed was his bed.
"I don't want to sleep, though," Hermione quipped. "I need to figure out so many things…am I a student here? A proper student? I was lying in a bed in the dormitory when I got here, so I must be somebody…"
"Later," said Sirius firmly. Hermione snorted.
"I thought you were supposed to be the fun one. You weren't actually supposed to be serious."
"Who told you that?" asked Sirius curiously.
"You did. Well, not this-you. Older-you. You love telling us stories—told me loads during this summer at Grimmauld Place."
Sirius grew very quiet then, and Hermione frowned. "What is it?"
"The manor. I still live there, then?" he asked neutrally, but his expression was troubled.
Hermione blinked. "Oh, well…yes. Just recently, though. You haven't lived there in ages."
"Oh," he replied somewhat happier, but his eyes were still filled with doubt. "So, I take it we're friends, then? In the future?" He looked at her questionably. "Though why I'd be friends with a fifteen-year-old in 1995, I don't know. Especially one so bossy."
"I am not!" Hermione protested heatedly. When she saw his smile, one of her own threatened to spread across her lips. "But, we're friends because your godson is my best friend."
"Oh?" Sirius looked both extremely elated and inexplicably nervous, both emotions warring against each other on his face.
"Yes. Although, I'm not sure I should've told you that." Hermione frowned deeply. "I still don't know how real this place is. I might be going mad, and this is some sort of defense mechanism I've constructed for myself in my imagination. Or it could be very real. In which case, I'm changing history just for breathing in the same room as you. This is very bad…very, very bad."
Sirius looked at her contemplatively. "You have a point," he agreed after a moment. "And you're definitely not going mad, because then I'd be going mad too, which I'm not. No, this is very real, Hermione. Is that alright?" he added quickly. "I could call you by your last name if you like."
"Hermione is fine," she smiled. Sirius smiled back. "Do you always smile like that?"
The smile instantly dropped from Sirius's face. "Like what?"
"Like you just found a pot of gold under your bed," Hermione shrugged. "I dunno, it's such a…smile. A smile smile. Every time, it's this megawatt grin that actually looks genuine."
"It is genuine," Sirius smiled again, looking at her like she was the strangest thing he'd ever come across in his life. "Do people in your time not smile genuinely?"
Hermione laughed, shaking her head. "No, they do. It's just you. I'm not used to seeing you so happy and…well, no, I've seen you really happy this summer, with Harry around. But other times it's so…" She wanted to say he had a gaunt expression whenever she saw him, a look of grief and wistfulness that time would never erase, even if he was reunited with his godson after twelve years, but she did not. She didn't want to tell him that he was in prison for those twelve years and his best friends had died, which was why he never smiled like he was now anymore. It was an awful thought, and it must have registered on her face, for Sirius was looking at her with a worried expression.
"Are you alright?"
Hermione started. "Oh, y-yes, fine." She smiled tightly. "Just got lost in thought." She glanced to the left and saw that faint light was starting to seep through the windows. "It looks like it's time to get up anyway," she noted, pushing off the bed to sit upright. Hermione looked at Sirius puzzledly.
"Am I student here? Do I go to classes or should I just…stay in the dormitory? This is so strange."
"I don't think you're a student here," answered Sirius, scratching his head thoughtfully. "No one's ever heard of you or seen you before. I tried looking you up but you didn't exist."
"So no point wandering around through classes, then," Hermione bit her lip. "I suppose I could go back to sleep and return to my proper bed. I have loads of studying to do; I have to take my OWLs this year, you know."
"So do I!" said Sirius excitedly. "I only have Potions in the morning and then Astronomy at night, so we could study together for it during the day, if you like."
Hermione looked at him hesitantly. "No, I really should be off…"
"But you only just got here! It's Halloween," said Sirius with an imploring look. "You could stay just for a little while. Aren't you curious what Halloween is like in 1975?"
A niggling voice in Hermione's head was repeating a vicious mantra of this is a bad idea, this is a bad idea, this is a bad idea! But she looked at Sirius, and his big puppy dog eyes (she wondered if was an Animagus at this point), and felt her resistance start to wane.
"I suppose I won't have this opportunity again," she admitted, and that genuine grin flashed across Sirius's face again, and she found herself doing the same.
The dormitories of Gryffindor tower emptied out relatively quickly within the next hour, until it was just Hermione sitting on Sirius's bed. He told her he'd be back in three hours after Potions was over, so that left her with absolutely nothing to do. Sirius had told her to feel free looking through his things and books if she got bored, and Hermione decided to do just that. Just because she was now a magical anomaly jumping through time every few hours, didn't mean she had to dawdle with her schoolwork. Fortunately for her, the spellbooks of this year were all the same, albeit a different edition. Hermione picked up the Transfiguration book to get started, until she saw the Defense Against the Dark Arts textbook underneath it.
She couldn't breathe for a moment. A real…no, a proper Defense Against the Dark Arts textbook. Not the silly one Umbridge assigned to the fifth years that had virtually no magic written in it. Hermione held the book delicately in her hands like it was her last life line, and slowly, she opened it and began to read.
This is how Sirius found her four hours later; sitting stock still, cross-legged on his bed, pouring over the Defense textbook. He almost felt like he was intruding, but Hermione heard him walk in and looked up with a brilliant smile.
"This is wonderful!" she exclaimed.
"What is?" he asked, sitting opposite her on the bed.
"This book! Good Godric, the one back home…" she shuddered. "It's awful right now in my time. This horrible woman is teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts—appointed by the Ministry, by the way—and there's no magic in it! We don't use our wands, we don't learn about defensive spells, we just sit there with these—these cookie-cutter chapters about playing nice with each other."
Sirius was taken aback. "How on earth is that possible?" he scowled. "How is Dumbledore letting that happen, hiring a woman who won't teach defensive spells?"
"Dumbledore has no choice," said Hermione sadly. "He's…well, a lot of things have happened lately, and he didn't have a say on who would be teaching Defense this year. How can we ever pass our OWLs, though? Without learning what's actually going to be on it?"
"Take it, then," he gestured at the book. Hermione's eyebrows raised in surprise. "You need it more than me. I hardly touch the thing, you know."
"I can't take your textbook, Sirius. I don't think it's possible for me to take anything with me when I travel, and I can't take your book when OWLs are just around the corner for you too! Besides," she had a slightly smug look about her as she fiddled with the book, "I'm nearly finished with it anyway."
"Finished? You've only just started!"
"I'm a fast reader," Hermione said nonchalantly. "But that's beside the point. What should we do, Sirius? We're all in so much danger there, and nobody is teaching us how to fight back. I was thinking…" Hermione broke off.
"I was thinking of maybe…starting some form of resistance. Teach ourselves how to fight. Something, anything to prepare us for what's out there."
"It's still that bad there?" asked Sirius quietly. Hermione nodded, mirroring the troubled expression in his eyes. "Then I think that's a brilliant idea. Form a resistance group and teach yourselves defensive magic! Mind you, you'll need someone to teach you these things. And it'd be better to have it more of a club. I'm sure the term 'resistance group' wouldn't go too well with anyone who came across it."
"You're right," Hermione's brow furrowed in deep thought. "Yes, a club…but who could I get to teach us? Definitely not me, I have so little experience with these spells…oh!" Hermione's eyes blazed with fire as she looked excitedly at Sirius. "I know who could teach us!"
"Don't worry, it's someone great," Hermione smiled triumphantly. Sirius was looking at her strangely again, as if she was some sort of puzzle. Hermione didn't like that look at all, and was going to say just that when her stomach began to make itself known. Her arms immediately went around her middle, a blush tinting her cheeks.
"Sorry. Must've been a while since I last ate," she said sheepishly.
"Do want anything? I could go to the kitchens and nick some food for you."
"No, it's alright, I'm not that hungry." Her stomach growled again, and Sirius was looking at her with an amused smile.
"Right. You stay here, and I'll be back in a few." He left the dormitory before she could get in another word of protest.
"Bugger," she muttered, and decided to lie down on the bed again. All that reading had flared up her headache again, and she groaned. How long would it take for the blasted thing to go away? Hermione went through books and books in a day like they were chocolate, and never had her head given any problems. She barely finished one book today, and it felt like her head was trying to implode on itself. Closing her eyes, she rubbed her temples and willed the pain to go away. She felt relief when slowly, yes, it did start to fade…
"Oh you're back, are you? Thought you left to go back to your dormitory while I was gone."
Hermione opened her eyes. Madame Pomfrey was looking down at her.
"Oh. N-no, I just had to use the toilet."
"Right. Well, here's a potion for the headache, and I don't see why you should stay in her much longer, so once you drink up, you're free to go."
She handed another glass, which Hermione emptied immediately, and gathered her things to leave the infirmary. She'd fallen asleep by mistake and ended up back in 1995! Judging from the time, it was probably a good thing too—it was nearly time for breakfast, and another round of classes.
Sighing, Hermione walked to the girls' dormitory. Well, she'd go to back to sleep eventually. She would just have to explain to Sirius what happened when she got back.
In the meantime, Hermione was positively brimming with excitement. She had to see Ron and tell him about her plan.
Two DA meetings later, and Hermione still wasn't able to go back to 1975.
It was a shame, really. Sirius—young Sirius, would've loved to know that she had helped start Dumbledore's Army. She didn't know why it stopped, but every night for two weeks, Hermione woke up in her own bed. It was disappointing. Even though she'd only been to that time twice, it really was very exciting. She still did not know if she had disrupted any timelines, or if Sirius now had new memories of his youth that included her.
The nonlinearity of the time jumps was obvious. A few minutes in her world was something like a few hours in 1975. And what was it that Sirius had said? Ten days had passed since her last visit?
It would be months by now. Two weeks came and went without Hermione waking up in a different time. Maybe she was dreaming the whole thing?
A dull ache was starting to form in the back of Hermione's head, and she rubbed it absently. Her back was hurting as well. Hermione glanced at the notes she was color coding, and sighed heavily. Perhaps some rest would do her good. Hermione set her books down and settled deeply into the squishy red armchair by the fireplace, allowing her body to rest.
It felt like mere seconds before someone was jerking her awake, and Hermione gasped. "Oh alright, I'll move to the dormitory!" she shouted angrily, but froze when she saw Sirius gazing down at her with wide eyes.
"Hermione!" he exclaimed. "You're here!"
Hermione swallowed thickly and glanced around. She was still in the common room and sitting in the same armchair, but twenty years in the past.
"Yes, I'm—I'm here," she breathed in wonder. "How long has it been?"
"Two months," he answered quickly. Hermione's heart sank.
"That's a very long time," she said faintly. "Why now, though? Why couldn't I jump back these past two weeks?"
"It's been two weeks for you?" asked Sirius disbelievingly. Hermione nodded.
"For some reason, it stopped. I'd go to sleep, and nothing would happen," Hermione shrugged lightly. "I figured the curse I was hit with was finally fading, but clearly I was wrong." She glanced around the common room, noting that it was empty save for a very massive tree tucked into the corner of the room. "Is it Christmas for you?" Hermione asked excitedly, moving off the armchair to gaze at it closely.
"Christmas evening, actually. D'you want a chocolate frog?"
Hermione whirled around. "Actually, that's exactly what I need. See, I'm still under the impression that this is all in my head," she said conversationally as she resumed her post at the red armchair by the fire. "Nobody has ever actually seen me disappear in my time, and this always takes place when I fall asleep or unconscious. I want to take something with me from this time, and see if I still have it when I wake up."
"So…you want the chocolate frog as your test," Sirius said slowly. "Sounds like a good idea. But I'm telling you, this is real. Matter of fact, why don't you OWL the older-me in your time and just ask if I remember you?"
"I can't just ask him—you—that! Do you know how mental it would sound if it wasn't real? 'Hello Sirius, nice weather lately, do you remember me from when you were fifteen?'"
Sirius barked out in laughter, and handed her the chocolate frog. "Aye, you're right. I'd think you were a nutter. Do you have any clue what you were hit by, then? Maybe you could, I dunno, control it somehow."
"I've been looking this up in the library for ages, and I can't find anything on it. But it would be nice to be able to have some sort of control. I've noticed I tend to jump time like this when my head starts hurting," Hermione mused, worrying her lower lip.
"Your head was hurting the day I found you too," Sirius noted, gazing into the fire pensively. "It might be one of the reasons why you keep jumping time."
"Maybe," Hermione replied, but she wasn't feeling very hopeful. "But I don't want a terrible headache every time I want to jump time."
"Want?" Sirius asked curiously, a strange glint in his eyes. Hermione just realized what she had said, and felt her cheeks heating up.
"Well, yes, this is a rather fascinating thing to happen to someone," said Hermione defensively, her cheeks still spotted with pink. "I'd like to know more about it, see how this all works."
"Oh, of course," Sirius nodded seriously, but gave himself away when he winked. Hermione rolled her eyes.
"So," Sirius leaned back into the cushion comfortably, "what's it like twenty years from now? Did the muggles learn how to fly without using machines?"
"They're muggles, Sirius, so no," Hermione laughed. "But even if they could, I wouldn't tell you. Can't have you knowing spoilers of the future, can we?"
"It's a spoiler just having you sitting in front of me," Sirius remarked bluntly. "And if you already know me in the future, and I didn't run screaming when I saw you as you are now, then I think we're safe."
"I don't think the time stream is working as it usually would," Hermione admitted, forehead wrinkling in deep thought. "It seems to be sort of nonlinear. If this was with a Time-Turner—and mind, that is impossible in itself—it would be a constant stream of events, a linear timeline. The future-Sirius would know about me, then…I think. Oh, I don't know!" Hermione said frustratedly.
"But don't Time-Turners behave like circular events?" Sirius questioned, looking equally puzzled. "Anything you try to change in the past has already been done, but you didn't know it. So it's almost like nothing's changed."
"It does work like coming to a full circle, yes, and the events are fixed. It's just easier to think of them as linear. This, though," Hermione gestured between them, "is definitely not linear. It like I'm zig-zagging through time, criss-crossing and folding between time streams. What if I change something? What if I ruin something that was supposed to happen?" Hermione looked at the chocolate frog in her hand in horror. "What if this chocolate frog was supposed to be eaten by James and then he'd discover something important while eating it!"
"Hermione, you're working yourself in hysterics," Sirius said in a soothing tone. "Besides, that chocolate frog was never going to be for James, anyway. I've learned to stop sharing chocolate with him." He lowered his voice in a stage whisper. "He goes off the deep-end whenever he eats it."
Hermione grinned, laughing together with Sirius. "This is nice," Hermione told him with a wide smile. "I'm not used to us laughing so much."
"What?" Sirius said incredulously, a grin still playing on his lips. "Don't tell me I become a solemn ghost in the future. I don't want to live to see that day."
Hermione grew quiet suddenly, her smile frozen in place as her mouth open to respond, but no sound coming out from it. It was strange to laugh with Sirius this much because it was true; in the future, he didn't laugh as much. He always had a gaunt, haunted expression about him, something that no amount of time would ever erase. It hurt to think that this young, lively, cheerful boy would be thrust into such a terrible fate.
Sirius noticed Hermione's sudden sadness, and frowned. "Hermione?"
She glanced up at him quickly, and forced a bright smile. "Don't be silly, Sirius. You'd be a poltergeist, if anything."
Sirius looked at her intently and his eyes widened a fraction. Hermione's heart began to beat loudly, wondering if she had given anything away in her expression. But no mask could cover what Hermione was desperately trying to conceal, and while Sirius did not know what it was she was hiding, he knew for certain it was something unpleasant about him in her future.
"Yes," he said quietly. "You're right."
Hermione saw the look in Sirius's eyes and glanced away. Clearing her throat, Hermione pocketed the chocolate frog and murmured, "I should go back, now. OWLs are coming up soon, and I really should study some more."
Sirius nodded. "Before you go, I want you to try something. I have a feeling that this curse is somewhat sentient." Hermione opened her mouth to protest but Sirius raised his hand. "Just hear me out. It's no coincidence that this curse brought you to me. At first it was because of the headaches, and while you have one right now, I think because you want to jump time now, it's letting you when you want it most desperately. You could have gone to any other decade after you first met me, but it's still bringing you here. I suggest, before you sleep in your time…you could probably control what day you can come here. There hasn't been a discernible pattern of when you come—first it was two weeks, two months, and there is no correlation of time in your world."
"Yes, I noticed that," Hermione muttered. "I tried several arithmancy equations to figure out the time difference between jumps, and it doesn't match. I have no idea how much one minute in 1995 equals in 1975."
"That's because it doesn't," said Sirius emphatically. "You said yourself these are nonlinear events. They're not touching your future yet. That means you have the power to decide when you want to come back. You could leave now, and come back here exactly one day later if you tried."
"But how?" Hermione groaned, shaking her head furiously. "How can I control that?"
"Like I said, I think this curse is sentient," Sirius continued. "It might, I don't know, listen to where you want to go, at what time. You just have to ask for it."
Hermione looked at him skeptically, but nodded. "It's worth a try, I suppose. Alright, I'll try. I'll try to come back here tomorrow."
Sirius smiled and it was filled with warmth again. "Do you want to head up to the dormitory to sleep? You can take my bed, I'll stay here."
Hermione twisted her mouth unsurely. "No, I can't ask you to give up your bed…Oh, I wish I had a sleeping potion or something. I'm wide awake right now, and I don't think I could fall asleep even if I wanted to."
"What if I stunned you?" At Hermione's glare, Sirius barked out a laugh. "It was worth a mention. Anything to help the lady."
"Yes, it's your chivalry that's offering to knock me unconscious with a spell," Hermione replied wryly.
Hermione found that she could not sleep, no matter how hard she tried, and Sirius was very good company. With the awkward moment from before now gone, they resumed an easy conversation. Hermione was now sitting beside him on the sofa, laughing as he told her tales of his childhood.
"Your poor brother," Hermione sniggered, placing the back of her hand to cool off her face. "I'm glad I'm an only child."
"He should've known better than to ask Kreacher to nick sweets from my room," Sirius shrugged, his eyes dancing with mirth. Hermione closed her eyes and shifted, burrowing herself further in the squishy sofa. The only sounds now were of the crackling fire and their even breathing, a smile still playing on Hermione's lips as she recalled the stories Sirius told her. '
"What about your family?" asked Sirius after some time.
Hermione made a soft noise. "There's not much to say, really…I went to muggle schools until I was eleven, and then I got my Hogwarts letter. My parents were really happy for me, which was nice…they're dentists, you know. Doctors that fix people's teeth."
"There are doctors for that?" asked Sirius curiously, and Hermione nodded. Hermione did not know when it happened, but she was slowly falling asleep on the couch, and she was not sure if it was part of her dream or not, but she could have sworn she heard Sirius whisper near her ear, "Tomorrow."
And when Hermione regained consciousness, she was bent sideways on a squishy armchair by the fireplace. She stumbled to her feet and sat at the desk where her books were, and knew she was back in her time. Hermione quickly searched her robes and felt her heart stutter when, in her hand, she pulled out a chocolate frog.
"You're getting better at this," Sirius noted without looking up from his book. He was leaning against his four-poster bed with his feet crossed, reading what appeared to be Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
"Is it—three days?" Hermione asked tentatively, getting up from the floor.
"Two?" Hermione jumped a little her eyes lit with excitement. "Two days! Sirius Black, you are absolutely brilliant!"
Sirius finally looked up from his book and the corner of his mouth lifted. "Finally noticed, have you?"
Hermione grinned when he put the book down and she sat down next to him. A full month had passed and Hermione was past being unconvinced if this was real or a dream—it was most certainly real. And for weeks she was practicing jumping to Sirius's time with a specific destination and time in mind. "Sentient curse. You are amazing. Why didn't I think of it before? It makes sense! Well no, it doesn't really make sense, and I don't know why I was hit by this curse, or by who, but a sentient curse, Sirius! You figured it out! Oh, I could kiss you!"
"Go on, then."
Hermione's smile froze, and she looked at Sirius with wide eyes. There was still some amusement in his eyes, but behind it was a weight in his words hidden away, just beneath the surface. Hermione found she could not speak, her mind having gone completely blank.
The unguarded look disappeared from Sirius's eyes and he broke into a wide grin. "Well, well! I finally found a way to make Hermione Granger shut up!"
Hermione laughed lightly with him, the tense moment broken, but she couldn't help but notice that Sirius's smile did not reach his eyes; but then again, neither did hers.
"You don't really have a choice, Sirius. It's either take it, or take it."
"No, Sirius. We're friends now, and since I missed your birthday, I'm giving you your present now." She held out the package expectantly, and Sirius sighed heavily.
"Alright, alright. But don't expect you'll be going empty-handed now; I know I've missed your birthday as well." Hermione only smiled pleasantly as he began to tear open the wrappings, finding two items inside.
He began to grin instantly. "It wouldn't be a present from you if a book wasn't involved. Let's see…'Magical Beasts of the Twenty-First Century.'" Sirius looked at her with wide eyes. "Hermione," he said in a dangerously low voice, "please don't tell me you did what I think you did."
Shifting nervously under Sirius's searching look, Hermione replied, "I might've tested my time-jump abilities to a few years into my future. I was very careful though, and I got back fine, didn't I? It was only five years in the future, Sirius. I go back twenty to see you."
"Hermione, I can't even begin to explain how dangerous it was to go into the future," said Sirius gravely, but he looked down at the book in his hands and ran his fingers down the cover gently. He looked up at her again and gave a small smile. "But thank you. This is fantastic. You've been sneaking in my books, haven't you?"
Hermione gave a soft shrug, suppressing a grin. "I might've seen your collection of books by the by. And that Fantastic Beasts was the most worn out of all of them." She pointed towards the other package on his lap. "There's one more."
Sirius glanced down and picked up a small box in his lap. Opening it carefully, he withdrew a black necklace with a rectangular, silver pendant encrusted with jewels. "That's…" Sirius breathed, and Hermione beamed.
"I saw it at Hogsmeade on my last trip. The Canis Major constellation is engraved in the pendant. And that big one there, that's—"
"The Dog Star," Sirius finished, looking at Hermione in wonder. "For 'Sirius'."
Hermione nodded proudly. "I know you like wearing these kinds of things, and I figured you'd like it, so—so you like it?" Hermione gazed at Sirius apprehensively when he went silent, looking at her as if she had grown two extra heads.
And before she knew it, Sirius leaned forward kissed her.
Perhaps it was because Hermione was stunned into stillness, that Sirius immediately withdrew from her. Hermione regretted the loss of his lips the moment they left, even though it had been barely a few seconds that he'd pressed them against hers. He looked stricken, his eyes flickering over her.
Hermione blinked several times before finally saying the only thought occurring to her otherwise brilliant mind, "Oh…we should have done that ages ago."
Sirius appeared stunned for a moment, before a wide grin replaced the look of apprehension. "Well I did ask you to before, didn't I?"
"Marietta Edgecomb?" Sirius said disbelievingly. Hermione was pacing on the grass unhappily, ignoring the Giant Squid who tried getting her attention by juggling shells, in an attempt to lift her spirits. Sirius was sitting down, watching Hermione fume about. "Well, she got what she deserved. That was a bloody brilliant curse, Granger. Very inspiring."
Hermione's mouth twitched and she looked at him with a pleased expression. "Thank you. But now the D.A.'s gone, Dumbledore's disappeared, and Harry…" she shook her head sadly, collapsing next to him on the grass and crossing her legs. "I don't know what's wrong with him lately, Sirius. And he won't tell us…he's still having those visions, and it's not safe at all. And he just won't listen to me!"
"From what you've told me, he can't help it. He still feels alone."
"At least he still talks to you," she said bitterly. Sirius raised a questioning eyebrow, and Hermione sighed. "I'm sorry. Harry owls you often. You're like a parent to him. Maybe I should send him an owl too…tell him what Harry might be leaving out. It'll be good to have another perspective."
"I don't know if that's a good idea, Hermione," said Sirius darkly. "Harry trusts the future Sirius like a father. If he found out I was getting owls from his friends trying to twist things around, that trust would start to crack. He's already in a very fragile state right now, Hermione, and it wouldn't be wise to break something that's still forming."
"Then what can I do?" Hermione said despairingly. "I don't know what will happen anymore. It's getting worse and worse here, with Vol—" Hermione snapped her mouth shut, her eyes widened with fear.
Sirius sighed quietly and gently picked up her hand. "I know what you won't tell me, Hermione," he said in a low voice. "I know this has something to do with Voldemort. And I know…" he took a shaky breath, his eyes closing briefly. "…I know that since Harry is my godson, it has to be Remus, James, or Peter's child. There is no one else in this world I care for more than them. And you said—you said his parents aren't alive anymore, so…I know. I've known for a while." He laughed sharply, his eyes hard. "Maybe that's why you look at me in that funny way sometimes, whenever I laugh. It's as if you'd never seen it on me before, and I have a feeling why."
"Sirius," Hermione whispered, her eyes bright with tears, and embraced him tightly. He held onto her as if she would disappear any second, burying his face in her hair. "This is reckless. This is so reckless, and unlike anything I would normally do. There must be consequences for this, Sirius. I can't—we can't keep this up. It's going to destroy us."
"Well then," said Sirius quietly, "I'm ready to be destroyed."
Too fast. Time was moving too fast. Wasn't she just studying for her OWLs? Harry's lesson had stopped, that—that—why did he have to meddle with Snape's memories? Why did it have to backfire on him? Why couldn't Harry get the grasp of Occlumency?
They were in the Department of Mysteries, and they were surrounded. Hermione's heart was thudding wildly, fear gripping her as Death Eaters were slowly closing in on them. Harry was clutching the prophecy, and his hand did not tremble. She swallowed thickly.
Running. Now they were running. Curses were flying everywhere. Lucius Malfoy was furiously trailing after them, Hermione was urging Neville to keep going, keep going, keep going—
And then a jet of purple flames hit her chest, and she lost consciousness.
The voice was like a balm to her wounds. Hermione sat up gasping, glancing around and realized she was lying on Sirius's four-poster bed, with him reading a book next to her. One look at her and the book was forgotten, his hands coming up to palm her face.
"What happened to you? What's going on?"
Hermione's voice was panicked. "I—I'm in the ministry—the Department of Mysteries because Harry—he saw a vision of you and, and you were hurt, really really hurt, so Harry got us into the ministry to help save you but you weren't there, it was a trick, I told Harry You-Know-Who would do this, because you're the one thing Harry cares most for in the world and—" Hermione's voice became strangled and she could not speak anymore, tears pouring down her bloodied face, and Sirius was absolutely torn. His gentle strokes to her hair did her in, and she left all pretenses behind as she broke down and buried herself in his arms.
Suddenly Sirius pulled away, looking at her with determination. "Hermione, you need to get yourself back. It's not safe to stay here when this is still happening back at the ministry."
"Yes," she breathed, wiping her tears away briskly. "Yes, I know. You're right. I need to go back. I was hit by spell though, Sirius," large brown eyes looked into his worriedly. "What if…what if I'm stuck here?"
"No," said Sirius firmly. "You're not stuck. You're Hermione bloody Granger, and you're going to go back there and kick those bastards where it hurts most." He reached under his bed and pulled out a glass vial. "Sleeping potion. I don't think you'll be able to fall back asleep naturally right now. This'll help."
Hermione took the vial gratefully and uncorked it. She paused and glanced at Sirius, and then knelt forward and pressed her lips firmly against his. He responded immediately, their mouths moving insistently against each other, as if it would be their last chance. She pulled away and lifted the potion to her lips, drinking the liquid down to the last drop.
She was gone in an instant.
Hermione came back to the Department of Mysteries. Neville was standing over her, as was Harry and Lupin.
"Thank goodness," Lupin said in relief. But the relief did not last long, as their attention was drawn to Sirius and his opponent, Bellatrix Lestrange. Hermione caught glimpse of Sirius, a grin in place on his once-handsome face, when she saw a flicker of silver around his neck.
The pendant. He was wearing the pendant she'd given him for his birthday in 1975. "Oh my god," she whispered hoarsely and her voice cracked. It seemed that time was linear after all.
She caught his eyes for one moment, a single moment before he was hit with a spell. Bellatrix had finally hit him, and he fell into the archway beyond a thin veil, and disappeared.
And just like that, Sirius Black was dead.
Sirius knew, without having to ask, what had come to pass. Hermione did not come back for several days, but from the dark circles and the bruised lip, it indicated it was at most a day since the Department of Mysteries fiasco.
"Sorry I got the date wrong," she said sullenly. "It's a little hard to concentrate at the moment."
She wouldn't look at him. He tried a few times to catch her eye, but she would look away or talk about something else. Finally he stopped her and grabbed her chin, forcing her to look up.
The reaction was immediate. Her eyes filled and her face crumpled, and she pushed away from him.
"I can't," she panted, backing away wildly. "It's too soon. It's too soon, I can't look at you just now, I need time, it's—it's too soon."
Sirius backed away too, landing on his bed in a daze. This was real, then. It had actually happened. For a very long moment, Sirius was having trouble breathing. Then, as if a sudden calm had swept over him, Sirius's breathing relaxed and he looked at Hermione.
"Was it to help you? To help your friends?" He traced the pendant on around his neck with his thumb. "Was I able to help?"
Hermione's eyes lifted up to meet his. Her lower lip was trembling and her eyes were glistening with unshed tears. Slowly, she nodded. "Yes," she breathed. "You saved us. You saved everyone. And you were absolutely brilliant."
Sirius nodded. "Then I don't regret it. I don't regret it for a moment, and neither should you."
The tears finally spilled over her cheeks, and Hermione looked at him with a scowl. "How can you say that?" she said angrily. "H-how, when you're gone because of us? How can you say that when it's our fault!"
"No it's not," Sirius said firmly, standing up again. He grasped her by the arms with shaking hands, giving her a piercing stare. "I helped save you. This was going to happen eventually. You're in a war now, Hermione, and I went out with a fight. I saved the people I love, and I would do it again."
He gathered her in his arms, both of them trembling in each other's comfort.
Hermione had fallen asleep next to him, her eyes red. Sirius was lying next to her, waiting to watch her slowly disappear as she always would. He reached up and ran his fingers through her hair, reveling in its softness.
Her eyes twitched and opened, blinking up at him sleepily. Sirius looked at her in surprise.
"Hello," she murmured, her voice thick with sleep.
"Hello," he replied. "You fell asleep. And you didn't disappear."
Hermione blinked. "No, it seems I didn't."
"Any theories?" Sirius smirked faintly.
"No. I don't think I care much right now. Oh," Hermione looked at him vaguely, "this is a linear timeline, by the way. I found out yesterday."
"How?" Sirius frowned.
"It doesn't matter. It's linear."
Sirius glanced down, collecting himself before muttering, "How long will we be doing this?"
Hermione looked at him pensively. "I don't know. I think it needs to stop. I've meddled with something truly horrible, Sirius. I'm changing everything; we're changing everything. And this thing that we're doing isn't going to work—we live twenty years apart."
Sirius nodded slowly, his face hardening in resignation. "You're right. This was bloody stupid." He laughed hollowly. "And I'm dead in your time too, so this is already twelve levels of fucked up."
Hermione looked at him with hard, admonishing eyes, and Sirius raised an eyebrow. "Something wrong, sweetheart? Don't like my choice of word?"
"How you choose your vocabulary is no concern of mine," Hermione sniffed. A sly smile crept upon her lips. "And if they happen to be accurate, that's just luck."
Sirius chuckled, the first real laugh either of them shared since Hermione arrived bloodied and bruised from the Department of Mysteries.
Neither would know, at this point, which one of them drew the other closer, or which grazed the other's skin with their fingertips first, but the end result was clear. With silent words exchanged through their glances, they kissed tentatively at first, then with fiery passion. Hermione's first French kiss was remarkably wet yet not unenjoyable—it did help, of course, when said kisser could suck on her tongue in a way that made the back of her eyes see stars.
He pulled away from her fractionally and then kissed her again, slower, shorter, until they were staring at each other with wide, solemn eyes.
"How do I stop coming here?" Hermione wondered aloud.
Sirius replied softly, "It's a sentient curse. Let it know you don't want to come to this time ever again."
"…How do I stop myself from wanting to come here?"
Sirius swallowed thickly. "You need to think of Harry, now. He needs your help if he stands any chance at defeating You-Know-Who. Our time is done."
Hermione nodded and closed her eyes, feeling sleep starting to overtake her again. "I'll see you later, Sirius."
"Yes, I expect I will."
Curses, as far as they go, aren't meant to last forever, but some last nearly just as long, and almost twice as painful. And even when the curse itself appears to have vanished, it makes its presence known when one least expects it.
Sirius was holding a glass of firewhiskey in his hand while watching Kreacher slink about muttering under his breath. He was tired, so very tired, and anxious. Sirius found it was very difficult to keep still lately. Harry seemed to be in constant danger at Hogwarts, and with Umbridge teaching…
A woman suddenly appeared in front of him, and Sirius jumped in surprise, his wand automatically drawn and the glass forgotten on the floor. His eyebrows rose and his mouth parted, unable to believe who was in front of him.
"Her-Hermione?" he whispered in shock. She looked older, much older than he remembered. She was looking at him in shock as well, her face going pale.
"Fuck," she blurted. Sirius let out a nervous laugh.
"How long? How long has it been, Hermione?" He asked urgently, wanting to move closer but not daring to take another step. He watched Hermione swallow convulsively.
"Ten years," she said in a small voice. "I'm twenty-five now."
"And you thought of me? After all this time, what made you think of me today?"
Hermione pursed her lips and didn't say anything. Instead, she continued to stare at him hopelessly.
But then suddenly she was moving, and her arms came around his neck and he held onto her as if his life depended on it. His senses were dizzy with the familiar scent of her skin and the same wild texture of her hair that he loved so much.
She pulled back and pressed her hands against his cheeks, and looked up at him determinedly, desperately. "Everything is alright. You should know that, I think. Everything is alright. We made it…we really did."
"Harry?" Sirius asked immediately, his heart beating fast. "Is he okay? Please tell me he's okay."
"He's fine," she assured him with a shaky smile. "We fought hard. I promise you it's fine now."
"I love you," Sirius blurted. "After everything—Azkaban, seeing you again when you were so young, losing James and Lily—you and Harry are all that's left for me. And I couldn't have asked for more."
Hermione was taken aback at first, but quickly she ran her fingers through his long hair and replied, "I will always love you, Sirius."
Perhaps he should have known from her swollen eyes and sudden appearance in his living room, that today was the day. Perhaps when her eyes filled with tears at the sight of the pendant she'd given him twenty years prior, he should have known. But when he found himself later that day in the Department of Mysteries, fighting his cousin with a grin on his face, and for a fraction of a moment his eyes connected with a fifteen-year-old Hermione, whose face turned ashen at the sight of him, he knew. Oh, he knew. And still, he could not find it in himself to regret a single moment of it.
And there it is! My first complete sirimione oneshot. Bittersweet, but still something I thoroughly enjoyed writing.
I must remind you that I am probably not 100% accurate with canon timelines here, so if you spot something that doesn't seem to be quite right, I urge you to, for the time being, suspend your disbelief and just let the story unfold as it is. My main point here wasn't canon plots (though it was strange not to have that the focal point), but of the evolution of Sirius and Hermione's relationship with a new twist on the time-travelling concept.
Before you sharpen your pitchforks, chapter 13 for Sands is on its way! This fic's idea just came to my head while writing it, actually, so I decided to quickly jot this down. Hope you enjoyed.
Thank you so much for reading! Reviews are most welcome!