Actions

Work Header

Anything

Work Text:

As the best friend of Harry Potter, Hermione had learned the hard way the maxim that “with Harry involved, anything can happen.” Her hubris came in thinking that she could somehow combat Harry’s Murphy's luck with her own planning, conscientiousness, and knowledge.

As Ron and Malfoy traded barbs, and Harry and Malfoy traded spells, Hermione should have known that Harry’s luck was about to catch up with her. So intent was she on looking for teachers, trying to make sure that her boys wouldn’t get into trouble, Hermione missed the spell coming her way from Crabbe and/or Goyle. It hit her in the chest, right where a certain restricted item lay tucked beneath her jumper.

As the sound of glass breaking filled her ears, and colors violently swirled before her eyes, Hermione realized that “anything” had happened.

oOo

Hermione awoke in the hospital wing, she realized, her eyes still closed. She had only spent time here as a patient twice before, and had no memory of the second, being petrified, but she had visited Harry what felt like dozens of times, and that smell was unmistakable. Distinctly more floral and loamy than the harsh, astringent smell of normal - Muggle - hospitals, Hermione had always attributed that to the use of potions instead of chemicals.

“Are you waking up my dear?” a somewhat familiar voice asked. It sounded like Madam Pomfrey, but was higher and less sharp than normal. After a week hearing her with enhanced feline ears, Hermione was intimately familiar with her voice.

Hermione opened her eyes and then slammed them shut again, groaning in response. The room had spun alarmingly, out of focus and swarmed with bright colors that pricked at her memory, but didn’t quite make sense.

“Ah, still dizzy then,” the voice said. “Drink up!” a potion bottle was held against her lips and, despite her slight doubts as to the Matron’s identity, Hermione complied. It was a headache potion, she knew. Only headache potions had that distinct taste combination of peonies and slugs. Hermione had become intimately familiar with that taste over the last few months as she juggled her strenuous schedule.

Another bottle was pressed to her lips, and Hermione smelled the chalky, minty aroma of a stomach soother. She accepted that as well, remembering Madam Pomfrey giving it to her when she was in her half-cat form and making herself sick.

Between the two potions, Hermione felt her equilibrium returning, and she cautiously opened one eye. The room was still a little fuzzy around the edges, like the time she had tried on Harry’s glasses out of curiosity, but it was thankfully no longer spinning or full of over-bright colored lights. “Much better,” she murmured. Hermione couldn’t quite make out figures yet, beyond the large white blob that was likely the matron, but she found another large, blue-colored blob on her other side. Probably the headmaster, she realized. Part of her wanted to ask where Harry and Ron were, but she refrained. They were likely in class, if it was early enough, or detention for the fight.

“Good! And can you tell me your name?” the matron asked.

Hermione was familiar with these questions, as they had been routine after her petrification, and after Harry had woken up from the philosopher’s stone incident. They were standard questions to assess mental acuity after a head trauma. “Hermione Granger.”

“Good, and what day is it?”

“Well, if it is the same day I was hit, then Friday.” Hermione had always found that question a little suspect, since it relied on the premise that no time had passed since the questionee had lost consciousness. It would be far more logical to ask what day they last remembered, but then the Wizarding World was not possessed of an over-abundance of logic, in Hermione’s experience.

“And the date?”

“December third,” Hermione replied.

There was a long pause, and Hermione thought that the matron and headmaster were looking at each other. They were still fuzzy blobs, for some reason, but from the way they shifted she got that impression.

“You’ve been unconscious for several days, Miss Granger,” the matron finally informed her. “It is now Tuesday.”

Hermione bit her lip. That meant that she had missed at least two days of classes, and her carefully developed homework schedule for this past weekend was useless. She was going to have a horrendous time making everything up this coming week, even with the time turner.

The time turner!

It had been hit by a spell, hadn’t it? That was why she was here. It might not be working any more. Without the time turner, she wouldn’t be able to attend all of her classes any more!

“Now, can you please tell us what happened, my dear?” the matron asked, interrupting Hermione’s thoughts.

The fight happened. Harry really shouldn’t have risen to Malfoy’s taunts, but the dementors on the pitch and the loss of his broom were still sore subjects, and he had willingly lashed out at the Slytherin trio.

Hermione was by no means a tattler, unless there was something important at stake, like life or death or expulsion, and she was sympathetic to Harry’s loss. She didn’t want to be the cause of him getting a detention if the teachers didn’t already know what happened. Then there was the mess with the time turner. Only Professor McGonagall knew that she had it. Well, and likely the Headmaster, but Hermione had been given strict instructions not to let anyone else know. Could she tell Madam Pomfrey?

Hermione decided to stick with safer territory.

“Malfoy-” she began. “He was looking for trouble with Harry and Ron. You must know how upset Harry has been since- since the match. Malfoy was rubbing his nose in it, again.” Hermione paused. She wasn’t sure if the Headmaster knew how badly the dementors affected Harry. Surely the matron knew, since he had spent several days in here.

“I suppose we need to send for Lucius,” the Headmaster said, confirming his identity as the blue blob to her left.

Hermione froze. Would the headmaster really call Malfoy’s father for a fight in the corridor? Unless something worse had happened. Maybe the time turner had affected more than just her. Perhaps Harry and Ron weren’t beside her because they were in the beds next to her. Maybe the Slytherin trio were too, and she was simply the first to awaken! Hermione tried to bite back her panic.

If the six of them were injured so badly that their parents needed calling, surely Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy would already be there.

Of course, in Hermione’s experience, they were the only parents likely to show up at school. Hermione had had it made painfully clear to her that her parents might as well be dead for all that her school would contact them in the Muggle world. She had been petrified for months and they didn’t even know until she got home! Of course, she had downplayed it quite a bit, or else she wouldn’t have been back this year, but it was obvious that Muggle parents were told nothing about what happened at Hogwarts.

Harry had never had family visit either, though Hermione was unsure if that was because they were Muggles, or because Harry wouldn’t have contacted them anyway. But Ron had been injured as well, and his mother had never come. She had sent Howlers, of course, so she certainly was told what happened at the school, but she never came. Not even when Ron had been bitten by Norbert, or attacked by the chess piece!

Malfoy’s father showing up to complain about his son and the “savage hippogriff attack” was the first time that Hermione had ever heard of a parent actually coming to Hogwarts to check on their child.

Hermione spared a brief thought that she could ask for the Weasley’s to come on behalf of Ron, Harry, and herself, but she wasn’t sure they were that close. Or that they had enough clout to come, if that was what Mr. Malfoy used.

Her thoughts were swept away and Hermione was brought forcefully back to the present by the appearance of two more blobs at the foot of her bed. One was in shades of brown that rather reminded Hermione of Professor Lupin’s tweed robes. Perhaps he had been sent to escort Mr. Malfoy? The second blob was topped with unmistakable pale blonde, with a black and green robe blob beneath it.

“You asked to see me, Headmaster?” Hermione had only heard Mr. Malfoy once; two summers ago in Flourish and Blotts. However, like Madam Pomfrey, his voice sounded off to her. She was left wondering if her ears had been affected somehow, like her sight, but the headmaster had sounded normal.

“What is this about, Albus?” the tweed blob asked. Hermione didn’t recognize his voice at all, and was confused to realize that it wasn’t Professor Lupin.

“I was hoping that Mister Malfoy could shed some light on our guest,” the headmaster replied. “She seemed to indicate that he was present-”

“Really now!” Tweed sounded shocked.

Hermione frowned. She wasn’t sure how the Headmaster had misunderstood her. “No, Draco,” she corrected him. Why would he assume that Mr. Malfoy, of all people, had gotten into a fight with Harry and Ron?

“Yes, Mister Malfoy, do the names Harry, Ron, or Draco mean anything to you?”

In a moment of frightening clarity, Hermione became suddenly afraid that she knew what had happened. It seemed like something out of a nightmare, but in a world where magic and time travel were real, this was impossible to dismiss.

Mr. Malfoy in Slytherin robes. A teacher she didn’t recognize. Voices that were slightly off - slightly younger - than she remembered. And they didn’t know who Harry and Ron were. Yes, Hermione had a sudden, horrible, chilling realization that she knew what had happened. She wasn’t just suffering from a headache and a little blurry vision. No, she was afraid that something altogether worse had happened.

“Sir?” she beckoned at the headmaster. He at least should be mostly the same. “Could I speak to you privately for a moment?”

There was a long moment as they apparently considered her request, before the blue blob shifted and cast muffalatio. “I am the only one who can hear you, Miss Granger,” he then assured her.

Hermione tucked the spell away in her memory for later, and took him at his word that it would indeed shield her words. “Sir, I believe there has been a misunderstanding. When Madam Pomfrey asked me the date, I should have been more clear. I was injured on Friday, December third, nineteen ninety three. If that is Lucius Malfoy, instead of his son Draco, then I fear that I have lost more than just a few days.

The Headmaster blob went absolutely still, appearing to stare at Hermione for what felt like minutes. She wondered if maybe he was reading her mind, as Harry had often complained that the man seemed to do. If he was, she hoped that he could see the truthfulness of her words, and also that her memory was not as blurry as her eyesight.

Finally, the headmaster seemed to lean back, and she believed that he waved his wand. “Professor Slughorn, there has been a misunderstanding. You may take Mister Malfoy back to his class. Madam Pomfrey, if we could meet in your office, please?”

Hermione closed her eyes against the dizzying blur of people-blobs shifting around her, but she felt a comforting clap on her shin, just as she had seen the Headmaster do when he visited Harry.

Knowing that he believed her, and that she had been right in her guess, Hermione now knew that the Headmaster would fix everything. Reassured, Hermione let the blurry blackness take her.

oOo

It took several days for Hermione’s entire story and situation to come to light. Professor McGonagall had been summoned, and she, Madam Pomfrey, and the Headmaster had questioned Hermione intently. She was forbidden from telling them what happened in the future, they made clear, but some things needed explaining. That she was a third year Gryffindor in 1993 was safe enough, and that Professor McGonagall had given her a time turner in order to take all of the electives was a crucial part of the tale.

As for the rest, the headmaster asked her to give specifics of her situation, without specifics of her world. After having the afternoon to figure out what to say, Hermione had told her brief story to the trio and a blur she had been warned was an Unspeakable. The fact that a spell had hit her right in the time turner were the crucial details that didn’t give away anything about the future. That the spell was blue-ish teal in color, and she thought it had ended in an “-ix” or “-icks”, was unfortunately all she could recall. Of course, as the spell was cast by a student with less than stellar marks, but whose parents were rumored to be into the dark arts, meant that the spell could be any kind of spell, and also possibly horribly mis-cast.

The Headmaster had asked Hermione to consent to the Unspeakable attempting to retrieve her memory using something called Legilimency, but it turned out that the swirling colors and blurriness were not in her eyes but in her mind. The scene itself, while clear to Hermione, was obfuscated from outside access. After some quiet deliberation, the Unspeakable announced that this was likely a side effect of the time dilation field.

He had then left to conduct his own research, sending information and requesting specific tests from Madam Pomfrey regularly.

After a week, Hermione’s eyesight had cleared up, but her mind remained shielded. After dinner on her second Wednesday in the past, Hermione was visited again by the Unspeakable and her two Professors. The former was obscured by his cowl, but the latter two looked distinctly uncomfortable and sorrowful. Hermione felt her heart plummet into her stomach.

“You can’t send me back- forward, can you?” she asked quietly. Ron was the cheerful optimist, while Harry was the pessimist (and with his luck, who could blame him). However, Hermione always tried to be the pragmatist. She had hoped, of course, that her situation was reversible, and that she could get back to her own time, but she had spent far too many hours staring at the blurry infirmary ceiling running possibilities through her mind not to have considered the worst case scenario. The downtrodden expression of her Head of House seemed to Hermione to indicate that the worst had indeed happened.

At her question, the Unspeakable actually snorted. “I can see why we approved your request for a time turner,” he said, not unkindly.

“I am afraid that our research has provided, not the actual spell, but at least a probable spell family for the curse that hit you,” the Headmaster explained, his own sorrowful expression saying what his words did not. “If we are correct, then indeed, your trip is irreversible.”

Hermione nodded. She had already cried herself to sleep at this thought twice before, and she would not do so now. Not that she wouldn’t be revisiting that option later tonight, of course. “I see. So what will happen to me, Sir?”

At this, Professor McGonagall sniffled. “You are a true Gryffindor, Miss Granger,” she said fondly.

“And you shall remain one,” the Headmaster concluded. “You are welcome to continue your classes here at Hogwarts, though with the winter break just over a week away it might be better for you to take that time to adjust and then jump back in with the new year.”

Hermione nodded. At least she would still be able to attend school. However, she had already been warned about the potential for paradox if she sought out her family in the past. It was exactly twenty years before her time, which meant that her parents were both in dentistry school at the moment. She wasn’t exactly positive on the dates, they had either been dating for a year or were just about to start. It would be impossible for her to find them, and even if she did, what on earth could she say?

Of course, her attending Hogwarts raised similar questions. Mister Malfoy was surely not the only parent of one of her classmates who was currently at Hogwarts. That was why Hermione had been certain that she would find herself buried away in the Unspeakables’ lair or locked in some tower at Hogwarts, where she couldn’t accidentally affect anything. But if they were suggesting that she actually attend classes… “The paradox?” she asked, hating how uncertain her voice sounded.

“It may shock you, but you are not the first time traveler we have encountered,” the Unspeakable said with a hint of laughter. “Not by a long shot. There is a spell, which can be cast upon you. It will lock certain knowledge away in your mind.”

Hermione did not like the sound of that at all. She would rather be locked in a tower than forced to forget her friends and family. The memory and horror of Lockhart was also still strong in her mind. “Will I be obliviated?”

“No, no, nothing like that my dear,” the Headmaster assured her. “You will still retain all of your memories. You will even be able to access them whenever you want to. However, they will be, if you like, behind a locked door in your mind. Anyone snooping in there who shouldn’t be there will be unable to open the door.”

“Like the Legilimency you tried. Am I going to learn Occlumency?” After the Legilimency probe, Hermione had questioned Madam Pomfrey all about the mind arts, and had learned about the defensive counter art.

“That would not be a bad idea,” the Unspeakable said approvingly, “but is also not quite what I am referring to. This spell does include certain protective elements like Occlumency, but it is also a barrier in the other direction. To use the example we have already established, you are introduced to someone such as Lucius Malfoy. The first thought that pops into your head is, that is Draco’s father! As is only human nature, you might accidentally blurt that thought out loud. Lucius now knows that he will one day have a son named Draco, creating a paradox. The spell acts as a buffer, keeping that thought inside your mind instead.”

“You will still have the thought, of course,” Headmaster Dumbledore assured her, “but you will not speak it out loud unintentionally. You may still speak it with intention, but I trust that you will use the utmost discretion in that kind of scenario.”

“We will be monitoring you at first,” the Unspeakable said, with an air of warning that, should Hermione decide to purposely mess with the timelines, being locked in that tower might still be an option.

“The tricky part of the spell is that it will also prevent you from talking about events or technology from the future,” the Headmaster continued in a decidedly warmer tone. “If, for example, someone has invented a broom that can oh, fly to the moon, between this time and yours, that information will also be locked into your mind behind this barrier.”

Hermione considered the trio for a moment, trying to figure out if they were serious. They appeared to be so. “You do realize that… seventy-three… four. About four years ago the Muggles in America did perfect a rocket that could reach the moon, and they landed humans on the moon in 1969, right? They’ve been back several times since.”

The three adults gaped at her. Finally, the Unspeakable recovered. “This is exactly the kind of future knowledge that the spell will protect-“

“It isn’t future knowledge!” Hermione replied indignantly. “The Muggles broadcast it in real time! Just about every Muggle on the planet right now in this time knows that we have been to the moon! They knew about it the day it happened in nineteen sixty-nine!”

The trio again exchanged unbelieving looks and a long silence, with the Unspeakable again recovering first. “That fact aside, the spell works as Dumbledore described. Do you consent to this spell being cast upon you?” Again, there was a hint of a threat beneath his words. Hermione didn’t think she would be hurt if she refused, but hidden away from potential paradoxes was not much better.

“I consent.” She agreed.

“Good.” The Unspeakable held out a small carved wooden ‘M’. “This is a portkey. It shall take us to a specially prepared room in the Ministry where this spell can be cast. The Chief Warlock will accompany you as witness.”

Professor McGonagall had recovered from her shock enough to help Hermione out of her bed and over to the two men. Grasping the M like they did, Hermione was unprepared for the lurching sensation in her stomach when the Unspeakable tapped the M with his wand.

Suddenly it was like she was back in the time turner’s accident, with swirling colors and a rebelling stomach. A few seconds later, Hermione fell to her knees in a small stone room. Geometric shapes and runes were sketched out all over the floor in a kaleidoscope of colors, and thankfully the Headmaster shoved a hastily conjured bucket into her hands before Hermione could ruin the ritual markings with her vomit.

Once she was feeling better and back on her feet (and the offending bucket vanished), Hermione was instructed to stand in the center of the runic array. The Headmaster was also directed to a specific place, and then a half dozen figures in Unspeakable robes popped into the room. Hermione hadn’t seen a door or windows anywhere, and she wondered if the only way to access the room was by popping- portkey.

The chanting of the spell was at once fascinating and boring. Fascinating, because Hermione still found any new kind of magic as such, and though she had only started studying Ancient Runes a few months ago, the potential to use them in rituals was diverse and full of possibilities. However, this particular spell also seemed to take hours to cast, and the chanting of the Unspeakables droned on a single tone, with no melody or pause to combat the monotony.

Hermione did her best not to fidget, sparing a brief thought for Ron, who couldn’t sit still to save his life. Harry was calm in that respect, sitting perfectly still all the time, but Ron just had a boundless energy that Hermione supposed came from having so many siblings to do things with. She and Harry had no experience in that field to compare it to, though Ron’s twin brothers seemed to suffer from the same affliction. Hermione really wasn’t a fidgeter by nature: able to sit in one place and read for hours at a time. But that was when she was interested in what she was reading! The droning chant of the Unspeakables was threatening to put her right to sleep, and she struggled to suppress another yawn.

Suddenly, as though someone had flicked a light switch, the droning stopped, the faint glow coming from the runes that Hermione hadn’t even noticed was there was suddenly extinguished, and what felt like a bubble seeped into her brain. The feeling was so unexpected, despite what she had known the spell would do, that Hermione instinctively clutched her head. Almost as though it was sinking through her skull and shrinking around her brain, Hermione felt the bubble contract smaller and smaller until it, for want of a better term, popped into the tiniest possible nothingness. She shook her head to clear the unusual sensation.

“Miss Granger,” a hooded figure spoke. Hermione couldn’t tell which one in the circle it was, but from the tone she was fairly certain that it was her Unspeakable. “What year are you in school?”

Realizing that this was a test, Hermione quickly answered. “Third year.”

“And your House?”

“Gryffindor.”

“The name of your parents, Miss Granger?”

Hermione automatically opened her mouth to reply, but there was a pulse in her mind. She snapped her jaw shut, realizing that that was exactly the kind of future information she was not supposed to share. The pulse had indeed forewarned her.

“Miss Granger, please attempt to tell us the name of your best friend.”

Hermione’s mouth opened again to say Harry, and again the pulse stopped her.

“Now, Miss Granger, if you would please overcome the warning and purposely tell us the name.” Her Unspeakable said.

Hermione opened her mouth again, and felt a fuzzy sense of warning, but she was still able to say, “Harry.”

“Well done!” The other Unspeakables popped away, leaving Hermione alone with her own and the Headmaster. “Do you understand how the spell works now?” he continued.

Hermione nodded. She was certain that in time she would get used to the sensations of something being in her mind, though on the other hand, if they were to act as a warning system, that might actually be a bad thing. Regardless, she was unlikely to accidentally give away information about the future. She decided to do her own test.

“The Muggles did go into space in nineteen sixty-nine and told the entire world as it happened, you know,” she said easily, without a single pulse of warning. Her information was true in this time, and not from the future. “I can tell you that as easily as I can tell you that Nicholas Flamel created a Philosopher’s Stone almost six hundred years ago and that his name is mentioned on the Headmaster’s Chocolate Frog card.” As the card had been issued in the late fifties, following the Headmaster’s defeat of Grindelwald, it should also be well known in this time period.

The Headmaster gaped at her, and Hermione became immediately quite sure that they hadn’t actually believed her before, but had just been humoring her insistence. Now, however, with the proof that the warning spell wasn’t stopping her, they had to know that what she was saying was true in this time. She couldn’t help the small smirk that her mouth formed, though she did quickly suppress it.

Her Unspeakable even sounded a little shocked as he said, “The spell is working. Dumbledore, you may escort her back to Hogwarts. I assume that you are able to train her in occlumency?”

“Yes, of course,” Headmaster Dumbledore said, beckoning Hermione towards himself.

She complied as their Unspeakable pulled another wooden M – or was it the same one? – out of his pocket. He waved his wand over it and then handed it to the Headmaster. “Once you have arrived at your office, place this on a piece of parchment and tap it with your wand,” he instructed. Dumbledore nodded and then held the M out to Hermione. Not wanting to experience that again, but also knowing that she had no choice unless she wanted to remain in this room forever, Hermione grasped the M. A tap of the Headmaster’s wand saw her whisked away again.

oOo

Hermione considered herself in the mirror. They had indeed given her the holidays to adjust before sending her back to classes, and it was a good thing. With all of the furor of figuring out what had happened to her, and being in the Infirmary, it hadn’t occurred to Hermione that she had nothing with her except her wand and the clothes she was wearing. She didn’t even have her bag and robe, as they were sitting in the Common Room, waiting for her to get back from dinner!

She also came to the sudden realization one afternoon that her beloved Crookshanks was still in the future and she would never see him again! She had cried for over an hour at the loss of her pet, and still got the occasional sniffles when seeing another cat or kneezle around the castle. She hoped for his sake that someone in Gryffindor took him in. Lavender and Parvati had made their disdain clear, but the older girls on Harry’s team had cooed over him in the Common Room, so Hermione could only hope that one of them would take in her baby.

Professor McGonagall had very kindly agreed to take Hermione to Diagon Alley the weekend after the ritual so that she could get new school supplies. Hermione learned that the Unspeakables had a fund for this sort of thing, and while it wasn’t unlimited, she certainly had a much larger budget than she had had the first time around!

This time, Hermione did not resist the two-compartment trunk, and picked the indexable library option for the second compartment. When opened, it appeared as a shelf, with a simple index on the inside lid. Tapping a topic revealed either more detailed sub-topics or a list of books, depending on what she had available, and double tapping a topic or book made it appear on the shelf. There was also a default shelf that could be set to first appear with commonly used books on it, such as her school books.

Hermione’s parents had promised that she could get one as a graduation present, but now that she had the money, and as she intended to do a lot of research, Hermione splurged now. She also picked up a special school bag that was both featherlight and larger on the inside than the out. Hermione had not discovered these bags until this past year, and had been making do with her Muggle backpack to get to classes. A magical bag, however, was now on Hermione’s necessity list.

It was not the only place that she splurged, though Flourish and Blotts was the only obvious choice. As Hermione picked out her school books, she was a little dismayed to realize that they were all the same! Had nothing changed in twenty years? Nevertheless, Hermione added several history and reference books, Arithmancy charts, the potions guide she had been tipped off to by an older Muggleborn during her first week at Hogwarts, and a number of books on household spells.

Hermione had skipped that section in her previous life, intending to wait until she was able to practice magic at home to use them. Now, however, if she was going to be living on her own in the past, she needed to know more than the average Muggleborn. There was also her newfound interest in time travel, which saw several texts added to her basket that Hermione had not read before.

Finally, Hermione was aware that she was, if not currently living in a community at war, she would be in the next few years. A number of advanced defense and warding texts that had been mentioned in her Runes and Arithmancy classes were added to her growing stack.

Professor McGonagall seemed a little wide-eyed when Hermione brought the basket back to the counter, but she didn’t protest. Hermione had been informed that her body was incapable of using a time turner again, so she could not take all of the electives. After discussing the options with the Headmaster, and seeing as how Muggle Studies was so woefully outdated even in her own time, she had chosen to drop both it and Divination.

While Divination might be interesting without Trelawney teaching it (and she had learned from the Headmaster that it was indeed taught by a Professor Thistletoft), Hermione found that the same texts were used, meaning that it continued to be an exercise in futility for anyone who did not actually have the Gift. Instead, Hermione picked up a few more helpful tomes that she had found in the library before, which actually taught the history of divination and the way it affected those without the Sight. Hermione intended to do a self-study and then take the Divination and Muggle Studies OWLs independently.

Once they finally finished at the bookstore, Hermione made quick work of picking up her writing, Astronomy, Potions, Runes, and Arithmancy supplies, as well as a few odds and ends to make magical life easier. After her first few lessons, Hermione had noticed that the wizarding-raised children had a special carrying case for their Potions ingredients, much like a tackle box. Though no such thing had been mentioned during her first Diagon Alley trip, her questions were met with a sense of ‘duh, everyone knows that.’

She had finally learned that such things were not sold at the Apothecary itself, but at a small shop on a side alley called Thimble and Widdershins. During her Christmas holiday first year, Hermione had dragged her parents back to the Alley to search for this elusive store. There, she had found the ingredient cases in a variety of sizes, as well as a number of other useful things.

She had long admired a herbologist’s multi-tool, which was like a large pocket knife but which could produce a handheld trowel, cultivator, warren hoe, bulb planter, weeder, pruner, or cuttings knife. Future Hermione hadn’t been able to afford it, but current Hermione scooped one up. She also picked up a more advanced astrolabe than the standard one sold to first year students and a pocket sneakscope.

The summer before her third year, Hermione had found there a lovely and durable leather tool wrap for her Ancient Runes carving tools. They had also sold a set of detection crystals for Arithmancy, kept in a little silk-lined box with indents for each crystal. Now she purchased each of those again.

Finally, Muggleborns tended to store their wands in pockets, but Hermione had noticed that wizarding-born students somehow tucked them in their sleeves. A bit of research this year had led her to wand holsters, which she had added to her Christmas wish list. With no one to send her presents this year, and with her own money to spend, Hermione went ahead and sprung for a holster herself.

After Thimble and Widdershins followed a quick trip to Olivander’s wand shop. The Unspeakables had assured Hermione that this was necessary, and also that the wandmaker would keep her secret. As soon as she entered the shop, Mr. Olivander was at her side. “Oh, well, indeed,” he said, peering around her oddly. “Welcome back, my dear. Give it a wave, then!”

Feeling decidedly creeped out, Hermione nevertheless pulled out her wand and gave it a wave. A box immediately shot off of the shelves and was only prevented from slamming into her nose by the insanely quick reflexes of Mr. Olivander. He opened it, revealing the past duplicate of her wand.

The wand in her hand grew hot and Hermione released it at once. It sprang into the box, merging with the wand inside. A soft flash of light had her blinking, and then Hermione saw that the wand in the box was now her own, worn slightly and with the small chip in one of the vines from when Harry’s potions knife had slipped one day in second year.

She had wondered what the Unspeakable had meant when he said that a wand couldn’t exist twice in time. “Well, it is yours again my dear,” Olivander said. “Take it back.” Hermione cautiously did so. Olivander closed the box. “I shall enjoy meeting you one day and collecting payment!” he said with a chuckle at his own joke.

Again not a little creeped out, Hermione nodded politely and escaped as quickly as decorum allowed. Professor McGonagall seemed to feel the same way, though she was largely quiet. Hermione didn’t remember her professor being this quiet the first time around, but then she and her parents had asked so many questions they had made it impossible for her to be silent! Hermione wondered if it was the situation or her own silence that was influencing the Professor this time.

On their way to their final stop within the Alley, Hermione felt a sudden tug within her. This was not the tug in her mind that said she was about to trip the future knowledge spell, but coming from an area suspiciously close to her heart. Looking around in confusion, she saw that she was right across the street from Magical Menagerie.

Hermione did not want to go in there right now, not when the loss of Crookshanks was so near, but the tug was insistent. “Professor?” she half asked, glancing between the woman and the shop.

Professor McGonagall followed her gaze and then peered closely at Hermione. “Hmmm.” She glanced between the two again. “It is usually best to follow such things,” she acknowledged eventually. “Let us at least look into it.”

Not entirely sure she wanted to do so, but obeying anyway, Hermione followed her professor into the shop. Almost immediately, a plaintive meow reached her ears. Looking for the sound, Hermione found an open pen against the side wall that was full of kittens. A fluffy orange one had its paws up on the side, meowing repeatedly.

When Hermione peered down at it, a squashed face met hers, and the meow immediately changed to a happier tone. The future knowledge spell strangled the word in her throat, but Hermione still managed to mouth it in her surprise. “Crookshanks?”

Professor McGonagall was peering over her shoulder at the little ball of orange fluff. “Hmm…” she said. “Part kneezle, of course; you can tell by the tufts. But a bit small for their age, likely at least partially cat. Not half and half, or they’d be smaller. One parent was likely the half and half.”

“How- how long would a mixed breed like this live?” Hermione forced herself to ask. The urge to pick up her kitten was strong, but she resisted for the moment. She couldn’t afford to mess up the timeline now, on her first day out of Hogwarts.

“Oh, a full kneezle will live almost a century,” Professor McGonagall said. “A half will be closer to a regular cat, and only see about thirty or fourty years. One of this mix would likely see fifty or sixty. It would make a fine companion.”

Hermione had guessed Crookshanks to be about five or six years old when she got him, based on a regular cat’s age. Some quick math told her that that would make him about twenty or so in mixed-kneezle years. This really was her baby!

Unable to resist any longer, and steadfastly ignoring the tears prickling her eyes, Hermione reached down and grabbed her kitten, cuddling him close and feeling her whole rib cage rumble with his strong purrs.

“You’ll need some supplies,” McGonagall told her gently. Hermione supposed that as a cat Animagus her Professor must have an affinity for felines. That or she had made a fairly prescient guess about the future.

“Yes, a carrying basket, a bed, collar, food and water dishes, and treats, not to mention toys,” a voice said from behind them. Turning, Hermione found a young salesperson standing there. “We have a bundle already assembled, due to this litter. There’s a pamphlet on customizing the colors and everything else is the standard line you find here on the shelves, just neatly packaged up for you!”

“I’ll take it!” Hermione said quickly, not caring if the price would make her have to rethink some of her remaining purchases. She had Crookshanks back, and that was a miracle she had never expected to have here in the past.

Fortunately the total, when she did hear it, was just within Hermione’s budget, and would require only a slight readjustment to her plans.

Still cradling her beloved Crook, though with his supplies safely shrunk in her Professor’s pocket, Hermione continued to their last magical shop: Madam Malkin’s.

The first time around, Hermione had been advised to get robes that were hard-wearing, and which had a growth spell built in, guaranteed to last at least one school year, if not two, depending on how many growth spurts she had. The robes were certainly functional, and had indeed kept her shoes hidden all year long, while resisting stains from the soil in the greenhouses and the worst that Potions could throw at her.

What the shopkeeper hadn’t mentioned, and what Hermione hadn’t found out until doing her own research late in First Year, was that there were several unwritten rules about robes. Well, unwritten where a Muggleborn could find them. There was a degree of cut and material to robes that told a whole language of their own. Hermione’s had labeled her as a Muggleborn immediately to anyone who looked. Well, not to other Muggleborns like Dean and Harry, but to Malfoy and even Ron, the signs had been obvious. It had been the same older Muggleborn, Verity, who clued in Hermione to the potions manual, who gave her the hint about robes.

This time around, Hermione intended to beat the purebloods at their own game. She would still get Muggle underclothes, of course, but casual robes and “proper” school robes were a must-have.

Thus, after relinquishing Crook to the Professor’s arms, Hermione was measured for a set of fitted robes in jasmine wool. She could not afford the acromantula silk that those like Malfoy wore, but the jasmine wool was a step above the cheapest cotton, and even Ron’s hand-me-downs were made from it. Jasmine wool was from a magical creature a bit like a llama with a horribly complicated Welsh name, but the wool was cured in a potion with jasmine as the main ingredient, and that name had stuck. Cotton was a Muggle fabric, but jasmine wool was a magical one, and all but Muggleborns could tell the difference.

The other thing Hermione had found in her research was the idea of fit. First year robes were theoretically unisex, but usually only the cotton ones were really made as such. Those made of jasmine wool and better almost always had certain nips and tucks that created slightly different silhouettes. For those in the younger grades, these would still fairly obscure growing bodies, but they hung less like sacks than the true unisex robes did. Again, only Muggleborns tended to wear these robes, appearing in less-well fitting clothing than their wizarding-born peers. It was one of the many small forms of bigotry that Hermione had not even realized existed when she first came to Hogwarts. Indeed, many of her pureblood, non-biggoted peers like Ron and Parvati and such probably didn’t even realize that that kind of bias existed.

Hermione couldn’t make any changes about it in a political sense, as she had briefly thought to in the past- well, in the future, but in her past. But Hermione could, and intended to, avoid being caught up in that issue now. She would have the same kind of robes the purebloods did, and she would have that extra layer of protection.

Once her school and casual robes were selected (a week’s supply of the former, and three of the latter in russet, periwinkle, and a dark burgundy), Hermione and Professor McGonagall left Madam Malkin’s. While wizards and witches tended to get their underthings there, the selection had been outdated even in Hermione’s time, and she intended to wear Muggle clothes underneath. She had already explained to Professor McGonagall that she wanted to obtain some Muggle supplies, and they had planned to venture out into London after lunch. Thankfully, since she had to do all of the Muggleborn home visits every year, the Professor was far better at blending into that world than the typical witch, and the Unspeakables had included regular pounds in the allowance Hermione had been given.

The lunch was good and filling, and the Professor stepped away for a moment and arranged for Hermione’s things to be sent on to Hogwarts. She was loath to part with Crookshanks so soon, even just for a few hours, but Hermione knew she couldn’t carry a kitten around Harrods!

Once they were finished eating, and had caught a ride to the store, Hermione made quick work of getting the rest of her supplies. Things weren’t exactly as she remembered, of course, and the fashions were certainly different, but Hermione was able to adapt relatively easily. She got several sets of clothes, as well as shoes, underthings, pyjamas, a swimsuit, exercise clothes, slippers, and a housecoat.

Hermione also got outdoor wear, including several warm jumpers and hats, gloves, snow boots, wellies, and an umbrella. Hermione debated over scarves for a few moments, kicking herself for not getting a Gryffindor one in the wizarding world. Perhaps she could get one before they returned to Hogwarts.

Since her watch and a belt had come back with her, Hermione only needed to pick up one more belt, spare handkerchiefs, a few hair bands, and a pair of sunglasses from the accessories department. After a short debate with herself, Hermione also picked up a modest purse. Though the wizarding world used money pouches, and she did have a school bag, Hermione liked the ability to hold small things on her person without needing her big school bag. She could look up the spells later to expand the interior like her school bag if she needed to.

Hermione debated for a few minutes over the jewelry department, before finally deciding to pick up a few pairs of earrings. She wasn’t a jewelry wearer, usually – certainly not like Parvati! – but Hermione did tend to wear small studs or hoops regularly, and she might want to change out the small gold hoops that had come back with her before her next foray into the Muggle world. This required the finding of a jewelry box, of course, and a mental note to pick up disinfectant as well.

Done with clothing at last, Hermione headed for homewares. In the bath department, Hermione was able to get a towel, flannels, and her toiletries, including a makeup bag and some light makeup, which her mother had shown her how to wear just this last summer. Hermione wasn’t nearly as prolific with it as Lavender, of course, but a little mascara and subtle shadow did bring attention to her eyes (and away from her teeth) in a way that Hermione liked. She also found a shower caddy for her supplies and the disinfectant for her earrings.

Hermione was dismayed to find that her pop-up laundry hamper would not be so easily replaced in this era. Hermione couldn’t stand how they boys just threw their clothes on the floor everywhere, and very much appreciated the hampers that she and her roommates had used. After much deliberation she settled for a yellow woven basket. It wasn’t quite Gryffindor gold, but it was less garish than the other options. It, at least, didn’t have large openings that would show her knickers, like the most common version she saw, and Hermione figured she could probably look up a color changing charm for it. Perhaps the one that came with the kneezle kit.

Electronics would not work at Hogwarts, but in her own time, Hermione had found that a wind-up alarm clock worked quite well. Those were actually easier to find in this era, and she had a small selection to choose from. Hermione decided on a classic brass, and made a mental note to apply to it the charm she had used that kept it from waking her roommates.

In the kitchen department, Hermione picked up a reusable water bottle and a thermos which would fit easily in her school bag. Thinking back to Parvati’s decorations, Hermione also picked up a small throw blanket to put on the foot of her bed. It would be the perfect thing to snuggle in when reading on her bed or in the Common Room.

Hermione also made a quick detour through the children's department, hoping to find something acceptable without needing to venture to Hamleys. She had intended to look for a stuffed cat, originally, but finding Crookshanks had changed that plan slightly. To her luck, the selection was better than she could have hoped, and Hermione ended up with a stuffed snowy owl. It didn’t look exactly like Hedwig, of course, but it was still a fair match, and a comforting reminder of those whom she had left behind.

Hermione was also able to find knitting needles and a dozen colors of yarn, as she had decided to take up knitting as a hobby. Her grandmother had taught her when Hermione was much younger, but she hadn’t done it in years. Since discovering magic, really. Now, however, Hermione wanted that connection to her own past. Perhaps she could just make her own Gryffindor scarf, instead of purchasing one. Hermione went back and picked up the appropriate shade of gold and added it to her pile. On impulse she also got a very pretty wooden framed quilted bag to put them in within her trunk.

Done at last with Harrods, Hermione met back up with Professor McGonagall, who had been taking tea in a nearby café, and had all of her packages shrunk and pocketed. Hermione only had two other stops to make, and the Professor easily agreed.

They made their way to the South Kensington station, to the bookshop Hermione had always visited with her mother. There she was able to pick up a modest selection of Muggle books – nothing like her old collection, but enough for now. Hermione also picked up notebooks and pens (much easier for taking research notes with, though of course she still used quills and ink for homework!) and a few other odds and ends. After a moment’s hesitation, she added colored pencils and a sharpener to her kit.

This summer, after reading about the botanist Elizabeth Blackwell, Hermione had played around with sketching some of the plants and animals used in potions. Her sketches were nothing like the beautiful illustrations in A Curious Herbal, but Hermione found that they did help her study once back at Hogwarts. The colored pencils were cheap, and Hermione was feeling a little indulgent. If her entire life was now going to fit into a single trunk, then she was going to fill it up with little indulgences like Hedwig and colored pencils!

Seeing a display by the registers full of books on space, Hermione was reminded about Astronomy. Magical astronomy was leagues behind their magical counterparts, and that was before taking into consideration that they didn’t even know about the moon landing! Hermione had found that even the telescope she used for classes was enhanced by magic instead of reflective properties!

Thinking quickly, Hermione remembered that there was a science museum nearby, by the V & A, where she could probably find much better supplies for that class! Picking up two books from the space display here, Hermione decided that she would make one last stop.

oOo

It was surprising how quickly shopping wore one out! Hermione thought. She remembered spending many pleasant afternoons with her mother browsing a bookstore, or poking here and there in Harrods, which hadn’t seemed quite so exhausting. Of course, her first time in Diagon Alley had been full of questions and magic, and the thrill of the unknown. But her trips the last two summers had been far more normal.

A small part of Hermione thought that it wasn’t the shopping per se, but the sense of loss. She was like someone whose house had burned down, attempting to replace their entire life in one day. In the past, Hermione had needed to get a new toothbrush here, or some hair bands there. Maybe quite a few pieces of clothing after a growth spurt, or before school started each year.

But attempting to catalogue everything she had owned and to figure out what needed replacing or replicating was far more tiring. Though Hermione had of course made a list over the last few days, there were many small things that she had seen today which had made her pause. From the impulsive decisions to get colored pencils or a Muggle telescope, to the reminder of a purse or a throw blanket, Hermione had been beset by memories of her parents’ house and her old dorm.

Hermione hadn’t even unpacked right away, just settled into her private room in the infirmary for a short nap. After Madam Pomfrey woke her for a late dinner, however, Hermione set to work. Everything was unpackaged, sorted, and then put in its proper place. Toiletries in their bag or the shower caddy, school supplies in her pencil case and her new school bag, makeup and jewelry in their own boxes. Knitting in its own bag. Potions ingredients and runic tools in their respective organizers.

After her first trip to Diagon Alley, during which everything had just been tossed into her trunk, Hermione and her mother had spread all of her new things out on the living room floor. They had already made a list of what she was bringing from home, and had been assured by the trunk salesman that everything would fit, as “school trunks are three times larger on the inside than they look!”

Though he had been correct about the size, Hermione and her mother had rapidly discovered that the only way everything would “fit” was if it was simply tossed in. There was no organization inside of trunks, save for the option to get multiple compartments. Hermione and her mother had assumed that this was because the trunk was simply for transport, and that at Hogwarts she would have a wardrobe and drawers and things.

After a letter to Professor McGonagall, they were informed that they were only partially correct. Hermione’s dorm room would include a wardrobe and a bedside table with a single drawer, but that was it. Everything else was expected to “live” in her trunk or school bag.

Upon learning that, the Granger girls had gone out and spent an afternoon in Harrods, finding the perfect plastic tubs and boxes to completely organize her new trunk. Then they had spent a second evening attempting to pack her trunk, with much more success!

Hermione had known that she was unlikely to find the same items in this time. In some ways, she didn’t even want to look for them, unwilling to replace the memory of that afternoon with her mother with another. Instead, she had grabbed a handful of plastic straws from the café and tucked them into her pocket.

Now, she transfigured them into the familiar containers, then etched each piece with the rune for permanence so they wouldn’t switch back. Satisfied with her creations, Hermione finished putting her new things away in her perfectly organized trunk.

Organizing and indexing her library compartment lifted Hermione’s mood even more, as did the sight of her blanket, owl, water bottle, and alarm clock around her bed. Somehow, these homey touches made the private infirmary room a little more hers and a little less like a time-travelling ghost was just passing through it.

And of course, there was Crookshanks. He had curled up in her arms, purring, while Hermione napped, and batted at things as she organized them. He had also rubbed his cheeks approvingly all over the snowy owl plushie, before curling up in his own bed for another nap.

Having her kneezle beside her again had done wonders for Hermione’s depression, though his smaller size and younger age did nothing for her off-kilter sense of time.

Finally satisfied with her organizing, and beginning to yawn again, Hermione changed into her new pyjamas and snuggled up with Crookshanks once again.

oOo

On the last Saturday of winter hols, Hermione was escorted down to dinner in the Great Hall by Professor McGonagall. They had had a quick chat with the Sorting Hat in the Headmaster’s office earlier, and discovered that she was not the first person to need a re-sorting for one reason or another. With the Hat agreeing to play its part and not reveal her past, Hermione was now being introduced to the rest of the school at dinner, where she would be sorted.

The Unspeakables had also visited her four days earlier with shocking news. Hermione had always assumed she was a true Muggleborn, but the Unspeakables informed her that there was no such thing. They had taken some of her blood back when she first arrived, and now were able to show her the results of the lineage ritual.

Hermione’s great-grandfather on her father’s side, Mark Granger, had been born Marcus Dagwood Granger. When he was discovered to be a squib at eleven he was sent to live in the Muggle world. His older brother, Phocas, had passed, but his sister, Dorcas, Hermione’s Great Grand Aunt, was still alive at the moment.

The unspeakables had contacted her, and she agreed to the fiction that Hermione was the late-life daughter of Marcs and a French witch, previously homeschooled until the death of her parents. For the most part, squibs weren’t tracked after leaving the wizarding world, so no one could disprove that story. Dorcas, unusually, had kept up with her baby brother, and had actually seen Hermione’s grandpa Lucas a handful of times throughout the years. Now that she thought about it, Hermione vaguely recalled her father reminiscing about a Great Aunt Dorcy once or twice, but she had passed when Hermione was a toddler. With her future knowledge, Hermione now had to wonder if that was a result of Death Eaters; the timing certainly fit.

Regardless, Hermione would be introduced to Hogwarts as Hermia Dagworth-Granger. It was still a Shakespearean name her mother would approve of, and she could use her old nickname, Herm, without drawing awkward attention to her younger self in the future by having almost identical names. Great Grand Aunt Dorcy, who would more rightly be Aunt Dorcy to Hermione’s alterego, would officially adopt Hermia, as squibs were considered only slightly better than Muggles in the Wizarding world.

All of this was swirling in Hermione’s mind as she walked beside Professor McGonagall into the Great Hall. The stool and Sorting Hat were already waiting, and Hermione dutifully approached them as Headmaster Dumbledore made his announcement of her situation.

Ahhh, Miss Granger the Hat said as soon as it was on her head. As the Headmaster said, I see we shall be resuming a conversation started many years from now.

You want to put me in Ravenclaw this time? Hermione asked.

You are doubtless qualified for that House, the hat said, but that is not what I meant. Your drive and ambition are hallmarks of a Slytherin, my dear. I can see that it would have been too dangerous to Sort you there the first time around, but things are different at this time, and Slytherin could help you on your path to greatness.

Me, a Slytherin? Hermione repeated. Her first time around, after reading all about Hogwarts beforehand, she had assumed she would be a Ravenclaw or Slytherin, using the same logic. After the way she had been treated on the train by a few older Slytherins, and after hearing Neville’s take on the world, she had done a heel-turn to Gryffindor. She needed to be associated with Dumbledore, saviour of Muggleborns, not the children of Death Eaters whose parents would sooner see her dead than in the same House as their progeny. It would be safe this time? she asked.

Much safer, the Hat agreed. You would not be the first Dagworth-Granger in that House, and as an apparent half-blood of that notable line, you would be easily accepted. Besides, this is your chance to save some of those students. There are those, like Reginald Avery and Arnold Mulciber, who are beyond help. But there are those, like Severus Snape, Regulus and Narcissa Black, and young Barty Crouch, whose paths are not set in stone.

The Unspeakables said I wasn’t to change things, Hermione protested. That’s why I assumed you would sort me away from Harry’s parents and Professor Lupin, so I wouldn’t make any mistakes.

The Unspeakables are wrong! The Hat said firmly. Why else do you think you are back here, if not to change things?

His words filled Hermione with purpose. She had assumed that her role in this time was to disappear into the woodwork and do her best not to cause problems. The idea that she could make changes, even save lives, was a massive relief. She could do anything she wanted! And while she knew very little about the other three names, she was very much interested in the idea of saving Severus Snape from his fate.

She was so impressed that he had gotten his Potions Mastery at such a young age, and anyone could see how brilliant he was. He clearly disliked teaching the young beginner students, though she had been told that he was much better with the NEWT-level classes. If he hadn’t needed Headmaster Dumbledore’s protection at Hogwarts, could he perhaps have gone on to create wonderful new Potions? Could the others have just as much wasted potential?

It was a lure too strong for Hermione, and she knew she couldn’t resist. “SLYTHERIN!” yelled the Hat. To Hermione’s pleased surprise, the applause came from all four tables, unlike her other years when Gryffindor and Slytherin never cheered for each other. As her robes took on the green trim, she was suddenly very glad that she had not bought that Gryffindor scarf after all.