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Essence of Time

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13 August 2000, 3 pm

Finally! Finally, after a year of unending researches and trials & errors, Hermione figured out how to solve the problem of going back in time without being sucked back to the present. This was the main problem with going back for a period longer than 24 hours, the person was inevitably sucked back to the present by the time turner after 6 hours. That was not going to work for what she had in mind. She wanted to go back nearly 22 years ago and stay there for at least 2 years to change what she needed to and improve the current circumstances of the wizarding community of United Kingdom. The trick she realized was that she had to remove the hour-glass at the centre of the time-turner and stabilize it with two additional rings along with a magical marker that contained the essence of the wearer of the time-turner. For her, it was a scrap of a page from her favourite book tied in a string of her hair. This she realized was the easy part of her plan.

She made a mental list of the things that needed to get done before she could even think about using the time-turner. Firstly, she had to get information regarding the first war and all that happened after Harry’s parents were murdered and Voldemort fell. This included all the trial transcripts form the wizengamot’s court to the secret files that were ferreted away to keep some important people’s dirty deeds hidden. This was, of course, the result of galleons changing hands, she thought with a snort. For that, she knew she would need the help of someone with a security clearance level that was higher than hers. Secondly, Hermione also realized she was going to have to scour old newspapers to make a sense of the timelines of attacks of the death-eaters in the muggle and the wizarding world simultaneously. Thirdly, she would have to talk to someone who lived through that time and was a key player of that war, Dumbledore. The best way to do that, she discerned would be to talk to his portrait at the headmaster’s office in Hogwarts.

She sighed and got up to get out of her office in the Department of Mysteries and decided that she was going to dive headlong into her planning tomorrow. Today she could jolly well celebrate her achievement of perfecting her new time-turner. Hermione got into the lift to go to the Head Offices of the Magical Law Enforcement on 2nd floor to go see Harry and catch up with him. She checked the date on her brand new Nokia mobile phone which she more often than not, forgot to charge. With a little shock, she realised that she hadn’t talked to Harry in almost 3 months. She put her hands on her face a blew out a breath. Sooner than she would’ve thought, the elevator voice announced the 2nd floor and the doors opened. Hermione stepped out and headed towards Harry’s desk in the Auror Department. Harry had just completed his auror training 6 months ago. She found Harry reading a report of some sort with intense focus as if he could solve it just by staring at it hard enough. She smiled at him.

“Hey Harry!” she said sitting down in the chair opposite him.

“Blimey ‘Mione! This is a surprise.” Harry said jumping up from his seat to give her hug.

“I know, I know and I’m sorry I haven’t seen you in so long!” she apologised.

“That’s okay ‘Mione, I know your work is demanding but hell witch, come up for air sometimes!” Harry grinned at her and she beamed at him.

“I’ve missed you.” She said sitting back down on the chair.

“I would believe you if wrote to me in more than once every 15 days” Harry teased.

And so the two of them spent the rest of the day together, going out for a late lunch and then going back to Grimmauld Place to hang out with Ginny (who was on a break from the Harpies and had also moved in with Harry a few weeks ago). They laughed late into the night eating Chinese takeout and talking about their latest adventures.

 

*****_________*****

Hermione walked into the headmaster’s office in Hogwarts alone after getting permission from Professor McGonagall to talk to Dumbledore’s portrait. She was slightly nervous about what he would say to her regarding her plans. She stood in front of his magnificent portrait and smiled at the old wizard.

“Hello, Professor!”

“Ah, dear Ms Granger! What brings you here?” He asked smiling at her expectantly.

Straight to it then, Hermione thought to herself. “Professor Dumbledore I need your advice on a matter that I’ve not yet discussed with anyone else. I am planning to travel 22 years in the past to the apex of the 1st War to change history. I want to kill Voldemort before he kills James and Lily Potter on 31 October 1981.”

“I see,” Dumbledore said pinching his nose in the portrait. “Why do you want to do this Hermione?”

“Because the price was too great the second time around. We lost close to a million lives in a span of 2 years not counting the decade of horrors that was the first war. So many children and adults’ lives lost and for what? Being born to parents without magic? Having no magic at all? A whole flower of a generation gone because of that soulless madman who thought himself God. If you had more information during that first war I’m sure you could’ve saved so many innocents!” she finished.

“Yes, I’m certain if I had more information I would’ve been able to do better.” Dumbledore sighed.

“Then will you help me make this world and the lives of so many people better?” Hermione asked.

“I must ask you something first Hermione before I agree. Did you perfect the time-turner for your long journey back?” he quizzed her.

“Yes professor, I managed to do it about a week ago.” she answered.

“Wonderful! Oh, how brilliant! I always knew you were a bright spark Ms. Granger! What changes did you make?” he asked beaming at her. She explained to him the changes and spells she had made to the complicated knots of the time-turner in order to stabilize and modify its use. Dumbledore’s portrait was awestruck at what she had managed to accomplish.

“Yes, of course, I’ll help Ms Granger. What year do you have in mind to go back to?” He said gently.

“I was thinking 1979, just after Regulus Black’s death when we know that 5 Horcruxes would have been made and placed into their hiding spots by Voldemort.” she suggested.

“That sounds like a good choice Ms Granger. You sound well prepared.” Dumbledore praised her. “To get my past self to trust you, you must tell me that you know the truth about me not interfering in Grindelwald’s war, about the blood pact I made with him before Ariana’s death and that it's my biggest regret in my life.”

Hermione nodded solemnly and then they proceeded to hammer out more details of the things she would have to prepare for. He made her recognize that even though she was going back to save lives that she still might not be able to save some of them and some of them might die due to the ripples she would cause by going back in time. She also might come back to a world where nothing would be as she was going to leave it. She was going to have to have to be diligent about her cover story to explain to the rest of the world how she had just suddenly popped into existence out of nowhere. For 3 hours the back and forth between them continued as they tried to figure out Hermione’s game plan for the past.

When she left she felt a renewed sense of purpose. She was going to make sure she did her damn best to avoid this overwhelming sense of loss that haunted her life these days.

*****_________*****

Her next meeting was with Minister Shaklebolt a week after she talked to Dumbledore’s portrait. He was not so easily convinced of Hermione’s plan. She had been trying to make him see the benefits of it when suddenly he asked what year she was planning to go back in. When Hermione told him that she had tentatively set it to be somewhere mid-year of 1979, Kingsley covered his face with his hands. When Hermione asked him why he wanted to know that, he began to tell her about his wife Pheobe and son Lysander and their murder at death-eater hands in May 1980. He made Hermione vow to help his past self save his family and in return, he would get her all the documents relating to the 1st war that she needed to get her hands on.

And so her preparations began to travel back to the year 1979 to change the course of history.

She made charts and notes and read the mountains of paperwork that Kingsley gave her access to from the secret library of documents on the Minister’s Floor in the Ministry of Magic. She also took private duelling lessons from Kingsley to prepare for the confrontations that were sure to come in her path. She steadily increased her repertoire of spells to include spells other than basic combat and household spells. It took her nearly 5 months and many sleepless nights to be sure that she was not going to fuck up the world for worse when she got back to the present after killing Voldemort. She talked to Dumbledore 3 more times to get a sense of what was really happening, what living through that time felt like and what contingencies she should prepare for. At last, she felt ready that she could make it through the challenges that would come her way.

*****__________*****

2 January 2001, 5 am

Hermione made the final checks to her appearance standing in the ladies restroom at the Hogsmead Station. When she was satisfied that she hadn’t forgotten anything, she closed her green leather knapsack that had a featherlight charm along with an undetectable extension charm and a modified anti-intruder jinx to go with it. She secured it on her shoulders and pulled out the chain of her time-turner. She started the twists, turns and spells that would take her 21 years and 5 months back into the past.

At first, time started to rewind slowly and then picked up such ferocious speed that colours blurred together that Hermione could barely make out the flashes of them as whipped around her in a swirling vortex. Hermione’s stomach started to churn horribly and just when she thought that something must have gone horribly wrong time began to slow down. Hermione fell to her knees and vomited the contents of her light breakfast on the floor of the restroom which looked much newer to her right now. She groaned and then got up, her stomach still jumping. She thought she must have done something right because she could make out the slight changes in her surroundings than from minutes previously. After vanishing the vomit using Evanesco she stepped out of the station and walked on to the path towards Hogwarts under the rising light of dawn on the date of 1 August 1979 to meet with Dumbledore.