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A Chance for Change

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Marcella swung the unconscious boy’s arm over her shoulders as she pulled his limp body into the great hall with panic swirling in her verdant eyes. She hadn’t seen her father for the entirety of the battle and had the most terrible feeling clutching her heart. “Help! Someone help!” She yelled out as she neared where the brilliant wooden doors once resided now replaced with burned and splintered piles of rubble.

In seconds two men came sprinting to her aid and quickly lifted the boy from her tired grasp, “He can’t be more than twelve!” The taller of the two spat angrily as they carried him away in a rush. The poor boy was missing a foot and gushing blood all over the dust-covered floors of the once great, Great Hall but he was still alive which is really more than most at this point of the war.

She scanned her eyes around the gruesome room with bated breath. There were many people bustling around her helping the medi staff any way they could but her eyes were drawn to the countless corpses lying along the middle of the sandstone floor. She scanned her eyes over everyone, some she recognized, most she didn’t but none were her father. Her heart clenched at the familiar faces laying lifeless around her but she forced herself to stay focused. She couldn’t fall apart, not yet. She scanned her eyes over the dead multiple times telling herself she was just checking to be sure her father wasn’t there when a hand was placed onto her shoulder startling her out of her manic searching. She snapped her eyes up to be met with the stern gaze of Madame Pomfrey.

“Have you seen my father?” She asked desperately. She tried to stay calm but the anxiety was ever-present in her voice.

Madame Pomfrey’s blue eyes softened, “I’m sorry dear I haven’t seen him for a while. Come along with me, you need to sit down and take a rest while I look at you. Your head is covered in blood.” She pulled Ella to an open spot on the once Gryffindor bench and forced her to sit. How silly house rivalry seemed to be when you witness people from every house fighting on both sides and dying in a war formed from the self-righteousness of two bigoted men.

“I’m fine! Please, I need to find him.” She went to stand from the table but Madame Pomfrey had other ideas as she pushed Ella back down who’s exhausted body went willingly.

“You’re lucky to not have collapsed from blood loss young lady! Now you will stay still why I look you over. The last thing we need is more death and due to something as silly as stubbornness to be healed.” She fussed in a tone that left no room for debate. She forced a calming draught, a blood replenishing potion and a bone mending potion down Ella’s throat before waving her wand in all types of intricate manners that Ella’s mind couldn’t be bothered to keep up with. She was far to busy struggling to keep her eyes open and glued to the great hall entrance. “Alright, I’ve done what I can but you need to rest…” At that moment Marcella’s world went silent as Harry James Potter walked into the hall looking dead to the world. It felt as if it were only them in the hall when their green eyes made contact. Harry’s instantly began to glass over and she knew, she knew her father had died.

She felt like her heart was being ripped out through her chest and found it impossible to breathe as she collapsed into tears sobbing so hard she vomited. Her dad, her only family, her very best friend, was gone. She had known the possibility of him dying was high, after all, he insisted on fighting, but to get to the very end and lose his life was shattering.

***—Three months after the war—***

Hermione scowled as she marched down the stone alleyway dodging puddles as she went. She definitely did not want to be here but when one who preaches about fairness is outvoted fairly said person cannot back out or make excuses. She gazed up at the darkened sky as another roar of thunder rumbled through the air before lowering her eyes to the gray stoned home that looked as gloomy as the storm brewing above. She hoped the occupant wouldn’t be as sorrowful as the outside projected but she was doubtful. She took a steadying deep breath and nodded to herself in determination before knocking on the dark wooden door only to be greeted with no answer.

She waited a few moments before knocking again, “Come on Marcella it’s Hermione. Open up please.” Silence.

She waited a few more moments before growling out in anger. She balled her hand into a fist and pounded on the door, “Come on open up! I know you’re in there! I’m sorry alright! I’m sorry Ella, I really am. We’ve talked about it and well everyone out voted me and agreed your idea is what they want to do.”

The door cracked open, “Really?” Ella asked as she peaked ever so slightly through.

Hermione’s bistre eyes softened at the skeptical leafy ones staring at her, “Yeah, a bit of a landslide vote if I’m honest. Can I come in?”

Ella paused for a moment before swinging open the door to allow Hermione’s entrance.

The small living room was covered in dust making it appear as if no one had entered it in years. Hermione scrunched up her nose at it then softened immediately upon hearing Ella clear her throat from behind. Remembering why she was here Hermione turned to face the fragile-looking girl wearing a mask of indifference on her face. “We have some important matters to discuss.” Hermione stated in a business like tone as she pushed her curls back from her shoulders and held her head a bit higher.

Ella nodded and gestured for Hermione to follow her up the stairs. The two took two flights of stairs before entering a large area cluttered with wooden tables, different types of cauldrons, piles of ancient books and a wall covered in parchment.

“This is what we came up with before he died.” Ella gestured to the wall completely covered in work before turning her attention to a large table that was equally covered, “and this is what I’ve added.”

Hermione looked over everything skeptically before turning her fierce brown eyes to Ella’s unwavering green, “Just tell me why and the real reason, I need to know the real reason. None of this bollocks about it being the right thing to do. This is a big deal as you are well aware. You could disappear. Aren’t you afraid?”

Ella tensed at Hermione’s words, her eyes sharpened as they calculated her next move and Hermione was reminded for the first time since entering this house who she was dealing with causing her to stiffen and sharpen her own senses. Ella was silent for a full ten seconds before her shoulders slumped and allowed a sigh to escape her, “I’m sorry, still hard to shake off some things.. I’m working on it.”

“I understand.” Hermione rushed out as she lowered her own guard. Having a life like Ella’s would make her just as untrusting, probably even more so. They all suffered side effects from the world they were forced to grow up in.

Ella ran her hands from the back of her neck to her shoulders before dropping them to her sides. She gazed off to the side at nothing in particular as she spoke, “Throughout my family line, fate has played major parts in our lives. It is said that one of my ancestors freed the three sisters of fate centuries ago from a group of crazed wizards. My ancestor rejected all attempts of payment from the lady’s and left them to their lives. Ever the stubborn ones the lady’s decided to reward him anyways by blessing all of his worthy descendants with a pendant that represents their soulmate.”

Hermione gasped with wide eyes and Ella just ignored her, “Something small, nothing extravagant but well detailed. If we are believed to be worthy we are given our pendants on our sixteenth birthday. When I got mine, my father said he was almost positive he knew who my soulmate was,”

Ella paused and clutched the invisible pendant around her neck, “and that he’s dead. I can’t..” Ella sighed, “I can’t imagine the sisters of fate being so cruel as to offer me a soulmate only to find he died before I even had the chance to meet him. They had never done something like that before so I’ve chosen to believe he wasn’t meant to die. I believe most of the people who are now gone are against the lady’s of fates wishes and that Voldemort should have been gone permanently during the first war.”

“Wow.” Hermione breathed out.

Ella smiled a bit sadly, “Two years ago, before I received my pendant, Luna had written to me about a dream. She wrote of a life different than ours and said it was what was meant to be. She said it was our future. I told my father about it and well we both believed that this isn’t the right life we should be living. When I received my pendant, it cemented that belief and I started planning and he helped.”

She turned her gaze to Hermione’s wide awe-filled one. “But besides that, besides all my reasoning, in my mind this really is the right thing to do. Everyone has lost so much just.. if I could go back and change things bring him down before Harry is even thought of then.. then maybe everyone would still be here. I know the chances of me still existing once I’m done are low but I have nothing Hermione. Nothing at all but I have everything to gain so just let me do this. Out of everyone, I’m the clear choice and I want to do this.”

Hermione’s eyes glassed over with tears as she cleared her throat, “You have frie..”

Ella slammed her hands down on the table, “Don’t you dare say friends! You know that’s not what I meant and you know it’s not enough! Fuck, you are all just lying to yourselves! You suppress your real feelings about it all but I know there isn’t anything any of you wouldn’t give up to get your loved ones back including your own lives. Your parent’s memories, Harry’s parents, my father, everyone. Don’t pretend like you don’t want me to go and try because of some ill-placed righteous morality and don’t feel guilty about it. I know damn well what I’m risking, I have from the beginning and guess what I still want to do this. No one is forcing me to do this, it’s my decision. I want the chance to better everyone’s lives, I want this Hermione. I need to do this!”

Hermione was crying now, “Just if we let you go you may never exist again. It would be all our fault.”

“Hermione,” Ella sighed softly as she approached the sobbing girl and rubbed her shoulder, “Hermione look at me.” Ella requested and Hermione’s red-rimmed eyes met Ella’s honest ones, “I haven’t lied to you, I know disappearing is a possibility, as I’ve said I have from the start. I started planning this the day I received Lu’s letter. Yeah at first it was just to pass the time but when I got my pendent it turned serious and my father and I put in so much work. Do not feel guilty about this, just agree.”

“Why do you-ou need m-me to ag-ag-agree?” Hermione stuttered out as she sobbed.

“Everyone may believe it’s my life at risk of being lost but to me, it’s everyone’s lives. If I fuck this up there is no telling what the future could be like. What if I somehow make it worse? I get one shot at this, just one to fix everything and I’ve planned and have been planning but things rarely go to plan. Me doing this changes everything for everyone. I won’t do this unless you all agree so..” Ella paused as she took a deep breath, “so I need you to agree Hermione. Let me try and fix all of this. I’m begging you.”

Hermione nodded before flinging her arms around Ella’s neck. “Tha-ank yo-you.” She choked out.

Ella stiffened at the touch, “Don’t thank me yet. I don’t even know if it will work.” At her words Hermione ripped herself out of Ella’s arms, her once broken face now a tear stained steely expression as if Ella had flipped some switch within her.

Voice radiating a fierce determination Hermione spoke, “Oh this will work. We will work out all the kinks and bugs, figure out who you have to speak to, what you have to change and then you will go and fix all of this this shit! Let’s get the others here and get to work.” With that she spun on her heel and marched down the stairs with Ella close behind.

Two hours later an assortment of people were scattered around Ella’s living room.

“Alright everyone listen up. I’ve agreed to Ella’s plan but..” Hermione began but was interrupted.

“Really?” A ragged looking Draco Malfoy breathed out in hope.

“You are really going to do this for us?” George asked as he turned his empty blue eyes to Ella who just smiled and nodded. At that, the room burst into tears. People were sobbing in relief and happiness.

“I think it should be me.” Harry whispered receiving a glare from Ella.

“Harry James Potter shut up this instant. Haven’t you suffered enough? Stop being a martyr! This is my plan so I am going to do it..” Ella began.

“But..” Harry tried.

“No buts. If this goes the way it’s supposed to no one will remember a thing and that’s precisely what needs to happen. No one will remember the losses, the pain, the sorrow. It will be a fresh new life with no Dark Lord’s to hunt, just good lives. You most of all need to forget all of this which you can’t do if you are the one to do this.” Ella cut off trying desperately to push forward a confident persona.

“Your life hasn’t been great either.” Harry argued.

“I know and I also know no matter what I change, if I am born to my parents my life won’t be changed very much.” She offered with a resigned shrug.

“Your father would never..”

“He wouldn’t have much of a choice, he didn’t this time around and even if he did have me most of the times she would still get me. She would still want me to be..” Ella shook her head, “This doesn’t matter Harry. I’m going, you aren’t.”

“But what if you disappear?” Harry asked worriedly

“The possibility’s of what could happen to me are endless and I am fully prepared to deal with them all, disappearing included.” Ella stated sternly pushing every bit of willpower into being confident and in control.

“But..” Harry tried again.

“Bloody hell man! Stop with the fucking buts! Merlin’s saggy balls! Stop feeling guilty! This is what I want. Let me do what I want!” Ella yelled shutting Harry and the entire chattering room up in the process. No one had ever heard Ella raise her voice. She ran her hand down her face before speaking again, “I’m sorry I yelled. I love you, you are one of my very best friends but you have to let go sometimes. You can’t do everything. Let me do this without a fight. Please Harry, it’s hard enough without having to keep justifying why I should be the one.”

Harry nodded and Hermione took the torch back with her speech, “As I was saying I agreed to the plan but we have a few important things we need to go over.” With that Ella transfigured the end table into a chalkboard and a list began to appear with every word spoken by the pair.

--

On the 3rd of September, the group was ready, nervous and hopeful as they made their way that morning to the crumbled remains of Hogwarts and into the headmaster’s office. The paintings of past Hogwarts Heads were still in the almost untouched office hanging neatly on the walls. Every painting, however, was empty par one.

“What are you going to do?” Asked the elderly man with steady silver eyes that looked to be out of a dream she had once.

“Change life.” She answered simply. The man didn’t budge for a few moments but then he nodded once and sat back in his oversized black leather chair.

Ella ran her fingertips over the large oak desk and took a deep calming breath before turning to her group of friends. The looks of hope, sorrow and worry were plastered on all of their faces. “This is goodbye to this life but the beginning of something hopefully much better. I truly do hope to see you all safe and happy in a new and better future.”

With that Ella turned back around, squeezed her eyes shut as tears began to fall, grasped her shrunken bag and wand and released the time turner her and her father had spent months designing.